Our World of Islam is in terrible condition—not because you fully understand the Holy Qur’an, even in Mecca. If you understood the Holy Qur’an, why would you put it behind your back and accept guidance from the White House? – Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
Q: What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: Religion, in many cases, is organized with teachings or dogma and ritual that support it. Spirituality is that which comes from the nature of the individual. We are by nature, as the Holy Qur’an teaches, righteous. And when you act in a righteous manner and do good from within, that is not “religion,” that is the exercise of the spirituality of your being. That’s not “religion,” that is the nature of God and the nature of His Creation. Remember that Qur’an says, “This day I have perfected for you your religion, completed my favor on your and chosen for you Islam as a religion,” because we’re in a world of religion. But Islam is not a religion, it is a world; and that world comes out of the nature from God that is the nature of every human being except the rebellious devil.
For more guidance on related and as well as other subjects, get your copy of The Teachings 2.0: Twitter Sayings of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan!
In the mourning of our legends there are some of those who want to erase their identity. There are those who have this idea that our ancestors have “transcended race/religion.” I’m specifically referring to the recent passing of Muhammad Ali (May Allah be pleased with him). But it’s not just him whose identity has to be tampered with. We saw this with Prince, Michael Jackson, and even Whitney Houston. Too many people saying that our great legends “transcended race” or “transcended religion” when that is just not true.
Transcend means: Be or go beyond the range or limits of (something abstract, typically a conceptual field or division). surpass (a person or an achievement). Surpass (a person or an achievement).
So when you say that one of our deceased ancestors transcended race/religion, are you saying that their race/religion limited them? How do you go above your very identity? Do not imply that our blackness is something we have to
overcome. That feeds the mentality that if you stop talking about race, racism will go away. You’re telling us that calling ourselves black is a bad thing. We need to overcome racism and white supremacy, not our race. You can be a hero and be black at the same time. You can be a champion and be Muslim at the same time. You can be a legend and be a black Muslim at the same time.
Our freedom fighters and champions such as Muhammad Ali did not deny their blackness. Them being black was and is something that gave black people in particular a lot of hope. It gave pride and representation to those who did not have much of either. Muhammad Ali was unapologetically black. Being black and being a world hero or champ is are not mutually exclusive identities. You can’t say or even remember Muhammad Ali, without admitting to his black pride.
Also, respect his religion. His name is Muhammad Ali. Muhammad meaning “One who is worthy of praise” and Ali meaning “Most High”. His name was given to him in the Nation of Islam by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. His Islam was something that many hated in this islamophobic country called the United States of America. In his beliefs, he rejected being drafted into the Vietnam War.
When mainly whites say that our ancestors “transcended race”, they are trying to be included in the work that they did, when for the main part, their work was focused and centered around blackness. Notice that talented white people who pass on, never “transcend” their race or religion ever.
Do NOT define blackness as an obstacle, or an imperfect flaw that our ancestors wanted to overcome. That was not at all what they wanted. To say that Muhammad Ali transcended race says that instead of acknowledging his work centered around black people, it’s best to eliminate his race altogether. If his work was not rooted in involving white people, then whitewash his identity for him. To say that Muhammad Ali transcended religion is quite an oxymoron considering he would literally fight you for calling him out of his Muslim name. There is such a fear of Muslims today, that being one is a bad thing. But who would call the great Muhammad Ali a bad person for being Muslim? So they try and whitewash his religion as well. They refuse to mention it. We are living in a society where islamophobia is intensely high. We are living in a society where blackness is considered a badge of shame, and a target for many to prey on.
Don’t put Muhammad Ali or any of our ancestors on a colorblind agenda. Stop erasing their blackness to include whites for their own comfort. Our ancestors will forever be unapologetically black, and many, unapologetically Muslim as well. In the perfect words of Muhammad Ali:
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)
Originally published 10.24.10
This has been an on-going conversation between myself and youth for many years.
I have personally watched young people shun religion for various reasons whether it is the pull of “the world” or outright disgust with what they see. They’ve told me that they gravitate more to television, the street life, reality shows, and social media more than going to one of the houses of worship.
Instead of writing a blog this, I asked 17-year-old college student, blogger and speaker Salih Muhammad of Oakland to weigh in on it. He has been raised in a Muslim home and since I’ve known him he has exhibited an energetic spirit towards learning more and doing more. He’s in love with Islam and is an active participant. I asked him “What’s driving youth away from religion?”
This is what he shared with me.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Now, more than ever, we need God. Today we are plagued with problem after problem, as leadership wanders blindly for a solution. The root of our problems today is basic immorality where greed, lust, and an inordinate self-interest have become the way of life.
More simply, the root of our problems is spiritual. If the problem is spiritual, then the solution must also be spiritual.
It is within this context of problems that we find young people absent from Church, Mosque, Synagogue, and other places established for the reverence of Almighty God.
The question I pose is why? What is occurring within these institutions that are designed to bring the people closer to God, that they are sometimes inadvertently pushing a particular demographic away?
In Matthew 19:14 it reads, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Even Jesus, himself, realized there was a spirit within the Houses of God that deterred youth involvement. At its root “suffer” means to endure or undergo. The youth of today endure an extreme amount of pressure due to Satan’s increase in power. In the Book of Genesis the devil is a mere serpent, but by the time we get to the zenith of his rule, he’s a mighty dragon. More importantly, this dragon intends to devour the child.
The youth are the target. In addition to the pressure of being alive during the zenith of Satan’s rule, young people find no solace at the house established to help us stand against the wiles of Satan.
With the above mentioned as a contextual prelude, I would like to address what occurs in Religious Institutions that hinders youth engagement and participation:
Or as we say, “Frontin'”. Many within religious institutions have a tendency to judge, youth in particular, as if they are perfect to the law. Since none of us are perfect to the law, none have the right to cast judgment (Matt 7:1). Young people are naturally observant. If elders walk around being “chesty” about their “righteousness” we see the bluff! Just BE REAL.
2.) Cheap Talk
This refers to those who are only talking abstractly and non-contextually about lessons from scripture. I need to know how to apply spiritual principles in my everyday life. If I cannot do this, then you are not helping me! The youth are not here to be quotologist. We need a practical understanding of scripture.
You can’t FORCE Religion on ANYBODY! And at the same time you DEFINITELY can’t let youth do anything while blindly wandering on. There has to be BALANCE. You must be a nurturer and a provider. You must rebuke (in the proper manner) and ALSO reward. BALANCE!
3b.) Balance pt. II
Being “devout” means nothing if you’re unwilling to spend time and energy to uplift and HELP young people.
Mom, Dad, Pastor, Minister, YOU’RE NOT LISTENING! Learn to LISTEN to young people. The scriptures teach that in this day old men will dream dreams but young men will dream visions. You’d be wise to listen up, before you miss something!
Let young people GROW into the beauty that God has planted. God has planted seeds in each of us. However, if the seed is placed in the wrong environment it may never get the opportunity to blossom.
6.) The Golden Rule!
Treat youth with dignity and respect. The way YOU would want to be treated.
7.) Fear Tactics
Don’t try to control youth with fear. It won’t work! In fact, when it is attempted, it can DRIVE us away!
8.) MOST IMPORTANTLY, LOVE LOVE LOVE!
LOVE IS THE SOLUTION!!! LOVE EACH OTHER and DEMONSTRATE the level of Love YOU have through your actions! Take a more hands-on approach with youth. For example, take us and show us the ropes. Create a strong bond with us.
Thank you Brother Salih. Houston Belief readers, What Do You Think?
Photo Credits: Shay Malden
On April 16, Brother Jesse Muhammad officially became a guest blogger for HoustonBelief.com, which is the Houston Chronicleâ€™s religion page. This page features local bloggers from across faith traditions. One of their goals is to expand the perspectives represented on HoustonBelief to help their readers learn more and better understand the religious traditions in Houston.
The title of Brother Jesseâ€™s blog is The Upper Situation Room
â€œHoustonBelief is always looking for contributors who can help represent Houstonâ€™s diverse groups of people and faiths. Writing as a member of the Nation of Islam, Jesse Muhammad adds to the traditions represented on our site. Heâ€™s a local blogger whoâ€™s already made a name for himself writing about issues in the Black community, so I think heâ€™ll be able to start meaningful conversations about race and religion on HoustonBelief,â€ said Kate Shellnutt, web producer for HoustonBelief.
â€œIt is a great honor to be given this platform to further share the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. It is an opportunity to educate readers about the majesty of the Nation of Islam plus bring a fresh perspective on issues impacting the Black community,â€ said Brother Jesse.
Brother Jesse did not waste any time as he addressed false labels placed on Minister Farrakhan and Nation of Islam in his first two blog articles. Please join Brother Jesse in The Upper Situation Room at: http://blogs.chron.com/brotherjesse
Originally published 5.4.09
On Thursday, April 30, NOI Student Minister Robert Muhammad engaged in a debate with professed atheist Sunsara Taylor at the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
A capacity crowd witnessed as the two dialogued on the questions: Is religion a creation of humanity whose time has long passed? Or, does it serve some deeper need of human beings? Are beliefs in God(s) obstacles or are these beliefs pathways to understanding and changing the world and to the emancipation of humanity?
The event was co-sponsored by The Barbara Jordan Institute for Policy Research at TSU, Poetry & Politics Club at TSU, The Houston Revolution Club, â€œAway With All Godsâ€ Houston Tour Committee.
Brother Robert Muhammad is the Student Southwest Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam. He hosts â€œConnect The Dotsâ€ talk show on KPFT 90.1 FM and is a long-time activist in the struggle against police brutality, racial profiling, the death penalty and the war in Iraq. Min. Muhammad served as a spiritual advisor and witness to the executions of O’Dell Barnes and Shaka Sankofa, aka Gary Graham, and helped organize the 1995 Million Man March and the 2000 Million Family March.
Sunsara Taylor writes for Revolution Newspaper and is an uncompromising atheist. She is currently on a national campus tour on the 2008 book, Away with All Gods; Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, by Bob Avakian (Insight Press). Taylor has been featured in/on The New York Times, The Oâ€™Reilly Factor, and CNNâ€™s Showbiz Tonight. Ms. Taylor also co-hosts the WBAI ( Pacifica ) radio program “Equal Time for Free Thought”.
The MOI Design Engineers of Muhammad Mosque No. 45 in Houston will be posting the debate online soon!