Difference between revisions of "Race and Tribe in Islam"

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====Imam Malik====
====Imam Malik====
{{Quote|{{citation|title=al-Shifa bi-ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa|author=Qadi Iyad|publisher=al-Maktaba al-Shamila|url=https://app.turath.io/book/1753|volume=2|page=217, 234}}; translated in {{citation|editor=Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley|Publisher=Madinah Press Inverness|location=Scotland|year=2004|title=Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad|pages=375, 387|url=https://archive.org/details/MuhammadMessengerOfAllahAshShifaOfQadiIyad}}|[Qadi Iyad repeats this twice:] Ahmad b. Abi Sulayman, '''the companion of Sahnun, said, 'Anyone who says that the Prophet was black (''aswad'') should be killed.''''}}
==Race and Tribe in Islamic doctrine==
==Race and Tribe in Islamic doctrine==

Revision as of 19:09, 16 January 2021

Race and Tribe in scripture

In the Quran

The purpose of race and tribe

O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

Chosen lineages

God had chosen [istafa; lit. "taken 'the best' from"[1]] Adam and Noah and the families of Abraham and 'Imran in preference to others. They were descendants of one another; and God hears all and knows everything.


The Arabs of the desert [al-a'raab[2]; the Bedouins] are the worst in Unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger: But Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise.
The desert Arabs [al-a'raab[3]; the Bedouins] say, "We believe." Say, "Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah,' For not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."


Remember, O children of Israel, the favours I bestowed on you, and made you exalted among the nations of the world.
And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected."
Say: "Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah? those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil;- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!"
We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay! They say, "Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve Allah's Word: we need no more)." Nay, Allah's curse is on them for their blasphemy [kufrihim; lit. "their unbelief"]: Little is it they believe. And when there comes to them a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them,- although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith,- when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognised, they refuse to believe in it but the curse of Allah is on those without Faith. Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that they deny (the revelation) which Allah has sent down, in insolent envy that Allah of His Grace should send it to any of His servants He pleases: Thus have they drawn on themselves Wrath upon Wrath. And humiliating is the punishment of those who reject Faith. When it is said to them, "Believe in what Allah Hath sent down, "they say, "We believe in what was sent down to us:" yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is with them. Say: "Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?"
When they dishonoured their pledge We condemned them, and hardened their hearts. So they distort the words of the Scripture out of context, and have forgotten some of what they were warned against. You will always hear of treachery on their part except that of a few. But forbear and forgive them, for God loves those who do good.
O Messenger! let not those grieve thee, who race each other into unbelief: (whether it be) among those who say "We believe" with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews,- men who will listen to any lie,- will listen even to others who have never so much as come to thee. They change the words from their (right) times and places: they say, "If ye are given this, take it, but if not, beware!" If any one's trial is intended by Allah, thou hast no authority in the least for him against Allah. For such - it is not Allah's will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment. (They are fond of) listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden [trans. Ahmad Ali: "Eavesdropping for telling lies, earning through unlawful means!"]. If they do come to thee, either judge between them, or decline to interfere. If thou decline, they cannot hurt thee in the least. If thou judge, judge in equity between them. For Allah loveth those who judge in equity.
The Jews say: "Allah's hand is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.
We announced to the children of Israel in the Book: "You will surely create disorder twice in the land, and become exceedingly arrogant."
Say: "O you Jews, if you claim that you are the favourites of God apart from all men, then wish for death, if you speak the truth.

In the hadith and sira

Importance of descent

Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "If somebody claims to be the son of any other than his real father knowingly, he but disbelieves in Allah, and if somebody claims to belong to some folk to whom he does not belong, let such a person take his place in the (Hell) Fire."

Racial origins

Narrated Samurah bin Jundab: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Sam was the father of Arabs, Yafith was the father of Romans, and Ham was the father of Ethiopians."
Grade: Da'if (Darussalam)

Racial equality

Abu Nadrah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said in the final days of the pilgimrage: "O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?"
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Arna’ut
Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "People should stop boasting about their fathers who have died, while they are but coals of Hell, or they will be more humiliated with Allah than the dung beetle who rolls dung with his nose. Indeed Allah removed Jahiliyyah from you, and its boasting about lineage. [Indeed a person is either] a pious believer, or a miserable sinner. And people are all the children of Adam, and Adam was [created] from dust."
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)

Racial specialization

Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Leadership is among the Quraish, and reasoning and judgment is among the Ansar, and the Adhan is among the Ethiopians, and the trust is among the Al-Azd." meaning Yemen.
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)

Superiority of Arabs, Quraysh, and Bani Hashim

Wathila b. al-Asqa' reported: I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Verily Allah granted eminence to Kinana from amongst the descendants of Isma'il, and he granted eminence to the Quraish amongst Kinana, and he granted eminence to Banu Hashim amonsgst the Quraish, and he granted me eminence from the tribe of Banu Hashim.
Narrated Wathilah bin Al-Asqa': that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Indeed Allah has chosen [istafa; lit. "taken 'the best' from"[4]] Isma'il from the children of Ibrahim, and He chose Banu Kinanah from the children of Isma'il, and He chose the Quraish from Banu Kinanah, and He chose Banu Hashim from Quraish, and He chose me from Banu Hashim."
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
Narrated Salman: "The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to me: 'O Salman! Do not detest me and thereby leave your religion.' I said: 'O Messenger of Allah! How could I detest you while Allah guided us by you.' He said: 'You will detest the Arabs and thereby detest me.'"
Grade: Da'if (Darussalam)
Narrated 'Uthman bin 'Affan: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Whoever cheats the Arabs, he will not be included in my intercession, and my love shall not reach him."
Grade: Da'if (Darussalam)
Narrated Sa'd: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Whoever wishes to humiliate the Quraish then Allah will humiliate him."
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Ismail ibn Abi Hakim that he heard Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz say, "One of the last things that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said was, 'May Allah fight the jews and the christians. They took the graves of their Prophets as places of prostration. Two deens shall not co-exist in the land of the Arabs.'"


Narrated Muhammad bin Jubair bin Mut`im: That while he was with a delegation from Quraish to Muawiya, the latter heard the news that `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As said that there would be a king from the tribe of Qahtan. On that Muawiya became angry, got up and then praised Allah as He deserved, and said, "Now then, I have heard that some men amongst you narrate things which are neither in the Holy Book, nor have been told by Allah's Messenger (ﷺ). Those men are the ignorant amongst you. Beware of such hopes as make the people go astray, for I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, 'Authority of ruling will remain with Quraish, and whoever bears hostility to them, Allah will destroy him as long as they abide by the laws of the religion.' "
Narrated Ibn `Umar: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Authority of ruling will remain with Quraish, even if only two of them remained."
It has been narrarted on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: People are subservient to the Quraish: the Muslims among them being subservient to the Muslims among them, and the disbelievers among the people being subservient to the disbelievers among them.
It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir b. 'Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: People are the followers of Quraish in good as well as evil
It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir b. Samura who said: I joined the company of the Prophet (ﷺ) with my father and I heard him say: This Caliphate will not end until there have been twelve Caliphs among them. The narrator said: Then he (the Holy Prophet) said something that I could not follow. I said to my father: What did he say? He said: He has said: All of them will be from the Quraish.
It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir b. Samura who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: Islam will continue to be triumphant until there have been twelve Caliphs. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) said something which I could not understand. I asked my father: What did he say? He said: He has said that all of them (twelve Caliphs) will be from the Quraish.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "This branch from Quraish will ruin the people." The companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) asked, "What do you order us to do (then)?" He said, "I would suggest that the people keep away from them.


Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, "Pride and arrogance are characteristics of the rural bedouins while calmness is found among the owners of sheep. Belief is Yemenite, and wisdom is also Yemenite i.e. the Yemenites are well-known for their true belief and wisdom)." Abu `Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said, "Yemen was called so because it is situated to the right of the Ka`ba, and Sham was called so because it is situated to the left of the Ka`ba."
Narrated Abi Mas`ud: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "From this side from the east, afflictions will appear. Rudeness and lack of mercy are characteristics of the rural bedouins who are busy with their camels and cows (and pay no attention to religion). Such are the tribes of Rabi`a and Mudar."
Narrated Abu Hurairah: "A man from Banu Fazarah gave a gift to the Prophet (ﷺ) of she-camel from his camels which they had taken at Al-Ghabah. So he reciprocated for it with something in return, but he was upset with it. So I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), upon [this] Minbar saying: 'Indeed one of the men from the Bedouins gave me a gift so I reciprocated for it to the extent of what I had. Then he became very upset with me. By Allah! After my experience with this Bedouin man, I shall not accept a gift from anyone except from a Quraishi, Ansari, Thaqafi, or Dawsi.'"
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "O Allah bless us in our Sham! O Allah bless us in our Yemen." They said: "And in our Najd [the Najd is the land of the Bedouins]" He said: "O Allah bless us in our Sham! O Allah bless us in our Yemen." They said: "And in our Najd" He said: "Earthquakes are there, and tribulations are there." Or he said: "The horn of Shaitan comes from there."
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)


Narrated 'Aishah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was sitting and we heard a scream and the voices of children. So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) arose, and it was an Ethiopian woman, prancing around while the children played around her. So he said: 'O 'Aishah, come (and) see.' So I came, and I put my chin upon the shoulder of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and I began to watch her from between his shoulder and his head, and he said to me: 'Have you had enough, have you had enough?'" She said: "So I kept saying: 'No,' to see my status with him. Then 'Umar appeared." She said: "So they dispersed." She said: "So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'Indeed I see the Shayatin among men and jinn have run from 'Umar.' She said: 'So I returned.'"
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Abu-Dhar, "Listen and obey (your chief) even if he is an Ethiopian with a head like a raisin."


Narrated `Abdullah: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I saw (in a dream) a black woman with unkempt hair going out of Medina and settling at Mahai'a, i.e., Al-Juhfa. I interpreted that as a symbol of epidemic of Medina being transferred to that place (Al-Juhfa).
I have heard that it was of him that the apostle said, 'Whoever wants to see Satan let him take a look at Nabtal b. al-Harith!' He was a sturdy black man with long flowing hair, inflamed eyes, and dark ruddy cheeks.
Ibn Ishaq, A. Guillaume, ed, Sirat Rasul Allah [The Life of Muhammad], Oxford University Press, p. 243, ISBN 0 19 636033 1, 2004 
He [the prophet] sent Khalid bin al-Walid in Ramadan 8 A.H., to a spot called Nakhlah ‎where there was a goddess called Al-‘Uzza venerated by the Quraish and Kinanah . . . On ‎his return, the Prophet asked him if he had seen anything there, to which Khalid gave a ‎negative answer . . . He went back again and there he saw a black woman, naked with torn ‎hair. Khalid struck her with his sword into two parts. He returned and narrated the story ‎to the Prophet, who then confirmed the fulfillment of the task.‎
Sa’d bin Zaid Al-Ashhali was also sent in the same month and on the same mission to Al-‎Mushallal to destroy an idol, Manat, respected by both Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes. Here ‎also a black woman, naked with messy hair appeared wailing and beating on her chest. ‎Sa’d immediately killed her . . .‎

Other hierarchies, races, and tribes

Narrated Abu Bakra: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Do you think that the tribes of Juhaina, Muzaina, Aslam and Ghifar are better than the tribes of Bani Tamim, Bani Asad, Bani `Abdullah bin Ghatafan and Bani Amir bin Sasaa?" A man said, "They were unsuccessful and losers." The Prophet (ﷺ) added, "(Yes), they are better than the tribes of Bani Tamim, Bani Asad, Bani `Abdullah bin Ghatafan and Bani Amir bin Sasaa."
Narrated Abu Hurairah (ra): The Prophet (ﷺ) said, (The people of) Aslam, Ghifar and some people of Muzaina and Juhaina or said (some people of Juhaina or Muzaina) are better with Allah or said (on the Day of resurrection) than the tribe of Asad, Tamim, Hawazin and Ghatafan.
Narrated Abu Usaid As-Sa'idi: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The Best houses of the Ansar are the houses of Banu An-Najjar, then the house of Banu 'Abdul-Ashhal, then Banu Al-Harith bin Al-Khazraj, then Banu Sa'idah. And in all of the houses of the Ansar there is good." So Sa'd said: "I do not see except that the Prophet (ﷺ) has preferred everyone over us." So it was said: "He preferred you over many."
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The people of Yemen have come to you. They are weaker in heart and softer in understanding, faith is Yemeni and wisdom is Yemeni."
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Narrated Abu Hurairah: "The Prophet (ﷺ) said to me: 'Who are you from?' I said: 'From Daws.' He said: 'I did not think there was anyone from Daws in whom there was good.'"
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)

Race and Tribe in Islamic law

Kafa'ah ("equivalence") in marriage[5]

Companions views

‘Umar b. al-Khatṭāb said: “We forbid the private parts of noble women ̣to anyone except their equals.”
Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanani, "Bab al-Akfa [Chapter of Equivalence, no. 10324]", Musannaf, 6, al-Maktaba al-Shamila, p. 152, https://app.turath.io/book/13174 ; translated in Susan A. Spectorsky, Women in Classical Islamic Law, Brill, p. 75, ISBN 978 90 04 17435 1, 2010 

Salaf's views

Kathīr b. Salt said: “A mawlā of ours who married an Arab woman was brought before the Caliph, ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz … and he said, ʿAbū Kathīr’s mawlā has overstepped his limits.’”
Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, "What was said regarding equivalence in marriage, no. 17701", Musannaf, 4, al-Maktaba al-Shamila, p. 52, https://app.turath.io/book/9944 ; translated in Susan A. Spectorsky, Women in Classical Islamic Law, Brill, p. 75, ISBN 978 90 04 17435 1, 2010 

Classical views

In his Athar, Shaybani quotes the first tradition above [‎“The Quraysh are each other’s equals, and the Arabs are each other’s equals. Among the ‎non-Arabs, whoever has two Muslim parents or grandparents are each other’s equal.”‎] approvingly and adds that if a woman does marry a man who is not her [racial and/or tribal] ‎equal, and her wali [legal male guardian] brings the matter to the qadi [Islamic judge], ‎the qadi ought to separate the couple. . . . Shaybani also notes that Abu Ḥanifa agrees that the qadi separates the couple.”‎
Susan A. Spectorsky, Women in Classical Islamic Law, Brill, pp. 77-78, ISBN 978 90 04 17435 1, 2010 
‎[Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was asked] ‘I have a ‎paternal first cousin who is an Arab. Shall I give her in marriage to a mawla (i.e., a non-‎Arab client)?’ [Ibn Hanbal] said, ‘No.’ The man said, ‘But she is sickly (da’ifa).’ Ahmad said, ‎‎‘Do not give her in marriage (to him).’ [On another occasion, another man asked Ibn ‎Hanbal] about someone who marries off his daughter to a mawla? He (Ibn Hanbal) ‎replied: I would separate them. Then he (Ibn Hanbal) said: An Arab (married to) an Arab ‎‎(is) suitable (kaf’) and Quraysh (married to) Quraysh (is) suitable (kaf’). Then he ‎‎(presumably the interlocuter) asked: What would you think if a Zangi (Negro) married ‎one of the offspring (walad) of Fatima [the daughter of Muhammad]? He (Ibn Hanbal) ‎disapproved of it, and said: that is the doctrine of the Shu’ubiyya [a Persian sect that ‎believed in racial egalitarianism].‎
Nimrod Hurvitz, The Formation of Hanbalism, Routledge, pp. 31-32, ISBN 978-0-415-61641-6, 2002 
If the bride selects a suitor who is not a suitable match for her, the guardian [wali; male legal guardian] is not obliged to marry her to him. If she selects a suitable match but her guardian chooses a different suitor who is also a suitable match, then the man chosen by the guardian takes precedence if the guardian is one who may lawfully compel her to marry (def: m3.13(1)), while the one she selects takes precedence when the guardian may not lawfully compel her to marry (m3.13(2)). [...] m4.2 The following are not suitable matched for one another: (1) a non-Arab man for an Arab woman (O: because of the hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless ‎him and give him peace) said, ‘Allah has chosen the Arabs above others.’‎
Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, "m4.0 A Suitable Match (Kafa'a)", Reliance of the Traveler (Revised Edition ed.), Beltsville: Amana Publications, p. 523, ISBN 978 0 915957 72 9, 1997, http://www.catheyallison.com/Reliance_of_the_Traveller.pdf 

Modern views

The Jurists have stated that among Arabs, a non-Quraishi male is not a match (Kuf) for a Quraishi woman, nor can any person of non-Arab descent be a match for a woman of Arab descent. For example, the Sayyids, whether Siddique or Farooque, Uthmaani or Alawi, or belonging to some other branch can never be matched by any person not sharing their lineage, no matter his profession and family status. The Sayyids are suitable matches for one another, since they share descent from the Quraishi tribe. Thus, marriages between themselves are correct and permitted without any condition as appearing in Durrul Mukhtar:

“And Kafaah in lineage. Thus the Quraysh are suitable matches for one another as are the (other) Arabs suitable matches for one another.”

The ruling relevant to non-Arabs is as follows: ‘An Ajmi (non-Arab) cannot be a match for a woman of Arab descent, no matter that he be an Aalim (religious scholar) or even a Sultan (ruling authority)‘. (Raddul Muhtar p.209 v.4)
It should be remarked here that all non-Arabs are considered a suitable match to each other (and for Arabs without a known and established lineage to one of the original Arab tribes, which is rare, as mentioned by Ibn Abidin) from a fiqhi ["jurisprudential" or "legal"] aspect. It could be so that a boy/girl from a different background altogether is a suitable match, rather than your cousin brother or sister. Students of sacred knowledge have a lot in common and it would be advisable to marry a fellow student from a different caste rather than your first cousin who doesn’t even have a clue what you are studying.

Racial misidentification

Imam Malik

[Qadi Iyad repeats this twice:] Ahmad b. Abi Sulayman, the companion of Sahnun, said, 'Anyone who says that the Prophet was black (aswad) should be killed.'
Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa bi-ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa, 2, al-Maktaba al-Shamila, p. 217, 234, https://app.turath.io/book/1753 ; translated in Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley, ed, (2004), Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad, Scotland, pp. 375, 387, 2004, https://archive.org/details/MuhammadMessengerOfAllahAshShifaOfQadiIyad 

Race and Tribe in Islamic doctrine

Superiority (fadl) of the Arabs

Classical views

The Arabs are more intelligent than those other than themselves and are more capable ‎in delivery and expression . . . verily, what the people of the sunnah are upon is the belief ‎‎(i’tiqaad) that the Arab race is better (afdal) than the Non-Arab race. Whether (the Non-‎Arabs) are Hebrews, Aramaic, Romans, Persians and other than them . . . not simply due to ‎the fact the prophet peace be upon him is from them – even though this is [a point] of ‎superiority – but instead, they themselves are superior within themselves . . . [for] Allah the ‎Most High has designated the Arabs and their language with rulings that are peculiar and ‎unique.
Ibn Taymiyyah, Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqim, 1, al-Maktaba al-Shamila, pp. 419-461, https://app.turath.io/book/11620 
The Quraysh are each other’s equals, and the Arabs are each other’s equals. Among the ‎non-Arabs, whoever has two Muslim parents or grandparents are each other’s equal.‎
Abu Hanifah quoted in Muhammad al-Shaybani, al-Jami al-Sagheer, pp. 140-141  quoted in Susan A. Spectorsky, Women in Classical Islamic Law, Brill, p. 77, ISBN 978 90 04 17435 1, 2010 
Imam Shafi'i said, "People do not become ignorant and do not disagree except due to their leaving the tongue ‎of the Arabs and their adoption of the tongue of Aristotle‎"
Arabs are of equal standing with each other, and the Quraysh are of equal standing with ‎each other.‎
Ahmad ibn Hanbal quoted in Ibn Hani, "no. 992", Masail Ahmad b. Hanbal, p. 200  quoted in Susan A. Spectorsky, Women in Classical Islamic Law, Brill, p. 78, ISBN 978 90 04 17435 1, 2010 
He (Ibn Hanbal) acknowledged the Arab’s due, and their superiority (fadlaha) and their ‎priority (sabiqataha) and he loved the . . . he (Ibn Hanbal) did not adhere to the doctrine ‎of the Shu’ubiyya ‎[a Persian sect that believed in racial egalitarianism] and the ‎contemptible (among) the mawali [non-Arabs] that disliked the Arabs and did not ‎concede to them their [Arabs] superiority. He (ascribed to) them (Shu’ubiyya) innovation, ‎hypocrisy and controversy.‎
Ibn Abi Ya'la, Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, 1, al-Maktaba al-Shamila, p. 30, https://app.turath.io/book/9543 ; translated in Nimrod Hurvitz, The Formation of Hanbalism, Routledge, p. 32, ISBN 978-0-415-61641-6, 2002 

Modern views

‎[In response to a question regarding Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement:] Do you think, now, that ‎the African people are like the Europeans in their conciousness and intelligence? . . . Do ‎you not prefer the European people over the African people? . . . [likewise,] Allah almighty ‎knows that the Arabs are . . . fit to bear the call [of Islam] and to understand it . . .
‎“Allah choose to send this Sharia to a prophet from the Arab nation . . . [because] they ‎were distinguished from among all nations [in] . . . quality of mind”‎
Muhammad al-Tahir ibn Ashur, Maqasid al-Shari'ah, 3, al-Maktaba al-Shamila, pp. 260-261, https://app.turath.io/book/17094 
Allah chose the Arab for Islam because of their natural and moral characteristics that are ‎unique to them . . . I believe that the nature of the Arabs is mixed in with the religion of ‎Islam . . .‎
Abu Hasan Ali Nadwi (2nd ed.), Beirut, 1389 AH 
In the answer to question no. 115934, we noted that Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah are unanimously agreed that the Arabs are superior to others in terms of descent and lineage, and that regarding the Arabs as superior is in general terms, and does not apply at the individual level. So a non-Arab who is pious and righteous is better than an Arab who falls short in his duties to Allah, may He be exalted.
It is from that which is decided from the sunnah of the prophet that Arabism [urubah; ‎lit. “the quality of being ‎Arabian”[6] is superior over other races. This is because ‎Allah chose Muhammad from the Arabs and made the Quran – which is the eternal ‎message – Arabic. And the Sunnis [lit. “people of the Sunnah”] have agreed upon the ‎superiority of the Arabism over other races and lineages.‎

The superiority of Arabism is a superiority of class [jins] and not individual, for the ‎devout and pious non-Arab is better than the Arab who is negligent about the truth of ‎Allah. Also, the superiority of Arabism is choice from Allah almighty. It is possible that the ‎wisdom behind this is apparent to us, and it is also possible that the wisdom behind this is not apparent to us – except ‎that there‏ ‏are in the Arab those attributes and faults that indicate the face of this ‎preference. […]‎

He [Ibn Taymiyyah], Allah have mercy upon him, said: “That which the Sunnis believe is ‎that the Arab race is superior to the non-Arab race: their Hebrews, Syriacs, Romans, ‎Persians, and others.‎

‎“The Quraysh are the most of superior of the Arabs, the Bani Hashim are the most ‎superior of the Quraysh, and the messenger of Allah is the most superior of the Bani ‎Hashim, for he is the most superior creation as an individual and the most superior ‎among them in lineage.‎

‎“Also, the superiority of the Arab, then the Quraysh, and then the Bani Hashim is not ‎merely due to the existence of the prophet among them – even if this is part of their ‎superiority. Rather, they are superior in and of themselves. Thus, the messenger of Allah ‎is proven to be superior in person and lineage, otherwise circularity is necessitated. […]‎

‎“This is why it has come in a hadith: ‘Love of the Arab is faith [iman], and hatred for ‎them is hypocrisy’. […]‎

‎“And know that the hadiths regarding the superiority of the Quraysh and then the ‎superiority of Bani Hashim are many - this is not the place for listing them - and they ‎indicate this matter as well, for the Quraysh are to the Arabs as the Arabs are to ‎humankind. And this is how the Sharia came. […]‎

‎“The reason for this superiority – and Allah knows best – is what they have been favored ‎with in their intellects, tongues, morals, and deeds, and that is because superiority is ‎either by beneficial knowledge or righteous deeds. Also, knowledge has a basis, and that ‎is the strength of the intellect – that is in memorization and understanding; perfection ‎also, and that is in the power of logic – that is in explanation and expression. And the ‎Arabs are better at understanding than others, better preserved, and more capable of ‎explanation and expression. And their tongue is the most perfect of tongues in ‎explanation, at differentiating different and similar meanings, and combines many ‎meanings in a few words.‎

‎“And as for deed, this is based on morals, which are based on natural instincts in the ‎soul. And their instincts are more obedient to the good than those of others, for they are ‎closest to generosity, gentleness, courage, loyalty, and other such praiseworthy moral ‎traits.” End.‎

Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqim p. 148-162‎
Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, ed, (May 27th, 2008), "Fatwa 115934: Superiority of the Arab", [فضل العرب], Islam Question & Answer, May 27th, 2008 (archived from the original), https://web.archive.org/web/20201213022432/https://islamqa.info/ar/answers/115934/%D9%81%D8%B6%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8 

In the Muslim world today

See also


  1. Lane's Lexicon اصطفاه
  2. See Lane's Lexicon الأعراب and Lane's Lexicon بدوي
  3. See Lane's Lexicon الأعراب and Lane's Lexicon بدوي
  4. Lane's Lexicon اصطفاه
  5. E. van Donzel; B. Lewis; Ch. Pellat et al., eds, (1997), "Kafa'a", Encyclopaedia of Islam, 4 IRAN-KHA (New Edition [2nd] ed.), Leiden: E.J. Brill, p. 404, ISBN 90 04 05745 5, 1997 
  6. Lane’s Lexicon ‎عروبة‎