BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: APR 12, 2016 – 10:09:24 AM
[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from the message “Making a Safe Community” delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on Saturday, June 3, 1995, at Civic Center Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
I am thankful and grateful to Allah (God) to once again be with you in the city of Phoenix in the great state of Arizona, to speak to an audience composed of many different people who really want to live in a safe world, and more than likely, would desire to be a part of the building of a safe community. It was 5 a.m. in the morning about six months prior, here in Phoenix, that after prayer I wanted a cup of coffee, so I drove to a Circle K. And there were some young men present at the Circle K who recognized me, along with the proprietor, and sought my autograph; and as I left the Circle K and got in my vehicle, a man walked up to the door and knocked on the window, and he asked if I would please give him an autograph. And when I rolled the window down to write an autograph for him, he preceded to tell me how much he felt that South Phoenix needed the message that we bring. And he not only said that South Phoenix needed the message, he said, “But your own Muslim community needs the message, too.” He pleaded with me to come to Phoenix and speak. His words touched my heart, and I told him at that moment that I would come. And it is that brother who, in a pleading way early that morning, caused me to say to him that I will come at my earliest convenience, and I am here fulfilling my word to my brother.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us, and it is written in the Holy Qur’an, that the devil promises, but never intends to fulfill what he promises. Those of us who do not wish to be classified with the devil or do not wish to walk in the path of Satan must never make promises that we do not intend to keep. So the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that our word is our bond, and bond is life, and we should be willing to give our lives before our word should fail. This word, that is the essence of life, and our striving to do what we say, is critical in developing good human relationships. But it also is how The Universe itself began. Read the Holy Qur’an, Surah Ya Sin (Chapter 36), verses 77-83. It states: “Does not man see that We have created him from the small life germ? Then lo! he is an open disputant. And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: Who will give life to the bones, when they are rotten? Say: He will give life to them, Who brought them into existence at first, and He is Knower of all creation, Who produced fire for you out of the green tree, so that with it you kindle. Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! And He is the Creator (of all), the Knower. His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it, Be, and it is. So glory be to Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things! and to Him you will be returned.”
The Universe began with a thought; it began with a desire in The Mind of The Creator. Allah (God) said, as we say it in Arabic, Kun faya kun, “Be!”—and it was: He organized The Force within Himself, and the hidden material of the darkness of space, to create from nothing all that we see. So if we desire to make a safe community, we must first envision it, we must then desire it; and then, we must focus our will—organize our talents and all within our being to make our vision reality. And then our word (“Be!”) becomes bond, and then that word produces life.
The meaning of ‘Making a Safe Community’:
The serious work of ‘putting human beings together’
The world in which we live is far from being safe. This un-safety, or the lack of security of this world, is due to lies, deceit, injustice, and hollow promises made with no desire to fulfill, so the hopes of the people are dashed. And as hope gives way to despair, the world now, has reached the zenith of lies, filth, indecency and murder. Well, when you have a society filled with liars, thieves, murderers—people who speak out of their mouth what they never intend to fulfill: When you have such filth and indecency in its wake, it brings dire consequences. And the consequences of evil and injustice are exactly what we see: An unsafe world.
The scriptures of both the Holy Qur’an and Bible raised the question, “Whither to flee?” Where can we run where can we go to find safety and security for our lives, for the lives of our children? “For the hope of tomorrow, where can we flee?” Where can we go to find peace and contentment of mind? With money, we can buy many, many things, but no “thing” can give us peace and contentment of mind. The world today and its confused leaders are seeking peace, but as the scripture teaches, they shall seek peace but they shall not find it: “The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace.” (Isaiah 59:8) Why won’t the world leaders and the people under their leadership be able to find peace, when Jesus said “seek and ye shall find”? They cannot find peace because they are not genuinely seeking peace. They are seeking peace on the world’s terms for peace and not on the terms of truth and justice. So, they really don’t want a lasting peace; they want to get along, but to “get along” as long as they remain in positions of power and authority.
And where there is no truth and justice, there can be no peace, and where there is no peace there is no safety, no security. Thus, we have chosen for our subject “Making a Safe Community.” But before we get to the making of a safe community, let us define each word which makes up our subject. The phrase “making a safe community” consists of a gerund, a verb and a noun: “Making” refers to the act of a person or thing that makes; it refers to the process by which something comes into being and it is the means or the cause of success, advancement, or of gaining success or realizing potential. The word “make” means to cause to exist or to happen. (God is Maker: God causes all things to exist, but He gives us also power to make things happen!) “Make” means to modify by putting together material, to construct. If we are going to make a “safe community,” we have to put not mortar and brick together, but we have to begin the serious process of putting human beings together with the “mortar” of truth and justice, and the love of one another.
“A” is a little word that refers to a certain or particular kind of community. Again, in this context this little word “a” denotes degree: the degree of what is contained in the next word which makes up the title of the subject. Making a “what”? Not just a community, but a safe community. “Safe” is a word that is pointing to that which affords or offers security or protection from harm, risk or danger; that which is free from injury or exposure to that which is destructive. “Safe” means that which is dependable and trustworthy, and it includes safety from the threat of harm; it is that which generates security from jeopardy, even torment and evil.
And of course, the last word in our subject is “Community,” which means a group of people who reside in a specific locality under the same government and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. “Community” can point to a social religious occupational or other group sharing common characteristics or interest, but this term also is used to identify a group of associated nations sharing common interest or heritage. “Community” implies similar character, agreement, and having shared (or participating in) similar interest.
A note on safe communities (plural): Let us take a look at the cities wherein we live to see who the components are. It’s not just Black people who want to be safe! For example, there are the Indigenous people of Phoenix who want to be safe, there are White folks who want to be safe; there are police who want to be safe, there are preachers that want to be safe, there are teachers that want to be safe. But there are also young people in the city of Phoenix (in every city), who belong to what you call “gangs”: they also want to be safe. So the question is, “How do you organize this material that has a common interest in being safe, and then make a higher community?”
As Black people, we can say we have a common heritage, don’t we? We have a common history, we have a common suffering; we, then, are a community. The Native Americans have a common culture, a common heritage, common suffering, and they form a community. The Latinos (or Chicano, or those who are referred to as Mexicans) form a common culture, a common heritage, common history, therefore they form a community. But you also have Christians that form communities (Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians), then you have Muslims that form communities (Shiite, Sunni, or followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad or other branches of The Message of Islam)—but, now, what we are looking for is not that. Some wisdom has to come into the world to make us rise above the natural boundaries that have kept us from others and exclusive to ourselves.
You can’t make a safe community if you make a safe Black community and you don’t make a safe Indigenous community, if you don’t make a safe White community—then you haven’t made The Community (safe) at all. Either we all are going to be safe, or we have to separate those who don’t want to live in a safe community and are not willing to do that which makes community safe. Both Bible and Holy Qur’an talk about separation of people, not necessarily based on their color but based on their desire to live according to certain immutable laws; that if we live by these laws, we make ourselves safe and we make others safe from harm.
A lesson from Matthew 24 on an unsafe world during a time of war, calamities and sorrow
Now with this understanding of “making a safe community,” let’s take a look at this unsafe world in which we live. As we speak, there are over 100 wars [and/or raging conflicts] going on in different parts of our planet; there is a proliferation of nuclear armament, and many nations are now seeking to build atomic reactors and to become proficient in atomic warfare (and the wise know that this is very dangerous) on top of that we have the development of biological and chemical weapons which have the capability of destroying human life by the billions. The greed of mankind in the destruction of the rain forests and the uprooting of trees is causing the great erosion of the topsoil, making once arable land unable to produce food as it once did by turning it into desert, creating famine. And now, the destruction to the ozone layer which permits more of the destructive rays of the sun to adversely affect life. All of these and other factors contribute to an unsafe world environment.
Human beings are fighting; there are epidemics and pandemics—all of which have been foretold in the scriptures. The Bible teaches in the 24th Chapter of the Book of Matthew, verses 6-8, that there would be “wars, and rumors of wars,” and the scripture foretells “kingdom would rise against kingdom, and nation would rise against nation,” that there would be “famine, pestilence and earthquakes in divers places.” But it also teaches that this would be “the beginning of sorrows.” My God … if that is the beginning of sorrows, what should we expect? This prophecy in the Book of Matthew is saying that the world in which we live is to become, and probably has now become, totally unsafe. In fact, in verse 22 it is written that when the world reaches this point, “if the days had not been shortened for God’s elect saints not one soul would be left alive on the earth.” This is where we are; this is what we face. And whether you want to accept it or not, it is the consequences of what our fathers did, and what we are doing. When the scriptures tell us that these calamities which are befalling the nations of the earth are just “the beginning of sorrows,” the word “sorrow” means mental suffering or pain caused by injury, loss, or despair.
In the Holy Qur’an, Surah 103 Al-‘Asr (“The Time”) reads: “By the time! Surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience.” Walk the streets (you don’t have to go far), look in the faces of the people and you see the pain of injury, sorrow, loss, despair. … It is mental anguish. “Sorrow” means to feel deeply disappointed and distressed. And most of us are disappointed—husbands disappointed in their wives, wives disappointed in their husbands, parents disappointed in the children, children disappointed with their parents; people disappointed with city, state, and federal government, people disappointed on their jobs, people disappointed because their life has failed to meet their dreams and their expectations. This produces mental anguish.
But tell me something: What could follow all of this that could be worse than these sorrows?
Now Jesus lays some heavy admonitions on us in Matthew 24, because before he tells us what’s going to happen in the world, he says in verses 4-5, “Take care let no man deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ’ and shall deceive many.” And then after he says what is going to come, he comes back and he says it two more times (and we haven’t even gotten out of the chapter), “Let no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name—but don’t listen to them”: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (verse 11); “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (verse 24). Boy, this is heavy. Because, when we reach that period of anguish and sorrow and despair and disappointment, you’re looking for relief.
When you know you’re sick, you seek a doctor. When you know you are in trouble with the law, you seek a lawyer. And when you are sick with despair, disappointment, anguish and loss over things that are happening that you really cannot understand, you seek some preacher. … But brothers and sisters, if the scripture warns us that many false Christs will arise, then each one of us has a responsibility to get into the knowledge of The Criterion by which you measure people. You just don’t follow people! You have to measure men. But you can’t measure them by your suspicion: “I don’t like the way he look,” or “I don’t like the way he ‘this or that’ ”—that’s not a good criterion. You have to have in your head a proper standard by which you measure not only others, but measure yourself.
Again, what could possibly be worse than these calamities that are described as only “the beginning of sorrows”? Read the Book of Matthew, Chapter 10, verses 17-22. The scripture teaches that “brother shall deliver up brother to be scourged in the synagogues and in the temples”: “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues … And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” This betrayal of brothers by brothers is leading to a particular betrayal that is worse in its effects than earthquakes, pestilence, wars and famine.
In this day we are living, God is allowing people time to see the justice of His judgment: He gives the people time to see themselves juxtaposed to His standard of morality. He gives time to governments to look at themselves according to His standard, and those who would repent and change, He gives them time to do so. But how can the people know they’ve gone wrong except they have a teacher? And how can they have a preacher except he be sent? So God’s grace towards the world is expressed when He sends into the world a man to warn the people, to guide the people, and to show them the way to save themselves.
‘On this rock I build My Community’:
The type of heart required in establishing God’s Kingdom
We live in an unsafe world and that which is unsafe is not secure and that which is not secure is that which cannot have peace. And peace can only come when we feel secure and we feel safe. And none of us in this world feels secure and safe. Just coming out of your home, you take a chance. Even being in your home close to a window, you are taking a chance. The world is gone mad. … How many people in this world today can say that their needs are sufficed? There are millions in America who are homeless. There are millions in America who are hungry. There are millions in America who need medical help but cannot get it because they don’t have medical insurance or money to pay a doctor’s bill. There are millions in America that are unemployed and have no viable means of securing their families and loved ones who are dependent on them. So the dependents are insecure because the heads of the household are insecure. The heads of the household that have no job or incomes that are insufficient to meet the growing demands of an economy that is in an ever-increasing inflationary cycle.
Look into your own city’s latest statistics on childhood poverty, the taxpayer cost of teenage childbearing, juvenile arrests for violent crimes, child abuse reports. Well, these are consequences of something! And what about families? Study the latest statistics on the divorce rate among the states. Do you know one of the major signs of the fall and decline of a civilization or society is in the divorce rate? Why is that? It is because the strength of a nation is seen in the strength of a family, and the strength of a family is in the strength of the marriage of a man and a woman. When divorce is so high that marriage as an institution is threatened, families break up, and then the nation begins to pull apart—because the basis of nation is family. Also look into alarming trends of domestic violence, and how facilities used as safe havens are being forced to turn victims away because they were filled to capacity. The abuse of the elderly, homelessness (adults and children) suicide rates, substance abuse rates … . Crime is on the increase in (every state). These are the trends in an unsafe world. … Yet, there is no human being, I don’t care how bad they are, that cannot be redeemed. “How do you know, Farrakhan?” We, The Nation of Islam, who have worked among the worst of our people, can bear witness to the transformative, redeeming power of The Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
These young men, The Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.) that you see around me and in the streets: They didn’t fall out of heaven! They came up out of hell (just like you). We smoked reefers, we drank alcohol; we beat our wives; we carried guns, we robbed banks; we killed people and many of these you see, both women and men, got out of prison. They are not hopeless—no human being is hopeless.
In the midst of all of this chaos in an unsafe world, the germ of The Kingdom of God is to be established. It is a place that, within it is safety and security. Even though it bears the brunt of attack, yet peace and contentment of mind is within it; and this is why Jesus said, “On this rock, I build my church.” But it is not referring to a physical church, dear pastors, for it has a much deeper spiritual significance.
We work so hard to build beautiful buildings, and that’s good, but if you’d notice, I never read in the scriptures where Jesus built anything. He taught in the synagogues, in the temples, but he was always in “the highways and the byways,” “by the Sea of Galilee”—where he could find people, he was teaching. Because his mission was not to build buildings; Jesus told Peter, “Come follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men,” not a builder of churches. So, let’s “fix” that interpretation of the word, and understand it to mean: “On this rock, I build my community.” Not a building, but a Community in and of Christ! This means that as hell’s gates will come against “the church” (or “The Community of Christ”), that Community of Christ—if it is really the true Community of Christ—is so safe and so secure in Christ that the gates of hell will never be able to prevail. And, in that circle (that community) that is to grow into an ever widening circle (community), then more and more safety and more and more security will be found.
Study the 13th Chapter of the Book of Matthew where we learn of Jesus likening The Kingdom of God as to a man sowing seeds. In this parable, he mentions four types of heart. Now I want you to pay attention, because all of us are not going to make it. I hate to be the one bringing that kind of news. … All of us can make it, but all of us, it doesn’t appear, will make it—because the quality of your heart may not be what is enabling the seed of The Kingdom to grow in you. The four types of heart are: 1.) The type of heart where the seed that falls on “stony ground” means some of our hearts are too stony to receive it and the birds come by and pluck that seed and it’s gone; 2.) Some hearts the seed goes in and germinates, but the cares of the world choke the seed and make it unprofitable; 3.) The type of heart that can’t stand to do any suffering for the establishment of truth, yet is suffering because of the evil of their own doings! See, when you suffer to establish truth there is joy in that suffering, and there is peace in that suffering. But when you suffer because of the evil of your own deeds, there is no peace there: The bed is hard, you can’t sleep, you wait for day to come when it is night, and you can’t find peace anywhere.
And lastly, the fourth type: The type of heart that receives it, and it grows and multiplies. Persons possessing that type of heart is to tell us that out of this unsafe world there is a group that will want to make a safe community and out of this world, God is going to pull out that group who can receive the seed of that truth and that Kingdom, and will be willing to suffer to establish it.
Will those individuals who accepted to be in The Kingdom of God find peace and even joy in their suffering? Yes, they will find joy in their suffering because they are assured that the safe community they will be making will be established, and that their children and their children’s children will enjoy the blessing and ever-continual growth of a safe community. The man making this safe community is called “Jesus” in the Bible; and the man who makes the safe community in the Holy Qur’an is called “Muhammad.”