Curse of Ham

He [Ibn al-Jawẓī] wrote, “As for that which has been narrated that Nūḥ’s privates were uncovered and Ḥām did not cover it due to which Nūḥ made du’ā against him and he became black is something which is not established nor is it authentic.”

I [Imām Suyūṭī] say, “This is strengthened by what Umm al-Faḍl bint Muḥammad informed me: The Messenger of Allāh, may peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, said, ‘Indeed, Allāh created Ādam from a handful taken from the entire earth. thus the children of Ādam come in accordance with the earth, some being white, red, black, and in between, smooth and rough, good and bad.’

This narration is the one relied upon concerning the reason for humanities’ complexion, which is traced back to the clay from which they were created.

As for those narrations which Ibn al-Jawẓī negates, this is in reference to that which Ibn Jarīr quoted in his book of history:

1. ’The people of the Tawrāh claim that is only so because of the supplication Nūḥ made against his son Ḥām. To be more precise, [they claim] that Nūḥ was asleep and his privates became exposed. Ḥām saw this but didn’t cover him. However Sām and Yāfith saw this and threw a cloth over him, concealing his privates. When Nūḥ woke up he came to know of the actions of Ḥām, Sām, and Yāfith and said, ‘Cursed be Kan’ān ibn Ḥām. Slaves of slaves will they be to his brothers,’ as well as, ‘May Allāh, my Lord, bless Sām, let Ḥām be a slave to his brothers, and enlarge Yāfith; make Ḥām alight in his dwelling and let Kan’ān be a slave to him.’ [Tarīkh al-Ṭabrī. Dār al-Ma’ārif. 1:202]

2. ‘Nūḥ supplicated in favor of Sām that prophets and messengers should be from his children, and supplicated for Yāfith that kings should exist amongst his children, but he supplicated against Ḥām that his color should change and his children should be slaves to the children of Sām and Yāfith.’[Tarīkh al-Ṭabrī. Dār al-Ma’ārif. 1:203] and ‘It is mentioned in the books that the condition of slavery was upon Ḥām after that, so he supplicated that he should have a son who was treated kindly by his brothers,’[Tarīkh al-Ṭabrī. Dār al-Ma’ārif. 1:203] and [in another narration], ‘Nūḥ supplicated against Ḥām that the hair of his children should not pass their ears and that wherever his children met the children of Sām they would enslave them.’ [Tarīkh al-Ṭabrī. Dār al-Ma’ārif. 1:210]”

(Source: Raf’ Sha’n al-Habshān. [Publisher:] Dr. Muḥammad ‘Abdul-Wahhāb Faḍl. Page: 371)

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