Status of the Arabs in Islam

In addition we have to love the actual Family of the Prophet (saws) and most of them are non-Arabs in our time. But the reason why we love anyone in Islam is Taqwa -godwariness- without which we cannot give them any attention even if they are from Ahl al-Bayt. We certainly do not love transgressors, even if they should be from Ahl al-Bayt. When the Arabs lost their Taqwa, Allah Most High withdrew power from them. So it means little to be a Sayyid or Sharif without taqwa, and even less to be an Arab unless one has taqwa.

In his last `Umra (year 1421) the Sharif Sidi Mustafa Basir al-Hasani was sitting in front of the Muwajaha al-Sharifa [grave of the Prophet (s)] at which time one of the Arab guards there asked him: “Does it help anyone to be from Ahl al-Bayt?” He replied without looking at him: “With Taqwa.” The other said: “And without Taqwa?” Shaykh Mustafa replied: “I told you: with Taqwa.”

Allah Most High said in the Qur’an:

“O humankind! Lo! We created you male and female,  and made you nations and tribes that you may know  one another. Surely, the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah,  is the most righteous of you.  Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (49:13):

Qila ya rasulallah man akram al-nas?…” The Prophet (s) was asked: “Who are the best of people?” He replied: “The most God-conscious.”  They said: “We did not mean that.” He said: “Yusuf the Prophet of Allah, son of the Prophet of Allah (Ya`qub), son of the Prophet of Allah (Ishaq), son of the Friend of Allah (Ibrahim).”  They said: “We didn’t meant that.”  He said: “If you are asking me about the nation [ma`adin = stocks] of the Arabs, then the best of them in the Time of ignorance are the best of them in Islam if/when they understand.” Sahih Muslim.

In other words, nobility is of three kinds: (1) Godwariness – of which the Prophet Muhammad (saws) is the highest example; (2) the Prophetic House; and (3) Fitra or Pristine Disposition.

Furthermore, Rasulullah (saws) said in the Farewell Pilgrimage:

“There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab,  nor of a non-Arab over an Arab…. except in whoever fears Allah the most.”

This is narrated from 17 Sahaba, so it is mutawatir (mass-transmitted). And this is the belief of Imam al-Shafi`i (ra).

Whatever ruling Imam al-Shafi`i meant when he said he preferred Arabs to marry Arabs, does not have a bearing on affirming superiority in the eyes of Allah but only with custom and on condition that those concerned are people of Taqwa. Imam al-Shafi`i never said that he would prefer a non-muttaqi Arab over a muttaqi non-Arab. It is likely, also, that what the Imam meant by “Arabs and non-Arabs” in this particular ruling was as an euphemism for free men and slaves, and this sense is also implied in the narration “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab.” Meaning: of a free man over a slave or former slave, because slaves and former slaves were overwhelmingly non-Arabs since the earliest centuries in Islam. This is confirmed by the narration adduced by Ibn al-Salah in his Muqaddima on the Hadith sciences from `Ata’ that the latter was asked by the Caliph Hisham ibn `Abd al-Malik in al-Rusafa:

Page 2 of 4 | Previous page | Next page