(Editorial Note: This is part one of an edited excerpt from a Khutba by brother Bilal Stroud on why African-Americans should rush into Islam.)
Why African Americans Should Rush to Islam by brother Bilal Stroud!
During the Transatlantic Slave Trade period, millions upon millions of enslaved Africans were taken from their homes, and brought to the Western Hemisphere, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and to North America. The first slave ship to arrive in the Americas in 1619. For hundreds of years, the process of enslaving an entire race took place. As time went on, the oppressor wanted to make sure that slaves had a mindset that will keep them in perpetual servitude to their slave masters, as they were already dealing with rebellion from the Muslims who believed in a free world for Africans.
Muslims in Haiti were instrumental in fighting the colonizers, and gaining the freedom of the enslaved Africans in Haiti. Dutty Boukman, was a Muslim and he was always known to be carrying a Quran with him. So when he was sold into slavery, the slave traders demanded this Quran from him, in order to confiscate it as the colonizers knew about the threat of Islam to their operations. Dutty Boukman refused to give it up, so they decided to set his Quran on fire to punish him, but he refused to let it go. The fire burned the side of his body, and he was known as Bookman because of that incident. He led the people in Haiti against the colonizers in a revolution.
When slaves arrived in the Americas, the colonizers were wary of Islam, its teachings, and the threat it posed to slave trade. And they were so eager to quash Islam before a revolution came up. Islam is a revolutionary system. It brings people up, it turns evil over on its head, and the slave master could not accept this.
The slave master introduced us to a religion by which it is said that not only is God a man, but he happens to be a Caucasian man. Then he tells you that you should love your enemy, and if someone slaps you on the cheek, give them the other cheek. This was intended to make Africans soft and acquiesce to your oppressor.The slave master did this to suppress the revolutionary system of Islam to solidify a hold on the slaves.
1)Allah(SWT) will grant us power and authority.
Now, as African Americans living in this country for hundreds of years, we have lived on the fear and tyranny of our historical oppressor. Every single day we watch the news, somebody’s getting shot, somebody’s getting harassed. Somebody gets shot in our community. We have no power in America. Unfortunately, the problem that we as African Americans have is that we actually think that the key to our liberation lies in political power. That the more mayors and governors and politicians you have, the more you will gain power and authority in the land, but we still don’t have it. Even though we had a black president some years ago, our authority in America is minuscule.
Allah is telling you here that if you become Muslim if you submit to his laws and commandments, and come to Islam, he will make us superior in the land, establish our feet, take away the stress and anxiety that we have, and put peace in our lives. Allah will establish our people if we turn back to him. If we turn back to Allah, obey his laws and his commandments, and follow that belief up with righteous deeds and have a keen certainty in Allah’s promise and his mercy, Allah will establish us in the land.
We have evil rulers ruling over us. Oppressors and evil tyrannical rulers will be demoted, and eventually the people of righteousness will rise to the top.
2) Allah will grant us Tranquility
If our people become Muslims and come back to the natural way of life, Allah has promised us an easy life, a life of ease and tranquility. Allah says in the Quran that whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and as faith, verily to him we give a new life, a life that is good and pure.
Have you seen a dialysis clinic? They have to put them on the machine, and drain all the blood out their body. They then purify it, and then put the blood back into your body. That’s what a kidney does. It purifies your blood in your body and it is one of the most important organs in the body. If your kidney fails, you have to go on a dialysis machine. You know why your kidneys are failing? Stress, anxiety, fear, depression, and you know what causes that? The food that we eat, foods like fried foods and all this, raises the blood pressure and when your blood pressure is high, the blood can’t circulate through your body and your organs start to fail, so you will have a hard life. Your life is all over the place. You have no peace, no inner peace.
So Allah says, there is a reward for coming close to him. Obey his laws and his commandments and watch how Allah would take away all your problems, all your grief, all your nervousness.
But the reverse is also true. Allah says whoever turns away from my message, verily for him is a life full of stress, full of anxiety. So Allah said, if you turn away from me, no problem. I’ll leave you to yourself when things are not going right in your life. Stress, worry, grief. Everybody’s after you. You can’t sleep at night. You’d be nervous, oh, you’ll know what’s going on, and you’re so scared. That’s because we have left the commandments of Allah and we do not follow his laws and his commandments. So as a result, you will have no peace. Allah says here, if you do what he tells you to do, follow his laws and his commandments and obey the final prophet and messenger, Muhammad, may Allah’s peace be upon him, Allah will enrich your life.
3) Allah will protect us From Our Oppressors.
If our people run and come into Islam, Allah will protect us. Allah shows us that over and over again in the Qu’ran. He saved Moses in Egypt. He saved Job. He saved Noah. All the prophets, Allah saved them from the plot of their enemies and from the destruction. This is the mercy and the blessing that Allah will give to us as his people, but you as an individual, when you turn to Allah, he will offer his protection, meaning nothing can harm you. He will come to your aid. He will protect you from all types of harm. That harm could be physical harm, harm of stress, anxiety, whatever can bring you harm. If we as a people turn to Allah, Allah will protect us. Allah has given us a promise. Allah says, he will defend and protect us.
How many of us don’t want that? How many black men are we seeing shot down in the street? How many black women are we seeing being harassed? Why? We can stop it overnight! We just need to be right with Allah and see what Allah would do for us. Turn to Allah and see how he will protect you from the paths of your open enemy and those around you. Allah protects those who believe in him.
Muslim Empowerment Institute(MEI) will be hosting an Islam and Black Empowerment Class taught by brother Hakeem Muhammad and Abdul Hamid Salaam. Students enrolled in these classes will learn how the practice and implementation of Islam can empower Black communities for the better. These classes are especially open to Black people from urban areas throughout America, Muslim or non-Muslim, who are interested in learning more about Islam or for Muslims who are interested in deepening their understanding of the faith.
Salim Abdul Khaliq
The military history of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is studied in academies and universities around the country. What can Black people learn by studying his life, history, and tactics to wage war against white supremacy so we can make progress and benefit socially, politically, economically, and spiritually?
The early Muslims faced serious challenges establishing the deen of Islam. Sumayya Ibn Khattab, a Black Ethiopian woman, one of the first female converts was stabbed to death by the wicked Abu Jahl. Bilal ibn Rabah, a Black man, was tortured with boulders placed upon his chest. Other weak and defenseless believers were cursed, shunned, starved and murdered. In the face of this, they were told by the Prophet, peace be upon him, to be patient. When things got even more oppressive, some Muslims were forced to migrate to other lands.
Over time the oppression intensified, and the pagan Arabs had every intention of destroying the small band of believers. When the Prophet heard rumors of the conspiracy to assassinate him, he gave orders to leave Mecca and migrate to Medina. The disbelievers chose to follow and fight them.
At last, the Muslims had enough and Allah sent down the revelation, instructing the Muslims to fight in self-defense. They were ready for the challenge and had enough of persecution. There comes a time when one is being bullied that you must stand up. One must fight for your rights against injustice and oppression. It must not matter how little the victim is or how big the oppressive force is. Size does not matter. Look at how Cuba stood up to America. So, during the time of the Prophet in the famous Battle of Badr, 300-400 new Muslims were faced with extinction at the hands of at least a minimum of 1000 well Arabs.
Miraculously, the Muslims were victorious in the battle. Abu Jahl, the killer of Summaya, the Ethiopian, was killed. Bilal would kill his former slave master Ummaya.
The Battle of Badr represented the victory of the oppressed over the oppressor. It also represented an achievement in the establishment of Islam. Our Black communities across the country can learn from the Battle of Badr, that no matter how outnumbered we may be in the face of white supremacy, with the help of Allah (swt) we will be victorious.
The Battle of Uhud took place in 625A.D. between 1000 Muslims and 3000 of their opponents. It was considered somewhat of a loss for the Muslims. Why? Before the battle, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, put 50 archers on a mountainside and ordered them to stay there, no matter what. However, when it appeared the Muslims were victorious in battle, the archers deserted their posts. This failure to follow instructions cost lives.
Khalid Ibn al-Walid, the fierce general and warrior gave the pagans an advantage. He was known for his courage and tactical maneuver. When the Muslim archers left their posts for the riches of the enemy, this allowed Khalid to surprise attack at which the Muslims were bested. The results were disastrous, even the Prophet was injured, his uncle Hamza was killed and mutilated by the wife of Abu Sufyan.
The believers disobeyed orders and broke ranks running after the booty or wealth of the unbelievers. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), gave instructions to combat the enemy. When these instructions were violated many Muslims were killed. In war, orders must be followed.
What is the lesson to be learned here? People in the struggle for Black liberation must be able to follow instructions. We must be disciplined enough to hear and obey. That is very hard for some of us who only want to do our own thing. We are reluctant to follow the instructions from another Black person. Further, we should not get caught up in materialism because the struggle of our ancestors is bigger than wealth, fame, fortune, cars, women, etc. Malcolm X was a brother who never sold out. He was simply following the example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who when the pagans offered him kingship, wealth and women, he refused, saying: “If you put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I will not cease the cause for which I was sent.”
During the battle of Uhud, another issue that happened is that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was injured and many rumors spread that the Prophet, pbuh, was in fact dead. As a result, many Muslims began to flee from the battlefield. Umm Ayman, a brave Black Ethiopian woman encouraged the Muslims to continue to fight on behalf of Islam. In response, Allah (swt) revealed the following ayats of the Qu’ran in 3:144, “ Muhammad is not but a messenger. Other messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels to unbelief? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.”
This sent a clear message that even if the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, were to die the battle the fight to bring about the rise of Islam must continue.
We cannot get caught up in personality worship nor retreat from the mission no matter what. Simply because Malcolm X was assassinated does not mean we retreat from the Islamic confrontation war against white supremacy. Simply because Fred Hampton was assassinated does not mean we retreat from the battle of justice. We must continue the fight no matter what.
We are fighting for Islam and we will surely win.
Salim Abdul-Khaliq was born Ron Charles in Chicago, Illinois in 1954. He Ron was born with a constant desire to read, write and study. In 1974, while in the army, he was positively influenced by a man named John Sanders, now known as Yahya Abdul. He became a mentor to Ron. This mentoring led Ron to do further research and investigation into the faith of Islam and into Malcolm X. As a young black man Islam gave Ron hope along with a profound understanding of God and African American history. In 1974 Ron converted to Islam and changed his name.
At the forefront of a futile effort to inhibit the rise of Islam in Black America are two individuals in the “Black Conscious Community”: Young Pharaoh and Sara Suten Seti. Without realizing the irony, Seti routinely gives lectures with a Malcolm X or Dr. Khallid t-shirt on whilst speaking against Islam. The basic reality reveals an incontrovertible fact: even anti-Islam Afrocentrist in the Black conscious community cannot escape the Islamic influence over the Black Liberation struggle.
Whilst Seti continuously promotes the writings and teachings of Marcus Garvey to Black people hailing him as one of the greatest Black leaders, he ignores the Champion Magazine- March issue of Marcus Garvey’s Negro Improvement organization, 1917, which reads, “The negro is crying for a Muhammad to come forward and give him the Quran of economic and intellectual welfare. Where is he?” Speaking laudatory of Islam, Marcus Garvey states, “Muhammad suffered many defeats at certain times but Muhammad stuck to his faith and ultimately triumphed and Muhammadism was given to the world”. Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association looked to Islam as a source of inspiration and influence.
In another video discussion, Seti speaks against Donald Trump for calling for an extradition of Black revolutionary: Assata Shakur. Seti praises the Black revolutionaries who got Assata Shakur out of prison stating they were real Africans. He failed, however, to mention that the brother who was convicted for the liberation of Assata Shakur, Sekou Odinga who stated “Al-Islam is a comprehensive religious, political, and social way of life. I believe that Al-Islam, as taught by the Koran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (a.s), is the best-organized system to free New Afrikan people and build the New Afrikan Nation.”
He ignores the words of Assata Shakur who said “I had always said that if i had any religion, it was Islam” and that “the Islamic influence over our struggle has always been strong.” In fact, during Assata Shakur’s trial, she went as far as to file a court motion so that her trial would not take place on Friday, simply so she could attend Jummah Prayer.
Yet, Sara Suten Seti and Young Pharaoh speak negatively of Islam yet are unable to present any ideology to Black people that can compete or rival Islam in any, way, shape or form.
Islam has an established track record of producing revolutionaries: Safiya Bukhari, Sekou Odinga, Malcolm X, Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad. On the other hand, Seti and Young Pharaoh would be hard pressed to name a single “Maatic revolutionary” the Black Conscious Community has produced that has struck fear in the white power structure.
Islam has an established track record of producing institutions that have transformed the Black community for the better. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam established a Fish import business, cleaners, bakeries, a Muhammad University of School system, and drug rehabilitation centers. From the teachings of Islam, individuals like Malcolm X and countless Black people were inspired to leave drugs. On the other hand, the Black conscious community has produced powerpoint slides on the pyramids and history lessons on ancient Egypt.
Umar Ibn Khattab, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said “Verily, we were a disgraceful people and Allah honored us with Islam, so if we seek honor from other than Islam, then Allah will humiliate us.” Since the Black Conscious Community began abandoning Islam in favor of reviving a pseudo-ancient Egyptian spirituality, nothing but one humiliation after humiliation has befallen the Black conscious community.
Take for example Natural Tehauti. After Sara Suten Seti went ducking Dr. Wesley Muhammad for a debate, he had Natural Tehuti replace him to spew the same debunked “Islam ain’t for Black people, its for Arabs” drivel. What happened to brother Natural Tehuti?
Natural Tehuti is currently incarcerated for selling drugs and has even recently been convicted of homicide after an inmate died of an overdose from drugs he smuggled in the prison. Consequently, Seti himself has admitted to using cocaine and he stated he sold drugs in order to afford his trip to Egypt. The fact of the matter is anti-Islam Afrocentrists in the Black Conscious Community cannot compete with Islam with it comes to revolutionary praxis against white supremacy, cleaning up black communities of drugs, or building institutions to transform black life for the better.
The best they can do is the same powerpoint slides about the pyramids and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, and videos disrespecting Islam whilst simultaneously wearing Malcolm X shirts.
Instead of just wearing a Malcolm X t shirt, Young Pharaoh and Seti: should look into why Malcolm X said Islam was the best religion for Black people, why Marcus Garvey said the Negro was yearning for a Muhammad; why Sekou Odinga said Islam is the best religion for New African People.
Brother Seti, Pharaoh, and Nehuti, the door for you to become a Muslim and repent of your prior transgressions is still available. The Black Dawah Network strongly advises you to take your Shahadah and become a Muslim.
“It is Allah Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the way of life of The Truth so that He may uplift it over all ways of life, even if the ones who are polytheists disliked it.” (9:33)
The Black conscious community has an obsession with Islam because Black Muslims have an established track record of political, intellectual and social resistance against white supremacy. Black Muslims have been the pioneers who have contributed the most to black political thought in terms of the radical tradition. Hotep is not a shorthand in the black community the way Assalam Alaikum is. It never achieved that.
The Black conscious community focuses on Cultural Revolution. What is that? It’s not political revolution in that, you’re not changing structures and it’s not really an internal spiritual revolution. You’re talking about changing the way that you dress, changing your names, wearing certain kinds of jewelry and changing your rhetoric and your vernacular. But as far as any substantive transformation of the human being, they don’t possess that. And so a lot of the Afro-centrist and so called conscious members in the conscious community are actually hedonist.
As the Black Dawah Network previously discussed on why African-Americans should study the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is that we can see the difference between the Islamic revolution from the secular revolution whether Afrocentrism or Marxism. Islam is the revolution from the inside out. The Islamic prophetic revolution of Muhammad peace be upon him was ‘you change the person and then, from there, the thing that are outside of that person change.”
So you’re talking about returning to that primordial state of your being which is fitra or purity that which recognizes goodness. Returning to submission to God will inevitably result in a dissatisfaction with the world around you. Which will invariably lead to a desire to change your environment. And so that is where you get substantive change as opposed to just creating institutions that are supposed to change the individual when the people who created and are manning the institution haven’t undergone the change that they’re trying to affect. The institutions will simply succumb to their own state. The institutions are a reflection of ourselves, we are not simply a reflection of the institutions. So by changing the self, we change the institution.
The reason Islam grew in the states among African Americans is because it was seen as an effective framework for resisting white supremacy. This is true for even those who are not Muslim like Marcus Garvey, Edward Blyden, Martin Delany and Henry McNeal Turner. At one point there in the UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association), Marcus Garvey’s organization, there came up a resolution to make Islam the official religion of the UNIA. Now granted, Garvey rejected it. But the point of me bringing that up is that Garvey only rejected it after careful consideration. Why would he carefully consider making Islam the official religion of his organization when he himself was not Muslim? Then when you go throughout the UNIAs literature and you find all these sort of references to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his biography.
There’s a pattern in what we see in terms of the Islamic slave revolts in Bahia, Brazil. There is a pattern in terms of what we see with Malcolm X. There’s a pattern in terms of what we see in Safiya Bukhari’s and Imam Jamil Al Amin’s struggle with white supremacy. There’s a pattern in what we see in Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad and Sekou Odinga. The Black Conscious Community has produced nothing that can compare with the Islamic struggle against White Supremacy.
Professor Shareef Muhammad has taught history at Georgia State University and Islamic studies at Spelman University. He has a masters in history at Kent State University with his thesis on The Cultural Jihad in the antelbellum South: How Muslim slaves preserved their religious/cultural identity during slavery.