It is commonly claimed that Islam is anti-black, even inherently bent on enslaving Black Africans. Western and African critics alike have contended that anti-black racism is in the faith’s very scriptural foundations and its traditions of law, spirituality, and theology. But what is the basis for this accusation?
Bestselling scholar Jonathan A.C. Brown examines Islamic scripture, law, Sufism, and history to comprehensively interrogate this claim and determine how and why it emerged. Locating its origins in conservative politics, modern Afrocentrism, and the old trope of Barbary enslavement, he explains how antiblackness arose in the Islamic world and became entangled with normative tradition. From the imagery of ‘blackened faces’ in the Quran to Shariah assessments of Black women as ‘undesirable’ and the assertion that Islam and Muslims are foreign to Africa, this work provides an in-depth study of the controversial knot that is Islam and Blackness, and identifies authoritative voices in Islam’s past that are crucial for combatting anti-black racism today.