Mar 8, 2013

The Colours of Faith

By Amina Edota


As Yasmine sat listening to the aunt attentively; her smile slowly started to fade. What started a polite and genuine interest turned into silent disbelief, then fury and finally sadness. Her emotions took a complete 360 degrees turn as the aunt's voice droned on, leaving her deep in thought. As a regular volunteer at the centre, she was typically very friendly with all of the young and older sisters who attended lectures and events, though she did not always remember the names as with this aunt's name. She considered her an aunt because she looked older, mature and filled with wisdom. The aunt had introduced herself then asked if Yasmine could help her with an important enquiry.

Never one to pass the opportunity for kindness, Yasmine passed the flyers she was distributing to another sister then drew a chair close to the aunt who proceeded to chat briefly about her recent operation. She then asked about available marriage services at the centre, on behalf of her son. Yasmine sat down beside her and listened kindly hoping she could be of help to the gentle looking sister. Yasmine told her she could pass the information to the centre coordinator and even introduce them to each other after the lecture so she could discuss further.

The aunt seemed very pleased and said that she will be happy to talk to the coordinator later but in the event that she had to leave early, then perhaps Yasmine could pass on the information on her behalf. She said that she was seriously looking for a potential wife for her son, and wants a white sister with origins from the west, preferably a new revert and went further to give additional specifications. Her reasons were culturally motivated without any concern for faith and its requirements.

At this point, Yasmine could no longer hear what the sister was saying to her as her head was filled with disbelief and infuriation. Now wait, she thought to herself...was this aunt joking? No, she could not be, she thought. After all, this was a very familiar face at talks and lectures and had always considered her as one of the respectable older sisters. Subhanallah!, She thought again. This was a distortion of the teachings our noble religion and the message our beloved prophet brought - a message for all races and times.

And as an example, this centre was filled with people of all races and backgrounds from bronze to charcoal black skin; Black to blue eyed; blond hair to red haired. And the sisters speak Arabic, Urdu, English, Swahili, French and other local dialects. And to further increase her frustration, this is supposed to be an Islamic country.

Islam as a complete way of life has come to unite the world under one banner - that of monotheism and present the correct way of life and system that works for all times. No race is supposed to be superior to the other, no skin colour, language, and tribe or material possessions. Chapter 49 of the noble Qur'an - Surah Hujurat (The Dwellings) beautifully captures this view point and presents a proper way of thinking for all of mankind.

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

Coming from a home where both parents had different nationalities, Yasmine could not understand why skin colour should be the first criteria for choosing a life partner. Islamic marriage has no place for racism, tribalism or nationalism. Her best friend who is African, was married to an Arab and another close sister who is American married to an Asian brother. And their Islamic centre exemplifies multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity, which is always admired by those visiting.

The rewards coming from having consciousness of Allah is at a personal level and should not be ascribed to groups of people or communities. No person can proclaim to be a judge of this quality and go ahead labelling people as righteous or not. The Qur'an further emphasizes that concept, by stating that Allah created all of mankind as one nation (one Ummah) and it is human beings who created divisions within themselves (Quran 10:19). The best example who ever lived, our beloved Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

If someone comes to you whose religion and character pleases you, then marry him.” 
[Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1084)].

There was clearly no mention of race or tribe or skin colour. The foundation of Islamic marriages must therefore be based on religion and good character. This must be the main consideration for Muslims seeking partners or their parents looking out for suitable partners for their children. Veering off this frame of mind will make marriage merely a worldly affair rather than being a more spiritual journey with rewards lasting beyond this world.

The colour of faith is not black, white, brown or yellow. Rather, it should be a shade of testimony of faith on the inside and that of correct Islamic character on the outside. That should be the foundation of all Islamic marriages and if this foundation is strong and intention is sincere, the building and pillars that stem forth will be firm and remain solid through generations by the permission of Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic.  Please post in the comments section below :)


MashaAllah very beneficial and true I think that we as woman if we had this as a understanding before marriage the divorce rate wouldn't be so high, and Allah knows best shukran for sharing and may Allah bless you in this world and the next.

Amin to your duas deař sister. May Alláh guide us to that which pleases Him the best.

MashaAllah! May Allah bless you for the reminder. There are a lot of preferences mentioned even in the Sunnah why people marry - young virgins, ansari vs muhajir women, status, beauty, family background.....but the main consideration should be taqwa/religion/character otherwise your hands will be covered with dust. May Allah make it easy for all those choosing to follow this advise and grant us all a place in Jannah. Ameen

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