Chapter

Prejudice and Piety, Literature and Law

BERNARD LEWIS

in Race and Slavery in the Middle East

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780195053265
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195053265.003.0004
Prejudice and Piety, Literature and Law

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The chapter presents the evidence of the growth of anti-black prejudice, for which there are two groups of sources: literature, specifically poetry, and anecdote; and religious literature. For the former, several Arabic poets were described as “black ” or “the crow of the Arabs”. In many verses and narratives, they were quoted as suffering from insult and discrimination. They accepted the inferior status resulting from their African ancestry. For the latter, pious Muslims collected hadiths. They are traditions concerning Muhammad's actions and utterances. Both the expressions and the denunciations of racial prejudice make it clear that a major transformation had taken place. The Islamic dispensation condemns the universal tendency to ethnic and social arrogance and proclaims the equality of all Muslims before God. From the literature, it is clear that racial hostility and discrimination emerged within the Islamic world.

Keywords: anti-black prejudice; Arabic poets; Arabs; African ancestry; hadiths; Muslims; racial hostility; Islamic world

Chapter.  4251 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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