The Holy Quran mentions about the Racism: O mankind! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another. Indeed, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you. Indeed, Allah is all-knowing, all-aware (49:13).
"The issue of equality between all human beings, opposition to any type of racial, ancestral and class discrimination, fairness between all the children of Adam in relation to human rights and that no person is better than another due to his skin color, language, lineage or race - is one of the most important societal issues in the Qur’an which has been mentioned in various verses of this Heavenly Book. The Qur’an has denounced all sorts of superiority - whether it be of race, language, or skin color."
Likewise, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) says: Surely all of mankind – from the time of Adam until our time – are like the teeth of a comb (all equal to one another) and there is no greatness for an `Arab over a non-`Arab and no greatness for a red-skinned person over a black-skinned person, except due to one’s consciousness of Allah (taqwa).”
There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) that invite human beings towards brotherhood and equality. Throughout his life, the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) taught people that all humans are one and the only difference that exists is in their God-wariness as mentioned in verse 13 of Surah Hujarat. We learn from the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) and the Ahlul Bayt (AS) that Islam has established equality for the entire human race and struck at the very root of all distinctions based on color, race, language or nationality. According to Islam, Allah has given man this right of equality as a birthright. Thus, no man should be discriminated against on the basis of the color of his skin, his place of birth, his race or the nation in which he was born.
Apart from conveying the pure teachings of Islam, the Holy Prophet (PBUH &HP) was also able to rouse hope in the hearts of the poor and the downtrodden section of his society. In many instances within his practical life, he was successful in eliminating bigotry and racism that was surrounding him. In order for him to reach his aim of equality between all human beings, he married the daughter of his uncle to a slave named Zaid. In addition, he gave Bilal, who was both a non-`Arab and an African slave (at one point in his life), the important religious post of being the Muaddhin, the one who calls to prayer. He also convinced Ziyad ibn Labid who was one of the richest and noblest men from amongst the Ansar to marry his daughter to an African slave named Jubair. This marriage between a nobleman's daughter and a slave, was the beginning of many such marriages that broke mental and social barriers among the followers of Islam. Islam is a practical example of how human beings and societies can fight racial discrimination and create a society based on unity and brotherhood.
The annual ritual of Hajj is an outstanding display of beauty and splendor among the followers of Islam and it is this very beauty of Islam that inspired (Martyr) Malcolm X to write the following letter after he made his first Hajj:
"Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.....There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white. You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.
During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same Allah with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white' Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
We are truly all the same-brothers.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."
The Holy Quran tells us:
"Certainly, We have honored the Children of Adam, and carried them over land and sea, and provided them with all the good things, and preferred them with a complete preference over many of those We have created." (17:70)
The Holy Quran teaches us that Islam lays down some rights for man as a human being. Every man whether he belongs to one country or the other, whether he is a believer or a non-believer, whether he lives in forest or desert, whatever be the case, he has some basic human rights simply because he is a human being, which should be recognized by every human being.
Today, the world is struggling to come to terms with equality in true sense. Racial discrimination continues to be a challenge, even for the most developed nations. However, Islam has shown the way to fight racial discrimination and create a society based on amity, love and unity. InshaAllah, the world will very soon realize that the only solution to racism lies in following Islam.
- Islamic Moral System: Commentary of Surah Al-Hujurat Ayt. Jafar Subhani
- Malcolm X's letter http://islam.uga.edu/malcomx.html
Throughout the history of humankind, there are not many figures who stood up for all the people whose voice have not been heard, whose rights have been taken away and lives stolen. And there are not many men or women whose apparent defeat turn out to be their ultimate success, immortalizing their message and their actions. Imam Hussain (AS) was one of these rare kinds whose voice is still heard from beneath the ashes of history. A figure whose sacrifices have kindled a light for anyone willing to follow his lead and make this world a better place to live. In what follows, we will have a glance at the life of this eminent Islamic personality.
Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib known as Abu 'Abd Allah and Sayyid al-Shuhada' (Lord of martyrs), the third leader (Imam) of Shias, was born on January the 8th on 626 A.D ( 3rd of Shaban, 4th Lunar year (Hijri Ghamari))  in Medina as the second grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) . His father was Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), the first chosen leader by Prophet (PBUH&HP) and his cousin, and his mother was Lady Fatima (AS), the beloved daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) . He was only seven years old when the dear Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) passed away .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) loved him dearly, and there has remained many accounts in which Prophet(PBUH&HP) directly admits his love and affection for his grandson, Hussain (AS). For instance, he said: “Hussain is of me, and I am of Hussain, God loves those who love him” . It is also narrated that "When the Prophet (PBUH&HP) was asked whom he loved more among his family, he replied, 'Hasan and Hussain.'"  He also used to put him on his lap, kiss him and said, “You are noble, son of a noble person and [will be] the father of noble ones; you are a leader (Imam) and son of a leader (Imam) and the father of leaders” .
There is disagreement about the number of Imam Hussain’s (AS) children. Some believe he had six children, four boys, and two girls . While others believe it to be nine, six boys, and three girls . Some of the most notable ones who were present in the event of Karbala include Ali ibn al-Hussain (Imam Sajjad (AS)) who becomes the leader after his father’s martyrdom, Ali al-Akbar, the six-month-old Ali al-Asghar, and his daughters Sukayna, Fatima and Ruqayya [i].
Imam Hussain (AS), like his father and grandfather, Imam Ali (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), was never ignorant toward the ones in need and those who struggled for their livelihood. Aside from helping them financially wherever and whenever he could, he always treated them with respect and equal to other people. Once he was passing somewhere when he saw a group of impoverished people who were sitting on their cloaks and eating some dry bread crumbs. They invited him to join them. He kindly accepted and sat down with them, eating whatever they ate. Then he invited them to his house and offered them whatever he had of food .
Even while praying, he couldn’t turn a blind eye to the request of a needy person. He tried to recite the remainder of his prayer faster so that he could help that person and fulfill his need . He would also pay the debts of those who were struggling with financial problems. For instance, he paid the debt of a dying man to relieve him of the burden of owing another person before his death . After his martyrdom, some old scratches were found on his back, which turned out to be the marks of the heavy bags containing food. He used to carry them on his back every night to give them to the poor without being noticed .
Imam Hussain (AS) is widely known for his patience in the real sense of the word. First of all, he would not get angry quickly. Even when a Syrian man insulted him and his father, Imam Hussain (AS) didn’t lose his temper. Instead, he forgave him and treated him kindly and with generosity .
Furthermore, considering the event of Karbala and the many unbearable hardships he and his family went through, such as seeing his children suffering from thirst, martyrdom of his brother, sons and his dear companions and the thought of his family to be taken as a captive, we never see him complaining to Allah or surrendering to this deep pain. This patience, for sure, was the result of his deep faith in Allah and having no doubt in whatever He chooses for him.
Imam Hussain (AS), saw the injustice that was imposed upon the society of his time and realized how what the rulers called Islam was far from the true teachings of Islam. Oppression, tyranny, unjust use of public property, etc. made life miserable for people. Therefore, he stood up against what was wrong. But he never gave up his human virtues for the sake of furthering his purpose. He was courageous for the right cause. Neither was he after usurping the throne, nor manipulating people for his own sake. In that case, He would have been selfish rather than courageous.
Imam Hussain (AS) was known among the people of his time for his sincere and constant prayers and devotions to Allah. He traveled the distance between Medina to Mecca to participate in Hajj rituals twenty-five times in his lifetime on foot. He had a deep affection for the prayer (Salat). It has been narrated that on the night before the battle of Karbala, Imam Hussain (AS) told his brother, Abbas ibn Ali (AS): “Ask the enemy to let us spend this night praying and supplicating to Allah and reciting the Quran. My Merciful Lord knows how much I love praying, reciting the Quran, supplicating and repenting”. Also, in the midst of battle, while the enemy was attacking him and his companions on every side, he stood to perform the midday prayer (Salat al-Dhuhr) in the congregation .
Imam Hussain (AS) was the inheritor of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) vast knowledge and foresight. Everyone, whether friends or enemies, admitted this characteristic in him and found no one to be even close to him on this matter. He would answer people’s questions on different issues so wisely and with such command that impressed every person who had heard of it. There remain many sayings and quotes from him, each containing a moral teaching and a lesson that would help us lead a better and more productive life .
After the death of Muawiah, the caliph of Muslims at the time of Imam Hassan (AS), his son, Yazid usurped the throne. He was the first caliph who was chosen monarchically after Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) death, and he was far from a suitable choice for the leadership of Muslims. He was an indecent tyrant who did not even follow an Islamic lifestyle in appearance. For instance, he would drink alcohol manifestly; which is a strictly forbidden act in Islam. Thus, Imam Hussain (AS) who lived in Medina at that time refused to accept Yazid’s oath of allegiance, despite Yazid’s threat to behead anyone who refuses to do so . When the governor of Medina came to Imam Hussain (AS) to take his oath of allegiance, he asked for a few days to think and decide. Afterward, he left Medina to Mecca, where still remained some people who did not bend down under Yazid’s forceful allegiance .
In Mecca, many people were attracted to the intellectual, spiritual, and religious characteristics of Imam Hussain (AS). Also, the notable people in Iraq and especially Kufa who had received the news of Muawiah’s death wrote many letters to Imam Hussain (AS). They asked Imam Hussain (AS) to come to Kufa and accept their political leadership along with their intellectual and religious guidance . Imam Hussain (AS) did not care much about these letters, at first. But when he saw the increasing number of letters sent from Kufa to him, he decided to send one of his relatives, called Muslim ibn Aqil, as a representative, with a letter to the heads of Kufa tribes to validate their invitation.
Over ten thousands of people of Kufa took the oath of allegiance with Muslim as Imam Hussain’s (AS) representative. So, Muslim wrote a letter to Imam Hussain (AS) and ensured him that Kufa was the right place for Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions to move to . Thus, Imam Hussain (AS) along with his family and some of his companions left Mecca to Kufa. Also, he sent another representative, called Gheis, to Kufa, to inform them of his journey. However, people of Kufa were soon terrified and scattered from Muslim’s side. They even threw Muslim out of the resting place that they had given him before. The new governor captured Muslim and beheaded him . Gheis (the second representative of Imam Hussain (AS)) also reached Kufa and declared Imam Hussain (AS)’s message to people of Kufa. However, the forces captured him and dropped him down from the top of a castle in Kufa .
Before his martyrdom, Muslim covertly sent one of his companions to Imam Hussain (AS), to inform him of people’s disloyalty and dishonesty and to stop him from coming to Kufa. But his message and the news of Kufa people’s infidelity, reached Imam Hussain (AS) when he had already left Mecca behind and was on his way to Iraq, near Kufa and Muslim had already been martyred. Imam Hussain (AS) decided to continue his journey toward Iraq and Kufa.
On the 7th of Muharram (10th of October 680 AD), Ibn Ziyad’s army blocked Imam Hussain (AS)’s and his followers’ access to the Euphrates (Furat river). About five hundred soldiers were ordered not to let Imam Hussain’s (AS) followers reach the river. On this night, a number of Imam Hussain’s (AS) companions managed to take some water from the river, and it was the last time they could do so .
On the 9th of Muharram, called Tasu’a, yet another ruthless and cruel commander, named Shimr, came to help Umar ibn Sa’ad’s army. Umar ibn Sa’ad’s army made many attempts to entice Imam Hussain’s (AS) followers and dissuade them from accompanying Imam Hussain (AS). But they did not succeed. On this day, Imam Hussain (AS) and his followers were besieged completely, and their access to water was entirely blocked. They had no water supply anymore. According to some accounts, except for the women and children, those who could fight along with Imam Hussain (AS), were about 72 people.
Imam Hussain (AS) was the last warrior in the battle of Karbala. His companions were all martyred, and he was now alone. It has been said, that for some time the soldiers from Kufa, did not come to fight with Imam Hussain (AS). Perhaps the people of Kufa were ashamed of themselves. Since they were the ones who invited Imam Hussain (AS) and now they were fighting against him. Despite his exhaustion and his wounded body, Imam Hussain (AS) fought against his enemies courageously and powerfully.
Imam Hussain (AS) was losing his strength. A person threw a stone toward Imam Hussain’s (AS) forehead, which made it full of blood. When he wanted to wipe it with his clothes, another soldier shot a poisoned arrow toward Imam Hussain’s (AS) chest. Another strike caused Imam Hussain (AS) to lose his remaining strength and fall on the ground. Shimr ordered his soldiers to give Imam Hussain (AS) the last strike and kill him, but no one dared to do so. Shimr himself came and beheaded Imam Hussain (AS) .
Imam Hussain’s (AS) revolution and the incident of Karbala carried a message for all humankind, of any religion, belief or nationality. His movement not only gives us the lesson of peacefulness but also teaches us to never be silent in the face of oppression and injustice and stand against it despite any difficulty. Thus, despite the passing of so many centuries, he is still held as a hero who can be the perfect role model for those seeking justice and humanity. Every year, on the tenth of Muharram, called Ashura, the day on which Imam Hussain (AS) was martyred, many people from all over the world gather and commemorate his personality and his exemplary movement. Also, millions of people attend the annual gathering of Arbaeen Walk which is a three-day journey on foot, walking the distance between Najaf to Karbala located in Iraq to honor and revive his lasting message of peace and truthfulness.
[i] There are some disagreements about the presence of a girl called Ruqayya as the daughter of Imam Hussain (AS). Some sources, including Lubab al-ansab, a sixth/twelfth-century source, and Kamil-i Baha'i, from the seventh/thirteenth century, report that he had a four-year-old daughter, who passed away in Damascus.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 555.
- Imam Hussain
- Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 10, p. 369.
- Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 142.
- Tirmizī, Sunan, vol. 5, p. 323.
- Mawsu'at kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Baqir al-'Ulum Research Institute, p.91.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 135.
- Ṭabarī, Dalāʾil al-imāma, vol. 1, p. 74.
- Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 14, p. 181.
- Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 14, p. 185.
- Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol.4, p.66.
- Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 43, p. 224.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 417 & 441.
- Shaykh 'Abbas Qummi, Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbala, p.21.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 338.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 34, 36-37.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 347 & 395.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 53-63.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 405.
- Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 86.
- Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 453.
There are many verses in the Quran about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH). Muslims just like Christians revere Jesus, and some even believe that he is more honored among Muslims. They assert Jesus’ holiness and the fact that he was miraculously conceived in the womb of his virgin mother, Saint Mary.
It is also agreed in the religion of Islam that Jesus was supported by some miracles to prove that he was a Messenger of God. However, there are some different beliefs that Muslims have about the nature and life occurrences of this noble Messenger, which are as follows:
Jesus Christ was a human born of a virgin mother. As the last in the line of Jewish prophets, he was sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture. According to the Quran, Jesus was no more than a messenger just like the previous messengers of God who had a worldly life like all the other creatures:
“Indeed the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was” (3:59).
Quran also affirms that Jesus was the Word of God but not because of an incarnation whereby his flesh became Divine, rather because his spirit was refined to such an extent that it became a mirror that reflected Divinity:
“When the angels said, ‘O Mary, Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter and one of those brought near [to Allah]” (3:45).
Just as the creation of Adam and Eve who were born without a human mother or a human father, the miraculous birth of Jesus does not grant him a higher status to be God or a part of Him. Therefore, Jesus, like the other earthly humans, lives a temporary life and dies:
“Peace to me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive” (19:33).
It is also stated in the Holy Quran that Jesus and his mother would eat daily food, which is a typical human act that cannot be attributed to God:
“The Messiah, son of Mary, is but an apostle. Certainly, [other] apostles have passed before him, and his mother was a truthful one. Both of them would eat food...” (5:75)
“He [God] neither begets, nor was begotten” (112:3)
As mentioned earlier, the Quran states that Jesus was a prophet. Prophets are certainly the best humans God has chosen to receive His revelation to guide humankind; they deserve our greatest honors, but not our worship. Jesus Christ was not different in this respect, neither was he God’s assistant in creating and governing the world:
“It is not for Allah to take a son. Immaculate is He!” (19:35)
“O People of the Book! Do not exceed the bounds in your religion, and do not attribute anything to Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only an apostle of Allah, and His Word that He cast toward Mary and a spirit from Him. So have faith in Allah and His apostles, and do not say, ‘[God is] a trinity.’ Relinquish [such a creed]! That is better for you. Allah is but the One God. He is far too immaculate to have any son...” (4:171).
So, God alone suffices to rule and supervise the whole universe and all humans’ affairs.
Not only did Jesus affirm the scriptures revealed before him, but he also prophesied the arrival of the last messenger of God after him, i.e., prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come” (John, 16:13)
This is also mentioned in the Quran:
“And when Jesus son of Mary said, ‘O Children of Israel! Indeed, I am the apostle of Allah to you, to confirm what is before me of the Torah, and to give the good news of an apostle who will come after me, whose name is Ahmad” (61:6)
Jesus himself never claimed to be God incarnate or the son of God; he declared to be a human being and a servant of God, who was advised to worship Him:
“He said, ‘Indeed I am a servant of Allah! He has given me the Book and made me a prophet” (19:30).
“He has made me blessed, wherever I may be, and He has enjoined me to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakat as long as I live” (19:31)
And when he invited children of Israel to worship Allah, he said Allah is his Lord too and believed he was like the other children of Israel before God.
“[And Jesus said,] ‘Indeed Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. This is a straight path’” (19:36)
He strongly forbade association of partners with Allah, saying:
“… ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord, and your Lord. Indeed, whoever ascribes partners to Allah, Allah shall forbid him [entry into] paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire, and the wrongdoers will not have any helpers’” (5:72).
Moreover, the Holy Quran says that Jesus himself denied having any qualities of divinity or being elevated to the status of God:
“And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus son of Mary! Was it you who said to the people, ‘‘Take my mother and me for gods besides Allah’’?’ He will say, ‘Immaculate are You! It does not behoove me to say what I have no right to [say]…” (5:116).
Miracles are seals of a divine mission. All prophets were granted miracles to prove the integrity of their message. These miracles were not performed of the prophets’ own accord or under their power; rather, they were all manifest in their hands by God’s will and permission. Jesus was no exception; the Quran says:
“When Allah will say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember My blessing upon you and upon your mother, when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, so you would speak to the people in the cradle and in adulthood, and when I taught you the Book and wisdom, the Torah and the Evangel, and when you would create from clay the form of a bird, with My leave, and you would breathe into it and it would become a bird, with My leave; and you would heal the blind and the leper, with My leave, and you would raise the dead, with My leave;…” (5:110)
It is clarified in the Quran that Jesus was not crucified, but instead, he was raised to the heaven by God:
“and for their saying, ‘We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the apostle of Allah’—though they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but so it was made to appear to them. Indeed, those who differ concerning him are surely in doubt about him: they do not have any knowledge of that beyond following conjectures, and certainly, they did not kill him. Indeed, Allah raised him up toward Himself…” (4: 157,158)
Finally, Muslims believe that after Jesus’ departure from the earth, his teachings were distorted. But with the advent of Islam, six centuries later, the truth about Jesus Christ and his teachings were revived and preserved in the last divine book of revelation, the holy Quran. Nowadays, Muslims follow the consistent message brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) as well as all the other holy prophets including Jesus; their lifestyle is more in tune with what Jesus practiced in life, and they highly respect him.
Muslims also hold that Jesus is alive in the same mortal body and at the time during the appearance of Imam Mahdi (AS) he will return to earth, and they will both fill the world with blessings and happiness.