Our Black Brothers in the hood often ask us: “So, tell me this: If God-Allah is all that, why He let my little brother get shot? Why my momma strugglin’ and we here in the hood poor? Why He allow slavery and this white man and his police to kill us?””
We the Muslims should tell them: “The white man is not God and neither are we. Everything submits to His will and everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen is by His will and is a means for us to get closer and fulfill our purpose for being His vicegerents. Nothing that we are struggling with today is greater than what our ancestors struggled with during the Middle Passage when we were chained next to each other in the bowls of the slave ship for weeks in each other’s vomit, urine, and feces. Nothing that we are struggling with today is greater than what our ancestors struggled with during slavery where we suffered torture, sexual abuse, the lash of the whip and brutal working conditions in the sweltering heat from the can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night. Nothing that we are struggling with today is greater than what our ancestors struggled with during the Jim Crow with lynching and the indignities of segregation. And nothing that any of us have struggled with or suffered is greater than Allah Who has power all things.”
Our Black Brothers in the hood often ask us: “So, if He has power over all things why don’t He change our condition? Why don’t He provide for us?”
We the Muslims should tell them: “Allah answers your question in the last testament to humanity, the Holy Quran. He says “Verily, Allah will not change the condition of a people until first the people change what is in their hearts.” You have a working mind, I know because you wouldn’t be asking these intelligent questions if you didn’t. So, a sound mind is all you need to begin to change your condition. Allah has provided you with that but before Allah can change your condition you have to take the first step by changing what is inside of you that is holding you back. And what is it that inside of you that is holding you back? It is the love you have for your environment. You have to decided that you want to change your life instead of just cope with it and how you do that is by removing those things that keep you chained to your present condition.
People who take drugs and alcohol do so because these substances distort their perception of reality so that they do not see it for the hell that it is and become comfortable. When you remove the mind-enslaving substances you see your condition for what it is and you will become so dissatisfied that you can not rest unless you work to change it. This is why drugs and alcohol are pushed in our communities. They keep us from being completely dissatisfied with our condition so we don’t do the work needed to change it. We get high or drunk to alleviate the pain. When the high wears off. We get high or drunk again to alleviate the pain.
And then repeat. Allah says in the Quran forget getting high because all that does is make you forget you’re in pain. Stay awake in your pain and when you hate it enough and work to change the things causing your pain I will assist you and make you successful. This is what the Quran teaches that we have never tried. We tried gangs, drugs, alcohol, sex, buying stuff, and being Uncle Toms but we never tried changing what is in our own hearts and then witnessing Allah fulfilling His promise of changing our condition for us. He promised us that He will change our condition but we haven’t held up our end of the bargain.”
Our Black Brothers in the hood often tell us: “But people sell drugs ‘cause they don’t have any other choice. They outta options.”
We the Muslims should tell them: “That’s a belief. It is a belief in the white man’s world that says the things that he placed in front of you are the only things that exists. Where we decide to place our faith will determine what results we get. The results we’ve gotten from believing that selling dope and gangbanging will solve our problems has been death, physical illness through addiction, and slavery in the form of incarceration. When we place our faith in the promises that Allah made and hold up our end of the relationship then we’ll have other options. The things you believe in now perpetuates a cycle of bondage and servitude. Free the mind.”
Our Black Brothers in the hood often tell us: “ So, why bad things happen to good people? My brother was a good dude. That’s why I can’t believe in no God like that.”
We the Muslims should tell them: Everything must die in a world that dies. The prophets of Allah were the best of humanity and Allah tested them with the evil of this world but they understood that there was a greater purpose to their suffering. Our ancestors understood that there was a greater purpose to their suffering. What is accomplished by denying the existence of your Creator?! The pain that you experience in this life is till here except now by removing God you’re left with the white man as the supreme being and the evil of this world as the ultimate reality. If all you believe in is this world then you will do everything you can to make it a paradise which means you will sacrifice the greater good in order to feel good. By believing in Allah and His promise that He will change your condition when you change what is in your own self then you’ll have the strength to make the sacrifices necessary to change your condition.”
Our Black Brothers in the Hood Often tell us: “I gotta believe in God to do that? This conscious dude I know said that God is inside of me.”
We the Muslims should tell them: “If God exists within and God is all powerful then where does your powerlessness in the world come from? When you say that you our your own God you are saying that your desires rule, your inadequacies rule, and that your failures are the best that you can do. You are removing conditions and responsibilities from the process of transforming your life. When you accept that Allah is independent of His creation then you realize that He has the power to act on your condition which cannot contain Him.”
Our Black Brothers in the Hood often tell us: Wouldn’t it be more empowering to believe God within?
We the Muslims should tell them: No, because you can’t reconcile that with your powerlessness. Christians say Jesus was God but then believe he died on the cross. So, how does God get killed and between him dying and resurrecting how was the world maintained while there was no God. Also, if we are all Gods then which God is right? A tribe must have leader and with every one following themselves you see chaos and lack of organization and unity.
Our Black Brothers in the Hood Often tell us: So, what does the Quran say about man?
We the Muslims should tell them: That we are Allah’s vicegerent.
Our Black Brothers in the Hood Often tell us: What’s that?
We the Muslims should tell them: We have the honor and responsibility of ruling over life in this world with the powers delegated to us by our Creator. We are the full manifestation of the attributes of the Creator who has delegated power over the world. He have the ability to chose to create positivity and growth or destroy and kill. We have the greatest capacity for good and evil. As creatures with limited power we naturally inclined to worship the One who created us.
Our Black Brothers in the Hood Often tell us: But not everybody worships God though or believe in Him.
We the Muslims should tell them: If they do not worship their Creator then they are worshipping His creation which is backwards because without the Creator the thing you worship and love wouldn’t exist in the first place. It is a part of our nature to worship. So, you either going to worship the right thing or the wrong thing but you are going to obey something because that is your nature. You’ve been created by the true Creator with the perfect disposition to receive the knowledge about Him and this is stature of your vicegerency. So, you don’t need to believe that you’re God to be empowered. Your reality as the vicegerent of the One Who created everything endows you with the agency to change your condition.
Professor Shareef Muhammad
Shareef Muhammad (Frank Beane) is a content curator and historian who teaches history and Islamic Studies as an adjunct within the college and university system in Georgia. Shareef currently works with the Black Dawah Network as the director of the theological department of Black Dawah Network. Shareef believes that Islam is a force for change as well as spiritually transforming and that the religion can serve as the bulwark for ameliorating the social conditions of African-Americans. In 2015 Shareef was chosen to be a chief consultant on the After Malcolm Project which is a digital oral history archive that conducted interviews with African-American Muslims from the Civil Rights Era and collected artifacts. Their work was featured in exhibits at both Kennesaw State University and at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta Georgia. In 2018 the project project was adopted by George Mason University. Shareef holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in History from Central State University and a Masters degree in History from Kent State University where his thesis entitled The Cultural Jihad in the Antebellum South which details how enslaved African Muslims preserved their religious and cultural identity in bondage.