January 1 1993
The Champion We Have In Common: The Dynamic African American Soul
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Today the solution for the "Black man" is a solution for his troubled soul. We are not to go to politics anymore for a solution. The solution is not there. Carol Mosely Braun was sent to Washington, B.C. without any fuss or problem except from her contender. But he lost and is now quiet. Roland Burris is our Illinois State's Attorney General. And this is just for the Chicago area. So what do we look like saying "we are politically oppressed"?
What is the oppression now? Now, it is the same oppression that is on all Americans, and America will always have problems and people will always have problems. But let me repeat that the solution for the "Black man" is no longer a political solution. The solution for the "Black man" is a solution for his s-o-u-l.
The Qur'an, the Book for all Muslims, was even a Book for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. It was the Book for his teacher, Wallace Fard, who was also known as W.D. Fard or W.F. Muhammad; he (Fard) would send cards to my mother and father simply signed Wallace D., so that the post office would not notice he had a Muslim name. I also have a full facial picture of him; so this man Fard is much less a mystery to me.
And in this Qur'an, the soul is the seed and the throne of both spirituality and intellect. Hence, a people make a handicap of themselves by their favoring invitations that invite them to look attractive but do not favor them being attracted to that which is intelligent.
We have our brothers who want to be African American "soldiers." We were "soldiers" in the Nation of Islam. And when we talk about militancy, we are talking about "soldiers" in the Freedom Struggle. And to our Brother African American "soldiers," I want to say to them, what we have as a champion and as a victor with victories in common is our dynamic soul, its spirit, and its intelligence. That is the champion that we have in common. If I point to an individual, you may not say that individual is your hero. And if you point to an individual, I and those with me may not say that individual is our hero. But we can point to that spirit, that energy that has been moving forward and insisting that we go forward. We can point to that and say, 'That is our hero."
The spirit of our people that rose upon the original life that God created, the spirit that followed for the good of that life, that is our real life and that is our hero. That is also an awareness that we need so that we can have a sense of unity again. That spirit kept getting brighter while we were opening our soul to its appetite for what is intelligent.
Let me let you in on this. W. Been Mohammed and Malcolm X., who later came to be called Malcolm Shabazz, we loved the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, we loved the Nation of Islam, we loved our brothers and sisters in the Nation of Islam, we loved the aspirations of the Nation of Islam, we loved the achievements of the Nation of Islam, we loved the manners and the disciplines of the Nation of Islam, we loved the morals and decencies that were sometimes hard on us and would cause someone to be thrown out of the Nation of Islam for violating something that others just would ignore.
Malcolm and I were not boys, we were men. We were not average men; we were extraordinary men when it came to wanting to exert our manhood. Not only that, but we also loved the food of the Nation of Islam, we loved our bean soup and brown (fried) rice and carrot pies and 100 percent cheese pies and bean pies. We loved our bean pies so much that we had to tell all of the African American people about our bean pies. We did not want to break with that. We didn't want to separate from that. It was three times that I was separated from the Nation of Islam.
The first time that I was separated from the "Nation," it was because someone said I was saying things about the concept of God that was not approved in the Nation of Islam. For we were told in the Nation of Islam that Fard was Allah in the person, the man who taught my father. So I was rejected when this (complaint) was forced on my father. And I say "forced" on my father, because my father knew that my mind was developing differently and he never bothered me.
It was not until someone made a charge against me, and the "Honorable Elijah Muhammad was a law giver and a law executer. There was one thing that he was more serious about than you are about getting AIDS, and that is having his position weakened or having the Nation of Islam weakened. If anybody threatened that, be it someone white or mamma or son or daughter, you were in trouble. Given the situation he was put in when the matter about me was brought to him, he said, "You know son, you know what I have to do?" I said, "Yes, daddy." And he did it.
Although I then stopped eating good and sleeping good (in comfort), I never stopped being happy. I was not thinking about those things; I was thinking about being right. Those who love what we were all about have the same history of obedience that I have. I never started smoking, never drank alcohol, never ate pork, never became profane or vulgar, and never lost my good standing and good character that my mother bred into me and my father encouraged.
I have to recall what the Prophet of all Muslims upon this earth said: "Those who were of good character in the days of ignorance (in the days before he became Prophet) are of good character now. And those who were of bad character then are of bad character now." And "never will the condition of a people change for them, until they accept to change what is bothering their souls." The Qur'an.
You don't have to come by the way of one path to God. You can come by any path to God as long as you have that fear in you, that taqwah or consciousness, to at least acknowledge that you are not your own boss. That you have to answer to some Authority one day whether in this life or the next. As long as you have that in you, then you are going to try to be of good character.
So let me repeat: In the Qur'an, the soul is the seed and the throne of both spirituality and intellect. Hence, a people make a handicap of themselves by their favoring invitations that invite them to look attractive but do not favor them being attracted to that which is intelligent.
I was not seeing a moral urge that caused me to differ with the theology of the Nation of Islam. Someone has put it (N.O.I, theology) out now as the Theology of Time, and you know time is infinity. And that is where they will be still trying to figure out that Nation of Islam theology. I couldn't see a moral urge moving me to differ with that theology. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad conditioned me to differ with that theology. It was my own father who conditioned me to undo what he was so diligently trying to build, and that is the fact.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad conditioned me to question that theology. Those who were in the Nation of Islam for a long time know that he said, "Brother and sister, don't just look at the surface. Look under the surface. Study it. There are answers that Allah wants us to get." So he told me to study and look under the surface, and that is what I did
whenever something did not look good to me (on its surface). When I did that, it helped me to deal with the surface. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad conditioned me to have those curiosities.
Malcolm also came under the influence of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's teachings. He was so close to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that he called Malcolm "my son", just like he called my brothers and me "my sons". My mother would call Malcolm "my son", and there were other ministers that she would call "son". When you showed that you were 100 percent faithful to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and to our cause as a people in the Nation of Islam and my mother saw that in you, then you became as close to her as a sister or a son or daughter, depending on your age.
I say for Malcolm X or El Malik El Shabazz that he also was not moved by any awareness of any moral problem but by a natural need and a natural urge that was supported by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's treatment of our curiosity. That treatment told him to follow his intelligence. And this speaks for most of those who have experienced a transition from what was then into what is now real (rational) and true.
We did not dislike the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We had no jealousies or bitterness. We loved him. The reason it took me so long to break with his Nation of Islam ideas was because I was trying hard to make those ideas agree with what was in the Qur'an. I was trying hard to make the Qur'an support those ideas. I thank God that my father's and mother's influence in me made me more interested in being right than holding on to something that has proven to be wrong.
That spirit that I have pointed to: We all have in common the spirit of our excellence and its potential that is moving us forward, that is moving us to try to separate ourselves from the things that are holding us back-things that are just wrong for us. It is a spirit moving us to prove and establish and defend those things that we felt God intended to be in us and those aspirations that God sanctioned according to the stirrings in our own souls. That spirit kept getting brighter and brighter while we were opening our souls to its appetite for what is intelligent. Since the death of the "Honorable Elijah Muhammad" that spirit has been dimming because "black consciousness" has slipped and fell from itself, from its inherent aim, while experiencing the very disturbing and very perplexing time we call the 1960s and the 70s.
"Black" fell from its excellence-based spirituality. Our spirituality, our motivation, our aspirations were based in our God-given human excellence. We fell from that to something I am calling "blackism". The Honorable Elijah Muhammad put us on the path of "black-ism". But he conditioned us to stay on the path of Islam when all attempts to establish "black-ism" failed. "Blackism" is also blind desperation in the spirit. "Blackism" has become that contender for the heavyweight crown untrained for rules of decency and too hyped up (to be sensible). Blackism now is too hyped to experience reflection, soul searching, and too desperate to address moral demands on us.
Hence, we have the internal war that we are now suffering and the self destruction that we are now suffering and the violence that we are suffering at our own hands and the crimes that we are suffering in our own black communities and the suicide that we are suffering and the social regression that is manifest now in our own communities.
The social regression that I am referring to is a fall from caring about mamma. We once cared about daddy and grandfather and grandmother more than we care about them now. We once cared about a wife and children and sisters and brothers and cousins and nephews and nieces and aunts and uncles more than we care about them now. We once cared about the African American neighbor more than we care about the African American neighbor now. We once cared about our brothers who are a distance away more than we care about them now. So we have suffered an alarming degree of social regression, not social progress.
"Blackism" is now punch drunk, because its advocates, and I do love every one of them, came in on some great counter punching by the Nation of Islam leaders in the fight with the "White world" or the "devil world". Those who came in and looked in on the battle were electrified and rushed out to do it their way. But they waited until the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had passed, and they waited until Malcolm had passed. Then they went out to do it their way and are now caught up in a fixation to just counter punch the White man. They have been in that fixation so long, that they are seeing punches that the White man is not even throwing. They are punch drunk and will go out and throw punches in the air and not even be in the ring. They think the bell has rung and that the fight is on. They see an opponent and think they encountered a blow that has not been thrown in years.
Counter punching the heavyweights in the trouble facing us in America is making us punch drunk and weaker in spirit, weaker in truth and weaker in the ability to benefit from practical common sense.
I have just given a prescription, and it is not just for Black Muslims or African American Muslims. It is not just for those who associate in the community of Imam W. Deen Mohammed. No matter what leader or what mosque or what school of Islamic thought you identity with, if you are an African American this is a prescription for you. Even if you are a Christian and you are African American, I have just given to you a prescription. If you take it and go and use it as it has now been prescribed, you are going to be healed. Then we are going to enjoy a better sense of well being as a people.