Wednesday, 10 Rajab 1428
Malcolm X — A Prince among Believers
When will the ‘Afro-Saxon’ African people of the Caribbean learn to honor Malcolm X and to courageously walk in his footsteps in responding to oppression in the world today? When will they learn to ‘live’ for Allah Most High, the way that he did? When will they learn to ‘die’ for Allah Most High, the way that he did?
Malcolm ‘lived’ for Allah. Malcolm ‘died’ for Allah! And I write with the prayer that through these humble words Islam may touch their souls the way that his soul was touched, and he then became a prince among believers.
The Qur’an declared: “Say not of those who are killed in the way of Allah that they are dead. Rather they are alive, but you cannot see them”. Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21st 1965. His enemies thought that they had finally cut down that tree. But to their surprise and anguish the tree just kept on growing. That explains why some of us are still alive today. One such Malcolm is enough for the slave masters of the world! But had Malcolm been still alive today it is certain that he would have been declared to be a “terrorist” and “a great security risk”. His entry into most ‘Afro-Saxon’ Caribbean states would certainly have been banned.
I paid a courtesy call on the Governor General of the Caribbean island State of Grenada a few years ago. In response to his query concerning the purpose of my visit to that island, I made mention of Malcolm X’s mother, Louise, being Grenadian (he had no knowledge of that), and that I had been honored to make contact with her family in Grenada during my very brief visit.
The Governor General responded quite candidly with his opinion that Malcolm was “a hoodlum”. I was hardly surprised. It is in the nature of the modern Euro-world-order that it demonizes and seeks to muzzle and strangle all those who resist its dominance and imperial rule over the world. It is a far more complex matter to understand Louis Farrakhan’s bitter denunciation of Malcolm as “a traitor to his people”, and “we have dealt with him the way we deal with traitors.”
I loved Malcolm, the Muslim. He was a Prince amongst believers. He captured the very essence of Islam with his anti-systemic response to the oppression of the white-world-order. He has been my hero ever since I was a teenager, and he was threatening to take the US to the UN General Assembly to answer charges of genocide.
Malcolm X, the teacher, taught me the very important distinction between a ‘house’ and a ‘field slave’. Many years later I would find the same distinction in the Qur’an.
Malcolm explained that the ‘house slave’ was subject to the same oppression as the ‘field slave’. Both were without ‘external’ freedom, and hence in ‘external’ slavery. But while the ‘field slave’ hated that oppression and slavery, the ‘house slave’ submitted to it, identified with the slave master, and accepted his slavery. He was so brainwashed and ‘internally’ blind that he became an appendage of the slave master (Qur’an, al-Maida, 5:51). He was always there to serve the slave master, however required, and whenever the slave master needed him. When the slave master was ill the ‘house slave’ would feel his master’s pain and suffering and would declare to his master: “We sick!” The ‘house slave’ was both ‘internally’ as well as ’externally’ a slave, i.e., both physically and psychologically a slave. He became a part of the system of slavery (the ‘internally’ blind always end up as slaves). The slave master rewarded the ‘house slave’ for his faithful service.
But not so the ‘field slave’ who may have been ‘externally’ a slave but was ‘internally’ a free man. Because of that ‘internal’ freedom the ‘field slave’ had the capacity to ‘see’, and to thus recognize oppression and wickedness, and he hated it with all his heart and soul. The ‘field slave’ would never submit to oppression, but rather longed to regain his freedom and to demolish slavery. And so the ‘field slave’ responded to oppression and slavery in a manner that was anti-systemic. The slave master who was an oppressor was his ‘enemy’. When the slave master’s house was on fire the ‘field slave’ would pray to God to send a strong wind that would “burn down the house”. The slaver master despised the ‘field slave’ and made him pay a terrible price for his defiance.
Today’s slave masters who now seek to realize the greatest slavery ever (and that is a major sign of the Last Day connected to Dajjal the false Messiah), demonize ‘field slaves’ as terrorists, and seek anti-terrorism legislation that would muzzle and strangle them. But they must know that Malcolm’s blood stirs in the hearts of millions around the world who long to walk in his courageous footsteps.
The whole of South America, from Venezuela to Argentina, is today embracing the politics of ‘field slaves’. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is not an aberration. Rather he is the embodiment of the resentment felt by the teeming coloured South American masses who are responding to the injustices to which they have long been subjected by the ‘white’ oppressors. Among those injustices has been the assassination, time and again, of courageous South American leaders who sought to protect their people from ‘white’ oppression. Panama’s Omar Torrejos, Ecuador’s Jamie Roldos, Chile’s Salvador Allende were all killed through acts of terrorism planned and executed by those who now falsely and deceptively declare themselves to be fighting terrorism. (If we were to expand the scope of our essay we would have to include Pakistan’s Ziaul Haq and Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal among the leaders who were similarly assassinated. And then there was the Palestinian intellectual, Prof. Dr. Ismail Faruqi, who was a thorn in their side. He also was assassinated. And the list goes on and on.)
On the other hand, almost the entire Muslim world is today governed by ‘house slave’ governments. And the ‘white’ slave master who has deceptively portrayed himself as fighting against terrorism, is himself ever ready to resort to terror in order to ensure the survival of his ‘house slaves’ who govern Muslims on his behalf.
Even as we remember Malcolm X forty years later, we ought also to remember and honor his beloved wife, Dr. Betty Shabbazz. I met her twice. The second time was when she was lying in her coffin beside Malcolm’s grave, and her six daughters had honored me by asking me to recite from the Qur’an and to offer a prayer over her body before it was lowered into her husband’s grave.
I remember myself shaking like a leaf as I stood beside Malcolm’s grave for the first time, and as I watched his beloved wife rejoining him after surviving such difficult trials in life.
The dominant characteristic of her life, after Malcolm’s death, was her fierce loyalty and unflinching devotion to her husband’s memory and his mission in life. And this brings me to my first meeting with her that is the subject of this essay.
It was 22nd September 1996, just eight months before her death, and I was escorted to the back of a large hall in midtown Manhattan to be introduced to her. She did not smile to greet me. There was something distant and lonesome about her, as though she belonged to a far away place and another time – not the kind of woman who would put you at ease in her presence. But I could almost feel her quiet strength and power as she waited with infinite patience for the time to come when she would go back home to her beloved. She sat at the back of the hall, she quietly explained to me, to be better able to assess the four speakers who were scheduled to address that night the challenging topic ‘Beyond Malcolm X—The Future of Islamic Leadership in North America.’ She had heard of me, of my Trinidad origin, and of my constant references in New York and elsewhere to her husband, and she was curious to listen that night to what I had to say on the topic.
I devoted myself in my address to describing the unflinching faith in Allah that was the very substance of the man. He lived for Allah, and he died for Allah. And that was the kind of Islamic leadership that North American Muslims needed. But I also took time off to dwell on his matchless integrity. His passionate commitment to truth and justice was such that he absolutely abhorred opportunism and expediency. And so his values in life were located at the very heart of Islam.
I then went on to observe that Malcolm, perhaps, did not know about the prohibition of Riba (borrowing or lending money on interest) in Islam. How else could we explain Alex Haley’s comment in the ‘Autobiography’ that Malcolm took an advance from him to make a down payment on a house in Elmhurst, New York, after his home was firebombed by Nation of Islam enemies? And that was the comment that got me into trouble.
After all four speakers had made their presentations, Betty came forward, ever so slowly and deliberately, to the front podium, to address the gathering. She began by quoting my words: “The Imam said that my husband lived for Allah. The Imam said that my husband died for Allah. The Imam is right.” But then she turned around to face me, and to look at me squarely in the eyes, and to defiantly declare, “But Imam, he did not sign the agreement. He died before he could do that. So he was not in Riba!” Only after she had passionately defended her husband did she calm down. But the way she had looked at me (don’t you dare criticize my husband!) was such that it took me much longer to calm down. Seldom in my life have I ever witnessed such passionate devotion to a leader’s memory and legacy. And it is that dazzling example that she has left behind for the Muslim women of today.
She went on to plead for Islamic leaders who would be men of courage and integrity, men who, like her husband, would defy the oppressors of the world. But she also spoke of faith, and of the quest for knowledge. Later that evening, after I had left the hall to go to another engagement, she autographed a copy of the ‘Autobiography’ for me. And this is what she wrote: “You are a leader for men and women of all ages and all times. May the peace and blessings of Allah forever guide you.” And she signed Hajjah B. Shabbazz / Mrs. MX. It brought tears to my eyes.
May their common grave be wide, cool and spacious for them, and be filled with light. And may they both sleep peacefully together in that grave. Amin!