[Editor’s note: The following article is taken from a message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on January 16, 1998 in Khartoum, Sudan during his third World Friendship Tour, wherein he traveled to 53 countries on four continents. Click here to order this message.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, we are very honored to be here in the Sudan, the bridge between Northern Africa and Southern Africa, Arab Africa and what is called Black Africa. I am especially pleased to be here during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Allah (God) says to us in the Qur’an, that fasting is prescribed for us as it was prescribed for those before us. Prescriptions are given by doctors to heal those who are sick and fasting was prescribed for us to strengthen our will and give us the necessary discipline to succeed in Islamic life.
This fast of Ramadan comes at a time when the Sudan is surrounded by forces inspired by the government of the United States of America to destroy the regime that is in Khartoum. I asked myself, “What is it in America that is feared by the regime in Khartoum? What does the fast of Ramadan, now in this crucial time in Sudan history, have to do with this that is on your border?” To strengthen the will, to discipline one’s self, to abstain from what is natural that we may resist what is unnatural.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that fasting must be observed by us in order that we could resist the unnatural urge to smoke, drink, and abuse ourselves and others. The natural gift of Allah (God) is freedom, justice and equality for all human beings. The unnatural principles are slavery, injustice and inequity. Whenever one desires to go against the natural grain that Allah (God) has intended for every human being, there must be resistance to the unnatural by strengthening the will to fight for what is natural, what is good, and what is of Allah (God).
Allah (God) has declared that He will not accept any religion in the Day of Judgment except the religion of Islam. He says in the Qur’an, “Surely the true religion with Allah is Islam.” Many of us have thought that that means a particular way of prayer, a particular time to fast, a particular kind of ritual. Wrong. These rituals, which are principles of action, are to teach us higher lessons.
Prayer and the manner of prayer is to teach us a higher lesson. Zakat, fasting, jihad–the struggle against the weakness of self–these principles are eternal, but the manner of expressing these principles have changed as Islam evolved from Prophet Ibrahim to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The true religion with Allah (God) is not a specific way of prayer or time of fasting. The true religion with Allah (God) is entire submission to His Will. If we want to submit entirely to the Will of Allah (God), then we have to put our will into subjection to His Will and fasting is one of the principles that cause us to submit. Prayer softens the mind and the heart against rebellion to Allah (God).
Charity, in its broadest sense, gives us a spirit out of the self-centered child-like mentality of an individual that only thinks for self, or a nation that is only concerned with itself, or a tribe that is only concerned with itself. But the principle of zakat, or charity, is to give Muslims an international and universal spirit so that we will feel the pain of any human being who suffers, as we feel the hunger or the thirst during Ramadan. So, fasting is prescribed for us.
Islam, then, is the nature of God. It’s not the Arab religion; it’s the religion that God gave to the Arabs through the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We are taught in the Qur’an that all of the prophets were Muslims. So, Islam is the oldest system of action and principles in the universe. The whole entire universe is based on Islam–obedience to the Will and the Law of God. Only the sun, moon and star are forced into that, but Allah (God) gives man and mankind free will to either accept obedience or reject it. Those of us who love Allah (God) and want to obey Him must practice the principles of Islam that soften us, in terms of rebellion to God and strengthen our will to obey God.
In the Qur’an, in a debate with Allah (God), Satan asks Him, “Grant me a respite, a delay of my doom, a delay of my judgment.” Allah (God) says, “Surely you are of the respited ones.” Instead of being grateful for the respite, he then says to Allah (God), “Surely, I’m going to come after them in Thy straight path. And I will come to them from before them, from behind them, from their left side and from their right side. And I will make all of them deviate.” Allah (God) said to Shaitan, “Whosoever follows you, I will certainly fill hell with you all.” In another place, Allah (God) says, “You will get all, except my purified ones.”
Sudan has accepted Islam but, for a while, Islam slept in the hearts and minds of the Sudanese. For a while, Islam slept in the hearts and minds of the Arab and the Muslim world. You had Islam, but it degenerated into acts of prayer, which we did five times a day. We prayed, but we did it void of the spirit of it. We paid zakat, we fasted during the month of Ramadan, but we forgot that the mission of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had not yet been completed. We forgot that, as long as there was disbelief in the world, we had a duty to continue the mission of the Prophet, until all bowed down to the Will of Allah (God). Some of us forgot that duty and settled into a meaningless Islam.
Now is the time of Resurrection. Now is the time of the awakening. Some of us are waiting for the Resurrection of the dead in the ground and we have become dead in the faith ourselves.
So, Allah (God) says in the Qur’an, “He will take the living from the dead, and the dead from the living.” The living are those who believe and those who practice faith. Those who are dead are those who are hypocrites and lip professors, who say with their lips, “I believe. I am with you Prophet Muhammad,” but when they are alone with their devils, they have another story. So, these are dead among the living that must be separated from the living.
Allah (God) says in the Qur’an, “That on that day, they shall be separated.” He will separate the hypocrites out from the believer and the believer out from the hypocrite. In the rise of the spirit of Islam, you have those who are resisting the fundamentals of Islam, and you have those who are Muslims in name, but they don’t bow down. So, Allah (God) will separate them. How will He separate them? He will separate them by means of war. Now, we are at that time in history.
I live in the United States of America, which has the greatest potential of any nation on earth. Human beings of every race, nation and ethnic group live in the United States of America. If America accepted the true teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Islam, America could become the basis for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. America, as we speak, is engaged in a tremendous debate, because America occupies a unique position, never occupied by a nation in the history of the world.
There have always been people who wanted to conquer the world. They never quite made it. There was always a balance on the earth. During the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), we saw the Roman Empire, but it was balanced by the Persian Empire. In modern history, there has always been this balance of power. But now that there is no more Soviet Union, the United States of America is the only remaining superpower and sits at the top of a uni-polar, or one pole, world. Where will the balance be for the arrogance of America? Where will the balance be for the spiritual blindness of America? Where will the balance be for the moral decadence of America? If she, in her present state, is at the top of a uni-polar world, influencing the whole world, and she is in rebellion against God and exports rebellion, then she reflects Shaitan (Satan).
This is a terrible condition for a great nation to be in. Shaitan, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us, is one whose evil is not confined to itself, but one whose evil affects others. If Muslims say, “Allah-u-Ahad” (Allah is One), then any time you have a uni-polar world, then God must be at the top of that pole in order for all under that pole to benefit properly from that pole. In a uni-polar world, where God is not the dominant force in that government and among that people, all weaker nations will suffer under that uni-polar power. Weaker nations will never develop under that kind of immoral, decadent power. So what is happening now, in our world?
I am almost ashamed to say that I believe that, in this uni-polar world, there is a fear of Islam, there is a hatred for Islam. Therefore, the Final Battle is a battle of the forces of rebellion to God versus the desire of those who want to surrender to God. There are those who want to play God and take the place of God and take worship for themselves that belongs only to Allah (God).
Where are we in this equation? Some may say, “No, I don’t agree that the Western powers are at war against Islam, because there are Muslims in their midst that seem to be respected, loved and admired and they have Muslim allies that they seem to respect and love. Surely, the West is not against Islam.” But let us remember what we said Islam is. Some of us are practicing a religion that is good for nothing. I really want you to understand this point. It is good to be a Muslim, but if our Islam is not bringing about substantive change in the world for the betterment of all human beings, our religion is a religion that is good for nothing. That is not the religion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). That is not his Sunnah.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one man armed with faith in The One God. With the Revelation of the Qur’an, he transformed a society, a people and a world. If we are in fact his followers, then we are in the business of the transformation of ourselves, our society, people and the world. If you are in that business, you are challenging Western hegemony. If you are not challenging Western hegemony, then you are not in the business that Prophet Muhammad was in, (PBUH).
Let us consider the kind of Islam that the West is pleased with. The West is pleased with non-functional Islam; an Islam where you can go to the mosque and bother nobody; an Islam where you say prayers and feel a sense of purification, but that purity is incestuous–it’s for you and your family, but it’s not for the Brother or Sister down the street, because you will not act to ease their burden of suffering.
That kind of non-functional Islam is applauded by America, Britain, France, and corrupt Islamic political and spiritual leaders, because as long as you are non-functional as a Muslim, then corruption can exist in the world, unchecked and unchallenged. Racism can exist. Materialism can exist. Sexism can exist. Evil can exist in the world, unchecked and unchallenged by a non-functional Islam. So, the West applauds that kind of religion as corrupt leaders. The West is happy with non-functional Islam, saying: “Oh, yes, I know Muslims. I have a lot of Muslim friends. Have a drink. Did you say you wanted that prostitute? I know a lot of good Muslims like that.”
Non-functional. Islam in name. Dead that either must be made alive or separated from the living.