Accept the Challenge to
by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
[Editor's note: The
following text is taken from a message delivered on July
16, 2000, at
Union Temple Baptist Church, pastored by the Rev. Willie
Wilson, in Washington, D.C.]
The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
I am exceedingly happy
to be here with my Christian and Muslim family because we are one
family. In my talk with my beloved pastor and friend, the Rev.
Willie Wilson, before coming out, I asked him what subject he
would like me to talk on. He said he taught this morning on the
subject, "A challenge to change." I hope you wonít
mind if I continue the subject of my brother, my pastor and my
fellow struggler for the cause of the liberation of our people.
We cannot change of ourselves; we always need
help to change. We started as sperm mixed with ovum, but we
changed. We then became a clot, and we changed. We then became an
embryo, and we changed. We became a fetus; we changed. Then we
came forth from the womb of our mothers knowing nothingóa
helpless baby, complete yet incomplete. But through the nurturing
of our parents, we grew; we changed.
All growth is change, and that pattern of
growth and change is dictated and directed by the evolutionary law
of God that exists in nature and in all of His creation. We call
Him, in English, The Lord. In Arabic the word for Lord is Rabb.
From that you get Rabbi, or teacher, nurturer. Rabb means, as an
attribute of God, one who nourishes a thing, making it attain
stage after stage until it reaches its eventual perfection. But it
is the Lord Who set that law into motion. That law is in existence
for all living things; and we live in a universe of life that is
constantly undergoing change.
Why is there a challenge to change? Eighteen
months ago, by the Grace of God, I was on my deathbed. But God
brought me back from that, and in it was produced in me a change.
Sometimes the challenge to change is a painful experience because
pain is the mother of growth; pain is the mother of change. When
you know youíve done something that brought pain, that pain is
to tell you that it is time to change.
I wondered, why did I get cancer? I tried to
live right, eat the right foods, think the right thoughts. All of
us go through things in life where we ask the question,
"why?" When there is tragedy in our lives, misfortune in
our lives, loss in our lives that we canít comprehend, we ask
the question, "why, Lord?" And sometimes if the pain is
too great and the loss is too great or the misfortune is too
great, we get broken in spirit and we begin to wonder whether God
is really good; whether God is really in power; whether God really
cares about me because if He cared about me, then why would He
bring this into my life? And sometimes when we raise questions
like that and we donít find a satisfactory answer, we leave the
church, we leave the mosque, we leave faith in God. We say,
"Iíll just make it on my own." And that produces even
more pain that gives you a real challenge to change.
Shortly after I left Howard University
Hospital, I was at a little farm in Michigan trying to recuperate
and my lawyer, Lewis Myers, came to see me because of a certain
problem that he needed to discuss with me. And when he came he
kept excusing himself to go to the bathroom. Later, he told me
that I looked so pitiful the he would just excuse himself and go
to the bathroom and cry, wipe his eyes and come back because I
looked so bad that it looked like maybe I wouldnít make it. And
my daughter (who was at his bedside at a time when he was
three-minutes from death) began to tell me some of the things that
I was saying in that most faithful moment. She said I was thanking
God for the excruciating pain that I was under. I was thanking Him
for whatever He brought into my life. I was thanking Him for
allowing me that time that He gave me to behold the majesty of His
creation. I never asked Him to allow me to live. I just thanked
Him for giving me life; and if it was my time, I thank Him for
just allowing me the time that He gave me.
When my daughter
began saying some of the things that I was saying at that moment,
the tears fell from my eyes. Neither she nor my lawyer knew why I
was weeping, but I was weeping because in that moment I knew that
I was what I thought myself to be. Most of us think ourselves to
be what we think ourselves to be. But you donít really know who
you are until you have been tried.
In the Holy Qurían, Surah 29, called
"The Spider", it reads: "I, Allah, am the best
Knower. 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." As I looked at that verse, I noticed that
Allah introduces Himself to us in the Qurían in these words.
"Alif, lam, mim." The scholars say these letters mean,
"I, Allah, am the Best Knower." We know that God knows
best. We know that Heís the all eye seeing, the omnipotent. So
why would the Qurían say, "so Allah will certainly know
those who are true and He will know the liars." He already
knows, but it is that part of God within us that does not know.
All of us want to be right, but the god within
you has to certify you, to validate you as what you think you are.
So God brings difficultyóone trial after another trial. And as
you pass these tests, the god within certifies you, qualifies you
to say that you are who you thought you are.
A death bed confession is worth a lot in a
court of law. Therefore, I am certain that I put my trust
completely in God. And that is why as a servant of God, I can
never bow to the temporary powers of the world no matter how
powerful they appear to be. The real Power, the eternal Power, is
with God. You must come to know God, not from my experience, but
from your own life experiences as He delivers you from one
difficulty after another, one trial after another. Then you become
certain, and from that point on there is a change in you. And that
change is brought about by a painful experience that showed you
your true relationship with God.
Change will always be with us. Why then is
there a challenge attached to change? In the Bible, God said that
in the beginning He created the heavens and the earth and that
darkness was upon the face of the deep. He said, let there be
light. Later on the first day, everything He did He said was good.
He was appreciating His work. On the second day He created some
more. Again He said, thatís good. On the third day, fourth day,
fifth day, He said, thatís good. Then He said, let Us make man.
However, He didnít say after He made the made man, that it is
good. But it is implied that it is good because it came from God.
He didnít state emphatically that this is good because the man
that He made would have to undergo change in order to be good.
Good was in him, but it was going to take circumstances, pain,
struggle and growth to bring it out so that one day God could say,
this is good.
God gave Adam all the trees to eat from except
one. But there is something in nature that, when you tell me I can
do all of this but donít do that, then my curiosity is aroused.
And because of my curious nature, I look at all the trees that He
gave me but my fascination is with that one that He told me to
leave alone. Adamís disobedience led to his being cast out of
the garden. And from that moment to this, the human being has
really had problems in the family; problems in the tribe; problems
in the nation.
If you march through the Bible, God becomes
displeased with our conduct because we are following the lower
self. We have neglected the higher values, the higher calling. God
says in the Bible, "My ways are not your ways. My thoughts
are not your thoughts. I am from above while you are from
beneath." God is showing us how far the gap is between Him
and us. Yet, He said that He made us in His image and after His
likeness. But Satanís intervention has caused us to live on a
plane that is so far beneath Godís thoughts and Godís ways,
and we are so deceived in our lifestyle. The Bible says that there
is a way that seemeth right unto the man but the ends thereof are
the ways of death. In Godís love of Himself and respect for
Himself and respect for the higher ideals that He created us to
live in accordance with, He challenges us in our wickedness to
He said He would raise one up from among your
brethren so that you wonít tell Him that itís too hard to live
the life that He will challenge us to live. He gave the people
Noah to look at, to listen to. And in Noahís presence is a
challenge to the people to change. The Bible says that every
imagination of their hearts was continually to do evil, so Noah
challenged them: If you want to live, then please change. Itís
not hard. Obey God and follow my example. God told Noah to build
an ark. He didnít know what God had in mind but he did just what
he was told to do. The people came by and saw this thing looking
like a boat on dry land. They laughed and said Noah was a fool.
And one day it started to rain. They didnít accept the challenge
to change, so God destroyed them all.
Then the Bible says, "As it was in the
days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of
Man." God sent Lot into a society that was doing something
that was never done before. The question we must ask is, if what
we do gives us pleasure, does it mean that what is pleasurable is
necessarily right? The problem is that we equate righteousness
with pleasure. Lot stood up among the men and showed them an
example of what God wanted men to be like. He said to them, accept
the challenge to change. No matter what you are doing that gives
you pleasure, if it is not pleasing in the sight of God then He
has a right as your Creator and as the Sovereign of the universe
to ask you and me to change. And He gives us time to get it
But the people in that day didnít want to
accept the challenge. In fact, the men came to Lotís house to
have sex with him. Lot told them he had two beautiful daughters,
but they told him they didnít want his daughters. They wanted
When God told Abraham that He (God) was going
to send angels down to Lot to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham
was upset. He asked God was He going to destroy the righteous
right along with the wicked? He was challenging Godís judgement.
God told Abraham to find 50 people who were righteous and He would
spare the town. Abraham couldnít find 50; he couldnít find 40;
he couldnít find 30, 20 or 10. God said, go back and if you can
bring one, excluding Lot, then He would spare the town. When
Abraham said, "Lord, I couldnít find one," the Bible
says, on that same day fire and brimstone fell on Sodom and
And it is written, "As it was in the days
of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, so shall it be at the coming of the
Son of Man." Heís a man coming from a man, but heís an
example. And he, in his example, is the challenge to change.
[To be continued.]