In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
First, I must extend deep and sincere thanks to Allah for affording me this opportunity through my beautiful sister, Ebony Muhammad.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan once taught that when approaching education, the mindset we must have is ‘I am History.’ The weight of this statement is beyond the understanding that we often may conclude with. That is, we are a complex combination of genetic, mental, and spiritual materials that span a wide range of time. In other words, because I am connected to my parents I am the past, and because I have been born with the innate ability to reproduce, in me is the potential for future. However, the depth of the statement is much deeper.
I am history. “I am” is a verb phrase rooted in the verb ‘to be’, and refers to present tense action. How is our present actions related to our past actions? Every decision we make contributes to our current situation. In fact, the decisions we’ve made in the past shape the variety of decisions or options that are available to us today. I am my history, because my present situation is the mathematical result of all of my decisions of the past plus divine mercy. This is why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us, for example, you are what you eat. If you eat food that is reflective of death long enough, then we will begin to decay ourselves. In other words, the length of our lives hinges upon the choices we make in our dietary habits.
Choices are integral parts of our lives. Choices, made often enough, become habits and habits forms character. The better the choices we make, the better the habits we form, and the better the character we develop.
Minister Farrakhan writes in Torchlight for America, “The root of America’s suffering is basic immorality, where greed, lust, and an inordinate self-interest has become a way of life.” The need for breaking these habits is more important today than it has ever been in the past. The world is in this miserable condition, because leadership all over the world lacks good (moral) character. If the country, the state or your local city had leadership with good character, we would be able to collectively change our conditions almost instantly.
What we must prepare ourselves for today is the leadership role that we will be required to take in the near future. Allah (God) teaches in the scripture that he will always takes the ‘despised and rejected,’ the ‘stone that the builders rejected,’ and use that individual or those individuals to be the ‘cornerstone’ of a new reality. However, to qualify we must have good character. To develop our character, we must begin to monitor closely the choices we make and the habits we form. By doing this, we will be helping ourselves to develop the kind of character that is needed in building a new world.
Minister Farrakhan teaches, “Character is the sea upon which knowledge floats.” All the knowledge in the world is not beneficial if we don’t have the right character to support it. For example, individuals who theoretically had ‘high degrees of knowledge’ led the housing industry and yet the market crashed. The root of this crash was basic greed. If they had better character, the outcome may not have been the same. And the character they had was developed through years of immoral choices.
Allah always chooses men and women to represent his message. His choice is based on the quality of that individual’s heart and on the character they possess. If their heart and character is right, then he places a message of truth and guidance with them. Allah requires that we develop better character as we progress in our lives.
However, good character requires something that many of us seem to flee. Character requires difficulty. Minister Farrakhan writes “Brothers and Sisters, each time we turn away from the struggle to overcome difficulty, there then is deterioration of character and there is destruction of the Will.” Again, choices. Turning away from difficulty is a choice that we make to avoid something that we may lack the faith to know that we can overcome it. Every time we make this choice, we are inadvertently diminishing the character we have developed thus far. This is because good character needs obedience to the will of Allah (God) first and foremost.
The next time you have a choice to make, whether small or large, make sure you remember that your life is comprised of these choices. Make sure you remember that a good choice will lead to good character, which is the prerequisite to leadership (of self and others).
I thank you for reading these few words. May Allah bless us all with the light of understanding!
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