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Islam and Blackness

Jonathan A.C. Brown

It is commonly claimed that Islam is antiblack, even inherently bent on enslaving Africans. Western and African critics alike have contended that antiblack racism is in the faith’s very scriptural foundations and its traditions of law, spirituality and theology. But what is the basis for this?

Bestselling scholar Jonathan A.C. Brown examines Islamic scripture, law, Sufism and history to determine the extent to which this claim is true – and why. Locating the origins of the accusation in the old trope of Barbary enslavement, modern Afrocentrism and conservative politics, he explains how antiblackness arose in the Islamic world and became entangled with normative tradition. From the imagery of ‘blackened faces’ in the Quran to Shariah assessments of Black women as undesirable and the assertion that Islam and Muslims are foreign to Africa, this work provides a comprehensive study of the controversial knot that is ‘Islam and Blackness’, and identifies authoritative voices in Islam’s past that are crucial for combatting antiblack racism today.

  • Publication date: November 3, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861544851
  • RRP: £21.00
  • Pages: 416


‘…builds on and expands many recent works that examine the complicated relationship between Islam and Blackness. The question Brown seeks to answer is simple, “Is Islam antiblack?” His path to an answer, however, is a complex, meandering one through many historic, cultural, social, political and religious vistas. The result is a sensitive and nuanced distinguishing between lived reality and scriptural ideal… This engaging volume will prove to be a seminal work in this area of inquiry.’

Imam Zaid Shakir, Professor Emeritus, Zaytuna College

Jonathan A.C. Brown

Jonathan A.C. Brown is Professor and Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is the author of Slavery & IslamMisquoting Muhammad and Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World, all of which are published by Oneworld. He lives in Virginia.

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