Estimated reading time: 12 minute(s)
by Willie Muhammad
Part 5 or 9
I want to begin this blog entry with an analogy the Honorable Elijah Muhammad told the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan after he confronted some laborers in Chicago. â€œBrother when you have a piece of wood; that you are going to place in the corner of the building to uphold the weight of the building. You have to put a lot of stress on that board and if it breaks under the stress then you know thatâ€™s not the board you are looking for. You throw that one away and get another.â€ The Hon. Elijah Muhammad in this analogy was talking about a quality that anyone in leadership-especially leadership with our people MUST have. That leadership quality is the ability to take plenty.
If those in leadership cannot withstand the doubt, envy, the jealousy, backbiting and betrayal of those they strive to lead then he/she will never be able to effectively lead them to where they need to go. Without this valuable quality one will find him or herself fighting members in their own organization, club, community etc, none of which positively benefits those entities. If one cannot take plenty he/she can never be used as an instrument of redemption, which humanity in need of. The Hon. Louis Farrakhanâ€™s track record as not only a leader, but a Divine leader shows that he is that piece of wood that can shoulder the weight. Listen to his words spoken in Macon, Ga. July 28, 1990, â€œI have been evil spoken of, lied on! Even to this very moment some seek my death, but Iâ€™m unscarred by hatred, Iâ€™m unscarred by vindictiveness, Iâ€™m unscarred by impatience! Iâ€™m longsuffering, willing to give my life for the liberation of a people!â€ I use the word Divine to describe his leadership because that is the only word that can explain this ability that the Hon. Louis FarrakhanÂ UNQUESTIONABLYpossesses.
In some places in the Bible the current condition of Black people are described in some of the harshest language. In Ezekiel 2:1-9 we are described as stubborn, hardhearted, thorn bushes and as scorpions. To counter our self-hatred Allah makes His Messenger to have a love and a desire to want to see them in a better condition that is greater than the peoples self-hatred (Ezek. 3:8-11). In another place in Ezekiel, to counter the stubbornness of this people He says he has made His Messenger stubborn in his effort to tell them what God has revealed to him to speak. Min. Farrakhan is that one to whom God is speaking to and through today and he has not let our peoples sicknesses deter him, not even cancer.
His determination reminds me of a story I read, titled theÂ â€œOld Man and the Scorpion.â€Â One morning, after he had finished his meditation, the old man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion was washed closer to the tree, the old man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched out into the river and reached out to rescue the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man withdrew his hand. A minute later, after he had regained his balance, he stretched himself out again on the roots to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly with its poisonous tail that his hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain. At that moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the roots struggling with the scorpion and shouted: “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?” The old man turned his head. Looking into the stranger’s eyes he said calmly, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.” The spirit of redemption!
I close this blog with more words spoken by the Minister concerning this quality. â€œItâ€™s like a master teacher in the dojo. Heâ€™s got to bring you to the threshold of pain. Then you do this (tapping his leg), when you hit your leg, meaning let off, that hurts, that hurts. He donâ€™t let up right away, he brings you beyond that. Because to deal with our people you gonna suffer pain and if you gonna turn on your people because they gave you pain. You are unworthy to lead them. So we are in a position of leadership, so you canâ€™t give people what they give you in return. You got to be able to reach beyond their weakness, their slander, their gossip, their envy, their jealousy to raise them.â€
(Willie Muhammad serves as the Student Minister at Muhammad Mosque No. 46 in New Orleans. Visit their website @Â www.noineworleans.org)