Our duty to acknowledge the issues of division, body shaming and colourism
We must be very careful not to become part of the encouragement of the issues of colourism, body shaming and division. These are very prevalent issues but are also often overlooked. Sometimes not enough importance is given to tackle these issues or even see them as serious issues.
We must remember that these behaviours are not in line with Islamic teachings. It is our duty to avoid engaging in these attitudes as well as do what we can to prevent them from developing further.
Colourism is when someone faces discrimination purely due to the colour of their skin. We can see that there have been various products advertised openly, without any backlash to remove them from the market, which are advertised in a way that suggest a person with a darker skin tone would want to have a lighter skin tone, or vice versa.
In parts of the world people are also treated differently due to the colour of their skin, where people are given priority based on the colour of their skin. There has been some improvement in preventing this kind of discrimination over the years, but it is clear that colourism still exists. Discrimination in any form is not in line with the teachings of Islam, so we should avoid this.
Body shaming is another serious issue that has spread and it is also something that is not in line with Islamic teachings. None of us have been given the right by our Creator to criticise someone or discriminate against them due to their body shape, size, weight, or anything else for that matter. We must remind ourselves that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Allah does not look at your appearance or your wealth, but He looks at your hearts and your deeds.” (Muslim)
Islam does not teach us to cause divide, rather it teaches us to promote unity and care for each person. We should never think that we are above anyone, neither should we ever see others as less than us.
Divide even happens within countries. Sometimes people do not get along with those who are from a different city or district to them. Others automatically see themselves as above another person purely because of the difference in the political parties they support. We must keep in mind that Islam teaches us the importance of unity. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favour of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?” (Musnad Aḥmad)
It is a commonly known issue that in parts of the world people choose who they will marry based on skin colour. In the same situation, people also face discrimination due to their height. We must be extremely cautious to avoid this mentality and discrimination, as well as aid in the prevention of this discrimination developing further. Our focus should not be on anything aside from being noble and sincere in the eyes of Allah. We read in the Holy Qur’an:
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (the pious)]. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Qur’an 49:13)