The Black Descendants Of Adam Are Going to Hell

The following narration has been translated by many and spread in a very irresponsible way and at first glance it could appear to promote white supremacy or racism but the Arabic language is very rich with metaphors so when it is translated into English it must be translated with caution and explanations.

The common mis-translation for this that we see on many websites is as follows:

“Abu Darda reported that the Holy Prophet said: Allah created Adam when he created him (sic). Then He stroke (sic) his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroke (sic) his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards paradise and I don’t care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I don’t care.

There is no such thing as a single black race to the Arabs and in fact this was a social construct developed by racist Europeans.

The correct translation is:

وعن أبي الدرداء رضي الله عنه ، عن النبيصلى الله عليه وسلمقال : ( خلق الله آدم حين خلقه ، فضرب كتفه اليمنى ، فأخرج ذرية بيضاء كأنهم الذر ، وضرب كتفه اليسرى فأخرج ذرية سوداء كأنهم الحمم ، فقال للذي في يمينه : إلى الجنة ، ولا أبالي ، وقال للذي في كتفه اليسرى : إلى النار ، ولا أبالي ) . رواه أحمد

“Abu Darda reported that the Holy Prophet said: Allah created Adam when he created him. Then He stroke his right shoulder and took out a white( bright/good) offspring as if they were seeds, and He stroke his left shoulder and took out a black (gloomy/ sinning) offspring as if they were coals. Then He said to those who were in his right side: Towards paradise and I don’t care. He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I don’t care.


(Both the words BLACK and WHITE can have negative connotations that are NOT related to the actual COMPLEXION of ones skin. Please read until the end to see more examples of this)

We find other verses in the Quran in which the word black is used in reference to the a type of blackness related to evil and or despair and not skin complexion

And Allah the most high’s words

“When news comes to one of them, of a female, his face darkens, and he is vexed.”
And Allah the most high’s words “And when news comes to one of them of a girl” this means the news comes to one of them about the birth of a girl.”

Blackening of the face means it changes and it is NOT meant Black that is the opposite of white. And it is a metaphor used for the despair of having a girl ” And the Arabs say for everything that is disliked , his face has blackened with despair and sadness these are the words of Zijaaj.”

تفسير القرطبي
محمد بن أحمد الأنصاري القرطبي

قوله تعالى : وإذا بشر أحدهم بالأنثى ظل وجهه مسودا وهو كظيم قوله تعالى : وإذا بشر أحدهم بالأنثى أي أخبر أحدهم بولادة بنت .

ظل وجهه مسودا أي متغيرا ، وليس يريد السواد الذي هو ضد البياض ، وإنما هو كناية عن غمه بالبنت . والعرب تقول لكل من لقي مكروها : قد اسود وجهه غما وحزنا ; قاله

We also have clear narrations that tell us that Allah doesn’t judge us according to our skin complexions
Saheeh Muslim Book 45, Hadith 42

Verily Allah does not look at your physical appearance and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.

42 صحيح مسلم كتاب 45 حديث

وعنْ أبي هريرةَ عبدِ الرحمنِ بنِ صخرٍ قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ الله، إنَّ الله لا ينْظُرُ إِلى أجْسَامِكُمْ ، ولا إِلى صُوَرِكمْ ، وَلَكن ينْظُرُ إلى قُلُوبِكمْ .

If we use the rational that those without knowledge use, this would mean that the Arabs are also destined to go to hell too because they were as black as ‘black people’ today and even REFERRED TO THEMSELVES AS BLACKS!

Saheeh Muslim book of Governance narration 1733

Jabir b. ‘Abdullah al-Ansari reported:
The Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said: I have been given five (things) which were not consented to anyone before me: Every Prophet was sent specifically to his own people, whereas I have been sent to every red and black, the spoils of war have been made lawful for me, and these were never made lawful to anyone before me, and the earth has been made sacred and pure and a place of prostration for me, so whenever the time of prayer comes for any one of you he should pray wherever he is, and I have been supported by awe from a distance (which one takes) one month to cover and I have been granted intercession.
حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، أَخْبَرَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، عَنْ سَيَّارٍ، عَنْ يَزِيدَ الْفَقِيرِ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ أُعْطِيتُ خَمْسًا لَمْ يُعْطَهُنَّ أَحَدٌ قَبْلِي كَانَ كُلُّ نَبِيٍّ يُبْعَثُ إِلَى قَوْمِهِ خَاصَّةً وَبُعِثْتُ إِلَى كُلِّ أَحْمَرَ وَأَسْوَدَ وَأُحِلَّتْ لِيَ الْغَنَائِمُ وَلَمْ تُحَلَّ لأَحَدٍ قَبْلِي وَجُعِلَتْ لِيَ الأَرْضُ طَيِّبَةً طَهُورًا وَمَسْجِدًا فَأَيُّمَا رَجُلٍ أَدْرَكَتْهُ الصَّلاَةُ صَلَّى حَيْثُ كَانَ وَنُصِرْتُ بِالرُّعْبِ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ مَسِيرَةِ شَهْرٍ وَأُعْطِيتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Who were the reds and who were the blacks and why?

Ibn Yaeesh explains the meaning of the narration in which the Prophet mohammed said that he was sent to every red and black in his book Sharh Al Mufassal page 48

The meaning of Al Aswad (The black) is because the majority of ( the Arabs ) are brown and jet black in colour.

و ذكر ابن يعيش في كتابه شرح المفصل ص ٤٨

المراد الاسود لان غالب عليم السمرة والسواد

Read more about the red and the black here

Abu Ubaid Al Qaasim Ibn Salaam gives further clarification in his book Ghareeb Al Hadeeth, Chapter 4 page 388

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) .

غريب الحديث لابن سلام رحمه الله الجزء ج ٤ ص ٣٨٨

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.

Read more about the red and the black here

In the following narration we see the word Aswad أسود = (jet) black used to describe a noble Arab leader called Sa’d Ibn Ubaadah may Allah have mercy upon him. Again if we use the rational and understanding of those who are ignorant then this noble Arab leader from the Ansaar who the Prophet Mohammed loved and respected would also be going to hell. This narration is found in exactly the same book as the narration of Abu Dardaa (The so called white supremacy narration)

Musnad Ahmed Chapter 4 page 191 Authenticated by Shiekh Arnoot on the conditions of Saheeh Muslim.

And in Saheeh Muslim book of Leadership narration 1733 without the name of the noble (jet) black man Sa’d Ibn Ubaadah may Allah have mercy upon him’s name

I heard the Messenger of Allah may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him say: Whomsoever from you is appointed by us to a position of authority and he conceals from us an amount as small as needle or even smaller than that, it would be considered to be embezzlement and will bring it forward on the Day of Judgment. The narrator says: A (jet) black skinned man Mujaahid said it was Sa’d Ibn Ubaadah from the Ansar stood up it is as if I can see him right now and said: Messenger of Allah, take back from me your assignment. He said: What has happened to you? The man said: I have heard you say so and so. He said: I say that now: Whosoever from you is appointed by us to a position of authority, he should declare everything, big or small, and whatever he is given therefrom he should take, and he should restrain himself from taking that which is forbidden.

مسند احمد ج ٤ ص ١٩١

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي مرتين ثنا يحيى بن سعيد عن إسماعيل بن خالد قال حدثني قيس عن عدي بن عميرة الكندي قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : يا أيها الناس من عمل منكم لنا على عمل فكتمنا منه مخيطا فما فوقه فهو غل يأتي به يوم القيامة قال فقام رجل من الأنصار أسود قال مجالد هو سعد بن عبادة كأني انظر إليه قال يا رسول الله أقبل عني عملك فقال وما ذاك قال سمعتك تقول كذا وكذا قال وأنا أقول ذلك الآن من استعملناه على عمل فليجئ بقليله وكثيره فما أوتي منه أخذه وما نهى عنه انتهى

تعليق شعيب الأرنؤوط : إسناده صحيح على شرط مسلم

This noble woman may Allah have mercy upon her would also be destined for hell too if we use the rational of the ignorant the same word black or اسود is used here too.

Bukhari Book 75, Hadith 12 Chapter: The superiority of a person suffering from epilepsy
Narrated ‘Ata bin Abi Rabah:
Ibn `Abbas said to me, “Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “This jet black lady came to the Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and said, ‘I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.’ The Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said to her, ‘If you wish to be patient you will have enter Paradise; and if you wish, I will supplicate to Allah for him to cure you.’ She said, ‘I will remain patient,’ and added, ‘but I become uncovered, so please supplicate to Allah for me to so that I may not become uncovered.’ So he supplicated to Allah for her.”
حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، عَنْ عِمْرَانَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي عَطَاءُ بْنُ أَبِي رَبَاحٍ، قَالَ قَالَ لِي ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَلاَ أُرِيكَ امْرَأَةً مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ قُلْتُ بَلَى‏.‏ قَالَ هَذِهِ الْمَرْأَةُ السَّوْدَاءُ أَتَتِ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَتْ إِنِّي أُصْرَعُ، وَإِنِّي أَتَكَشَّفُ فَادْعُ اللَّهَ لِي‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنْ شِئْتِ صَبَرْتِ وَلَكِ الْجَنَّةُ وَإِنْ شِئْتِ دَعَوْتُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يُعَافِيَكِ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ أَصْبِرُ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ إِنِّي أَتَكَشَّفُ فَادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ لاَ أَتَكَشَّفَ، فَدَعَا لَهَا‏

No one will challenge that Bilal may Allah be pleased with him was very black skinned

Ibn Sa’d Kitaab A Tabaqaat Chapter 3 Page 220

”Whoever saw Bilal would say he is Adam Shadeed Al Udmah ( jet black )”

ابن سعد كتاب طبقات الكبرى ج ٣ ص ٢٢٠

عن مكحول قال : حدثني من رأى بلالا رجلا آدم ، شديد الأدمة ، نحيفا ، طوالا

Still unsure? What does Adam Shadeed Al Udmah mean( the words used to describe the complexion of Bilal)?

Imaam Al Alaamah Al Dhahabi says in his book Seera A’laam Al Nubalaa Chapter 2 page 168

‘They said Aswad (jet black) and this means whoever is covered in blackness. They said (jet )black or Shadeed Al Udmah.”

سير أعلام النبلاء ج٢ ص ١٦٨

قالوا اسود و كذا كل من غلب عليه السواد قالوا اسود او شديد الادمة

And guess what? His footsteps were heard in paradise!

Sahih al-Bukhari 1149

Narrated Abu Huraira:

At the time of the Fajr prayer the Prophet may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him questioned Bilal, “Tell me about the best deed you did after embracing Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal replied, “I did nothing worth mentioning except that whenever I performed ablution in the day or at night, I prayed after that ablution as much as was written for me.”

حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ نَصْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي حَيَّانَ، عَنْ أَبِي زُرْعَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لِبِلاَلٍ عِنْدَ صَلاَةِ الْفَجْرِ ‏ “‏ يَا بِلاَلُ حَدِّثْنِي بِأَرْجَى عَمَلٍ عَمِلْتَهُ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ، فَإِنِّي سَمِعْتُ دَفَّ نَعْلَيْكَ بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ مَا عَمِلْتُ عَمَلاً أَرْجَى عِنْدِي أَنِّي لَمْ أَتَطَهَّرْ طُهُورًا فِي سَاعَةِ لَيْلٍ أَوْ نَهَارٍ إِلاَّ صَلَّيْتُ بِذَلِكَ الطُّهُورِ مَا كُتِبَ لِي أَنْ أُصَلِّيَ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ دَفَّ نَعْلَيْكَ يَعْنِي تَحْرِيكَ‏.‏

Lets compare the description of Bilal radi Allahu anhu to

Ali Ibn Abi Talib,radi Allahu anhu the beloved cousin of the prophet sullahu alayhi wa Salaam and a member of Ahlu Al bait:

Ansaab Al Ashraaf, Chapter 2 page 868 by Al Baladhaari
”Ali ibn Abi Taalib as Adam Shadeed Al-Udma (black-skinned)
وكان علي آدم شديد الادمة، ثقيل العينين، ضخم البطن، أصلع ذا عضلات ومناكب، في أذنيه شعر قد خرج من أذنه، وكان إلى القصر أقرب


Umar bin Al Khataab ,radi Allahu anhu

Ibn Birr said in his book Al Istiyaab fee Mariftu Al Ishaab Chapter 3 page 1146

” Zir ibn Habaysh and other than him recorded that Umar was Adam Shadeed Al Udmah and most of the scholars of the days of the people and their biographies and their news knew that.”……

Al Waqdy has recorded from hadith Aasim Ibn Abdullah on the authority of Saalim bn Abdullah Ibn Umar about his father , he said: Verily Al Udmah came to them from before his maternal uncles of Bani Ma’dhoon and Umar was white in colour and he did not marry to full fill his desires but rather he married when he wanted children. and Aasim Ibn Abdullah’s hadith is not needed nor is the hadith of Al Waqdy .

And Al Waqdy determined that the Sumaratu and Udamah of Umar bin Al Khattab came from eating oil in the year of famine, And this narration is rejected. And what is most correct in this issue , and Allah knows best is the narration of Sufyan Al Thawry on the authority of Aasim bin Buhdalah on the authority of Zir bin Habaysh who said, ” I saw Umar and he was Adam Shadeed Al Udmah

قال ابن بر في كتابه الاستیعاب فی معرفة الأصحاب ، ج 3 ص

…. ذكره زر بن حبيش وغيره بأنه كان آدم شديد الأدمة وهو الأكثر عند أهل العلم بأيام الناس وسيرهم وأخبارهم
قد ذكر الواقدي من حديث عاصم بن عبيد الله عن سالم بن عبد الله بن عمر عن أبيه قال : إنما جاءتنا الأدمة من قبل أخوالي بني مظعون وكان أبيض لا يتزوج لشهوة إلا لطلب الولد وعاصم بن عبيد الله لا يحتج بحديثه ولا بحديث الواقدي
….وزعم الواقدي أن سمرة عمر وأدمته إنما جاءت من أكله الزيت عام الرمادة . وهذا منكر من القول . وأصح ما في هذا الباب والله أعلم حديث سفيان الثوري عن عاصم بن بهدلة عن زر بن حبيش قال : رأيت عمر شديد الأدمة

By standards of the ignorant the beloved cousin, a member of Ahlu Al bait (The most honourable members of the family of the Prophet Mohammed sullahu alayhi wa salaam) and fourth Muslim leader after the Prophet sullahu alayhi wa Salaam and a beloved friend and second leader of the MUSLIMS after the Prophet sullahu alahi wa salaam would also be heading for the hellfire too!
Many of the ARAB companions were described the same was as being JET BLACK. Read more about the term ADAM SHADEED AL UDMAH here

How black is black?

Let us, for arguments sake say that the narration by Abu Dardaa was only talking about the very darkest of people, then we would have to include Moses may Allah have mercy upon him as he was described in EXACTLY the same compilation BY EXACTLY THE SAME AUTHOR as the one who documented the narration of Abu Dardaa (The so called white supremacy narration)

In Musnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal , Chapter 50 page 488 Authenticated by Sheikh Arnoot

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”

The words used here are Asham Adam which in another example which shows us how Adam and intense blackness are related.

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

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)

By standards of the ignorant, this would mean that the very author and compiler of the narrations Imam Ahmed , may Allah have mercy upon him would also be heading to the fire because of how black he was too!

قال ابن ذريح العكبري : طلبت أحمد بن حنبل فسلمت عليه ، وكان شيخا مخضوبا طوالا أسمر شديد السمرة وعن محمد بن عباس النحوي قال : رأيت أحمد بن حنبل حسن الوجه ، ربعة ، يخضب بالحناء خضابا ليس بالقاني ، في لحيته شعرات سود ، ورأيت ثيابه غلاظا بيضا ، ورأيته معتما وعليه إزار .
Ibn Dharih al-’Ukbari said: “I requested to see Ahmad bin Hanbal. So, I greeted him, and he was an old man who dyed his hair. He was tall and Asmar extremely Sumarah in complexion.”Muhammad bin ‘Abbas an-Nahwi said: “I saw Ahmad bin Hanbal with a handsome face, well-formed, and dyeing his hair with henna that was not too dark. He had black hairs in his beard, and I saw his clothes extremely white. When I saw him, he was wearing a turban and anizar.”

By Ibn Hazm may Allah have mercy upon him understood Shadeed al Sumurah to mean as black as tar :

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 Sumurah.’’

قالابن حزم الاندلسي في كتابه مجوهرات انساب العربصفحة ٤٥

”والحسن، كان يلقب أبا الزفت لشدة سمرته

Who was Al Hassan?
Al Hassan was the great grandson of Ali Ibn Ali Taalib which mans he was from Ahlu Bait (The most honourable members of the family of the Prophet Mohammed sullahu alayhi wa salaam)
Again if we follow the rhetoric of the ignorant, he too would be heading for the hellfire!

Al-Bukhari 3751

Abu Bakr used to say, “Please Muhammad by doing good to his family.”

رواه البخاري 3751

حَدَّثَنِي يَحْيَى بْنُ مَعِينٍ، وَصَدَقَةُ، قَالاَ أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، عَنْ شُعْبَةَ، عَنْ وَاقِدِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ ارْقُبُوا مُحَمَّدًا صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ‏.‏


Both black and white can have positive and negative connotations. I’ve shared a negative connotation of black that is not related to an actual complexion earlier now let us look at some positive examples:

The word Aswad shares the same root word as sayyid meaning lordship/ master.

In the book Kitaab al Majam Diwaan al Adab, chapter 3 page 420, it is explained quite clearly

and asaada or a master boy and asaada a black boy

في كتاب معجم ديوان الادب ج٣ ص٤٢٠

” و أساد أى ولد سيدا و أساد أى ولد أسود اللون”


and samadh and blackness of a man and aswad meaning either a master boy was born or a black boy was born.”

”وسمذ و أساد الرجل وأسود بمعنى أى ولد غلاما سيدا وكذلك اذا ولد غلام أسود اللون”


Another example of this is the language found in a narration regarding Muawiyya radi Allahu anhu where black means ROYAL.


Al Ahad Wal Mathaany Chapter 1 page 174

On the authority of Ibn Umar may Allah be pleased with him , He said , I have not seen anyone after the messenger of Allah more black than Muawiyah. It was said, And Is it not Abu Bakr? He said , and it is not Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr was better than him, and he was more black than him. It was said , and it was it not Umar. He said, by Allah , Umar was better than him but he was more black than him. It was said, And was it not Uthmaan? He said, By Allah Uthaman was noble but he was more black than him”


الآحاد والمثاني لابن أبي عاصم وَمِنْ ذِكْرِ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ ج ١ ص ٣٧٩
حَدَّثَنَا هَدِيَّةُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْوَهَّابِ الْمَرْوَزِيُّ، نا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَزِيدَ، نا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: «مَا رَأَيْتُ أَحَدًا بَعْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أَسْوَدَ مِنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ» ، قِيلَ: وَلَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ؟ قَالَ: «وَلَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ، قَدْ كَانَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ خَيْرًا مِنْهُ، وَكَانَ أَسْوَدَ مِنْهُ» قِيلَ: وَلَا عُمَرُ؟ قَالَ: «وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ كَانَ عُمَرُ خَيْرًا مِنْهُ وَلَكِنَّهُ كَانَ أَسْوَدَ مِنْهُ» . قِيلَ: وَلَا عُثْمَانُ؟ قَالَ: «وَاللَّهِ إِنْ كَانَ عُثْمَانُ لَسَيِّدًا وَلَكِنَّهُ كَانَ أَسْوَدَ مِنْهُ»



Now let us look at some negative connotations related to white: 

Ibn Hajjar narrates in his book Fath Al Baari Saheeh Al Bukhaari, Chapter 7 page 171

”And the Arabs call white, red because they dislike the name white, for it resembles leprosy


قال ابن حجر في كتابه فتح الباري بشرح صحيح البخاري – ج 7 ص ١٧١

، والعرب تطلق على الأبيض الأحمر كراهة اسم البياض لكونه يشبه البرص


Another type of white used for complexions in humans is Ashqar. This is a typical complexion seen amongst most Europeans who are white with a rosey redness which appears very visibly when hot or embarrassed.

Lisan Alarab Chapter 2 Page 691

”And the Ashqar from the men is that which its whiteness has a pure redness upon it”

”والأشقر من الرجال : الذي يعلو بياضه حمرة صافية”


Al Nemeri said in his book, Kitaab Al Mulama’, Page 90

And Al Shaqarah( a very white skinned complexion with a pure redness upon it) amongst the Arabs is embarrassing

كتاب الملمع ص ٩٠

”والشقرة عند العرب عيب‎”

Imam Al Dhahabi ( Seera A’laam Al Nubalaa, Chapter 2, page 168) said;

‘“Red, in the dialect of the Hijaazi people means a pale white rosey complexion ( albaydaha AlShaqarah)  and it was a colour that was rare amongst them.”

سير اعلام النبلاء ج ٢  ص  ١٦٨

الحمراء ، في خطاب أهل الحجاز : هي البيضاء بشقرة ، وهذا نادر فيهم


Note: Hijaaz is the western region of Saudi Arabia. It comprises of the cities Mecca, Medina, Jeddah, Tabuk, Yanbu and Taif



Let’s now look at some positive connotations related to white:

Abu Tayyib Al Laghwi (350 AH) said in his book ,Book of opposites in the speech of the Arabs ( page 40)

”White is only used for people (to mean) being far from being impure and free from defects.”.

كتاب الأضداد في كلام العرب

” و انما الأبيض من الناس البعيد من الدنس، النقي من العيب“


Al Thaa’lab is quoted in Lisan Al Arab, he said,

” The Arabs do not say a man is white to mean that he is white in colour. It is only said to mean that the person is pure and free from any defects.”


”العرب لا تقول : رجل أبيض من بياض اللون إنما الأبيض عندهم الطاهر النقي من العيوب”


In Al Atheer said in Al Nihaayah Fee Ghareeb Al Hadeeth , Chapter 3 page 354

”Al Ghurra ; plural Al Agharr : whiteness of the face: he meant the whiteness of their bright faces with light on the day of judgement”

قال ابن اثير النهاية في غريب الحديث والأثر ج٣ ص ١٥٤

الغر : جمع الأغر ، من الغرة : بياض الوجه ، يريد بياض وجوههم بنور الوضوء يوم القيامة

Read more about the positive and negative connotations related to the words black and white  here.


Both of the words black and white were used for complexions of people and to describe the character and mood of people. Both black and white had positive and negative connotations that are not related to the actual physical complexion of human beings.