Islam and Civil rights: How Islam is the solution to racism (2020/06/08)

As the United States endures another wave of prejudiced murders against innocent Black citizens, protesters have taken to the streets to express their outrage and frustration. The fact that Black men can’t even go jogging safely in their neighborhoods clearly shows that the Civil Rights Movement is far from over and that America’s long history with slavery and racism continues.

History has shown us the deep involvement of the United States with racial injustices from slavery to segregation and Jim Crow laws. Many colored Muslims wouldn’t have the rights that are guaranteed to them today in the US if it wasn’t for the centuries of struggle that the Black community bore. Blacks and Muslims have been fighting for their rights from the first slave ships that came to America. The Muslims who survived the slave trade struggled to maintain their Islamic faith in the new world which marked the start of their fight for equality.

The modern progressive movement has no solution for racism as they’ve shown through countless efforts like the 14th and 15th amendments; both of these amendments couldn’t properly go into effect until decades after they were passed. Even with the implementation of progressive legislation the racist culture in America remains unsolved as we have seen in the recent murders of Ahmaud Arberry and George Floyd. Islam is the solution to the civil rights issues we are seeing today because it looks past the color of ones skin and judges a person based on their taqwa or god consciousness.

Civil rights leaders like Malcolm X saw Islam as the one religion which solved the race problem in the US. Islam’s command for justice, brotherhood, and unity is what abolishes oppression and racism. In the Prophet Muhammad’s famous final sermon he echoed a strong message of of equality and unity to the Muslim ummah. He said

“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.” (Bukhari, Hadith # 1623, 1626, 6361)

The Prophet Muhammad PBUH’s message is one that was unprecedented in the 7th century, and this message wasn’t (and still isn’t) widely endorsed in the West until over a thousand years after the Prophets death.

The Muslim ummah is also guilty of racism and has forgotten the legacy of Bilal ibn Rabah, a companion of the Prophet PBUH, who was a black former slave. Bilal was one of the Prophet’s most trusted and beloved companions whose job was to give the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer). A Muslim cannot commit injustice against another person. Discriminating against someone because of race or ethnicity is committing an injustice which Allah has clearly forbidden: “O my servants, I have forbidden injustice for myself and I have forbidden it among you, so do not oppress one another” (Sahih Muslim 2577). A Muslim who is following Islam correctly cannot be racist. We as Muslims must condemn racism and be disgusted by it. Islam is the solution to these problems surrounding race in the US and the culture that permits these crimes. When we see police brutality and injustice taking place it falls upon us to speak out against it.

We as Muslims can combat racism by first confronting it within ourselves and then having meaningful conversations with others about race related issues. We should try to initiate conversations with family and friends who are open minded. When we take a welcoming approach in these conversations then we will begin to correct the views of others. If we take an aggressive and condescending approach then the conversation will end up being an argument with no solution. Reminding other Muslims about sahaba like Bilal ibn Rabah and the prophet Muhammad’s PBUH stance on racism will change peoples perceptions.

Works cited

Abdullah, Amatullah. “Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon: A Final Admonition.” The Religion of Islam,

Azam, et al. “The Last Sermon (Khutabul Wada) of Prophet Muhammad.” The Last Sermon (Khutabul Wada) of Prophet Muhammad |, 9 Sept. 2017,

Umar, Zakir. “Why True Muslims Cannot Be Racist.” IlmFeed, 20 June 2018,

Zubairi, Shaykh Furhan. “Allah Commands Justice: Thoughts On I Can’t Breathe.”, 6 June 2020,