ABOUT THIS BOOK:
Blackness is a term which has been understood differently based upon time and geography. The authors of this book explore how the term was understood by Arabs during the era surrounding the first three generations of Muslims and how such context can better inform understanding who from among them would today be considered Black Muslims in the West.
This is very important in light of the effects of colonialism and scientific racism theories such as eugenics etc.,, have forced the idea of species level taxonomies which are in reality social constructs upon the psyche of laymen across the globe. By examining texts of antiquity and centering them in the modern discourse, it is hoped that the nuance and breadth of the human experience can be appreciated.
Moving beyond providing generic descriptive terminology, they elucidate in detail particulars based upon semantics of the Arabic language. Authors then give biographical information on a series of early Muslims from African and Arab lineage who would be considered Black in the post modern era/
"Let's face it, Bilal ibn Rabah (ra) the great companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) has been "tokenized" in modern Islamic discourse. The current modern "Black" narrative in Islam fashions Bilal as the only "Black" amongst the earliest Muslims...
Centering Black Narrative dramatically corrects this erroneous narrative, for example on p37 Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) is shown to have been described as "extremely dark (adam shahid al-udmah)" complexion, which other works have shown was the exact same complexion description of Bilal ibn Rabah (ra)
Given the current political climate (February 2017) in this era of the Trump anti-Muslim banning agenda and with tensions between Arabized Levantine Arab business owners and inner-city African-American communities, this is a timely book which delves into the question of the intersectionality of "Muslim", "Blackness" and "Arabness" amongst the earliest Muslims including within Ahl al-Bayt (the family of the Prophet Muhammad)
Authors Ahmad Mubarak and Dawud Walid are to be commended on a well researched and thoroughly referenced work, which is at once beneficial to the scholar yet readable and accessible to laity and the general public. Ustadh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali's foreword lays the foundation and sets the scholarly yet unapologetic tone right from the onset...
While I wouldn't characterize it as an omission which hinders the book, yet the inclusion of the actual Arabic excerpts from the classic works would've made the work even more compelling."
- Akil Fahd
"Phenomenal read and a phenomenal book by phenomenal people"
ABOUT SHAYKH AHMED MUBARAK:
Ahmad Mubarak- a lifelong student of the Islamic sciences. He has studied Islam traditionally at Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt. He also has studied in: Syria, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. He holds a BA in Arabic Studies from DePaul University and is currently pursing his Masters at DePaul University.
ABOUT SHAYKH DAWUD WALID:
Dawud Walid is a member of the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) Imams Committee and writer for Al-Madina Institute.
Walid has lectured at over 60 institutions of higher learning about Islam and social justice including at Harvard University, the University of Bamako in Mali and Islamic Institute of Dakar in Senegal as well as spoken at the 2008 and 2011 Congressional Black Caucus Conventions alongside prominent speakers such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Congressman Keith Ellison.
Walid has studied under qualified scholars the disciplines of Arabic grammar and morphology, foundations of Islamic jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh), sciences of the exegesis of the Qur’an (Ulum Tafsir al-Qur'an), and Islamic history during the era of Prophet Muhammad through the governments of the first 5 caliphs. He previously served as an imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit and the Bosnian American Islamic Center in Hamtramck, Michigan, and continues to deliver sermons and lectures at Islamic centers across the United States and Canada.
Walid was a 2011 – 2012 fellow of the University of Southern California (USC) American Muslim Civil Leadership Institute (AMCLI) and a 2014 – 2015 fellow of the Wayne State Law School Detroit Action Equity Lab (DEAL).