A Muslima’s Guide to Colour Equality

Why colour and not race? Because race just limits the inequality we see in the Muslim community to our ethnic differences. Therefore, the Black Muslim is not necessarily African or in this context limited to the Blacks. You will find that there is some kind of negativity attached to any form of darkness – that is if you are darker than those in your culture, community or ethnicity.

Those who are darker, whether Black or otherwise often hear snide comments, they are down in the list when it comes to marriage considerations and they are more likely to be gossiped about when it comes to ‘things they did wrong’ and unfortunately this is embedded in our cultures.

“O humankind! We have made you…into nations and tribes, so that you may get to know one another. The noblest of you in God’s sight is the one who is most righteous.”Al-Hujurat – The Apartments – 49:13 (Sura: 49, Verse: 13)

At the time of revelation – during the time of the Prophet in Arabia, tribal membership, kinship and wealth determined an individual’s social status. But it is noted throughout historical civilisations that light skinned women are the sought after, they are prettier, more delicate and feminine. The Quran destabilises both of these known cultural discrimination (which exists today) by stating that your piety and deeds are the basis for merit.

When it comes to racial equality, it was in the last known public speech of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), known as the Farewell Sermon, as one of the basic religious and ethical ideals of Islam. The Prophet (s.a.w) said:

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over a Black nor a Black has any superiority over a White except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.”

The only difference that counts in the eyes of Allah is our deed – not the fairness of our skin.

For many Muslims, Bilal (r.a) represents the application of Islam’s egalitarian approach. In order to highlight racial equality in Islam to the best of my knowledge, I will be using ahadith about Jundub ibn Junadah, better known as Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (r.a).

Abu Dharr came from a tribe of highway robbers – the Ghifar tribe. But Abu Dharr shunned the way of his people, he was detached, righteous and kept to himself. Abu Dharr was also a Black Arab and he was one of the early reverts to Islam.

There was an incident that occurred between Abu Dharr and another Black Muslim (some narrations say this was Bilal), where he says ‘O you son of a Black woman’’. As they are both Black, in this context, it means someone that isn’t ‘one of us’ as the person he was talking to was most likely from Hebasha (Abysinnia/Ethiopia). When Abu Dharr went to the Prophet (s.a.w) about this, he (s.a.w) said to Abu Dharr (r.a) that ‘’you are the man that still has the traits of the jahiliyya’’. Abu Dharr felt so bad after this admonition that he immediately repented. Abu Dharr (r.a) recounts the above incident through the below:

‘I saw Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a cloak. We asked him about that (i.e. how both were wearing similar cloaks). He replied, “Once I abused a man and he complained of me to the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) asked me, ‘Did you abuse him by slighting his mother?’ He added, ‘Your slaves are your brethren upon whom Allah has given you authority. So, if one has one’s brethren under one’s control, one should feed them with the like of what one eats and cloth them with the like of what one wears. You should not overburden them with what they cannot bear, and if you do so, help them (in their hard job).’’’ Hadith No: 731
Narrated/Authority of Al-Marur bin Suwaid, Listed in: Manumission of Slaves.

I will like to highlight that the above hadith is sound but the story leading to the hadith comes from a weak chain of narrations. The lesson still applies and the story has been used by well known scholars to emphasise equality within the Ummah in line with the Shariah.

Lastly, from the Prophet (s.a.w) is that among the sayings he relates from his Lord (may He be glorified) is that He said: “‘O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and you will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more than a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.'” It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah). Hadith No: 17, Narrated/Authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Listed in: 40 Hadith Qudsi.

The Power of Dua

Bismillaahil rahman il-raheem,

As salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

Dua is a tool given to the muslimeen, it is an asset and a particular power that is at our disposal. Dua can literally change lives.

This world was made to test us, it is impossible for us to be content and to live in perpetual bliss:
Allah says: “He is the One that has created Life and Death in order to test who amongst you is best in conduct” – Qur’an (67:2).

“Verily We will test you with some fear, hunger, and loss of wealth, life or the fruits (of your labor)” – Qur’an (2:155).

When you raise your hand to Allah, with absolute certainty (yaqeen) that He alone is master above all, the Giver and Sustainer, you have submitted to His wordhip and you drew a step closer to Him, the Almighty. With every step that you take towards Allah, He draws closer to you too.

You are creating a one-way uninterrupted dialogue with Allah (s.w.a) when ralaying your needs through dua. If you trust in Allah, then know that your dua may come true if it is in your best interest and during the perfect time that will be more beneficial to you. By placing your complete trust in Allah when you are happy, sad, in need or at a loss, the dua becomes a form of Abdiya (Bondsman-ship).

 “O mankind! It is you who stand as beggars in your relation to Allah, and it is Allah Who is Free of all wants, Worthy of all praise” – Qur’an (35:15).

Dua in times of difficulty, accompanied by the shedding of tears is uplifting, invigorating, assuring, cleanses, refreshes and provides solace and relief to a broken heart.

A Muslima’s guide to social media etiquette

As salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

We see that the advent of the internet has in some aspects made the lives of Muslims easy when it comes to connecting with the wider ummah. We can connect with Mufti’s, Imam, Sheikhs and Sheikha’s more easily and from all around the world. There are various apps at our disposal that we can use to increase our ibadat, learn more of our deen and connect with the Quran should we choose to.

The positive aspects of a Muslims exposure to the various elements that comes with the internet and its territories are endless. But, as with anything in this duniya (world), the tests are also endless. For this reason, we must learn to filter and stream the correct content so that we put ourselves in a ritgoues bubble where our gazes are lowered, our hijab is intact and we don’t loose focus on our hayaa (modesty, shyness) within our interactions.

We live in a world where our ideology is the often attacked, non dominant and very unpopular. But in the face of this, we as an ummah can collectively behave and act in a way that shows the world we are proudly different, we will continue to be different and we will never deviate from the teachings of the shariah.

This might prove unpopular to a lot of readers, it might catch you offguard and you may feel constrained in that you can’t live your life freely but remember, we are not here to show off or to please one another. This world is temporary, if you think sharing that one picture, making some snarky comment to get likes or aiming to please the masses so that you get more followers is going to make you happy then sure go ahead and make the duniya your jannah (paradise). And if you have the akhirah (hereafter) in mind, then please for the sake of Allah stop, reflect and make some changes.

So how can we gain from social media, earn rewards and represent the ummah without deviating from the path of Allah (s.w.a) and without committing a sin?

Lower your gaze:

“And never concern thyself with anything of which thou hast no knowledge: verily, thy hearing and sight and heart – all of them – will be called to account for it on Judgment Day!”– Quran (17:36)

Purify your intentions, follow the right people those who can elevate you and bring you close(r) to Allah. Not every person you meet is your “friend” and think about whether those you consider to be friends are worth following.

Once you establish what you want out of your online interactions you may find that it is easy for you to lower your gaze as the content you will be seeing were selected/influenced by you. Most of the social media platforms work through algorithms which monitor your behaviour through your clicks so they target you with specific content that will be of likely interest to you.

Now you must still be vigilant so that you protect your eyes from seeing that which is immodest: in Surah An-Nur, Allah says: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), …”
But as mentioned above, if your intention was pure, then it should be easy for you to filter your mind and just scroll away from any filth that comes your way without a seconds thought.


You will find that advice is given a lot on social media, whether it is welcomed or not. You may see that a person had openly sinned by clicking into their profile but the advice you give should be private and with kind words. This is the sunnah way and it is more peaceful, where the person is then more likely to listen and heed the advice. You will be concealing their sin and your intention will be intact – in that you’re not doing it for likes or to create a public drama.

The above scenario is however different to a situation where you are not following the person in question or that you are not friends. In a situation where there a various comments and there is a clear misunderstanding of the teachings of Islam, the comment had many likes and a lot agreed with it, then it is our duty to correct this. This also must be done with kind words, citing the source and making it clear that your intention is only to correct the information given prior which is evidently wrong.

Now please bear in mind that, there is no such thing as “Allah will be the judge leave us alone” or “this is between me/him/her/them and Allah”. No there is no such thing. Every Muslim has a duty to correct the wrong that they see: Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri reported that the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith”.

[Such believers are] the repentant, the worshippers, the praisers [of Allah ], the travelers [for His cause], those who bow and prostrate [in prayer], those who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and those who observe the limits [set by] Allah . And give good tidings to the believers – Quran (9:11).

It is a well-known fact that to enjoin right and forbid wrong, and advise each other to stick to truth and patience are an inseparable part of piety. We must not take offence in this and feel that our character is attacked, just consider the words of the advice given by truly analysing yourself and your actions. Don’t focus on the person giving the advice, as remember that even shaytaan said something beneficial once by revealing the virtues of Ayatul Kursi despite being a lair. So take the good and leave the bad.

But, please follow the above etiquette of giving advice privately to an individual to a group when it becomes necessary and always with kindness and humility.

To be continued…

more to come: the virtual hijab; hayaa; posts