[Editor’s note: The following article contains excerpts of a New Year’s Day Message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on January 1, 2005, at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois.]
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
The first day of the New Year should be a day of reflection, a day of prayer, a day of praise and thanks that we were blessed to make it through the last year, because there are so many of those that we know, those that we love, who started the New Year with us last year, but did not know that it would be the beginning of their last year on this Earth.
So when we are fortunate to be alive to see an old year go out, and a new year comes in, for me, that time should be spent reflecting and thanking God for those who touched our lives and sweetened our own presence on this Earth, but are no longer present with us.
From the time that I was a child, I never saw New Year’s as a time for partying. Never. I think it was because of the beauty of my mother and my deep Christian upbringing. Christmas Eve was always spent in Church, and for New Year’s, the same.
So I grew up never thinking of a party, but thinking of whether this would be the year that I would not make it, or someone that I love would not make it. So we thank Almighty God, by whatever name you call Him, for granting us life and permitting us to see the beginning of a new year.
I stayed awake and watched the ball drop in Times Square; and I saw the fun and the frolic and the noise, and it reminded me of something I read in the scripture that “the old world goes out with a great noise.”
We are living in a world that is on its way out, and The Wicked are making a great noise. Things are getting so dark in the world and the evil that people are doing is almost unfathomable, that it is almost as though a prophet never walked among human beings.
It is almost as though no scripture has ever been sent down for The Guidance of Humanity, for humanity seems to be lost in a downward spiral into savagery, bestiality and decadence.
And in the midst of this, there are those who praise God with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from what their lips may say.
God is Love
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. Some 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 teaches that those who demonstrate love are His disciples. If you don’t demonstrate love, you can’t even claim to be of God.
So my question then is: What is this thing called “love”? Everybody talks about it. But what is it? Now, my Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad: Anytime she writes something to someone, she always opens her letter with, “God is Love.” And I remember when I first met a Muslim follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he asked me:
“Who is God?” and with my deep Christian roots, I responded: “God is Love.” He said, “Why brother, ‘love’ is an abstract term. The Bible says man is made in the image and the likeness of God.” He was trying to teach me, cleverly, of The Value of the human being, and The Indwelling Spirit of The Creator.
Those of us who have studied the lives of the prophets know that these are human beings with human idiosyncrasies, but once God touches that human and raises that human where that human can reflect The Characteristics of God, then He sends such a person to represent Him to the people who know Him not.
When you have a sentence starting with “God is,” then the word “love” is either a predicate nominative or a predicate adjective. But what comes on the other side of the verb “to be” (is), is equal to the noun (God). God is Love. So then that means you can turn it around, and say, Love is God.
God’s Demonstration of Love for a Fallen People
The reason that the scripture teaches “God is Love,” is because of His demonstration of it; and then calling us to rise to demonstrate Love as He demonstrates it.
The Holy Qur’an speaks very little of “love”—very little. But it speaks of “duty,” because if you tell somebody you “love” them, then “love,” in this case, is a verb. It denotes some activity that expresses what you are saying.
Love is an enduring principle. Now, most Black people have never really experienced this love that is called, in Greek, agape. We talk of love on the cheap level which is really delusional to say it best. But when you say, “God is love,” how, then, can you prove that? First let’s start with the scriptural depiction of a people whom God would choose to be His own.
In Islam, we don’t talk much about a “chosen people”—that is more relegated to Old Testament, Jewish religious teachings. But whenever God raises a prophet or a messenger from among a people, He chooses that people to be the bearers of light to those who walk in darkness. So you could say that the Jews were “chosen.”
You could say that the Arabs were “chosen,” because they received revelation. And with that revelation, there came also a duty on them, which would have been to demonstrate The Love of The God that decided to favor them with what is called Divine Revelation, by raising a prophet or messenger for them.
“…and there would in the last days come a man like unto Moses.” In the story of Moses, both in the Bible and Qur’an, you have a people enduring horrible oppression. History teaches that God has never been on the side of the oppressor. Never. Never. Never. His Mercy and His Favor has always been, historically, with those who are the least—not the most; those who are suffering in ignorance, those who suffer under the heel of oppression and poverty and want and squalor.
And if you look at the condition of humanity today, no wonder 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. It is not that there’s something wrong with riches.
There’s something wrong with greed, where riches are “never enough,” and the rich man does not feel a duty to those who are misfortunate. That’s the problem with richness. It sometimes makes the rich person uncaring for those less fortunate though the rich person is not willing to share wealth with those who don’t have it.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad one day said that the three most hated men are: The rich man who looks after the poor because he makes the other rich people look bad; the man who has wisdom and wants to share it with those who are ignorant; and the one to whom the Holy Qur’an is revealed.
“The one to whom the Holy Qur’an is revealed” is one of the most hated men because the Holy Qur’an is a book which, if properly understood and carried into practice, ends the world of materialism. It ends the world of exploitation. It ends the world of slavery and 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.
Well, if we want to understand God’s Love, the scripture teaches that God heard “the moaning and the groaning of My People.” He said, “I think I will go down now and see whether the cry is altogether what I have heard,” meaning now The Lord of Creation is going to visit a nation and a people. Well, that’s a great demonstration of love to me! To think enough of a people that Pharaoh thinks nothing of, that You would visit them!
But God didn’t “stay,” He said “just a visit.” But a Visit by God produces magnificent results.
God’s Power to Transform Human Life
The New Testament, which is called the Testament of Love, talks about God putting on flesh and coming among human beings to suffer, to redeem a people and a world that was lost under the grip of Satan.
In the Book of John, Chapter 1, it teaches: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not … He came unto his own, and his own received him not … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us …”
Well, if this is His revealed word and you eat it, and since man is what he eats: If you eat The Word of God and live The Word of God, then God lives in you. So The Greatest Demonstration of God’s love is that He would knock on The Door of your mind, and offer you an invitation to receive Him.
God’s 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, hearing to the deaf. It has The Power to raise something that is mentally dead and give it life.
The Bible talks about The Coming of the Son of Man—this man you call “Jesus”; that he would come without observation as a thief in the night. “Well, why are you coming?”
Because I’m going to make myself known through a people that is no people at all and I’m going to make them my people and I will be their God. I have a mission for them. Since the world has gone into darkness and bestiality and debauchery, I now have a mission for this people to be raised from the condition that they’re in.
“But I’m coming without observation …” He is a human. Purified, and then sent to clean up a world. Well, how could a human manifest God? Brothers and sisters, the Holy Qur’an speaks of Two Men: Messiah and Mahdi.
Both Men are humans; but The Messiah is going to be taught by God The Wisdom and The Book, the Torah, and The Gospel. He’s 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 becomes a bird by his permission.
Yet, He is a human and in that human is that kind of Power-—then that human is a Manifestation of The Presence of God.
The Qur’an says that “Mahdi and Messiah will be together.” All the traditions say that. The Mahdi is a very powerful human being. According to the words of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:“The Mahdi would come out of the family of Muhammad and he would break the cross, kill the swine. He would set down every tyrant and set justice in the earth.”
This is not talking about the Muhammad of 1,400 years ago. This is not the Jesus of 2,000 years ago. Those 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; and Prophet Muhammad, even though he brought the Qur’an which is a law, he was not a man “like Moses.”
You don’t want to think much of yourself. You don’t want to believe that you would be loved enough that you would be worthy to receive a Visit from God in a Human Being.
I want to introduce you to a human that loved us. I want to introduce you to a man that I never personally met, but I am thoroughly convinced of his matchless love for us. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that “Fard Muhammad came to us from the Holy City of Mecca.” I can’t prove it or disprove it. All I can say is that The Believers believe in what Allah revealed to His servant. The Messenger believes, and so do Believers.
And I believe it. That is my foundation. I never saw Master Fard Muhammad, but I saw a Witness of His Presence.
How The Civilized Should Demonstrate Their Love
Now, I’m going to challenge us. I don’t want you to tell me that you “love your people.” Each one of you that are Muslims, you are the beneficiaries of somebody’s love. Some of you get dressed up in your Sunday go-to-meeting clothes, your little bowtie or straight tie and walk right by your brother in the street.
Won’t even knock on the door of your neighbor and invite them to hear what you heard that civilized you, and you’re going to tell me that you love our people? The light of love in your hearts has a long time gone out.
So my question to you is: The Truth that has allowed us to pull ourselves up on that truth to begin The Journey to a higher civilized life, and to improve our condition, mentally, morally, spiritually and economically—the question is: Do we have similar love for our people?
Can you leave a comfortable environment and go after your brother or your sister? Can you come out of where you live and go where our people are and bring them up from there? You’ll never find a truer friend than the little brother in the street. If you show him that you care, he will not only love you, he’ll defend you with his life.
Our people are not bad people. They’re just not well taught, schooled or guided. They are a beautiful people, so my challenge is: What are you willing to suffer or to sacrifice to help the Honorable Elijah Muhammad raise our people up from where they are? See, I know what a Demonstration of Love looks like, and I’ve tried to do the same.
Can you look beyond the faults and see the needs of your people? Or are you just going to be one who is always condemning them? We are The People of God: If you believe that, then treat the people like you believe they are more than what they show, because what they show is the manifestation of their ignorance. And if you treat them evilly, you only demonstrate that you have never been raised from a dead level.
If you love your people, what are you willing to do to prove it? In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 1-3 it states: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
Some of you aren’t getting any “profit,” so you should check your “love” out.