By Starla Muhammad
“Justice is the birthright of every human being. Justice is a prerequisite to life. We cannot live without justice and where there is no justice there is no peace. Justice is one of the eternal principles that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth has decreed that every creature should have the freedom to be what God created it to be. Freedom, Justice and Equality are not conferred on us by the Constitution, but the Creator confers Freedom, Justice and Equality on every human being.” – justiceorelse.com
The above statements encapsulate the sentiment and direction for the theme of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, which will be held in Washington, D.C., on 10.10.15. “Justice Or Else!” the clarion call by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan resonates with those who, despite hard work, dedication and loyalty, often find themselves on the losing end of constant battles for true equality in the United States and abroad.
On 10.10.15 we will gather in the Nation’s Capital—Black, Latino, Native American, Indigenous and other disenfranchised communities—not to beg the government, but to demand what Allah has already ordained. Justice is a universal right, ordained by Allah for every human being regardless of religious ideology, race, socio-economic status or gender.
But in the U.S., particularly for Blacks, more than 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow have imprinted and imposed a legacy of White supremacy and Black inferiority on the way we are treated and the way we treat one another. Our community is disproportionately on the negative end of employment, health, education, criminal justice issues and many other socio-economic conditions. Black unemployment is still double that of Whites, more 60 percent of people in U.S. prisons are Black and Latino, and, according to a Forbes magazine article posted online earlier this year, a typical White household has 16 times the wealth of a Black one. The blatant disregard for Black life by law enforcement and those with hatred in their heart for Black life that produced the slaughter in Charleston, S.C., and the tragic and uncalled for deaths of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Rekia Boyd, Trayvon Martin and countless others must come to an end. But it is up to us.
Minister Farrakhan has stated that Justice Or Else is not a march, but a gathering of those who are sober-minded and serious about placing a demand on the United States government and putting power behind that demand to force the government to give us what we deserve.
Allah tells us in in the Holy Qur’an that unity must prevail. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that our unity is more powerful than an atomic or nuclear bomb. Regardless of our schools of thought and expressions of Islam, the time for us to come together and work toward solutions to the problems that plague our communities is now!
As an Ummah, have we actualized, and brought into fruition, the vision, life and work of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam) among ourselves and our communities? In our daw’ah, have we gone into the highways and byways of our neighborhoods and shared the transformative light of Islam with the poor, rejected and despised? Have we banded together to work in our communities to bring a stop to conflicts among the so-called gang-bangers, to stop the sexual abuse and misuse of our young girls and boys and to take a stand against police abuse?
When police are gunning down young, unarmed Black men and women, they are not asking if we are Sunni or Shia. They are not asking if you are a student of Imam Warith D. Mohammed or Minister Farrakhan, or even if you are Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or Agnostic. The common denominator is the color of our skin.
As Muslims in America, particularly those of us who are Black or African American, our unique and peculiar experience in this country uniquely qualifies us to take the forefront on issues that have plagued us during our sojourn here in America. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that the best religion is to want for your brother or sister what you want for yourself and that no one person can rise above the condition of his or her people. If I am seemingly OK, but my brother or sister is not, am I OK in Allah’s sight?
Allah teaches us in the Holy Qur’an that at a certain point, grace and mercy run out, then Allah executes his judgement. Justice is the demand today. The “Or Else” comes from our unity through economic boycotts and withdrawal from spending our hard-earned money with those who continue taking us for granted. But as Minister Farrakhan stated, “The biggest ‘Or Else’ comes from God Himself.”
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and His justice cannot sleep forever.” He was a “founding father” of this great country, yet was a slave-owner. What did he know that the descendants of slaves and slave masters do not know?
As Muslims and part of the human family, let us unite with one another in ushering in what Allah has enjoined on us to do in the cause of justice. Join us in Washington, D.C., on 10.10.15 for Justice Or Else! For more information, visit justiceorelse.com or download the Justice Or Else app on your smart phone.
Starla Muhammad is a Chicago-based writer, student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan and assistant editor of The Final Call newspaper. She can be reached on Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat @simplystarla23.