Did The Ahl ul-Bayt (A) Encourage Interracial Marriages?

The Holy Qur'an says that, "Allah created us from a single male and female, and he made us into nations and tribes. So we come to know one another."[49:13-14] 'li ta'aarafu', in other words, the Qur'an is saying God created you diverse, so cherish and embrace this diversity. Do not reject it and be racist. Accept people from other nations. Accept people from other tribes.

Now, we have two fundamental points when it comes to marriage here. One is race, or ethnicity, or tribe. One is religious values. Let us talk about the race and ethnicity. When Allah sent the Holy Prophet salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alih, the religion of Islam made it clear that when it comes to choosing a spouse, do not look at the tribe. Nowhere did the Prophet say, marry someone from your own tribe.

In fact, we find the Prophet becoming a 'wasita'- 'a medium' to have people from one tribe marry people from another tribe. You are familiar with the story of Juwaybir, and the Prophet sent him to propose for the hand of the daughter of one of the famous Arab men. And he rejected initially, but then when his daughter heard that this was the recommendation of the Prophet, they accepted. The Prophet would recommend that.

In fact, look at the wives of the Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alih. Mariam, did she come from the race of the Prophet? Safiyyah, did she come from the race of the Prophet? No. Some of the wives of the Prophet were not from his tribe or from his family.

Look at the Imams of Ahl ul-Bayt. Subhana Allah, these later Imams of Ahl ul-Bayt, many of their wives came from Africa, because there was so much racism in the Arab world against Africans, no matter how many times you would stand on the pulpit and yell and tell them, "stop this racism, stop this racism". Africans are just your brothers and sisters in faith, there is no difference. People would not listen. So you know what the Imam did? The Imam 'alayhi as-salam, broke those racial lines by marrying women from Africa, from the Libya region, the Morocco region, closer to the Egypt region. Three, four mothers of the Imams came from the African region. Why?

Why do you think Africa accepted Islam my dear brothers and sisters, when the Umayyads and the 'Abbasids were so racist, highly racist. Look at the letters of Mu'awiyah, how racist he is against the Africans. And he teaches his son, he teaches how to get rid of them, how to get them killed in the battle, how to not give them the power to read and write, to do business. Mu'awiyah in one letter, officially he tells, he tells Yazid, you know, make sure that these Africans, you do not give them a good role.

But what attracted Africa to Islam? It started with Imam Zayn al-'Abideen. 'alayhi as-salam. He would buy African slaves, he would educate them, teach them, and then he would send them back to Africa. They preach Islam, Africans would become Muslim. The African continent accepted Islam because of al-Imam Zayn al-'Abideen 'alayhi as-salam.

You know one Hadith says what, Imam Zayn al-'Abideen bought 100,000 slaves and he freed them. Educated them, freed them, 100,000 slaves. Now, do you know how he made the money for that? Because it is costly to buy all those slaves. Where did he get the money from? Any ideas? Where did Imam Zayn al-'Abideen get the money from to buy 100,000 slaves? Because it is costly to buy all those slaves. But he bought them. He freed them. He bought them, he spent on them. He freed them. You know where he got the money from?

Salamu Allah 'alayka ya Amir ul-Mu'minin. You know Imam 'Ali, in those 25 years when he was under house arrest and marginalized, you know what he was doing? He went to an area called Yanbu', today in the the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia of Hijaz, the Imam 'alayhi as-salam planted 100,000 palm trees. Yes. During the 25 years, he would dig wells and he would plant those trees.

And then Imam Hasan and Husayn inherited these places and they dedicated it to the poor. 'Waqf' for the poor. At the time of Imam Zayn al-'Abideen 'alayhi as-salam, he would use money from these farmlands to buy slaves and liberate them. Look at the work of Ahl ul-Bayt, peace be upon them. When others were busy stealing money, the Ahl ul-Bayt were freeing slaves, Subhana Allah! And then the later Imams, they married women from Africa to tell the Muslim world there is no difference between the Arab and the African.

So when it comes to race, tribe, Islam abolished that. Islam does not say marry somebody from your own tribe. In fact, no, Islam says marry someone who has Akhlaq and Faith, regardless of the tribe.