[Editor’s note: The following article is excerpted from a message delivered by Minister Farrakhan at Muhammad’s Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta, Georgia on March 20, 2005. Click here to order this message.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
Surah 29 of the Holy Qur’an is entitled, “The Spider.” The Spider is an interesting creature. It spins a web and lightweight creatures get caught in its web. After a fly or another insect gets caught in the web, the spider travels very quickly in that web, to its meal. It injects venom into the internal organs of the fly and breaks it down into a liquid. Then, the spider sucks the inside of the fly, leaving only the form, but it is no longer what it was.
the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
If the fly does not get out of the trap within three seconds, it becomes the spider’s meal. The number “3” is important. How many days did Jesus descend into hell? But on the third day, he arose. Jesus told Peter, “Before the cock crows once, you will deny me thrice.” But he also told him not to worry because, after the third denial, he would stand up and return to his faith.
The spider spins its web from itself. Many say, “It’s not the man, it’s the plan. It’s not the White man, it’s the system.” But the system came from a man. So, don’t ever say it’s not the man, it’s the plan. The plan came out of a man. We used to sing a song in church, “The devil is mad and I’m so glad, ’cause he missed the soul that he thought he had.” The enemy of God is always working to trap us. Once he gets you in the web of his machination, scheme or plan, he moves quickly to inject you with a word that has a function—like a spider’s enzyme—that breaks down your spiritual form.
Many of you are really good people, despite how ugly or bad you may act, you are really good at the core. But you get trapped. What traps you? What tricks you? What grabs you, that allows Satan to get a hold on you? He comes after you in your own desires. “I’m a beautiful, young woman,” she says, “but I don’t have a man. So, I’m looking, hard.”
Satan always appears in the form of what you desire—and so does God. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (God) said to Mary, “And you shall conceive and it will be a man child and he will be a prophet.” She said, “But how can I, when a man has not yet touched me?” And Allah (God) said, “That is easy for me. All I have to say is ‘Be!’ and it is.” In another part of the Holy Qur’an, it says, “And we sent her Our spirit and it appeared unto her in the form of a well-made man.” If God can send His spirit to fulfill the desire of a righteous woman, then the enemy can send his spirit in the form of a man to fulfill negative purposes for your life.
This is why the Bible says that you have to become wise to be able to discern the spirit, because the outward look is not important. It is the spirit that you must discern, because Satan, the Bible says, is able to transform himself into an angel of light. If Satan can do that, then Satan can appear to you in whatever form will please you.
You are looking for somebody to help you fulfill your desire: “I am a singer of songs, a writer of music, but I need a publisher. I need an agent. I need a manager.” “I’m a beautiful young lady. I have a nice form, I’m tall and thin and I would like to be a model.” “I’m a mathematician. I’m an engineer. I just graduated from Morehouse and I’m ready for a job.” “I saw a commercial for a beautiful Mitsubishi, BMW, Mercedes or Cadillac.”
You want something, but how do you get what you want and at what price? When Satan is after you, you have to give up something. For example, a nice young woman, a virgin, meets a nice young man on campus. She is attracted to him and he is attracted to her. He tells her, “So many girls are attracted to me, Sister. Are you going to give up your virginity, because I don’t have any time to waste on a girl who won’t give it up?” She thinks that young man is her friend, but he is spinning a web.
On the other hand, sometimes a young man may want a woman, but he says he is a Muslim trying to be right. She tells him, “But Brother, bring that Final Call newspaper over here ’cause, honey, I’m calling.” But if he responds, it might be his final call. Or, you may have just graduated from college and you go back to see your friends. They’re happy to see you. You’re clean now and you want to celebrate. Your buddy who grew up with you, but did not go to college, has some drugs in his pocket and wants you to go get high with him. Here comes Satan in the form of your friend, spinning a web. You may have three minutes to say, “No thank you, Brother, I’ll see you at another time.”
You cannot want to be righteous and hang out with people who do not want what is right. If you want to be right, you should hang out with people who want right and you will stay right. If you hang out with the wicked, it won’t be long before the spider has spun its web and then, with a few words, they break you down. Your resistance is gone. But it starts from within.
If Jesus was so beloved of God, but he had to be tried, then how can we escape being tried? Satan walked up to Jesus and told him, “Come up on this mountain with me. Take a walk with me.” This shows us that we have to walk with our trials. Satan told Jesus, “Look at all of those cities. I’m master over those cities. If you bow down to me, I’ll give you all of that.” But Jesus, in his mind, said, “I am destined to rule over the cities. I would rather wait on my Father to give the power to rule to me.” Then he said, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
Some of us want things so bad that we compromise things of value to get something that you think is very valuable, but in actuality, is less valuable than what you gave up. A fair exchange is when you give up something to get something equal to what you gave up. But when you give up principle and lose your soul in the process, then whatever you get in that transaction does not benefit you. It could be a beautiful home, but you will not have any peace in it. It could be a nice car. It could be the man that you thought was the man of your dreams or the woman that you thought was the one you were looking for all your life.
If you have to compromise your principles and give up virtue to hold on to nothing, then you do not rejoice in the bargain that you made, that day. But Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an, “Rejoice in the bargain that you have made this day, for I have given you the Garden in exchange for your lives.” Then, Allah (God) tells us to rejoice in that bargain because, although your life was worthless, He asked you to give Him your worthless life so that He could give you the Paradise. When you make that bargain, that bargain gives you joy.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told me one day that the FBI was looking for him. Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor and the FBI wanted to arrest him. They could not afford to have him on the street preaching to Black people while America was trying to prosecute a war, because they have always wanted to use Black people—in wartime, at election time and any other time. So, they had come for him, but he walked down the stairs, right passed them; and they saw him and didn’t see him. When God wants to hide you, He can hide you in the open. He boarded a train to Philadelphia. He said that, while the sound of the tracks was coming up in his ears, he heard the voice of Master Fard Muhammad saying to him, “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, ‘We believe’ and will not be tried? And indeed, we tried those before them. So, Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will know the liars.”
That’s all that he heard, but it was enough. When he reached Philadelphia, he made up his mind. He knew he was being tried, so he was going to go back and face his trial. So, now they have a picture of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in handcuffs, walking between two FBI agents, as they took him to prison by an executive order of President Roosevelt. We may face an order like that today, because the war that America is now waging in the Middle East is going to get deeper and wider, and they will try to silence my voice and the voices of others. I am not afraid. If the president signs an executive order stating, “Farrakhan has to be arrested,” we will just see how that plays out—but no one who believes in God can escape being tried.
Trials are like tests. How well did you study? Some of us do not study, but still pass tests because we paid attention in class. Tests show us weakness. In order for Allah (God) to perfect His creation, He must manifest its weakness. So, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad calls this period “the Time of the Manifestation of Defects.” How do you know if what you created works until you test it? When you test it and see its weaknesses, you then say, “I have to fix that.” So it is with God. He wants to perfect us, so that He can use us for the redemption of our people and all of humanity. So, we have to be tried and our defects manifested in order for us to be perfected.
When you come into a place like the mosque, it can be very difficult. Imagine that you are sitting next to someone and you see boils pop out all over them. You may look horrified at them because you have not looked into a mirror to see boils are popping out all over you, too. Sometimes, the mosque can be an unbearable place, because the activity of the mosque and the workings of God bring out of us characteristics that we did not know were inside of us. The work of Jesus was casting out demons. Behind those smiles and greetings of “As-Salaam Alaikum,” there are a lot of demons. As we interact with the word, each other, the program, laborers and officials, demonic characteristics begin to come up and out of us.
You may doubt and say, “Well, maybe, I don’t belong here.” So, you run away but, when you look in the mirror, you no longer see your boils, because now you are not in an environment that is able to bring out what is inside of you. Instead, you melt to the poisoned environment of the world and become like what you have melted into. So, the web was spun, because you could not take the process of cleaning up. You can be a funky person on the outside of the mosque, but once you come inside the mosque, you cannot stay funky, because there is something in the mosque to clean and wash funk away. When you smell the funk of your Brother, you should check under your own arm. Allah (God) is working on us, but if you do not stay in the process, you will not see the result of yourself being made into Him.
“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, ‘We believe’ and will not be tried, while others were tried before you?” So, expect a trial. Look for a trial. Allah (God) says in the Qur’an that He will try the Believers at least once a year, severely. How will He try us? Sometimes, if you know what’s on the test in advance—someone gave you the test in advance, and you wrote the answers on your hand—then you passed the test. Not with God. He tries us in a way that we least expect, but you cannot be tried except by what you love and desire.
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (God) says to Prophet Muhammad, “Surely, I am going to try you with something of fear, hunger, loss of property, loss of life and diminution of fruit. But give good news to those who are patient and steadfast under trial.” But the good news only comes after you have been tested. The Holy Qur’an also says that “after difficulty, comes ease” and, in another place, it says, “with difficulty, comes ease.”
When you become afraid, it can cause you to compromise yourself. Challenge your fear to hold onto your principle and Allah (God) will strengthen you and reward you with victory. Do not allow yourself to be made afraid by an enemy who is always trying to offer you an advantage for betraying your beliefs. Do you want the advantages of the enemy more than you want the strength of your own soul? Do you want to be like the fly that looks like a fly on the outside, but all that made it a fly is gone from the inside? Muslims, Christians, Nationalists, Revolutionaries, all of us will be tried. The enemy wants to know if you are really sincere in what it is that you profess. He will keep sifting you until he finds your weakness and that is the door through which he comes to take your soul.
Jesus was a man that they were after before he was born. While his mother carried him in the womb, Herod sent out a decree to kill all boy babies from two years old and under. So, she had to flee and hide, but at a certain point Jesus had to return to Palestine to speak and prophesy to the Children of Israel. When he goes back, they hate him and his world, without a cause. He knew what it was like to be scorned, rebuked, hated, lied on and conspired against. None of that caused his character to waiver. Good news was for the one who was patient and steadfast under trial.
You say you love Jesus, but you do not want to follow him. It is not about singing songs or talking about how great Jesus is. The heavens and the earth testify to his greatness. He did not ask us to worship him; he asked us to follow him. He said, “If any man would be my disciple, he must first deny himself, pick up his cross.” You cannot carry Jesus’ cross. You have a cross, but you do not want to pick it up. You are people that want to get to heaven, but do not want to pay the price. You are a people that want your enemy out of the way, but you are not willing to sacrifice to make yourself into the man and woman who would make your enemy flee. You do not want to be rebuked and scorned by your people. You do not want to be lied on.
But if you do not want the cross, then you will never wear the crown. You can run and hide, but God is calling you. “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying ‘We believe’ and will not be tried?” The Masons say, “I’ve been tried, seldom denied, willing to be tried again.”
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