A QUESTION THE HADITH DOES NOT ANSWER: by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

 Hadith 1

Can the practice of slavery in the Muslim world be tolerated by Muslims? That question and the lack of a definitive answer from Muslims has caused a divide between African American descendants of slaves and Muslim communities.

Pan-Africanists, Afro-centrists, Socialists, Secularists, and African Pagan scholars who are descendants of slaves have long voiced their animosity toward Arab and Turkish Muslims because their ancestors endorsed and participated in a ruthless African slave trade for many centuries. Some of them make their arguments against Islam based upon malicious motives and feelings but the issue itself is rightly expressed and warrants a response.

It is morally imperative that Muslim scholars and jurists directly address the issue of slavery to those communities because the historical fact is that some Muslims did practice slavery and some Muslims still think that the enslavement of human beings is sanctioned by both the Quran and Hadith.  

arab_slaverholdingafricans

It is an incontrovertible fact that Black Africans were enslaved, raped, tortured, and murdered, by Sunni Arabs, Orthodox Christians, and Sunni Ottoman Turks during the rise of Islamic empires and their fall. The leaders of those empires justified the institution of slavery on one or more of the 12 or 13 Hadiths or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). But the truth is that the rich and powerful of those empires were greedy and ambitious men who had insatiable appetites for worldly luxuries and used slavery as a way to drive their economies and thereby satisfy their lusts.  But what now in the 2100 century?

I have often thought what would Malcolm X say today about the indorsement and institutionalization of slavery by Muslims in the past and present?

I think that he would argue, having been a descendent of slaves himself, that even though slavery was sanctioned as permissible (Halal) 1400 years ago by both the Quran and Hadith its place in the Muslim community has always a dubious one.

One example is prostitution. Prostitution is illegal in Muslims societies. Prostitution is an act by a male or female whereby they sell their body to another for money. Here the ‘body’ is used by a buyer for their sexual gratification. It is a kind of human enslavement. Here, the logical contradiction is clear. Some forms of slavery cannot be tolerated as moral while at the same time other forms of slavery are criminalized.

Another example can be found in both the Quran and Hadith. Both are ambiguous concerning the practice of slavery. On the one hand the Quran sanctions slavery and yet on the other hand it says the enslavement of a human being is contrary to the relation of a human creature to Allah. 

For example, the Quran lays down the fundamental premise regarding slavery: “It is unacceptable for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the wisdom and ‘Nabuwah’ (prophethood), then he should say to men: Be my slaves rather than Allah’s;… “.[3:79]Here, the Quran forbids slavery to Muslims, Christians, and Hebrews; and in no uncertain terms, the Quran states that all souls belong to Allah.

Clearly, a general principle in the Quran takes precedence over all particular ancient tribal customs and voids them when such practices are contrary to it or contradict it. 

We know that slavery predated the origin of Islam and its first community. We further know that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) freed slaves himself.

The practice of slavery was contradicted on many occasions when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) freed slaves for many different reasons including to prevent crimes against humanity, for marriage, for conversion to Islam, and as a penalty against Muslim slave owners who committed acts of human cruelty.

Egyptian_Slavemaster_and_Slave

Slavery in Islam therefore was not then nor is now a doctrinal pillar of Islam nor did Islamic law legally ever qualify some human beings as being inferior by nature and thus subject to perpetual servitude.

Historically, systemic slavery was an economic innovation instituted by the Abbasid Empire (748-1258 C.E.) for exactly the same reasons the Roman Empire instituted slavery.  To generate wealth.

Arab Slavers

“As the plantation economy boomed and the Arabs became richer, agriculture and other manual labor work was thought to be demeaning. The resulting labor shortage led to an increased slave market.

It is certain that large numbers of slaves were exported from eastern Africa; the best evidence for this is the magnitude of the Zanj revolt in Iraq in the 9th century, though not all of the slaves involved were Zanj. There is little evidence of what part of eastern Africa the Zanj came from, for the name is here evidently used in its general sense. The Zanj were needed to take care of the Tigris-Euphrates delta, which had become abandoned marshland as a result of peasant migration and repeated flooding, [which] could be reclaimed through intensive [slave] labor. Wealthy proprietors “had received extensive grants of tidal land on the condition that they would make it arable.”  The rise of Shīʻa Islam [in an anti-slavery movement] also occurred around this time …”[i]

Nevertheless, the issue today is whether or not Muslim scholars and jurists can overcome their silence concerning slavery and make fatwa or opinions to the whole world against slavery in the world?

Furthermore, can Muslims engage in discussions about slavery in the Muslim world and not be charged with committing Bid’dah or harmful innovation?

I believe that Muslim scholars and jurists or ulema can come out of the deep dark intellectual hole surrounding the issue of slavery; I believe that Malcolm X would have made the argument that slavery is absolutely and categorically forbidden in Islam and that its practice is a crime against humanity.

I add that it is also necessary that individual Muslims everywhere disavow slavery. I think Muslims should because the enslavement of human beings is the practice of tyranny and oppression and Islam is against oppression. To pretend to be the master over another human being as property when Allah is the only Master over all of humanity is an act of defiance against God.

Furthermore, the practice of making people slaves voids one’s claim to be a Muslim. All the prayers of such a person will fall like lead balls onto the ground. There is a legal basis under Sharia Law to make this clear.

I have heard many Muslims argue on the basis of Hadith or the ‘Book of Sayings’ of the Prophet that slavery is justified simply because it is qualified as permissible in both the Hadith and the Quran.

If you counter their arguments for slavery then some of them go so far as to claim that you are committing ‘Bidah’ or innovation which is a change contrary to Islam or they claim that you are not Mujtahid (one qualified to give opinion on Hadith and Quran.) Then I’ve seen them walk away and instead of getting on a horse they get in their car, a bad innovation, and drive away.

They drive away without the least concern that they are tearing the ‘fitrah’ (Fitra, or fitrah, in Arabic) or fabric of creation by poisoning the environment we all depend upon to live with carbon dioxide.  

Those kind of Muslims deny any argument on the basis of ‘bid’ah hasana’. ‘Bid’dah Hasana’ means ‘good innovation’. Good innovations are permissible in Islam. Yet those same kinds of people claim to be for what is good and claim that they have faith in Allah. But the truth is, you cannot claim to fight against injustice everywhere while at the same time you preserve an unjust practice upon others in the form of slavery. Those two orientations are mutually exclusive. You either stand for justice or you stand for injustice.

According to the Holy Quran and the Hadith, the practice of taking slaves in Islam was neither obligatory in times of peace nor war. Muslims were not compelled by law to own slaves. What is not obligatory need not be practiced. Therefore, slavery can be banned in the Muslim community because it is not necessary.

Neither can it be argued rightly that the practice of taking slaves was ‘highly recommended’ or ‘Mustahabb’ for Muslims because over ninety percent of Muslims in the past did not own slaves nor aspire to do so. Nor did official policies exists as incentives to encourage Muslims to aspire to own slaves.

It can be argued that enslaving other human beings in the past was generally frowned upon. It thus could be classified as ‘offensive’, ‘detestable’, or ‘abominable’ ‘Makrooh’ (Arabic) because of the unavoidable cruelty or oppression to another human being which follows. That would have qualified Arab, Turkish or Muslim slave traders as immoral and to have been practitioners of what is evil called forbidden in Islam at that time as well as today. 

For example, countless thousands of African boys who were enslaved from southern Sudan and Congo were taken to slave markets in Cairo, Egypt. There they would be auctioned like animals to Turkish slave traders. But, before being auctioned the African boys would be castrated. Most of them would die from bleeding to death or from infection. Those who didn’t die would be auctioned to Ottoman Turks who then would assign them to the harams of rich Turks and in the palace of the Ottoman Sultan. Muslims were not alone in this barbaric practice.

Here is a scholarly account, and I quote: “The concubines were guarded by enslaved eunuchs, themselves often from pagan Africa. While Islamic law forbade the emasculation of a man, Ethiopian Christians had no such compunctions; thus, they enslaved and emasculated members of territories to the south and sold the resulting eunuchs to the Ottoman Porte.[29][30] The Coptic Orthodox Church participated extensively in the slave trade of eunuchs. Coptic priests sliced the penis and testicles off boys around the age of eight in a castration operation.[31] The eunuch boys were then sold in the Ottoman Empire. The majority of Ottoman eunuchs endured castration at the hands of the Copts at Abou Gerbe monastery on Mount Ghebel Eter.[31] Slave boys were captured from the African Great Lakes region and other areas in Sudan like Darfur and Kordofan then sold to customers in Egypt.[23][29] 

During the operation, the [Christian] Coptic clergyman chained the boys to tables and after slicing their sexual organs off, stuck bamboo catheters into the genital area, then submerged them in sand up to their necks. The recovery rate was 10 percent. The resulting eunuchs fetched large profits in contrast to eunuchs from other areas.”[32][33][34][ii]

That practice was a crime against humanity and the people who practiced it were evil and thus are not qualified to be remembered as Muslims nor Christians.

Every Muslim scholar in the United States and Jurists such as the Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb of Al-Azhar in Egypt and   the Chief Imam Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais of Masjid al-Haram in Mecca are advised to make fatwas against the practice of slavery.  Today, the Arab and Turkish world has decayed beyond regeneration. The handwriting is on the wall; when you institute mass dehumanization there are two losers. The victims and the abusers.

 

 

[i] Wikipedia

[ii] Wikipedia

IN MEMORY OF: THE MOST HONORABLE MALCOLM X, AL HAJJ MALIK AL SHABAZZ

Malcolm Lecturn

We all have dreams and aspirations to reach up for the stars. But under the stars and your dreams there are gun towers. Those gun towers cast long dark shadows on the yard to block the light of the stars from your view. They are instruments of repression which imprison you. They always have you in the cross hairs of their scope.

The towers rise high above the yard and from every corner of them extend  dark rifle muzzles  from shaded rooms behind which are nameless faceless shooters ready to take aim at any one who would have the courage to ascend the wall to take their freedom.  So we see the Michael Browns, the Eric Garners, and thousands of others like them taken down.

Sporadically, we all walk our yard and when we do we step into and out of lines of fire as do miniature figurines in a shooting gallery. 

It is a mind boggling experience to watch the endless procession of hapless men and women. We are that procession of people who continue generation after generation spewing forth from all the four horizons of the world to converge on a yard wherein we like peas in a pod live out our lives indistinguishable one from the other.

But there are deeper connections between us. We see and feel those connections every day. We are on some kind of conveyor belt a kind of assembly line.

It rolls us along a feedback loop between the prisons and our neighborhoods. It sweeps whole families away.  We are related to each other by blood and even if we are not then we are interconnected by a common subconscious mind which binds us to a network of fractured images. Such are the kinds of images which continually distort our perception of reality as would happen to one in a carnival’s house of mirrors. We see our reflections.

Faces are young and old. They play the same old roles consigned to them over and over again generation after generation. Typecast our energy is not our own it is continually sapped from us as oil is pumped from deep beneath the earth.

We are the lumpenproliteriate. The prison yard is our estate. But the illusion is such that we are not aware that the estate which we have inherited is bankrupt. We like Malcolm X have come to know that our estate is one wherein we should expect poverty. And what of the experience of our dear brother Malcolm X?

Did Malcolm X know that he was a figurine? A whatnot, a caricature of a man?  Was he such a thing having no power of self-animation? Was he a thing to be forever moved by inimical forces? The forces which giveth and taketh away?

The young Malcolm lost his civil rights and even more importantly he lost the power of his soul. Those two are the elements which great philosophers celebrate as the context of all relations between government and its citizens.

It as a way of life based upon a simple proposition. Government cannot be the context of human relations between it and the citizens who created it. Citizens don’t live in government because government is an idea in the mind of its citizens. Government, therefore, is a momentary choice citizens make about what government should be as citizens live their lives free, outside of government.

How does it happen that Malcolm X walked the yard in the line of fire? By what rule of logic does such an inversion from citizen over government to government over citizen take place? And can it be reversed?

Malcolm X must have pondered that his situation was a contradiction of all that we say is a man and woman’s inherent right. That incarcerated he could not by his free will even expand his lungs to take in fresh air.

How repressed he must have felt in that  situation.  His dawning dreams forced down to the ground and mixed with his base impulses must have caused extreme confusion in his mind.

That kind of confusion can only occur in one’s mind when the concept of freedom is turned inside out by the voice and actions of one’s fears. Such is a life lived out of misdirected attachments to what one falsely concludes are worthy objects of attraction. But if one wants to change, then a decision to change one’s life is a crisis. For an effort by anyone to replace unworthy objects of attraction is full of danger.

To self-motivate is to rise above the gun towers by spiritual force alone. It means not to fear ideas. It means not to fear the capacity to dream. It means to risk death by his choice to be free. 

It is a risk that all courageous men and women have taken throughout history and it is the greatest risk that courageous men and women take to be free today. 

Malcolm X knew that to become free he must fight. He learned that the fight would be spiritual in nature. He knew he had to fight so that he could claim and exercise his inherent natural rights against all oppressive forces.  He knew that it would take not one, two, or even 10 rounds to fight, but that it would take a life time of struggle day in and day out.

 His decision must have made him intuit that any stall or step backward in his struggle would have put him in the line of fire and trigger a shot from the gun tower. But more importantly, his fight could not be a response to fear nor could it be a fight solely in response to the power of the shooter.

Rather, Malcolm X understood his fight had to emanate from a completely transformed subconscious mind in conjunction with a clear consciousness of freedom and the price which he had chosen to pay so that he could have it. 

You are on the yard, too and you are in for the fight of your life, too.  So, prisoner, have courage and fight. 

 Malcolm X Statue2

 

 

JUSTICE DEMANDS THAT WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Malcolm X Statue2

After his spiritual awakening, Malcolm X struggled to get the message of justice to descendants of slaves in the United States. The facts he laid out about their lives were clear and incontrovertible. Descendants of slaves have been treated unjustly by both federal and state institutions from the inception of the United States Government.

Institutionalized social injustice is easy to identify. It is usually articulated in written form. It is when the law intentionally legitimates the practice of economic or educational discrimination against a class of people based upon one or more identifying characteristics like race, religion, national origin, or gender.

The legal remedy for institutionalized social injustice is addressed through the judicial system which includes the national Congress. A court may have state or federal jurisdiction whereas Congress and the Supreme Court have both state and federal jurisdiction under the Constitution. However, if either one or both judicial systems are corrupt then government is urged by a democratic process of voting to change the law but if it does not heed that urge then that government is brought down by political revolution.

The goal of both the democratic process and political revolution is to repeal discriminatory laws. If government responds in favor of justice for all its citizens then discriminatory laws are repealed. Those laws are then replaced by laws which prohibit economic and educational discrimination on the bases of race, religion, national origin, or gender.

Malcolm X addressed another kind of justice, too. He addressed the issue of moral justice. The origin of moral justice may or may not overlap with institutional justice.

Moral justice may be related to institutionalized injustice but moral injustice may also exist when there are no institutional issues at all. Put another way, governmental laws may not discriminate against a class of people based on class, race, national origin, or gender. Nevertheless, one or more groups may find that they are consistently on the short end of the stick when it comes to the distribution of goods in society. Or an individual or group may be singled out for ridicule and physical mistreatment but not as a result of government action.

Again the judicial system may afford any person a legal procedure by means of which he or she can bring a claim against a person in a civil court for a tortuous act committed against him or her. The court then can apply the law in its effort to restore a person or group to a condition of wholeness. But what if a person or group commits a wrongful act against herself or itself? What kind of justice applies in that situation?

That question should lead us to wonder whether there is a broader form of justice at work than what we normally think of. We should wonder whether it is true in our personal lives that our every act and thought trigger effects which come back to us multiplied hundreds of times and which either benefit us or harm us materially, emotionally, and spiritually.  

Many kinds of social problems which are faced by descendants of slaves cannot be addressed by judicial institutions because they are problems which arise from individual and family sentiment. Sentiment in turn is the product of collective fears and attractions and so the choices made within families and the community by individuals is more or less a mirror image of collective sentiments.

What is good for us has value for us in the short and long run. It is what benefits both an individual and his or her family and community. The three dimensions of our lives make up our moral world, a world which is held together by collective sentiments.

What drives collective sentiment and thus individual choices within a family and/or community is fear or attraction. Fear or attraction in relation to others around us and the conscientious application of the cost/benefit ratio in all decision making opportunities we are presented with.

Making choices is an opportunity for each of us to grow because choices present us with a challenge. We either lash out irrationally and retard our growth or are attracted to others and make stronger ties with those in social relation to us.

We make choices understanding that each choice causes some beneficial and some harmful side effects. There is no perfect decision. But there are good ones which add value to our lives.  In the short and/or long run we individually and collectively benefit more than we are harmed.   

In our personal lives, much of what we suffer is the effect of poor decision making within the context of our individual, family, and community relations. That kind of self inflicted harm cannot be remedied in any court of law because the judicial system has a limit to its reach. Beyond that limit it is superseded by a broader system of justice.

There is yet another scale of balance. It is set within each of us, our families, and in our communities. It is precise in its measurements of our actions and the benefit or harms which result from them.  It is indifferent to whether we benefit or are harmed. It is a measure of justice which seesaws up and down on the right pan in opposite relation to the up and down movement on the left pan. It is a scale which is tilted by our actions as well as by our inactions. Descendants of slaves should be very concerned about what harmful acts are being weighed against them today.

Intra-racial murder and disease are the leading causes of death among descendants of slaves in the United States, today. Those facts mean that our individual, family, and community sentiments and the actions which arise from them are more harmful than beneficial to us in the scale of justice. The growth or retardation challenge is tilted against growth and in favor of retardation for descendants of slave.  That is a social fact.

We are now faced with too many children of descendants of slaves who are generally untrained and increasingly irrational in their behavior. That is so because their sentiments have become hateful and their fears are directed toward one another. Yet those sentiments are shaped by the sentiments of the adults who raise them. Negative sentiments are like a contagious disease which is passed over from one generation to the next. Thus, over time we as a community describe in our moral motion a downward spiral with no end in sight.

Is this justice too impersonal, too indifferent to what we have suffered here in the United States that it would allow us to collapse? The answer is yes, it would because we are held solely responsible for our actions under its jurisdiction.  

Even though it seems unfair and cruel on the surface; we are therefore getting what we deserve. By the strict law of necessity, we are getting what we deserve even though many of our youth were in part made to be the monsters they have become not by choice but by conditioned reflex. Nevertheless, it is solely our actions which are counted in our scale of balance.

Zahnräder

The wheels of justice turn mechanically throughout the entire universe. Unseen, like the inner gears of a clock, a scale of balance inheres in all things and tips the scales on both the left and the right sides. Thus justice is indifferent to whether or not we understood what we did at the time we committed an act or whether we meant to do a particular act. It simply measures the weight of every act both beneficial and harmful. Both intelligent and ignorant creatures and non-living things are held to the same standard of proportionate justice.

A seagull dives to catch a fish in a lake but it misjudges the depth of the lake. It breaks its neck and dies. Justice has exacted a cost proportionate to the misjudgment and circumstances of the seagull.

An exhausted mother falls asleep. She rolls over onto her newborn infant and smothers it to death. The mother’s intent is irrelevant. Justice will hear no plea for pity from her. No deal can be made with her that will circumvent the dispassionate movement of justice. Her baby is dead and will remain dead forever. Justice has exacted the proportionate costs for both the infant’s suffocation and the mother’s negligence under the circumstances.

One group does not hunt in season and that group starves to death while another group hunts in season and lives. Justice is indifferent to both the pleasurable and the painful consequences which one may gain or suffer. Justice has proportioned merit on the basis of their action and inaction.

One group learns the sentiments of fear, anger, jealousy, hate, and envy toward its family members and others in its community. They kill and steal from each other. That community dies even though they were forced to live impoverished lives in a ghetto because living in a ghetto does not make one act ghetto. Ghetto behavior is a mirror of one’s sentiments.

Another group learns sentiments of attraction and caring for one another and they survive and thrive even though they put the other group in the ghetto subjecting them to abject poverty. Committing wrong on an outside group does not make one act wrong to those in their own group. Their moral world may not collapse if it is held together by strong positive sentiment.

But justice is paradoxical in nature. The paradox is that while it is indifferent to all outcomes it simultaneously demands that you love one another to avoid harm. Love for self, family, and community therefore is the key to your individual, family, and community survival under the rule of proportionate justice.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Earth Colony.Net: CONTINENT X, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Africa

The ‘Afrocentric’ paradigm laid down by Dr. Molefi Asante is ideologically illusory.[1] There is no ‘circle’ which bounds the place he identifies. And thus there is no center. It is a thesis intentionally and negligently supported by numerous false premises.  All of those premises have been and are now proffered as facts, but such are in fact false.

 

For those reasons the implication in the basic assumption of ‘Afro-Centrism’, i.e., that descendants of slaves in the America can find, experience, and express a higher ethnic unity by means of his ideology is impossible. It therefore must be rejected as a logically defective ideology. 

 

Such fallacious arguments have been and are promoted by scholars such as Dr. Molefi Asante of Temple University, Philadelphia. He does not live on the continent of his ancient ancestors but rather he lives here in the United States. 

MICRO NOT MACRO

 

His central thesis is that ‘Africa exists’. He does not address that in his definition of Afrocentricity.[2] But the truth is that ‘Africa’ as a concept does not correspond to anything which exists objectively.  The term ‘Africa’ has no existential import. That is because the continent designated ‘Africa’ was named by Europeans after a Roman military general named ‘Scipio–Africanuus’ (236-183 BCE). Therefore, we cannot affirmatively quantify the concept of ‘Africa’. We can only qualify it by saying that ‘Africa is not’. The Continent has a slave name. It is Continent X.

 

Thus, their adoption of the moniker ‘Afro-Centric’ and then making the argument that ‘African’ names adopted by descendents of slaves in the Americas are a sign of being a member of a universal culture is wrong. In truth, scholars such as Dr. Molefi Asante are instead using Afro-Centrism as a wedge to further divide and confuse the descendents of ex-slaves in the Americas. 

 

Dr. Asante’s effort to propagandize the ideology of Afrocentrism also indirectly collaborates with European culture. Dr. Asante cannot support an ‘African’ unity because the subject of his ideology does not exist. However, what Dr. Asante does do indirectly is to celebrate a Roman invader of an ancient Canaanite (Black) nation and thus celebrate western dominance over the people of the continent he purports to love.  

 

The designation of the continent as ‘Africa’ and the categorization of all persons living within its geographical borders or who are living in the Americas and descended from people living within its borders  as ‘African’ is based upon the false premise that people living on the continent have  a universal identity. 

 

On the contrary, people living on the continent do not have a universal set of socio-economic interests, values, and perspectives above that of the necessities of life. The truth is that there is no evidence to support the claim of a universal identity on the continent.

 

Family and tribal sentiment are the historical basis for individuals’ self concept and cultural identity on the continent. Family and tribal sentiment is generally the basis of cultural identity on the continent today. Descendents of slaves in the United States do not share any of the myriad sentimental attachments to values, interests, and perspective of the people living on the continent.

 

Furthermore, the geopolitical fact is that all of the 55 nation states  on the continent are based  upon European colonial political structures and thus do not even rationally reflect in their codified law and higher educational institutions the local cultural sentiments of the people. The continent is fractured into uncountable pieces with very few strings of attachment.

 

That fact is most evidenced by the many different indigenous languages spoken within the borders of the many so-called nation states on the continent. If the continent were divided along linguistic lines instead of those boundaries superimposed by colonial powers from the 15th to 20th centuries there would be over 2000 independent nations.

 

The truth is that those colonial ghost states are now ruled by dominant tribes and the elite families within those tribes and finally by European and United States military and economic interests. Those same dominant tribes have adopted French, English, Italian, Portuguese, or Arabic (except for the Eritreans and Abyssinians) as their national languages because there has been no universal language ever adopted by Black people on the main continent. White supremacist ideology dominates the whole continent because indigenous leaders can do nothing significant for their people without the approval or support of a Western power.

 

The same argument can be made regarding traditional religious practices on the continent. Dr. Asante’s claim that: “All people create their religions out of their histories.” is false. Again he violates the logical rule of existential import. It is only true that some people create their religions out of their histories. Some other religions claim their creation outside of human history. The two differing claims are essential to understanding why parochial religious beliefs and practices are diminishing in the face of both Christianity and Islam. It is because both Christianity and Islam are universal in scope and yet are elastic enough to be adapted to any culture. But let us look at it another way.

 

If the continent were divided along traditional religious lines there would be as many nations as there are clans.  That would make a universal identity on the continent impossible because the uncounted local religions do not have the potential for universality. 

 

The Kingdom of Aksum is a case in point. There the religion of Christianity was established by decree of the Negus Ezana of Aksum beginning in 330 A.D. From that date Aksum, later called Abyssinia, maintained a stronger cultural unity because of the popular sentiment for the universalism of Christianity. That country remained more unified than any other culture on the continent and was not colonized by a European power until the 20th century. In short, divide and conquer didn’t work against them because of their greater cultural unity.

 

Tribal religions on the continent, though they are ancient, have always been and are parochial or clannish in nature. Furthermore, they have no written religious texts and thus have linguistic and geographical limitations which make them lack the potential for a universal scope of appeal.

 

Some may argue that ancient Kemet did have universal concepts which embraced all those who lived on the continent and even humanity.  However, that is a false premise, too.  There is no evidence that the people of ancient Kemet invited other people living on the continent and outside their culture to the east, south, and west of them to share with them as members of their culture.

 

One possible religious exception may be argued. The Pharaoh Akhenaton did establish a monotheistic religion not created by his peoples’ history but rather born out of a non-historical visionary experience. But he was murdered by the parochial priestly class. The priests wanted to maintain their status, power, and privilege within their parochial religious practices. That historical fact simply proves the point that parochial traditional religious practices on the continent lack the elasticity to provide a universal identity for the people on the continent. 

 

 

MORE PROOFS NEGATING THE AFRO-CENTRIST IDEOLOGY

 

This leads us to yet another argument made by Dr. Asante. He argues that Arabs and thus Islam enslaved Black people on the continent because of some defect in the religion of Islam and hatred toward Blacks. There are several logical inconsistencies to his argument. Let’s look at some facts one at a time.

 

First,  Blacks conquered Arabs and enslaved them prior to the advent of Islam. For example, Abyssinia extended to the whole of the Hejaz and the Yemen on the day of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth.

 

Secondly, dominant Black tribes made war with and took prisoner Black people from weaker Black tribes and then sold Black people to Arabs. That occurred before the advent of Islam as well as after the advent of Islam. It is a myth that the different tribes on the continent lived in peace for over 60,000 years. The different cultures did not live in peace for thousands of years before there were Semitic people.[3]

 

Thirdly, Dr. Asante denies that Arabia is a peninsula of Africa. That it is a peninsula is a geographical fact. That means that Arabia is a part of the continent. Furthermore, it is a fact that the people living on that peninsula are either Black people or descendents of Black people who migrated out of Africa over 50,000 years BCE. That migration hypothesis is supported by DNA evidence. Thus it is proof that Black people made war with each other long before the advent of and during the rise of Islam in the 7th century A.D.

 

Fourthly, Dr. Asante does not accentuate the role played by dominant chiefs who bartered with both Arabs and Europeans for the sale of Black people as slaves. But it is a historical fact that the interior of Africa was generally impenetrable by both Arabs and Europeans and that but for the assistance of dominant Black tribes on the continent who saw profit to be made by helping slave traders most Black people would not be in the Americas today. Before white supremacy had been internalized by indigenous people, tribal chiefs opened the doors to white supremacy without a fight.  

 

The fact those dominant tribes had no indigenous religious texts rationalizing slavery for profit does not negate the behavior which evidenced the practice of enslaving Black people as an acceptable value in tribal business affairs.

 

It was Black people who lead the slave traders through the interior to capture Black people on both the east and west coasts of the continent. It was Black people who lead David Livingstone to H.M. Stanley on the Zambezi expedition and to the source of the Nile River.  

 

Today it is Black people who are allowing the resources of the continent to be hauled away outside the continent by pirate nations. It is Black people right here in the United States who work to thwart the progress of their own ethnic members for monetary reward. House Negroes all as Malcolm X would say!

 

The fundamental assumption underlying Dr. Molefi Asante’s Afrocentric ideology is like a glass marble which when held up to the eye can be seen to have a crack running dead through the middle of it. It is defective and can only lead to a chain of defective inferences.  It therefore follows necessarily that his whole ideology is inconsistent with the rules which govern sound and cogent thinking and should be rejected by anyone who aspires for truth and justice.


[1] Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change (Revised and Expanded), by Molefi Asante, pub. African American Images, Chicago, Illinois, 2003

[2] Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change (Revised and Expanded), by Molefi Asante, pub. African American Images, Chicago, Illinois, 2003,

[3] See the Pluvial Period of the continent

Welcome to Earth Colony.net: FROM THE SYLLABUS OF MALCOLM X: ‘ITS NOT FROM WHENCE YOU COME, BUT WITHER YOU GO’, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Malcolm X Statue2

Since at every moment the odds in favor of the continuity of life on earth are so minute, a sweeping generalization is justified. The truth is that all odds are against us, against life.  The fact that you are conscious at this moment, in some place right now, does not in the least negate that proposition.  Chance rolls that way because that is the nature of chance.

 

It is the nature of chance to prevent life and to kill whatever life which by chance has come to exists. For, chance produces nothing.  And what we call change is no more than the desolation of all things into nothingness. So, to engender life and then to trust the hands of chance to be the cradle for life is to give to life no chance at all.  The hand of chance rocks us all on the edge of a steep precipice.

 

Like gulls nested upon a rocky cliff we are nested in life not by our own will but by a fortuitous mix of circumstances. We, a singular form of life on earth are like loose strands of thread dangling on the fabric of nature.  As loose strands of thread are to a piece of cloth, life is an oddity among oddities wherever it is found.  There, at the very extreme edge of that great chain of being, human life is forever pregnant with tragedy.

 

Tragically, moment by moment, we cling tenaciously to what we think ‘is certainty’ only in the end to find hopelessness.  All the while in our hopeless state we are conscious of the overwhelming pain caused by anxiety which streams unendingly through our bodies. No respite do we have from it when we are bound to consciousness, and no respite do we have even while liberated in that free space we call sleep.

 

Our anxiety is amplified when we find that neither consciously nor in sleep can we know where we are nor can we know the time wherein we live. For example, our rulers appear straight but are crooked and are applied on curved surfaces. The compass needle shows to us direction but the truth is that it is bound by the power of magnetism outside of which the needle would lie motionless and thus rendering the compass useless to us.

 

Our predicament only underscores how very lost we are, for we cannot even say that we are going in circles.  To quell our agitation we commit ourselves to myths and conjectural interpretations as though there is something in them to intellectually grasp. But all we find are empty spaces and we are left with empty minds. That is the enigma.

 

Chance has no inherent purpose yet we continue to explain its meaning and attempt to articulate it. We have spoken across the ages in many languages about the enigma of chance; and we have written on miles of parchment uncountable sentences only to grow the enigma of chance. From the first page to the very last, we have covered on those same parchments oceans of ink with our musing, as would a painter on a canvas, of countless inferences about the perplexities of this enigma.

 

Yet, on every page what is reflected back onto our faces are nothing more than the deep dark shadows of worthless ink stains. Within their deeply furrowed groves we find nothing germinating which could yield to us something about our chances.  So then what good does this agitation do for the mind?

 

We do so love to reason on the enigma of chance and we never tire of doing so but always we are led to one conclusion. Every person is singularly the most unlikely being to have ever existed on earth. And all the spermatozoa which did not unite with egg and to fruition roll in sum are singularly the most likely outcome of an ejaculatory shot into the darkness of a womb.

 

Yet, from such wombs we are pulled out one after the other.  We are birthed into the world in the role of the most unlikely form of life to have ever come to be on earth ‘by chance’. We compete one against the other for a place in the sun.  And compete we do though the back-drop to our lives provides no answer to the question: whence came I?

 

We have no answer to that question because chance, like an accident, inheres in itself no destiny or fate toward which it rolls. It is not even directed by the force of gravity.  It has no inherent nature to fulfill at all and so why would we have a purpose? We having been only a shot in the dark of our mother’s womb are born into the constancy of ignorance.  And so we find only futility in our search outside the endless chain of material effects for a reason for our being here because there is an utter absence of any meaning for accidents.  But perhaps in moments of clarity we grasp the idea of hope and wonder about it.

 

Is it conceivable that chance may roll its own demise? Can it roll its own conversion?  And if that be true then there may be that least likely accident; there may be a manifestation of an infinitesimally improbable and inherent contradiction in chance itself.  

 

Thus, life, human life, though an accident may bow up against chance as its only possible contradiction. Might we peak the thought that human life is the probability that chance will cease to govern the natural order arbitrarily and that instead there will be some reason which may forever contest with chance for supremacy over the universe? Is it the possibility of the impossible?

 

The inconceivable contradiction of chance that it would manifest its opposite by accident; that chance would by accident face in the infinitesimally improbable mirror of a human mind its own desolation by the light of reason was inevitable.

 

That inevitable accident that chance would cancel out itself may not answer the question ‘whence came I?’ but it will answer the question ‘whither go I?’  

 

If chance and the human mind are mutually exclusive powers then the act of reasoning amid the desolation of all things into nothingness must be the medium by which we are drawn into what is rational. And if what is rational is in opposition to the hot hand of nature which is the instrument of chance it follows necessarily that what is rational is to some degree supernatural. We are thus forced to conclude that the supernatural exists and that it exists for us.

 

And so our minds now clothed in and shielded by the reflected images of the natural world will deliver what is essential in us into that which is supernatural and into participation within the Divine Mind which governs it.