Monday, January 30, 2012

Prophet Muhammad, the Arabs and the Many Shades of Blackness

By Wesley Muhammad, PhD

Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Minhājī al-Asyūtī (d. 1475) in his Jawāhir al-‘uqud wa-mu’īn al-qudāt wal-muwaqqi’īn wal-shuhūd [II:574], which is a two volume composition of principles and models to be followed by judges, notaries and witnesses in drafting legal decisions, has a section on human complexions in which he reports about the many shades of blackness (and whiteness) and their technical legal descriptions:

“If a person’s complexion is intensely black (shadīd al-sawād), he is described as hālik. If his/her blackness has a red hue, he/she is daghmān. If his complexion is lighter than that, he is asam. If the blackness has a yellow hue, he is aṣḥum. If his complexion in dark (kudra), it is described as arbad. If the complexion is lighter than that (i.e. arbad), it is abya. If there is less of a yellow hue and the complexion inclines toward black (al-sawād), it is ādam. If it is lighter than arbad and darker than ādam, it is shadīd al-udma. If it is lighter than ādam, it is shadīd al-sumra (“intensely dark brown”). If lighter than that, it is asmar (dark brown).”

In Classical Arabic Tradition several shades and hues of blackness, several shades of brownness, and several shades of whiteness were distinguished. There are very black complexions with red hues (e.g. daghmān) and very black complexions with yellow hues (e.g. aṣḥam). Both of these complexion-types exist in Africa today, as elsewhere. The most extreme degree of blackness is hālik, ‘pitch-black’.  The last stage of blackness is asmar, which is actually a brown.

The question is thus not whether or not the ancient Arabs, and thus the Arab Prophet, were black or not. The clearly self-identified as black. The question is: which shade of black were they?

The Arabs generally self-identified as akhdar, ādam, and asmar which range from very dark brown to normal brown (which is a much darker color than tan). They tended to disparage and distance themselves from the extreme pitch-blackness like hālik and attributed this to certain African groups.

Regarding the prophet Muhammad, Al-Tirmidhi, in his Jami’ al-Sahih (VI:69 no. 1754), reports on the authority of the famous Companion of the Prophet, Anas b. Malik:

"The Messenger of Allah was of medium stature, neither tall nor short, [with] a beautiful, dark brown-complexioned body (hasan al-jism asmar al-lawn). His hair was neither curly nor completely straight and when he walked he leant forward."

Al-Tirmidhi reports in his al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyyah (#1), also on the authority of Anas b. Malik,

 "The Messenger of Allah (s) was neither tall, such that he would stand out, nor was he short. He was not albino-white (al-abyad al-amhaq), nor was he deep dark brown (ādam). His hair was neither very curly nor completely straight. Allah commissioned him towards the end of his fortieth year. He remained in Mecca for ten years and in Medina for ten years. Allah caused him to pass away at the turn of his sixtieth year and there was not found on his head and beard [as much as] twenty white hairs."

This report does not stand in contradiction to the other reports according to which the Prophet was dark brown-skinned, because asmar is not ādam. According to classifications of the Arabic linguists such al-Tha’labi, ādam is a more excessive blackness than asmar. What is therefore denied here is that Muhammad was one of the more excessively black Arabs, like the Banu Sulaym maybe.

Hālik African

Ādam Arab

An Asmar Arab (right) as depicted in Michel Ocelot’s animated feature film Azur and Asmar, telling the story of an Arab boy named Asmar, representing the Arab World, and a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy named Azur, representing the West.  


  1. I can't wait for you new Book!
    Dr. Wesley Muhammad keep up excellent work you are doing!

  2. Many of those in the Afrocentric movement are very deceitful. They act just like their Christian missionary slavemasters!

    In my personal opinion, many of the Neo-Afrocentrics (the blood lusters) you see on YouTube and Blog Radio are agents!

    The youths are being kidnapped by Afrocentricity and hip hop!

    Many of the Afrocentrics are doing a very poor job in representing the Maatic Laws!

    1. They are practicing fornication and try to justify it!
    2. They are selling drugs and try to justify it!
    3. They are taking drugs themselves!

    The Biggest Problem:

    The White God image in the minds of Afrocentrics!

    Some of them have been affected with the White Jesus Picture imprinted in their minds every time they think of God!

    They the Afrocentrics need healing of this deep rooted problem.

    In my opinion, The Europeans invented Afrocentricity to detour Black people from accepting their own and being themselves. (Black Islam) Umayyad

  3. Dr. Wesley Muhammad: Keep up the Excellent Job you are doing!
    I can't wait to buy your new Book!

    Classical Arabic color classification:

    Arab=Pure Black!

    Dalham: Pitch black!

    Akhdar: green! In the classical Arabic when the Arabs referred to
    (someone) as green they mean one who has a black complexion!

    Adam: Dark brown; black mortal, (intelligent), polite, honest,
    (virtuous); one who has mutual understanding, love and affection; one who is evolved from different substances; one who is in possession of different powers, one who enjoys the comfort of life;

    Ahmar: red! In the classical Arabic when the Arabs referred to someone as red they mean one who has white skin.

    Azraq: blue! In the classical Arabic when the Arabs referred to someone as blue they mean one who is blue-eyed with (white) skin.

    Abyad: white! In the classical Arabic when the Arabs referred to someone as white they do not mean one with white skin, but one who is pure, clean, innocent, faultless integrity and has a noble virtuous character.
    When the Arabs say so and so is white they also referred to someone who has a golden brown complexion with a black embellishment or someone who has a light-brown undertone with black skin.
    Abyad: clear, lumunosity!

    Classical Arabic classification colour codes:

    Arabia: The People of Arabia was of a (adam) or (aswad) black complexion!

    Persia: The People of Persia was of a (ahmar) white complexion!

    Romans: The People of Rome was of a (azraq) white complexion!

    Turks: The People of Turkey was of a (ahmar) white complexion!

    The Ancient Black Arabs prided themselves with their blackness of skin! They referred to people who had white skin as the non-Arabs.
    Most of the slaves in Ancient Black Arabia were of white skin!
    All the hadiths, commentaries & auto-biographies of the Prophet Muhammad are forgeries by the Persians, Romans and Turks! These forgeries were written almost 300 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad!
    The Prophet Muhammad was of the People of Ancient Black Arabia!
    He was describe as (abyad) and (hasan al-jism asmar al-lawn)!
    1. Abyad (white): a virtuous character, innocent, pure and clean having a golden brown complexion with a black embellishment or a light brown undertone with black skin!
    2. Hasan al-jism asmar al-lawn: a beautiful, dark brown complexion!

    Ibn al-Rumi stated: (Abbasid) era of Persian and Roman Aranization:
    You insulted (the family of the Prophet Muhammad) because of their blackness, while there are still deep black, pure blooded Arabs. However, you are blue-eyed with white skin- the Romans (Byzantines) have embellished your faces with their color.
    Al-Jahiz stated:
    The Arabs pride themselves in their black color.
    Muawiya the Umayyad Caliph of the (Umayyad) Dynasty: Stated to two of his advisers:
    I see that these white folks have become very numerous and are saying bad things about those who have passed. I can envision a daring enterprise from them against the authority of the Arabs. I am thinking of killing half of them and leaving half of them [to be slaves] to set up markets and to build roads.

    1. Another example of the way "white" was used in Arabic is in his descriptions of the Tuareg. Ibn Battuta uses the word for the Bardama women. Bruce Hall quotes Ibn Battuta's 14th century description in A History of Race in Muslim West Africa " the description of the women of a Tuareg group called Bardama.'Their women are the most perfect women in beauty and the most comely in figure, in addition to being pure white and fat'" page 34, footnote 2 in A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600 -1960 published 2011.

      In the 14th century Al Umari also described other ancestors of the modern Tuareg Kel Antassar of Mali (Antassar and Yantaras) and Kel Aulamidden of Niger (Lamtuna) as "whites". Since these people are mainly a dark brown with a bronze or gold overcast much like some of the Beja or Fulani it is obvious the word "white" was being used in the Arab sense not the European sense.

  4. I think this verse of the Majestic Qur'an can start the healing!

    In the (Beautiful) Majesty of the Glorious-Loving One,
    The Infinite Good (of unbounded Love & Generosity),
    The Most Beautiful-(Loving).

    2:1 I, the Glorious-Loving One, am the Best Knower.
    2:2 This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who fulfill their duty of
    (guarding) against evil and doing (virtuous-loving) deeds to keep their innate good
    (pure) innocent virtuous nature clean,
    2:3 Who are devoted (with gratitude) to the GREAT UNSEEN (Who is beyond the imaginations) and keep up devotional meditation and spend virtuously out of the provisions and gifts We have given them,
    2:4 And who are devoted (with gratitude) to that which has been revealed to thee and that which was revealed before thee, and of the Hereafter they are sure.
    2:5 These are on a correct course from their Loving-Nurturer, Beautifier, Cherisher and Nourisher unto perfection and these it is that are successful of attaining to the happy state of bliss for achieving full (perfect) development.

  5. Chapter 95:
    Al-Tin — The Fig:
    Revealed at Makkah: 8 verses

    In the (Beautiful) Majesty of the Glorious-Loving One,
    The Infinite Good (of unbounded Love & Generosity),
    The Most Beautiful-(Loving).

    95:1 By the fig and the olive!
    95:2 And mount Sinai!
    95:3 And this city made secure!—
    95:4 Certainly We created the human-being in various-stages with new additions in the most (beautiful) virtuous nature & design with the best and most (beautiful) dimensions with unlimited levels for an all round advancement to attain to the highest perfections.
    95:5 Then We render him the lowest of the low, except
    95:6 Those who are devoted (with gratitude) and do good deeds (for) their (beautification) & (excellence); so theirs is a reward never to be cut off.
    95:7 So who can give the lie to thee after (this) about the Judgment?
    95:8 Is not the Glorious-Loving One the Best of the Judges?

    Surah 41

    41:6 Say: I am only a mortal like you. It is revealed to me that your Object of Love for adoration is One Object of Love for adoration, so keep in the harmonic-balance path to Him, and ask His protection. And woe to the polytheists!
    41:7 Who give not regular charity to nourish their souls and community with (beauty) & (goodness), and who are the undevoted (ungrateful) ones to the Hereafter.
    41:8 Those who are devoted (with gratitude) and do good deeds (for) their (beautification) & (excellence), for them is surely a reward never to be cut off.
    41:9 Say: Are you indeed undevoted (with ingratitude) to Him Who created in
    various-stages with new additions the (physical world) in two evolutionary long periods, and do not set up equals with Him? That is the Loving-Nurturer, the Beautifier, the Evolutioner and the Nourisher unto perfection of all the Universes and all the Systems of (Wisdom), (Intelligence) & (Knowledge).

    41:10 And He placed therein strong mountains rising above the surfaces and showered it with His (gracious-gifts) and placed in it various (nourishments) according to a set measure of dimensions in four evolutionary long periods, alike for all seekers.
    41:11 Simultaneously, He comprehended in His (Perfect) design the Universe, and it had been as (smoke), (vapor), (gas dusts), (gaseous nucleus with tiny particles): He said: to it and to the physical (world): Come both consciously or unconsciously. They both said We do come together in conscious obedience.
    41:12 So He ordained them seven (countless) Universes (with its galaxies) &
    (cosmic-systems) and atmospheres in two evolutionary long periods, and revealed in every Universe, (galaxy), (cosmic-system) and atmosphere its (duties) & (functions). And We (beautified) the lower Universe with shining lamps, and (made it) to guard. That is the decree of the All-Precious, the All-Illustrious, the All-Knowing.

  6. This article makes good points:

    Dr. Wesley Muhammad, keep up the good work!

  7. Topic: Ghetto Scholarship:

    The European powers is the creator of the Afrocentric movement.

    The Europeans created the Afrocentric movement, gangs and hip hop to keep young blacks away from (True) Islam. Umayyad

    The Majestic Qur'an will put young blacks on the harmonic balance path.

    33:35 Surely the men who submits in (beautiful-harmony) and the women who submits in (beautiful-harmony), and the devoted (grateful) men and the devoted (grateful) women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the men who are (patient), (calm) & (enduring) in a goodly manner and the women who are (patient), (calm) & (enduring) in a goodly manner, and the humble (modest) men and the humble (modest) women, and the charitable men and the charitable women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their chastity & (virtue) and the women who guard their chastity & (virtue) and the men who commemorates the (beautiful-majestic qualities) of Allah with much commemorations and the women who commemorates the (beautiful-majestic qualities) of Allah with much commemorations — Allah has prepared for them Divine (help) & (nourishments) for further growth and a (beautiful) generous reward.

    24:55 Allah has promised those of you who are devoted (with gratitude) and do good deeds for your (beautification) & (excellence) that He will surely make them rulers in the vast land as He made those before them rulers, and that He will surely establish for them their Natural Divine System of Code of Life, Government and Constitution, which He has selected for them, and that He will surely give them security and (peace), (health), (beautiful-harmony), (freedom), (delight), (happiness) & (bliss) in exchange after their honor. They will serve Me in (devotional-love), not associating aught with Me. And whoever is ungrateful after this, they are the disobedient, the rebellious.
    24:56 And keep up devotional meditation and give regular charity to nourish your souls and community with (beauty) & (goodness) and obey the Messenger, so that
    (beautiful-nurturing love), (goodness) & (beautiful-gifts) may be showered on you.

    What the laws of Maat says to do, the Afrocentrics don't practice!

    Fantasy of Afrocentrics: Afrocentrics get their scholarship from white Christian Missionaries and atheists!

    Dr. Wesley Muhammad keep on spreading the truth!

  8. Peace Dr. Wesley
    It’s very interesting to see how the original black Arabs had a similar attitude, positive affiliation, and self identification of being black as the black people in West Africa (as well as East Africa).

    Truthfully the similarity is not at all surprising since you said at the ATL lecture that they are cognate peoples.

    Check out the YouTube scholarship (it seems to be logical & well thought out) links:

  9. Simply love it thank you

  10. You are incorrect about the images. The first is Adam, the second is asmar and the this is abyodh. Hoy don't have an image of haalik. Look more to the very dark dinka and nuer of the Sudan.