Elijah Muhammad Is Alive! Exploring The Bold Faith of Minister Louis Farrakhan Part II

The Faith and Expectation of Slaves

al j raboteauslave religion bookIn his excellent book Slave Religion,Professor Albert J. Raboteau documents how the slaves frequently prayed for a deliverer.  Raboteau quotes Union Chaplain W. G. Kiphant on his work among freed slaves in Decatur Alabama.  “There is no part of the Bible with which they (slaves) are so familiar as the story of the deliverance of the children of Israel. Moses is their ideal of all that is high, and noble, and perfect, in man. I think they have been accustomed to regard Christ not so much in the light of a spiritual Deliverer, as that of a second Moses who would eventually lead them out of their prison-house of bondage.”

The horror and 400 year misery of the enslaved Africans in America produced this kind of hope and an expectation for deliverance by means of divine intervention.  And as the slaves naturally believed that their own suffering was the same as the Biblical portrait of Israelite suffering, a study of scripture powerfully demonstrates how accurate the slaves were in their beliefs.

Just look at the growing field of research devoted to the shocking truth that the Children of Israel described in scripture are not the Jewish inhabitants of the modern state of Israel.  Jewish scholars like Schlomo Sands and Israel Finkelstein are among other notable professional historians whose research eliminates the modern Jewish people as qualifying for the position of the Bible’s chosen people of God.

A complete study of the Bible will reveal that nearly all of the signature characteristics of the Children of Israel fit the history of Black people in America very accurately.  Beginning with the 400 year sojourn described (Genesis 15:13-14) as the time of bondage for the Children of Israel.  This time period comports with the time of slavery for Blacks in America beginning with the earliest records of Africans coming to America in 1555.  From 1555-1955 completes this 400 year prophecy.

Consider also the Children of Israel’s experience during captivity.  While captive in Babylon their names were changed by their enslavers.  An example from scripture is when Hananiah, Azariah and Mischael had their names changed by King Nebuchadnezzar to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 1:7).  This also happened to the Blacks of America.  This historical fact was powerfully portrayed in the film Roots by Alex Haley.  Alex Haley’s ancestor Kunta Kinte was beaten by his overseer and forced to accept being called Toby as the name chosen for him by his masters.

The Children of Israel in the Bible’s narrative were also used by their enslavers to build powerful metropolises that the Bible calls “treasure cities.”  The use of the Children of Israel to build wealth for the Egyptians is exactly the same thing that happened to Black people in America.  According the Bible’s Exodus 1:11-14 “So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as treasure cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”

z brezinskiThere are even strong parallels between how Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all male children (Exodus 1) of the Children of Israel and the well documented lynching, mis-education, incarceration and disenfranchisement of Black males in America.  Pharaoh feared that the growing population of the Children of Israel would become a problem in a time of war as the Children of Israel would be likely to see the enemies of Pharaoh and the Egyptians as their friends.  The National Security Council Memorandum-46 from 1978 appears to reflect the same fears as the Bible’s Pharoah.  Zbigniew Bryzinski’s office which generated this memo specifically states that “In elaborating U.S. policy toward black Africa, due weight must be given to the fact that there are 25 million American blacks whose roots are African and who consciously or subconsciously sympathize with African nationalism.”   This nefarious memo went on to outline recommendations to destroy any alliances between Black leaders in America and Black leaders in Africa.  Memo 46’s ghastly recommendations include the request that “Special clandestine operations should be launched by the CIA to generate mistrust and hostility in American and world opinion against joint activity of the two forces, and to cause division among Black African radical national groups and their leaders.”

slave diet bookComparisons of the Bible’s Children of Israel and the Black people of America continue even into the field of health and wellness.  Health researchers like Kevin Muhammad, author of the book The Slave Diet have documented the connections between the Bible’s description of the “king’s meat and the king’s drink” with what Black people have come to refer to as “soul food.”  This high fat, high cholesterol and all-around unhealthy diet came from the scant food-stuffs doled out to the Black slaves during their time of captivity.

All of these parallels and connections are evidence of how strongly the slaves’pure and organic belief’s about their deliverance comports with the actual prophecies of the Bible.

Answered Prayers

Minister Farrakhan does not find himself living in the time of hope and expectation like his enslaved ancestors did.  He finds himself living in the time of the fulfillment of what the ancestors prayed for and expected.  From Professor Raboteau’s book we learned that among the slaves “Freedom was frequently the object of prayer.”

One former slave named Anderson Edwards is quoted in Professor Raboteau’s bookSlave Religion.  He statesWe prayed a lot to be free and the Lord done heered{heard} us.” Such a statement from this former slave finds harmony with the Holy Qur’an 40:60 which states “And your Lord says: Pray to Me, I will answer you.” The Nation of Islam has always maintained that the fulfillment of what the slaves prayed for has come to pass in the life and work of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

d pipesThe Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his message radically transformed the political, religious and cultural landscape of America.  His impact deserves serious consideration by scholars of religion for a place in religious history alongside prophets and messengers of God.  Jewish apologist Daniel Pipes in his essay How Elijah Muhammad Won opines that “In the final analysis, it was another man, Malcolm X’s mentor, who had the greater impact on establishing Islam among African-Americans. This was the uncharismatic, inarticulate, heterodox, and long-lived Elijah Muhammad.”  Pipes goes on to note the significance of Islam’s rise among African-Americans. He cites the legendary Dr. C. Eric Lincoln who said of the Nation of Islam, that it might “well change the course of history in the West.”  Moreover Pipes notes that “About one million African-Americans now identify themselves as Muslims, and a visit to the black sections of any fair-sized American town quickly confirms the presence not only of an Islamic infrastructure – mosques, schools, halal butchers, stores carrying Islamic clothing – but of an active and ambitious drive to propagate Islam. So vital is this movement that the director of a Christian effort to stem its headway has made a memorable prediction of his own: “If the conversion rate continues unchanged, Islam could become the dominant religion in black urban areas by the year 2020.” Pipes perspective is intriguing because as he has studied the rise of Islam among Black people in America and its implications, he is honest enough to acknowledge that the root of this phenomenon is the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The work of Pipes and many other scholars provides ample empirical data that demonstrates that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the epitome of Black leadership in America. And as the epitome, he maintains a specialness and uniqueness that is uncommon.   Reader’s Digest once referred to Muhammad as the “most powerful Blackman in America.”This supports the belief of Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the fulfillment of the prayers of the enslaved Africans.  And although many slaves became Christians most had African-Islamic roots.

servants of allah bookAuthor SylvianeDiouf in her book Servants of Allah, African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas reports that nearly two-thirds or approximately 67% of all Africans brought to America were Muslims.  This is an important fact to consider, explaining how the renowned Muslim leader might be believed to be the fulfillment of the prayers of Christians slaves.  Those Christian slaves became Christian only as a result of them being forbidden to practice any of their African tribal, animist or Islamic religions.  It was critical for Islam to be a forbidden religion among the slaves in the western hemisphere to ensure the safety of the slave masters.  Harvard scholar Lothrop Stoddard wrote in his l stoddard bookbook The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, “Islam is militant by nature.” Stoddard noted that the Negro had a “natural preference for a militant faith” and that under Islam “the negro’s warlike propensities are inflamed.”  Stoddard’s treatise includes a quote from European observer Sir Charles Elliott who also observed that Islam gave the Africans a “motive for animosity against the Europeans and a unity of which they are otherwise incapable.”  Unity, strength and fearlessness are all hallmarks of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s expression of Islam among Blacks in America.

The logic of Elijah Muhammad as Messiah

Observing the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s work and impact is critical in exploring Minister Farrakhan’s belief in him as the Messiah who escaped a death plot in 1975.  But it is also helpful to examine the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s own words.  He taught publicly that “I’m like it’s written in the Bible, put in the name Jesus, although I’m the one saying it to you” (Theology of Time Lecture Series June 4, 1972).  At another occasion he said “As the Bible teaches you of me, and you thought it was Jesus of 2,000 years ago, but it’s Elijah (Muhammad)” (Theology of Time Lecture Series June 9, 1972).  Again, he emphasizes his role as the fulfillment of scripture by boldly declaring “What you read of Jesus in the Bible’s prophesy is myself.” (Theology of Time Lecture Series, August 20, 1972).

Looking at the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s word helps us to see where Minister Farrakhan gets his boldness from.  But his words alone are not enough for the average observer to make a leap of faith and agree with Minister Farrakhan.  Yet at this point one must agree that Elijah Muhammad is unusual, in a good way.  One must agree that he is extraordinary, in a good way.  It is also evident by what we have explored so far to conclude that Muhammad can be singled out for unmatched accomplishments and impact on society.  So let’s go further in exploring Minister Farrakhan’s belief, which is also the belief of the Nation of Islam membership today.

5 gospels bookWhy would the Nation of Islam believe that Elijah Muhammad is the Messiah?  Well, first of all there is shocking information that has come from the world’s religious scholars regarding the historical Jesus, whom billions of Christians believe to be the Messiah. The author’s of a book entitled The 5 Gospels form a group of the most respected religious scholars in the world on the subject of the history of Jesus.  This group called the Jesus Seminar has concluded after a meticulous study of the New Testament that 82% of the words attributed to Jesus are words the historical Jesus never said.  And they have concluded that 84% of the acts ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament were never done by the historical Jesus.  This means that it cannot be proven that the historical Jesus is the Messiah.  This is a problem for the traditional belief in Jesus held by most of the world’s Christians.  And this is especially a problem for the Black people of America who as Dr. Raboteau’s book points out, viewed the Messiah through the lens of Moses-the great liberator of slaves.

What the Biblical scholars have learned through research harmonizes with the view of the Holy Qur’an expressed in Surah 23:50 wherein it reads And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign.” Therefore from the viewpoint of the Muslims, the reason the scholars cannot find the words and works of Jesus the Messiah as having been performed by the Jesus of history is due to him being a sign of the one who would actually perform those works at some future time. So from the Nation of Islam’s point of view the Jesus of history prefigures the Jesus of prophecy.

Add to this the Holy Qur’an’s insistence that all nations and all peoples are to be given or have been given a Messenger from Allah (God).  In the Nation of Islam’s theology such Qur’anic truths are welcome aids in supporting the belief in the messiahship of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  Because before him, America and the Black people of America had no readily identifiable Messenger of God.  In fact, prior to the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad who is widely known as the Messenger of Allah, America was universally viewed as an environment of laissez-faire.  America was a place where many people came for religious freedom and many others came for freedom from religion.  This is due to the world’s major religions having their origin in the eastern hemisphere, specifically the ancient near east.  Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad never worked among the peoples and environs of North America as a ministry field.  And like a child that grows up without a mother or father, America evolved as a wild and unrefined nation; a place where there has never been any real appreciation for how the laws and restrictions of God protects and preserves nations.

dr wesleyShaping Minister Farrakhan’s belief further is the described ethnicity of the Messiah.  Nowadays historians point to the fact of Jesus’ ancient near eastern origins as being strong evidence that he was a “man of color.”  The Bible’s scriptures also refer to him as being able to hide in Egypt among African peoples and not be detected.  He is also described as having feet the color of burnished brass.  Dr. Wesley Muhammad in his ground-breaking research has made use of the words of the ancient historian Josephus who provides the earliest non-Biblical description of Jesus.  Dr. Muhammad cites a translation of Josephus’ Testimony by Robert Eisler wherein it reads “At that time also there appeared a certain man of magic power … if it be meet to call him a man, [whose name is Jesus], whom [certain] Greeks call a son of [a] God, but his disciples [call] the true prophet … he was a man of simple appearance, mature age, black-skinned (melagchrous), short growth, three cubits tall, hunchbacked, prognathous (lit. ‘with a long face’ [macroprosopos]), a long nose, eyebrows meeting above the nose … with scanty [curly] hair, but having a line in the middle of the head after the fashion of the Nazaraeans, with an undeveloped beard.”

dr kingThis historical Jesus of black skin is viewed as a sign of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  The New Testament describes Jesus-the Messiah as being opposed by the Roman government who conspired with Jewish leaders to destroy him and his movement.  The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was also conspired against by the U.S. government and American Jewish leaders.  Many have compared America to ancient Rome.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his 1968 Drum Major speech that “Every now and then I go back and read Gibbons’ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And when I come and look at America, I say to myself, the parallels are frightening.  America is a modern Rome and its Jewish leaders have acted as a modern Sanhedrin in their plot to destroy the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his movement.  The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews Volume 2(TSRV2) documents that in 1942“a secret ADL of B’nai Brith file entitled “Temple of Islam Infiltration” states that a “Negro employed by us” proved “quite instrumental” in an FBI raid on the Chicago mosque resulting in 82 arrests.” The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews Volume 2 includes a revealing timeline of events and admissions by Jewish leaders of their hatred and actions against Muhammad and the Nation of Islam.  According to TSRV2 “The American Jewish Committee sent Black spies from the Urban League to Mr. Muhammad’s Newark, New Jersey, appearance in TSR V2 book1959.” The close relationship between groups like the ADL and the FBI is the same as it was scripture.  The Jewish leadership known as the Sanhedrin was ruled over by the high priest Caiaphas who delivered Jesus to Roman prefect Pontius Pilate for execution.  Theirs was a cooperation and partnership in the murder of Jesus.  The U.S. government and the American Jewish leadership have often partnered to help destroy the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his movement.

J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO memos document him using the term “messiah” when outlining his strategy to destroy Black Nationalist movements in this country.  And his main target was Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam.  It would surprise many to know that during the days of America’s cold war with communist Russia, it had more members of the Nation of Islam on its Security Index than communists. Next Week Part III: The Qur’anic Messiah

-Demetric Muhammad