In a momentous address delivered October 19 during the rededication of Mosque Maryam in Chicago, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan offered a New Beginning and understanding of the teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and Master Fard Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam.
In his two-hour address, which delved into the commonality of religion and faith traditions, the Minister said Master Fard Muhammad, who was born from a Black father and a White mother, came not only to deliver the Black man and woman of America, but to offer America a way to save herself. The man the Nation of Islam teaches is the prophetic figure forecast in the Bible as Messiah and as the Great Mahdi in the Islamic tradition introduced a teaching that can heal the wounds of the society and offer an example for reconciliation around the globe.
While the Black man and woman in America are in the worst condition, the entire world needs to be raised to a higher spiritual level and a higher degree of civilization. The loss of human potential and the loss of life experienced on a daily basis is a tragedy. How can human beings, the highest of God’s creation, engage in such destructive behavior and perpetrate atrocities on one another? How can religion, which should be the tie that binds believers in God together, be such a force for exploitation and degradation?
“Are Muhammad and Jesus enemies?” Min. Farrakhan asked. “Why, then, are we?”
If the central and universal teachings of faith are treating others as you wish to be treated, what keeps man and mankind from living as one, the Minister said.
There has been a failure to understand the unity of God’s creation and his divine word expressed through the mouths of his prophets, servants and messengers. It is time for a deeper understanding of the word of God and the development of human beings to their divine potential, the Minister said.
In its 78 years as a movement in the United States, the Nation of Islam has been staunch in its critique of American society, its faults and the need for a nation blessed with tremendous wealth and power to correct historic wrongs done to Blacks. It has issued a clarion call for repentance. What has often been overlooked and misunderstood is that when a prophetic voice calls a nation to repentance that call is a mercy and a blessing from God. Repentance is urged because God has judged that nation to be in error and is offering a way back to the path of divine favor. Failure to change will result in the destruction of the nation. But divine revelation that urges reform and warns of dire consequences if reform does not come is rarely welcomed.
When the strong words of rebuke and correction came from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the society recoiled and branded the Georgia-born Black man a Black Nationalist and a “hate teacher.” The documentary that brought the Nation of Islam to the attention of the American public in 1959 was called “The Hate That Hate Produced.”
Though the title of that documentary and perceptions of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad were incorrect, even it, in a sense, it urged the country to change. In effect, the title says that American society has planted seeds and those seeds are bearing fruit. Elijah Muhammad was forcing America to look in a mirror. The image staring back was ugly, but it forced America to start to change.
The part of the teaching most often cited by the White media when describing the Nation of Islam is that the Nation teaches Whites are “blue-eyed devils.” It was harsh language, but it was medicine that made America consider the depth of her depravity heaped on Blacks and Native Americans–and asked if such actions were the work of God or the work of Satan. Such language and the boldness of Nation of Islam ministers, believers and those affected by its teaching have forced America to confront her demons and in some ways to try to cast them out. Such language was able to destroy the mind of White supremacy and the mindset of Black inferiority.
The work of uplifting those at the bottom of American society and cleansing Blacks from the chains of mental slavery is a mission that must still be pursued. That primary assignment will not change and Black America need not fear that Farrakhan is abandoning a people he has devoted his life to resurrecting.
The early mission of Jesus was in the small state of Palestine and the early work of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was on the Arabian Peninsula. But, as Min. Farrakhan noted, the divine word from these honored servants of God has been taken around the globe and a mission that started in a nationalistic sense was expanded into a universal mission. The same is true of the teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, for as the Minister noted, “Black is not national, Black is universal.” Today the Nation of Islam already has Latino and Asian members and members in the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe–and Whites who wish to follow the teachings in America. There has always been a broad aspect to Elijah Muhammad’s message, which some heard and understood early on.
Min. Farrakhan has opened the door for wider reconciliation and challenged the Nation of Islam to step up its efforts to bring a light to the dark places in American society and to prepare to take a divine lamp into a world steeped in darkness. The underlying message is that humanity needs to be serviced and those who would serve humanity must be firmly rooted in and proud of what God has made–just as his creation includes flowers, herbage and mountains of varied hues. An understanding of self and respect for self is a prerequisite to moving on a greater mission. The Nation of Islam has been building a foundation for nearly 80 years and with faith in God and his blessing, a determination to obey his commandments, and the guidance of Min. Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam in the West can begin its universal work.