ASMAR : اسمر


ADAM : ادم   ADAM SHADEED AL UDMAH : ادم شديد الادمة   ADLAM : ادلم    ASWAD : اسود    ASMAR : اسمر    ASHAM : اسحم   GREEN : اخضر    WHITE : ابيض      RED : احمر – اشقر

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ASMAR اسمر

 

Al Thaalabi said in his book Fiqqatu Lugghah on page 126 Chapter 13 ,Degrees of Blackness in Humans

If there is minimal blackness in a human it is called Asmar

عَلاَهُ أَدْنَى سَوَادٍ فَهُوَ أسْمَرُ

 


.Ibn Sayaadah said in his Kitaab Alahkaam Wa Muheet Chapter 7 page 490 

Asmar is a colour that is between white and black. ”

السمرة  منزلة بين البياض و السواد

 


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Abu Al Hussein Ahmed Ibn Faaris Ibn Zakariyya said in his book Mujem Maqaabees, Page 101 

Seen and meem and raa has one root and it  is a colour that contrasts/opposite to the colour white

 

   قال أبو الحسين أحمد بن فارس بن زكريا في معجم مقاييس اللغة ص١٠١

 السين والميم والراء أصل واحد يدل على خلاف البياض في اللون


Abu Sulaiman Al Khattabi said in Ghareeb Al Hadeeth, Chapter 1 Page 256

”And there is another position and that is a mix of redness and if the redness is overwhelming it is (called ) Asmar and this is the reason why the saying is detailed ” he was not as white as plaster”

وفيه وجه آخر وهو أنه مُشرَبُ الحُمرة والحُمرةُ إذا أُشْبِعَت حَكَت سُمْرَة ويدُلّ عَلَى هذا المعنى قَولُ الواصِفِ له لم يكن بالأبيض الأمهق

How can red be mixed with white when red means white?

The answer is simple, red is used to mean the literal meaning of red in this situation and white means the dark white because red and white mixed would make a lighter colour but in this case it makes a darker colour which is Asmar.


Al Khattabi also said similar which doesn’t contradict Ibn Sayaadah above or anyone else for that matter.

As Sumarah is a colour between white and Al Udmah

والسُّمْرَةُ : لَونٌ بين البياض والأُدْمَةِ


Ibn Mandhoor narrates in Lisan Arab

The colour Asmar , is a colour that hits a hidden blackness

 السمرة لون الأسمر ، وهو لون يضرب إلى سواد خفي


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Abu Ali Al Hassan Ibn Al Ghafaari Al Farsi said in his book , Al Hujjah Lilfaraa AlSabah Al Amsaar Bil Hijaaz wa Al Iraaq Wa Shaam Al Ladhina Dhakaruhum Abu Bakr Ibn Mujaahid , Chapter 2 Page 14

An Asmar man, and he is lighter than (a man who is ) Adam in colour

 قال عبو علي الحسن بن الغفار الفارسي في كتابه .الحجة للقراء السبعة أئمة الأمصار بالحجاز والعراق والشام الذين ذكرهم أبو بكر بن مجاهد  ج٢ ص ١٤

ورجل أسمر، وهو أصفى من الآدم


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Ibn Abdull Birr said in Kitaab Al Istidhkaar,  Chapter 8 page 333 or here

Adam is the colour of the Arabs, and it is Sumurah in men.”

ويقول ابن عبد البر رحمه الله  في كتابه الاستذكار ج ٨  ص ٣٣٣   او هنا
” الأدمة لون العرب ، وهي السمرة في الرجال  “

 

He gives further clarification as to what he meant by As Sumurah in another book of his:

Al Tamheed Lamaa Fee Al Muwatta min Al Maany Wal Asaneed Chapter 4 page 189

Al Adam : Al Asmar is that which is on it something from a little black ( ie darker than Asmar)

التمهيد لما في الموطأ من المعاني والأسانيد ج ٤ ص ١٨٩

فالآدم : الأسمر الذي علاه شيء من سواد قليلا



 

Sometimes scholars referred to intense Asmar as equalling to jet black:

 

In Majhooraat Ansaab Al Arab , Ibn Hazm Al Andaloosy on page 45 said,

And Hassan was nicknamed the Father of Tar because of his intense Sumarah.

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قال  ابن حزم الاندلسي في كتابه مجوهرات انساب العرب  صفحة ٤٥

والحسن، كان يلقب أبا الزفت لشدة سمرته


Ibn Sakeet said in his book Kitaab Al Al Faadh page 153 

And they say a black man and he is Shadeed Al Udmah

(it is ) As Sumurah Halikah or a very dark Sumurah

 قال ابن السكيت في كتابه كتاب الالفاظ  ص  ١٥٣

باب الألوان

 (1) وقالوا من الرجال الأسود وهو الشديد الأدمة

( 1 ) السمرة الحالكة

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Abu Al Abbaas Ahmed Ibn Umar Ibn Ibraheem Al Qurtobi says in his book Al Mufhim Chapter 6, page 139

”Regarding the saying, ‘ he was not Adam‘ meaning his overwhelming SUMURAH is  JET BLACK. For verily SUMURAH is WHITE leaning to  JET BLACK.

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 قال أبو العباس أحمد بن عمر بن إبراهيم القرطبي في كتبه المفهم لما أشكل من كتاب تلخيص مسلم ج٦ ص١٣٩

و(قوله: ليس بالآدم) أي: الذي تغلب سمرته السوادُ؛ فإن السمرة بياض يميل الى سواد

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Another example to show how closely related Asmar is to Adam

 

The following hadith is a narration which gives a description of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib and although it is not the strongest opinion( he was Adam Shadeed Al Udmah ) we can learn from how closely related Adam can be to Asmar from the language and also that there are degrees of Asmar.

” If you looked at him, you’d think that he was Adam in complexion but if you came a little closer you’d see that he is actually Asmar in complexion leaning towards being Adam in complexion.”

إِنَّ شِئْتَ قُلْتَ إِذَا نَظَرْتَ إِلَيْهِ: هُوَ آدَمُ، وَإِنِ تَبَيَّنْتَهُ مِنْ قَرِيبٍ قُلْتَ: أَنْ يَكُونَ أَسْمَرَ أَدْنَى مِنْ أَنَّ يَكُونَ آدَمَ

So what we can understand from this is that, from a distance he looked darker but when up close he appeared a little lighter than Adam.


Example to show that Sumarah was used to describe someone who was actually jet black and that it can be used to describe any hue of brown and black

 

Ibn Mandhor, the author of Lisan El-Arab narrates in Chapter 4 page 245

On the authority of Al Asmaeey ,” Miskeen Al Dharmi proposed to a young girl from his people, but she disliked him because of his black skin and his lack of wealth. The girl went on and married a wealthier man from the same people. However the man didn’t have a genealogy( pure) like Miskeen’s . One day he passed by the girl and her husband and they sat together and he said to them,

”I am Miskeen for who know’s me?

My colour is Al Sumurah , The colour of the Arabs’

 

وعن الأصمعي قال: خطَب مسكينٌ الدَّارمي فتاةً من قومه، فكرِهَتْه لسواد لونه وقلَّة ماله، وتزوَّجَت بعده رجلاً من قومه ذا يسار ليس له مثل نسَبِ مسكين، فمرَّ بِهِما مسكين ذات يوم وتلك المرأة جالسة مع زوجها، فقال:
أنا مسكين لِمَن يعرفني

لَونيَ السُّمرة ألوانُ العَربْ

As you can see Al Asmaeey said that Miskeen was disliked because of his black skin whereas Miskeen uses the word As Sumurah.

Another example of how Sumurah was used to show deep blackness
Taarikh Al Baghdaad Chapter 3 Page 21
He was called Habashy because of his Sumurah (complexion)
تاريخ البغداد  ج ٣  ص ٢١
انما سمي حبشيا لسمرته‎

More on the relationship between the blackness the people of al Al Zanj and the people of the Hijaaz (Arabs in Mecca, Medinah, Taif, etc) 

Al AnSaab li Samaani Chapter 3 Page 170

And it is said that Muslim Ibn Saeed Ibn Jarjah and he was from As Shaam(meaning Roman here) in origin and he was a beautiful white complexion

….And he was only called Al Zanjy because he was white with some redness (very white skinned) for this reason they called him Al Zanjy to mean the opposite because the people of Al Hijaaz had As Sumurah in them

ويقال مسلم بن سعيد بن جرجة، وأصله من الشام، وكان أبيض مليحا

روى عنه ابن المبارك والشافعي والحميدي وأحمد بن عبد الله بن يونس، وإنما قيل له: الزنجي لانه كان أبيض مشربا بحمرة فلذلك قيل له: الزنجي – على الضد لان أهل الحجاز فيهم سمرة

 

Again we see here Asamaani may Allah have mercy upon him makes record of the understanding of As Sumurah and how it was used to mean blackness and that it is a complexion opposite to the whiteness of the Persians and Romans and that the people of Al Zanj fit into the category of  As Sumurah similar to the Arabs!


 More evidence to show that there are degrees of Asmar
In Jawaher Al Uqood Al Minhaj Al Suyooti Chapter 2 page 452
And if the person is from al Udmah , it is called shaded Al Sumarah, if it is lighter than that, it is called light Asmar , if it is lighter and leans towards white and red , it is said :Light Asmar with redness upon it and it is said : Sumarah with red, if it is much lighter , it is called light sumurah and it is not said white because white is leprosy, if it is pure white ; it is called Ansah………
في كتاب : جواهر العقود / المنهاجي الأسيوطي ج 2 ص : 459 
, فإن رق من الأدمة. قيل: شديد السمرة. فإن صفا عن ذلك. قيل: أسمر اللون. فإن صفا عن ذلك. قيل: رقيق السمرة. فإن صفا ومال إلى البياض والحمرة. قيل: صافي السمرة تعلوه حمرة ويقال: رقيق السمرة بحمرة ,فإن صفا لونه جدا قيل: صافي السمرة، ولا يقال: أبيضلان البياض هو البرص فإن خلص بياضه :قيل: أنصح.

Conclusion
Asmar is a degree of blackness . The more intense the sumarah the closer it is to become jet black. It can also be used generally to describe a person with any degree of blackness.
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