[Editor’s note: The following article is based on excerpts from an address delivered by Minister Farrakhan on January 1, 2006 at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois. Visit store.finalcall.com or call 1-866-602-1230, ext. 200 to order entire address on MP3, CD, DVD.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
The Old Testament of the Bible is considered a testament of law. The New Testament is considered a testament of love. Sometimes people observe law out of fear of punishment, not necessarily because they love the law. Sometimes people do good in hope of a reward, not necessarily because they love the doing of good. But love is above the law. Love is the highest manifestation of law. It is such a high principle, that the scripture says that those who demonstrate love are the disciples of God. If we do not demonstrate love, we cannot even claim to be of God. So, what is love?
Those of us who have studied the lives of the prophets know that they are human beings with human idiosyncrasies, but once Allah (God) touches and raises them where they can reflect the characteristics of Allah (God), then He sends them to represent Him to people who know Him not.
The Christian tradition says, “God is Love.” In that sentence, “God” is the noun; and what follows on the other side of the verb “is” means that it is equal to the noun, because “love” is either a predicate nominative or a predicate adjective. So, you can reverse the sentence, and say, “Love is God.” The scripture says, “God is love” because of His demonstration of Love. The scripture then calls us to rise to demonstrate love as He demonstrates. How does Allah (God) demonstrate His Love?
The Bible is full of references to the Coming of God. If Allah (God) is Omnipresent, where is He coming from and why does He have to come at all if He is already Present? In a world as wicked as the one we live in, we can hardly feel His Presence because evil so dominates the human being and the human characteristics. We do not live in a world that practices true love.
We live in a world where people write poems about what they do not know (love). We live in a world where people sing songs about something that they have never really understood or experienced.
In this world, love has become a cheap word. On the lowest level, people say, “We made love last night.” If love is sexual intercourse, then it does not last long. If what we need to look forward to of love is that kind of romantic foolishness, then we are as far away from love and God as our foolish expression of love is.
Some of us have never heard our parents say, “I love you.” I lived with my mother for 55 years of my life and not once did I ever hear her say, “I love you.” Did that mean she didn’t? In the Bible, there is a parable about two brothers, whose father asked them to do the Will of God. One son said he would, but he did not, and the other said he would not, but he did. Then, the scripture asked, which one did the will of the father? So, regardless of what we say, it is not what we say, it is what we do.
The Holy Qur’an mentions very little of love, but it mentions duty. In this connotation, if you tell someone that you love them, love becomes a verb. Duty denotes some activity that expresses the love that you have. It is not the sex act, which is done by too many people who do not know anything about love.
It is very sad to see people thinking that they are in love in a sexual way, but then after they marry, within six months or a year, they find that the light of love has burned out because it never was there in the first place. They were in lust with physical pleasure that deluded them into thinking that it was love. So it had no longevity.
Love is an enduring principle. Yet, most Black people have never really experienced the kind of love that is called “agape” in Greek. If God is love, can it be proven?
Whenever Allah (God) raises a prophet or a messenger from among a people, He chooses that people to be the bearer of the Light of His Revelation to those who walk in darkness. With that Revelation comes a duty on them to demonstrate the Love of God Who raised a prophet or messenger for them and the love of God Who decided to favor them with Divine Revelation.
Both the Bible and Holy Qur’an stress the importance of Moses. In fact, in the Holy Qur’an, Moses is mentioned more than any other prophet. Moses laid a law foundation, and the scripture says that, in the Last Days, there would come a man like unto Moses. The story of Moses, both in the Bible and Holy Qur’an, includes a people enduring horrible oppression.
History teaches that Allah (God) has never been on the side of the oppressor. His mercy and favor have always been historically with those who are the least, not the most; those who are suffering in ignorance; those who are suffering under the heel of oppression, poverty, want and squalor.
If you look at the condition of humanity today, it is clear why Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to see the Kingdom of God. The Holy Qur’an is a book that, if properly understood and carried into practice, ends the world of materialism, exploitation, slavery, war and injustice. So Satan is upset that such a Revealed Word would come because that word is the death knell to Satan’s world.
If we want to understand Allah’s (God’s) love, it is written in the scripture that God says, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 3:7-8)
So, according to the scripture, the Lord of Creation is going to visit a nation and a people. That is a great demonstration of love, for Allah (God) to think enough of a people—whom Pharaoh thinks nothing of—to visit them. And a visit by God produces magnificent results.
In Surah 20, verses 10-13, the Holy Qur’an tells the story of Moses traveling with his family in the valley of Tuwa: “When he saw a fire, he said to his people: stay, I see a fire; haply I may bring to you therefrom a live coal or find guidance at the fire. So when he came to it, a voice came: O Moses, surely I am thy Lord, so take off thy shoes; surely thou are in the sacred valley Tuwa and I have chosen thee so listen to what is revealed.”
According to the account in the Bible, when Moses gets to where he perceived the light, he sees a bush that is burning. How would you react if a star, celebrity or someone of great magnitude that you love called you unexpectedly one day? Can you imagine the reaction of Moses to hearing the voice of Allah (God)? According to the Holy Qur’an and Bible, he did not see a person, but he heard a voice talking out of a light.
Although Moses had killed a man who was persecuting his people, he was still favored by Allah (God). Allah (God) never condemned Moses. Allah (God) said, “Moses, take off your shoes. The ground where you stand is holy.” It was not holy because Moses was holy; it was holy because Allah (God) was present and He was standing near Moses. Allah (God) chose Moses to go to Pharaoh, who was the biggest criminal on the planet at that time, to tell him that God said, “Let my people go.”
Can you imagine Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in a cave in Mount Hira, where he usually went to find solace and pray, and he hears a voice saying “Iqra!” (“Read!”)
You cannot fathom the effect of such an experience except from the person who comes from that experience glowing because Allah (God) was Present and commissioned that person on a significant assignment. A visit by Allah (God) is a completely magnificent demonstration of love, because He is in the most exalted place.
In the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem and was carried up through many of the prophets to be in a place where only he was worthy to be in the Presence of Allah (God), where they spoke to each other. That is a profound experience that demonstrates that God cares, because now He is going to guide a human being to deliver a people who are oppressed.
The New Testament, which is called a testament of love, talks about God putting on flesh and coming among the people. According to the Islamic tradition, this belief is foreign, strange and not true. But Christians believe that Allah (God) put on flesh and came among human beings to suffer in order to redeem a people and a world that was lost under the grip of Satan. Is it possible to harmonize these seemingly different beliefs of the Muslims and Christians?
In the Book of John, it reads, “In the beginning was the word and the word was God.” The Holy Qur’an has many names, but every attribute of the Holy Qur’an is the highest manifestation of the characteristics of Allah (God). He is The Mighty, The Wise, The Best Knower, The Light, The Beneficent and The Merciful. Since man is what he eats, if you feed from the Revealed Word of God, and live the Word of God, then God lives in you.
The greatest demonstration of Allah’s (God’s) love is that He would knock on the door of your mind and offer you an invitation to receive Him. His Word is Him. His Word, the Word of the Book, has the power to transform human life. It has the power to give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. It has the power to raise people who are mentally dead and give them life.
The Bible reads, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, the word was God, and the word became flesh and that flesh dwelled among men; and the light shined in the darkness but the darkness comprehended it not; and He came unto His own but His own received Him not.”
The Bible talks about the Coming of the Son of Man. This is the man they call Jesus. The Son of Man would come without observation, as a thief in the night, to make Himself known through a people that are no people at all. He desires to make them His people and He desires to be their God. Since the world has fallen into darkness, bestiality and debauchery, He has a mission for them to be raised from their condition purified and then be sent to clean up the world. He is a human being.
The Holy Qur’an mentions two men—Messiah and Mahdi. Both are men, but the Messiah is going to be taught by God the Wisdom and the Book—the Torah and the Gospel. He is going to raise the dead to life. He is going to determine the form of a bird out of clay and breathe into it, and it will become a bird by His Permission, yet He is a human being.
In that human being will be the kind of power that would make that human being a manifestation of the Presence of God. According to all of the traditions, Mahdi and Messiah will be together.
According to the words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Mahdi is a very powerful human being. He said that, “The Mahdi would come out of the family of Muhammad and He would break the cross and kill the swine. He would set down every tyrant and set justice in the earth.”
This does not refer to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) of 1,400 years ago. This does not refer to Jesus of 2,000 years ago. These men brought a word, but they never set justice in the earth and they never took down the tyrants. Jesus prophesied of One coming after him. Even though Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) brought the Holy Qur’an, which is a law, he was not a man like unto Moses.
Black people do not want to think much of ourselves, because we do not want to believe that we would be loved enough that we would receive a visit from Allah (God) in a human being. I want to introduce you to a human being who loved us. I want to introduce you to a man who I never personally met, but I am thoroughly convinced of His matchless love for us.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Master Fard Muhammad came to us from the Holy City of Mecca. I cannot prove it or disprove it. All I can say is that the Believers believe in what Allah (God) revealed to His servant. That is my foundation. I never saw Master Fard Muhammad, but I saw a witness of His Presence in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
He taught us that Master Fard Muhammad came to North America by Himself, traveling 9,000 miles from Mecca. Isaiah the prophet said that, when The God would come, He would look around and there would be none to uphold Him, so His own right arm, it upheld Him.
Master Fard Muhammad came alone. That is love. He did not send a prophet. How do we know that He is God? If the lights go out and no one present can fix the light; but then someone comes who is able to turn the light back on, you do not have to ask if he is an electrician. His work bears witness of him.
Allah (God) does not announce Himself. He comes without observation like a thief in the night, because He is coming to get a people that are the captives of another people. Black people are the Lost Sheep that is mentioned in the Bible.
The White man has control over Black people, and he does not intend to let us go. He is holding Black people in his grip even though he does not have anything for us to do. We are unemployed, without any outlook for a job. He has closed his society to Black people. We suffer from a lack of health care, bad education, the worst quality of food, drugs and guns.
The rulers of this world do not have any love for Black people. Since they know that the future is for you and not for them, they are going to hold you hostage so that, if Allah (God) is going to chastise them, then you will receive the same chastisement and go down with them.
That is the way it was with Pharaoh. That is the way it is with the government of the United States of America where Black people are concerned. For someone to deliver us from the condition that we are in, who do you think that person would have to be? For someone to challenge the power of America effectively, who do you think that person would have to be?
Master Fard Muhammad came to America 20 years before He even made Himself known, so that He could study. If He is raising you to reflect Him, you are going to have to study. If He is The Best Knower, how are you going to represent The Best Knower if you do not study? If you are going to be raised into oneness with Him, then you have to be a student in order to grow up in His Wisdom, to then reflect Him and His power among people.
If you saw a picture of Master Fard Muhammad, he looks like a White man. And you may ask, why He could not have come dark-skinned, like a “real” Black man? But if He did, He would not have come without observation.
The enemy always knew that One would come to free us, so they were always looking for someone who would come out of the East. So the Bible said the Son of Man came without observation. Master Fard Muhammad looked like a White man, but he was not a White man—like some of us look today.
I was on an airplane one day with Herbert Muhammad, one of the sons of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and he asked me why I thought that Master Fard Muhammad had a Black father and a White mother. I said, “So, He could deal justice to both people.” He has to deal effectively both with the White man and the White man’s prey.
Master Fard Muhammad made His Appearance in Black Bottom, a poor neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan in 1930. Although He was from Mecca, He walked among Black people who had a foul existence. Yet, the stench of our foulness never displeased Him to the point where He rejected us.
He knocked on doors and began teaching Black people of our people in the East. Then, He would tell them about the mosque meeting if they would like to hear more of the Teachings. He would ask them to bring their friends. All the time He was teaching, He was also looking for a man.
In 1931, a man hears about Him and goes to where He was teaching. Sitting in the back of the room with a pair of khaki pants on, and 10 cents in his pocket, was Elijah Poole, the son of a Baptist preacher and the grandson of a Baptist preacher. He grew up studying, listening to, and analyzing the Bible. So, when he heard Fard Muhammad teach and then ask people to join, Elijah Poole came forward and shook His hand. He told Fard Muhammad: “I know that you are the One written of that would come.” Fard Muhammad replied, “No one else knows this but you.” In words, do not talk about what you know. Then, Fard Muhammad began visiting and teaching him.
Wisdom is known of its students. If Master Fard Muhammad was not a wise Man, He could not have produced a wise man. He taught Elijah Muhammad for three years and four months. Elijah Muhammad said, “night and day.”
Before Fard Muhammad left Detroit, the police arrested Him. Fard Muhammad sent for His student, Elijah, and when the student came to get Him out, He said, “This is the price you will have to pay to free your people. If you are afraid to go to jail; if you are afraid to be falsely accused; if you do not have any desire to suffer to see your people free, then you do not know anything about God being love.” They ordered Master Fard Muhammad out of Detroit and He left. A little while later, they arrested Elijah Muhammad.
Master Fard Muhammad suffered. The scripture says of Him, “He made himself of no reputation,” which means that He did not tell anyone about His true Identity. The scripture says, “He became obedient, even unto death,” which means that He submitted Himself to that which was so much inferior to Him, in order to teach a man whose heart was crafted after His heart. He wanted to teach His student that, if you really love God and love the people, what are you willing to suffer to see your people free? He studied, traveled and allowed Himself to be persecuted.
He taught Elijah Muhammad that he must be able to take plenty in order to raise our people from their condition. His demonstration of love was to show His servant how to love us—and it starts with a willingness to leave an environment where you feel a level of comfort, and go where it appears you do not belong; and find what you have been looking for to make a sacrifice to achieve or retrieve what you love.
He knew that Elijah Muhammad had a heart after His heart. He knew that Elijah Muhammad would suffer anything and everything, even death to free us.
Do not bother with Black people if you do not have it in your heart to lay down your life for their freedom. It is better to leave them alone. Greater love has no man that he lay down his life for his friend, for his brother.
Elijah Muhammad proved that among us for 44 years, even though his assignment was only a clear delivery of the message. He did everything that he could to show us that Allah (God) had visited us and loves us, and is anxious to fight the battle for our liberation.
God is love. He was willing to leave a comfortable environment to come 9,000 miles to live among us to find Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad said of himself: “I was so deep in the mud that only my eyes were looking out.” But a man that deep in the mud was chosen by God to lift us up.
When I decided with trepidation and some fear that I wanted to rebuild his work, I did not have any money or followers; I only had a desire. The scholars in the Middle East offered me millions of dollars to leave Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad alone and preach Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
One Arab said to me, “If you do this, Farrakhan, we will back you; and when you pass on, we will tell the world that you were the Messiah.” They were trying to bribe me, thinking that I am doing this work to exalt myself. The enemy never wants to give a righteous man any righteous motivation.
Elijah Muhammad chose me to represent him because he knew that I loved you. I have always loved you and I have given 50 years of my life to fight for our liberation. I have been evil spoken of, but you have never heard me speak evil of those who speak evil of me. I defend those who have been my enemies. I have power to kill my enemies; I have people around me that, if I just pointed my enemies out, they would be dead before sunset—but I would never misuse the love that I see that people have for me. I suffer what the people say. I suffer what the scribes write—knowing that, in the end, I will be the winner.
I want to challenge you. I do not want you to tell me that you love our people. You are the beneficiaries of someone’s love. Some of you dress up in your Sunday “go-to-meeting” clothes—and walk right by your Brother in the street. You will not even knock on the door of your neighbor and invite them to hear the Teachings that you heard that civilized you, yet you claim to love our people.
The light of love in your hearts has gone out a long time ago. Some of you have become bourgeois Negroes hiding in the Nation of Islam. You would not be caught dead in the Ida B. Wells projects. You would not be caught dead on the Westside of Chicago. Your hands are “too clean” to walk in the projects and ride in an elevator where you can smell urine, in order to bring the word to your Brother.
Some of you are scared to death of your own people, but have the audacity to proclaim the name of Jesus. Jesus went where the people were. He went where the sick were. He went where the poor and destitute were. Through love, Jesus offered them the gift of abundant life.
When I was the minister in New York, every day after spending hours at my desk, I would hit the streets. The mosque was on 116th Street and Lenox Avenue, but the junkies were on 115th Street and 114th Street and Lenox Avenue. I loved them; although their hands swollen with heroin, when they reached for my hand, I shook their hands and hugged them. Junkies would ask me to bless their children. When the police attacked the mosque, it was the people in the street who rose up to defend the mosque.
If the people in the street are not willing to come here, then you should go to them. It is said, “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” Your work is with your people in the streets, not in bar rooms and clubs. You justify going to these decadent places, by saying that the people are there. But that is only your excuse to go back to the old life that you once lived.
Why don’t you go meet the people in their homes to see the condition of their life? Although the word raised you out of that condition, now you feel that your hands are too clean. You are not willing to go someplace where you do not belong. It may be strange, but your people are there. The One you say you believe Allah (God) came in the Person of, went there; and we cannot approach His holiness. You utter the word “love,” but many are hypocrites and liars.
This is your challenge. I am willing to give my life if Allah (God) calls for it. It is very easy to lay it down for you. I was a musician, with a promising career. When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad instructed entertainers to choose between their careers and Islam, I gave up my music career, because that was not more important than the Truth. Music was my life, but when I gave it up—never knowing what tomorrow was going to bring—I only knew that I had to study this word and help Elijah Muhammad to raise the Black man up.
The scripture says, “If any man would be my disciple, he must first deny himself.” The first thing I did was to deny what my first love was. I laid down the life of a musician. I sold storm windows and doors. I washed dishes and loaded trucks. I did all kinds of menial tasks for very little money, so that I could feed my family. I was not too proud to work a job that would allow me to put some food on my table for my children, and God gradually lifted me.
What are you willing to give up to help your people? Some of you cannot even give up a cigarette for the good of your own life. Some of you cannot give up fried food or cheap food. Some of you cannot give up an adulterous life, if Allah (God) demands it of you.
Some of you claim to be with God, but continue to fornicate, or continue to be a lesbian or homosexual. Some of you claim to love your people, but you are not willing to give up anything that gives you pleasure to prove your love for God.
The Bible says, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” which does not leave anything for anyone else. Allah (God) wants it all. Then, the Bible says that we must love our brother as we love ourselves.
We have received the Truth, which has allowed us to pull ourselves up to begin the journey to a higher civilized life and improve our condition, mentally, morally, spiritually and economically. Do we have similar love for our people?
Can you leave a comfortable environment and go after your Brother or Sister in the street? Can you come out of where you live and go where our people are and bring them up from their condition? You will never find a truer friend than the Brother in the street. If you show him that you care, he will not only love you, he will defend you with his life.
Our people are not bad people. They are simply not well taught, schooled or guided. They are a beautiful people. My challenge to you is: What are you willing to suffer or sacrifice to help the Honorable Elijah Muhammad raise our people from where they are?
I know the demonstration of love from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I have tried to do the same in my work. So, can you look beyond the faults and see the needs of your people, or are you going to be one who is always condemning our people, calling them n—-rs. That word should be stricken from our vocabulary, because Master Fard Muhammad never called us that. He said that we are the Original People, the first in the light of the sun. We are the people of God.
If you believe that, then treat our people like you believe that they are more than what they show, because what they show is the manifestation of their ignorance. If you treat them with an evil attitude, you only demonstrate that you have never been raised from a dead level.
Do you love our people? What are you willing to do to prove that love? God is love, and the love that God is, is the love that God did and showed.