[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts of the above titled message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on November 17, 1983 at Albany University in Albany, New York.]


I greet you my beloved brothers and sisters, and students, with the greeting words of peace in the Arabic language:  As-Salaam Alaikum.  Since most of you are familiar with those greeting words, this means that most of you, or some of you, are familiar with Islam.  But to those of you who are not, those greeting words in Arabic mean “peace be unto you.” 



There is nowhere that you go today in the world that you cannot hear something of “Islam.”  For years, Islam has been a well-kept secret in America; for years it has not been desired that Black people particularly have a knowledge of Islam.  “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission,” entire submission to The Will of God—and those persons who submit entirely to do The Will of God Whose proper name is “Allah,” are referred to as “Muslims.” 


“Muslim” and “Islam”:  These are Arabic words, but you can translate them into English very simply by saying “a righteous person” (one who believes in doing that which is correct, that which is right); and that which is right is not right according to the law of man, but that which is right is that which is according to The Will of God.  All over the world today Muslims are moving toward either the revitalization of the Islamic world, or they are fighting against some form of tyranny, exploitation and enslavement.  Islam is a powerful force for the liberation of the human spirit, and this is one of the reasons why in the Western Hemisphere it was decided that Muslims should not be found among the slaves.  Wherever there were Muslims, they were always isolated from the other slaves who were of African origin, but who believed in the traditional religions of Africa. 

There is a reason why Islam is so attractive, particularly to Black people.  It is because, as the Holy Qur’an teaches, “the natural religion of man”—and when our people hear it, it makes sense because it is not a religion that is in conflict with science or mathematics.  In fact, Islam is the highest form of mathematics and science!  Of those Western writers who wrote of “Islam in Africa” is Lothrop Stoddard; in his book The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy (1920), he writes that Islam seems to bring out the militant propensities in Black people.

What it is about Islam, when one comes to the knowledge of God and one comes to fear God and God alone, then he ceases to have the fear of man?  When one comes to know Allah (to know God), and to know life, then that one ceases to have the fear of death.  When one comes to know truth and to love truth, then one automatically comes to love justice.  So those who are lovers of God, lovers of truth, lovers of justice, are the natural opposers of all unjust systems of rule and government.  When you have a colonial regime or a slave-making regime, or an oppressive regime, the oppressor does not want anything to come to the oppressed that will cause the oppressed to rise up against the oppressor. 

‘Islam’:  Its profound effect on the thinking of Black people in America and the world

Now naturally, my beloved brothers and sisters, you might not think too much of “Islam” the way it is being represented by the media in the daily news when you see headlines such as “Americans killed by a Muslim fanatic,” or when you read every day about “Muslim zealots” or “fundamentalist Muslims” are doing “this here and that there.”  It makes you wonder, “What kind of religion is it that would stimulate human beings to take the lives of other human beings?” 

Certainly no religion, no true teaching from Almighty God stimulates men and women to kill other men and women; however, every time God has sent a prophet into the world with truth, that prophet came to a people deprived of that truth.  And those who had a vested interest in the oppression, exploitation and enslavement of a particular group fought against that prophet and fought against that truth, and so those who love the truth fought with those who fought against them until Almighty God made the truth that they believed successful, and established that truth in that particular area of the world.

With us, many revolts in the Western Hemisphere were begun by Muslims, and were successful because the Muslims were very highly learned, highly skilled. When we were brought into America it was against the law of America for any of us to be Muslims.  And even though many of the slaves that were brought to these shores were in fact Muslims, followers of the Holy Qur’an, believers in Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and believers in Allah, these Muslims were separated from the masses of Black people that these masses may not know of “Allah,” “Islam” or any kind of teaching that would take out of us the fear of White people, replacing it with the fear of Allah.


I remember years ago when Alex Haley, who was then a writer for Reader’s Digest, was interviewing Malcolm X and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and Brother Malcolm told Alex Haley that many of our fathers, before they were brought to America, were Muslims. And of course Alex Haley heard it, but didn’t pay it too much attention. Later, Alex Haley began to research his roots and the rest you know is “history.”  In 1967, Alex Haley wrote me a letter and said to me, “Brother, Brother Malcolm and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad were correct, for I searched my roots out and I found that my people were Muslims.”  Islam coming into the Western Hemisphere has had a profound effect on the thinking of Black people in this country and a profound effect on the thinking of Black people as a result of our thinking around the world. 

Most of you who may be “nationalists,” who honor, love and revere the memory of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, a Black brother of ours who all of us should know, should love and respect:  Though many of us know that Marcus Garvey taught “one God, one aim, one destiny,” “Africa for the Africans and abroad,” and he was a great organizer and a marvelous teacher of the beginning of economic development and political awareness of our people, yet very few people know that the Honorable Marcus Garvey had a brush with Islam.  While there in England, he met a man by the name of Dusé Mohamed Ali who inspired him; and of course, the rest is history.  We all have been knowingly or unknowingly profoundly affected by Marcus Garvey. 

Many of us may not know, but those of us who were affected by Malcolm X:  You were affected by a man who was affected by Islam.  The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who was the teacher of Malcolm, was affected by a Man Who came from the Holy City of Mecca into America, one named Fard Muhammad—a very light-skinned Arab, who taught the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Islam and gave him a methodology by which he could reach the masses of Black people.  Many of you may not know much of the history of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but he only went to the fourth grade of school; but after he met Master Fard Muhammad and studied under Him for three and one half years, this fourth grade-educated person became the most profound teacher, in my judgment, ever to come among Black people. 

For those of you who may not believe or agree that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was a profound teacher, the Bible teaches that “wisdom is known of its children”—you cannot say that you are a wise person if you produce nothing that bears witness to your wisdom.  The reason we glorify Almighty God Allah is because the scriptures teach us that the heavens and the earth glorify Allah; and since you know you didn’t create the star, nor did I, you didn’t create the sun nor did I, you didn’t create the moon, nor did I, but all of this magnificent wonder that we see that is called “creation,” we know that The Creator of it had to be wise because we cannot get out of the sphere of His wisdom.  So wisdom is known by what it produces.  If Elijah Muhammad was not a wise teacher, he could not produce students that have shaken the world.  …  Every one that had a brush with Malcolm had a brush with Islam; every one that had a brush with Malcolm and had a brush with Islam had an awakening.  Nobody could meet Malcolm and remain the same, and nobody can meet Islam and remain the same. 

Islam is light and power, and it will renew you, rejuvenate you and give you life; yet, those forces that want to see Black people constantly oppressed and suppressed do not want you even to have a brush with Islam much less become a Muslim (or “be yourself”). 

Correcting the negative world view of ‘Islam’ caused by wicked propaganda machines

You may say, “Well, I don’t know anything about Islam, and I really don’t care to know anything about it”—fine.  Whatever force is in the world that you do not care to know about, that is a manifestation not of your intelligence but of a lack of it, for if over one billion people on this Earth believe in Islam, then Islam is a force on the Earth that must be reckoned with.  Islam is a dynamic force—fragmented at this time; but by The Grace of Almighty God Allah, the Islamic world will begin, and is beginning, to move toward a unity.  And the prospective of seeing a billion Muslims committed to truth and justice will change the face of the Earth.

“Well what about the Christians?  What about those who don’t bear witness to any religion at all—are we left out?”  I should say not, because if you are a Christian and you believe in the message of Jesus, and if you are a Jew and you believe in the message of Moses, no matter what your religion is, it is a revealed religion that came through the prophets of Almighty God.  Ultimately we are going to be “one” because the same God that sent Jesus into the world sent Moses and Muhammad into the world—and He didn’t send them into the world with conflicting ideology, conflicting philosophies.  If God is One, and He is, and His religion is one, and it is, and He is not the author of confusion but of peace, you could not give the blame to God for creating all these different religions on the Earth.  These religions on the Earth:  If you look beneath the surface of what is taught, you find principles in Christianity, in Judaism and in Islam that are the same, and this proves that they come from The Same Source.  And now we must ask ourselves, “What is now necessary?  What is needed?  What does the time demand?” 

Muslims, Jews, Christians, arguing with each other constantly over “religion”?  This is sad … because if Moses, Jesus and Muhammad were to come into a room together, and know each other, they would embrace each other because each of them recognizes each other:  Moses prophesied the coming of Jesus, and Jesus prophesied the coming of Muhammad.  So those prophets saw one coming after them, and when they meet each other, they would embrace each other.  Why is it that the religious communities cannot embrace each other?  It is not because you have knowledge or you lack knowledge, it is because you have knowledge, but you lack understanding.  No wonder Solomon said “get knowledge, it is the principle thing, but be sure to get understanding.” 

If your mother told you that “5 and 2” is 7, and another person’s mother told her that “6 and 1” is 7, and another person’s mother told him that “4 and 3” is 7—and another mother told their child that “7 and 0” is 7, maybe when they met they would all argue and say:  “Well, my mama said…,” and “I don’t care what your mama said, my mama is right!” (Smile).  Well, that is the same way we appear as immature religious men and women:  “My Jesus said this,” “My Moses said that,” “My Muhammad said this”—so each of us are arguing from the prospective of the truth that we have been given, while if we were given understanding of The Mathematics involved, we know that “5 and 2” and “6 and 1” and “4 and 3” and “7 and 0” add up to the same thing

And if we were given understanding of the basic principles that Moses, Jesus and Muhammad taught, and even the basic principles that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught and is still being taught in America, then you would see that the basic underlying principles are one and the same.


“The world view of Islam”:  Brothers and sisters, you and I must get a correct picture of that which the propagandists fear that we should accept (Islam).  But to those Christians and Jews who are reading this:  If you are men and women who love truth and justice, then the understanding of the scriptures will weld Jew, Christian and Muslims together into a community to fight against tyranny and oppression. 

No man who knows the truth can be considered a “good person” if he allows tyranny and oppression to exist.  You cannot be good to yourself; and, your good is only seen if your good affects others, therefore the Holy Qur’an teaches:  “Those who believe and are the doers of good to others, there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.”  The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that “no one man can arise above the condition of his people.”  If your people are down, it makes no difference how smart you are; evidently you are not smart enough for if you were truly enlightened, why would you leave your people in ignorance if you are truly an enlightened one?  If you claim that you know, then you also have a responsibility with the knowledge that you say you received.

America is ruled over by beasts.  I know that sounds “cold,” but that is what your Bible teaches.  Those of you who read the Bible, the scripture calls the world rulers at the end of the world “beasts,” and this is not talking about a lion, tiger, bear, panther or leopard, it is referring to human beings who do not function by moral principles (but with them, “might makes right”).  That is a beast. …  It’s something how you can manipulate foolish people. You are so easily manipulated by the propaganda machines that it is a testimony to your lack of educational development.

‘Do unto others’ and the recompense for being on ‘the wrong side of history’

In the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 31-46, when Jesus is talking to the people, he tells them he is going to “divide the nations” on his return:  “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”  What is the principle upon which he will divide the nations?  He gives the principles in the following words:  “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me; and so, he would assign their part with the devils in the lake of fire.

America is right now in the position of the anti-Christ. America, right now, by fighting against the poor, the weak, the oppressed and the underclass working for the rich—who are building the rich, strengthening the rich to the detriment of the poor:  She is against Jesus.  She is against Moses.  She is against the prophets, for all the prophets worked for the poor, the enslaved, the exploited.  Can you see that?  America is a great Satan—that is true!  And her evil is not confined to herself, but she spreads her evil to others.

Now I don’t think I feel comfortable with a beast at the helm.  I don’t think I want to give a beast my sons and daughters; I don’t think you should look at the television when it says “be all that you can never be” in society (“you can be it in the army!”).  And so, they program a certain percentage of unemployment to draw off the unwanted population that they fear the most:  My Black young brothers.  They want you dead! 

When Ancient Rome was going down, the only ones that were fighting for Rome were the legions of people she had enslaved. This is not a coincidence; these are  actual facts, beloved.  They want you dead—and evidently you want to die, because you want to “be all that you can never be” in the society.


My dear beloved brothers and sisters, you and I have a responsibility. Our responsibility is to learn the truth.  Our responsibility is not necessarily to trust those whom we have trusted to feed us the truth. … 

To the modern generation of Caucasians:  You don’t know what is going on!  You sit around wanting to be liberal but don’t know how to be liberal.  I’m not trying to put you down, but your own people have hidden from you the roots of the destruction of Black people, because if the roots of their destruction of us were exposed, you would see your own people as “devils”—you could not see your people as human beings if the truth were made known what they did to us.  They could not be human and do to us what they did and justify it by the law called the Constitution of the United States—no!  This is the reason the Honorable Elijah Muhammad used the term “devil”:  It was to shock you into the realization that you have become an opposer to God.  And in the end of time, all devils go down; they are destroyed.

You are on the wrong side of history when you are on the side of the oppressor.  You are on the wrong side of history when you are with the exploiter and the enslaver. You are on the wrong side of history when you tell another human being that because he or she is Black, or Brown, or Red, or Yellow that he/she should not be here or there—you are on the wrong side of history, because that is the work of a devil and an opposer of God’s natural order, and God’s command for human beings to evolve to reflect Himself.

This is the direction of the world today, and that is why the world is on a collision course.  This world is about to be totally destroyed because “Satan must cast out Satan”; therefore “his kingdom cannot stand” (Matthew 12:26)—then, the little people can go free.

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