7 Luminous Black Companions of the Prophet

By Dawud Walid

During Black History Month, I have the intention of writing brief summaries, not in depth biographies, of some of the early figures in Islamic history who were black.  My usage of the word black, for the sake of what I plan on writing, will not be restricted to Nubians and Abyssinians but also for Arabs who had black and brown colored skin in which in contemporary times would be perceived as black such as Sudanese who are both Arabs and blacks.

Umm Ayman: Mother After the Prophet’s Mother

The first luminous figure in this series that was a companion is Barakah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) also known as Umm Ayman.  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was Abyssinian and a servant of Abdullah bin Abdil Muttalib, the father of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). When Aminah, the mother of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) died, Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) took over as primary care-giver of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was later emancipated at the time of the marriage of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to Sayyidah Khadijah bint Khuwaylid raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).

Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was one of the early adherents of Islam in Makkah and was one of those who faced persecution from Quraysh.  She raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was among those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah.

Umm Ayman’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) first marriage was to Ubayd bin Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was from Bani Khazraj, a prominent tribe in the Hijaz.  According to ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah and others, Ubayd (RA) himself was black in color or Al-Habashi though his lineage was from Bani Khazraj, a prominent Arab tribe in the Hijaz.  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) bore a son named Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was also black.  Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was martyred at Ghazwah Khaybar, and Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was martyred at Ghazwah Hunayn.  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) participated in Ghazwah Uhud and Ghazwah Khaybar.

After Ubayd’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) martyrdom, it’s reported by Ibn Sa’ad in At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions that if anyone wanted to marry a lady from the People of Paradise then marry Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).  Zayd bin Harithah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the man who the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) emancipated and raised like a son, was then married to Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).  Though Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was Arab and there are some conflicting descriptions about his physical appearance, Tanwir Al-Ghabash min Fadl Al-Sudan wa Al-Habash by ibn Al-Jawzi and others states that Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was short with a flat nose and had dark skin.

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Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) had a particularly close relationship to Ahl al-Bayt, the Household of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  She shared intimate moments with Ahl al-Bayt such as being present at the marriage that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) conducted between his daughter Sayyidah Fatimah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Imam Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).  At the time of the passing of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), she grieved alongside Ahl al-Bayt.

There are conflicting narrations about Umm Ayman’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) passing.

Usamah bin Zayd: Teenager General of the Prophet

Usamah bin Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was one of the beloved companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Both of Usamah’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) parents, Zayd bin Harithah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was Arab and Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was Ethiopian, were freed from slavery by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He was born in Makkah seven years prior to hijrah and is described as having black skin.

Much of Usamah’s upbringing was done in the house of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the same time-frame as the rearing of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) grandson Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him).

Usamah was later married by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to Fatimah bint Qays, who was Arab and from Quraysh. It is narrated that this marriage took place when Usamah was at the age of 15 years old and that on his ring was etched at the time of the wedding “Love of the Messenger of Allah.”

While a teenager, Usamah was elected by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to be a general of an expedition against the Romans in Syria. Some of the companions became extremely angry at Usamah being appointed as general over older companions from Quraysh. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said after praising and thanking Allah (SWT), “Oh People! Word has come to me that some of you mad that I appointed Usamah bin Zayd. I swear by Allah that surely your obeying Usamah is certainly your obeying me just as obeying his father before him.”

Usamah passed in 61 A.H. in Al-Madinah during the government of Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan.

Sa’ad Al-Aswad: Internally Oppressed to Martyrdom

One of the black companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was Sa’ad Al-Aswad As-Sulami (RA).
Sa’ad was from the Ansar and suffered discrimination in Al-Madinah.

Due to an inferiority complex, Sa’ad asked the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) if he too could enter into Jannah because of his low position among the Muslims. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied to him that he was entitled to the same reward as other believers. Sa’ad then inquired that if he was an equal believer then why would none of the Arabs allow him to marry one of their daughters.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)then told Sa’ad to go to the home of ‘Amr bin Wahb to ask him for his daughter for marriage. When Sa’ad told ibn Wahb that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sent him to request for his daughter for marriage, Ibn Wahb became angry at the proposal. Ibn Wahb also stated to him that didn’t he know that his daughter is known for her beauty! When Ibn Wahb’s daughter heard this, she told her father that she could not turn down a proposal that came at the suggestion of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)!

Sa’ad was later martyred in a battle in which it is narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wept over him while holding him in his lap.

One of the helpers of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who is mentioned in a number of texts is the companion known as Julaybib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Julaybib accepted Islam in Al-Madinah, thus is described as one of the men from the Ansar. His lineage was unknown among the Arabs which made him an outcast. According to ibn Al-Jawzi in Tanwir Al-Ghabash, he was described as black (aswad). The companion Abu Barzah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) according to ibn Al-Athir also described him as short (qasir) and ugly (damim).

Being that Julaybib had no tribal and family connections in Al-Madinah as well as no wife, he spent more time in the company of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) than many of the other Ansar. In fact, the People of Al-Madinah used to ridicule Julaybib and would not befriend him.

In narrations that are deemed sound, the Prophet (SAWS) proceeded to find a wife for the honorable Julaybib. When he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went to the home of one of the Ansar, a father opened the door in which the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told him that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came to him for a marriage proposal. The father immediately said yes thinking that his daughter would get the honor of being one of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wives. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told him that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did not come for himself but was asking on behalf of Julaybib. The father then said that he was going to defer the decision to his wife.

When the wife of the Ansari came, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told her that he had a marriage proposal. The wife also became happy and said yes. Then the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told her that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came on behalf of Julaybib. The wife then replied that she would not allow her daughter to marry a man like Julaybib!

Upon hearing noise, the daughter of the two came out and asked the reason for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) coming to their home. The mother told the daughter that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came on behalf of Julaybib but that she was not accepting for her to marry him! The daughter replied, how can we turn down a proposal coming from the Messenger of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)? She said to send Julaybib to her, for surely he will not bring ruin to her!

In Al-Asabah by ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, it is mentioned in reference to this event the application of Surah 33, Ayah 36, “It is not fitting for a believing man or woman that when Allah and His messenger decree a matter that they should have an opinion about it from their matter. And whoever disobeys Allah and His messenger surely is in clear error.” It is mentioned in several texts including Al-Musannaf by ibn Abi Shaybah in the Chapter of Compatibility in Marriage that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then performed the marriage between Julaybib and the lady.

In a battle after the marriage, Julaybib achieved martyrdom. When the Prophet (SAWS) saw the martyred Julaybib, he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said twice, “This [man] is from me, and I am from him.” An-Nanawi said in his commentary of Sahih Muslim that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used exaggeration (mubalaghah) showing the importance of Julaybib as if Julaybib was a member of his ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) own klan such as when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said about Salman [ranua], who was Persian, “Salman is from us, the People of the Household (Ahl al-Bayt).”

It is also narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) personally dug the grave of Julaybib and placed him in the grave without washing him, signifying his status as a martyr.

‘Ammar bin Yasir: the Man who the Prophet Predicted his Martyrdom

One of the companions who has several narrated merits pertaining to his faith, personality and resilience is ‘Ammar bin Yasir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

‘Ammar is described in Al-Mustadarak ‘ala As-Sahihayn by Al-Hakim and authenticated by Adh-Dhahabi as being tall in stature, black in skin color and having kinky hair. His father Yasir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was Arab.

‘Ammar was one of the earliest Muslims to accept Islam and was regularly tortured along with his family. Once while being severely tortured, he unwillingly recanted Islam. He later came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a state of tears saying that he verbally recanted Islam but did not mean it, in which the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wiped away his tears and recited Surah 16, ayah 106, “Whoever disbelieves in Allah after belief except who is forced and whose heart is still content with faith…”

After much persecution, ‘Ammar with other companions migrated to Abyssinia finding protection under a just Christian king though ibn Ishaq disputes that he was one of those companions in Abyssinia. He later migrated with other companions to Al-Madinah making him within a select group of companions that made two migrations for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

‘Ammar later participated in the major campaigns to protect the Muslim community including Badr and Uhud. He also was a witness to the Farewell Pilgrimage and the event of Ghadir Khumm.

Prior to the death of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), he told ‘Ammar, “You will be killed by a group of transgressors.” This hadith is sahih and mutawatir, meaning narrated so widely by many sound people that it is beyond doubt.

During the government of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, ‘Ammar was nominated to be the governor of Kufah in Iraq to be later removed from his position when ‘Umar consolidated the governorship of Kufah with Basrah under Abu Musa Al-Ashari.

During the government of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), ‘Ammar accompanied Imam Ali’s army at the Battle of Jamal and defended him against the Khawarij movement, the original takfiris. ‘Ammar later achieved martyrdom at the Battle of Siffin by being killed by a man from the army of Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan.

Mihja’: One of the Best of the Blacks

One of the famed companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is Mihja’ bin Salih (RA). Mihja’ raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was one of the early adherents of Islam in Makkah, and one of those who migrated for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to Al-Madinah.

According to At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra of ibn Sa’ad, Mihja’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) lineage traces back to Yemen. He’s described as has having black skin (aswad al-lawn) and Arab. He was enslaved in the Hijaz and suffered as other enslaved (wo)men did. He was later emancipated by Umar bin al-Khattab.

In Makkah, Quraysh used to mock the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) because he used to sit and keep company with his poor followers who were formerly enslaved. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) told the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)in Surah 6, Ayah 52, “Do not repel those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening seeking His face.” According to Abdullah bin Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) in Zad Al-Masir fi ‘ilm At-Tafsir by ibn Al-Jawzi, those people that Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was referring to were Bilal, Suhayb, Khabbab, ‘Ammar, Mihja’, Salman, ‘Amir bin Quhayrah and Salim, who was freed by Abu Hudhayfah.

After migration according to At-Tabari and others, Mihja’ raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was the first to be martyred at Ghazwah Badr.

It is narrated by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak ‘ala As-Sahihayn and authenticated as sahih by As-Suyuti in Al-Jami’ As-Saghir that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The best of the blacks are three: Bilal, Luqman [who is mentioned in the Qur’an] and Mihja’.”

Abu Dharr: Man of Moral Courage

One of the honorable companions, who is known for his faithfulness and concern for the poor was Abu Dharr raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).
Abu Dharr’s full name was Jundab bin Junadah from the Tribe of Ghifar. He was described by ibn Sa’ad in At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra and others as being tall with brown (asmar) skin.

In the Era of Ignorance, the Ghifari tribe was known for banditry and alcohol consumption besides worshiping idols. Abu Dharr, however, turned away from these tribal norms even before embracing Islam.

When a man from his tribe informed his people that he saw a man in Makkah, meaning the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who he saw enjoining good and forbidding evil, Abu Dharr set off for Makkah. After meeting the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Abu Dharr swiftly accepted Islam. He went to the Ka’bah to publicly declare his faith in which Quraysh proceeded to beat him. He went the following day to proclaim his faith again in which he was beaten again. After days of doing this and facing beatings, the Prophet (SAWS) told him to go back to his tribe, so he could declare his message to them.

He later migrated to Al-Madinah and participated in Ghazwah Badr and other expeditions with the companions.
During the government of ‘Uthman, Abu Dharr was one of the outspoken companions against the lavish lifestyle and large amounts of money which particular Muslims were receiving from the treasury. After conflict between Abu Dharr and Marwan in Al-Hakam, a cousin of ‘Uthman, over a payment that he received of 500,000 dirhams, Abu Dharr was sent away from Al-Madinah to Damascus. While in Damascus, Abu Dharr continued to speak out against luxuries and neglect of the poor which brought him into conflict with the Governor of Damascus, Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, who was also a cousin of ‘Uthman.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) predicted to Abu Dharr, “You will live alone, die alone, rise from the dead alone, and enter Jannah alone.” This prediction of his living and dying manifested itself. Due to the circumstances of the time, Abu Dharr left Damascus for Ar-Rabathah desert with virtual no possessions in which he eventually died alone.

Ayman: The Brave Shepherd

One of the faithful companions of the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was Ayman bin ‘Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Ayman’s roots were Abyssinian through his mother. He was born through the union of his mother Barakah, a woman who was eventually freed from slavery by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his father ‘Ubayd bin Zayd who was from the tribe of Harith bin Khazraj; their marriage took place in Makkah in the Era of Al-Jahiliyyah. Ayman was also born in Makkah.

Ayman embraced Islam in Makkah and made migration for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to Al-Madinah. He was a shepherd and was entrusted by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to look after his goats.

Ayman was a participant in the campaigns to defend Islam. At Ghazwah Hunayn when some of the Muslims became panicked, Ayman was one of eight Muslims who stood by the Prophet (SAWS) and defended him. The Muslims ended up winning the battle. In the process, Ayman achieved martyrdom.

After his martyrdom, Al-Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), one of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)uncles who was one of those eight that stood firmly with Ayman to defend the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), composed a poem praising the steadfastness and bravery of Ayman.

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28 responses to “7 Luminous Black Companions of the Prophet”

  1. Aminu Abubakar says:

    1st, i understand that without the intervention of prophet Muhammad (SAW), no white arab is willing to give marriage of his daughter to black man.

    2nd, no black name is mentioned without stamping him/her as slave.

    3rd, conclusively,i observed, blacks’ faith in Islam rated higher than that of the Arabs of their time. And Prophet Muhammad (Saw) has shown his ultimate love for black people.

  2. Aadil says:

    In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
    Peace be upon you and the mercy and the blessings of God.

    I do not mean to be rude but how was Bilal ibn Rabah (ra)not mentioned fully. He was mentioned briefly twice but he deserves at least a section if not a whole article or series of articles.

    May God reward you well. Only God knows best.
    The good is only from God.The bad from elsewhere.
    Peace be upon you and the mercy and the blessings of God.

    • Aminu Abubakar says:

      One wonders why hadiths were not source from Bilal ibn Rabah (‘may Allah be pleased with him ) despite his closeness with Prophet Muhammad (SAW) day and Night.
      Can any one tell me why ? I am curious.

      • Yeah same me post please when you get updatated

      • Yasser says:

        Not entirely sure, but it could be for the same reason Khalid Bin Walid was not sited often, memory of exact sayings. Not all close companions of the prophet narrated his sayings too. Allahu Alam. But there are quite a few hadiths about Sayidna Bilal and his conduct or place in paradise

      • Anwar Ali says:

        Assalamu Alaikum
        after co.pliments
        my dear brother
        In that case the most number of hadeeths should be recorded from none othervthan Sayyidina Abubakr Radhiyallahu Anhu. He was with the Prophet Swallallahu Alaihi wa sallam more than anybody.
        but Sayyidina Abu Huraira Radhiyallahu Anhu is seen to have recorded lots of hadeeth.
        There are reasons for that.
        if ur intrrested in this topic let me know. we shall talk
        my id anwarali_22@yahoo.com

    • Dawud Walid says:

      I specifically didn’t mentioned Bilal (RA) for two reasons: 1) Most Muslims know his story, but these other nobles are not as familiar. 2) Bilal (RA) is mentioned as the token black Muslim many times.

      • AbdulRasheed says:

        Salam alykum, In response to brother Aminu Abubakar; I do not think Bilal made it his primary focus to report everything he learnt from the prophet. His primary assignment was just being the best Muazzim he could be. In other words, he was not like Abu Hurairah, who focused very much on reporting what he learnt from the prophet. Something similar to this is the fact that Aishah reported more hadith than any of the other wives. Allah knows best.

  3. Hamid says:

    This article is misleading. It should be none that the original Arabs were black anyway and that the current Arabic speaking Europeans in the region were a mixture of Turks, Byzantines, Persians, etc, that adopted the Arabic language and culture, moved into the region and became the “new” Arabs. The other explanation of the new Arabs is when the original Arabs went on their conquests, they acquired a large amount of European slave women, especially with the spread of Islam in Moorish Spain. They had children with them and within 1 or 2 generations, the Arabs became white. This information is readily available and there is tons of documentation to prove it.

    • Dawud Walid says:

      5 of the 7 mentioned were “black Arabs.” I even mentioned the tribes that they were from.

    • Ibrahim says:

      So true, the original off-spring of Hajara (Haggar) were black the Ismailites, the children of Ibrahim. You will find difficulty among arabs to find a woman named Hajara because they do not want any association with blacks. When you read of the Islamic slaves, Arabs in disobedience of the Sharia took slaves from Blacks as far as China and then later America.

    • Fitzgerald Mistral says:

      The Prophet himself, the quintessence of the Arabian individual, was closer to a white complexion than black. There goes your whole theory about Arabs being white through European DNA!

  4. islam says:

    U forget Abu BAkar, Umar, Ali, Uthman, Ibn Masud, TAlah, Saeed bin Zaid, Abu TAlha, Anas bin Malik, etc.

  5. sara says:

    Tariq bin Ashyam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

    Whenever a man entered the fold of Islam, the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would show him how to perform Salat and then direct him to supplicate:

    “Allahumm-aghfir li, warhamni, wa-hdini, wa ‘afini, warzuqni (O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, guard me against harm and provide me with sustenance and salvation).”‘ [Muslim].

    In another narration Tariq said: A man came to the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! What shall I say if I want to pray to my Rubb?”

    He said, “Say: ‘Allahumma-ghfir li, warhamni, wa ‘afini, warzuqni (O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, protect me and provide me with sustenance).’ Surely, this supplication is better for you in this life and in the Hereafter.”

  6. […] is that possible? There were quite a few Sahaaba of African origin, and not just a token one. Islam had spread to the African continent properly during the lifetime […]

  7. Abu says:

    Hamid is right ! The original Arabs were black as we would use the term today meaning shades of brown all the way to black. The evidence from the scholars and ahadith is vast . I can bring pages and pages of proof . Don’t be mislead by modern eurocentric agendas and fallacies in general.

    • Yasser says:

      I hated seeing the ethnicity panel in the US that lumps Middle East under Caucasian and white. Ok the Levant Arabs that immigrated to the States were mostly white mixed, but the Middle East is the oldest cosmopolitan society in the world, so they cannot be pure Caucasian. I myself, who’s a Saudi with a family is originally from the South of Iran am mixed (Persian, Bedouin, Ethiopian, Turkish and Levant Arab) others have Indian and south Asian among others, especially in Hijaz and East Saudi Arabia. Even if an Arab comes up to you and is red with ginger hair, trust that they have fifty other ethnicities in them. African is the most common, especially since our link to Africa precedes 3000 years. I read an article a few years ago that concludes a theory that the first settlers in south of Arabia came from the Horn of Africa and passed through sad Ma’rib during the low tides. Who knows? And No! Our link to Africa is not all slavery like the Europeans. We have ancient Afro-Arabic families who are originally tradesmen, pearl divers and merchants, sailors, kings and nobles of Abyssinian decent (Yemen and Ethiopia ruled each other and mixed) , and post Islamic we have a few Nigerian who Established hospitals in our region. i always struck out that stupid option on the Ethnicity section on those American forms and put in “Other” “non-white non-Caucasian Middle East” LOL! On another note, it’s completely FALSE to assume that all Caucasians are white. Only western Europeans. The term Caucasian refers to the skeletal refrences, not skin color. The Caucasians of the near east were brown and beige and you can see it in their art work and old pictures. Of course white exists all over the Islamic world as well as Asians, because Islam removed racism as a rule and encouraged marriage and friendship of all races for faith above all. We need to get back to that! Anyway, I applaud the effort of this article, even if there are some discrepancies. At the very least it forces Arabs to accept their ancestors were not Italian looking a they wish it to be. Uff! If we were white, why is the no. Cosmetic procedure skin whitening and nose jones in Arabia and the highest selling cream Fair and Lovely (ugly)

      • Black Lion says:

        Salam alaikum, Yasser. I’m just curious, since you were honest enough to admit this from inside of the region and its culture, how do others in Arabia treat you when they learn of your honesty on this subject?

  8. Yeah same me post please when you get updatated

  9. Amal says:

    Thank you for this article. I love um Ayman, may Allah be pleased with her.

    Just a point: According to al-dhahabi in his book siyar a’lam al-nubala, Arabs used the following words to mean :
    Ahmar- white (like people from al-shaam)
    Abyad- wheat colour complexion
    Aadam and asmar – Indian colour
    Aswad – black

    Abu dharr is described as being Aadam by al-dhahabi. The dictionary lisaanul Arab describes asmar as being a stage between black and white. Therefore Abu dharr was most likely that type of colour. Not that it matters to me what colour he was, but just to add some accuracy and understanding to the terms being used and because I value academic rigour in research. And Allah knows best!

    Sr amina- regarding your question about bilal (ra) not narrating many hadiths. There are plenty of companions who were very close to the prophet and yet were not prolific hadith narrators, including Abu bakr, omar etc. Hadith narration depends on many factors, including when the companion died, if they were busy with other posts etc. In fact the most prolific hadith narrator was Abu huraira, who only knew the prophet in the last 3-4 years of the prophet’s life! You’ll generally find that the most famous hadith narrators were young companions such as Abdullah ibn omar, Abdullah ibn abbas, etc and those that spent intimate time with the prophet such as aisha, or those that specifically devoted their lives to learning hadith such as Abu huraira. I advise you to read Jonathan brown’s book ‘hadith’ if you want to learn more.

    And Allah knows best.

    • Ibn says:

      Amal, I want to correct you when you say aadam and asmar = “indian color” and aswad = “black”. By “black”, it is presumed you mean “black African.” You see, the color spectrum in India is the same as it is in Africa. There are millions of very light-skinned indians and there are millions of very light-skinned africans. there are hundreds of millions of brown skinned indians and hundreds of millions of brown skinned africans. there are tens of millions of black skinned indians and tens of millions of black skinned africans. this is a self-evident truth so anyone that would disagree needs to present evidence to the contrary.

      Aadam and asmar means “brown” color. Given the proximity and existing relations (cultural, economic, genealogical, etc) between the populations east and west of the red sea, we can safely assume that when the narrations say that so and so are “adaam” or “asmar” either they are ethnically Arab or ethnically African or some mixture of the two.

  10. Black Heart says:

    Arabs today call themselves white, and they don’t mean “Caucasian”, that to them nowadays means “not Black”. This is who they are. If you aren’t African Black, you’re white to them. This is not their concept of individual complexions, but of race. They see themselves as not European, but white none the less. They may not want to annihilate us the way white supremacists do, but they want to be accepted by whites as whites, and this is important to them. Not becoming darker is important to them. This by itself is enough for us to regard them as brothers in deem, but the kind of brothers you can’t expect much from.

  11. Ali Khan says:

    There is a problem with this article. Abu Dharr called Bilal (May Allaah be pleased with them) “SON OF A BLACK WOMAN” to which he was reprimanded by the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him)… So how was he Black?

    http://muslimmatters.org/2011/02/21/race-matters-colorblind-racism-in-the-ummah/
    “…“Abu Dharr, the leader of the tribe of Ghifar, and one who accepted Islam in its early days, narrates:

    Once I was conversing with Bilal. Our conversation gave way to a dispute. Angry with him, the following insult burst from my mouth: ‘You cannot comprehend this, O son of a black woman!’

    As Islam expressly forbade all kinds of racial, tribal and color discrimination, Bilal was both upset and greatly angered.

    Some time later, a man came and told me that the Messenger of God, upon him be peace and blessings, summoned me. I went to him immediately. He said to me:

    ‘I have been informed that you addressed Bilal as the son of a black woman.’

    I was deeply ashamed and could say nothing. God’s Messenger continued his reprimand: ‘This means you still retain the standards and judgements of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. Islam has eradicated all those false standards or measures judging people by blood, fame, color or wealth. It has established that the best and most honorable of men is he who is the most pious and upright in conduct. Is it right to defame a believer just because he is black?’

    Abu Dharr felt profound remorse. He went straight to Bilal’s house and, putting his head on the threshold, said: ‘This head will not rise from here until the blessed feet of Bilal tread on the face of foolish, impolite Abu Dharr.’

    Bilal responded: ‘That face deserves to be kissed, not trodden upon,’ and forgave Abu Dharr.” …”

    • Ali says:

      Ali Khan, the writer mentioned in the intro that his usage of the term black is in accord with the way that we see “race” today. Meaning, today (especially in America) we generally classify anyone who is not white european looking as black. So according to this standard wheat completion, light brown, brown, and black are all classified as “black”. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, “race” was not classified the same. This is why people are discribed as abydh, asmar, aswad, ahmar, four different catagories. Being that Abu Dharr was classified as asmar, he was not viewed as black, in that place and time. So the article doesn’t contradict the narration if you look at it that way.

      • Yasser says:

        You are right. What we call “white” today was not called white by the Arabs and Africans. The Europeans were known as humor or Red people, Afranj, Ruman, Shuqur. Because they saw them red in their lands. White in Africa and Arabia was used to describe people of wheat or olive completion who tanned in the sun. Even so, the term black was used to insult, because the correct term for describing someone who is extremely dark skinned is Adam al lawn, like our father Adam (this is irrespective of African, Arab or Indian). Arab tribes, especially in the south were mostly Adam “black” skinned for the most part but their features were Semetic and had medium corse to ringlet hair. Think of India, the south are black skinned and the North are Asmar or wheat completion. Asmar was the norm for all Arabia. Only post Ottoman and colonial era saw an explosion of whiteness across the Arab world. It was rare prior to that with the exception of Areas like the Levant and some of North Africa.

  12. Yasser says:

    Overall I want to thank you for this article and thank everyone for the fruitful discussions in the comments section. This is how we will come together as an ummah insha Allah. It helps to get us all have a better appreciation for our four fathers in faith and respect the way God created all of us and that we are all beautiful when we allow each other to see that beauty. What I love about Islam and its people’s hostory is that it does not hide human error and mistakes and offers ways to rectify and change things for the better Insha Allah. As an Arab (of multi ethnicities) I am happy to read and share this, because I know many of my people are suffering from a poor self image in many ways, especially women and this article helps them see themselves in a better way.

    One last comment: someone said Arabs don’t like naming or avoid naming their daughter Hajar because of her darkness. This is not true and quite hurtful to say. Hajar is one of the most popular names in the Middle East for multiple reasons, most important: we walk her footsteps in Makkah, she is one of the most beloved Muslims, she is the mother of the Arabs. I have many cousins and acquaintances named Hajar. So please be more sensitive with your remarks

  13. Black Heart says:

    This article was necessary and helpful, and Dawud Walid’s work is very good for dispelling misconceptions. If you want to attack the issue without going too far and blaming non-Blacks for a level of bias they did NOT have, then his work is where you start.
    However, what we Black folks must keep in mind is that those semi-Black or non-Black fellow Muslims may not want to be freed from the brainwashing that has been successful against them. We need this kind of information for ourselves, but we do not need it for any “tragic mulattoes” of an Eastern background so that we can save them from becoming our enemies and we can all hold hands and sing “kumbaya”. Adam was Black, alayhi salaam. Hawa was Black, may Allah be pleased with her. If you were Shaytan and had argued with Allah over them and lost your seat in the heavens with the angels over them, you would hate them, too, and you would seek to turn their descendants against themselves, in degress, until they were most against the descendants who most resembled Adam and Hawa. You would even whisper self-hatred into the descendants who still resembled them. We must remember that there is an enemy who we cannot see and can see us, and can whisper directly into our subconscious minds without us knowing it’s him and his comrades. Do you think they will ever give up and surrender trying to get mankind to hate its darkest members the most? They cannot get back up to the heavens with the angels, and they cannot win against Allah. All they can do is take down as many of us as possible with them when they get thrown in to a fire whose fuel is men and stones.
    We need to remember that if any others want to accept these whispers and brainwashing, then let them, until they eventually becomes so attached to their idea of their own whiteness that they apostatize by going too far in their racism. If they want to confront this racism and brainwashing and save their religion, then let them, and share this with them. But this information is for our own benefit first and foremost. Because this same enemy we can’t see will whisper hatred into their hearts, or at the very least the idea that they are better-looking than us and we unfortunately ugly, and THEN will come to us and whisper to us to hate “them”, after which he will whisper to us that “Islam is responsible for their feelings about you.” Have we not seen this already? Have we not seen the Black consciousness movement turn against Islam and Muslims in degrees because of Arabs’ and Persians’ default pro-whiteness? Have they not won many apostates from our ranks? This info is needed, not to make some tragic mulatto love us since we have to pray in the same rows, but to combat the inferiority complex and self-hate with our enemy will whisper to us once we join other Muslims and find out how much these whispers have succeeded with them.
    I seek refuge with Allah from being oppressed and oppressing others.

  14. M. Husain Andu Nasir says:

    In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful
    Infinite Thawab and Barakah be upon the Beloved of Allah, the Mercy to All the Worlds, Syedunna Muhammed Mustafa Sallulahu Alaiyhi Wa Salaam.

    Salaams all, just a small bit of advice, I do not feel it is proper to refer to any of these Noble Beings as “BLACK”. Black is not the color of any skin, rather out is a condition of the soul. Those with black souls are the people of Juhennum (Hell). You must always be very mindful of each and every word used when speaking of those whom Allah SWT loves. Better to say things such as darker in complexion or Of African tones. Even from a personal stand point I myself take offense to the word black being referred to when speaking in regards to my skin color. Common sense will tell you that our skin is lighter and darker shades of BROWN. Allah bless you all. Salaams

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