Attraction and Ethnicity

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the ruling of not being attracted to a certain ethnicity?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Wa ‘Alaykum al-Salaam

Each individual human has there own preferences and attractions. Each of us is unique in what we deem beautiful or attractive. To incline toward one ethnicity or to be attracted to one skin color over another, is not impermissible.

However, to think one’s self to be better than others due to an outward appearance, to belittle others due to a skin color or tribal affiliation is highly impermissible and tantamount to arrogance, which is one of the destructive major sins. Regarding this, Allah, Most High, says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ – 49:11

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers. [Qur’an: 49.11]
Ethnicities are signs of Allah. Allah, Most High, says:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ – 30:22

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. [Qur’an: 30.22]

Thus, the recognition that the diversity and variety in the creation of Allah are from the signs of Allah’s greatness is a type of knowledge. And to fail to recognize this and to grant more importance to an outward appearance over character, piety, truthfulness, etc.. of the qualities which truly matter to Allah, is sheer ignorance.

We must not let a natural inclination to one ethnicity over another cause us to look down on others, nor to allow that to become a focal point of judgment upon others. For Allah, gives importance to the inward state of a person, not their outward appearance.

عَنْ أبي هُريْرة عَبْدِ الرَّحْمن بْنِ صخْرٍ قَالَ: قالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ ﷺ: إِنَّ الله لا يَنْظُرُ إِلى أَجْسامِكْم، وَلا إِلى صُوَرِكُمْ، وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ ” رواه مسلم

Abu Hurairah [may Allah be pleased with him] narrates that the Messenger of Allah [may Allah bless him and give him peace] said, “Verily Allah does not look at your outward forms and appearances, rather He looks at your hearts.” [Muslim]

May Allah bless you for your inquiry and may Allah fill our hearts with humility and good character.

Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch