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Rastafarian & Islam at a Glance;

By Ijaz Chaudry


Difference between Rastafarian and Islam, Islamic point of view;



Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is God and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile as the result of colonisation and the slave trade.



Islam says that there is no god besides God (the Creator of Heavens and Earth).  Islam also says that no human can be God.  This fact is explained by the example of Jesus being son of Mary rather than the son of God.  God is the all powerful who created the Heavens and the Earth, no human can do that!!

[3:45]  The angels said, "O Mary, GOD gives you good news: a Word from Him whose name is `The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He will be prominent in this life and in the Hereafter, and one of those closest to Me.'


[9:30]  The Jews said, "Ezra is the son of GOD," while the Christians said, "Jesus is the son of GOD!" These are blasphemies uttered by their mouths. They thus match the blasphemies of those who have disbelieved in the past. GOD condemns them. They have surely deviated.

[28:70]  He is the one GOD; there is no other god beside Him. To Him belongs all praise in this first life, and in the Hereafter. All judgment belongs with Him, and to Him you will be returned.



Rastafarian theology developed from the ideas of Marcus Garvey, a political activist who wanted to improve the status of fellow blacks.



Islam is free from prejudice against, colour, race or creed, anyone regardless of his/her religion can be a Muslim (Submitter).  God promises the believers victory and happiness in this world and greater reward in the Hereafter;

[5:69]  Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

Happiness: Now and Forever*

[10:62]  Absolutely, GOD's allies have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

*10:62-64 Most people think that they have to wait until the Day of Resurrection before they receive their rewards for righteousness, or the retribution for wickedness. But the Quran repeatedly assures the believers that they are guaranteed perfect happiness here in this world, now and forever. At the end of their interim here, they go directly to Paradise (see Appendix 17).

[10:63]  They are those who believe and lead a righteous life.

[10:64]  For them, joy and happiness in this world, as well as in the Hereafter. This is GOD's unchangeable law. Such is the greatest triumph.



The movement's greatest concerns are the repatriation of blacks to their homeland, Africa, and the reinstatement of blacks' position in society



The indigenous population of Africa has suffered a lot in the past.  Islam recognizes this fact, when the Quran was revealed Slavery was a norm.  However, Islam introduced freeing the salves, halving their punishments, to relieve some pressure from the salves;

[2:177]  Righteousness is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the travelling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.

[4:25]  Those among you who cannot afford to marry free believing women, may marry believing slave women. GOD knows best about your belief, and you are equal to one another, as far as belief is concerned. You shall obtain permission from their guardians before you marry them, and pay them their due dowry equitably. They shall maintain moral behaviour, by not committing adultery, or having secret lovers. Once they are freed through marriage, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half of that for the free women.* Marrying a slave shall be a last resort for those unable to wait. To be patient is better for you. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

*4:25 This law proves that the punishment for adultery could not possibly be stoning to death as stated in the laws of corrupted Muslims (see 24:2).

[9:60]  Charities shall go to the poor, the needy, the workers who collect them, the new converts, to free the slaves, to those burdened by sudden expenses, in the cause of GOD, and to the traveling alien. Such is GOD's commandment. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.

[90:12]  Which one is the difficult path?

[90:13]  The freeing of slaves.

[90:14]  Feeding, during the time of hardship.



God is found within every man

Rastafarians believe that God makes himself known through humanity. According to Jagessar "there must be one man in whom he exists most eminently and completely, and that is the supreme man, Rastafari, Selassie I."



The manifestation of divinity of God is apparent in all things.  The rain that falls on the crops when they need it, the sun that shines to ripen the fruits and crops, the various fruits that we eat, it comes from the same earth with different tastes and shapes, also God inspires the humans to fly make luxurious means of transport, He also inspired humans to lay roads and to sail on the sea.  All these and many more are signs of God for the believers to observe and be appreciative of God.  If a human want to count God's blessings he/she will not be able to fathom them  no matter how long or how hard he/she tries;

[2:22]  The One who made the earth habitable for you, and the sky a structure. He sends down from the sky water, to produce all kinds of fruits for your sustenance. You shall not set up idols to rival GOD, now that you know.

[6:99]  He is the One who sends down from the sky water, whereby we produce all kinds of plants. We produce from the green material multitudes of complex grains, palm trees with hanging clusters, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranate; fruits that are similar, yet dissimilar. Note their fruits as they grow and ripen. These are signs for people who believe.

     Greatness of God*

[39:67]  They can never fathom the greatness of GOD. The whole earth is within His fist on the Day of Resurrection. In fact, the universes are folded within His right hand.* Be He glorified; He is much too high above needing any partners.

*39:67 Our universe, with its billion galaxies, a billion trillion stars, uncountable decillions of heavenly bodies, spanning many billions of light-years, is the smallest and innermost of seven universes. This incomprehensible vastness of the seven universes is within God's hand. Such is the greatness of God. See Appendix 6.



Respect for nature

This idea refers to the importance and respect Rastafarians have for animals and the environment, as mirrored in their food laws.



Islam also recognise the importance of being kind to nature, thus we are asked to tread the earth gently;

[25:63]  The worshipers of the Most Gracious are those who tread the earth gently, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter peace.

All nice foods are allowed in Islam, except the following;

[2:173]  He only prohibits for you the eating of animals that die of themselves (without human interference), blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than GOD. If one is forced (to eat these), without being malicious or deliberate, he incurs no sin. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

     Intoxicants and Gambling Prohibited

[5:90]  O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.



Judgment is near

This corresponds to the nearness of judgement for Rastafarians when they will be given greater recognition.



The only Judgment Muslims recognize is the Day of the Judgment, when this earth will come to end and everyone will be judged by God and make it Heaven or Hell based on the righteous and unrighteous work they may have done on earth respectively.  This earth will be replaced by Hell, and all the disbelievers will burn here;

     Guaranteed Happiness

     Now and Forever

[16:97]  Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works.



Women must also abstain from abortion which is regarded as murder



Selective abortion is allowed in Islam.  Taking life in Islam is a big sin.  God explains in the Quran the Final Testament that God gives life to foetus  or deem it lifeless.  Thus abortion at an earlier stage where the baby is an embryo, abortion is permissible.  This law works well with the modern society, for example the pill works this way.  Also in certain circumstances where a woman has been raped and would like an abortion this is a useful law;

[22:5]  O people, if you have any doubt about resurrection, (remember that) we created you from dust, and subsequently from a tiny drop, which turns into a hanging (embryo), then it becomes a fetus that is given life or deemed lifeless. We thus clarify things for you. We settle in the wombs whatever we will for a predetermined period.* We then bring you out as infants, then you reach maturity. While some of you die young, others live to the worst age, only to find out that no more knowledge can be attained beyond a certain limit. Also, you look at a land that is dead, then as soon as we shower it with water, it vibrates with life and grows all kinds of beautiful plants.


This article has direct reference to material on  Thus the paragraphs under the heading “Rastafarian” is from BBC.  Lot of effort has been taken to leave this material in its original form and minimize the amount of material in proportion to what BBC has put on their site.   This is done in compliance with Section 110 (5) of the Copyright Act 1976.