So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?

12 Jan 1946 – A 21-year old young man, who has been consuming and pushing dope, gambling, playing the numbers, peddling bootleg whiskey and hustling in New York, is arrested for burglary.  The man begins serving his sentence in February same year.

21 Apr 1964 – A black American Muslim is received as a guest of the state of Saudi Arabia by the order of Prince Faisal (Apr 21-30).  Prince Faisal also has a one to one meeting with him.  The same person later speaks at University of Beirut and Sudanese Cultural Center, and makes various appearances on Nigerian radio and television programmes. He also addresses students at Ibadan University sponsored by the National Union of Nigerian Students, and speaks at Marxist Forum, University of Ghana at Legon “Will Africa Ignite America’s Racial Power Keg”.  On May 14th he addresses the Ghanaian parliament and later has audience with Ghanaian President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Dear Readers, if you are thinking above information is related to two different people, you are mistaken.  All the above details are about one person: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, commonly known as Malcolm X.

Malcolm’s childhood wasn’t promising at all; rather it was very bleak and painful.  When he was still in his mother’s womb, one night the Ku Klux Klansmen surrounded his house, brandished their weapons and threatened his all alone mother because they did not agree with his father’s preaching.  His house was burnt to ground by the same gang when he was just 4, and when he was 6, his father died in a car accident.   When he was still young, his mother was declared insane and formally committed to the State Mental Hospital.  All these tragedies and hardships which followed on were to drag him into the abominable life of crime.

But, he was lucky enough to be saved by Allah Almighty when he accepted Islam and devoted his life to the cause of his new religion.  He first came to public attention in 1957 after the police beating of a Nation of Islam member named Johnson Hinton.  With just a waive of hand, he dispersed an angry crowd and avoided an imminent racial riot.  Talking about this incident, a police officer told the editor of the New York Amsterdam News: “No one man should have that much power.”  It was generally believed that Malcolm could instigate or stop a racial riot in America at any time.

This fame and respect followed Malcolm X till his death.  In 1960 when Fidel Castro arrived in New York to attend the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, he was so impressed by Malcolm X that he requested a private meeting with him.

Throughout early 60’s Malcolm X was one of the most sought after personalities of America.  He was frequently invited to speak at high ranking educational institutions and also regularly appeared on various TV and radio shows.

Can you imagine what transformation this was?  Can you just feel the feeling that a person may have on coming out of the most disgusting social filth and reaching the skies of fame and fortune?  It’s hard to grasp the whole phenomenon if one doesn’t believe in Allah.  Malcolm X’s life was doomed when he was mentally, physically and emotionally trapped into deplorable illegal activities, and had no chance of rescue.  A drug edict who had been selling drugs, hustling and stealing could only end up in jail or somewhere similar.  But, a totally different and rewarding fate awaited Malcolm when he reverted to Islam in jail.

From the depths of a derogatory life of crime, he touched the height of his career as one of the most influential leaders of his time.  It is utterly mind boggling that a person, who discontinued education after 8th class, was frequently invited to speak by such prestigious educational institutions like Harvard and Oxford.  A man who once loitered around the streets of New York, hustling and pushing dopes, was accepted as state guest of Saudi Arabia when he performed hajj, and was asked to address a number of important African bodies including Ghanaian parliament.

All these good things happened only when Malcolm accepted Islam and started devoting all his energy for its cause.  Though initially his approach was wrong, his intentions were right.  So, Allah guided him to the truth.   Malcolm’s right decision changed his destiny, and today he is revered as a hero by millions of people around the globe.  His autobiography was ranked as “one of the ten most important nonfiction books of the century” by the Time Magazine.  An American Muslim sister told me that thousands of people have accepted Islam after reading his biography.

These are the rewards which Allah almighty bestows on people who believe in Him and who work for the cause of Islam and humanity.   After passing 8th grade, Malcolm wanted to be a lawyer to have a reasonably respectable life.  And, see how Allah rewarded him – what respect and fame he earned in the world.   We can have such miraculous achievements only when Allah the most exalted is happy with us, and only His blessing can bring us this kind of success.

The second righteous Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once said, “We were disgraced and Islam brought us honour.  We will continue to enjoy this honour as long as we seek it in Islam.  The day we try to find respect through means other than Islam, Allah will disgrace us again.”  He also said, “I am afraid that the world will surrender to you, and you will become strangers to each other (you will lose Islamic love and brotherhood) at that time heaven will also ignore you.”

Dear brothers and sisters just look at the shameful state of Muslim Ummah today and compare our condition with the glorious lives of early Muslims.  Now compare our general belief system with the belief early Muslims had.  You can judge yourself where we lack, where we are mistaken and what is causing us such humiliation in the world.  If we want our lost grace back, we will have to believe in Allah as our only savior and Islam our only source of honour – just like El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.    Allah is all merciful and all kind – He will accept us as His most favourite people and return us our lost glory once again.   The choice is in our hands.