Category Archives: State of Islam in Black America

Why African Americans Should Rush Into Islam!

(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.

 

What Can Oppressed Black Communities Learn From the Early Battles in Islam?

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.

Black Liberation through Islam

To establish Islam in oppressed Black communities, Black Muslim men, regardless of their rank in society, education in the Islamic sciences or academia, must be willing to go into the hood, in the most violent and dangerous of  neighborhoods, and communicate the message of Islam to oppressed Black youth in street gangs, those in the drug economy, drill rappers, and more. That is our responsibility, those are our people and we must save them with Islam.

“Invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and good advice” (An-Nahl 16:125).

We can no longer wait for speaking engagements or seasonal ‘Black muslim’ conferences to discuss Islam’s relevance to Black people.  Instead, the time is ripe to go to oppressed Black communities all across America to deliver our message that Islam is the only way for freedom, justice and equality.  We must go to our people whether it be in the barbershop, to brothers outside the corner store, or coming out of the trap houses.

Let there be a group of people among you who invite to goodness, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. (Aal `Imran 3:104)

The masjids must play an active role in the development of Islamic institutions that resolve social ills in the Black community.  This happens when Black men step up and take charge of our communities. It happens when we understand how white supremacy and institutional racism have created the conditions of poverty and violence in oppressed black communities.  Dr. Michael Eric Dyson recently said at Howard University that the reason white supremacy has existed for so long is because the Negro loves the white man more than anyone.

We must begin to love ourselves and our people more than anyone else.  We must be able to articulate how the Prophetic biography and Qu’ranic teachings can address the political realities of Black people and change their life.  The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was given 104 books to study in the Library of Congress by Master Fard Muhammad. One hundred and three of those books dealt with an aspect of the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him. The best book, he was given, according to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, was the Holy Quran.  That was the 104th book.

Say: this is my way, I invite to God. (Yusuf 12:108)

 

 

Black Muslims Unlocking the Revolutionary Potential of the Prophetic Biography

(This is part of a transcript between Professor Shareef Muhammad and Hakeem Muhammad on the Black Dawah Network in the discussion titled “Looking Towards the Prophetic Biography for Black Liberation.)

The Prophetic biography is the story of an orphan child who was brought up in a harsh and volatile environment, who belonged to a people who were negligible in the eyes of the world and through a spiritual revolution transformed his people into leaders in the world. The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) success was connected to his obedience to the Creator. It was power in piety, not piety in power. He did not lean on ‘might makes right’, but rather being right that which is in obedience to the creator who is the sought of all might, might one mighty.

The Prophet Muhammad, (pbuh) showed us how to do religion so that it improves the society in which you live. He showed us how to balance responsibility to one’s people, without becoming a hostage to their shortcomings. We saw that spirituality was something that was practical, that it’s not something that you are but something that you do, and we can be kind, compassionate, chivalrous, and charitable and firm also, in a world of immense cruelty and imbalance.The Prophet Muhammad pbuh was husband, father, statesman, general and activist; all those things.

When one studies his theory, one notices parallels between the Arabs of pre-Islamic times, known as Jahiliyyah or the age of ignorance, and African-Americans: they were a nation without an actual nation. The Arabs would: they lived in anarchy, they didn’t have a head of state; before Islam they didn’t have a government. They were a collection of tribes that in many ways functioned like gangs. They policed themselves through custom and reinforce their rules through vendetta and the threat of ostracism. Your honor, your reputation meant everything. They were giving to fighting, drinking, using drugs, idolatry, which today is sort of mimicked by materialism; the fetish we have for consumables is sort of a new kind of postmodern idolatry.

The pride that pre-Islamic Arabs took in their poetry and the subject matter of that poetry is eerily similar to Hip Hop, which is sort of the trademark of our Jahiliyyah. The Suspended odes, which hung on the Kaaba when it was filled with idols, these were considered the source of Arabic poetry and they valorized the physical prowess, the sexual exploits, they glorified gambling and violence. The things that were written by Antarah and some of the other pre-Islamic poets mirrored in varied ways some of the contents you find in Rick Ross, to be perfectly honest.

So, the theory based on what we just talked about, about the parallels on the Arabs in pre-Islamic times and African-Americans, the theory is that if the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him transformed his people from a people steeped in vice, uneducated and without political power, then following his prophetical example could transform black folk into moral leaders, lovers of learning and acquirers of political sovereignty. In other words, there’s revolutionary potential in his prophetic model.

From the Black Dawah Network comic series “The Inescapable Muslim roots of Black Radical Tradition.”

The idea of using the life of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as a model for which to achieve black liberation was first uttered by Marcus Garvey, who said in a speech, quote: “Muhammad suffered many defeats at certain times but Muhammad stuck to his faith and ultimately triumphed and Muhammadism was given to the world”. In a publication of Garvey’s UNIA -I think it’s the Champion Magazine- March issue, 1917, it wrote: “The negro is crying for a Muhammad to come forward and give him the Quran of economic and intellectual welfare. Where is he?” In the flagship newspaper of the UNIA, The Negro World, it read: “The prophet of Allah, concentrating his inexhaustible, incandescent energy on the spiritual, material liberation of his people and the herald of the new dawn”, Garvey, stressing with equal view the material, spiritual redemption of his race.

So the life of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was social, political transformation of an entire people and amon the early pan-Africanists and black nationalist nationalists; that’s what it was seen as. And the Prophetic biography had capital in black political thought. We need to unlock the revolutionary potential that is within this religion, which inspired or attracted our forefathers to come to it.

The prophetic revolution contrast with the Marxist revolution is that the Islamic revolution of the prophet pbuh was a revolution that occurred from the inside out, whereas the Marxian revolution was one that sought to take place from the outside-in. So, where the Marxian revolution took the position of ‘change the structures, you change the people’, 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’.

The application of the prophetic model of Muhammad (pbuh)  will cause a lot of people to lose a lot of money and the resurrection of the black man and the black woman will cause a lot of people to lose a lot of money.

Take drugs, for example, narcotics; it veils the intellect, it impairs ones judgment. Well, people take narcotics in part to cope with their condition, with their situation. So that prevents them from becoming 100% dissatisfied and uncomfortable with their condition so that Allah will then per his promise, change their condition. So the narcotic, the drug gets in the way of that first step towards a people’s social, political and economic transformation. That’s why the drug dealer is the most counterrevolutionary agent in the black community.

The Qu’ran teaches that Allah would change your condition if you change what it is in yourself. This mean means that you have to purge yourself of the affection that you have towards the very magnet that’s arresting your development. that blunts their attempts or blocks their attempt to change what is in their hearts

You study the Sahaba and you can see… they may remind you of people in your neighborhood. And the people in your neighborhood who have not reached their potential, you may look at them differently when you study the Sahaba because you see that the Sahaba reached their potential and why not the person down the block.

Muhammad(pbuh) who was the greatest alchemist in the metaphorical sense of the word in which he would take something that was rust and turn it into gold; we’re talking about character here, we’re talking about once he would take somebody who metaphorically was rust and sort of transformed them into this gold.

The other thing to sort of contrast the life of Muhammad peace be upon him and the Islamic revolution with that of the Marxian model is that Marx talked about the lumpenproletariat, and, what did he say about the lumpenproletariat? That the Marxian revolution, the communist revolution would happen when capitalism would exhaust itself and the workers would overthrow those who own the means of capitalist production and take over the economy and it would end up in a sort of cooperative commonwealth in which the workers would share equally in the means of production and the product, have access to the product. He said that the lumpenproletariat –these were your criminals, your prostitutes, drug dealers, thieves, etc.-, these people would not only be apart of the revolution but they are in many ways a danger or a threat to the revolution. And so he completely excluded the downfall of the lumpenproletariat from this great transformation that would occur. While Islam, particularly in black America, centered its revolution or its idea of revolution on those very people.

So Malcolm X, el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, was what Marx would’ve considered lumpen, and yet it is from him, from Malcolm that we get this sort of push in this direction towards revolutionary change or transformation, this revolutionary event in religion and thought through the religion of Islam. So the Marxian revolution is a revolution from the outside-in, which excludes the social outcast, where Islam is a revolution from the inside out that not only incorporates those people that Marxists excluded but in many ways can center the change on those very people.

This is why Islam is liberation; it is the solution, the remedy and the answer to what ails oppressed Black communities.

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.

The Black Dawah Network and The Call to Islam in Urban Black Communities

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“There have been numerous initiatives and platforms among Black Muslims to celebrate and preserve our history, and to amplify Black Muslims voices. Now, is the time for a platform dedicated to deliver dawah in Black communities,” explained the Black Dawah Network founder, Hakeem Muhammad.

On July 4th, 2018, the Black Dawah Network, a Muslim Empowerment Initiative, was established to coordinate and unify Black Muslims from various communities to use their skills, expertise, and talents to facilitate the call to Islam in Black communities. The Black Dawah Network will host lectures, produce articles, podcasts, create intellectual defenses of Islam, facilitate dawah training programs, produce videos, webinars, infographics, social media content, booklets and lectures promoting the message from Allah in Black communities.

The Black Dawah Network is following the tradition of Malcolm X who went up and down Detroit’s ghettos inviting all of the Black community to Islam, from drug dealers, drug addicts to gangsters. The vision of the Black Dawah Network is to produce the next generation of Muslims who will stand firmly upon the rope of Allah to give dawah to a people in desperate need of what Islam offers, freedom, justice and equality and who do not fear, teaching the religion of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.  

The Black Dawah Network is following the tradition of Malcolm X, who responded to Said Ramadan in 1965, after he expressed concerns that Malcolm X still sounded like a Black Nationalist nationalist in his speeches.   He told Ramadan, “that being an African American, he felt his ‘first responsibility’ was to ‘my 22 million fellow Black Americans who suffer the same indignities because of their color as I do.’

“So, too, the Black Dawah Network feels our first responsibility is to our people who need Islam today, more than ever,” said Muhammad.

The Black Dawah Network is recruiting volunteer editors, writers, artists, researchers, designers, project managers, graphic designers and visionaries. Apply for a volunteer position with the Black Dawah Network by contacting blackdawahnetwork@gmail.com

The State of Islam in Black America!

All too often, “Muslim American” issues are largely disconnected from “Black Muslim” issues. This is problematic and presents a challenge that only the Black American Muslim community can address.

The Black American Muslim has to reclaim her/his place in the narrative of the Islamic experience in America. There needs to be a leveling of the field and an initiative to neutralize the apparent move to marginalize the narrative of the importance and relevance of Islam in Black Americaand the Black American Muslim experience. Failure to do so, it is feared, will result in the coming of a time when it will be asserted that Islam in America really didn’t began or take off until the 1980’s on a college campus…… We already see a shift towards that trend in the common, popular narrative today.

It is in that spirit that Islam in America Movement (IAM) is honored to announce the national launch of State of Islam in Black America™.

What: State of Islam in Black America – A National Conversation and Results Oriented Dialogue™ is a continuing series of local and regional discussions, symposiums and town hall meetings, focused upon the challenges, issues and opportunities for and of the Muslim Community in America from the perspective of the Black (or African-American) Muslim. State of Islam in Black America is the brainchild of author, media strategist and Muslim Public Intellectual Amin Nathari. Nathari is an activist and servant-leader in the Muslim American community for more than two decades, and a lifelong Muslim.

Why: To identify, uplift and support the good work, activities, programs and services, in every field and sector, among and within the BlackMuslim community throughout America and to bring those things before the broader community-at-large. The intent is to look at best practices institutionally and organizationally, minimizing no existing endeavor or initiative, and to celebrate and share what works.

When: July 4, 2017 through July 4, 2018. A schedule of confirmed cities and dates will be available at www.AminNathari.com and updated as new cities are added. The tour will culminate with State of Islam in Black America – the Inaugural Islam in America Movement (IAM) Conference in the Fall 2018, with the plan for the State of Islam in Black America conference to be held every other year thereafter.

Where: Masajid, mosques, Islamic centers, colleges and universities and other community/public spaces and venues throughout the United States of America

How: By creating and nurturing new initiatives wherever gaps exists and a need is present. State of Islam in Black America. Because its time.

If we truly believe that “there is no American history without Black history”, then it is also true that the destiny and success of the Muslim community and the American society-at-large is directly and inextricably linked to the contributions and importance of the Black Muslim community.

The work of Islam in the Black American Muslim community must continue. Will you join us on this important journey and help IAM continue our civic engagement and educational empowerment work by making a contribution today?