Minister Louis Farrakhan

Death Stands at the Door -Pt. II

By The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Sep 13, 2006 - 11:59:00 AM

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Learning how to live!

[Editor's note: The following edited text is excerpted from a message delivered July 27, 2003 by Minister Louis Farrakhan at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois. Click here to order CD/DVD of full message.]

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad called this the Nation of Islam. He said that we are a nation within a nation. He said that what we needed was land that we could call our own. If you look on the back page of the Muhammad Speaks and The Final Call, you will see what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote as "The Muslim Program."

The first "desire" or "want" was: "We want freedom, a full and complete freedom." Do you want that, brothers and sisters? Do you know what a full and complete freedom looks like? Do you think that the way of life that you entertain right now is freedom? Do you know that you have never known real freedom a day in your life?

This morning I asked myself the question, "What is life?" And I gave a definition based on my study of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and based on my study of the Qur’an. I said that, "Life is activity in accord with the nature in which you are created." If you are engaged in an activity that is outside of the nature in which you are created, you may call it life but it is actually death. The Bible says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the ends thereof are the ways of death." We are not alive in the real sense of life. We are dead if we are living outside of the nature in which we have been created. And what is that nature? You are created in the nature to be obedient and submissive to your Creator.

Babies don’t come into the world to rebel. They don’t know how. What you teach them is what they reflect. The Prophet, (peace be upon him) said, "You are born by nature a Muslim, but you are other than that because of the way that you are taught. But the nature of you is to obey God." The question is, "Who is God and what does God require of us that we should obey?"

Life starts at 75
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me that it takes 75 years to learn how to live. When I heard that, I said, well, most of us never really learn how to live. We die before we really understand what life is. As Muslims we might say, I am alive because I believe. That’s just the first step. You are not alive if you believe but don’t practice what you believe. Knowing the nature of Allah (God) and the nature in which He created us is salvation, because then you know how to save what Allah (God) has given you by being in accord with the nature in which you were created.

Every one of us that claims to be a Muslim and then steps outside of obedience to Allah (God) is stepping out of the nature that preserves, protects and gives us the freedom to grow and become what Allah (God) desires for us to become. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. Every time we break from obedience to Allah (God), the payment for breaking God’s law is restriction on our sight, our hearing, our creativity and our power to grow into Allah’s (God’s) way. We have restricted ourselves by living outside of obedience to God. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself—you are what you practice, not what you believe.

American first, or Muslim?
Elijah Muhammad wanted to see us evolve into a Nation of Obedience to the Will of Allah (God) and the adoption of a way of life that is complete. If you were born and live in America, you may say that you are an American first, and happen to be a Muslim. But that’s not so. No nationality that you claim can properly define you. You may say you are a Jamaican, from a tiny little island in the Caribbean Sea that has a landmass that is very small. But it does not tell the world who you are. I’m a Jamaican; I’m from Egypt; I’m from the Sudan; I’m from Saudi Arabia. No piece of land can give you the dimension of who you are. You are what your nature is. If my nature is Islam—obedience to Allah (God)—and I come up out of the earth, then the earth is my natural home, but my nationality is that I’m a Muslim. My nation is Islam.

Are you British or are you Muslim? How can a flag that just came into existence tell you who you are when your existence did not begin with a flag. Your existence began with the Creator, Allah (God). Only Allah (God) can define who you are. So when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said we are a nation within a nation, he wanted us to come out of the White man’s system of things and evolve into a complete Islamic way of life.

I’m not talking about just visiting the mosque to listen to some teachings or going to Ju’umah prayer or fasting during the month of Ramadan, or even an occasional visit to Mecca. What Allah (God) desires is that there be a complete way of life that frees us, justifies us and makes us the equal of everything in creation. At the root of the education must be a system of education that is ordered by the Creator—a political system, an economic system, a banking system, a social system, manners and a culture ordered by Allah (God).

I am told that when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad went to court and the judge asked him about his aim and purpose, he said he was going to make Black America Islamic. The judge said that making Black people Muslims was like putting pants on an elephant. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, "I got one pant leg on already." What did he mean by that?

How nations are formed
Before Elijah Muhammad, you looked at yourself as a Negro. One of our most wonderful Black organizations was the United Negro Improvement Association, which showed that we still had growing to do. What a wonderful, wonderful teacher Marcus Mosiah Garvey was. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad loved and admired him. Noble Drew Ali is the father of what you call the Moorish Americans or the Moorish Scientists. Noble Drew Ali was admired by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad because he said that Noble Drew Ali gave us a start in the direction toward Islam. The Moorish brothers wore fezzes with the crescent and the tassels swinging freely and they wore the name "Bey" or "El." It was a start: get rid of the slave master’s name.

How do you form a nation? In the sixties, we had a shared attitude toward the government, toward White people, toward our oppression and our oppressor. Out of shared attitudes come beliefs, and from beliefs come an ideology, and from an ideology come laws that the group that has shared attitudes, shared beliefs, common ideology, accept to live by and they become a national community. One of the things I like about the sun is that the sun does not change you, it just brings out what’s in you. Islam is like the sun in that, if you shine that light, the light is going to affect everyone that comes under it and cause you to manifest what’s in you. The presence of light is necessary to start a revolution, not the presence of a gun.

What the Honorable Elijah Muhammad brought to us was light, but it was a light mixed with darkness because it was the dawn of light. If you have ever been up early enough to watch the sunrise, you first see light but you don’t see the sun. You see the light behind the darkness of night and you know that day is about to break. Light, then, when it strikes you does not harm you because your eye, after sleeping through the night, must not come forcefully into the light. It must be gradual.

That is the way the Holy Qur’an was revealed, degree by degree, because a merciful God would not permit you to have the brightness of the light when you have been in the dark for so long. Light was mixed with darkness and as the sun constantly began to rise, the darkness gradually disappeared and the beauty of the light was present. That is the way Islam came to America through Master Fard Muhammad and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. It was the dawn of light, but it was light mixed with the darkness of the night of our 400 years of mental death, our 6,000 years of mental death and our 50,000 years from being a ruler. The process of growth is slow, but it’s under Allah’s (God’s) Divine Control.

Enemy’s way of life contrary to God
In the ’60s, when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and a hundred cities were set on fire, White people formed a commission from the President to find out what leader was responsible for a hundred cities being set on fire and they just killed one "Negro" in Memphis. What they found was a shared attitude and a system of belief and an ideology developing among Black people that were making us into a national community. How do you know? Because our brother was shot in Memphis and a fire started in Detroit, in Cleveland, in Los Angeles, in Boston and in other places. What tied us together like that?

Everything that White folks were doing to Black people was on television and you were watching in Chicago, I was watching in New York, somebody else was watching in Boston, etc. We were watching White folks put fire hoses and dogs on us. We had a shared attitude about that. We had shared beliefs about the White folk that were doing that. Not all of us agreed with Dr. King that we were going to turn the other cheek. We were more in agreement with Malcolm and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad—an eye for an eye.

And from Malcolm, the Black Panthers formed. From Malcolm’s "Ballot or a Bullet," a political reality formed. That is because the light from Elijah was sparking an awakening and people were doing what they thought would liberate us. It looked like we were all divided and scattered, but we were forming into a nation within a nation.

The Muslim personality
If we became a truly Islamic nation, we would reflect the manners of Islam every day of our lives, which of course springs from prayer, fasting, charity. But developing a Muslim personality comes from knowledge out of which grows an Islamic culture, not Arab culture. That’s what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted to see. That is why he started the Muhammad University of Islam. He wanted to produce an educational system that was Islamic that helped to produce young boys and girls free in the nature of their creation.

That is what he wanted. I would like to see that come into reality. You look nice today, but I wonder how you will look tomorrow? Your heart is the repository of your Islamic or righteous thinking, but what is in the heart is demonstrated by how we live our life. The way of life of the enemy is the greatest restriction of the freedom and the justice that Allah (God) wants for us as a people.

(An audio or video tape of the complete message can be ordered online at