X (Malik Al-Shabbaz) 1925 - 1965
In April 1964, the brilliant Afro-american
Muslim leader performed Hajj, a year before
in New York.
"The pilgrimage to Makkah, known as the
Hajj, is a religious obligation that every
orthodox Muslim fulfills, if able, at least
once in his or her lifetime."
Holy Quran says it, "Pilgrimage to
the House [of God built by the prophet Abraham]
is a duty men owe to God; those who are able,
make the journey." (3:97)
said: "And proclaim the pilgrimage
among men; they will come to you on foot and
upon each lean camel, they will come from
every deep ravine." (22:27)
one of the thousands at the airport, about
to leave for Jeddah, was dressed this way.
You could be a king or a peasant and no one
would know. Some powerful personages, who
were discreetly pointed out to me, had on
the same thing I had on. Once thus dressed,
we all had begun intermittently calling out
"Labbayka! (Allahumma) Labbayka!"
(Here I come, O Lord!) Packed in the plane
were white, black, brown, red, and yellow
people, blue eyes and blond hair, and my kinky
red hair -- all together, brothers! All honoring
the same God, all in turn giving equal honor
to each other. . . .
is when I first began to reappraise the "white
man." It was when I first began to perceive
that "white man," as commonly used,
means complexion only secondarily; primarily
it described attitudes and actions. In America,"white
man" meant specific attitudes and actions
toward the black man, and toward all other
non-white men. But in the Muslim world, I
had seen that men with white complexions were
more genuinely brotherly than anyone else
had ever been. That morning was the start
of a radical alteration in my whole outlook
about "white" men.
were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all
over the world. They were of all colors, from
blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans.
But we were all participating in the same
ritual displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood
that my experiences in America had led me
to believe never could exist between the white
and the non-white...America needs to understand
Islam, because this is the one religion that
erases from its society the race problem.
Throughout my travels in the Muslim world,
I have met, talked to, and even eaten with
people who in America would have been considered
white -- but the "white" attitude
was removed from their minds by the religion
of Islam. I have never before seen sincere
and true brotherhood practiced by all colors
together, irrespecitve of their color. "
was during his pilgrimage that he began to
write some letters to his loyal assistants
at the newly formed Muslim Mosque in Harlem.
He asked that his letter be duplicated and
distributed to the press:
have I witnessed such sincere hospitality
and the overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood
as is practiced by people of all colors and
races here in this ancient Holy Land, the
House of Abraham, Muhammad, and all the other
Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past
week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound
by the graciousness I see displayed all around
me by people of all colors. .
may be shocked by these words coming from
me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen,
and experienced, has forced me to rearrange
much of my thought-patterns previously held,
and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions.
This was not too difficult for me. Despite
my firm convictions, I have always been a
man who tries to face facts, and to accept
the reality of life as new experience and
new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept
an open mind, which necessary to the flexibility
that must go hand in hand with every form
of intelligent search for truth.
the past eleven days here in the Muslim world,
I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from
the same glass, and slept in the same bed
(or on the same rug) -- while praying to the
same God -- with fellow Muslims, whose eyes
were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the
blondest of blond, and whose skin was the
whitest of white. And in the words and in
the actions and in the deeds of the "white"
Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I
felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria,
Sudan, and Ghana.
were truly all the same (brothers) -- because
their belief in one God had removed the "white"
from their minds, the 'white' from their behavior,
and the 'white' from their attitude.
could see from this, that perhaps if white
Americans could accept the Oneness of God,
then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality
the oneness of man -- and cease to measure,
and hinder, and harm others in terms of their
"differences" in color.
racism plaguing America like an incurable
cancer, the so-called "Christian"
white American heart should be more receptive
to a proven solution to such a destructive
problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save
America from imminent disaster -- the same
destruction brought upon
Germany by racism that eventually destroyed
the Germans themselves.
asked me what about the Hajj had impressed
me the most. . . . I said, "The brotherhood!
The people of all races, color, from all over
world coming to gether as one! It has proved
to me the power of the One God. . . . All
ate as one, and slept as one. Everything about
pilgrimmage atmosphere accented the oneness
of man under One God."
returned from the pilgrimage as El-Hajj Malik
al-Shabazz. He was afire with new spiritual
insight. For him, the struggle had evolved
from the civil rights struggle of a nationalist
to the human rights struggle of an internationalist
reporters and others were eager to learn about
the newly-formed opinions concerning themselves
from the man they knew as 'Malcolm X'. They
hardly believed that the man who had preached
against them for so many years could suddenly
turn around and call them brothers. To these
people Malik had this to say:
asking me "Didn't you say that now you
accept white men as brothers?" Well,
my answer is that in the Muslim world, I saw,
I felt, and I wrote home how my thinking was
broadened! Just as I wrote, I shared true,
brotherly love with many white-complexioned
Muslims who never gave a single thought to
the race, or to the complexion, of another
pilgrimage broadened my scope. It blessed
me with a new insight. In two weeks in the
Holy Land, I saw what I never had seen in
thirty-nine years here in America. I saw all
races, all colors, -- blue-eyed blonds to
black-skinned Africans -- in true brotherhood!
In unity! Living as one!
Worshipping as one! No segregationists --
no liberals; they would not have known how
to interpret the meaning of those words.
the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments
of all white people. I will never be guilty
of that again -- as I know now that some white
people are truly sincere, that some truly
are capable of being brotherly toward a black
man. The true Islam has shown me that a blanket
indictment of all white people is as wrong
as when whites make blanket indictments against
the blacks who increasingly looked to him
as a leader, El-Hajj Malik preached a new
message, quite the opposite of what he had
been preaching as a minister in the Nation
Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious,
political, economic, psychological, and racial
ingredients, or characteristics, to make the
Human Family and the Human Society complete.
I learned the truth in Makkah, my dearest friends
have come to include all kinds -- some Christians,
Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even
atheists! I have friends who are called Capitalists,
Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends
are moderates, conservatives, extremists --
some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today
are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!
said to my Harlem street audiences that only
when mankind would submit to the One God who
created all -- only then would mankind even
approach the "peace" of which so
much talk could be heard...but toward which
so little action was seen. "
extracts below are taken from his biography
by Alex Haley (Ballantyne Books, 1965).
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