Racial equality and the unity of all people is one of the central ideas in the Muslim faith. It is our responsibility to uphold it in our families, and to purposefully teach these values to our children.
The Qur’an says that Allah created various skin colours, languages and races purely as an example of his greatness, as well as to make people more easily identifiable (Qur’an 3:22 and 49:13). There are many examples of how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) modeled equality in his lifetime through his actions and his words.
A hadith says: “Such were the manners of the Prophet (PBUH) that every person who met him would feel like his favourite”. When the Prophet was asked: “Which Muslim has the perfect faith?", he answered: “He who has the best moral character.” (Tibrani). This demonstrates how piety and character are valued over skin colour, race or language in the Muslim faith.
Promoting Racial Equality at Home
In today’s world, it is more important than ever that we ensure our children are raised in homes that promote equality, and to create more equality in our communities.
It's comforting to think that our children will naturally learn to be unbiased and free from discriminatory thinking. Yet children as young as three begin to notice differences in skin colour, and to attach meaning to those differences.
Racism can be carried along in subtle ways. As parents, we need to be intentional in our efforts to explain race and to fight racism.
Keep it Simple for Younger Children
Younger children need clear and simple messaging about skin colour and respecting differences. Some key things you can teach them include:
- All skin colour is beautiful
- People may look different, but we are all equal
- Sometimes people do not treat others fairly because their skin colour is different, and this is wrong
- There are many differences within cultural and racial groups
- Respect is the most important quality
Walking the Talk for Older Children
Children from about age ten and up can begin to identify if parents’ actions do not align with their words. It’s very important for children entering their teen years to see you taking the initiative to speak up against actions that are discriminatory.
- Teach them respectful and safe ways to intervene if someone is being harassed for any aspect of their being, as protected under Human Rights codes
- Interrupt racist jokes and comments in polite but firm ways. This includes “minor” or "harmless" comments from friends and family members
- Expose your children to different experiences and communities through friendships, cultural outings, art, food, and activism
- Read about and understand concepts of White Privilege, Shadism, Anti-Oppression and Allyship
- Encourage them to find out more and to take action when they hear about current events that include racial discrimination, harassment or violence. Remember to take age and safety into account.
Black History Month - Not Just Once a Year
Systemic racism is something people of colour continue to experience in their everyday lives. In order to help drive change, it's important that we keep educating ourselves. It's our responsibility to raise awareness in our homes and our communities to celebrate Black history, recognize the contributions of Black people throughout the centuries, challenge white supremacy and promote racial equality.
This blog will seek to highlight some notable Black Muslims from history to the present day, while exploring concepts of allyship, activism, local impact and support. In addition, we're proud to take you behind the scenes to understand one of our key missions at www.themuslimmoon.com, where we will be sharing the meaning behind the mats we create, and how we are partnering with key organizations to support communities that are repressed or marginalized.
We hope you will join us year-round to reflect on our unity and ideals as Muslims to be one group of people truly equal as created by Allah.
This website provides parents and educators with free learning materials.
Our mission is to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy.