Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith 26
Abu Hurayrah reported: A desert Arab came to Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and said: My wife has given birth to a jet black skinned child and I have disowned him. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said: Do you have you any camels? He said: Yes. He said: What colours are they? He said? They are red. He said: Are there anyone Awraq ones amongst them? He said: Yes. Allah’s Messenger may peace be upon him said: How has it come about? He said: Messenger of Allah, it is perhaps due to a hereditary gene of it being drawn out , whereupon the Holy Prophet may peace be upon him said: This child may be due to a hereditary gene of the child being drawn out.’
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ أَعْرَابِيًّا أَتَى رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، إِنَّ امْرَأَتِي وَلَدَتْ غُلَامًا أَسْوَدَ، وَإِنِّي أَنْكَرْتُهُ، فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «هَلْ لَكَ مِنْ إِبِلٍ؟» قَالَ: نَعَمْ، قَالَ: «مَا أَلْوَانُهَا؟» قَالَ: حُمْرٌ، قَالَ: «فَهَلْ فِيهَا مِنْ أَوْرَقَ؟» قَالَ: نَعَمْ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «فَأَنَّى هُوَ؟» قَالَ: لَعَلَّهُ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ يَكُونُ نَزَعَهُ عِرْقٌ لَهُ، فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «وَهَذَا لَعَلَّهُ يَكُونُ نَزَعَهُ عِرْقٌ لَهُ» ،
Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 2003
Let’s look at the meaning of Awraq
One meaning of Awaraq is that it means grey
An the Alawraq of the camel is that which in its colour is whiteness to blackness . An the waraqah : the blackness in dust, and it is said it is black and white like impure smoke
والأورق من الإبل : الذي في لونه بياض إلى سواد . والورقة : سواد في غبرة ، وقيل : سواد وبياض كدخان الرمث
Another possible meaning for the word Awraq is dark brown as quoted in Al Muhkam wal Muheet Aladm page 557
”And his saying may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him :- If it (the baby) comes Awraq and aesthetically pleasing: For verily he prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, only meant about it, Al Udmah . So he replaced with it, the word Alwaraqah”
المحكم والمحيط الأعظم – ج 6 – غ ق ي – ق – ك ر ن ص ٥٥٨
We see that Awraq here means dark brown and not grey or a black and white mix here as Udmah in humans means dark brown to jet black whereas udmah for animals is whiteness
Ibn Mansoor Al Thaalabi said in his book Fiqqatu Lugghah wa Sarr ,page 448
”That the colour Adam is blackness in humans and when referring to camels it means whiteness”
قال ابو منصور الثعالبي في كتاب فقة اللغة و سر العربية ص٤٤٨
الادم من الناس السود و من الابل الابيض
In another version of this incident the word Asham is used
Saheeh Al Bukhari Book 65 Hadith 4745
On the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d:’Uwaimir came to `Asim bin `Adi who was the chief of Bani Ajlaan and said, “What do you say about a man who has found another man with his wife? Should he kill him, just kill him, or what? Please ask Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him about this matter on my behalf.” `Aasim then went to the Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and said, “O Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! but Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him disliked the question,” When ‘Uwaimir asked `Aasim `Asim replied that Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him disliked such questions and considered it shameful. “Uwaimir then said, “By Allah, I will not give up asking unless I ask Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him about it.” Uwaimir came and said, “O Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! A man has found another man with his wife! Should he kill him whereupon you would kill him (the husband, in Qisas) or what should he do?” Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said, “Allah has revealed regarding you and your wife’s case in the Qur’an “So Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him ordered them to perform the measures of Mula’ana according to what Allah had mentioned in His Book. So ‘Uwaimir did Mula’ana with her and said, “O Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! If I kept her I would oppress her.” So ‘Uwaimir divorced her and so divorce became a tradition after them for those who happened to be involved in a case of Mula’ana. Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him then said, “Look! If she delivers a jet black child with deep black large eyes, big hips and fat legs, then I will be of the opinion that ‘Uwaimir has spoken the truth; but if she delivers a red child looking like a Wahra then we will consider that ‘Uwaimir has told a lie against her.” Later on she delivered a child carrying the qualities which Allah’s Messenger may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him had mentioned as a proof for ‘Uwaimir’s claim; therefore the child was ascribed to its mother.
Abu al-Fadl `Iyad ibn Amr ibn Musa ibn `Iyad ibn Muhammad ibn Abdillah ibn Musa ibn `Iyad al-Yahsubi al-Sabti Qaady Abu Fadl I’yaad Ibn Musa Ibn I’yaad said in his book Mashariq al-Anwar `ala Sahih al-Athar:
In some of the explanations of the narrations and in some books, Ashaam means intensely black
(Seen Haa Meem) The saying if it comes (the baby) and it is Asham meaning intensely black. Harbi said it is that which is the colour of the crow.
للقاضي أبو الفضل عياض بن موسى بن عياض اليحصبي السبتي المالكي مثلا ورد في كتابه مشارق الأنوار على صحاح الآثار ج ٢ ص ٤١٠
في شروحات بعض الأحاديث وبعض الكتب بأن أسحم : بمعنى شديد السواد
س ح م ) قوله إن جاءت به أسحم أي أسود شديد السواد قال الحربي هو الذي لونه كلون الغراب)
Who else was described as being Asham in complexion?
In Musnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal , Chapter 50 page 488
The Messenger of Allah may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said,” And the description of Moses may peace be upon him : ” And I saw Moses intensely black skinned” Authenticated by the Muhaddith may Allah have mercy upon him . Sheikh Arnoot.
مسند أحمد بن حنبل ج 50 ص 488
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في وصفه لموسى عليه السلام: “و رأيت موسى أسحم آدم”. رواه أحمد وغيره وصححه الأرناؤوط
Did Moses may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him have a similar complexion to Arabs? Yes!
Sahih al-Bukhari 3395, 3396 Book 60, Hadith 69
The Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him mentioned the night of his Ascension and said, “The prophet Moses was Adam ( dark brown to jet black ) , a tall as if he was from the men of the tribe of Shanu’a.
وَذَكَرَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِهِ فَقَالَ ” مُوسَى آدَمُ طُوَالٌ كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ شَنُوءَةَ ”
Sahih Muslim 165 Book 1, Hadith 326
”On my night journey I passed by Musa Ibn Imraan may peace be upon him was an Adam (dark brown to jet black skinned) man, tall, kinky haired as if he was a man from Shanua tribe”
مررت ليلة أسري بي على موسى بن عمران عليه السلام . رجل آدم طوال جعد . كأنه من رجال شنوءة
Al Khatabi explains in his book Ghareeb Al hadeeth Book 2 page 372, that
” Green to the Arabs means jet black and Fadhl Ibn Abbass said ‘ I am the green one , who knows me? Green is from the house of the Arabs.
He then explained ,
”HE (FADL) BOASTED ABOUT HIS BLACKNESS BECAUSE IT WAS AN AFFIRMATION THAT HE WAS PURE AND THAT HE DID NOT HAVE ANY NON ARAB SLAVE BLOOD IN HIM “
الخطابي 388 هـ غريب الحديث – ج 2 ص 372
والخضرة عند العرب السودا قَالَ الفضل بن العباس اللهبي: وأنا الأخضر من يعرفني … أخضر الجلدة من بيت العرب
We also know that Moses looked like the people of Zut – they were jet black in complexion too
Sahih al-Bukhari 3438 Book 60, Hadith 109
And as for Musa he was Adam in complexion and had lank hair as of he was from the men of Zut.”
وَأَمَّا مُوسَى فَآدَمُ جَسِيمٌ سَبْطٌ كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ رِجَالِ الزُّطِّ ”
Ibn Taymiyyah makes mention of an authentic narration that mentions people of Zut being jet black in colour
jet black skinned men as if they were from the men of Al Zut
أخرج ابن مردويه وأبو نعيم في الدلائل عن ابن مسعود قال : خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قبل الهجرة إلى نواحي مكة فخط لي خطا وقال : لا تحدثن شيئا حتى آتيك، ثم قال : لا يهولنك شيء تراه، فتقدم شيئا ثم جلس فإذارجالسودكأنهمرجالالزط وكانوا كما قال الله تعالى : كادوا يكونون عليه لبدا .
Now if we understand this correctly and in context then it’ll make more sense to anyone who has read this. The majority of the Arabs ranged from brown to jet black which means that anyone who was much lighter was either a non Arab or one of the rare looking Arabs and not the opposite.
Ibn Yaeesh mention in his book Sharh Al Mufassal page 48
The meaning of Al Aswad is because the majority of ( the Arabs ) are brown and jet black in colour.
المراد الاسود لان غالب عليم السمرة والسواد
Abu Al Qaasim Ibn Salaam said in his book Ghareeb Al Hadeeth Chapter 4 page 377
”And his saying Al Hamraa( The reds which means the whites) – It means the non Arabs and the clients (the red slaves and the red people that embraced Islam ) they were named that because the most predominant colours of the Arabs are Al Sumurah and Al Udmah and the most predominant colours of the non Arab is white and red and this is like the saying of the people : If you wanted to mention mankind then you’d say the reds and the blacks. So the reds are all of those that are overwhelmed with whiteness and the blacks are those who are overwhelmed with Al Udmah (blackness) .
قوله: الحمراء – يعني العجم والموالي، سموا بذلك لأن الغالب على ألوان العرب السمرة والأدمة، والغالب على ألوان العجم البياض والحمرة وهذا كقول الناس: إن أردت أن تذكر بني آدم فقلت: أحمرهم وأسودهم، فأحمرهم كل من غلب عليه البياض، وأسودهم من غلبت عليه الأدمة.
To be a very fair skinned and Arab was the exception NOT THE STANDARD!
In Seera A’laam Al Nubalaa Imaam Al Dhahabi , said
“Red, in the dialect of the Arabs means a pale white complexion and it was a colour that was rare amongst them.”
In this case we know that both of the men in the narration were Arabs, yet one was a lot darker than the other.
As per Arab complexion standards, one could have been a light as Will Smith and the other could have been as dark as Luol Deng. Both of these men are considered to be ‘black men’ today yet if Will Smith had a baby with his wife and she came out as dark as Loul Deng, I am sure he’d have been as suspicious. The same would apply if Lebron James and his wife had a child who came out as dark as Luol Deng.
Another way we can look at this is to just say that the one who accused his wife of being an adulterer was one of the rare looking Arabs as per understanding of all of the scholars and historians, in other words, he was a rare looking Arab whose complexion was as light as the non Arabs Persians and Romans.
In any case, if the husband who accused his wife of adultery was really fair skinned and as fair as the Romans and Persians, he would have been considered a rare site amongst the Arabs and all of the scholars are in agreement upon this.
Even though both of the men in at least one of the narrations were Arabs, the baby, and the man who was accused would have appeared more Arab looking and that is a fact as udmah (blackness) was most prominent amongst the Arabs and was an indicator that someone was an Arab and a semite in general.
Having very fair skin was an indicator that someone was an out sider and stranger, hence why the terms ajam and mawaaly were used for them.
Al Azhari said in his book Al Tahdheeb Al Lughghah from Al Mubarrad
” It is said if an Arab is born from a non Arab white woman it it is called Hajeen, because the most prominent colours amongst the Arabs is Al Udmah, and the Arabs called the non Arabs red (pale white) people because most of them were white in colour, and they say whoever has an overwhelming whiteness he is red. (I was sent to the red and the black) So the blacks of them are the Arabs and the reds of them are the non Arabs”
ويقولالأزهريرحمهاللهفيكتابه ج٦ ص٤٠
” قال المبرد : قيل لولد العربي من غير العربية : هجين ؛ لأن الغالب على ألوان العرب الأدمة ، وكانت العرب تسمي العجم : الحمراء لغلبة البياض على ألوانهم ، ويقولون لمن علا لونه البياض أحمر ،( بعثت إلى الأسود والأحمر ) فأسودهم : العرب ، وأحمرهم : العجم
Abu Al Abbaas Ahmed Ibn Umar Ibn Ibraheem Al Qurtobi says in his book Al Mufhim Chapter 2 pages 116-117
”Every Prophet was sent to a specific nation. The Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him was sent to every Red and every Black.
And the saying ” I was sent to the red and the black , meaning the whole of mankind, just as the all mighty Allah said, ” I did not send you, except to the whole of mankind”
And the humaraan ( reds ) means they are white and they are the ajam non Arabs and the Sudaan( blacks ) are the Arabs because of the predominance Al Udmah amongst them and other than them for their blackness.”
قالأبوالعباسالقرطبيرحمهالله فيكتبهالمفهملماأشكلمنتلخيصكتابمسلمج 2 ص 116-117
كَانَ كُلُّ نَبِيٍّ يُبْعَثُ إِلَى قَوْمِهِ خَاصَّةً وَبُعِثْتُ إِلَى كُلِّ أَحْمَرَ وَأَسْوَدَ…إلخ
وقوله وبعثت إلى الأحمر والأسود يعني كافة الخلق كما قال تعالى وما أرسلناك إلا كافة للناس
المفهم لما أشكل من تلخيص كتاب مسلم ج 2 ص 116 – 117
It’s incumbent upon you to understand the context and the language accurately before you spread information
Ibn Qayyim may Allah have mercy upon him said in his book Al Jawabul Wafi on page 235:“The one who advises people with falsehood is a speaking devil. The one who remains silent about the truth is a speechless devil.”
” قول الناصح المتكفم بالباطل شيطان ناطق، والساكت عن الحق شيطان أخرس”