1105The Beginning (NOI) to Present--
- Oct 21, 2013
The Beginning (NOI) to Present--
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed (raa)
I'll begin by saying The Nation of Islam, which was built by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Its blueprint was given to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad from an Arab or Muslim from overseas. His name was W. Fard Muhammad, also called W. D. Fard.
It's important for us to know that Mr. Fard was interested in all African-Americans. Mr. Fard came from a people of India, who were also under the British rule. And many of the Indians that were under the British rule; their skin color was black... they were not black people as we know black people, but their skin color was definitely black. They ranged from white to black. And I mean, from the whitest of white to the blackest of black. The northern Indians are white color and they have mixed all together now. The Indians that live in the hotter zones were black in skin color.
When Mr. Fard came to America he experienced discrimination; he was dark color too, he wasn't white skinned...he was brown skinned.
I think what he experienced in his own country India, under the British with his people there, and what he saw and experienced when he came to America, had something to do with him assisting African-American people in the ghetto with their lives.
He came to Detroit, Michigan to the black bottom or the poor area of black people and he began teaching separation from white people and having your own. He told The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and blacks he preached to, that blacks had a great past; that they came from an Islamic past and they should return to their religion. So, that gives you an idea of how it all started.
It's important also to know that Mr. Fard had all African-Americans at heart. He said: there were approximately seventeen million of us existing when he came and that was around 1930-31. And in his esoteric language or preaching; which is kind of an occult language or secret language ...he said: He had seventeen million keys to unlock and free black people.
When I was questioned by some investigators from the intelligence department here in the United States, (this was just before the passing of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I was put out of The Community, so they investigated me) They told me, they said: we know that your father Elijah Muhammad, not only helps Muslims but, he helps other black people as well. He has even given charity to some black Christians. This is what I was told by them.
My own experience as the son of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and a minister for The Nation of Islam under his leadership, I knew that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad also had the interest of all black people, not just those that were Muslim. What I mean by that is this, he did not just see Muslims only benefiting from his teachings...he saw all black people benefiting from his teaching.
That brings me to the direction I have taken, as a leader, upon the passing of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad in February, 1975.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad had been successful at establishing religion, schools of education and also a great and strong interest on building business. A business life for African-Americans. His economic blueprint was called by different names. He had farmland; he had businesses in the cities that he hoped would be supported by the farmland, such as grocery stores and selling meats, etc.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's vision was not small in anyway, his vision was a community vision. And community vision is what Islam is all about. Islam addresses us as a community and it asks us to accept responsibility for community life.
So, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was really Islamic in his programs and in his designing of his programs, he was very Islamic.
Al Islam requires that Muslims belong to community life and Muslims be about establishing their own identity as a community.
So, that has been the direction I have followed. Also, it might be thought that I have differed so much with The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's teaching and with his programs, that I've been the one charged as the one who destroyed his programs.
Well, that's not correct.
I'm the one who changed the thinking of his followers. And thank G'd for the help I got to do that. And you may be surprised to know that the biggest help I got, to do that came from The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad always encouraged me to be a man of scripture; and not the Bible...The Qur'an. He always encouraged me to be a free thinker; he didn't hold me to the thinking of The Nation of Islam. He told his followers, especially his leaders; he's not going to preach like the rest of you. He's going to be different; he's going to use The Qur'an.
So, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad prepared his leaders to accept me in my different posture that I took; I took a different stand and posture from The Nation of Islam. I came to establish Al-Islam as given in The Qur'an.
This then, was not easy to understand. I would say it's a movement from Mr. Fard's and The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's leadership to my leadership. Not an easy to understand movement, if you don't see it as a strategy.
Mr. Fard planned to introduce The Qur'an and real Al-Islam into America, but he knew blacks were militant and blacks were angry with whites.
So, he sought the angry ones, the dissatisfied ones and they were accepted...they received his teachings. But, he planted among them The Qur'an. He didn't require The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his ministers or leaders to preach it but, he planted it among them. He told them: The Holy Book that is a Pure Book that is The Book without defect or errors. He pointed to that book only in that way. He didn't give his esoteric teachings. He never gave his esoteric teaching that kind of sacred respect, that he gave The Qur'an.
So, he prayed that in time I; the one that he said: would become an assistant to my father and help my father do "The Work". At that time, I was just in my mother, and he left right after I was born October 30, 1933.
Mr. Fard was still in touch with my father, my mother, and he was still in touch with The Community he had started. He was still in touch with them and he sent my mother a message "to take good care of the new arrival"; meaning me. And then he was gone.
Let's come back to the present time now, to myself. I definitely have always with no doubt about it, had an interest in African-American people; with human beings period; but, mostly with African-Americans. And what should be expected of me other than that? It should be expected of me, that I would have the interest of all American people at heart. Have a spiritual life together as well as have a racial life together. Racially, we know we are tied together because we all came from Africa originally. We are called black people, and have a history as slaves to the present times, liberated, or a free people that have been included in the American citizenry. The American life history.
We must understand that in that history there have been certain events that have made very deep impressions on our souls and spirit. Mainly, the expression of the soul. So, as I said in Detroit, we have A Champion inside of us and that Champion is The African-American Soul. Referring to the experiences that we had as slaves, the experiences we had with lynching, Jim Crow, discrimination and etc. The experiences we had both in the south and in the north, as a sub-class people, struggling to get full recognition as citizens in America.
So, these experiences alone with certain horrible incidents in the north, like the lynching type murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi. Emmett Till, who was from Chicago, how it affected the north, and how we have suffered even in the north. We have suffered discrimination, and being deprived of opportunities that were given to whites.
We have also suffered in the north; brutal physical treatment in the north! That time has passed and will never come back, we hope!! But, there are insane, deranged haters of blacks, whites, Jews, Catholics, Muslims and haters of anyone they can find to hate, they're just looking for something to hate. Even now, we will see a demonstration of that kind of hate, which have lingered and stayed in some of our sick people in society. But, the point is, we have experienced this, it has touched our hearts, it has touched our souls and gone deep within our souls. It influenced the way we think, the way we feel and influenced what we want and achieve as a people.
We have shared that experience, so we are tied more together by experiences; shared experiences. We are tied together more by that than anything else.
The black skin alone is not enough, you'll find black people in Africa divided and fighting each other, the black skin cannot unite them. Likewise, for us in America, black skin could never unite us. It has been our shared experiences on the road to progress that has made us a people of one ethos and has made us one and the same racial spirit.
My leadership has dealt more with the psychology of our struggle, and more with the psychology of our behavior, than with the physical needs that we have. And I came to the conclusion years ago, the importance of building the psychology of the individual and building the psychology of the race.
Building the spiritual life and mentality of the race, and the individual, is the key for putting us in a situation where we will have the spirit, the ambition, and the assertiveness to tackle the hard job, of changing the physical picture in our neighborhoods.
Our neighborhoods depend on outsiders for its business life. That should not be... that has to stop! That is the scene The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was addressing too when he said: We must build businesses in our own neighborhoods and have those business be quality business and them thrive and survive.
So, we come to the conclusion. The conclusion is, here we are approaching our annual convention, this will be held in Chicago. We're bringing a message, that's not only spirituality; which is extremely important that we know how to recognize our own spirituality, so we can be successful in managing our own spirituality. Not spiritual life, not religion but, spirituality!
Manage our impulses; manage our tenacity to give support to certain things that are no good for us. Manage those tenacity's, that I call managing my own spirituality. You have to manage your own spirituality. You have to have psychological insights into the nature of your spirituality, to manage your spirituality. That's a necessity, but that's not what we'll be addressing at the convention, including that only as an element of what we'll be addressing at the convention.
What we'll be addressing mostly is "How to Qualify for Inclusion". The inclusion that a community asks for, if we're going to be successful in establishing a community. We have to be successful as business people, as educators; people responsible for educating our children, we have to be a people responsible for how we grow in the system of the United States, to use the system, to benefit from the system as other ethnic groups do. We're going to have to manage that.
We have great Christian leadership who have brought us a long way and realized inclusion as a community.
Our communities are not thriving financially, so they are not strong communities, they are very weak communities. If they're strong financially it's because of contributing to the tax base and because of us being a consumer people and our own neglect. They come into our communities and take over abandon buildings and contribute to the business strength of those communities. We invite them into our community and they come into our community. They bring new life. One example is Madison St. on the Westside of Chicago. When you travel down Madison St. it's not the business artery that it was years ago. Recently, life has come to Madison St. that separates north from south and runs through the Westside; a predominately African-American neighborhood. It is alive because of Indians from India, Pakistani from Pakistan (which borders on India) and Africans, some Arabs and other whites, all doing big business on that artery. The consumers are African-Americans. We are the ones keeping those people in business. This is not to attack them; they had the right to come in there. America is a free country and we believe in free enterprise. So, they had the right to come in there and do business but, that doesn't exclude us from the shame of neglect on our part because, we did not go in there and we did not bring business to our own neighborhoods.
The way of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad must be continued. We must continue his way of addressing the needs of African American people, as a spiritual and moral need to be strong which is first, but a material and business need.
So, I conclude with that and I say: that I have followed the excellent life pattern and community life pattern that was established by the teacher of my father as a blueprint... Mr. Fard and I followed the good works of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I hope as his son and as the leader of his followers, (many who have followed him) hope that I'm continuing in the best tradition of the neighborhoods concerns of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I hope I'm traveling in the best tradition of the universal prophet, a mercy to all people; Muhammed The Prophet of Mecca. Who was preaching on this earth about 1,400 years ago.
We're in the Islamic calendar about 1,426-7 from the migration of Muhammed and his followers to Medina, where he set up a community that has become an international model for community life all over the world.
As Salaamu Alaikum (Peace be unto you)