BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: OCT 24, 2008 – 11:17:00 AM
[Editor’s note: On October 19, 2008 the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a sermon on the occasion of the Rededication of Mosque Maryam, the headquarters mosque of the Nation of Islam, and the commemoration of the 13th Anniversary of the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement. This article includes excerpts from that address.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
I thank Allah so much for that sound that we heard from the Shofar, the Ram’s Horn, that announces Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Shabbat (the Sabbath), calling the people of Israel to purification and preparation for atonement, for sin and wrongdoing, that we may keep Allah’s (God’s) favor to us. We thank those who come by the sound of the bell to Christian worship, and we thank a Black man from Ethiopia named Bilal, who created from the Spirit of God that which is called the Adhan, or the “call to prayer” in Islam.
These three branches of pure monotheistic belief—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—spring from a father, Ibrahim, or Abraham, who was a man that fought against polytheism. In the Holy Qur’an, there is a story about the idol worshippers of his day and there were three of them. One of them was larger than the others, and it is written that in the night, Abraham knocked down one of the idols, and the next morning the people asked, “Who did this?” Abraham said, “Ask the big one, he should be able to tell you.” And, of course, they were upset with Abraham and they boiled him in oil. So we have to be careful how you take down the idols that people worship, but it is misplaced worship that has the human family at odds with each other.
While Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was among us, there was unity among the Jews. When Moses was among the people he was sent to, there was unity. But when Prophet Muhammad was gone, division came. The Holy Qur’an says they did not become divided until after knowledge came to them splitting up their religion into sects and parties vying with one another due to envy.
This happened during the time of Jesus; it happened again during the time of Muhammad, peace be upon them, and it happens every time there is a charismatic person who guides people sometimes to a new truth. But when that person dies, then that terrible human condition arises when people seek power and are greedy for power. And out of envy they war with one another over who will sit where and who will go there, and then the people of God become divided.
Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an that He sent messengers and prophets to every nation. He didn’t send messengers to every nation to preach a different religion. Otherwise, we could charge Him with being the author of confusion. While the scripture teaches that “God is not the God of confusion, but the God of peace,” then how did we become so confused? When a messenger or prophet of God came in different parts of the world, they always brought a truth that was to correct the problems of that particular time. But those contemporary truths were founded on immutable principles that never change.
The prophets all over the earth taught the same basic truth. But when the prophet died, people began to name the message after the prophet, so now we have Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism. Some would call Islam “Muhammadanism.” Then we have Christianity and Judaism, but what is the real message or religion of Him Who created the heavens and the earth and gave every creature the True Religion?
And what is the True Religion? When you see the creatures, each creature follows a path that is indicative of the nature of that creature. God gives to each of His creatures a way.
What is the way that God gave to the human being? Did He change? Did He wait until 2,000 years ago to give man the way? Did God wait until 1,400 years ago to give man the way? No. From the time God created man, He gave him the right way. Allah (God) says in the Qur’an, “Set your face for religion being upright, the nature made by Allah in which He has created man.”
Look at our planet. Look at how we have become so divided, so hateful, yet claiming the same Creator. Do you think that Almighty God is happy with Christians, and Muslims and Jews claiming Abraham, the upright one, yet destroying each other everyday because we think we have the right way? Is that really the right way?
Allah (God) created Adam. All of the scriptures of the Torah, Injil (Gospel) and Qur’an talk about Adam. Did God give him the way? We call it “religion,” but that is man’s invention. We ask each other “What is your religion? What is your religion? What is your religion?” No! We should be asking “What is the nature in which God created you?” That is the way. The real religion of God is this: “Obey My commands.” That is the right way, but most men know not.
Out of His love and respect for the human being, God says from the Bible, “I created man after My likeness and in My image.” That’s big—very, very, big. If God created you and I after His likeness, then it is no wonder when the Disciples asked Jesus, “Master, when were you hungry and I fed you not? When were you naked and I clothed you not? When were you out of doors and I gave you not shelter? When were you sick and imprisoned and I ministered not unto you?” the response Jesus gave was this: “In as much as you have not done these things to the least of these my brethren, you have not done it also unto me.”
We love to give importance to big shots: “I met so-and-so; I saw so-and-so.” But when you walk down the street and you saw a homeless person on the corner asking for some help, you may not have known it—and he doesn’t know it—but he’s a “big shot,” too. When you walk by the prostitute who doesn’t really know who she is; how valuable she is, you walk by a “big shot” that is in need of service. But we have been trained to look out for those that don’t really need us and to walk by the people most in need.
One day, a blind man was tapping his way up to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he was engrossed in a conversation with a well-placed man. The Prophet looked on the blind man because he disturbed the conversation, and the Prophet frowned, but the Qur’an says, Allah frowned. Allah (God) said to the Prophet, “You are talking to a man who really in words is wasting your time and the man that is most in need of your service from him you turn away.”
May I humbly say religion, as it is being preached and practiced, is a failure. Not some religions—all of them. Don’t be displeased with me. We must judge the failure and success of religion by how effective we are in transforming human life. Not judging religion by how happy the people are over our preaching, or the song that we sung or the prayer we said—and then the people go back out in that world to be the same as they were before they came to that house of worship.
When Jesus came on the scene, there were many preaching the law, but Jesus said, “Oh, ye hypocrites.” That’s a tough word. Who wants to be called such an ugly name? But Jesus said, “You have whited sepulchers, and in them are the bones of dead men.” The churches and the mosques and the synagogues—they’re white, meaning they’re white on the outside, but the people on the inside are like the bones of dead men and dead women. What does that mean?
Every religion has what is called rituals. Every religion has a way of devotion that may be peculiar to that faith tradition. In the prayer that Abraham and Ishmael made when they reconstructed or laid the foundation of Al-Ka’bah (the Holy House of Mecca), they asked Allah (God), “Show us our way of devotion.” So there was a way of devotion peculiar to them. In every part of the world, the way of devotion that God gave those people is sometimes concretized in ritual.
The ritual itself is not the truth; the ritual is the embodiment of the truth. What will happen when we don’t need rituals anymore? When the truth of a ritual is made known, the ritual loses significance. We, as Muslims, must once in our lifetime make a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca. Some of us have been very blessed to make that journey, but when we make that journey, we all should know that everything that we do is a sign of something bigger. When we walk around Al-Ka’bah seven times; when we kiss the Black Stone; when we run between the hills, these ritualistic acts are signs of something bigger.
What is this new beginning for the Nation of Islam? I know you are concerned, and that you are curious.
In the Qur’an it says, “I created you from a tiny life germ, and then you became a clot, and then you became an embryo, and then you became a fetus, and then I brought you forth from your mother’s womb, complete yet incomplete.”
All along that journey, we as human beings are evolving, going to stage after stage on our journey to become complete human beings. When you mature to be a grown up man or woman, are you yet complete, or do you yet have a distance to go to complete your real journey, which is the journey of life itself?
What is that journey? The Qur’an keeps telling us about those who deny the meeting with God. Our journey is from a tiny life germ to become one with our Creator. This is why the man Jesus in the Bible is so great a human because in his journey, though he lived a short time, he accomplished something that some of us can live 100 years and never accomplish. He accomplished Oneness with God. So when the disciples and he were together, they said “When will we see the Father?” And he said, “Have I been among you all this long and you have not seen Him?” He said, “When you see me you see the Father, for I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Me and my Father are one.” It is the same with Prophet Muhammad. He was, according to the history, the most obedient to the Will of God. That’s how you attain Oneness with God. God cannot give you the Secret of Nature unless you please Him to that degree that He can open up the Secret of Nature for us.
There are many preachers, teachers, sheikhs, mullahs, scholars. We read our Bible, we read our Qur’an, and we call ourselves “interpreters.” But no one can interpret the Word of God properly if our hearts are not in tune with Him and His Will.
Something has happened in America. We have churches, we have mosques, we have synagogues, but the streets are filled with crime, violence and the abuse of women and children—right outside the church; right outside the mosque. If our religion is only for the walls, and the people within them, then we have failed. I say this because we have spent money to make a beautiful building, but that is not what God is interested in. If we don’t make beautiful people to come in and out of that building doing the Will and the Work of God, then all of this means nothing.
To those who are here from different religions and different races: Black people are in a very, very bad condition. I don’t care how many cars we drive or homes we have or money we have, the condition of Black people is really an indictment against the religious leadership because, if we really are in tune with the prophets and their writings, the religion should never lose its power to transform.
In the Book of Isaiah, the scripture teaches, “There will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the former things will pass away.” In the Book of Revelations, a man is talking—a man! He says, “Behold, I make all things new.” Now, that’s a heck of a statement: “Behold, I”—a personal pronoun—“make”—not some things—“all things new.” Then He says there will be a new heaven and a new earth and the former things will pass away. Well, we’re lined up then to see big change. Big, big, big change.
If you notice, change is the theme in race for the presidency. Change. And that theme, regardless who says it, is resonating with the people, because deep down in the hearts of the people, they are totally, thoroughly dissatisfied with government and they are seeking real change.
But, the change that will feed our hearts is not necessarily a political change. The change that will feed our souls is that which is on the scene, or coming on the scene today: It is a Universal Change.
Question: Where do we fit? If He is going to make all things new, does that mean Judaism will be made new? Christianity will be made new? Islam will be made new? We will be made new? What does it mean by “all things”? That’s everything! So God is dissatisfied with everything!
Will there be new government? New constitution? Will there be new people in power? Will that be you? Will that be me? Will that be him? Will that be her? We don’t know. But we know this: Change is absolutely necessary.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said the scripture is speaking of both a spiritual and physical change. He said that the change that it is talking about is a change in the spiritual rulership and a change in the political rulership.
Now let me say this for the record: The Founding Fathers of this country wanted separation of church and state, but not disconnect of the church from the state, or the state from the church.
Do you realize that all throughout these books—Bible and Qur’an—God respected kings, but He sent to these kings, prophets. And the prophets always said to the kings: “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Today, however, the prophets are bought by the kings because they are seeking favor from the kings. You are not seeking the Favor of God. You’re seeking the favor of man, so you lose the Favor of God.
What happens when there is a disconnect between heaven and earth? If the sun does not draw water up from the earth’s surface into the earth’s rotation, which is called gravitation, forming what is called a cloud? And if the wind does not drive that cloud over an earth that is dead, and rain down on that earth so that the seeds in the earth may swell, germinate and come up that we may eat and feed from the earth?
There is a connection between what is above and what is beneath, but we don’t have that connection anymore. That is why the human being is suffering and is a caricature of what God intended human beings to be. We are no longer man in the Image of God—we are a caricature of what God intended because we are all filled with rebellion. And whatever Allah (God) said, “Thou shall not do,” government says “It’s okay. It’s all right. Help yourself.” There is great confusion.
To be continued.