By Bashirah Mack
I seek refuge in Allah from the detractors of truth and adversaries to liberation.
On May 19th, a most auspicious day, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz was born. It is this day that Allah chose to introduce our Black shining prince to the world and for that we reflect on his life and commemorate his work, driven by an unfettered love and dedication to liberate us with truth to yield prosperity.
This Ramadan, I think about the significance of the 94th birth anniversary of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X, and I reflect on Juz’ 14 of the Qur’an as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ before his hijra to Medina. While in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions were establishing themselves as a new faith community. They were small in number, relatively powerless in the dominant society, discriminated against for their belief and quite vulnerable. And in Jim Crow America, the environment for which Malcolm Little, turned Malcolm X, emerged was also volatile, ripe with anti-Black discrimination, a lack of Black political, social and economic power, and incessant degradation.
Like Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his people in Makkah before us, Black folks in America have long been oppressed and blocked from achieving widespread economic prosperity, political power and fundamental human rights that safeguard our beliefs.
At the time when Prophet Muhammad ﷺ received revelation of surahs al-Hijr (The Stone Valley) and al-Nahl (The Bee), both of which comprise Juz’ 14, Makkah was a bustling cosmopolitan city situated at the crossroads of major caravan routes attracting merchants whose stake lie in generating wealth and abundance. Similarly, what is America but the land of milk and honey? The post-World War America that Malcolm came of age in ushered an industrial boom with massive profits to corporations and promises of prosperity fueled by the American Dream. Like Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his people in Makkah before us, Black folks in America have long been oppressed and blocked from achieving widespread economic prosperity, political power and fundamental human rights that safeguard our beliefs. The Ummah before us, like us, were a people denied.
When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare. — El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, The Ballot or The Bullet, 1964
Surely, we will fight, and we must, as Malcolm did, for economic prosperity, political power, and human rights.
Though 7th century Makkah flaunted material abundance and vast regional influence, Allah made clear how willful ignorance, arrogance, greed and a command of excess in resources is a recipe for moral corruption and disaster.
Certainly, those who disbelieved will wish they were submitters. Let them eat, enjoy, and remain blinded by wishful thinking; they will find out. We never annihilated any community, except in accordance with a specific, predetermined time. — 15:2-4
Malcolm knew, as many Black folks do, that America has prospered off our backs for hundreds of years, and yet America is still deficient morally. But we know, as Malcolm did, that whatever is with Allah is what endures. Surely, we will fight, and we must, as Malcolm did, for economic prosperity, political power, and human rights. But we will do so knowing that Allah is The Bestower and that His promise is real:
And We will, certainly, give recompense to those who endured patiently for their righteous works. — 16:97
Bashirah Mack is an Atlanta native who grew up under the leadership of Imam Jamil Al-Amin. She is a former social media professional who prefers to live her best life offline but still enjoys producing impact-driven stories for local and national media outlets.