Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Remembering Malcolm X

Surah 29:23 Those who reject the signs of Allah and the meeting with Him in the Hereafter,- it is they who shall despair of My Mercy: it is they who will suffer a most grievous Penalty.

The one thing that we all have in common on this earth is our own mortality. Some of us are aware of it and some of us try not to think about it. As a Muslim, Islam instructs us to be mindful of our mortality and that such mindfulness is a virtue that helps us to remain humble and to do good. The Holy Qur’an says in Surah 2 Ayat 28, “How can ye reject the faith in Allah?- seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return.”

I have found in my own efforts to be mindful of my mortality that there are many things to be grateful for and to celebrate as I fulfill my journey. I’ve come to understand these opportunities for gratitude as signs from Allah, subhanu’wa ta’aala. The signs in nature, in expressions of love and compassion, in the triumph of justice and dignity.

One such sign that I am thankful for is the life of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz also known as Malcolm X. I first read The Autobiography of Malcolm X in high school and was extremely moved by the story of his life. I did not fully understand all of the political and religious under-currents at the time, but I could sense the importance and significance of his existence.

It wasn’t until I had accepted Orthodox Sunni Islam after college that I began to comprehend the reach of his legacy and his role in understanding the state of Africans and the African Diaspora in the modern world today.

Reading Growing Up X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Betty Shabazz: A Remarkable Story of Survival and Faith Before and After Malcolm X by Russell Rickford provided additional insight into El Hajj Malik El Shabazz the man and revealed details about his family and family life that have made him more real and less a cultural icon, an invaluable realization because his lifestyle and transformation can thus become an ideal that can be modeled and built upon rather than held at a distance and admired from afar.

Thankfully there are several grassroots organizations and groups continuing his legacy and in the struggle for human rights. In addition, many scholars have written books that keep his vision alive in modern conversations for implementing change. Books by the likes of Michael Eric Dyson, Jan Carew, William Strickland and George Breitman are a few that I know of and that I have personally read and benefited from. Below are a few links for more information about the life and legacy of our beloved brother El Hajj Malik El Shabazz.

The Official Site of Malcolm X
The Malcolm X Project
Malcolm X Research Site

Life Reminders

Psalm 145:8-9 The Lord is Gracious and Merciful
The Lord is Gracious and Merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His Compassion is over all that He has made.

Matthew 11:28 Gentleness and Humility
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Surah 33:21 Beautiful Pattern of Conduct
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

Sahih Muslim, Book Unknown: Changing an Evil Action
“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.”

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