by William P. Muhammad
“…know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God." James 4:4 - Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition
Famed author and writer Alex Haley, who wrote the landmark novel, “Roots,” said it was the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, through his interviews with Nation of Islam spokesman Malcolm X, which led him to pursue the historical research that made his book and the subsequent television mini-series into a world-wide success. Challenging generations of distortion and misinformation, the “Roots” phenomenon, albeit short-lived, uncovered and articulated, through mass media, Black America’s Muslim past, the methods by which White America sought to erase it from our collective memory and why.
The European’s aversion toward the non-Christian, particularly the Muslim, who, through his civilizations in Africa and Asia, controlled the trade routes to the East, perhaps in the beginning was a conflict more about European competition for scarce resources than a conflict over religion. Nevertheless, from the Vatican inspired Crusades of the Middle Ages, through the religious tyranny of the Inquisitions and the 1492 “Reconquista” of the Iberian Peninsula, the expulsion of African Muslims and Jews from Spain and Portugal, and the simultaneous “discovery” of the Western Hemisphere, culminated in the founding of a New World that, in the name of Christianity, destroyed indigenous civilizations, enslaved Africans and, by order of the Catholic monarchs of Spain, forbade the practice of Islam.
With the advent of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the centuries long chattel enslavement of Black people, the forced transfer of Africans from their homelands to North America, South America and the Caribbean Islands, is without a doubt one of the greatest crimes humanity has ever inflicted upon itself. Particularly as it relates to the United States, the prolonged trauma of race based enslavement, persecution and discrimination became so acute, that as a survival mechanism, through limited internal choices and unconscionable external pressures, nearly every vestige of the Black man’s original culture, language and religion had been repressed, redefined or eliminated.
Constituting a theft of our birthright, centuries later, pragmatism, or in some cases ignorance of history, now leads many Blacks in leadership to embrace or reject that which the former slave master and his children embrace or reject, particularly as it relates to religion. As regards to reclaiming that which was lost, like Daniel during the Babylonian captivity or like Moses during the Egyptian captivity, how many Black religious leaders have the courage to tell Nebuchadnezzar or Pharaoh: “Thus saith the Lord,” and how many are willing to pay the price to do so?
Although most Black Americans, who may profess Christianity, are unaware the Holy Qur’an recognizes Jesus in the 19th chapter titled Mary, they may also be unaware that the Muslim book of scripture refers to him as Messiah, albeit it according to the Hebrew definition. As this world is built upon and maintained by the domination and subjugation of the weak and the poor through the political, economic, and philosophical views of white supremacy, those knowledgeable of scripture, and the time, should expect the coming of One to overturn such rule and to set justice on the earth.
According to the New Testament, part of the Lord’s Prayer states: “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” If the prayer states that God’s Will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven, then this implies that there is work to do here and now while we are still living and breathing. Furthermore, if Jesus spoke of a kingdom coming, and it will be the same “on earth as it is in heaven,” then this implies actual land which requires ownership, cultivation and development and a people who require food, clothing and shelter for starters.
With this said, building a church, singing and praising the name of Jesus is good, but it will not be enough to survive the fall of this world and to qualify for an exalted place in that kingdom. Does not the scripture say that faith without works is dead? If we are destined see the kingdom, and our children to inherit it, we must prepare ourselves for positions that are awaiting us. A kingdom needs governors to administrate it, a kingdom needs farmers to feed it, a kingdom needs architects and engineers to shelter and build it, a kingdom needs scientists to advance it and doctors to heal it, a kingdom needs all of this and more through a people who submit their will to do the Will of God, which is the literal definition of the Arabic word, Muslim.
Pastors, preachers and ministers who know of the coming of the kingdom, also know there is a price to pay for announcing its coming. Who among us is denounced, vilified, scorned and ridiculed for doing so? Who is plotted against, evil spoken of and hated without cause? Who among us is hated by this world, its leaders and its apologists for the sake of the kingdom? Who among us is willing to lay down his life for the sake of that truth?
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 - King James Version