The Freedom Movement Lives: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Mujeddid Wallace Deen Muhammad's 4th Sunday address delivered at Masjid Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, March 25,1979.)
All praise is due to Almighty God, the guardian evolver and sustainer of all the worlds. The blessings and peace be upon Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to us all.
O Allah, guide us, forgive us our faults, and grant us the blessings of faith. I bear witness there is no deity except Allah, and I bear witness Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger. Peace be upon him, his descendants, his companions, the righteous servants, all of them, and upon us in America and throughout the world:
The struggle to dignify ourselves as a race has not changed. It's still the struggle to measure up with other races in human, social, cultural, political and economic terms.
That's the struggle. You won't dignify the race by simply wearing a big afro, or a dashiki. You'll make the race wonder what's wrong with you, and make others wonder, too. They'll say, "Why do they go to these extremes?"
If you go to Africa, you can't find a bushel basket of hair on an African's head. But come to America and you'll find African-Americans with a basketful of hair on their heads.
You can look all over Africa, and it's hard to find a man with long hair. They want to put their time and money into production in the city, in the town, on the farm...they need time to produce — economically, politically, and otherwise — they can't spend all their time working on an afro.
But we will tie our time up because we still think as the slave that the Caucasian
slave-master created. He created a slave that was artificial, that didn't have any real presence in the natural history of reality. You have yet to find your presence in the natural history of reality, so you're still looking for artificial identity.
You have to understand that terms are limited in their power to convey what you mean. You say you want racial dignity. As long as you know what you mean, that expression is good. But once you lose your grip on what you mean by racial dignity, that term means anything the society wants it to mean.
The whole of the 1960s was a period of drastic spiritual change. The old spirit of the freedom movement was being usurped or undermined for another spirit. The spirit for real things was being supplanted with a spirit for superficial things. During that time, the meaning of racial dignity was lost; what you came to understand in that expression was not what we started with.
See how a people can lose their mission? Lose their just struggle? A simple change of language without your recognition that language is changing can cut off the growth of your freedom struggle — stop it dead. Kill it! And allow the wild forces of the enemy to take it over.
That's exactly what happened in America. Enemy forces took over the clean freedom struggle of our ancestors and turned it into materialism, artificial race pride — a black consciousness that's really racism, and racial supremacy.
They robbed our ancestors of their just struggle.
Two leaders stand out in recent history as fighters for the old spirit of the ancestors — the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Those two men represented the extreme poles of what we wanted in this country — the inner dignity and the outer comfort. One represented nationalism or separatism, and the other civil rights or integration.
Both were really on the same case. They had inherited the works of their father —
the slave ancestry that would not give up. Those two great men kept us on some sensible, solid ground until their passing. When God took them away the bottom fell out from under us.
In fact, there was no bottom there anyway, just the influence of those two strong personalities, and once that influence was taken out of the society we just came apart.
God didn't fail us. God didn't leave us. He's been with us all the time. He never left us. We let our eyes close on the direction that had been pointed out to us in strong ancestral leadership. The direction inherited by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Dr. King.
I must give both their names because neither of them alone can represent the freedom struggle of our ancestors. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad represented one side of what we wanted, and Dr. King represented the other.
Dr. King realized in the late years of his life that he only had been representing one side and he began trying to get into the business of the other side. But God didn't choose him to get into that side; He chose him for the side that he mastered. When he tried to struggle into the other side, God took him away from us.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad saw the end of his one-sided revolution, and when he started to speak to the other side, God saw fit to take him away also.
But Almighty God united the two spirits in me. I have no problem with balance because I was free to set my own stage, and I set it in balance as God intended it to be.
I spoke in recognition of the spirit of the ancestors as it was demonstrated in the leadership of Dr. King and in the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Twenty years ago, I recognized there was a need for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's spirit and the spirit of Dr. King or the Civil Rights Movement to come together because they were spirits of one life-force!
They should be together. Not separated by one-sided vision....
There is a great sign in the history that God left on the pages of the Bible — the story of a people that doesn't have any real relevance in that time period but actually is relevant in this time period — in the history of the descendants of the slaves that were brought to this country from Africa.
Our leadership can see the great role, the great revelation, the great future for our people. Why don't they join — combine forces and say, "Look, we now have an organization that represents the historic struggle of our people for justice and dignity in this country." Why don't they come?
Why don't they say, "We have no right to keep any allegiance with the church?"
Why don't they say, "Let us bring the church spirit to the masjid, and let us go down on the pages of history as a Christian society that was adopted into Christianity by Western slave-masters and helped by Quakers, and other good Christian groups but still couldn't realize the full measure of the spiritual freedom that we wanted, that our ancestral souls called for, until the coming of the leadership of the World Community of Al Islam in the West?"
Why don't they tell the people, "Join that part of history with this new history and let it all become one history — let the world see that God has been our co-pilot from slave days until now — through the church time to the mosque time? Let us all come together and show the world one history!"
Can't they see the great dignity and the great honor, and the great place in the world we all would have?
We'll go down on the pages of history as a people who evolved into a new cultural and social creation — evolved to advance psycho-social and cultural leadership.
We will go down (in history) as a people who evolved into the epistemology (the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity) of America and the world!
This is a big term but it's small, dear people. They use this term in academic circles. They know that knowledge evolves. They know that knowledge has its own nature — that knowledge has its own development. They know that if knowledge is correct knowledge — useful knowledge — it must be based on what is naturally correct. They know that all other additions are false additions - - grafted additions.
They know that the strength of world leadership is in the epistemology. Those that are aware of this epistemology and those that evolved in this epistemology know that the leadership is there.
God has brought me and you with me. I evolved out of you and you evolved up with me — Insha Allah.
God has brought me into the knowledge of the epistemology of the world! All I need is people that will have the same-mindedness and the sober-mindedness to embrace the leadership and be sincerely devoted to it.
Then I can take you all to an empty island with no industry, nothing but bare land, and we could live there and be happy and grow day-by-day. In time, industry would rise, government would rise and we would become a great nation on that island.
God has blessed me with the roots of civilized knowledge. He has blessed me to see the natural structure those roots support. He has blessed me to see how the human being is created as a social, cultural and political creature with knowledge of how man and woman as a society are raised up step-by-step, stage-by-stage into advanced leadership, advanced society.
God has shown this to me. I don't have to study their books. You're looking for dignity to come to each individual, but it comes through just one.
Allah tells of a people like you in the Quran who say, "When God sends us a scroll down from heaven in our own hands like he did for you, then we will believe."
That's your attitude. "God has given you that knowledge? Why didn't He give it to all of us?"
God has established a pattern of human development and growth, and He has established leadership in that pattern. If you don't accept the leadership, He's not going to give you the blessings.
Allah is the perfect being. Allah is all righteous, truthful — no imperfections in Allah. Allah is Supreme and Perfect without any imperfections.
O Allah. Make us of those who purify themselves and of those who repent, and guide us in your path. Amen.
Peace be to you
Your brother in service to Allah,
Wallace Deen Muhammad
(To be continued)