When Al-Hajj Malik
El-Shabazz was in Mecca, he wrote this letter:
Never have I
witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true
brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here
in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all
the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I
have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I
see displayed all around me by people of all colors.
been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca, I have made my seven
circuits around the Ka'bah, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad.
I drank water from the well of the Zam Zam. I ran seven times back
and forth between the hills of Mt. Al-Safa and Al Marwah. I have
prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on Mt.
There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all
over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to
black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same
ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my
experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist
between the white and non-white. America needs to understand Islam,
because this is the one religion that erases from its society the
race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have
met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would
have been considered white - but the white attitude was removed
from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen
sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together,
irrespective of their color.
You may be shocked by these words
coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and
experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns
previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions.
This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I
have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the
reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I
have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the
flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of
intelligent search for truth.
During the past eleven days here
in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from
the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the
same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue,
whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the
whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white
Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black
African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
We were truly all
the same (brothers) - because their belief in one God had removed
the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the
white from their attitude.
I could see from this, that perhaps
if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps,
too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man - and cease to
measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their
"differences" in color.
With racism plaguing America
like an incurable cancer, the so-called "Christian" white
American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to
such a destructive problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save
America from imminent disaster - the same destruction brought upon
Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves.
Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater
spiritual insights into what is happening in America between black
and white. The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial
animosities - he is only reacting to four hundred years of the
conscious racism of the American whites. But as racism leads
America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences
that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger
generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the
handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the
spiritual path of truth - the only way left to America to ward off
the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.
Never have I
been so highly honored. Never have I been made to feel more humble
and unworthy. Who would believe the blessings that have been heaped
upon an American Negro? A few nights ago, a man who would be called
in America a white man, a United Nations diplomat, an ambassador, a
companion of kings, gave me his hotel suite, his bed. Never would I
have even thought of dreaming that I would ever be a recipient of
such honors - honors that in America would be bestowed upon a King
- not a Negro. "All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of
all the Worlds."
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