Black + Muslim + Woman

 

 
“It’s because you’re black.”

He repositioned himself in the chair, then looked down at his cup of coffee and grabbed the handle. I could tell this conversation made him uncomfortable.

He was from the subcontinent but had the swag of a black brotha. He said he was having a hard time find a sister from his background because he couldn’t relate to them.

“I’m sorry, it’s just my family wouldn’t be happy…” He said this apologetically while taking a small sip from his drink.

I looked at him from across the table before proceeding to give him a piece of my mind. But then I stopped myself.

Why was I shocked?

I thought about how this would have played out totally differently if I was a white girl, and laughed under my breath. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand my white sisters have their own set of problems when it comes to marriage. With that being said, I firmly believe that Black women get the shorter end of the stick. Bottom line.

Muslims like to boast about how Islam is such an accepting religion. We refer to the Prophet’s (pbuh) Black companions, such as Bilal, all the time. The stark reality is that many Muslim communities across the U.S. are blatantly prejudiced, insular and unwelcoming to Black folks. The rhetoric we hear in Friday sermons – being brothers to one another and one united family – is often absolutely hypocritical.

As a result, many Black Muslim women remain unmarried and chronically single.

I know many of these sistas.

I am one of them.

In many communities, Black Muslim women are viewed as the most undesirable women as far as marriage prospects. Black people are plagued with stereotypes and generalizations, and these attitudes have seeped into the fabric of our communities. Growing up in a predominantly Arab community, I understood racism at a very young age. As a girl, I was told that Muslims should marry from their “own people.” I realized early that I would not find a husband in that community but thankfully was able to disassociate my negative experiences with my understanding of Islam.

But the question still remains: who is accountable for the horror stories involved with being a Black Muslim in certain communities?

I hold the leaders responsible. Muslims are notorious for sweeping serious issues under the carpet, turning a blind eye, and pretending as though problems such as racism do not exist. We would rather focus on interfaith dialogue than address intrafaith issues or admit that we are the source of some of our problems.

Community leaders need to properly address race relations specifically when it comes to marriage. The Islamic concept of equality needs to not only be spoken of but actually implemented through the support and encouragement of interracial marriage. Leaders need to take a hard look at the demographics of their mosques and address diversity gaps and segregation. Open dialogue and constructive criticism is the key when it comes to addressing this crucial issue.

Like the brother I met over coffee, I know there are many Muslim men out there who prefer chocolate sistas but refrain from venturing further with those prospects due to family and cultural expectations. It is ok to have preferences when it comes to potential spouses but at the same time one must be open to new possibilities.  If your preferences are solely based on race, that’s a huge problem. Remember that Allah might send you what you need rather than what you want.

Don’t block love. An open mind and receiving heart will never lead you astray.

Ihssan Tahir is a twenty something self-proclaimed “SistaQueen” living in Chicago. She is a registered nurse and specializes in emergency and trauma medicine. In her spare time she enjoys writing and practicing the violin. You can follow her candid blog about her husband hunting endeavors and relationship tidbits at http://muslimnlove.com/.


68 Comments on “Black + Muslim + Woman”

  1. Fatima says:

    Beautifully written ! As a Muslim/Black/Caribbean Woman I can totally relate🙂

    • muslimnlove says:

      Fatima- Thanks for reading my piece!🙂 Please check out my blog http://www.muslimnlove.com

      • Sanaa says:

        Masha Allah sister excellent article. I’m white but yes racism is ugly creature whose alive & thriving in our community. Its well past time we called this creature out & called the exterminator on it! Loool…Excellent blog sis much love.

        Ma salaam

      • Imran says:

        Assalamu-alaikum sister. I’m an Indian muslim man and my family doesn’t have any problems with me marrying a muslimah from any race. But I personally am not at all physically attracted to Black women(no offense).I think being an independant man I have a right to choose who I want to marry and physical preferences may look shallow but its extremely important for a healthy sexual and long lasting marriage.I’m sure you wont marry just abt any guy( a guy shorter than you by 4 inches) I believe this racism or whatever you’re saying is true and any family, friend’s pressure coercing and influencing the individual’s decision has to end. But you can’t discount the individual’s choice. You see sister, its not just Islam, black women in general(due to western media or simply preference) are largely single. I think this black muslim woman crisis is an extension of the single black woman crisis in the US where 70% of black women are single.If you are a pious, humble, religious woman, I’m sure many men would be eager to marry you. But with the whole media and people’s preference in light skinned women, it is a little hard.

      • Rajah Feetal says:

        I think the “not at all physically attracted to Black women” speaks to the issue talked about, Imran, in this post. I would love the reasoning behind the “not at all.” If one digs deeper, then the “not at all” loses its rationality. How is one female different than the other? It couldn’t be education, because Black women are educated too. It can’t be height or weight, because Black women come in all shapes and sizes like other races. It can’t be personality, because we come from various regions, backgrounds, families, and communities which shape our personality. It can’t be religion, because Black women practice Islam, Christianity, and other faiths. It can’t be our relationship status, because many of us are single. It can’t be oppression, because all minorities have been oppressed in some shape or form historically. I think it has something to do with how color is power for other races. Power helps one to attain money and/or wealth. Power helps one to attain a better status in society. People want White people power, money, and status. The attraction is toward what those people have worked for in modern times and what their ancestors took in colonial times. Unfortunately, many men have been brained washed to believe that Blackness is synonymous with pain, misfortune, grief, and debt. It is true that the untold story is that Blacks are treated like immigrants within their own country except the resources among immigrants are disproportional. The more positive and uplifting assistance goes towards immigrants from other countries. The more negative and degrading assistance which keeps them in a subclass goes to the Blacks. Politics, laws, and stereotypes have kept Blacks within a subclass. In contrast, an Indian from a low caste system in India could immigrant to America, receive immigrant resources, and interbred with someone with better resources (i.e. a White woman) in America. He can then pretend he is “not at all physically attracted to Black women.” He thinks he is better. He just was able to get around his oppression better. Blacks need to learn how to get around their oppression…and you can’t get people to like you if all they care about is what’s inside their pocket.

  2. Alan Howard says:

    This is a HUGE issue, but I don’t think it is an “either/or” deal. In other words I don’t think it is just racism/prejudice within the community or just a sort of “tribalism” within the American Muslim community – it is both at the same time.
    I have seen this in action myself. People from some communities not wanting to marry or be around other members of the community because they are black or even more sad, in the same community but “too dark”. The American Muslim community is very diverse and this is a strength, but when boiled down to its most primal level (e.g. marriage, or babies, etc.) the color issue raises its head again and again.
    The tribalism part is another problem. People want to be in a community that looks like them and thus they separate themselves and are not friendly towards outsiders. Thus there are Albanian mosques, and Arab mosques and Desi mosques, African-American mosques and…..well you get the picture. I have been to several and they are usually very insular and while visitors are welcome if you want to stay they tend to be less welcoming. This is true of authentically African-American mosques I’ve visited, as well as Turkish, etc. I think this also plays a factor in the prejudice/racism within the community – it is not that they are nasty in their views so much as they view anyone not of their group as an “other” and not worthy of marriage or whatever.
    It is important to shed light on this this dark (no pun intended) place. Thank you for raising it.

    • Gustavo Gutierrez says:

      You’re right.

      The community is divided, but we must realize, Islam is like Christianity. We have our “denominations” (sects, madhabs, etc.).

      But the “marriage crisis” seems to be an issue for all young Muslims regardless of race. I think the problem lies with the community being “out of touch” with the reality in the United States. Our imams are mostly “imported” from other countries, many lack the credentials to address the needs of the faithful born and raised in the United States, etc.

      • Mikael Mirsab says:

        Do you think the on going need for American born and raised imams has gone unanswered or are the brothers not stepping into their responsibilities?

    • muslimnlove says:

      Alan, I always appreciate your comments. The “color” issue is definitely a problem within our communities. Maybe because I grew up in a family where everyone was literally a different shade of brown this problem wasn’t bought to my attention until I began “looking” for a husband. I am really starting to think the only way to solve the marriage crisis is to intermarry!

      • Sanaa says:

        Sister if we were all mixed I wonder what then we would find to discriminate against each other then?
        If you find a brother who appreciates you as you are I urge you to consider him strongly despite his background.

  3. Sophie says:

    Thank you for this post. As you state, there are many issues in our communities, including racism. I deliberately use the plural ‘communities’ because Muslims are not one monolithic community in the US. In fact, there are plenty of issues between the variety of Muslim nationalities, cultures and ethnicities found in the U.S., and not just between African-Americans and what are termed the ‘immigrant’ communities. There are sometimes lots of issues WITHIN one ethnic community as well. People don’t implement Islam perfectly – they fall short. They often use Islam to emphasize certain values that they’ve adopted in their own cultural environments. Oftentimes what is termed as irrational racism is just straight up avoidance of a culture perceived as very different / ‘foreign.’ I am in my 40s, born in Pakistan, and grew up in the U.S. from the age of 5. I consider myself an “in-betweener” – immigrant-American, etc. There was a time I longed for the full “Americanness” of my peers, especially the younger ones, of being born in the U.S., but alhamdulillah, I’ve come to embrace my unique in-between state. I understand my parents’ generation’s concerns — not to say they are monolithic, always rational, or perfectly in alignment with every single aspect of Islam. But I find that the younger American Muslims, along with African-American, White and other “non-immigrant” Muslims, do the same thing, just in ways that they/we don’t always perceive because we are residing in the culture that reinforced in our outlook / values. Our parents are now removed from the culture. American Muslims have no official centralized hierarchy, priesthood, leadership, etc. Bottom line is this: if a person wants to marry someone from another culture, race, etc., the onus is on them to carry it forward and be strong enough to go through with it despite family opposition. Of course there are African Americans married to ‘immigrant’ Muslims. As you probably know, sometimes ‘immigrant’ parents oppose their children’s preferences for spouses even within the same ethnic community, for a variety of reasons. The issue is not (sorry for the pun) ‘black and white’ as many younger American Muslims make it out to be. Think about it this way: if the brother is going to put his parents’ wishes before his, he really may not be the right man for you. He also may be using his parents’ ostensible ‘racism’ as a way to weasel out of it for his own reasons. Not making aspersions here, just food for thought.

    • Fatima says:

      I agree with you Sophie that brothers and sisters should stand firm and not capitulate to the prejudices of their parents/ communities when it comes to choosing a spouse. At the end of the day, they are the ones (and not their parents) who have to live with the choice. But for me, the bottom-line is that in this and age, Muslims should NOT have to be faced with such a situation. When it comes to choosing a spouse, deen, morals, personality and compatibility should come before ethnic affiliations or the colour of one’s skin. Sister Ihssan is right in that we need to have open dialogue about these issues – Muslim communities are way too insular and prejudice must be addressed..

      • maliurj says:

        Big up to Ukhti ihsaan and yourself Ukhti Fatima. This is a nasty topic to even address. It is sickening to see how hypocritical our fellow Muslims are. I have to refrain myself by Allah’s mercy, from falling back into the pit of jahalya whenever this topic surfaces. I truly hate this element of ignorance that seems to run vein deep within the majority of Muslims all around the world. It is toxic to the deen and it brings a poisonous presence to the stage of human relations. The real issue is that as long as your skin color is dark, you will never be accepted by most emerging Muslim immigrants. Even if the sons and daughters do accept, the ignorance of these parents will continue to create a wedge between common sense and pure unadulterated illiteracy and ignorance. They would sacrifice their Islam for the ignorance of a medieval culture. And I am not targeting any specific group because they are all guilty of this nonsense. Imagine one cannot go to a masjid and feel comfortable because you don’t look like the majority that attend that specific masjid. If I knew these people before my actual knowledge of Islam, they would have certainly soured my disposition to this beautiful deen. That is why when Allah SWT allows a revert to enter the portals of deen, the reality is encountered that no one is a true Muslim until he/she can sacrifice their culture for Al Islam instead of sacrificing Al Islam for their culture. I am so sick of it.

    • muslimnlove says:

      You make some excellent points! At the end of the day we must realize Muslims are simply people and we have flaws just like any other folks. Thanks for the comment.

      • Sanaa says:

        I agree 100%, Am completely for promoting unity & peace in our Umrah. It needs to be called out. Am sickened with pampering this nonsense. If the 5 year olds can manage to behave in kindergarten so can we! At the very least respect Allah’s house & tuck your claws in sisters.

        Something as simple as posting a few reminders on doors & windows for us to mind our mouths & manners in Allahs house would go a long long ways. Take maybe 10 minutes & cost pennies!

        Am sure many of our brothers & sisters who are of EVERY ethnic background would also appreciate it.

        Maybe I,m dreaming just don’t understand why its allowed, We need to start somewhere!

  4. You’ve managed to get me to cry twice today, alhumdulullah.
    I cry not because its sad but because its true. I’ve seen it happen between Arabs and Desi Trinidadians…

    I posted this question on my Instagram earlier this month. And one brother said it correctly: its BS. In more eloquent words: its a cop out. If you care for someone and their deen is on point, why do you not believe that Allah(swt) will protect your union? Isn’t it HIM (swt) alone whom we should turn to?

    I’ve only known a couple of mixed race/ethnicity couples that have stood up against prejudice and cultural ism in this deen. May Allah(swt) preserve their unions, Ameen

    Being a recent divorce I have said that color and culture were not an issue for me. I wanted to marry a practicing Muslim man. That’s ‘Muslim’ with a capital ‘M’.

    May Allah(swt) make our Deen stronger so we may all break the ranks and rules of culture of this Deen.

  5. baheera jannan says:

    LET US BE CRYSTAL CLEAR. it is not because you are black. it never has been, and it never will be. there is no fault, sin, or error in your skin, hair, or ethnic makeup. this is a disgusting way for guilty party to avoid acceptance of THEIR problem and to project THEIR poor character onto you. and this needs to stop, WHOLESALE! as sure as by His will, Allah so beautifully created you exactly the way He saw fit. and who would argue with their Creator? arrogance!!! moreover, it is because they are racist. no two ways around it. no rationalizing it as ‘preference’ or parental wishes or cultural expectations. your preference may be informed by racism, your parents wishes may be motivated by racism, as well as those repugnant cultural expectations. but people who are low in their humanity need to STOP saying “it’s because you’re black” when really it’s because they are racist-sub-humans!

    wa’alaikum as’salaam
    bjm

  6. naeem says:

    Well written. As a member of the Pakistani community, I am saddened by the racist attitude towards dark skin. Its not just them – stores in Pak, India, Thailand, Malaysia etc, are full of skin lightening creams. we dont just hate Black women .. we also hate our own who have dark skins. I am sorry you got treated badly.

  7. abdassamad says:

    Dear Ihssan, as-salamu alaikum,

    You may find it surprising to know that many of us whose colour is quite different from yours have heard a muttered “gora – whitey” from someone from the Sub-continent and can thus empathise with you.

    It has been notoriously difficult for outsiders of any colour or race to marry into Indo-Pak families for a long time, although now it is lightening (!?) a bit.

    Never mind, love has a long established track record of breaking down all sorts of barriers of race, class, language and religion, but not always with happy results; witness Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

    Wa’s-salam,

    Abdassamad

  8. amina wadud says:

    This is just stunning! So brilliantly written.

    Alas, I admit I am ashamed to learn this is STILL the case in the 21st century!! I don’t know WHY I had hopes we had out lived this antique mentality (this Jahiliyya mentality). Must have been wishful thinking on my part.

    I thank Allah for making you as strong as you are beautiful my sister…

  9. Asiila Imani says:

    as salaam alaikum rahmatullah.

    this reminds me of my early days as a new convert, early 80’s.
    i went to a conference and sisters collected all the names and numbers of the single sisters to pass to the single brothers who were looking for wives.

    for a full week i got plenty of calls from Arab brothers, and wallahi, the conversations were identical…

    brother: as salaam alaikum!
    me: walaikum salaam.
    brother: are you sister jackie?
    me: yes.
    brother: are you white?
    me: no.
    brother: ok, never mind…(click)

    having already been warned of the “fear of the dark” plaguing too many Arabs, i found it quite amusing.

    hate to hear the madness continues.

    asiila

    • maliurj says:

      Ukhti many of these people are just plain illiterate…lack good old Islamic education; the way it was taught during the times of Rasullulah SAAWS.

    • Samira says:

      Wa alaikum salaam wrwb. Sister,

      Being married to an Arab before. You didn’t miss anything with those knuckleheads. Thank Allah everyday for those brothers saying, “never-mind” and ask any revert who has to deal with their families.

      Those people don’t even love each other, that’s why they are killing and running from each other.

      I really wish African-American would get over them. Stop crying over migraines. Allah is covering over us. Alhamdullilah.

      We have issues to deal with at home. Their clan/tribal wars are too much for me. Just think of the Somalis fighting over clans. The Arabs not marrying because of tribes. Sisters, I’ve had lots of decent Arab brothers asking to marry me; I’m dark. But, I can’t deal with their other issues.

      Peace and take care!

  10. Saida Abdul-Aziz says:

    Dear Ihssan,
    I have been around a long time and I can definitely say that I would rather know where I stand than to marry and have my heart broken. We need to look deeper than race at failing to truly follow the sunnah and to adopt Islamic adab as the main culprits that have brought us to this place.

    Prejudices and hatred are not new phenomena. They have been around and will continue to be here because all us us have these characteristic to more or lesser degrees. There is not and will not be Eutopia until Jinnah.

    I humbly submit that first, we look at ourselves. I am black, I am not beautiful, but I am secure in who I am and in my belief that Allah Ta’ala knows what I want, what I need and will provide for me. I have only been single for 6 years since I was 17 years old and I am five months away from being 60. I have never…even in the midst of race riots of the 1960s and 1970s been sequestered to one race. I prefer my men…black men. I see them as the most beautiful, graceful, desirable creatures on earth!, and, so do women I know from most other ethnicities by the way.

    So let’s start with what are we teaching our chıldren about loving themselves, committing to marriage, and making a life worth living, And, what are we saying vs. demonstrating as we reach for and compliment the light babies and shun the others. We are acculturated into the adoption of these thoughts and beliefs from infancy though words and deeds. All men, including black men, are taught that white is beauty, white is right, white is perfection and it is contained in the womb of a white woman through mass marketing and familial or community marketing from birth.

    But, I won’t stop there, what do we as black women expect from a husband? Monogamy…, financial security…devotion…obedience…just what??? Are we prepared to be wives for any man regardless of his race or ethnicity?We share equally in the problems that have befallen all of us…black, IndoPak, Arab, Turk, Malay and so on….Women are suffereing.

    Wake up! prefer abstinence to abuse, accept this test from Allah and walk proudly through life contributing to society in some way. I personally have non-Muslim family and friends so I applaud effıorts at interfaith dialogue and ask that we continue to find some middle ground between faiths to try to intercede in the atrocities that are being carried out and falsely attributed to our Prophet (PBUH) in the name of our Lord, Most Merciful,(Aoothoobillah).

    Take the time to support an orphanage or volunteer to teach the next generation of youth to fteach the next generation something different. Teach them to stand for the right even against other Muslims, teach them to be just and fair and it will solve racism and all the other isms. Muslims from different parts of the world burned and rioted over a cartoon. Where is the rioting over the shopping mall attack and the deaths of innocents? To hell with an IndoPak who refuses to marry you because of his mother hating black skin. She hates it in herself and uses fade cream to conceal it. On hajj one of those wmen came up to me and said you have beauiful hair pray for it to be long on hajj and it will grow over your breast and you will get paradise. Ignorance has no bounds what do you say to such and ignorant statement that she believed was helping me? Know instead that there are worse fates than being single or not marrying someone of another ethnicity whose family will hate you and to whom your children would be dead.

    So my young beautiful, intelligent, and energetic sisters, let’s fix ourselves. See what Allah wants from us with this burden and despite whatever comes, do good works, run marathans when the lonliness strikes, fast and love children who are defenseless, abused and have no hope. Think about the thousands of poor Muslim men who can’t get a wife because they can’t pay her unreasonable dowry, don’t have her look…wrong nose, wrong color, work grade of hair, wrong shoes etc..and not enough education to be in her company.
    Wa Salaam,
    Saida

  11. Ahmed says:

    Salaam
    I am admiring your honest and writing about this issue. its a major issue for Muslims all over the world not just in Western countries. The idea of arranged marriages or marrying your cousin is no longer the answer and Muslim husbands who hope to that their daughter find a suitable wife need to face this reality.
    Thanks for posting this and keep it up.

  12. Chinyere says:

    Salaam, sis,

    This gets me:

    “In many communities, Black Muslim women are viewed as the most undesirable women as far as marriage prospects.”

    How about, almost everywhere, Black [any religion] women are viewed as the most undesirable women for marriage. My mother unintentionally taught me this, with almost these very words, as a young girl. She almost straight up said, “We black women are the least desired of all women.” In med school they talk about hidden curriculum. The way our mothers parent us has a hidden curriculum. My mother is very loving and was originally in NOI back in the day so was down for the cause, so to speak, but even she embodied these hateful thoughts as reality. It’s sad and so not true.

    People like to say is all you need is the one…but it’s hard when that one is hard to come by because you have to cut through social and cultural crap.

  13. Fatma says:

    it’s also time for men to be men, and not cave to the racist views of their parents. we are not to obey parents in that which could harm our deen. if marrying that woman is good for your deen, be a man and make your stand.

    • msbmack says:

      YES! that is all🙂

      • hafsa says:

        its a known fact desi men are so weak anyway they can never stand up for whats right. You don’t need a weak man !

    • Mikael Boulos Mirsab says:

      Fatima and the other sisters

      I realize this reply is long over due seeing the multiple responses in regards to what black Muslim sisters are facing.. I was not raised in Islam but circumstances in my life caused me to humble myself before a God I did not know though I was raised around christian doctrine, was taken to church some Sundays etc
      I was 17 and faced a dark time in my life and I had no answers and a lot of questions, but one truth I held as I was on my knees .was that the God of this world, who I look to serve would not allow me to wander through life not knowing the truth.. Over the river and through the woods 18 years later, I stand before Allah with integrity of heart holding truths found throughout all the books of Abrahamic origin. I study for truth, I fight ideological barricades that hinder my deen in any area regardless if it is presented from a cultural position of Islam or if is a spiritual one. When a man finds a piece of Gold is he happy with just that piece of Gold or does he look to see what more he can find? So should be any and everyone that loves the truth.
      As a White Muslim brother, I will soon see 35. I am at a point that my study and desire is to start a family and be a father, yet, I realize in seeing the racism and prejudices that black Muslim sisters face can be extremely annoying, but at the same token there is a beauty in my black sisters that many cannot see or understand. The wisest man in history wrote a love story and I realize in the beauty he found, that it would be a treasure that many would not see.
      The prophetic word of King Solomon then as well as now still carries spiritual weight. Read Song of Solomon very slowly, ch. 1 verse 5 & 6. There is so much to gain from this book as it took wisdom to see the beauty in a black woman, and at the same time it took the heart of a king to love her. This is the only book throughout all the abrahamic doctrines that specifically talks about loving a black woman and the attributes that emphasis her beauty.
      This book encouraged me to stand against my family in regards to racism, and prejudices, this also gave me an idea of the women that I wish to be the mother of my children. as all my life i have listened to and strived with racial ideology to the point I realize it brews hatred of various degrees. My purpose of heart in fighting racism is through love, to love the best of a black woman I.e Intelligence, hair, figure, accent, eyes, as well as her voice knowing my children will be the manifestation of the union between two races through love.
      It is a truth the two beautiful moments of a day is dawn and dust when dark and light unite and the golden raise shine before all of creation. If that is not a sign of Allah, that Islam should not be divided by color but should be one race through love.then the world is misled.
      Ask Allah for guidance as I did and you might realize the integrity within you might be reserved for a man who’s heart has been fashioned by truth

      • H L says:

        Mashallah. Being Muslim + Black + Female still remains a struggle. I do agree that it takes a certain type of maturity to love a woman–a black woman–for who she is and how Allah made her.

      • basheera jannan says:

        As’Salaamu Alaikum brother! Thanks for references to Song of Solomon. We gotta introduce you to some sistas for real!

      • Thank you muslimnlove for your positive take on matrimonial commitees…I originally posted a not so positive response, because I started to agree with Mikael Boulos Mirsab who stated a truth–a committee won’t change racism. I think that Allah provides for those who wait patiently. So far, I have only received things that I needed and/or wanted when Allah gave them to me when Allah was ready for me to have them. I have tried to speed up that time, because I didn’t want to be like the “Half Agony, Half Hope” writer. But, it is not my call and I accept whatever Allah wants for me–marriage or no marriage.

    • I agree. To quote you, “It’s also time for men to be men, and not cave to the racist views of their parents.” I also think that we need to demand more from our communities, Imans, and/or Masjids. Whether or not we are born Americans…many of us live in this country. Our culture of marriage arrangements in the Muslim community is not the same (I would imagine) as overseas. There need to be matrimonial committees that strive to help Muslim brothers and Muslim sisters locate sociable spouses. Who has a Masjid that has a matrimonial committee?

      • Mikael Boulos Mirsab says:

        That is going to take an endeavor, as many Muslim men are approached about marriage from the Arabic community, and many Muslim brothers white and black are interested or attracted to women of lighter color carmel,, redbone, white ect. With a matrimonial committee or without a brother decides who he wishes to marry and the committe would just be left to make sure that all the females that are available within the community are known to the brothers looking to marry.. it would still be a dance around the problem..

      • muslimnlove says:

        There are many mosques and community center that have matrimonial committees. I understand there is a huge struggle catering to such a diverse community, nonetheless it must be done. A majority of these committees have failed but I commend them for trying.

  14. sakinah says:

    As salaamu alakium beloved beautifully said on so many levels. .keep it coming may Allah bless you in this life and the next

  15. Al-Amin says:

    As salaam alaikum, beautifully written and true, on so many levels. I know for me, and mine, I love, adore, and honor my Black Sisters. Besides Allah the next one (besides my ummi) that I honor and love are my black sisters. And while I would never exclude another ethnic sister for marriage, my first, second, third, and fourth choice, preference, etc… Is for a black sister. My wife now is black, and inshallah if I am ever blessed to get a co-wife, it will be a sister. So I say this to you my lovely Black Muslimah, do not despair of the mercies of our Lord, and his ability to give to you a good, righteous, hard working, Muslim man, that does not feel like he is settling but yet attaining high status, with his receiving from Allah a black sister. Ameen.

  16. Sufi Boy says:

    “When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on
    Earth and extensive corruption.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) [Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah transmitted it.]

  17. maliurj says:

    Hence, what we see and are experiencing is that which our own hands have wrought.

  18. I find it very interesting (and disturbing) that you would go to lengths to single out “desi” men and their families for their “racism” yet there is not talk of why black guys do not want to marry their own women. All the comments also show hostility towards immigrant communities to none of you black sistas are willing to admit that men from your own racial grow are chasing after women of lighter skin tone. Perhaps if the brothas’ were more accepting of you sistas, there would not be so many single ladies here venting about their misfortune.

    • msbmack says:

      faisal – your comment is useless and you should be ashamed. may Allah make it easy for you to condemn all un-islamic behavior, including racist behavior, instead of condemning the woman who brought it to your attention. ameen.

      also, what the author shares here has nothing to do with your misinformation that black men dont want to marry black women and it has everything to do with people like you who want to continue to deny a problem exists and to avoid addressing it. you just proved her point.

      furthermore, your comment was impulsive, inaccurate, disgusting, disturbing, and down right offensive (where did you get all this stereotypical nonsense?). and for your information (you seem to lack accurate info) according to the latest marriage statistics, 88% of black men in america are married to black women. which means, the majority of black men still prefer black women. thank you very much.

      wa’alaikum as’salaam

    • A.T. says:

      This comment is embarrassing.

  19. Yusuf Hameed says:

    It’s sad but Faisal Al-Moori is right to a degree. I have known a lot of black brothers who want the light skinned foreign Muslimahs. My son married a Puerto Rican muslimah.. You should have seen the faces at the Islamic Center when we were in the parking lot after Jumuah. More than one “brother” wanted to know where he found her. Me? I am black and so is my wife of 33 years.

  20. muniibur rahman ibn mabena says:

    Salaam walaikum warahmathullahi wabarakathuh! We refused to be what they wanted us to be and we are what we are. The wood is dry but is still heavy. Until the philosophy that puts one race superior and another inferior and until the colour of a mans skin is no more significant than the colour of his eyes there won’t be socalled brotherhood nor sisterhood in Islam!” Oh messenger some of the desert Arabs are hypocrites…ma’salaam

  21. Juweriya says:

    This article put me in tears, I am a victim of this hidden racial issue. I live in middle east anc being black means chances of getting married is close to Zilch. I am in middle of 30s and I have come to the terms that I’m destined to be spinster the rest of my life.

    I have had good potential with non muslims which has put my belief in test. I dont know what to do.

    • JJ says:

      Juweriya, you will receive happiness in your life, if you allow it. It’s to my belief that “God loves us all”, it is not based on what religion one chooses. Many sisters and brothers are busy caught up in believing that, continue to be single for the rest of their lives. May “God send you a husband, who will accept & love you unconditionally, who is first a true spiritual man, financial stable, committed/devoted to his marriage to you. When you receive him, DO NOT ABUSE/TAKE HIS KINDNESS FOR WEAKNESS, LOVE, RESPECT, AND HONOR HIM. Remember, not to blame him for what has happen in your past. Be receptive of receiving what he will produce in the future. Blessings

    • Samira says:

      Sis;
      Did you really live in the Middle East? Surely, you know that Arab women in their 30’s are having this same problem. Lets not make this a black or skin color thing. It’s not all that. Perhaps you all need to Google “spinsters in Arab countries” it’s truly disgusting.

      Trust me sisters. I’ve been living in the ME for years. We have it good in America. Most of these sisters are miserable. And this goes for the married and single ones.

      Thank Allah. Moving here was an eye opener! I can’t complain every again. Excuse me Allah when I complain.

  22. Dawone says:

    As an African American male 23 about to graduate college with a degree, I often contemplate how my challenge will be when I set out to look for a wife because I do not know how to approach a Muslim woman in America, since we do not have the same access to people’s parents as some people do in other parts of the world.

  23. Naya says:

    It is so true though! Ridiculous! I ran across those but then again MashaAllah I ran into indians , Pakistanis, and Arabs that desired me as a wife. It depends you meet. Alhamdulilah Allah showed me those types of men because I would go into depression. I am still single because I didnt meet the right one yet soIim

  24. rifat says:

    I am a Pakistani Muslim sister (based in UK) who is married to a Ghanian man (who is black). I stood up to some of the elders in my family who said “he is a nice boy but not right for this family” indirectly saying he is not right for you because he is black. My father doesn’t speak to me and we have no relationship. We have experienced racism at all levels since we have been together. From the local imam who refused to read our Nikkah to walking down the street together. We have been happily married for three years and alhumdulliah have two beautiful boys together. The root of all of this is ignorance of Islam and the true meaning of it. When my boys grow up I will teach them the true meaning of islam, educate them and encourage them to marry who they fall in love, irrespective of the colour of their skin.

    • Asiila Imani says:

      Alhamdulillah Rifat. i am SO happy to hear of you and your husband’s marriage. It’s indeed rare, but not unheard of. Back in the 80’s a divorced pakistani sister married an african american man and was disowned by her family; but she and here children were heartily accepted by her husband’s family.

      Kudos to you and other Desi’s who are fighting a really intense form of colorism, from what i gather. You are truly practicing Islam the way it should be.

      Masha’Allah.

  25. Sanaa says:

    Lets be honest. I honestly feel a lot of the racism within Islam at least in the USA. Is started by Muslims who have moved here from other countries.
    Example… having been told by a few of my Arab & Pakistani & also the same from my Sudanese sister friends that American women are usually thought of as whores?

    On & on & continuing onwards. I feel strongly this cancer aka racism is tolerated & babied. Which is the same thing as nurturing & feeding it.

    It continues outside of the masjid. Its very clear some sisters have a face looking as if she has been eating lemons. Nose very high up in the air. Walahy not a cute look really but 1 I see on a regular basis as my neighborhood is full of muslims.

    Heres 1 of the most important points. Their racism which we tolerate & therefore allow. Is obvious to non-muslims who will use it as a reasoning to promote hatred against muslims.
    Still think its harmless?

  26. blackmuslim says:

    Assalamu alaikum sister! We need solutions to this problem.. Its not a new one, nor one that will change any time soon.

    Even Bilal ibn Rabah (ra) left Madinah after the death of the Prophet (saw) due to the rampant discrimination he was facing by the Arabs but now without the Prophet’s protection. That same racism that Muhammad (saw) sought to end and was very vocal about even in his last sermon! If this is how the Arabs belittled the words and actions of Muhammad (saw) who was the best of mankind, what hope do we have in changing their descendants’ hearts 1400 years later? Only Allah can do that.

    We should ignore/boycott marrying people from the very communities that try to make life harder for us (Arab and Desi). I’d gladly marry you sis, but I’m Black British.. so that’s a few thousand miles just for a meeting, plus I need to save up for a dowry in pounds worthy of marrying you haha.. Just be aware that we as Black people cannot look to the actions of others to determine the best course in life, but if we are sure of the truth of Islam and follow the teaching of Allah, then by all means He will not abandon those who call on Him and praise Him.

    • Mikael Mirsab says:

      Asa llama alaikum, I think we as American muslims look to be lead by cultural Islam rather then by the spiritual truth in Islam.. Most Imams are imported, not that their is no sincerity but the depth of study into what the quran says beyond the transliteration, Islam should change for no one or nation or even the international community. In looking at Syria and the Fatwas that were issued have raised eyebrows to what the quran says.. The deviation can not be excusable by the circumstances of war.. In so spiritual Islam is based on truth.. so If faithful Muslim Brother was to take the heart of Muslim sisters captive through truth and faithfulness would it be of Allah to hinder the size of his family, by limiting the number of wives he can take? A man can only possess with his pure, righteous right hand through war? And what he possess MUST BE slaves or captives? Hadith 1825 in Vol. 2 Riyadh-us-Saliheen qoutes (Muslim) One man will be seen followed by 40 women dependent upon him due to scarcity of men or excess of women. The faithful Muslim brothers that are true to spiritual Islam should not be hindered to raise children in truth.. So are all these sponsors around the world in thier status by orders of Allah or our ignorance or failure?

  27. sadeeqah says:

    I know this is no comfort to those wanting to get married, but this does seem to be a growing problem, including in the Middle East, where, according to the media, there are 25 million spinsters of marriageable age across the whole of the Middle East. At least in the West it is possible to be a spinster without having to depend on others for financial support.

  28. […] Ihhsan Tahrir’s “Black + Muslim + Woman“ […]

  29. Nyanis says:

    I am not a Muslim but this topic affects even i. It is sad that we do not choose who we fall in love with and should not be looked down on just because we are black or what the media portrays black women as.

  30. no name says:

    Asalam alekum sisters
    To be honest with you white or black all of us will feel racism and ignorance from muslim comunity. I am converted to islam, I been 2 years with an asian man which from the time I meet him I was lied and used bcz yeah that’s the woman and that’s her right. Everyday I was hearing *insha Allah we will get married* after asking him how longer we will continue no marriage hiddening from everyone. I was happy with that words and I was thinking that’s the way and I should support him. I was beliving he is the man who will not let me do anymore any bad sins, but that was just my thinking and his was just pleajure . At the end I get the answer he can’t marry me, am not in his crit eria: am not virgin, my family ar not muslims and he can’t mix his family. I could not belive who I trust 2 years and in what kind of family I join, that’s the muslim guys using u lieing u, till they decide they need marriage, but not with us bcz yea we are europeans and we are easy people. So girls be awar, don’t belive in culture people they got their plans

    • Salam sister…and thank you for this response. I enjoy speaking and learning about community issues (especially with other Muslim sisters). I’ve heard similar stories before. I think that this is not just a Muslim woman issue, but this is a woman issue. Whether you practice Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or any other faith, I recommend that parents teach their daughters (possibly sons) to wait for marriage and respect themselves because people lie about their beliefs and/or faiths. Some may even lie about seeking spouses in order to degrade the women who want families. And many liers hide behind false notions of culture.

  31. lala says:

    Salam sister, first of all I enjoyed reading your piece. You pretty much described the community I was living in before. I am an Arabic muslimah lived in predominantly all arab Muslim community who always preached about how black, white, blue are all equal but the truth is far from it. My parents rejected a black muslim who asked for my hand. The Imam said he couldn’t marry me without my Wali. It is extremely disappointing to have such community who preach in the name of Allah when they have so much hate in their hearts. These communities send wrong and confusing messages to the public and to their own people. I am glad I left that community and moved out of that State. I am scared to go to a mosque now because I fear of them judging me marrying a black man. Islam came to this world to educate and free humans from all their ignorant ways and thinking but unfortunately most of these communities live by culture and not religion.

  32. Bilal says:

    You made good points, but maybe you are looking for a husband in the wrong place. There is a countless amount of African American brothers looking for a wife. No racism. Seems like you facing racism because you are wanting to date other races is a choice that you are making. There are plenty of brothers to choose from. Ive been to many masjids and there is always a shortage of sisters.

    • muslimnlove says:

      Thanks for reading. I appreciate all comments.

      Let a sista correct you because you are mistaken.

      Number one, no I am not WANTING to date outside of my race but if a brother of a different background approaches me of good character I will not turn him away. You totally missed the point of this article.

      If there were plenty of brothers to choose from then there wouldn’t be so many single sisters.

  33. Daimura says:

    As-salamu alaykum
    I came across your blog on Google when I was trying to find an answer to what can muslims women do islamically to handle racism and discrimination. Alhumdulilia I read this article and it summed up all my fears and frustrations so well. I am African American (born non muslim and raised in California).
    By the grace of Allah swt
    I met my husband who was at the time, I now realize, “Ramadan muslim”
    After four years of marriage I was called to Islam. It has been the biggest blessing I have ever known. It has now been close to ten years and we now have four daughters. Your article will struck home because my husband is Middle eastern. My fears are for my daughters. Attending a predominantly Indo-Pakistani mosque I can see that the European colonialism way of thinking “the lighter you are, the more beautiful you are considered” is the ruling factor in finding perspective partners. No one says it but Allah no best. It’s disturbing and fustrating to the highest degree. We are supposed to be one Ummah. At the end of the day, I know that all I can do is pray, that Allah swt brings healthy, loving and RIGHTOUS men into my daughters lives. No matter what color….
    I pray the same for you too
    JZK