On my way out early on Saturday morning, a man on the bus I took was going off on black people; he was really unpleasant in the language he was using. The bus driver, a black man came out of his compartment and walked towards where the voice was coming from asking who it was. The man denied it but people on the bus pointed to him. In a very composed manner, the driver asked the man to calm down and ride the bus in peace and not to disturb other people’s peace. He grudgingly complied and the driver went back on to drive, but that only stopped him for that moment.
I was standing when I first got on the bus, but when I heard those spiteful words coming from behind me, I walked on and took a seat beside someone, just in case. Out of curiosity, I looked back and there he was, a self-hating black man, going off on black people, or did he think he is some other colour other than black? Subhanallah! From what I could see in my quick look at him, he is altogether darker than the average black person, something must be wrong with his head then.
It’s bad enough that black people have to live with overt and covert racial prejudice from the others. But when it comes to black against black, how would you square that one out. As things will turn out, a black lady near the man started to rebuke him when he continued after the driver went back to his driving. It actually turned into a shouting match between the two of them with the lady telling the man to get off his backside and contribute to the society instead of taking her taxes in benefit. That must have hit him hard, because he got off the bus at the next stop. Perhaps, that was his stop.
The shouting between them was so loud I tried hard to block my ears not to listen to them but that was a useless attempt. There is no way of telling what prompted that man into all he was saying about black people when he himself is one. Possibly, he’s got some mental case else how is it possible for a black person to hate other black people not for any other reason but colour? How would a black person look at another black person and not think he/she is black too? The mirror never lies, does it? I think the answers are best left for the person concerned.
Black people, except for a few I dare say, are comfortable and highly confident in their skin colour with no feeling of inferiority for being black even if others would like them to feel so and I am such a black person. As a Muslimah, I hardly think of myself or others in terms of skin colour because as individuals, I believe we all transcend the colour of our skin. There is more to each one of us than the skin colour that covers us.
That been said, the colour plays an important role in our life, which is ordained by the Creator Himself. For instance, if you meet someone for the first time, even if you do not know anything about them at least the colour of their skin will register into your sub-consciousness. So, the next time you try to recall the meeting, it will occur to you that “I remember she was black but don’t know her name”. That is the purpose, “recognise and identify” each other as Allah (swt) told us in the Quran.
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Al- Hujurat (49:13)
If Allah (swt) told us that our colour/race is for recognition only not that we might hate each other. Won’t it be better for us all if our thinking, in terms of colour is along this line instead of the stereotypical classification of people based on racial prejudice, especially for us Muslims, who claim to believe in Allah (swt).
It is a fact that racial prejudice is nothing strange amongst the Muslim people, I am very much aware of this and I have been a victim on several occasions. There is no need to account for these other than to remind ourselves as stated in Al-Hujurat (49:13) and quoted above, reminder indeed profit the believers.
Also, from the famous last sermon of the Prophet
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. Reported in Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari, Trimidhi.
Basing one’s perception of others solely on the colour of their skin is simply ignorance as rightly said by the Prophet when he rebuked Abu Dharr for calling Bilal, son of a black woman,” You are a man who has ignorance in him”