THE HONORABLE ELIJAH MUHAMMAD AS GURU
BY AMIR FATIR
The job of a true guru (spiritual teacher) is to deflate and remove the ego because the ego is the main impediment to realizing who you really are. Because we don’t have a good guru tradition in America, nobody understood the Messenger’s guru work. Spiritually immature pundits thought he was simply “jealous” of his students.
Ironically, the thing we’re good at usually is also the thing that supports and sustains our ego. So the true guru takes away our toys to dislodge the ego from its stranglehold position over the true self (the Ba or Atman).
People think Malcolm X was the Messenger’s best follower, but in reality, poor Malcolm was one of his worst. He never followed Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm followed Marcus Garvey and he used the Nation of Islam’s platform and energy to promote his limited understanding of Garveyism. Unbeknownst to outsiders, much of the tension between NOI national officials and Malcolm was over that. While giving “shout outs” to the Messenger, Minister Malcolm was almost always doing his own thing, or what he imagined his late father (a Garveyite) would do in support of Garvey’s ideals.
Malcolm’s daughter, Attallah Shabazz wrote:
“With the encouragement of his brothers, [Malcolm] began studying the tenets of the Nation of Islam. While the Little brothers didn’t adhere to all the teachings personally, they did believe it was the only current American- based ideology that had the potential to unify black people and teach self-pride the way their childhood affiliation with the Garvey movement had done. Also, the brothers believed that through the Nation of Islam they could finally become part of a larger family that could unite them once more”.
--- Attallah Shabazz
Foreword to Autobiography of Malcolm X p. XV
The Little family was a family of Garveyites who joined the Nation on the rebound to experience some residue of what they nostalgically remembered from childhood. Malcolm and his brothers became NOI Ministers, but none of them really “adhered to all the teachings personally”.
In other words, they faked. Does anyone who ever met Elijah Muhammad think he didn’t know they were faking? Why do you think he wrote so many papers on hypocrites?
In New York, Malcolm hung out with a lot of Garveyites who gladly taught him Black history. These people further pulled Malcolm back to Garvey’s vision and away from the new possibility the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was introducing but which Malcolm never understood or embraced.
Minister Farrakhan is a Garveyite too. So the two men the world most heard of Elijah Muhammad through were, deep down, Garvey’s men, not the Messenger’s.
I say and I say again, you don’t know Elijah Muhammad. You haven’t even gotten a clue. No man can serve two masters. If Farrakhan was his man, why did Elijah have to send soldiers to the Congress of African Peoples to pull Farrakhan down, physically, if Farrakhan deviated from the speech Elijah gave him? You mean he didn’t trust his own national minister? No, he didn’t. But he loved Farrakhan and Malcolm and tried to cleanse them of crippling egotism.
Malcolm and Farrakhan loved him too. Yes, they did. These were not bad men. They had on the wrong eyeglasses and with those eyeglasses they couldn’t clearly see the guru they claimed they were following.
The guru takes away the child’s toys
Speaking in these colleges and universities was good for the Nation of Islam, I would report to Mr. Muhammad because the devilish white man’s best minds were developed and influenced in the colleges and universities. But for some reason that I could never understand until much later, Mr. Muhammad never really wanted me to speak at their colleges and universities. I was to learn from Mr. Muhammad’s own sons, he felt unequipped to speak at colleges himself.
Malcolm X Autobiography, page 290
So Malcolm wanted to exert energy and valuable time speaking to the “best white minds” --------so he believed he had a future with White people while his teacher taught they had no future. If Malcolm was the zealot for Elijah he claimed to be, if he knew Mr. Muhammad didn’t want him speaking to whites at the white colleges, why didn’t he just stop?
I use to think Coltrane’s music was horrendous until my appreciation blossomed. I also use to think Malcolm and Farrakhan were better speakers than the Messenger until one day I really heard him.
Those boys aren’t even in his league. But if you prefer Kenny G to Coltrane, oh well.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad did everything he could to deflate Malcolm’s terrible ego. He took him out of Muhammad Speaks. Malcolm pouted like a spoiled baby. “The very newspaper I created wouldn’t even mention me and my great works.” Hush up, ego!
After Malcolm blatantly and deliberately rebelled after the JFK assassination, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad silenced him for a mere 90 days. Malcolm couldn’t stop talking and leaking to the press and giving interviews. Ego!
When nothing else worked, he evicted Malcolm from the house. Malcolm was a Taurian and Taurians need their houses.
The guru’s job is to strip you bare because all the pile of dooky we amass in this life only separates us from our own divinity. Quran says “Piling up diverts you until you come to the graves”.
Man’s original state is bare naked, unconditioned. The guru strips us of all our “things” so we get a glimpse of who we are without the coverings of samskaras over us.
At the height of Muhammad Ali’s popularity, the Messenger kicked him out of the Nation of Islam. He took Min. Farrakhan’s fiddle from him and wouldn’t let him play music. He told me to stop writing poetry.
We are invested in so many things when all that matters is self. So the guru snatches them away. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad could no more care about speaking to silly white college kids than the Dalai Lama could be jealous over which kid won the most marbles in a marble game.
Ironically, the two men who “got” the Messenger as guru better than his ministers were not even members. I’m speaking of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Jesse Jackson. Moreso, the Messenger use to spank them but they listened to him and Dr. King’s last mission to obliterate predatory capitalism via the Poor People’s March on Washington grew out of Dr. King’s and the Messenger’s cooperative genius.
Long after the NOI Ministers had abandoned the Messenger, Jesse Jackson appeared on Face the Nation to pay tribute to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad years after his physical death.