A wave of excitement is running through neighborhoods in Black America as men in suits, ties and often bow-ties are walking streets, knocking on doors and serving as points of light. With the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in the lead, the brothers of the Fruit of Islam are back in the streets, offering words of guidance and love, an image of committed and cleaned-up Black men, and trying to decrease tension and increase peace.
Knocking on doors and bringing spiritual light into the darkest corners of Black communities and Black minds are hallmarks of the Nation of Islam. Reaching people is the essential element of the Muslim mission to redeem and restore a fallen people by offering Supreme Wisdom and a proper understanding of scripture, our place in scripture and the time.
According to the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation, the Black man and woman of America and the Western Hemisphere are not cursed but fulfill the biblical prophecy of Abraham’s seed going into bondage among a strange people in a strange land. After being forced to serve and endure affliction under brutal slave masters for 400 years, relief and exaltation would be their reward. The Bible prophecy says God Himself would come at the end of four centuries of their enslavement, to see if the suffering was altogether what he had heard and God would judge the masters of this suffering people. This prophecy was fulfilled July 4, 1930 when Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi of the Muslims and Messiah of the Christians, made his appearance in North America. He came to Black Bottom in Detroit where he knocked on doors, wearing a suit, offering silks and teaching the so-called American Negro of his true history and future. His prize pupil, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, continued in the same way, knocking on doors, teaching people in the streets and spreading a message of light, life and power. Mr. Muhammad’s profound work changing the lives of Black men and women was unlike any other movement in America.
Standing squarely on Elijah Muhammad’s foundation and delving deeply into, and drinking deeply from the wisdom of his teacher, Min. Farrakhan has spent some 50 years working on the resurrection of a mentally, spiritually and economically dead people.
Muslims in the Nation of Islam are known for their cleanliness, kindness, politeness and respectful handling of Black people. They can take a cursing and give a blessing in return. The men of the Fruit of Islam dress their best to go and serve their brothers and sisters who have not come into the light of truth and do not know this is the time of their rise. Where suits were once reserved for church services, these Black men don suits and engage in acts of worship by touching and serving those who need to be delivered from a wretched and shameful condition. They come as examples and agents of change. They offer encouragement instead of condemnation. The Muslims are taught humility and to always be mindful that they were once in the same condition as the Lost-Found Black man and woman they seek to save.
The mission of changing lives and building communities doesn’t happen by itself. It doesn’t happen by osmosis or as a result of efforts by a former slave master. These changes come because someone is willing to strive to live an upright life and willing to share their light with someone else. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad called on Black people to unite and urged hard work and self-respect to make themselves the equal of others. He knew equality and respect would have to be earned and that a people who depend on others for food, clothing, shelter and education would not be respected. So he built a model of how to “Do For Self” as he sought to have his people gain an understanding of what true independence looked like and what it would take to take their place as an equal among the nations of the earth. He urged Black people to make their own neighborhoods decent places to live instead of begging and forcing their way into White neighborhoods where they were unwanted and paying extra for moving in. His followers took and take his words into forgotten and written-off neighborhoods; they build in these places and they are engaged in a work of restoration. It is an active work and a mission that involves taking people from where they are to where God wants them to be–and God desires to take us from the bottom and place us at the top of civilization.
“We must remember that we just cannot depend on the White race to ever do that which we can and should do for self,” wrote Mr. Muhammad is his monumental book, “Message to the Black Man in America. “The American so-called Negroes are like the Bible story of Lazarus and the rich man, the story that Jesus must have seen at the time. This Bible beggar was charmed by the wealth of the rich man to whom he was a servant, and he could not make up his mind to go and seek something for himself,” he continues in a chapter titled “A Program for Self Development.”
“The good things of this earth could be theirs (Black peoples) if they would unite and acquire wealth as the masters and the other independent nations have. The Negroes could have all of this if they could get up and go to work for self,” Mr. Muhammad noted.
The work of going for self begins with a word and a spirit to deliver that powerful word to a lost, miseducated and misdirected people; a people taught to hate themselves and those who look like they do. The men of the Nation are carrying that word and by the grace and power of Almighty God, it will not come back void.