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Black Women at the Forefront of Islamic History.

When Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was still in the womb of his mother, Aminah, it was Umm Ayman a.ka Barakah, an Ethiopian woman who told her “You shall give birth to a bless child who will bring about much goodness.” Barakah was the first person to hold him when he was born and the only person who knew him from birth to death.

As his mother Aminah was dying, she stated, “O Barakah, I shall depart from this world shortly. I commend my son Muhammad to your care. He lost his father while he was in my abdomen. Here he is now, losing his mother under his very eyes. Be a mother to him, Barakah. And don’t ever leave him.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, referred to Barakah as, “my mother after my mother”.

Umm Ayman served several important roles in Islamic history.  When the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina to escape the religious persecution from the idol worshippers, Umm Ayman’s feet were sore, swollen, and her face covered in dust. Upon seeing her, the Prophet, peace be upon him, told her, “Oh my mother, indeed for you is a place in paradise.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, wiped her face, eyes, massaged her feet and rubbed her shoulders.

When the Muslims retreated during the battle of Uhud, Umm Ayman rebuked them and urged them to go back and fight.  Her son, Amin was martyred in the battle at Hunayn and her husband, Zayd, was martyred in the battle of Mutah against the formidable Roman empire. Despite this, when the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked Umm Ayman how she was doing, Umm Ayman would always reply, “I am well, O Messenger of Allah, so long as Islam is.” When the Prophet, peace be upon him,  returned to Allah (swt), Umm Ayman began to cry. When asked why she was crying, she replied: “By Allah, I knew that Rasulullah SAW would die but I cry now because the revelation from on high has come to an end for us.”

Another important Black woman in Islamic history is the great Sumayyah bint Khabba. Sumayyah was also of Ethiopian heritage and has the distinction of being known as the first martyr for Islam.  She was a slave who was one of the first to embrace Islam. This declaration of faith in one God subjected her to persecution and torture by Abu Jahl, a hater of Islam. Summayah witnessed Abu Jahl murder her husband, Yassir, just because he too confessed there was no  God but Allah and Muhammad was His Messenger. Abu Jahl would then torture Sumayyah to coerce her to renounce her faith but she refused. He persisted. Abu Jahl stabbed Summayah with a spear, and she became a martyr, someone killed for the cause of Islam.

 

 

Centuries later Nana Asmau, emerges as a Muslim military leader, political figure, and Islamic scholar, of the Sokoto Caliphate in modern day Nigeria. She worked zealously for dawah throughout West Africa. Nana wrote a biography on the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, which was read throughout West Africa. She wrote, “The glory of our Prophet Muhammad..his light exceeds the light of the full moon. There is no light like the light of Muhammad.”

​Historian Jean Boyd declares that within the Sokoto Caliphate, “To deny women equal opportunity to develop their God-given talents was to challenge God’s will.” Nana Asmau is lauded even by non-Muslim African feminists and is considered to be the precursor of modern feminism in Africa—even though she was a Muslim woman with an Islamic worldview.”

As an Islamic scholar, she issued legal verdicts known as fatwas concerning what was halal (permissible) and what was haram (forbidden). She spoke out against the use of tobacco, stating that, “It dries one up, it is a waste of money, it affects a person’s facial features. It leads to immodesty, it makes a person look undignified; it is not a common sense thing to do. Anyone who smokes is a fool. It originated in Pagan countries.”

Nana wrote a poem about Aisha bint Abu Bakr, the wife of the Prophet, on women’s education.  It states, “I bring all women to Aisha; Aisha, the Noble Daughter of Al-Siddiq. She was held in esteem by the Prophet. She had a mastery of learning and exceeded all women. She was the outstandingly pious woman person of her time.” Her poem call’s upon her community to study the life of Aisha bint Abu Bakr to encourage women’s learning and scholarship.  

Safiya Buhkari worked to challenge oppression as a devoted member of the Black Liberation Army.  She joined the Black Panther Party for self-defense after witnessing poverty and police brutality against Black people in Harlem. For her courageous role in Islamic resistance to white supremacy, Safiya Bukhari was incarcerated and later placed in solitary confinement.  

While in solitary confinement, she refused to live in fear stating “ I studied hadith (written traditions of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,) on shirk.  I read the Qu’ran on faith and the oneness of God.”  Though solitary confinement has been deemed a form of torture, designed to break ones will, through Islam, Safiya Bukhari states “I grew stronger and my fear abated until it was gone.  I could truly say with conviction, with a rock-solid belief system in place, “There’s no God but God and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His messenger.” With complete trust in Allah (swt), Safiya Bukhari escaped from prison.  Though Safiya Bukhari, would eventually be recaptured, her Islamic resistance to white supremacy should inspire us all.

The Black Dawah Network honors Black Muslim women who have struggled to make Allah (swt)’s deen the highest. We ask Allah to bless these strong Black Muslim women who endured persecution, fought oppression, worked to expand the dawah, and who operated with a pure determination that idolatry shall never prevail over Islam.

In honor of these great Black women, Black Dawah Network will be launching an interactive that will revolutionize how Dawah in the Black community. Please donate to support.

Black Dawah Network: Lessons from the life of Lady Fidda For Oppressed Black Communities

(During this Black History month, we will look at important Black Muslim historical figures and what we can learn from their lives to improve our community)

Lady Fidda, an Ethiopian Muslim was once on a three day fast with other companions of the Prophet  Muhammad, pbuh. Yet, each day when she and the others sat down to break their fast, a poor person would come to the door to ask for food. Laddy Fidda and the other companions of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh would provide them with their food to eat and break their fast with only water. In laudation of this act of kindness, Allah revealed “They give away food, out of love for Allah to the poor and the orphan and the captive, saying “we feed you only for the sake of Allah, we do not want anything from you, even thanks.”– Qu’ran 76:8

The emergence of  urban food deserts— with limited access to healthy  food sources, high levels of racial segregation and compounded income inequality—emphasizes the critical importance of learning from a  beautiful Ethiopian Muslim woman, Lady Fidda.

In a U.N report titled Structural Racialization and Food Insecurity in the United States, structural racism in American society has resulted in many African-American households being disproportionately food insecure.  One in four African-American households is fact food insecure. Consequently,  many African-Americans throughout depleted urban areas live in communities that have designated as food deserts to to the lack of quality nutrition options. Poverty is a contributing factor to the food insecurity of African-American households in depleted urban areas. 27.4 of African-American households are in poverty which is higher than any other racial or ethnic group.

Throughout the food desserts of the Black ghetto, it is imperative to implement  this ethic of helping to provide food to the poor. We most work to implement acts of kindness looking out for our neighbor. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be up him, stated “A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is hungry.'” We must keep this in mind. Whether it be a struggling Black single mother struggling to provide food  for her children or it be the homeless black brother on the streets, let’s look out for our neighbor and help provide them with meals.

A Black Muslim History Message by brother Hakeem Muhammad

 

During this Black Muslim history month, you will likely find many Black Muslims recounting the stories of Malcolm X, Uthman Dan Fodio, the intellectual heritage of Timbuktu, Black companions of the Prophet pbuh and other such topics.  For what purpose are we doing this?

“Malcolm X is one of our great Muslims heroes.”

Why even talk about Malcolm X unless we are willing to uphold  his main purpose in life which was to deliver the message of Islam through Dawah in oppressed Black communities  tin order to initiate the Islamic resistance to White Supremacy? Why even talk about Malcolm X if we will not go after the Detroit’s Reds throughout America’s urban ghettos who are in desperate need of what the Qu’ran has to offer?

“Timbuktu was a great Islamic center of learning.”

Why even talk about Timbuktu if we are not looking to transform Black ghettos in America, detrimentally impacted by the school to prison pipeline, into modern Timbuktu’s through extensive Islamic outreach? When Ibn Battuta, an Arab explorer, visited Timbuktu he commented that the most flourishing industry in Timbuktu, came from the sell of books. Are we about an agenda to create the thirst of knowledge among our people, to reproduce to this?

“Mansa Musa was the richest man in history.”

Are we going to talk about Mansa Musa or will we seek to  use our wealth in the cause of Islam to support Islamic iniaitives in the Black community?

 

                                    “What about the great Uthman Dan Fodio?”

Why even talk about the great Uthman Dan Fodio  unless we are willing to adopt the same zeal by which he launched the Fulani revolutions to propagate Islam in Black America? In the same way, Uthman Dan Fodio, went toe to toe with the polytheists of his day, are we as Black Muslims going to go toe to toe with the Black orientalists/anti-Islam afrocentrists who have been duped by the white power structure into opposing Islam?

    “There were great Black Sahabah.”

Do we discuss the African origins of Sahabah in a futile attempt to convince colonized Immigrant Muslims wedded to the white power structure to  like us or are we communicating their importance to the masses of oppressed Black communities? Let us use this Black history month, to push Islam forward in Black America. As Black Muslims, our primary focus should be to give the dawah to Islam in Oppressed Black communities.

The Jummah Prayer of Assata Shakur

 

 

The Prisoners Rights Movement in America was greatly spearheaded by Black Muslims who initiated a variety of litigation in order to have the freedom to practice their faith while incarcerated. In the landmark case of Fullwood v Clemmer, the court sought to examine whether the Muslim faith, as practiced by black prisoners, was a legitimate religion and if so, what First Amendment religious rights, Muslims had. This was the first time court ruled, that Muslims are to be recognized by the federal courts as a religious group and should be allowed to hold religious services in prison.

Since then incarcerated Black Muslims have brought forth a variety of legal cases to advance the human rights of prisoners.  However, there is one case brought forth by a Black revolutionary woman, which has not received much attention or acknowledgment in discourse about Black Muslim contributions to Prisoners Right Litigation

 In the case of New Jersey vs. Chesimard, judge Ruggero J. Aldisert  wrote that “Joanne D. Chesimard, the appellant in this court and the defendant in the state criminal proceedings, is a Sunni or Orthodox Muslim who observes Jumah[ or Jumuah (Friday) as her weekly holy day.”

Does the name Joanne Chesimard seem familiar?

Joanne D Chessimard is the “slave name” for Black revolutionary Assata Shakur.  Assata Shakur desired to attend Jummah prayer but was unable to do so because court proceedings for her trial were scheduled for that time.  Assata Shakur moved to have her trial rescheduled in order for her to be able to attend Jummah Prayer.

Assata  Shakur’s autobiography provides more insights on this lawsuit  In her autobiography, Assata Shakur, “ I had always said if I had any religion, it was Islam.”

Shakur expresses interest in learning about Islam but had difficulties reconciling the belief of an all-powerful creator and a world in which Black people are so miserably oppressed. Nonetheless, she says “Muslim services were held regularly on Rikers Island, and Simba and I began to attend.”  Assata Shakur’s desire to attend the Friday Prayer service would result in the case of  New Jersey vs. Chesimard.

During her initial trial, Assata Shakur’s counsel stated that they were willing to have court hours extend to other days and participate in the trial on Saturday. Ultimately, the state court ruled the trial would proceed on Friday and she would have the option of not participating in her trial on Friday. However, Assata Shakur was not satisfied with this option as she would give up the opportunity to be heard as guaranteed by the sixth and fourteenth amendments. As a result, Shakur appealed this decision in the New Jersey’s Court of Appeals. The New Jersey Court of Appeals ultimately ruled that Assata Shakur had not fully exhausted remedies that were available to her at a state level.

Assata Shakur, as a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, made numerous contributions to the freedom struggle of Black people. Her willingness to bring forth a lawsuit to attend Jummah Prayer shows a profound level of devotion to the cause. The fact that Assata Shakur fought for her right to attend Jummah Prayer during her court proceedings should inspire Muslims today to overcome all trials and obstacles when it comes to the observance of their faith.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to the Black Dawah Network to help facilitate Islamic outreach to Oppressed Black Communities.

The Anti-Black Zionist Bullying of Tamika Mallory.

Women’s March Organizer, Tamika Mallory has been subjected to a media onslaught for her decision to attend Nation of Islam events and her advocacy on behalf of Palestine.

On the Firing Line, host Margaret Hoover asked Ms. Mallory continuously “Do You believe Israel has a right exist?”

Ms. Mallory responded simply responded that she believes all people have a right to exist. In response, several media outlets have released headlines along the theme of Women’s March Leader Wouldn’t Say in Interview Whether Israel Has Right to Exist.

The reality is: Ms. Mallory and other Black activists should be posing the question to Zionists: Does Israel believe Black people have the right to exist?

Did Israel believe Black people have a right to exist when its former prime minister, Shimon Peres offered to sell apartheid, South Africa a long range ballistic weapon called the burglar? 

Did Israel believe Black people have a right to exist when it sold uzi machine guns and a wide assortment of weapons to the white settler colony of  Rhodesia?  

In fact, Professor Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi concluded that “Israel was clearly committed to the survival of the white regime in Rhodesia, and helped it in substantial ways.”

The General Assembly of the United Nations’ went as far as to declare that actions of  “Israel are the main obstacles that have frustrated international efforts for the elimination of apartheid.”

In the Unnatural Alliance: Israel and South Africa, James Adam, a former board member of the National Security Agency and an expert of warfare strategy analyzed  apartheid, South Africa’s military tactics against the black guerrilla fighters. James Adam concluded that apartheid, South Africa’s “armed forces are equipped by Israel and their counterinsurgency tactics have evolved almost entirely as a result of lessons learned by the Israelis in their fight against the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

During the height of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Lekgau Mathabane, the head of Soweto’s Committee of Ten, an anti-apartheid civil rights organization, proclaimed: “Israel also supplies arms to South Africa and South Africa uses those arms for killing Black people and even children three years old.”

In light of this history, Zionists have no credibility asking any Black person if they believe Israel as a right to exist. Black people should be asking Zionists if they believe that Black people have a right to exist.

 

Support the Black Dawah Network

“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”  Surah An-Nisa 4:75

The Black Dawah Network (BDN) is a Muslim organization headquartered in Chicago dedicated to empowering the most oppressed and impoverished Black communities throughout America with Islam.  We want to be a helper to our people to see Islam as their way and Allah as their protector. Since our founding, we have distributed over 100 copies of the autobiography Malcolm X throughout Roxbury, the former community of Malcolm X and have addressed Black youth about Islam. The Black Dawah Network has also produced an educational series on how Black Muslims can rebut Afrocentrist “criticism” of Islam. With your support the Black Dawah Network aims to:

Host Islamic  Outreach Events in Black Communities 

Host Outreach Events in Chicago’s Altgelds Garden and Englewood neighborhoods. The Altgeld Gardens community was built as a segregated residential area for Blacks in the ‘50s. The community is surrounded by chemical waste incinerators and abandoned dumps filled with toxic waste. The majority of the community lives below the poverty line and the community is plagued by recurring gang-conflicts. Englewood also has poverty and gang violence. These Islamic outreach events will provide food to participants, and share the beauty of Islam.

                                Black Dawah Network Publications

The Black Dawah Network has produced Black Marxism: an Islamic Critique to introduce the Black radical left to Islam. Black Dawah Network also produced Young, Black, and Oppressed in Chicago.  This book describes the role of the white supremacy in keeping Chicago’s Black communities oppressed and exploited.  It serves as a wake-up call to Black youth throughout Chicago.

    Black Dawah Network Website

The interactive Black Dawah Network website will revolutionize dawah in Black communities by providing resources and training for Black Muslims to effectively give dawah in urban Black communities. The website will provide audio, video, and infographics on how to convey the message of Allah in urban Black communities.

To help sustain our work people donate to the Black Dawah Network

Meghan McCain’s Paternalistic Attack on Tamika Mallory

 

On a recent episode of The View, Women’s March Organizer Tamika Mallory appeared to discuss the upcoming Women’s March.  The conversation soon veered to a bombardment of questions about her relationship with Minister Louis Farrakhan including by host Meghan McCain, the daughter of former presidential candidate John McCain.

She was very upset by this relationship especially Ms. Mallory, calling Minister Farrakhan the “greatest of all time”.   Consider this. Ms. McCain has called her father former Senator John McCain, “a great man”, despite the fact that he voted on six different occasions against placing sanctions on apartheid, South Africa and actively supported U.S. firms doing business with the racist apartheid regime of South Africa.  What’s so great about that and where is Ms.McCain’s condemnation of her father?

Over and over again, Ms. McCain called on Ms. Mallory to condemn Minister Farrakhan, like she is her slave master demanding Ms. Mallory to do her bidding.  Ms. McCain is totally perplexed that Ms. Mallory doesn’t just say “yessuh massah”.

Ms. McCain mentions that  Minister Farrakhan has allegedly made statements such as “death to Israel” and expresses being utterly perplexed that Ms. Mallory still associates with Farrakhan.

Of course, Meghan McCain never addresses the issue of the actual role of the state of Israel in actually killing Black people.  Farrakhan’’s statements are just words. Israel has an actual history of killing Black people.

During the height of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Lekgau Mathabane, the head of Soweto’s Committee of Ten, an anti-apartheid civil rights organization, proclaimed: “Israel also supplies arms to South Africa and South Africa uses those arms for killing Black people and even children three years old.”

In a strong condemnation, the General Assembly of the United Nations’ went as far as to declare that actions of  “Israel are the main obstacles that have frustrated international efforts for the elimination of apartheid.”

Meghan McCain is upset over Tamika Mallory’s association with Farrakhan, yet has never condemned her own father John McCain  who has honored and associated with Israeli prime minister, Shimon Peres, who actually signed an entire defense agreement with apartheid, South Africa.

Meghan McCain: condemn your father before opening your mouth to attack our precious Black Sister, Tamika Mallory, or her friendship with the Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Ms. Mallory has the right to consider Minister Farrakhan exactly what she wants and doesn’t need Meghan McCain’s permission or sanction to do so.  The fact that Ms. McCain feels like she can even tell Ms. Mallory who she can associate with and who she can’t, speaks to a slave-master mentality where the slave master feels entitled to dictate what is in the best interests of their slave.  Wake up, Ms. McCain. Those days are over. You will not dictate to Tamika Mallory.

The Inextricable Anti-blackness of the American Muslim Community

Logo for CAIR

The mainstream American Muslim community is inextricably anti-black. This anti-blackness of the American Muslim goes beyond the casual references to Black people as abeed(slaves) among Arabs. It goes beyond Asian and Arab Muslim not wanting to pray near Black people. It goes beyond the lack of Black Muslim representation on speaking panels at major Islamic conferences.

The entire mainstream American Muslim community is actively upholding political positions and practices that actively perpetuates the oppression of Black people. By mainstream American Muslim establishment I am specifically referring to the agglomeration of institutions that have significant influence in determining Islamic discourse in America. This includes but is not limited to CAIR, ICNA, Zaytuna Institute and ISNA.

CAIR Honors White Politician Who Supported Apartheid South Africa. 

On August, 25th, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR ) which claims to be “largest Muslim advocacy and civil rights organization” published a statement in honor of  John McCain.

CAIR’s national executive director Nihad Awad asserted “The American Muslim community joins all Americans in mourning the death of Sen. McCain, a man of principle who served our nation with honor and dignity for so many decades.”

Former senator John McCain voted on six different occasions against placing sanctions on Apartheid, South Africa.  McCain actively supported U.S firms who were doing  business with the racist apartheid regime of South Africa. Simply put, McCain was a white oppressor who deserves no praise or honors from Muslims. CAIR engages in the lauding of this white oppressor as a “man of principle” because their focus is not in aligning with black people in the struggle against white supremacy but they seek to make Muslims more palatable to the white dominant class.

Did Bilal Ibn Rabah mourn over the death of  Umayyah ibn Khalaf and eulogize his former slave master as a “man of principle”?

The Leader of the First Accredited Muslim College Disrespects the Black Struggle 

The mainstream American Muslim establishment actively appoints for leaders in the Muslim community white racists like Hamza Yusuf who has disrespected the struggle of Black Americans on numerous occasions.  This purported “Islamic Scholar” asserted the true problem facing Black Americans is not institutional racism but the break down of the Black family. Consequently, in response to Black people being brutalized by police officers Hamza Yusuf merely asserted that not all police officers are racist.  Hamza Yusuf who actively obfuscates the oppression of Black people leads Zaytuna Institute which is the first accredited American Muslim college. 

 The anti-Black political stances of ICNA 

In a lecture titled A Proud, Patriotic Sharia Practicing Muslim given at an ICNA conference, prominent Muslim leader Yasir Qadhi asserted that “It is obligatory for Muslims to be patriotic in whatever land they live in.”  The question is: how does this political stance account for Muslims who are the descendants of enslaved Africans who were forcibly brought to America against their will?   Yasir Qadhi calling Muslims to be “proud American patriots” stands in sharp contrast to Black Muslim revolutionary Safiya Bukhari and Sekou Odinga who believed in the creation of the Republic of New Africa.

Indeed, it stands in sharp contradiction to Malcolm X who told Black people “You are not an American. You are a victim of America.” 

The fundamental reality is that Black people are not nor have they ever been part of mainstream American society. In the Political Economy of the Black Ghetto by political scientist William K. Tab, the author explains that the Black ghettos have a relationship with America that is similar to   a colonial power to its colony. Since Black people are not part of mainstream American society, Black people can never truly be part of the “American Muslim establishment.” Moreover, Black people have no business being patriotic towards a country that has oppressed them for centuries.

The American Muslim Establishment: An Affront to the Legacy of Malcolm X

The entire mainstream American Muslim establishment is an absolute affront to everything that Malcolm X stood for. The masjids and institutions of the mainstream American Muslim establishment  are more concerned about getting white folks to like Muslims than they are continuing about Malcolm X’s focus of an Islamic commitment to uplifting disenfranchised Black communities.

Our focus as  Muslims should not be seeking to make Islam more palatable to white oppressors. It should be to focus on Islamic outreach and liberation of oppressed Black communities. I invite all Muslims to support these initiatives focused on Islamic liberation  of oppressed Black communities instead of seeking to appease the white ruling class.

 

The Unmet Challenge of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

At a local Masjid I attended recently, I told some brothers that they could greatly benefit from listening to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. They loathed the idea, bemoaning theological differences between the Nation of Islam and Sunni Islam. However, I contend that the Third Resurrection of Islam in Black America, as Dr. Sherman Jackson called for in his book, Islam and the BlackAmerican:  Looking Toward the Third Resurrection, will only occur when the Black Muslim community has a better understanding of Minister Farrakhan.

In a story narrated by Minister Farrakhan, he shared an experience when he was overseas and was told by some Islamic scholars, “you really need to learn the religion of Islam a little better”. In response, Minister Farrakhan stated he would like like to meet the scholars of Islam in Mecca.  In the meeting was several Islamic scholars but of particular note is Muhammad Qutb, the younger brother of Sayyid Qutb, the chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most influential Islamic revivalist organization of the 20th century. ( Muhammad Qutb’s writings influenced many Black socialists in the Black Panther Party to embrace Islam)

The next day, Shaykh Zindani, a leading scholar of Islam told Minister Farrakhan that he could not sleep all that night. The chief scholar of the meeting  Muhammad Qutb, was asked by the group to speak in refutation of Minister Farrakhan. However, in a display of humility, Qutb responded, “I did not come to speak. I came to listen and to learn, and I have both listened and learned.” I say it is about time that the Ummah did more listening and learning from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”

What about Black Muslims?  Is it time we started listening and learning from Minister Farrakhan?

In “Islam and The BlackAmerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection,” Dr. Jackson writes that the departure of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the mass conversion of African-Americans to Sunni Islam under Imam  W. D. Muhammad coincided with the massive influx of immigrant Muslims who “introduced theological, juridical, and revivalist discourses that effectively banished native Black American instincts and understandings to the periphery. ”

What is noteworthy is that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan whom Dr. Sherman Jackson states during this time was the only Black muslim leader who, “refused to recognize immigrant and overseas authority” articulates during this time a profound critique of the inability of the shaykhs of Sunni Islam to grapple with the theological issues emerging from the Black experience of transatlantic  slavery in a manner that quenches the spiritual thirst of Black people and inspires in them a way to address their socio economic political conditions, a critique of how Islam became a tool of Arab cultural imperialism over black people, and of course the ubiquitous anti-Blackness in the Muslim writ large. In other words, what immigrant Muslims brought to America did very little to address the needs and concerns of Black Muslims and in some regards further oppressed Black Muslims with Arab and South Asian anti Black cultural imperialism.

During Louis Farrakhan’s rebuilding of the Nation of Islam, he frequently cited the inability of eastern Islamic scholars to teach Black folks Islam in a manner that would encourage them to continue to struggle for their liberation.  “They were satisfied only if you said your prayers and read the Qu’ran in Arabic, they didn’t know what to make of you Black people other than that. But Islam is not just to make you an Arabic reader of the Qu’ran, it is to bring you back to what you were.”

Black Muslims learned the rituals of the faith and the Arabic language but very little if anything to change the social, political, and economic conditions of Black people.  Farrakhan asks the following question,”You’re in the Mosque by yourself. You learned Arabic, you can say the prayers perfectly but what are you doing today for yourself? ” Black Muslims walk past the worst conditions our people suffer to get to a masjid, say prayers, and keep going.  We can do better.

Whereas most theories of Islamic revival are predicated upon geo-political changes in the “Middle-East,”, Minister Farrakhan is the only Muslim who has posited a theory of Islamic revival centered upon oppressed inner-city Black communities.  He tells another story when he traveled to the Gulf States and several Muslims told him that despite growing up in the Muslim world, they never really practiced their faith or cared for their faith until they came to America and observed the zeal for which Black Muslims practiced Islam.

From this, Minister Farrakhan gleans that by making our communities the finest Muslim community in the world, the faith of the entire Ummah can potentially be reawakened, “We are going to be made that which will make the Islamic world admire us and become revived by the Islam that comes out of the hearts of those classified as dead.” The outcome of this theory of Islamic revival leads to the Black community’s engagement by the Nation of Islam that is frankly unrivaled by other Muslim communities. They manifest this in conflict resolution efforts, drug rehabilitation programs, schools, businesses, a newspaper and other community services.

As to his critics, Minister Farrakhan states bluntly, “If you have the proper tawheed and the proper aqeedah, you got to have the proper actions that bares witness to your aqeedah.”  It is a daily challenge and struggle to actually use Qu’ran and Sunnah to uplift Black communities instead of embracing reactionary American assimilationist politics that ignore the fact that Blacks are outside of mainstream America.   Black Sunni Masjids unfortunately have been driven to complete irrelevancy in many Black communities due to their lack of engagement. How can we meet the challenge to save our people?

When one looks at the Black Sunni intelligentsia who have positions of influence in the “American Muslim”  community they largely take political positions that are not in the best interest of Black People.

I believe, and Allah knows best, Islam in Black America will never thrive until the unity of Black Muslims includes Minister Farrakhan and together we work to give our people Quran and Sunnah in a manner that quenches their spiritual thirst and inspires them to address their socio economic and political conditions.

The Need For Islamic Outreach to the Black Ghetto

And We inspired the soul with knowledge of evil and piety. Those who purify their souls will certainly have everlasting happiness and those who corrupt their soul will certainly be deprived of happiness. (Surah ash-Shams, 91:8-10)

It is the duty of Muslims to confront tyranny and oppression wherever they find it—and what greater tyranny and oppression is there than the ghetto which America has imposed upon its Black population?  In the Political Economy of the Black Ghetto by political scientist William K. Tab, the author explains that the Black ghettos did not emerge out of thin air, rather, the ghetto is an actual unjust political arrangement that the white power structure in America uses to entrap, oppress, and degrade a black underclass which has been systematically ostracized from mainstream American social, political, and economic life.

Islam is about social transformation.  It comes to remove oppression and replace it with justice. Islam never came to appease oppressive power structures but to remove them entirely. Islam is an ever forward movement towards freedom and justice. It comes to replace ignorance with knowledge, replace decadence and immortality with righteousness and piety, and most importantly replace polytheism and atheism with the pure worship of one God.  Islam teaches its adherents to fight in the cause of the oppressed, the weak, and the downtrodden.

In pursuit of this Qur’anic ascribed agenda Muslims must see the need to shine the light of Islam throughout the oppressed ghettos of America.

And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allâh, and for those weak, illtreated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” 4:75 Qur’an

The Black Dawah Network believes that within the most dangerous hoods, those Black communities with high concentrations of poverty, home to recurring homicidal gang conflicts, police terrorism is the norm, where bullets take the lives of innocents, drug addiction and the drug economy go hand in hand-that Muslims should be giving Dawah to Islam.

Indeed, it is high time that Muslims heed the word of Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association, who declared in their Champion Newspaper,  “The Negro is crying out for a Muhammad, a Prophet to come forth and give him the Qur’an of economic and intellectual warfare.”

From Southside Chicago to Compton, from Baltimore to South Memphis, Black people throughout America have been confined to impoverished ghettoes wherein the drug economy is king, gang violence rules, and too many Black youth expect to end up dead, in prison or both. This is the reality of Black youth life for in the ghetto. Consequently, it should be a goal that Muslims strive to free these communities from their oppression with the establishment of Islam.

Islam has the transformative power to turn the junkie on the corner into a scholar, to instill the spirit of brotherhood and unity amongst feuding gangs, and  to instill within a marginalized population, the courageous spirit, discipline, and determination to confront their oppressors and to  overcome the systemic forces that create, maintain, and perpetuate the maintenance of the ghetto. However, whether this potential is actualized will depend upon the actions of Black Muslim themselves.

If we are just content with primarily working in colonized immigrant Muslim institutions that do not have the interest of the oppressed black masses at heart and work towards assimilation with the white power structure of America–then this potential will never be actualized. And if this is the case, Islam in Black “America” will be a fading memory, we will be left to the nostalgia of the good days about Ali and Malcolm X and other cultural celebrations of Black Muslim identity all without an actual agenda or plan to push Islam forward in the Black community in the 21st century.

But it does not have to be that way.  We can change this trajectory! It will require the strength and conviction that our people are known for.  It will require Dawah like never before and a concentrated effort at expanding Islamic outreach in the most oppressed Black communities.

We are taught in Islam that should a people abandon their religion, Allah will raise up a new people who love Allah(swt)  to carry own the work for the rise of Islam, who do not fear nor concern themselves with the criticism of any critic. The Black Dawah Network contends that within the ghettos of America,  the victims of white capitalism, a class of people can emerge that can carry on the banner of Islam.

The Sahabah, the companions of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, were concerned with the growth and development of Islam throughout the world. The time has come to carry on this mission, to establish Islam in the ghetto.  It is the last hope of our people. It is the faith that can enable and facilitate the liberation of masses of Black people who are trapped in lives of misery and despair.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once went to the hostile city of Taif to invite the people to submit to their Creator. The residents of the city violently threw stones at him causing him physical pain. Yet, afterwards, the Prophet(pbuh) merely expressed that so long as Allah(swt) was not displeased with him he did not care what he faced from those people. When an angel arrived asking the Prophet(pbuh) if he wanted Allah(swt) to destroy the city in response to what they had subjected him to, the Prophet (pbuh) indicated he did not want this to happen explaining perhaps one day the city would be Muslim. And indeed, today, the city is all Muslims.

It is with this energy, that Muslims must go into the hostile ghettos of Black America to invite people to submit to their creator. We must see in the local drill rapper whose every lyric glorifies violence the potential to one day be a scholar of this faith and we must see in the low-level drug dealer on the block the potential one day to live a life of piety and  moral excellence. We must direct dawah towards the Black poor and disenfranchised, in the most hostile of blocks, be willing to endure whatever persecution and hardship comes our way and withstand the criticism of any critic. Therefore, lets us go from Atgelds Garden in Chicago to the Baisley Housing Projects of Queens, New York, let us go from Compton to South Memphis, and every hood in America giving dawah to Islam and working tirelessly towards Islamic outreach to the hood with Allah’s blessing every step of the way.