Jesus with Dreadlocks:  an illustrated guide to Christian and Islamic descriptions of the Messiah

The popular image of a West Asian (“European”) Jesus is the exact opposite of his description in Christian, and Islamic, sources.  So what did he look like?  How can we recognize him upon his return?

“It doesn’t matter what Jesus looked like.”

This is an automatic response whenever the discussion is about someone being dark-skinned or African.  Whenever that person is pale-skinned, the matter is taken at face value.  That is the author’s opinion, but since the evidence is only anecdotal, we will explore this claim of colorblind religion according to the sources.

That’s a very unChristian thing to say.  The authors of several books of the Old and New Testaments were very careful to describe the skin color and hair texture of Jesus (as will be presented below).  The founders of Christianity, who debated heatedly about which books to include in the Bible, chose to include these descriptions.  If Jesus’ skin color and hair texture didn’t matter in Christianity, the founders of the faith would have thrown these descriptions out.

It’s also a very unIslamic thing to say.  Prophet Muhammad (sA’a&s) carefully described Jesus’ skin color and hair texture to his companions.  These companions, in turn, were carefully recorded and related these statements.  In later centuries, entire sciences developed to check the authenticity of these narrations, and throughout, the skin color and hair of Jesus was deemed important and authentic enough to be kept in books.

Therefore, in Christianity and Islam, skin color and hair texture are important;  but why?

Both Christians and Muslims believe in the coming of a false messiah (Christianity:  Antichrist, Islam:  Maseeh adDajjaal), followed by the return of the true messiah.  In order for the believers to not be deceived, it is important to know what the real and false messiah look like.

He [Jesus] is a Sign of the [Final] Hour. Have no doubt about it. But follow me. This is a straight path. (Qur-an, Suratu zZukhruf (43):61)

If the reader has a further interest in Islamic and Christian eschatology, they can most quickly be compared in these two Wikipedia articles:

Jesus & False Messiah – Islam

Jesus & False Messiah – Christianity

According to Islamic tradition, every prophet and messenger warned his followers about the false messiah, sometimes by describing him.

Once Allah’s Apostle stood amongst the people, glorified and praised Allah as He deserved and then mentioned the Dajjal saying, “l warn you against him (i.e. the Dajjal) and there was no prophet but warned his nation against him. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 553)

It is important to digress here long enough to illustrate how Islamic scholarship has a stance on Jewish and Christian scriptures and literature that tends towards acceptance.

The body of narrations originating from Judeo-Christian traditions, rather than from revealed books such as the Scrolls of Ibraaheem (Abraham), the Taura (Torah), Zabuur (Psalms) and Injeel (Gospel) are known as the Israa-eeliyaat in Islamic theology. They are mostly non-biblical explanatory stories and traditions (in Hebrew: midrashim) giving extra information or interpretation about events or individuals recorded in the Hebrew scriptures.

Muslims classify such narrations in three categories:

1) Those considered to be true because the Qur-aan or narrations of Muhammad confirm them.

2) Those considered to be false, because the Qur-aan or narrations of Muhammad reject them.

3) Those not known to be either true or false.

Therefore the Islamic position on Judeo-Christian narrations and what is left of the revealed books could be summed up with the following narrations of Prophet Muhammad:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: The Prophet said, “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of People of Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.” (Sahih Bukhari. Hadith 3202)

Narrated Abu Huraira: The people of the Scripture (Jews) used to recite the Torah in Hebrew and they used to explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. On that Allah’s Messenger said, “Do not believe the people of the Scripture or disbelieve them, but say: “We believe in Allah and what is revealed to us.” (Qur-aan 2.136) (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 4125)  (

As such, authentic Islamic and Christian source materials are more likely to agree than not to.

While, as the title indicates, the purpose of this paper is to prove the appearance of Jesus’ hair, it will be seen that particular attention must be paid to his skin color for the purposes of clarification.  There are two basic descriptions of the hair of Jesus:  either scanty and tightly-curled, or long.  All descriptions of his skin are either ambiguous or allude to a dark brown color.  Ambiguous descriptions have been omitted.  For example, the biblical verses describing his hair as “white like wool” or his feet “shining like bronze” are ambiguous as regards hair texture and skin color.

Jesus’ hair was short with tight curls


…and the hair of his head like pure wool… (Daniel 7.9)

Early Christian Historians

“At that time also there appeared a certain man of magic power … if it be meet to call him a man, [whose name is Jesus], whom [certain] Greeks call a son of [a] God, but his disciples [call] the true prophet who is supposed to have raised dead persons and to have cured all diseases. Both his nature and his form were human, for he was a man of simple appearance, mature age, black-skinned (melagchrous),… prognathous (lit. ‘with a long face [macroprosopos]), a long nose… with scanty & curly hair, but having a line in the middle of the head after the fashion of the Nazaraeans, with an undeveloped beard. (*Halōsis, ii.174).” (Flavius Josephus)[2]

Modern Bible Scholars

 “While most religious artists have put long hair on Christ, most biblical scholars believe that it was probably short with tight curls…” [3]

Islamic Prophetic Narrations

Jesus was a curly-haired man of moderate height. (Prophet Muhammad) [4]

Jesus hair was also long, and parted at the middle

Early Christian Historians

with scanty, curly* hair [1], but having a line in the middle of the head [2]

Islamic Prophetic Narrations

“I saw in my dream a man of brown color the best one can see amongst brown color and his hair was long that it fell between his shoulders. His hair was lank and water was dribbling from his head and he was placing his hands on the shoulders of two men while circumambulating the Kaba. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘This is Jesus, son of Mary.’” (Prophet Muhammad) [5]

No, By Allah, the Prophet did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, “While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka’ba (in my dream), suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dropping from his head. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ The people said, ‘He is the son of Mary.’ Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘He is Ad-Dajjal.'[6]

* Note the juxtaposition of the Messiah and False Messiah, both important to Islamic and Christian eschatology.

Which kind of hair did he have:  Tightly-Curled or Long?

Indeed both.

How can the same man have both short, tightly-curled or wooly hair, and also long, lank hair?

The answer is that these are describing different stages of (“dread”)locked hair, specifically those of an African.

Wool & Locked Hair

Wool compares favorably in appearance to (“dread”)locks:

lockswoolwool 3

Scanty, Short, and Curly Hair & Short Locked Hair

Only the hair of Sub-Saharan (“black”) Africans, and others like Andamanese Islanders and aboriginal Southeast Asians (“Negritos”, Orang Asli) is (tightly) curled or ‘woolly’ when it is short.  It also appears scanty or thin because of the parting of the hair into small knots (also known as ‘peppercorn’ hair texture):

scanty 2 scanty

These compare favorably with early depictions of Jesus Christ:

One of the world’s earliest known images of Jesus. Engraving on blass plate, 4th Century AD, Spain

One of the world’s earliest known images of Jesus. Engraving on blass plate, 4th Century AD, Spain

black jesus 2 black jesus 3 black jesus 4

Long Hair that can be Scant & Tightly-Curled while Short

The locked hair of an African (or others with “Negroid”/“Africoid” features) is the only type of hair that can be both short and curly, and long hair.  Short locks are initially spread apart (‘scanty’) and tightly-curled, but after growing, their weight causes them to be long and limp (‘lanky’).

locks stages

Jesus was a Dreadlocked African(-Diasporan)

Thus, the seeming contradiction is solved:  Jesus was a (“dread”)locked African(-diasporan).  His hair was sparse and tightly curled when short, and long and lank once it had grown into locks.  These are descriptions of different stages of his locked hair.

African(-diasporan) males compare favorably with phenotypical features common to Christian and Islamic sources, and also with those unique to each:

Common to both:

  • Brown skin
  • Woolly hair
  • Hair that is tightly curled when short
  • Hair that can be parted in the middle when long

Christian only:

  • Prognathous (having a projecting lower jaw or chin- common among many Sub-Saharan Africans)
  • An undeveloped beard (Many Sub-Saharan Africans do not grow full beards)

Islamic only

  • Shoulder-length air that can drip lots of water

black jesus 6 black jesus 8 black jesus 9

Lastly, the peculiar Islamic description of copious water drops will be addressed in brief.  This can’t be a description of long hair of thin strands, because that hair lays flat when wet, and droplet dribble down the back of the person, but could only drop from his or her head if they shook it violently.

Wet Asiatic Hair

Wet Asiatic Hair

Locks on the other hand, absorb copious amounts of water, and can drip visible droplets for quite some time.

Wet Locked Hair

Wet Locked Hair


Christians and Muslims awaiting Jesus’ return are waiting for an African man with dreadlocks.  The popular depictions of a West Asian (“European”) Christ are images based on local subjects, rather than textual or biblical reference.  They are baseless- and in light of the expected end times events- dangerous.

For the reader who is not an adherent of Christianity or Islam, it is clear that both religion’s literary sources agree that Jesus was a member of an ancient Sub-Saharan African (“Negroid”, “Africoid”) diaspora.


[1] As Eisler, Messiah Jesus, 421 points out, there are two alternatives in the manuscript tradition: ολιγόθριξ “scanty”  and ουλόθριξ “curly.”  Retrieved 2.5.2015 from

[2] Robert Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist: According to Flavius Josephus’ recently rediscovered ‘Capture of Jerusalem’ and the other Jewish and Christian sources (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1931).  From Muhammad, Wesley. “God’s Black Prophets: Deconstructing the Myth of the White Muhammad of Arabia and Jesus of Jerusalem”. Retrieved 2.5.2015 from

In 1931 Austrian Jewish Biblical scholar and art historian Robert Eisler published a classic in Josephus scholarship, his The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist: According to Flavius Josephus’ recently rediscovered ‘Capture of Jerusalem’ and the other Jewish and Christian sources. Through a meticulous analysis of extant manuscripts, Eisler endeavored to restore the original reading of a first century text that discusses John the Baptist, Jesus and the early Christians. This first century source is the Halosis or “Capture (of Jerusalem)” of Josephus (37-100 CE). Originally written in Aramaic, a Greek rewriting was published around 72 CE. This is an important text for the discussion of Christian origins, particularly given the section therein treating “the human form of Jesus and his wonderful works.”  Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, is believed to have had access to official Roman records on which he based his history of the early ‘Jesus movement.’ He is thus a singularly contemporary witness.

While there was immediate scholarly backlash to Eisler’s conclusions (e.g. J.W. Jack, The Historic Christ [London: James Clarke & Co, 1933]) and most scholarship today refuses to concede his point, some scholars have taken another look at the issue and affirmed its basic correctness. See e.g. Arthur E. Palumbo, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Personages of Earliest Christianity (New York: Algora Publishing, 2004) who concludes: “It is likely that Eisler’s restoration of the Slavonic passage about Jesus does correspond as close as can be expected to what Josephus actually wrote and to what was recorded in the actual official Jewish and Roman documents. (230)”  From Muhammad, Wesley. “God’s Black Prophets: Deconstructing the Myth of the White Muhammad of Arabia and Jesus of Jerusalem”. Retrieved 2.5.2015 from

[3] Mike Fillon, “The Real Face of Jesus: Advances in forensic science reveal the most famous face in history,” Popular Mechanics (December 2002): 70, 71, from Muhammad, Wesley. “God’s Black Prophets: Deconstructing the Myth of the White Muhammad of Arabia and Jesus of Jerusalem”. Retrieved 2.5.2015 from

[4] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 608

Retrieved 2.5.2015 from & English Texts)

[5]Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 649

Retrieved 2.5.2015 from & English Texts)

[6] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 650.

Retrieved 2.5.2015 from & English Texts)


21 comments on “Jesus with Dreadlocks:  an illustrated guide to Christian and Islamic descriptions of the Messiah

  1. Pingback: Why Have There Been So Many Black Gods? – knowledge of self

        • wa ‘alaykum as salam.

          Honestly, your comments are disappointing. You say I have “no evidence”, whereas I have quoted many narrations and articles WITH LINKS. Why don’t you say something like “This particular evidence is weak or invalid”, or “That line of reasoning doesn’t make sense.”

          Why don’t you know that Palestine and Arabia (the peninsula at least) are Northeast Africa?

          Jesus was from Northeast Africa

          Even if you disagree with that, why don’t you know that people of African descent and/or appearance exist and have existed all over the world? Didn’t I use the word ‘diasporan’?

          What happened to you? You are educated, and an educator, but honestly I see better comments on Stormfront and Facebook than I do here.

          Give me some real feedback. It would hurt me to lower my opinion of you.

          • Salam…1. You’re attempting to manipulate Islamic-Texts to support an `Asabiyyah/Prejudice based agenda, which is wrong: a Person’s ethno-genetic make-up has 0 to do with Taqwa/Piety…2. Who told you that the Arsbian-Peninsula & the Levant were ever historically recognized as being any part of Afric? Also, didn’t you know that the term “Afric” is a Latinized word, from a European-Language, meaning “distant-land”? Furthermor, historicall, only the Saharan region west of modern-day Egypt was considered “Africa”, because this area was named after Scipio Africanus, after his victory over Hannibal of Carthage, modern-day Tunisia, during the Punic-Wars. Africa literally means, ” The Land Africanus conquered”.

            • To Point 1: That’s rather callous: to accuse me of ethno-centrism. In fact, if I have to have a label, I’m most likely a multi-culturalist (see conclusion to Why does there have to be an agenda? What if it’s what I honestly think? What if there’s a consistent logic unifying the disparate sources and early depictions? It really seems like you haven’t read the article, since you’ve criticized nothing but the conclusion, which a person could do from reading the title alone. Tell me what’s wrong with the argument, with the analysis, with the interpretation. I obviously don’t see what is.

              As far as I have read, this is nothing but a knee-jerk reaction from you. I made it explicit that the issue is correctly differentiating the false Messiah from the true Messiah, rather than conflating appearances and piety. It would be more helpful to copy and paste a specific quote, and then write your response. Respond to something I actually said.

              2. I use the term ‘Africa’ because it’s customary to. I’m aware of the history of the term. That aside, Arabia is an extension of Africa in many ways:

              This isn’t the only source of my view on the topic, but it summarizes it best.

              I think we should limit our discussion to your critique of actual specific points in the article, rather than this tangent.

            • You can’t separate the tangents from this article. And, that’s because, if the tangents didn’t matter, then, obviously, you wouldn’t have mentioned them. Your article doesn’t merely, innocently display descriptions of the Christ vs. the Anti-Christ. It very explicitly displays ethnocentric traits that don’t comply with Jesus, only to support a very inaccurate/exaggerated ethnic description of Jesus the Son of Mary (Peace be upon him).

            • My point is very simple: don’t do the same exact things that those voided of Guidance do, which is: ethnically categorize Persona of Prophecy, to suit ethnocentric-agendas. Christians, particularly Euro-influenced, tend to portray Jesus-Christ as a European, which isn’t accurate. And, likewise, “Black-People” both Muslim & Non-Muslim attempt to portray Jesus-Christ as a “Black-Man”, which is just as equally not true.

            • Again, you’ve refuted nothing but the conclusion. How, according to evidences and analyses that I’ve presented, was Eesaa (‘as) Jesus not a dark-skinned man with long hair that is curly when it’s short? The Islamic evidences alone posit that. Make a point, Gareth. Discuss the evidence and analysis.

              And I’ve given my reason for discussing his appearance: it was discussed and emphasized by Rasuulu-Llaah himself (sA’a&s) discussed it, as did the Sahaaba (rA’a) & knowers (‘ulamaa) of all ages, so it is a valid and worthy topic. Further, as there will be a false Messiah, and people’s minds are blinded by pale supremacy, it is necessary to clarify the appearance of the true Messiah. This was all made EXPLICIT at the beginning of the post (which I’m beginning to suspect you haven’t read), so get off the Afro-centrism accusation. It contradicts everything I’ve said in this and many other posts. This discussion has not ceased to get more disappointing. Why not just end it? You obviously don’t have anything substantial to say about a post you haven’t bothered to read. I don’t see any benefit in going further.

            • I have read this post. And, you’ve placed more emphasis on the “complexion” of Jesus-Christ (Peace be upon him), rather than his Prophetic-Purpose, and that’s the problem with your post. And, again, what does his complexion have to do with his ethnicity? You’re, again, doing the exact same thing that Christian-Euros do: claim Jesus-Christ ethnically for themselves: ironically, the exact things concerning Jesus-Christ that you’ve accused Christian-Euros of doing, you’re doing the exact same things in this article.

            • The west Asian (“European”) Christians created an image of Jesus based on an appearance of their liking, without, and in contradiction to, any sources.

              I have related and analyzed sources. How can you accuse me of doing the same thing? Did you see me just draw an arbitrary image of Jesus, accompanied by Afro-centric wolf tickets? Is there a single Afro-centric statement in the article? If so, copy and paste it into your next comment.

              I didn’t set out to say Jesus was “black”, so I can feel good about my self, or to elevate my “race”. I said that the Islamic, Jewish, Roman, Christian and archaeological sources separately and collectively describe a person that fits the description of an African.

              You only think it’s wrong because you don’t like the conclusion. In other words, you don’t think it’s wrong, you just don’t like the conclusion.

              I would like for you to admit that there is nothing wrong with the sources or my treatment of them.

              I would like you to consider that students of knowledge I am in contact with are aware of scholarly discussions about the phenotypes of all the prophets. I would like you to know that faraasa (biological literacy, phenotypology) is a valid science studied by at least one of the founders of the four main math-habs.

              Unless you point out the flaw(s) in my sources or my analysis- and this is approaching the tenth time that I have asked- you are the one who is dodging. I’ve made it abundantly clear that discussing the hair texture, skin color, and ethnicity of the prophets was established by Rasuulu-Llaah (sA’a&s) himself. So was he being ethnocentric? A’oothu biLlaah. So why do I have to be? He described the color and hair of Muusaa, and then mentioned the tribe whom he most resembled. Have I done anything different?

              Your only problem is that you’ve been fed this kum ba ya nonsense by closet racist Muslims to put you to sleep to your own interests, while they go off and brazenly pursue theirs. I’m not accusing you of doing it consciously- a favor not extended to me, as it turns out- but it’s what I call “Self-Regulating Negro Syndrome.” Most African-American Muslims go from a West Asian-centered system called Christianity, to a South Asian-centered system called Islam- neither of which are authentic/prophetic- without knowing the difference. The west Asian training makes the South Asian program a smooth transition: dark-skinned people should politely bow humbly in the name of unity, while everyone else openly goes for theirs. They nod their head while we parrot their paradigm, and wink at each other while we have our eyes closed singing “kum ba ya” at the top of our lungs.

              We can’t say anything about “black” people (except in reference to slavery) without the “there’s no color in Islam” speech. But they can go on with their pederasty, their homosexuality, their sale of poisons (in our community), indulgence in ribaa, their open tribalism, and other ills. How many words have you written in your bogus accusations of my ethno-centricity (which I thoroughly debunked in every way)? Count them, really. Now go count how many words you’ve written, and estimate how many you’ve spoken about clear evils perpetrated by Muslims. I guarantee you it’s all out of proportion. This is called self-regulation.

              We get up and stand up for Kashmir, Palestine, the Uyghurs, the Rohingya, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but we talk about the Maafa, “there’s no color” again. When we talk about racism by and against Muslims (even if we’re not involved), WE are the ones who are being racist. So we learn that we only stand up for people, when those people aren’t related to us. This is self-regulation.

              Wake up. Admit that your problem with this article is emotional. Then know that emotionally-based views are the hardest to change. That’s why you’re having such a hard time articulating a position.

            • My point is very simple:

              The righteousness of Jesus-Christ (Peace be upon him): his religio-spiritual status with his Creator/Lord is what needs to/must be highlighted, not his presumed ethnic-background. And, besides, these same People who state that Jesus has Afro-Features portray him as a Euro. So, accurate could their textual claims be anyhow? Did you ever think about that?!!!Of cours, not.

            • Also, in reference to your reference to the Blacks Of Arabia blog-post: keep in mind that this book has been authored by a Wesley Muhammad: a Mushrik (via worshipping Wali Farad, the founder of the Nation Of Islam, who believe that Wali Farad is/was Allah incarnate), who accuses Muslims of Theophany: Attributation of Allah with Created-Qualities…in other words, Wesley Muhammad accuses Muslims of committing Shirk, and you have the nerv e, as a Muslim, to quote him?!!! Are you serious?!!!

            • Did I endorse Wesley?
              In fact, I don’t. I’m aware of his views and claims.

              Did I reference an article wherein he espouses his controversial views?
              No, the referenced articles are about not-theological issues.

              If he says 2+2 is 4, I will quote him. If he says it’s 5, I’ll be the first to tell him it’s 4.

              Allah quotes Shaytaan in the Qur-an, His last revealed book, the only one He chose to preserve. Therefore, “as a Muslim”, it is methodologically sound to relate statements of even an evildoer, in context.

            • No, you’re obviously very confused, concerning the motives of Wesley Muhammad. The reason as to why he promotes “Blackness” in the Arabian-Peninsula is to discredit the Prophethood oif Muhammad ibn-`Abdillah (Peace be upon him) & it’s very obvious that you’re to blinded by the veil of `Asabiyyah to allow yourself to see straight through his Satanic-Deception. The entire point of him promoting his fallacy of Arabia & its Peoples being “African” is to attempt to disregard the legitimacy of the Messenger of Allah being of Non-African origin, which is a direct conflict-of-interest to the theology of the Nation of Islam.

  2. Salam @Qahiri

    Honestly, although a well thought-out, well written article, I really don’t see your point. We all know that Jesus the Son of Mary (Peace be upon him)wasn’t European, that’s blatantly obvious, due to his ethnicity (being a member of the Children of Israel), and also hailing from the Middle-East. So, basically, you’re pretty much beating a a dead horse, sort-of-speak. And, as for inaccuracies of the Bible, referring to the physical-descriptions of Jesus: that’s Child’s-Play, in comparison to the claims that Christian-Texts make that Jesus possess Divinity with Allah. Honestly,. I’d personally rather People claim that Jesus is “White”, as opposed to claiming that Jesus is the “Son of Allah/Allah incarnate”.

    • Where is the lack of ‘compliance’?
      Which detail is an ‘inaccuracy’?
      Where did I ‘exaggerate’?

      Are you purposefully avoiding discussion of the contents of the article?

      Thus far, you’ve made vague objections, commented on comments to your comments, and made accusations that are inconsistent with the text that these comments are allegedly about.

      If you don’t find any issues with the evidence (including omission of evidence) or flaws in the logic, then rejecting the conclusion is just emotional, unless you have new information or analyses to add. Do you?

        Could you cut-and-paste a point from the article and express what is objectionable about it, or include a specific reference with your criticisms?


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