Among His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you were human beings dispersing [throughout the earth]. And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (Qur’an, 30:20-22)
The first verse reminds us that no one is better than the other because we all came from the same dust. Followed by a verse, that says the blessing of Allah regarding marriage. He created mates for us, with whom we can find peace, and then love and mercy. Followed by a verse, that reminds us of the blessing of Allah regarding our diversity.
It is exceptionally beautiful how this verse talked about marriage and then followed by diversity that started during the time of Adam and his wife (peace be upon them). The marriage of Adam and his wife bore children with different colors, races, tribes, cultures, languages that make our one huge family diversely beautiful. We can see the understanding of that historical event through the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who engaged into inter-tribal and interracial marriages. He married variety of women of different ages, and from different tribes, and race. He married them not for lustful reasons but to help and protect the poor women, and those who lost their husbands. The marriages of Prophet Muhammad are lessons for us not to be racist and not to discriminate when it comes to marriage. However, this issue is overlooked, or it is not often discussed thus there is just little understanding about it or it is totally misunderstood.
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. [Quran 49:13]
This is another beautiful verse that teaches us about unity despite our differences in terms of tribes, or race. We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. If we just reflect upon the deep meaning of this verse, then we will not dare to discriminate other race and we will not consider our race better than the other. Allah created us into tribes, so that we may know one another. It is a blessing from Allah that we have these differences, because through these we see how beautiful the creations of Allah are. When we visit a new place, meet new tribe of people, listen to their language, and taste their local food, isn’t that a blessing from Allah? There’s a new experience, and learning that we get when we befriend other people. But, another form of knowing others is marriage. We can also reflect upon that verse, in a way that it encourages us that there’s nothing wrong in marrying someone outside our own race.
If we just look at Islam, we will find beauty on how it encourages and teaches us to have a perfect marriage that comes in the form of simplicity. But if we look at the reality, we will see a totally complicated set of rulings we set for marriages. There are many parents who still interfere when it comes to the marriage of their children. They are the ones who set qualifications for the perfect spouse for their children such as wealth, education, age, beauty, fame, family background, and race. In most cases, they forget to look at the Deen of the person which is the most important one because they are blinded of other qualifications that will not benefit the marriage. And when their children found the right one for them, they interfere and if that someone doesn’t qualify their qualifications they are being rejected. And worse is they force the children to marry someone they don’t like and at the end, they won’t have a successful marriage.
Inter-tribal and interracial marriages are not forbidden in Islam. There are many verses that actually encourage us to know other races and we can learn from the life of Prophet Muhammad that he married women from different races. For the parents who think that race is a big thing to reject a faithful spouse for your children, then think again. Don’t let racism destroy your children’s life.