So If You’re Muslim, Then Why Are You White? The Difference Between Race and Religion

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My friend Lubna recently reminded me of this question I often receive, so I thought I would elaborate 🙂

Yes, I am white.  Caucasian. My heritage is Czech mostly with a sprinkle of Irish and German, but I’m American.  100% cracker, white girl status.

And, I’m Muslim.  100%… MUSLIM.

So, HOW CAN THAT BE?

Islam is the name of our religion – as Christianity or Judaism is the name of other religions.

Muslim is the name of the person who follows Islam – as Christian or Jew is the name of people who follow other religions.

Caucasian is my race.  As other races are African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc…

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Your religion is connected to how you perceive the world, who you worship, what you believe in. It has nothing to do with where you were born, or where your parents were born.

You can be a black Buddhist from Budapest.

You can be an Asian Jew from Timbuktu.

And, as you read in my bio, I’m a Caucasian Muslim from Ohio.

(I hope you liked my rhymes).

Yes, I’m learning Arabic.

Yes, I love Arab culture.

Yes, I make kabsa wa kousa mashi wa samboosa (all Arabic foods).

But I’m a white girl.  And I’ll always be white.  And I’ll never be FROM an Arab country. And I’m very thankful for who I am. I like that I’m different. I love surprising people when they ask “Intee min wein?!” and I say “ana min hon!” (Where are you from? I’m from HERE!”).

See, not all Muslims are Arab.  I know people associate Islam with Arabic, Arab culture, etc… , but it’s not 100% accurate.

Our Prophet Muhammad (saws) lived in modern-day Saudi Arabia.  This is true.  But, Malaysia actually has the biggest Muslim population in the world.  It’s not an Arab country at all!

And, not all Arabs are Muslim – there are many Christian Arabs in Lebanon, for example.

Funny, I know, but my grandma calls me all the time and tells me that she goes to Arab restaurants to feel like she is “in touch with my cultural roots.”

Grandma, we’re Czech.  My cultural roots include pierogies and kolacky and polka music.  Not Tamer Hosny and falafel.

She told me recently that she’s going to start taking matters into her own hands if I don’t get married soon and start meeting nice Arab families to marry me off to. I told her I want a nice MUSLIM husband and I explained to her the difference between Arab and Muslim.  I thought she got it.  Then, at the end of the conversation she said she would make sure he was Arab.

I have a feeling she’s going to bring home an Israeli guy for me and not know the difference.

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I guess that I should say I would prefer that people don’t confuse my love for Islam with my love for Arab culture.  I do care about both, very much.  And I feel like I am very influenced by Arab culture, but I’m much more influenced by Islam.

Islam is perfect. Muslims are not. Arab Muslims aren’t always the best Muslims.

Islam is a mercy for all mankind.  Not just Arabs.

When a lady at WalMart told me to go back where I came from, I told her I’m from CLEVELAND.

There is a hadith (not sure on how authentic) but it says that Prophet Muhammad said, “O people, know that the Lord and Sustainer is One. Your ancestor is one, your faith is one. The Arabism of anyone of you is not from your mother or father. It is no more than a tongue (language).” (As quoted in Islam The Natural Way by Abdul Wahid Hamid p. 125)

May Allah give us the wisdom to realize that Islam is for all people – in all times – of all colors – forever. And, may He give us the tolerance and patience to understand that the diversity of the world is beautiful. Ameen.

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40 thoughts on “So If You’re Muslim, Then Why Are You White? The Difference Between Race and Religion

  1. Great post as usual. I just want to add this Hadith that prophet Muhammad ﷺ said in his last sermon : “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

  2. Great post. Here’s a couple corrections though: it’s “waraq or warag” 7 is haa 🙂
    & you’re from huna, hina not hon lol!

      1. Assalamualaikum hmm i think “But, Malaysia actually has the biggest Muslim population in the world” is not truly accurate because Indonesia (Malaysian neighbor) have more than 250 million people and most of them are muslim so i think Indonesia has the biggest muslim population in the world

  3. Slm alkm dear sister…i’m soooo inspired and happy by ur story…I pray Allah support u n bless u w stuff that ll bring joy to ur heart n happiness (i.e. Espclly Faithful loving husband). I guess it’ll take time coz the most precious n valuable things take time…best of luck. Iv been Muslim for 5 years Alhamdulilah n married for 3 years. My wife was born Muslim though. Its been challenging 4 me w many tests, but Alhamdulilah iv managed. Kenya, where i’m from where I live is predominantly Christian, not a bad thing, just challenging. My deen is constantly criticised analyzed. i’m guessing America must be quite challenging too, especially coz many Americans have sumthing to say bout a girl who chooses to be in a religion that allows men to marry four wives n in which there are cases of many women mistreated…as I look at my baby girl shameem n i’m fascinated n inspired by stories like yours, fi Aman ila sister

    1. Im Indonesian,
      my country might be The largest muslim country in the world.
      BUT.
      i can say, it sad to see alot of brothers and sister didnt do shalat.
      so,
      may be, The largest REAL Muslim country in the world is Malay. idk

      May Allah bring those people to the right path.

  4. What’s the problem if your grandma introduces you a nice Muslim guy from Israel? Israel is a country, not a religion.

      1. I’m sure that you mean that 😉 But I think that you have shown the same kind of prejudice that you don’t like about yourself. 17.7% of Israel population is Muslim (in US is 0.8%). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country

        I like your post. It’s inspiring, And it make me dream about countries where religion and state are clearly separated so each human being can choose how to live his/her spirituality.

  5. Assalam o alaikum from Pakistan
    A pretty nice blog to read. i was just looking for some stuff online and came through this website. I like what wrote, I love people that search for truth and then follows them no matter what.
    May Allah give you the courage to spread the word of Islam amongst other non-muslim sisters around you.

    Inshallah

    walaikum assalam wa rah matullah

  6. I’m an 100% Arab Muslim from Israel, I’m truly glad that non-Arab Muslims that had converted are happy with their religion the most, it does really make my day….

    Thank you for sharing this, and have a lovely life inshallah

  7. Salam, sister.
    Just want to make a note that Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, not Malaysia 🙂

  8. Hey, I’m in the same boat kind of!

    15, caucasian, living in Canada and I’m.. Sikh. Except when people ask me about my religion they usually don’t even know what it is. Haha!

    1. That’s awesome!! I actually have a Sikh friend from high school and I have so much respect for your religion. We’ve had many conversations about differences between Sikhs and Muslims. Our religions are actually quite similar. Love the fact you avoid eating meat to prevent any suffering from entering your bodies. Much respect ❤️❤️ Thanks for stoping by.

  9. Wonderful Blog sister, I just found this blog while I was procrastinating writing a 15-20 essay that is due before I Inshallah Graduate this Tuesday.
    So here is weird question for everybody in general, if a muslim man did not care about ethnicity regarding marriage but was looking to get married where does he start, parent’s, Masjid? As muslims we can’t date, and approaching a muslim girl can get very dicey since most have issues with Muslim men even talking with them. I swear, you talk any sort of non-muslim girl in school about school issues. But if you approach a muslim girl regarding anything even academic, you get the strangest look and the impression that I am only speaking to you because I am interested in you. “Lady, all I wanted to know was the answer to question 3?”

    1. Jazak Allah khair

      Mabrook on your graduation! May Allah bless you with success in this life and in the next.

      HILARIOUS question – and I think us Muslim girls are all guilty of this – I know I am. I would suggest talking to your parents first (after all, she will be part of your family) and asking your mother to reach out to girls she knows. I know that this has happened to me a few times and I was much more accepting of his mother’s approach than his approach.

      May Allah send you a beautiful and pious wife.

      1. So your saying its better to have Aunti’s coming out of the wood work saying to prospective girls, “Want to get married to my son?”.

  10. “biggest Muslim population in the world”
    actually the biggest Muslim population in the world is Indonesia as i know ^^

  11. I wish all Muslims speak with that kind of carriage and proud like this young lady we all applause for your fierce carriage and love my Allah in light our hearts with love and mercy for each other and for all living beings
    M

  12. Millions of Muslims are white with fair skin,blue eyes and brown, blonde,or even red hair. They are found in European nations such as Kosovo and Bosnia, as well as from southern Russia.The majority of Muslims are not Arabs, Indonesia an Asian nation, has the largest Muslim population in the world.Islam is multi-racial and Muslims can be Asian, black, brown, or white. Muslims come in African, Asian, middle eastern, and European cultures.

  13. Great post! There is so much misconception about Islam and being a Muslim (e.g.being a Muslim is wanting to be like an Arab). I am a Muslim and from Malaysia. Just because I am a practicing Muslim doesn’t mean I live like an Arab. I like Arab food and some Arabic pop music but I am still Malaysian culturally. I have some Arab friends and have been to an Arab country but I don’t think I will ever fit into their society. I have met many practicing white Muslims (Americans and Europeans) and they have not left their Western culture for the Arab culture. Being proud of your Czech heritage.

  14. Must feel great that you can worship peacefully and not fear from terrorists like:

    Trump supporter charged in plot to bomb Muslims: ‘I’ll follow this MAN to the end of the world’
    https://www.rawstory.com/2015/12/trump-supporter-charged-in-plot-to-bomb-muslims-ill-follow-this-man-to-the-end-of-the-world/

    In case you see a terrorist mob like this moron approaching your Mosque, you can always remove your hijab and pretend you’re a Christian…Asian and African Americans aren’t that lucky.

    1. I’m very thankful to be in a place where I can worship freely (Saudi Arabia), but also miss home in the States and family. I hope someday the States will be a place I feel safe to worship, too, but for now it’s not.

      I wouldn’t take off my hijab in that case scenario and I’m not very obviously Caucasian, but interesting idea.

      Thanks for the post. May God protect all of the religions in the world and the people who are negatively impacted by Trump’s crazy.

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