By Dr. Jimmy Jones – Research Fellow at Yaqeen Institute and member of the American Academy of Religion
Transcribed for hiba by Saadia Ahmed
When it comes to the issue of race and the Muslim leadership, there are three statements that we ought to think about:
- Race is not real but racism is.
- Prejudice is a very, very powerful thing.
- The mighty multi-culture community of Prophet Muhammad (sa) is the way forward.
Let’s take a closer look at the above three statements.
Race is not real but racism is.
Allah (swt) says in Surah An-Nisa: “O humankind, fear your Lord, Who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed, Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” (An-Nisa 4:1)
This Ayah is a clear indicator that all the people on earth come from one person. If we look at each other, no matter where we come from, we all have the same common ancestor.
Race is a social construct; the way you are seen racially has often more to do with WHERE you are than WHO you are. The other thing that makes race not a reality is that it is also constraint by time, those who are considered as “white people” now were not considered “white” a 100 years ago. When the Irish came to the United States they were seen as outsiders, people to be feared, someone to be marginalized and now they too are considered amongst the white. Hence, we see that the concept race is very fluid; it has more to with power and relationships.
This is an excerpt from the print issue.
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