Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Does Islam have a bias toward fair complexion color? Hoor ‘Ayns (maidens of Paradise) have been described as “fair,” as in white. So as they are heavenly women, does that mean to say a white complexion on a female is ideal for men? If so, I don’t know how to feel about that; it would justify the colorism I have faced as a black Muslim woman by Muslim men.
Also, I heard that the people of Janna will have a fair complexion: “Verily the people of Paradise will be young, beardless and hairless of 33 years in age, They will be the height of Adam, the age of ‘Isa (i.e. 33 years), they will be fair in color and will wear green clothes.”
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your concern, but I can guarantee you that there is no racism in Islam.
Maidens of Paradise
Allah has created what He deems fit as a reward for good deeds in Paradise, and this is not to say that if a man wants a dark-colored maiden that he can’t have one. We are only given a limited description of the possibilities in Paradise.
Anas reported God’s Messenger as saying, “No one who enters Paradise will want to return to the world and have anything on the earth except the martyr. He will wish to return to the world and be killed ten times because of the honor he sees.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Shaykh Jamir Meah says, “The descriptions of the women of Paradise often ‘fairness’ or ‘lightness.’ This could be referring to the actual tone of skin color, but also could be referring to the radiating brightness, clearness, and glowing light (nur) of the skin, which is not confined to white skin, even in this life.”
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made it abundantly clear from this hadith that racism is not justified in Islam and that the only distinguishing factor between believers is taqwa (God-fearingness).
Ahmad narrated from Abu Nadra: Someone who heard the khutba of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message. [Saheeh Albani]
Allah Most High mentions in the Quran, “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may (get to) know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Quran, 49:13]
Please see the following links as well:
Will a Person Have What He Prefers in Paradise? What Will Women Receive?
Reader on Women’s Ranks in the Hereafter
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.