[Editor’s note: The following article contains excerpts from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s address delivered November 20, 2010, at the Coronado Performing Arts Theatre in Rockford, Illinois. In this time of great trouble and world upheaval, his words remain powerful and we offer his words for our readers to ponder. To order this message in its entirety on CD, DVD and MP3, visit store.finalcall.com, or call 1-866-602-1230, ext. 200.]
All human beings desire to be free. In fact, every creature that Almighty God Allah created, He frees that creature from that which bounded it in its formation, and brings it forth into the light of this marvelous universe. And He has provided for each creature that He created a means to sustain and maintain its life; to reproduce its life, that that species may continue on our planet.
That same God freed every one of us from the dark confines of our mother’s wombs, and brought us forth into His Light to be free, to be justified and to be equal. Every human being wants full and complete freedom, and anything that deprives us of that which God desires for us, puts itself in a position opposite God.
Ultimately every oppressed people, every enslaved people, every people not free finds the way to become free. Everyone who takes the road of The Oppressor, The Enslaver, The Exploiter is ultimately set down.
Nations rise, nations fall; empires rise, and empires fall, and we have not seen anything in the last 6,000 years that has permanence. So God, at the end of this present world, promises to set up a Kingdom on the Earth—not for some, but for all. And that Kingdom will not have any end to it because it is rooted in the same Universal Principles upon which the universe itself is founded.
The Principle of Fair Dealing
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, our teacher, taught us that justice lies down with you when you lay down at night, and justice rises up when you wake up in the morning. Regardless to what happens in man’s court of law, there is a Higher Law; a Higher Balance. Even when we think we have “cheated justice” with unjust judges, and unjust decisions—all of those decisions and judges are at the same time being judged.
No one gets out of this life without paying, regardless to what we do to create what looks like justice, though it may not be “justice” at all.
So, what is “justice”? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that Justice is The Principle of Fair Dealing. According to Webster’s Dictionary, justice is “fairness, fair play, fair mindedness.” Justice is “evenhandedness, impartiality, objectivity”; it’s a “lack of bias, a lack of prejudice.”
What a wonderful world this would be if we lived under fair dealing. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Justice is The Law that distinguishes between right and wrong—that Balance is in each of us from our Creator. Nobody has to tell you that you’re doing wrong, because somehow, Nature tells us.
Think about the word “weapon”: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that “Justice is The Weapon that God will use in The Judgment of this present world,” so justice is not just a “law that distinguishes between right and wrong.” Justice is a guide to fair dealing.
But how does justice become a “weapon”? Jesus said: “God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, the same shall he also reap.” Just think about that for a moment. Then the scripture teaches: “As thou hast done, so shall it be done unto thee”—now that’s justice as a weapon.
Jesus again said: “Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind,” so just like you sow a seed and get back so much more then what you put in, in the Day of Justice and Judgment, The Wicked will get back more based on what they’ve done. And the scripture teaches: “He will pluck them up and leave them neither root nor branch,” so that means that the things that we do, we’re going to have to give an account of it.
Sometimes if you’re a good person, you can set good for your children. And sometimes when you’re an evil person, you can set evil for your offspring. This is why the scripture teaches: “Prepare slaughter for the children for the iniquities of their fathers.” So each of us, as we run this race called “Life,” we are making it either good for ourselves and our progeny, or bad for them.
So no matter how long you live, the best way to live is to live right.
Freedom is Acting Within The Bounds of One’s Nature
A “just” person is honorable. I know a lot of us are called “honorable,” but are we justified in being called that? A “just” man is an upright man: He’s honest. He’s righteous. He or she is ethical, moral and virtuous. He or she is principled, good, decent; is straight, truthful and sincere. If we lived in a world where we were just, what would the result be in our interrelationship: husband to wife; mother and father to children; neighbor to neighbor; community to community?
“Freedom” is what we all want, but freedom doesn’t mean “license.” You have a nature that comes from God, and you’re free to live within the bounds of your nature, so everything that God creates, it has a natural habitat, natural boundaries. It’s free within the context of its nature to go to and fro, but once it gets out of its nature, it becomes destructive.
An example of that is how do you take a whale, and make a whale do tricks—and then wonder why one day the whale kills the lady? You’ve taken it away from its nature, and you’re making yourself to feel good that you can train a whale, train a lion, train a tiger. But you know, when the show gets really hot one day, and the tiger finds out, “I’m supposed to eat this!” then we’re in for a rude awakening.
The Holy Qur’an teaches us that God created us to be “social” beings. None of us are made to live alone, so you start your life inside of a “family”: you have siblings; brothers and sisters. There has to be some social guidance, rules and laws; that one sister or brother will not encroach on the freedom or rights of another. When you have that kind of structure in a home where there are rules, and the children obey the rules, then they don’t conflict with each other; so in that house, there is peace.
And when I get out into the world, there is a way that I have to behave: I’m “free”—but I’m not free to rob you of yours! I am not free to take from you what does not belong to me. So if I will construct my life according to these righteous principles, then between man and man; man and woman, peace; between race and race, peace; between rich and poor, peace. But because we have been deprived of the freedom and the wisdom of why we should be right, and do right, most of us are wrongdoers. And yet, we expect peace.
As Muslims, we have a prayer that we say: “O Allah, I have been greatly unjust to myself …” Wow. Well, who has a chance? If one is unjust to one’s self, then you are naturally going to be unjust to others. We don’t live in a perfect world, so if I am unjust to myself, and unjust to a fellow traveler, then how do I get past that so that the relationship between us won’t become hostile? I have to be willing to forgive and willing to admit when I’m wrong. And then, make steps to correct the wrong.
The Acquisition of Knowledge to Do For One’s Self
All who live in Rockford are stakeholders in the future of this city. It is the second largest city in Illinois; a once greater city than it is today, for sure. But nevertheless, as great as the city was, it is in decline socially, politically, in jurisprudence and educationally.
What has happened to this great city? You have a current mayor, but it didn’t start with him. This has been going on for a while. This city was once a national leader in manufacturing and industry, but the focus of the local economy has been forced to change. Many of the family-owned companies that once inhabited Rockford were acquired by larger companies, and the larger companies then relocated the products being made to lower wage markets or parts of the United States, or sent them overseas.
So what happens to the people of Rockford who are blue collar workers? What happens to the people of Chicago or the people of the urban centers of America who looked to factories to give them a decent wage that they could feed their families? Now that the factories have closed or have been relocated, the people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder are left in the lurch. And Blacks being the most unlearned, the most unskilled, the most dependent, unfortunately are the worst off.
Education is a fundamental right of every human being. To deprive any human being of knowledge is to deprive that human being of that which grows it out of an animal state to the stage of consciousness morally. But something is happening in Rockford. What is happening?
All the companies that you have, many of them are gone now. You have a lot of dilapidated former factories broke down, and the people resemble the buildings. No, this is not just Rockford, because every urban center in America and the world is like this: Human beings are broken.
God does not allow His creatures not to be able to build a home for themselves—no creature! There is no “food line” for the worm; the worm is doing fine. And the bird will come and eat the worm, and the bird is doing fine. Black bird is not in “the line,” asking the White bird for food stamps. Black bird is feeding itself and its little Black birds; and White bird is doing the same.
The scripture teaches that man and woman are “the” glory of God—not “a” glory of God! So how could God look out for all of the creatures, and not man? If we are the glory of God, greater than the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, because all of this was created by God to serve human beings, the human being is in bad shape because once you have no job, you have no means of taking care of your family.
If I cannot feed myself and my family, what am I reduced to? Where is my “humanity,” now? How do you tell a person “thou shall not steal,” when the first law of nature is survival? In order for a human to be law abiding, they have to have a means by which they can take care of themselves and do what a human being should be able to do for themselves.
Then I won’t have to steal from my neighbor; I won’t break into the home of the well-to-do when they are out working. I won’t steal their televisions and their radios and jack-up their cars. I won’t become a cold-hearted killer because the society has done what governments should do.
Government shouldn’t have to do everything for the citizens, but government should create the atmosphere that the citizen can do for themselves.
Fulfilling Your Life’s Purpose Justifies Your Existence
Dear people of Rockford: You know, this great city is now really suffering. And the Blacks in the city, and the Hispanics and the poor Whites: They have to find something to do, so there’s an influx of drugs.
Now, one of us may have “chips”, but we don’t have airplanes—I mean, we might drive a car somewhere and pick up a little smoke, or something. But when you talk about so many tons of marijuana found, you know you didn’t grow that! And they are so happy in Afghanistan because the Taliban had closed down the poppy fields, but the minute America got back in, those poppies are jumping, and there’s heroin everywhere now, see?
Here you are, the victims of manipulative forces that are destroying your health and wellbeing; and pitting us against each other while the rich continue to get richer at the expense of the poor and the ignorant.
If justice is the joy of freedom, then boy, it’s really something to have “joy” in your life! But what will produce joy? It is the fulfillment of purpose. God didn’t create you to stand on the corner! That is so beneath your purpose in life.
Because you don’t even know why you were born, you don’t know your purpose in life, yet, everything that God created, He created it for a purpose. It is the fulfillment of your life’s purpose that justifies your existence. When you don’t know why you’re here, you can’t justify being here. So you’re just “hanging.”
People that have purpose for their life don’t waste time! Time is what God has given to all of us, and it is how we use that time that we are required to be judged for!
We Must Become Maintainers of Justice and Truth
As a Muslim, and a self-respecting human being, I value my life. And even in your ignorance, I value yours. So when we value our lives, nobody comes in our community and thinks that they’re going to take our lives, and we won’t retaliate. That’s just normal and natural.
I read in the scriptures that God said: “Vengeance is Mine.” Because justice is a “weapon,” though the judge and the jury and the prosecutor all may be in bed together—and don’t think much of our lives, nor do they think much of the principle of justice—God sees the injustice that is carried on, and vengeance is with Him.
In the Qur’an, the book of scripture of the Muslims, we’re commanded like this: “O you who believe, be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness for Allah even though it be against your own selves, or your parents, or near relatives, whether he be rich or poor.” Justice is what we are commanded to uphold!
You can’t “hate,” and try to protect those you love even though they’re wrong. If you love God and love Truth above it all, then you’ll stand up for what is right regardless of the consequences! The religion of Islam requires us to be so upright as not to be led astray by the ties of relationships.
Truth is never to be sacrificed to any interest, but every interest must be sacrificed to The Truth.