Muslims speak of Islam in egalitarian terms: the religion of peace, the religion that seeks to elevate man over his base desires, the religion that does not discriminate based on race and ethnicity. Despite the egalitarian spirit of Islam, the lived reality of many Muslims is very different, and this is most apparent when we observe how Muslims deal with race and ethnicity.
Muslims who are Black in the West in particular, have found that while Islam may not discriminate based on race, many Muslims do. To make matters worse, some of those Muslims will delve in to the Islamic tradition to justify their biases and bigotries, seeing no contradiction between their racism and the Islamic ideals.
This work seeks to clarify and debunk some traditions which support their racist positions, and presents biographies of early Muslims who were Black. The biographies of these great Muslim personalities shows us how Blackness was a normal part of life for early Muslims, in sharp contradistinction to modern prejudices against Black folks found in some Muslim communities.
Dawud Walid is currently the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), member of the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) Imams Committee and a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary based in New York. Walid has studied under qualified scholars the disciplines of Arabic grammar and morphology, foundations of Islamic jurisprudence and sciences of the exegesis of the Qur’an. He previously served as an imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and the Bosnian American Islamic Center in Hamtramck, Michigan. He is the author of the books Blackness And Islam and Towards Sacred Activism, co-author of the books Centering Black Narrative: Black Muslim Nobles Among the Early Pious Muslims and Centering Black Narrative: Ahl al-Bayt, Blackness & Africa and author of the foreword in the book The Spirits of Black Folk: Sages Through The Ages as well as essays in the 2012 book All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim as well as the 2014 book Qur’an in Conversation. Walid has lectured at over 100 institutions of higher learning in North America, Great Britain and West Africa about Islam and social justice. He also has been interviewed and quoted in approximately 150 media outlets ranging from the New York Times, Wall St Journal, National Public Radio, CNN, BBC, FOX News and Al-Jazeera. Walid was a 2011 - 2012 fellow of the University of Southern California (USC) American Muslim Civil Leadership Institute (AMCLI) and a 2014 - 2015 fellow of the Wayne State Law School Detroit Action Equity Lab (DEAL). He has also received awards of recognition from the city councils of Detroit and Hamtramck and from the Mayor of Lansing as well as a number of other religious and community organizations.
PreviewWhy write about Blackness and Islam? (9:56)
StartHow the early generations of Muslims understood Blackness (12:12)
StartBlack figures in the Qur'an (10:27)
StartClarifying problematic narrations & verdicts related to Blackness (12:47)
StartCompanions of the Prophet ﷺ who were Black (10:20)
StartBlack people in the Household of the Prophet ﷺ (11:13)
StartEarly descendents of the Prophet ﷺ who were Black (8:06)