In this glorious and deservedly famous hadith, Muhammad achieves two goals:
- He highlights Ethiopians as the lowest human form to serve as a powerful contrast to a leadership archetype
- He assigns an offensive physical stereotype to Ethiopians, comparing them to dark, wrinkled fruit
Muhammad’s Arab bias is also found in his preference for freeing Arab slaves. While blacks were obviously disproportionately enslaved compared to Arabs in 7th century Arabia (including by Muhammad himself), Muhammad nevertheless highlights in multiple hadiths the superiority of freeing Arabs. (Bukhari 2543, Abu Dawud 5077, note that the term “descendant of Ishmael” means an Arab)
While Muhammad’s clear goal was to have the entire world accept him as a prophet, he nevertheless clumsily exposes his racist, Arab-supremacist nature in multiple hadiths.