WEB POSTED 02-12-2002
|What are the traits of a good student?
Brother Jabril Muhammad: Brother Minister, to what extent does the judgmental state of mind open us up to the wiles of Satan—and the Satan of self—but more especially the evil agents, the provocateurs, described in current TV documentaries about the government’s infiltration of many groups, to misdirect and hurt the members of these various organizations, but especially, of course, including the Nation of Islam, in the ‘50s, ‘60s and the ‘70s?
An example was the COINTELPRO—the Counterintelligence program—that was designed to “disrupt” groups and “neutralize” individuals “deemed to be threats to domestic security.” To what extent does the judgmental state of mind open us up to these wicked secret agents, who look like Believers, who we know are in the Nation to get Believers to unconsciously do their bidding? As I raise this question, I’m thinking about your Study Guide #17, wherein you raised the question, “Could we be unwittingly involved in a conspiracy against ourselves?”
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: When one makes hasty judgments on individuals, events, or circumstances that, in its initial interaction with us, causes us some degree of hurt or pain.
Once our egos get wrapped in our judgment, our ears close to words that might alter our judgment. Our eyes close to that which we might see that would alter our judgment. Our tongues become dumb to speaking a proper word concerning that event, circumstance, or person, and in that judgmental state, we can become guilty of slander, gossip, backbiting, which opens us up to the evil whispering of the sly slinking devil, who whispers into the hearts of men from among the jinn and the men.
The first devil we must confront is the devil of self. Once we have closed our hearts and minds on a particular view that we have concerning an event, a circumstance, or a person, those with whom we have friendship or kinship, we would have a tendency to share that view with others and because of our relationship with others and the amount of influence we have over others, our unfinished tainted view can become the view of others.
So unwittingly, we get involved in a conspiracy to put down and destroy members of our own tribe or family, church or Mosque, organization or community.
Satan, who is always listening as the righteous speak, can use our judgments, followed by our pronouncements, to make a chasm, and then widen it, between individuals and then groups, depending upon who we are engaged in conversing about. In this instance, we become unwitting tools of Satan. This is why the Qur’an forbids backbiting and offers a “Woe” to the slanderer and the defamer who goes about exceeding the limits.
Allah says in the Qur’an that, “He can and does forgive hurtful speech.” But we, who claim to be the righteous, would not desire others to form harsh judgments concerning us, if we forget or make a mistake or even an error. So we must refrain from being quick in doing these things to each other, which in the end damages the self; damages the person, about whom we have made our judgment; then damages the community that we have some degree of influence in; and ultimately, we damage ourselves with Allah.
Brother Jabril: Brother Minister, from the time we enter the Nation of Islam, to become registered Believers, and even before that, we are told directly and indirectly to see ourselves as “students.” We get Lessons, and we’re referred to as “students.” Even the Lesson by which we are even enrolled in the F.O.I. and the M.G.T. meeting classes, is referred to as the “Student Enrollment.”
The concepts of student and study are put before us in various ways throughout our Islamic life. It was that way under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. It is the same way under your leadership.
First, what are the fundamental or the primary characteristics of a good student?
Minister Farrakhan: The good student is seen practicing that of which he or she is studying. The more one studies, the more one must practice, for it is only the practice that refines our understanding of the principles.
Those who study ofttimes become separated from those who do not study. Those who do not study, find themselves convicted of the truth that they have come to believe but not studious in that truth. Finding excuses for not studying more about that truth, they find themselves divided now within the group into different camps.
All of us who have come forth to follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, must always see ourselves as students and be about the business of studying that which we have come to believe or to confess as our belief or our way of life.
Those who study will continue to grow and the more they practice and refine that practice, the more they will grow apart from those who do not study and do not practice. Then this leads again to judgments.
The studious person might—I don’t say they always will—make a judgment against those who do not study. The one who does not study may find themselves judging the person or persons who do study. These judgments produce cliques. These behaviors produce groups within the group, which of course, gives Satan a field day to keep the house fully divided, fermenting strife and even belligerence and then even hatred and murder.
So one of the meanings of the word “Taliban” is that they were students. They were students of a great universal message.
The problem, sometimes with students who study, is that they begin to think that they are the equal of their teacher. Then these students want to implement practices that only demonstrate that they are students that are not even “half-learned.” [Watch for Minister Farrakhan’s insights into this term, “half-learned” in an upcoming article.]
Sometimes when one thinks one knows, one develops arrogance. Once we become arrogant in what we think we know, we come out of the state of being a student, because one of the characteristics of a student, is that he or she is always humble, always open, ready and willing to learn something more about the subject matter in question.
So those who study must be careful of the heavy wine that comes with thinking we know more than the other fellow who does not know, or is not advanced in their studies, or more than we really know about the subject under study.
Advancement in our studies becomes a test of our character. How will we use our advancement? Will we use it to serve the non-studious to inspire them to study? Or will those who study make a judgment against those who are slow and slovenly in their studies? Will the studious refuse to serve them in the study? Or will they help them, by constantly reminding the non-studious, in a most humble way, that we all have come forth to study.
In our Lessons, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad says, “We can all accomplish the above said with very little study.” He didn’t say, we could accomplish the above said with no study.
More next issue, Allah willing.