Our brother El Hajj Malik El Shabazz was assassinated 43 years ago today. For me, this brother was not only a symbol of Black manhood, but of Black Fatherhood. His speeches about what it meant to be a man and father had such a profound effect upon me that upon embracing Islam, when searching for a family name I chose the name “Malik” (later Abdul-Malik) because of the profound impact of this man. I moved to “join” the Muslims because I recognizd that our people needed not only a personal religion (of personal values and morals) but that we also needed a system and way of life that would provide for a systematic collective salvation.
One night (while I was still in college) I was walking on 14th street in Washington, DC – clearly having the signature of Malcolm on me, but I could not see it. Two men were standing on the corner drinking wine and upon seeing me coming, they put their bags behind their backs. When
“Yes,” I responded
“Muhammad is the Prophet right?”
“You don’t drink alcohol do you?
“You don’t eat pork do you?”
He then turned to his friend and said, “He’s Muslim!”
He then asked me, “You believe in respecting our women?”
“You don’t smoke?”
He then said, “See, THAT’S what I’m talking about…Muslim!
They could see the signature of Malcolm on me even though – at that time – I didn’t know much about the particulars of Islam. However, I had been listening to Malcolm’s lectures. Malcolm said, “A husband means you take care of your wife. But everyone can’t take care of a woman. Anyone can make a baby. But a father takes care of that baby.”
I learned from Malcolm in a profound and persuasive way. My spiritual father is El Hajj Malik Shabazz
Many years later while serving as Muslim Chaplain at Howard. One of the daughters of Malcolm (Malikah) was a student at Howard. She called me and told me that a man was stalking her and that this man said in a message that he is “after her” and that he can “see her where ever she is”.
So I told her we have something working on two levels: One is at the human level and the other at the level of Shaytan (Satan). First part is that the Prophet advised us to read three suras to avoid the Shaytan. The second is that if you see him following you, then go into a lighted area and call me and I will call for some men to intervene. I then told her that because of our love for your father, I know that many men would be willing to die because of what your fahter has done for us…
I wanted to share these short reflections on Malcolm as well as this video of Imam Zaid and others visiting Malcolms grave with a group of other Muslims