Dear Muslims: Is your masjid is simply a prayer place in an affluent suburb with no engagement with black folks in the hood at the bottom of the socio-economic hierarchy? If this is the case, do not speak to me about Malcolm X.
Is your masjid a place that you merely go to engage in the obligatory salah, dhikr, tahajjud, qu’ranic recitation and other rituals but is not a place where the congregations seeks to implement Qu’ranic principles to establish institutions to improve black life? If this is the case, do not speak to me about Malcolm X.
If you’ve never heard your Imam or Shaykh give a khutba or halaqa boldly condemning white supremacy and anti-blackness then do not speak to me about Malcolm X. Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if all you know about the man’s evolving social, political, and religious thought is his hajj letter.
Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you merely want to utilize his hajj letter to make Malcolm X out to be some liberal multiculturalist. Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you are not willing to engage with Malcolm X’s subsequent statement arguing that the Muslim World has seemed to ignore the problem of black suffering.
Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if the only black sahabah you can name is Bilal Ibn Rabah(RA).
Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you ask black Muslims, “Are you a convert?”
You ask us this because you look upon black Muslims as though we are just some Johny come lately Muslims. I want say this very emphatically: African-Americans are the descendants of West Africans who built some of the greatest Islamic educational institutions in the entire world. Even after enduring the severe trauma of the middle passage we black Muslims still had the mental power to reproduce the Qu’ran and books of Islamic law purely from memory. We aren’t Johny come lately Muslims. Islam is the original religion of our people. Malcolm X knew this very well. If you do not know of this history then do not speak to me of Malcolm X.
Dear Black Muslims
Malcolm X personified and embodied black rage.
Dear black Muslims: do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you were not absolutely appalled by the soft and passive stance black Muslims leaders took when addressing the anti-black statements of Imam Hamza Yusuf.
Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you are a black Muslim leader and your response to this incident did not center the concerns of the aggrieved and disrespected black masses.
Do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you’ve been blessed to study the deen and instead of working within black communities to address the key theological issues facing black folks you instead elect to work in predominately immigrant Muslim communities.
How can you speak to me of Malcolm X when if you are not actively working in sharing your profound Islamic knowledge with black folks in the ghetto? Malcolm X would go up and down Detroit’s ghettos’ and share Islamic wisdom with gang bangers, drug dealers, and drug addicts.
Malcolm X wanted to establish Islamic centers in black inner-cities that would promote the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the cure to social ills impacting the black community. If you are not actively working towards that agenda then do not speak to me of Malcolm X.
This black Islamic brain drain is especially devastating when we consider the fact that black folks were robbed our original religion which is Islam. Due to slavery, our ancestors were not able to transgenerationally transmit the Islamic knowledge that our ancestors cultivated in places such as Timbuktu.
In contrast, Islam among Immigrant Muslims has been uninterrupted for generations. This is why Immigrant American Muslims are able to establish Arabic & Islamic institutions of learning which blacks in inner-cities have very little access or ability to attend. We need black Muslims who have studied the deen working in the black community. If you are a black Muslim and don’t have a commitment to your black community then don’t speak to me about Malcolm X.
Dear black Muslim public figure: do not speak to me about Malcolm X if you primarily utilize your electrifying oratorical abilities (born from the black communication style) to engage in fundraising for various Immigrant Muslim communities’ social causes but do not at all utilize your oratorical gifts to give khutbas against white supremacy in order to inspire the black masses in America’s most disenfranchised communities.
Dear black Muslim: do not speak to me of Malcolm X if you are not willing to develop independent black Muslim institutions dedicated to solving social problems in the black community.
Do not speak to me of Malcolm X if you believe the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has no valuable insights to contribute to the betterment of the black Muslim community.
During the second rise of the Nation of Islam, the Hon. Minister Farrakhan posited a very profound protest to Arab cultural imperialism over black Muslims, anti-blackness in the Muslim community, and most critically the inability or perhaps unwillingness of the ulema of Sunni Islam to evoke their tradition and scholarship for the purposes of combating white supremacy and working toward black liberation.
Discussing the state this left Black Muslim within, the Honorable Minister Farrakhan states, “You Love Allah, you love Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but you hate your black self. Then there is something wrong with your understanding.” If you are a Black Muslim and do not engage in this very profound critique by Min. Farrakhan then do not speak to me about Malcolm X.
Lastly, if you are a well-learned Black Muslim who can articulate Ibn Tammiya’s arguments against the Greek logicians along with Al-Ghazali’s Kalam cosmological argument but you do not seek to make classical Islamic thought relevant to black folks today then do not speak to me about Malcolm X.
I want to talk about Malcolm X.
I realize that individuals may be offended by the tone I adopted in this article. I can only quote on this, “Much of what I say might sound bitter, but it’s the truth.” I write all of this in the deepest of humility because I want to see the black Muslim community thrive and improve. Most importantly, all of what I have stated is a reminder to myself first and foremost. I will not speak to you of Malcolm X if I am not working towards all of the above.
Do speak to me of Malcolm X if you want to examine how we can draw upon the wisdom of classical Islamic thought to address contemporary black social problems. Let’s talk about Malcolm X if you are down to establish independent Black Muslim institutions to address social problems in the black community. Do speak to me about Malcolm X if you want to make Islamic learning accessible to black folks in the hood who live in the most disenfranchised areas of American society and not merely affluent Immigrant Muslims who are the children of doctors and lawyers.