The first part of this article discussed briefly the history of a man I have come to loathe and wonder at at the same time, that went by the name of The Honourable Elijah Muhammad. My loathing him is understandable since I’m a Muslim and having someone distort and falsify your religion or belief and preach it to people under your prophet’s name, forever painting a disturbing image of what Islam really is, fills one with both fury and sadness together. Sadness for it is our job to spread this religion and it’s directly because of our laziness in doing so that men like Elijah existed. But sometimes I find myself thinking about his experiment differently. Experimentally. Whether he knew this was the real Islam or not, it is safe to say spreading Islam was never his purpose, but merely his means. Many people at the time had so little knowledge of the world outside their country, and the condition in which most black men lived in at didn’t allow for proper education or life in general, and Elijah probably took Fard’s words as an unquestionable truth, him being regarded as god and all, and never thought, at least at that time, that there existed another Islam, a more sound Islam, than the one Fard preached. I’m willing to give him that much benefit of doubt. But to believe in something this ridiculous, full of holes and, you know, black-man-creating-a-devil-white-man crazy is one of the things I choose to think Elijah didn’t do. I choose to think he knew what he preached was either fabricated by Fard or some tribe in Africa that worship mountains and stones piled on one another.
This is naive of me, someone is singing that in my head, but I believe the man who headed, and in my opinion reinvented, the Nation of Islam to the epitome of what any functionless organization would dream to be, is much too smart to believe in what a drunken bedtime storyteller with severe mental illness wouldn’t dare to spout to the most trusting kid in the world on April Fool’s day. Power is what he was after, not religion, to serve his separation agenda and compensate for his weak body with his immense power. Malcolm X says, when he was a minister of NOI, that there was a time when Elijah was the strongest man in the country with followers ready to lay their lives for him should he ever need it, including Malcolm, who, even after being betrayed and ‘isolated’ by Elijah, would still acknowledge the good Elijah did him when he transformed his life from the mindless, hypnotized and worthless thug to be the most famous, most influential black man in all of America.
Despite myself, and despising myself, I wonder at how skilful he must have been to manipulate and use his followers, without actually doing anything. You might notice that the Nation of Islam rarely took any actions, short of spreading its views of separation, rallying every year to go to Chicago to hear Elijah speak and the lectures its Ministers gave. They asked to be separated from the black man and be given some states to build their own country in but never did anything to get them. They didn’t threaten the government with riots, communicate or make any deals with African countries to support their African-American brethren, or appealed to the UN. Elijah enjoyed his power but knew he wouldn’t get far if he opposed the government, or he lacked the courage to do it, so he kept lulling his ministers and followers with more hate and stories of how the black man is god’s true form, that the 6000 years the white man was to rule the earth in are soon coming to an end and the black man would prevail once more.
It wasn’t until Elijah Muhammad that I finally understood, or came close to understanding, how the Christians believe in Christianity with the many holes, contradictions and vital unanswered questions in it. I read something that is supposedly, for I can’t find any reference for it on the web, said by Billy Graham that sums my take on the matter. “I believe in Christ not Christianity”. Elijah reminded me of how easily it is to manipulate people in the name of religion, any religion, and the great responsibility each Muslim receives the moment he becomes one, that is to spread this religion, so that at least if he couldn’t convince people to believe in it, he would prevent scum like Elijah from polluting it with their greed.