Christal Joan- Black, British AND Muslim header

Black, British AND Muslim?

The 'Basmallah', used by Muslims because we believe every good deed should begin in the name of Allah. All the articles on Christal Joan will start with the Basmallah because nothing is possible without Allah

 

 

 

This is a topic that is close to my heart. I am Black British as most people would describe it. My mom was born here in the UK, the first generation from a Kittian mother (from St Kitts) and a Monstratton father (from Monserrat). My dad was born in Jamaica and came to England when he was about 17 with his younger brother. My grandmother was already in the UK.

Christal Joan: Black, British AND Muslim

Growing Up Black British

Both my mum and dad experienced racism here in the UK. “No Irish, no blacks, no dogs” as my grandad described it in the early days. They didn’t suffer it as badly as my grandparents did but the UK was still extremely overtly racist.

Then my sister and I were born, she in the 80’s me in the 90’s. Again, my sister most likely experienced more racism than me but I had my fair share. Mostly when I hit my older years.

We were raised in a majority white area where it was very rare to see a black family thriving the way we were. We had a nice 3 bedroom house in suburbia. Took frequent holidays abroad, dad owned his own business and mom owned her own house before they married. We were like that black family that people always say they’d like to see on TV. Mom, dad, kids. The only thing we were missing was a pet dog!

As I got older, the racism turned from being from outside of the black community and hearing things like “you’re not like other black people”. As if they’d met every black person on the planet.  And slowly soured into colourism within the black community. I am a dark-skinned black woman which brings its own level of discrimination. I’ve heard things like “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” and others to that effect. Then, I became Muslim.

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(If you’ve watched The Boondocks, you’ll know who this guy is ^^^)

 

Islam and Racism

In his last sermon the Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

 

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.

 

This to me is Islam in a nutshell but many Muslims have forgotten this.

I see the looks I get when I go to halaqahs (Islamic circles) or the mosque and I’m the only black Muslim there. I know the questions they want to ask but are too awkward to approach me. I’m aware that if Allah swt had not already blessed me with a husband it may be difficult for me to get married because of my skin colour.

I also know how wrong all of these statements are in light of our beautiful religion but Islam should not be judged based on the people that follow it. It needs to be judged on the example of our Messenger (saw) and the words of Allah swt.

 

Accepting Bilal

We all know about the struggles of Bilal (ra) and how there were some people that just refused to accept him for the man he was first and foremost, putting his race aside. For some Muslims today it’s no different. Racism is a form of pride and the one with just a speck of pride in their heart will never enter paradise.

Would the majority of the Muslim world let Bilal (ra) marry their daughters? Unfortunately, I’d have to answer no. But these same people will parade Bilal (ra) around as the “token black Muslim” and an explanation as to why there is no racism in Islam. The minds boggles.

As a black Muslim in the beginning, I found it hard to find my ‘place’ in Islam. The strong connection between our melanated skin and Islam has too often been pushed under the carpet or trivialised.

 

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InshaAllah by sharing these posts, I’ll be able to help black Muslims that may be feeling the same way.

 

This post was inspired by #BlackandMuslininBritain for Black History Month.

CHRISTAL JOAN Blog Signature

 

18 thoughts on “Black, British AND Muslim?

  1. Sadaf F K. says:

    Every human kind on this planet earth are equally beautiful and capable. We have no right to judge people based on their appearance, color or even religion. More power to you, stay strong. INshaAllah! x

  2. Fozia S says:

    Oh I didn’t realise there was ‘colourism’ in the black community too. We have that aswell..the fairer you are the move prettier you are apparently.

    Unfortunately there is a lot of hypocrisy within Muslims. In sha Allah we can eventually move away from these wrong attitudes.

    • Christal Joan says:

      Insha Allah sis. From the response I’ve got from this article, it seems colourism is within every community which makes me feel so sad.

  3. Nazrin says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It is really so important, it is imperative to recognize the trials and the tribulations our fellow brothers and sisters go through because of our own community. Why is our own community the first to make you feel like you don’t belong. Its a horrible feels. You’re in my thoughts & in my prayers Christal.

    • Christal Joan says:

      Jazakillahu khayrun sis. There’s a lot of baggage that comes along with the black community which is a whole different blog post, but I understand that pride of this kind will always be around and it’s just our responsibility to educate and try to help people understand why it’s not acceptable

  4. ThrifDeeDubai says:

    Wow I can relate to so much in this post
    I’m mixed race, brought up in a predominantly white area & had the “you’re not like black people” comments…. nor was I like the white people!! 😂
    My grandmother met my grandfather (a Jamaican) at the hight of influx of West Indians to London (Notting Hill) she was the first in her HUGE family (& area) to marry a black man! It was taboo, unheard of & they faced lots of stick, but Alhamdulillah made it through and made our family together…
    You know all my years born & bred in London, I never actually “felt” racisim till I was a Muslim in hijab subhanAllah… I’ve had the snide comments & looks, but nothing as blatant as being told to “eff off back to my own country” or nasty looks because I wear hijab!…. or even worse, my own father (mixed race Jamaican &English) almost disowning me because I converted to Islam!
    Alhamdulillah for everything & just wanted to thank you for your post… I did read the other day but only commenting now!

    • Christal Joan says:

      You know what sis I can totally relate. Like I had the odd racist comment and micro aggression before I became Muslim but BAM as soon as I started wearing hijab it was like I was getting it from all sides and I couldn;t understand why!
      I feel it for our grandparents because they’ve worked so hard for this country and STILL were made to feel like outsiders. Fast forward a few decades and now born and bred here we’re the outcasts because we chose to follow what some people deem to be a “foreign” religion.
      I’ve had a lot of response from people who are mixed race on this article and I think subhanAllah that’s a whole different kettle of fish, people trying to box you into one race when you’re both or people preferring one part of you over another, its peak!
      Jazakillahu khayrun for the comment I really enjoyed hearing your part on this

  5. Zainab Dokrat says:

    Living in Africa I do see it happen but not as often, I think Indians experience ‘colourism’ as well and it’s very sad. May Allah guide us to be better and may Allah make it easy for those who do experience such struggles.

    • Christal Joan says:

      Ameen. There’s always been controversy in Africa, especially of late with the Dove/ Nivea campaigns promoting the skin bleaching of darker skinned women. It’s such a shame

  6. Bint i Noor says:

    Being black is not a bad thing. Our young child some times also feels something sensitive living with white. I was also thinking to write story for kids. As they need to know that color didn’t matter, but our self esteem and great work. Great artical.

    • Christal Joan says:

      Jazakillahu khayrun sis. every skin colour is beautiful but our perceptions of beauty are so warped children are growing up thinking otherwise. As parents the responsibility is on us insha Allah

  7. Nasra says:

    I find this topic interesting but sad at the same time. Thank you for this post. Colourism is real, and unfortunately something that is common in Muslim communities. May Allah help us change so that the next generation doesn’t have to go through this.

    • Christal Joan says:

      Ameen! A lot of it is to do with pride and a lot is to do with ignorance. Alhamdulillah there are some beautiful souls out there that don’t have this mindset though

  8. Lubna says:

    InshaAllah we can pray for better tomorrow….But I never knew racism was this severe in other countries…May Allah SWT bless you and give you strength….

    • Christal Joan says:

      Ameen sis. Yes it can get very bad but there are some beautiful souls out there that make the harder days bearable insha Allah

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