The definition of race is to compete with one another toward a set of defined goals. In our society, race has become the means by which people are separated into categories that distinguish how they should be treated in comparison to others based on the color of their skin.
As we witness the murder of African-American men at the hands of law enforcement, we can see that the societal norms that have been built on racial hatred are destructive and debilitating to all of humanity. The racist inequities that are interwoven throughout our society stem from an arrogance that advances the notion that one’s skin color determines whether someone is worthy of being treated humanely.
The Islamic faith emphasizes the need to compete as if in a race to perform actions that guide humanity toward the good. “If God had so willed He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good; you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about” (Holy Qur’an 5:48). Prophet Muhammad said, “A white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.”
The root of racial superiority is arrogance. In America the native Indians had established homesteads on land that they valued and respected. They opened their arms to the colonists who traveled to North America in search of freedom. Their good deeds were met with death and humiliation. During the reconstruction after the Civil War, African Americans worked to establish themselves as independent citizens who wanted to experience the right to live as full human beings in this country. They found their efforts crushed by the racist ideology of white supremacy.
In both instances our bloody history was not one that emphasized doing good. God commands us to race to do good because the outcome can only be good. Since our final return is to God we must realize that those things that we differed about on his earth will be minuscule in comparison to what lies ahead on the Day of Judgement when we attest to how we lived on this earth.
In order to walk in faith one has to be willing to trust God’s plan for us. God purposely made each one of us distinct to test how we would treat one another. That in essence means that we have an obligation to learn about each other’s differences so that we can honor each other’s traditions and respect one another’s distinct abilities. The other part of faith is acceptance of God’s will. He knows what is best for us. He gave beauty to the human being by varying our nationalities, languages and skin hues. We should not envy or despise one another but we must look for the beauty in His plan. That plan is to make clear to us that our uniqueness as human beings is valuable. The test will always be to see if we can truly envision one another through the lens of the inner soul rather than the false narrative of a racist ideology. This shows why faith truly matters.Read Full Article
Jamilah Rasheed, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a member of the Muslim community.