Theology Thursdays: From "Personality To Principle; From Messenger To Community; From Community To Nation."...Studying The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s September 11, 2006 Letter.
Around thirteen years ago I received a book as a gift from my father – Principle Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey. Inside the book, my father wrote me a touching note. He made a comment on a certain chapter in the book and our relationship to it, and then he made a prediction about my future. It was the kind of comment that one often hears made by a loved one who is older than one's self. It is the kind of comment that one as a parent often makes to their children. In sum, it is the expressed desire, hope and ‘prayer’ that the next generation will stand on the shoulders of the previous one and enjoy a greater quality of life, than any generation has before them. It is one of the purest expressions of love that one can make and relates to what Jesus is written to have said in John 15:13, ”Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” **** ****
I thought of what my father wrote and the contents of the excellent book, Principle-Centered Leadership, when I read and began studying the letter dated, September 11, 2006, written by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, wherein he addresses his health condition and upcoming schedule. The letter is complete – from beginning to end – with guidance, insight and information. A section that stood out in my mind is the following:
Therefore, in this period of testing, I am postponing indefinitely all engagements, meetings and appointments so that I can concentrate, with Allah’s (God’s) Help, to bring myself back to a state where I may be able to continue to serve the rise of our people. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the days of His serious illness said, “My illness is a test for those around me.” This is a test, not only for me, but it is a test for the members of the Nation of Islam, as well.
In this period of testing, you can prove to the world that the Nation of Islam is more than the charisma, eloquence and personality of Louis Farrakhan. In this period of testing, you can prove that the Nation of Islam is under-girded by an Idea that represents the Kingdom of God on Earth, an Idea that can never be uprooted, never be destroyed and can only increase its power, effect and influence over the hearts and minds of the people of the Earth. In this period of testing, you can prove that the Nation of Islam, a body of people submitting to the Will of Allah (God), is more than the physical presence of any individual, and that it will live long after I and we have gone, because it is rooted in an Idea that comes directly from Allah (God) Himself.
I will be available to give guidance in any major situation that may arise, but I would prefer that the Executive Board of the Nation of Islam help to solve the problems of the Nation, without asking me. Then, at this time of testing, it will show me that you are ready to move beyond personality to live and function on the principles that make personalities attractive.
As I studied this section, numerous scriptures, statements, anecdotes, and principles came to my mind. One such scripture can be found in the Holy Qur’an in Surah 2 verse 143, which reads (in the Maulana Muhammad Ali translation) in part: “And thus We have made you an exalted nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you…”
The footnote to this verse reads, “One explanation of shahid, or bearer of witness, is given in the following words: ‘So that you may carry to them what you have learned of the revelation and the faith as Allah’s Messenger has brought to you.’ Therefore the bearers of witness are the persons who carry knowledge to others, bearing testimony to its truth in their own persons. Some commentators explain the word as meaning a purifier. But shahid also signifies one possessing much knowledge, and it means also an Imam or a leader, and the significance is that just as the Prophet delivered the message of truth to the Muslims and was their purifier and leader, the role of the Muslim community was to deliver the message of truth to the whole of humanity and to be its purifiers and leaders.”
This verse is an important one to understand in context. Part of that context is mastering an understanding of what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught about the difference between prophets, warners, and messengers.
Some of the additional context I thought of is the following:
First, many people accuse the Honorable Elijah Muhammad of not properly developing and preparing his followers to carry on aspects of his work, after his absence. They accuse him of not properly sharing his assignment with his followers. These critics are ignorant of what he said about this subject, what the scriptures say on it, and what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad actually did, in public and private, to help make provision and preparation for the future. They also ignore the fact that he told his followers that the Nation of Islam would fall, then rise, to never fall again.
Secondly, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught openly about the expansion of his mission, from himself to others. He spoke in an orderly fashion about how the Nation of Islam would expand from God to himself through a group of his earlier followers in Black America, to a group of latter followers in Black America, and then to others – original people in the Western Hemisphere, Africa and righteous people or Believers in Islam by faith, of all colors, all over the world. He even gave and implied the specific number of followers he would have associated with each stage. The number most would be familiar with is the 144,000. However, some people, many Black, are dishonest, disingenuous or worse about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s words in this regard. Many supposed experts on the Nation Of Islam, and teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, are like those written of in the Holy Qur’an (Surah 5 verse 13) who, “…alter words from their places and neglect a portion of that whereof they were reminded…” They attempt to use his words to say what he did not say, or, they ignore what he did say in order to represent him in a certain way that is self-serving, in a most vain effort.
One area in this regard is what he had to say about those White people who would indeed see a portion of the Hereafter. This was not a private or hidden subject. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote about it in Our Saviour Has Arrived; and openly spoke about this in his comments – available today on audio – regarding the people of Turkey, and the ‘mixed multitude’ that are described in the Torah as following Moses and Aaron out of Egypt. Then, of course there is what he taught more privately and the implications of the fact that White Muslim Shriners are written of in four of the Six Written lessons, registered Muslims receive in the Nation Of Islam.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad also openly made it clear that he would not do all of the guiding by himself. In this regard there is one of the clearest examples of this written of on the bottom of page 108 of Our Saviour Has Arrived wherein he wrote:
But Allah (God) Will Not Let any of us be blind, today, to the truth. This is why He Came Himself; to be sure that there will not be any mistake made. Allah (God) Makes For Himself A Messenger.
Then Allah (God) Guides the Messenger Himself. He does Not Leave the Messenger to do all of the Guiding.
Then Allah (God) Sends Angels to see that His Guidance is carried out like He Taught the Messenger to do.
There is also something related to the role of literature and the nature and length of the process which led to the appearance of White people in the Holy Land, that he taught, which is related to what was just quoted.
Many people who believe that they are foremost in knowledge on this subject simply do not desire or know how to properly fit Minister Louis Farrakhan’s position, as the National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Nation of Islam into this chain of events – this expansion of the assignment - which was set in motion, in a very real sense, by Master Fard Muhammad who founded the Lost-Found Nation Of Islam in the West. Some just don't care to. Many such individuals who dismiss the role or place of the Minister in this process of expansion always have to dismiss the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad regarding 1) the future 2) the scriptures (it is so interesting to see how many of those who claim The Honorable Elijah Muhammad don't share his respect for the Bible and Holy Qur'an) and 3) his Minister, specifically, in order to make their case. In other words, in order to deny the reality of Minister Farrakhan’s role in the Divine scheme of things, they have to disrespect, ignore, or diminish the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, whom they claim to love, or style themselves as being most knowledgeable about. This is a sad condition to be in, and only results in frustrated desires and impediments to self-development. Some of these people, it seems, are sadly in a rage over the rise of Minister Farrakhan who has not done a single thing to prevent them from successfully working the program of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In fact, I could easily make the case, that his rise, since 1977, should have made their own effort to lift the name and work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad easier. In any event, any lack of progress they are manifesting in carrying out The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s teachings is not Minister Farrakhan's fault.
Motivation is such a powerful force -for good and wickedness.
Third, related to this subject, I was among many who, one morning in October of 2001, were seated at the dining room table of Minister Farrakhan, when he went deep into the meaning of two Arabic words, khalifah, and khalidah, which in very profound ways represent the divine concept, principle and process of succession. The Minister explained that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in one particular instance, went into the meaning of the name Khalidah and said that it was also another name for the Nation of Islam. One of the meanings of this word is ‘that which never dies.’ Other Islamic scholars translate the word as meaning, ‘immortal.’ The Minister that day, among other references, used the Holy Qur’an and the Book of Revelations, to detail how the issue of ‘succession’ is properly resolved by the Supreme Being. His beautiful, detailed, and illuminating articulation of this process made it unmistakable to any reasonable person that the ultimate purpose of God’s revelation and raising of Messengers is to produce a Community, and then a Nation, evolving them fully into an intimate relationship and meeting with God, realizing the reality of their potential divine power as rulers, in a Kingdom. Contrary to the uninformed and baseless thinking of some who do not respect theology or religion, the aim and purpose of this process is never to produce one or two great leaders who would preside over a languishing body or miserable mass of Believers.
One can also see this process, chain of events, and expansion in the following words that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave Minister Jabril Muhammad (then known as Minister Bernard Cushmeer) to place in the book This Is The One.
Minister Jabril has explained repeatedly that in October 1967 he had discussions with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that led to the writing of This Is The One. In a few of those meetings, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave Brother Jabril words he wanted in the book, but he told his Minister, "write them as though from yourself."
One set of his words were:
"Master Fard Muhammad aims to raise the Lost-Found (so-called Negro) into the knowledge and wisdom – the very ideas – of the Gods of the past.
"He also aims presently, to raise His people into His own ideas, in Himself, that the scriptures may be fulfilled: that those to whom He reveals Himself become the sons (and the daughters) of God – sons and daughters in the wisdom of God.
"He aims not only to reveal His ideas for the present creation of the universe, but also to give man the nature and the creative wisdom to produce creative ideas as The Father of Civilization.
"This is what was prophesied: that God would make man like Himself. He aims to make The Nation of Righteousness, who will rule in the Hereafter, with the potential knowledge of producing and bringing into action, or existence, that which He has been able to produce. We call this 'ideas.' He aims to make each one into a God."
These words are found in the eighth chapter of This Is The One and they outline a four-stage process of leadership development. After the Honorable Elijah Muhammad departed in 1975, Jabril Muhammad made known that his teacher was the author of those words.
Think of this four-stage process partly in terms of what is written in Psalm 82 verses 6 and 7, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”
Clearly, the leader of the Nation Of Islam understood better than anyone that this four-stage process expanded beyond himself and involved the evolution of a Believing Community into a Nation and then an Independent International and Universal Kingdom.
He told some that The Nation Of Islam would one day be so independent that it would not have to depend upon another nation to satisfy its economic needs through international trade.
Minister Lucius Bey, known as "The Dean" of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's Ministers (having this distinction as early as the 1950s), told me that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad told him that we would grow into God so thoroughly and become so independent that "we would not have to go outside of ourselves" to satisfy our needs.
Publicly, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote that a number of his followers would become so strong in Islam that they would be able to square the other nations of the world into righteousness.
There is so much more that we could go into that demonstrates the far-seeing reach and vision of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad - which he shared with many of His followers and the public - which make it clear that he knew how the Nation of Islam would grow beyond himself and through others. Minister Farrakhan, His National Representative, is playing a leading role in the outworking of this plan, raising and attracting others, whom Allah (God) and His Christ are organizing to fulfill the vision given to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Many, in derogatory fashion, dismiss the Minister as only an eloquent speaker. That he does not have great organizing ability. Others, make this point in the spirit of constructive criticism. Many know that the Minister always appreciates and considers such criticism, and seems to enjoy taking the disposition of a student who can learn from others (I have seen this with my own eyes).
Well, in my opinion, this argument - that Minister Farrakhan is not as good of an organizer as he is a teacher or warner - can be looked at from different perspectives and can be discussed and debated in a Brotherly and Sisterly fashion. However, because Minister Farrakhan is a Muslim, one should not leave the Holy Qur'an out of the dialogue (as do numerous scholars writing on the Nation Of Islam - Louis Lomax is an example from history, 'critiquing' the Nation Of Islam without ever having read the Holy Qur'an). In that book of scripture are several verses that make it clear that those annointed by God, in many cases only have the responsibility to deliver a message, warning or guidance clearly. The burden of organization and arrangement of affairs is shared by the Believing Community and The Supreme Being. An example of this can be found in Surah 11, verse 12, which reads in the Yusef Ali translation, where Allah's Messenger is being addressed (italics and bold are mine):
Perchance thou mayest(feel the inclination)to give up a part of what is revealed unto thee, and thy heart feeleth straitened lest they say, "Why is not a treasure sent down unto him, or why does not an angel come down with him?" But thou art there only to warn! It is Allah that arrangeth all affairs!
Another verse to consider is Surah 64:12 which reads:
So obey Allah, and obey His Messenger: but if ye turn back, the duty of Our Messenger is but to proclaim (the Message)clearly and openly.
Again, these verses have to be considered in light of what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught about the difference between messengers, prophets and warners.
Perhaps, it is the Minister who has been doing his job of clearly delivering the word, and we who have been negligent, or 'turning back' by expecting him to organize as well as he delivers the message. Of course this does not mean that Minister Farrakhan can't be evaluated in the area of organization. But one has to consider what his assignment is from his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in order to make the best evaluation. In any event, for the Believer, the guidance that 'Allah...arrangeth all affairs!' should produce confidence, patience and enthusiasm in the midst of what, at times, apprears to be a lack of material progress.
Of course all of this has to be understood in context.
But a major point is that a process and plan for our rise has been working for quite some time, and we all have different roles to play.
Some that judge the Minister improperly are wasting valuable time, and taking energy away from the performance of their duty by self and others. One could easily ask the most critical - what have you been doing of consequence on behalf of our people, while you criticize him?
In conclusion, how much of the 'organizational' challenge the Minister faces is due, not to his ability or inability in this area but rather, due to the fact that a Black vanguard has been decapitated from the Black masses, and therefore are no more than a disconnected elite?
Consider this from a November 7, 2005 speech he delivered in Detroit:
Minister Farrakhan: "What we envisioned for the Millions More Movement is the Talented Tenth that W.E.B. DuBois wrote about - the brilliant, knowledgeable Brothers and Sisters, most of whom have been separated from the condition of the mass poor. The learned of our people are often given jobs, positions and money, which allows them to live a better quality of life. But this is part of a design to make us satisfied with the false fruit of democracy and make us think that we have arrived, while the masses of our people suffer in an incredible degree of poverty in the midst of plenty.
"The Millions More Movement was designed to bring the learned of our people into harmony with the needs of our people through a program that allows them to use their tremendous skill to lift the masses of our people. The Movement is also meant to organize Black people in an effective way, so that we will not make demands of government..."
Any organizational difficulties faced by Minister Farrakhan are also faced by us.
Fourth, through the Summer and Fall of 2005, on several occasions I had the privilege of promoting the Millions More Movement (MMM) on the Star and Buc Wild Program. On one such occasion in October of last year, I did so, by phone while in Washington D.C. After making Fajr prayer that morning, I drove out to the Washington Mall and walked around. I took in the beautiful scene of sunrise while standing in front of a carefully lit Capitol. As I enjoyed the environment, I thought over several desires, predictions, and instructions the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had given regarding the future (beyond the time in which he expressed such). One of the several things that I thought of was his desire that the Muslim Program be put before Congress.
This did not take place prior to 1975, when he departed from among us.
I shared this experience and my thoughts with Star (who probably did more to promote the MMM than anyone on radio by raising it as a topic for discussion, challenging and criticizing it), when on air, and I expressed my view that those who are critical of Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation Of Islam, yet claim the Honorable Elijah Muhammad or his program or blueprint, also share the responsibility – with Minister Farrakhan – to fulfill his (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s) desires and predictions and carry out his instructions. In a sense, whatever disagreement we may have, we are all, in an undeniable way, in the same community in relation to ‘The Messsenger.’ I was striving to make the point that we – as a community and Nation – and not just the Minister, as a person, were responsible for building, witnessing, teaching and establishing the word and work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Minister Louis Farrakhan, in my opinion, has been trying as hard as he can to continue the expansion of the assignment of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad beyond himself and the immediate community of registered Believers in the Nation of Islam.
I am absolutely convinced that God, he and we will be successful in making the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's word bond, in our persons.
And the reaction that I have witnessed and learned of related to Minister Farrakhan’s September 11, 2006 letter - from a critical mass of Believers, Black leaders, Latino, Native and White sympathizers, and by political and opinion leaders, provides more powerful anecdotal evidence supporting this.
We, as a people, and expanded community and Nation, are moving beyond charisma and personality into principle-centered leadership, whether we like it or not.
One of the statements that came to mind as I considered Minister Farrakhan’s letter was the following from Rev. Al Sharpton’s insightful 2002 book, Al On America:
With my National Action Network, I’ve recently begun to groom leaders and create a system of leadership. I push young people with promise to take charge in their neighborhoods and communities and be activists. I push, so much so that many have argued with me that I push them too hard. But I have to because I understand that unless we build a collective, we’re not going to get it done. There are no messiahs.
I have changed. I grew up in the charismatic leadership movement, where one man took charge and carried a movement. That’s how I started out. But that was ineffective long term because every time the leader was killed or became discredited, the movement died.
I don’t agree with Rev. Sharpton’s assertion that, ‘There are no messiahs.’ I also don’t agree with what I think is his implied analogy between messianic leadership and charismatic leadership. Having said that, Rev. Sharpton is directly and indirectly correct and principled in the majority of what I just quoted of him. He is also doing us all a service by how he is developing young people, as he describes. This excerpt from Al On America reminded me of Surah 3, verse 144 which reads, in the Yusef Ali translation of the Holy Qur’an, “Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve him) with gratitude.”
I do not know that I would put Reverend Sharpton’s thinking in this category, but I have heard numerous Black leaders – as intellectuals, politicians, and activists who consistently wish to deny or criticize the idea that there is a preeminent Black leader among the masses of the people. In their comments I do hear love for Black people, lessons from history and a concern for the future but I also believe I hear envy and jealousy, and above all, a misinformed view of what a Messiah or messiahs represents. They don’t demonstrate an understanding that in the scriptures, the anointed ones and preeminent messiah(s) are never commissioned by the Supreme Being to do anything that is not related to raising a community of people. No depiction of the Messiah(s) in scripture, that I am aware of, shows this leader or leaders as doing that which is only designed to lift themselves up. These leaders are servants of the mass of people, and especially in the Qur’an it is made very clear that Allah (God) questions the Messiah about how he led the people, and whether or not he encouraged worship of himself or Mary, his mother.
There is much more I could go into regarding the Hebrew and Arabic words for Messiah which would make it even more clear that most people – in religion, theology and political science just don’t know what they are taking about when they use this word in English and that they really don’t have a divine grasp of the concept of ‘messiah,’ when they make analogies to today’s various leaders and forms of leadership. Again, beyond genuine misunderstanding and legitimate disagreement of interpretations, I see among some leaders a need to not acknowledge what J. Edgar Hoover acknowledged, that there might appear among Black people in America ‘a black Messiah.’
I also see intellectual dishonesty and disingenuous in the arguments of these Black leaders and thinkers. Here is why:
While they steer the masses away from messianic or charismatic Black leadership, they direct and encourage Blacks to follow White political leaders who campaign in a charismatic fashion. They even come in the name of these White leaders as forerunners preparing the way for them, so to speak, in the Black community.
Anyone who does not see the American campaign process and the language and drawing attention to the individual self as one that is based on superficial personality and charisma is ignorant, misinformed or a deceiver. I have never seen a Black leader – not the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, not Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not Malcolm X, not Marcus Garvey, not Minister Louis Farrakhan - use the language to draw people unto themselves that I hear from candidates for elected office in congressional, presidential, state, and even local campaigns. I even hear it in the language of very young people - even elementary school - who in class elections, imitate what they see the older 'role model' professional politicians doing. Think about it the next time you hear a stump speech or debate this election cycle.
The logic of the 'anti-messianic' Black intellectual or political leader is that we, as a people, can’t afford to have a singularly pronounced preeminent leader of Black people, because that will hurt us, but yet, according to their political activism and advocacy, we have to have some White Democratic or Republican President or Congress or else our people will never be liberated.
‘Louis Farrakhan’ as the preeminent Black leader is a no-no, but ‘John Kerry’ or ‘Al Gore,’ for instance, for President, is what we need, to immeasurably improve our quality of life or protect certain gains we have made as a people.
Please. Black leaders with this kind of dual-mind, and lukewarm stance, ultimately do more harm than good, in terms of promoting distrust of Black leadership, and unjustified faith in an electoral system that never delivers its advertised promises - promises which are often made to Black people only to deceive them.
In many ways these Black leaders and thinkers who passionately argue and act like this – although they probably don’t realize it - embody a great measure of the spirit of those elders of Israel who were envious of Jesus to the point that they delivered him up to Roman authorities (and others). See Matthew Chapter 27.
Again, I have not spoken enough to Rev. Al Sharpton, whom I love, or read enough of his thinking in this area of scriptural exegesis to know all of his views on this subject in order to properly categorize him and them. I do know that in February of 2004, Minister Louis Farrakhan did say, at Saviours’ Day, that he did not believe that Rev. Sharpton would ever sell us out.
Some of course, especially those who have already judged Rev. Sharpton will understand this statement differently, and probably out of context.
Contrary to what most Black intellectuals would probably argue, the problem to me, generally speaking, is not the preeminent leader’s grip on power. It is the lack of the proactive nature, on the part of the follower or organization or community member to put into practice and carry out that leader’s example, and what they have been repeatedly taught by the preeminent leader. The problem is also, to me, the sickness whereby some followers and organization and community members use their expression of love for the preeminent leader to beat down or discourage proactivity among other followers and organizational and community members. Sadly, it should be apparent to many, but is not, at times, that one cannot love the most visible leader, and then hate or disrespect or discourage the development of that leader’s followers and disciples. The two are mutually exclusive. If you don’t love, nurture, and encourage your fellow follower and organization and community member you really don’t love the preeminent leader as you profess. Or, you simply don’t understand his message and the ultimate aim of his or her leadership.
On this in the scriptures we see in John 15: 12, Jesus states: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
Also, it is written in I John 4: 20 and 21: "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
And Jesus lastly explains of the principle that most of us violate daily in organizations: "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."
In the case of Minister Farrakhan, we all have to ask ourselves – what more can he say and really, what more can he do to teach and make it clear, that the Believing community and Black and righteous Nation not only needs to step up, but already has long had the mandate to do so? Many people act as if much of his exhortation in his September 11, 2006 letter is ‘new,’ in this regard.
Sure, certainly there are a few aspects of the first phase of the assignment of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that the Minister does have yet to individually fulfill, wrap up, and finish. But does this basic point – “that the Nation of Islam is more than the charisma, eloquence and personality of Louis Farrakhan,” - need a scholarly dissertation, new speech, or another March of a million people to be shown and proven as true? We have already been authorized and encouraged, by God, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Minister (and numerous others, in different ways, including the heavens and the earth) to organize and structure ourselves in effective unity so that we may carry out the message, carry it throughout the world, and build on the work and sacrifice of those who came before us.
I could rest my case on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in 1555 (in a different way), and Katrina, in 2005 (to a greater degree), as sufficient evidence that we already, as a people, have been authorized and given a mandate, by nature, to prove that “that the Nation of Islam is more than the charisma, eloquence and personality of Louis Farrakhan.”
There is a law of nature called self-preservation that places on us the demand to do for self and practice the golden rule with one another. Another law of nature is that of change and growth, which is, perhaps, best represented by the laws of motion and order. These are principles.
Minister Farrakhan’s letter includes this important aspect: “…at this time of testing, it will show me that you are ready to move beyond personality to live and function on the principles that make personalities attractive.”
In order for us to move from personality to principle-centered leadership as the Minister is asking and encouraging us to we have to be clear on what a principle is, and which are the ones that make personalities attractive.
Part of this phenomenon of the attractive power of personalities is the process of magnetism. Generally speaking, magnetism relates to electricity and the application or effect of the principle of organization, alignment and unity within an entity, object or being. A compass is a magnet that can align itself within the earth’s magnetic field. And a magnetized piece of iron can lift twelve times its weight, while a demagnetized piece can’t even lift a feather.
The “charisma, eloquence and personality of Louis Farrakhan” is magnetic.
How can we, as groups and communities and as a Nation “move beyond personality to live and function on the principles that make personalities attractive”?
I believe that we will find the root of this process in understanding what that Arabic word ‘asa, which I referred to recently, is suggesting. In a writing called, “The BlackElectorate.com 'Business and Building' Weekend Is On. 'Toward A Learned Community... Connected To The Masses'” I wrote:
...in the Holy Qur’an in Surah 2 verse 60 it reads (in the Maulana Muhammad Ali translation): “And when Moses prayed for water for his people, We said: March on to the rock with thy staff…” In his footnote on this verse Maulana Muhammad Ali states, “…’Asa ordinarily means staff or rod, but its primary significance is a state of combination and the word is metaphorically used to speak of community…Hence the words may mean strike the rock with thy staff, or march on to the mountain with thy staff or thy community.
Look deeper at that concept “a state of combination,” embodied by this Arabic word ’Asa. That is what we are looking for in our community, people who are in a right state of combination – their talents, skills, and interests in alignment with the mission of raising our people – morally, politically, economically and culturally – all over the world.
In addition to the aforementioned, there must also be present the right spirit and motivation.
We have to find this right “state of combination” within the heart and mind as well as in human organization in order to be magnetic.
A key to reproducing and multiplying the positive effect that Minister Farrakhan has had on our people and the world lies not in imitating his personality, but rather as best we can, duplicating his heart.
Two aspects to the process of doing this are drinking in his Study Guides, "Self Improvement: The Basis For Community Development"; and the proper reading and study of the forthcoming book, Closing The Gap: Inner Views Of The Heart Mind & Spirit Of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Conducted and Compiled by Jabril Muhammad.
In closing, I quote from another letter from Minister Louis Farrakhan. This one written on September 12, 2001 to a group of individuals that the Minister “authorized to formulate the direction and pattern of change for our Nation,” as he described their assignment, at that time.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad once said the Nation would fall, then raise to fall no more. How is it that the Nation will never fall again? It will never fall again because we will not let it fall again. We are those who have given up belief in a mystery god, and who know that it is men and women who make things happen. If it is to be, it is up to us to make it so.
We have had many discussions about the structure and function of our Nation. We are convinced that the Nation, in order that it may fulfill its Divine Mission of resurrecting our people, must change. But, what kind of change? It must be a guided and directed process of change that leads to a higher function to meet the evolving needs of all of the people who look to the Nation as the instrument of salvation for themselves and their families. We intend that they not be disappointed in the Nation’s ability to meet their basic needs and to fulfill every prophecy of that which the prophets saw of us in their vision of the future.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been asked by friends, acquaintances, leaders, associates, peers, and the nosy, questions like ‘who will take over after Minister Farrakhan?’ The language of my answer, if one is given, varies depending upon the inquiring mind and what I think their motivation is - which ranges from sincere to phony - but invariably the principle I highlight is always the same.
God, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan, the scriptures, and the laws of nature have already answered their question, if only we understood and accepted personal and collective responsibility according to principles and the law of Self-preservation.
So let’s get busy, wherever we are, finding that ‘state of combination’ of internal and external unity.
With the exception of a few - but very important - final aspects of work, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has done his part.
When he returns, let him find a Community and Nation foremost in love, study, productivity, and yes, principle-centered leadership.
Thursday, October 5, 2006