Brief Rebuke Against Those Who Play The Race Card or Accuse One Another of Being ”Race traitors” Due to Love of Leadership

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Indeed, we witness the blameworthy argumentation between some of those engaged in party strife whilst seeking political authority- either playing the race card at times or accusing one another of being ”Race traitors”. First, seeking authority is impermissible as Abu Moosaa [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, ”Two men from my tribe and I entered upon the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. One of the two men said to the Prophet, ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! Appoint me as a governor,’ and so did the second. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘We do not assign the authority of the ruling to those who ask for it, nor those who are keen to have it”’. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, Hadeeth Number 7149]

Second, ”Race traitors” according to these disputants are those who have turned against their race or ethniticity in favor of those who would persecute them. They are ashamed of their heritage and they support attitudes or positions thought to be against the supposed interests or well-being of their own race.

Indeed, there is no doubt that those engaged in this blameworthy debate are deprived of the sound divine guidance that would uproot this problem. Allaah [The Exalted] said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّٲمِينَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ شُہَدَآءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡ أَوِ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ‌ۚ إِن يَكُنۡ غَنِيًّا أَوۡ فَقِيرً۬ا فَٱللَّهُ أَوۡلَىٰ بِہِمَا‌ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ ٱلۡهَوَىٰٓ أَن تَعۡدِلُواْ‌ۚ وَإِن تَلۡوُ ۥۤاْ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah; even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do. [Surah An-Nisaa. Ayah 135]

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all Imperfections] commanded His servants to stand out firmly for justice on behalf of everyone – be it an enemy or an ally. And the affair that is most worthy of being established with justice -by a person- are the (sound and upright) statements, views and methodology related to the commands of Allaah as well as everything that Allaah has informed (His slaves in the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah). Therefore, to establish these affairs based on desires and disobedience is contrary to the command of Allaah and a negation (i.e. either intentionally or unintentionally) of that which Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] was sent with [i.e. the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah].

The establishment of justice (i.e. based on the Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah) is the responsibility of those entrusted with the task to convey Islam after the death of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], and this task cannot become a reality unless when one establishes it based on pure justice and sincerity to Allaah- (sincerity) to Allaah’s Book, to Allaah’s Messenger and out of sincere advice to Allaah’s servants. These people are the true inheritors [i.e. inheritors of the knowledge left behind by the Prophets], but not that one who merely makes his companions, sect and school of thought the determinant of truth and the distinction between (truth and falsehood) by showing enmity towards the one who opposes him and allies with the one who agrees with him, merely based on being opposed or agreed with (i.e. without sound proofs based on the Book and the authentic Sunnah), because where is that (application of the) command to stand out firmly for justice on behalf of everyone, even though standing out firmly for justice is the greatest command and obligation?!

Then Allaah (The Most High) says: [شُہَدَآءَ لِلَّهِ – As witnesses to Allah]: A witness is that one who presents information about something, so if he presents credible information, he is a just witness and his (statement) is accepted; but if he gives false information, he is a false witness. Allaah [The Most High] commanded us to stand out firmly as just witnesses for His sake, therefore it has to be carried out for the Sake of Allaah and not for other than Allaah. And in [Surah Al-Maa’idah Ayah 8, Allaah (The Most High) said]: [كُونُواْ قَوَّٲمِينَ لِلَّهِ شُہَدَآءَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ‌ۖ – Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses]: This Aayah establishes four affairs: One should stand out firmly for justice and do so for sake of Allaah; witness to justice and do so for the Sake of Allaah.

Then Allaah [The Most High] said:

[وَلَوۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡ أَوِ ٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ وَٱلۡأَقۡرَبِينَ‌ۚ – Even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin].

Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] commanded us to stand out firmly for justice and testify (for or against) everyone, even if it were someone who is the most beloved person to us. A person should stand out firmly for justice (whether for or against] himself, his two parents, his other close relatives and his best friend amongst the people. If a person’s love for himself, his parents and his relatives prevents him from standing out firmly for the truth against them, especially if the truth is with someone he hates and regards as an enemy due to them, then indeed none will stand out firmly for justice in such circumstances except one whose love for Allaah and His Messenger is more than their love for everyone else.

A person has to establish justice when dealing with his enemies and (when dealing with) that one who deprives him of his rights, because indeed it is not permissible that hatred for his enemies leads him to be unjust towards them, just as it is not permissible (to allow) love of himself, his parents and relatives to make him abandon standing firmly for justice against them. Therefore, hatred harboured against someone should not lead him to falsehood, and love (of himself, parents and relatives) should not make him fall short in establishing truth, just as some of the pious predecessors said, “The just person is that one who when angry, his anger does not lead him to falsehood, and when he is pleased, it does not remove him from truth”.

The two verses of the Qur’aan [i.e. 4:135 and 5:8] convey two rulings and they are: Standing out firmly for justice and making a truthful testimony on behalf of one’s allies and enemies.

Then Allaah [The Most High] said: [إِن يَكُنۡ غَنِيًّا أَوۡ فَقِيرً۬ا فَٱللَّهُ أَوۡلَىٰ بِہِمَا‌ۖ – Be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you)]- Meaning: Allaah is the Lord of both of them and their Protector, and they are both His slaves. It may be that you become fearful of standing firmly for justice by testifying against a rich person or a poor person – either fearing that the rich person might lose his wealth or because the poor person has nothing, so your hearts become lackadaisical towards standing out firmly for the truth. Therefore, it should be said to them [i.e. the people], ”Allah is a Better Protector to both the rich and poor person. Allaah knows the affair of the rich person more than you and He is more Merciful to the poor than you, so do not refrain from standing out firmly for the truth and from giving testimony (for or against) the rich or the poor”.

Then Allaah said: [فَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ ٱلۡهَوَىٰٓ أَن تَعۡدِلُواْ‌ۚ – So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice]-Meaning: Allaah forbids (His slaves) from following desires, which will lead them to abandon justice.

Then Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَإِن تَلۡوُ ۥۤاْ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا – and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do]- Meaning: Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] mentions two reasons that will inevitably lead to concealment of truth, then He warned against them and issued a threat: The first of them is distortion and the second is to turn away from giving truthful witness. That is because when a proof that supports the truth is manifested and the one who wants to repel it finds no way of doing so, he refrains from mentioning it and thus becomes a silent devil, and sometimes he distorts it. Distortion is of two types: distorting words and distorting meanings. Distorting words is when one utters a word in a context in which it does not establish the truth – either adding to the word or omitting something from it or substituting it with something else to the extent that the listener is made to believe something, whilst something else is intended by it, just as the Yahood [i.e. those Yahood who disbelieved in the Prophet and hated him] used to distort words when giving Salaam to the Prophet [i.e. saying As-Saamu Alayka (death be upon you), instead of saying Assalaamu alaykum)]. This is one type of distortion.

The second type of distortion is related to meanings – distorting the wording; giving it an interpretation that is not intended by the one who uttered it and pretending not to know its unintended meaning; or dropping other meanings intended by it etc. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَإِن تَلۡوُ ۥۤاْ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا – and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do].

And when it is the case that a witness is required to bear witness based on what the affair should be [i.e. the complete truth], therefore neither should he hide nor change it. Turning away from the testimony is tantamount to concealment and distortion is tantamount to alteration and substitution. Therefore, contemplate on this ayah and the treasures of knowledge it contains. The faith of a person cannot be complete, except by way of accepting the texts of the divine legislation and calling the people to them – neither turning away from them at times nor distorting them at other times. [Ref 1]

Who Is More Virtuous Amongst Humankind

Allaah [The Most High] said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ۬ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ شُعُوبً۬ا وَقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْ‌ۚ إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ۬

O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has the most Taqwah. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. [Surah Al-Hujuraat. Aayah 13]

Some Benefits derived from the above Ayah:

[لِتَعَارَفُوا – that you may know one another]- Meaning, so that you may know one another and how close you all are to one another in lineage, but not out of boastfulness. Then Allaah informed us that the most elevated amongst them [i.e. the children of Aadam] are those who fear Allaah the most. The Prophet [salla-laahu-alayhi-wasalam] said: “Learn your lineages so that you can maintain ties of kinship…..” [Ref 2]

Therefore, ascription to a tribe and a nation is affirmed in Islaam. The companions of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] used to ascribe themselves to their tribes and their people in the presence of the Messenger and he never disapproved of that. [Ref 3]

The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ”Indeed, Allaah [The Most High] has removed from you the pride of the pre-Islamic period and its boasting about ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a wretched sinner. You are sons of Adam and Adam (was created from) dust. Let the people abandon boasting about their ancestors, for they are merely fuel in Jahannam; or they will become more insignificant in (the sight of) Allah than the beetle which rolls dung with its nose. [Ref 4]

The Messenger [sallal-laahu-aalayhi-wasallam] said, ‘’Whoever is held back by his deeds, his (nobility) of lineage will not push him forward.” [Ref 5] Imaam Nawawi [rahimahullaah] said, ‘’Its meaning is that the one whose deeds are deficient and he does not catch up with the performers of (good) deeds, then it is obligatory upon him not to crown himself with nobility of lineage and the virtues of his forefathers, whilst he is lagging behind in (performing good) deeds.” [Ref 6]

Ubay bin ka’b [radiyallaahu-anhu] said: Two men [mentioned their] lineages during the lifetime of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]; one of them said [to the other]: ‘’I am Fulaan the son of Fulaan [i.e. mentioning his name and that of his parents, grandparents etc.], so who are you [with] no mother? [i.e. rebuking him]. So Allaah’s Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: “Two men [mentioned their] lineages during the lifetime of Moosaa [alayhis-salaam]; one of them said [to the other]: “I am Fulaan son of Fulaan, until he counted nine [people from his lineage], so who are you [with] no mother” [i.e. rebuking the other]. He [the other person] said: “I am Fulaan the son of Fulaan, the son of Islaam.” So Allaah revealed to Moosaa [alayhis-salaam]: ‘’Indeed those two who [mentioned their] lineages, as for you ascribed or attributed to nine, [they] are in the hell fire and you are the tenth amongst them. And as for you ascribed or attributed to two, [they] are in paradise and you are the third of them.” [Ref 7]
Customs: Imaam Ash-Shaatibee [rahimahullaah] stated in Al-Muwaafaqaat that Customs are many different types- some are sound and others are corrupt. The sound customs are those that neither oppose the Sharee’ah texts nor lead to losing an affair deem to be beneficial by the Sharee’ah, nor lead to an affair which the Sharee’ah deems to be corrupt. As for the corrupt customs, they are those that oppose the evidences in the Sharee’ah or some of the principles of the Sharee’ah, such as some of the customary dealings in usury, and those deeds deemed to be evil by the Sharee’ah which the people engage in during occasions of happiness (or rejoicing etc) [Ref 8] [NB: Whenever we are unsure whether a certain custom of our nation, tribe or clam is permissible or not, we should seek clarification from the people of knowledge].

Oppression and Structural Inequality

Shaikh Abdul Waahid Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] said: There is no doubt that oppression against a person or a group of people is something that opposes Islam and is forbidden. Muslims are commanded with justice in all affairs. As for racism, it is condemned by our Creator and His Messengers as we can see from the texts that have preceded. However, if a society is riddled with injustice, immorality and disobedience – the greatest injustice being Shirk, then it is expected that other great injustices will follow. This was the case in the pre-Islamic Era where Shirk was rife, injustice, racism, burying girls alive, fornication, robbery, etc. But once they accepted Islam, worshipped Allaah alone and followed the guidance of the final Messenger, these injustices were removed. This change occurred after the believers of different races, colours, tribes and clans were subjected to great harm – a harm that is far greater than the harm suffered by any group of people in our era. Likewise, those before them, such as Prophet Moosaa [alaihis-salaam] and his people suffered under the oppression of the tyrant Pharaoh -generation after generation. They were slaughtered, enslaved and brutalized because they said: “Our Lord is Allaah and we worship Him alone”. [End of quote. private text message]

Fir’awn – Structural Inequality, Divide and Rule

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

إِنَّ فِرۡعَوۡنَ عَلَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهۡلَهَا شِيَعً۬ا يَسۡتَضۡعِفُ طَآٮِٕفَةً۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ يُذَبِّحُ أَبۡنَآءَهُمۡ وَيَسۡتَحۡىِۦ نِسَآءَهُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ

Verily, Fir’aun (Pharaoh) exalted himself in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel) among them, killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the Mufsidoon]. [Surah Al-Qasas. Aayah 4]

[وَجَعَلَ أَهۡلَهَا شِيَعً۬ا – and made its people sects]- Meaning: Different group that were organized and distinguished, and he utilised each group in that which he desired in his kingdom. [Ref 9] He made them into sects and different groups to serve him and they went along with what he wanted and obeyed him. [Ref 10] He made them into different distinct groups, dealt with them based on his evil desires and subjugated them as he wanted by means of his power and authority. [Ref 11] He divided them into different sects and they went along with him in everything he desired of evil and corruption, or he used some as a means to get others to obey him; or he made them into different distinct groups under his service and used every group in some type of work, such as construction, tillage, earthwork [drilling etc] and other burdensome work, and whoever did not work was beaten, so they served him by doing so; or he made them into sects and incited hatred and enmity between them, so that they do not come to an agreement [or become united in their stance against him]. [Ref 12]

[ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ – Verily, he was of the Mufsidoon]- Meaning: Those whose intention is neither to rectify the religious nor worldly affairs, and this was from his corrupt behaviour in the earth; [Ref 13] committing unlawful killing and being disobedient to Allaah. [Ref 14]

Islam Uprooted Structural Inequality

Shaikh Saaleh Aala Ash-Shaikh [may Allaah preserve him] said: When the Muslims conquered the different regions of the earth and Islam spread, the affair became as if it started from the non-Arabs, until the people of Persia and other non-Arabs became the scholars and the Imams of the mosques, and people acquired knowledge from them. It is recorded in Islamic history that many non-Arabs led the Muslims in knowledge, in issuing religious verdicts and many affairs. Take for example Abu Haneefah [may Allaah have mercy on him] who was not an Arab, and Imam Al-Bukhaari [may Allaah have mercy on him] and how his book became an upright example, and there’s none amongst the Muslims except that he (or she) knows Imam Abu Abdillaah Muhammad Bin Ismaa’eel Al-Bukhaari. And consider other examples – besides Al-Bukhaari and Abu Haneefah – amongst the Imaams of Islaam. So when Islam came with its implementation, it abolished the differences that were initiated by the people and those non-Arabs became the leaders and Imaams of the Arabs; why? Because they carried the religion, raised the banner of pure Islamic monotheism – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and because there is no distinction in virtue between a non-Arab and an Arab, except through fear of Allaah. When the Muslims disciplined themselves with Islaam, there was no dispute between them regarding social class by way of that pre-Islamic dispute and distinction, because indeed neither did they accept leadership nor give precedence to anyone based on this; rather they accepted everyone because people are equal in this affair. Quraish’s rulership, the Umayyad rulership and the Abbasid rulership ended; then the rulership of the Mamluks arose and thereafter the rulership of Banee Uthman – meaning in the beginning when it was upright; so the Muslims obeyed them and they became the leaders and rulers, because the Muslims saw that there was welfare for the people in doing so (based on the texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, and understanding of the Sahaabah). Therefore, class differentiation and its practice was abolished from the beginning; rather no one had any reservation in implementing Islam. So, Islamic history attests to the implementation of this great principle [i.e. sound equality]. [Ref 15]

Therefore, if we seek rectification, then let us begin where the Prophets and Messengers began, and let us abandon slogans. We ask Allaah to keep us firm upon Islaam until we meet Him Aameen.

[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah). Vol 1. Page 300-303. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: Reported by Imaam Tirmidhee (rahimahullaah) Number 1979 & declared authentic by Imaam Albani (rahimahullaah) in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhee]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Silsilah Ar-Rasaa’il Al-Manhajiyyah Fin-Nus’hi Wal Irshaad Wat-Taw’iyah’ pages 47-49’. slightly paraphrased];
[Ref 4: Reported by Imaam Abu Dawud (rahimahullaah)’ Hadith Number 5116. Declared ‘Hasan’ by Shaikh Albaani (rahimahullaah) in his checking of Sunan Abu Dawud. Pages -766-767.Publisher: Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif’ 1st edition];
[Refs 5 and 6: Saheeh Muslim…part of hadeeth in ‘The Book Pertaining to the Remembrance of Allah, Supplication, Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness. Sharh Saheeh Muslim: Hadeeth Number 2699; Vol 17, page 18]
[Ref 7: Reported by Imaam Ahmad 5/128 and declared authentic by Imaam Al Albaani in As-Saheehah 1270]
[Ref 8: Al-Muwaafaqaat 2/283]
[Ref 9: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Misbaah Al-Muneer Fee Tahdheeb Tafseer Ibn Katheer’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 10: An Excerpt from ‘Fat-hul Qadeer 4/209’ slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 11: An Excerpt from ‘Tafseer Sadi’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 12: An Excerpt from ‘Roohul Ma’aanee’ 11/64-65. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 13: An Excerpt from ‘Tafseer Sadi’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 14: An Excerpt from ‘Zaadul Maseer’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 15: Listen here: paraphrased


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