Virtue of Arabs

Mar 16, 2023 | Miscellaneous


Sheikh there is this hadith i came across saying that Allah chose kinanah from quraish and quraish from banu hashim and banu hashim from the prophet i disagree with these hadith bcoz the prophet said there is no superiority of arab over non arab except taqwa so how does one reconcile two coz they are classical scholars who support arab virtue over others kindly clarify


First and foremost, we should not disagree with a hadith simply because we do not understand it, but rather seek clarification from the people of knowledge.

The first hadith referred to has been recorded in Jami’ at-Tirmidhi. The Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed Allah has chosen Isma’il from the children of Ibrahim, and He chose Banu Kinanah from the children of Isma’il, and He chose the Quraysh from Banu Kinanah, and He chose Banu Hashim from Quraysh, and He chose me from Banu Hashim” (Tirmidhi 3605). Imam Tirmidhi has declared this narration to be authentic.

The second hadith is a narration found in Musnad Ahmad in which the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Oh people, your Lord is one and your father [Adam] is one. Indeed there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa…” (Musnad Ahmad 22978).

It is evident from the numerous Qur’an verses and hadiths that superiority in Islam is not through colour, race or lineage but rather measured through piety (taqwa). “Indeed the most noble of you to Allah is the most righteous among you” (Surat al-Hujurat 49:13). The second hadith you are referring too also resonates with this notion.

As for the first hadith, Allah Almighty has indeed favoured some nations, by bestowing them with divine revelation for example. This is not because of their race but rather due to their righteous deeds. That does not mean that every individual from the Quraysh or the Banu Hashim tribe will by default be regarded as superior than other tribes, but rather the favour will also be lost with the loss of righteousness just like in the case of the Banu Isra’il. In our scenario, the Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) was known to be from the most prestigious tribe from amongst the Arabs, not because of race but due to their good qualities, such as generosity, bravery, high aspirations, etc. This does not mean that Abu Jahal and Abu Lahab will fall within this ‘favour’ by default.

Ibn Taymiyyah explains in detail regarding the favour given to the Arabs in his Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, “The reason for this favour, and Allah knows best, is because of their intellect, their language, their character, and their deeds…” (1/447). In another place he writes, “The favour is [given] only with [upholding] the praiseworthy terms [mentioned] in the Qur’an and Sunnah, such as Islam, faith, righteousness, piety, knowledge, good deeds, spiritual excellence and so on; and not simply because of a person being Arab or non-Arab, black or white…” (1/415).

It is clear from the above that Ibn Taymiyyah did not mean that the Arabs are superior in general, but were favoured over other nations due to their nobility and characteristics amongst other things.

اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم لمخالفة أصحاب الجحيم (1/ 415) والفضل إنما هو بالأسماء المحمودة في الكتاب والسنة مثل: الإسلام، والإيمان، والبر، والتقوى، والعلم، والعمل الصالح، والإحسان، ونحو ذلك، لا بمجرد كون الإنسان عربيا، أو عجميا، أو أسود، أو أبيض، ولا بكونه قرويا، أو بدويا.

اقتضاء الصراط المستقيم لمخالفة أصحاب الجحيم (1/ 447) وسبب هذا الفضل – والله أعلم – ما اختصوا به في عقولهم وألسنتهم وأخلاقهم وأعمالهم، وذلك أن الفضل: إما بالعلم النافع، وإما بالعمل الصالح.

التنوير شرح الجامع الصغير (3/ 268) واصطفى من بني كنانة قريشًا واصطفى من قريش بني هاشم واصطفاني من بني هاشم) وفيه جواز التحدث بتشريف النسب وهو من التحدث بنعمة الله واصطفاء الله لهذه القبائل بأن جعل إليها أمر الناس وجعلها أهل صفات الخير من الكرم والشجاعة والنجدة وعلو الهمة

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel