Clinging to the Earth

In the Spirit of the Gracious and Compassionate
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth

Lester A. Knibbs aka Doctor Hakeem

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انفِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ۚ أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ ۚ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ

O you who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when you are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter.

(Qur’an 9:38)

In March 1974, I joined the organization under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad called The Nation of Islam (“NOI”). I knew nothing about the message of the Qur’an and joined the NOI because it seemed to be the last group standing which was successfully struggling to improve the condition of the African American people. The NOI did a lot of good work.

When I read C. Eric Lincoln’s observation (in his classic 1961 study, The Black Muslims in America) that most of the members of the NOI had middle class aspirations, I was offended by his observation. But in later years, I came to realize that his observation was true. I had accepted the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, and a major part of what he taught was that the United States of America was going to be totally incinerated (which I anticipated with great joy). How can people aspire to be a part of something (the American dream, which is the essence of middle class aspirations) which they hope and expect to be destroyed? The actual truth is that most of the members of the NOI did not believe what Elijah Muhammad was teaching. They saw the NOI as a path to a righteous life of material comfort, the American dream, a comfortable middle-class life.

After the passing of Elijah Muhammad in February 1975, W.D. Mohammed exposed the errors in his father’s teachings and led his followers to the Qur’an and the example of Prophet Muhammad, who brought the Qur’an to the world 14 centuries ago.

Wallace D. Muhammad was the son of Elijah Muhammad, and was chosen on February 25, 1975, to succeed his father as leader of the NOI. In later years, the organization’s name was changed twice; its name at the time of its dissolution in 1985 was American Muslim Mission (“AMM”). Wallace D. Muhammad also changed his name, and its spelling, to Warith Deen Mohammed (“W.D. Mohammed”).

In the 43 years since this change, few of those who claim to be followers of W.D. Mohammed have learned to read the Qur’an. They no longer dress like followers of Elijah Muhammad, and no longer claim to believe in his teachings. But, it does seem obvious that their aspirations remain the same — a middle-class American life.

American life is corrupt — top to bottom. What is needed is for those who believe in Allah and in Prophet Muhammad to go forth — armed with the message of the Qur’an (which is in Arabic) — and fight for righteousness and purity and against the pervasive corruption of American life.

But those who claim to be believers, and call themselves Muslims, are clinging to the earth. They want the middle-class life, the life of this world. “But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter.”


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