Saturday, January 03, 2015

Racist Hadith? Maybe not entirely . . .

Racist Hadith?
MEMRI Report #4686
Saudi Fighter in Syria Glorifies Martyrdom
Even Black Men Get into Paradise
The Internet
December 12, 2014

The following Hadith perhaps isn't racist despite sounding as if it might be:
"A black man came to see the Prophet Muhammad in one of his raids, and asked him: 'What will I get if I fight those people with you?' The Prophet Muhammad said to him: 'You will go to Paradise.' The man said 'Oh Prophet of Allah, I am black, I smell bad, and I have no money. If I am killed, will I still go to Paradise?' The Prophet Muhammad said: 'Yes. I swear by Allah.' Then the man said: 'Allah will surely witness what I will do.'
Watch the entire video here, and judge for yourself. There seems to be some presupposition that blackness raises a barrier against entry into paradise. Islam's prophet assures the black man that martyrdom overcomes the disadvantages of color, smell, and poverty.

Interpretation of this Hadith could go one way or the other, depending upon who holds the presupposition that blackness is a barrier.

Any thoughts, anyone?

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At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am black. I smell bad."

Oh, my.

At the very least, the hadith implies that racism against Black Africans was prevalent among inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. The use of the word "black" as a (negative) racial classifier did not appear in English-language texts until the mid-1600s when race-based slavery became codified in US colonial laws. Africans became Negroes and the English became Christians. The myth that the Middle East slave trade was not harsh seems to be embraced by Muslims around the world.


At 8:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I agree.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that Muhammad was willing to send his followers to live with black people. He also freed the black slaves he had; Also hadith have varying canonicity. Most of the racist ones are non canon ones. This one is probably one

Bernard Lewis said
“the Qur’ān expresses no racial or color prejudice. What is perhaps most significant is that the Qur’ān does not even reveal any awareness of such prejudice…The evidence of the Qur’ān on the lack of racial prejudice in pre-Islamic and the earliest Islamic times is born out by such fully authenticated fragments of contemporary literature as survive. As in the Qur’ān so also in the ancient Arabian poetry, we find awareness of difference…We do not however find any clear indication that this was felt in racial terms, or went beyond the normal feeling of distinction which all human groups have about themselves in relation to others…There are verses (indeed many verses) attributed to pre-Islamic and early Islamic poets which would suggest very strongly a feeling of hatred and contempt directed against persons of African birth or origin. Most if not all of these, however, almost certainly belong to later periods and reflect later problems, attitudes, and preoccupations. Such projection backward into early Islamic or pre-Islamic times is a very common feature, and a recurring difficulty in Islamic scholarship.”[7] I'll take his word

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks. Bernard Lewis is certainly an expert to trust.

Jeffery Hodges

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