(Editor’s Note: The following article originally appeared in Vol. 23, No. 3, entitled “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad: Still On Time.”)
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is indeed a true friend of the Black man and woman because his message is as relevant today as it was when he was physically among us. He worked, suffered, studied and constantly prayed for our rise. He sacrificed his own personal life to devote 44 years to the rise of our people.
He single-handedly, with tenaciousness of will and singleness of purpose, turned the language of America from the use of the word “Negro,” which means something dead, lifeless or hard, into seeing ourselves as Black people, members of the aboriginal nation of the Earth.
He turned our hearts toward Africa and our brothers and sisters in the isles of the Pacific, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
His Wisdom showed us the connection between the Native Americans and their membership in the aboriginal nation of the Earth. He, more than any religious leader, is responsible for causing us to refer to one another as brothers and sisters.
He caused new levels of scholarship in the research of the history of the Black man; and into the nature and birth record of the Caucasian.
He inspired research into melanin and its presence or absence and its effect on the thought process.
He taught us how to eat to live, causing us to throw away medicines. His teachings on this subject began the process of the beautification of our people, no matter how ugly we appeared to be.
He started the process of reformation of the Black woman, without which there can be no new people.
He showed us the value of a proper education and established a school system that reflected the same. He demonstrated the proper use of money by establishing for his followers, farmland, banks, business, airplanes and airport facilities, international trade and commerce.
You name it, he did it. What a friend we have in Jesus! (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad).
There is not a Black leader who has not been positively affected by this man and his Message.
Without his boldness, would Rev. Jesse Jackson have dared to speak as he does and run for president? Without his forthrightness in confronting this government for her evil done to Black people, would any of us have the courage to do the same today?
Would you not admit he laid the foundation and opened up the way? What more could a man who loves you do?
But what has been your response to such a friend? The response of many who knew him has been to use his knowledge, but to deny him, to advance self because of him, but never give him any credit.
In an edition of Ebony magazine, under the byline of Lerone Bennett, 17 historians had gotten together and picked the 50 most important figures in Black American history, and the persons who chose these names are considered by Ebony magazine, “experts.” Yet, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was not mentioned. Why? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s student Malcolm X was mentioned. Would there have been a Malcolm X if there were no Honorable Elijah Muhammad?
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad influenced the writings of James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, John Killens, Louis Lomax and most of the writers who were popular in the 1960s.
His influence is seen today in the writings of Toni Morrison and Alex Haley. His teachings inspired Alex Haley to do the research that led to the book “Roots.” He influenced playwrights, poets, musicians. There is no field of human endeavor among Black people that Elijah Muhammad did not have some positive effect upon.
And now, there is a conscious effort to write the Honorable Elijah Muhammad out of history. However, I am sure that, by the help of God, everyone who plans to write him out of history has already assigned to themselves that chastisement.
There would be no Louis Farrakhan if there were no Elijah Muhammad; there would be no Muhammad Ali if there were no Elijah Muhammad. The money that Sugar Ray Leonard, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby and others are making is due to the presence of a new reality in America: the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
It is sad that so many former followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad have helped, knowingly or unknowingly, to write this man out of history.
I remember, in October of 1974, sitting with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in his bedroom. As he sat on the side of his bed, a great sadness came over his face and he said, “Brother, in the future when my name is mentioned, they will say, ‘Oh, that man, his teaching was good for yesterday, but it is not good today.’ ”
I remember talking with him the day after 40,000 people came to Randall’s Island on a Sunday to hear a lecture given by me, a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in September of 1974. This followed an event that attracted 70,000 in May of that same year. As I spoke with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad by telephone, I was talking of what a great event we had, and how it looked like we were going to capture New York, and he said to me, with incredible accuracy, “Oh brother, the day will soon come when you will go to the mosque and you will not find a believer there other than yourself.”
That day did come when, because I believe in Elijah Muhammad, who was the foundation of these mosques, I was not even permitted to enter the mosque that I had been blessed and guided by God through the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to help rebuild after the assassination of Malcolm X and the subsequent bombing of our mosque.
This is sad indeed.
In a book titled “One Hundred Most Influential Men in the History of the World,” the number one man of influence was Prophet Muhammad of Arabia. Third in influence was Jesus; sixth in influence was Paul. It is said that the only reason Jesus is known today is largely because of the work of Paul.
By the Help and Power of Allah (God), I will not leave this Earth until the whole world knows of the Work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and his opposition is buried in the vile dust of ignominy from which they sprang!
Every one of us who has been touched by him should and must rise up and declare his name to the ends of the earth! We, who have benefited from him and his message must do as the Holy Qur’an 21:17-18 instructs, “Had we wished to take a pastime, We would have taken it from before Ourselves; by no means would We do (so). Nay, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, so it knocks out its brains, and lo! it vanishes. And woe to you for what you describe!”
Think over Black leaders getting together to attempt, in the name of cultural maturity, to undo the Knowledge brought to us by God in Person for the salvation of our people!
We will not permit this to happen! We will challenge you in every forum; we will drive you from every speaker’s stand. You will not get away with your malicious wickedness against a true friend.
Allah (God) will turn those whom you think are your friends against you and He will bring a chastisement upon this people and nation, a chastisement the like of which has never visited a people in the annals of history. Since you wish extinction for a True Friend, then perhaps Allah (God) will give you what you wish for him.