Monday, June 26, 2006


The following is an article that I've had in the stash for quite a while. Check it out and tell me what you think!

Is the Nation of Gods and Earths a Muslim Community?

I Majestic Allah

Within and outside the Nation of Gods and Earths (NGE), many are unsure as to the relation of the NGE to the religion of Islam as practiced by over 1 billion adherents throughout the world. Understandably, perspectives on the matter are varied, ranging from inclusion (those who see the NGE within the Islamic scope) to total exclusion (those who see the NGE having no relation to the religion of Islam). There are also those who see the NGE not as Muslims, but a group with ideas in the vein of Shiite and Sufi sects. The primary consequence of this argument is the way in which we define ourselves in relation to other cultures/religions in society. Furthermore, it begs the question: is the NGE merely an offshoot of the Nation of Islam (NOI), and by extension, orthodox Islam; or is it a new value system unique to itself? The answer to this question is one that incorporates many factors and connects varied cultural and social dynamics.

In order to look deeper into the question, it is imperative that we first evaluate the ideas and value system of the respective cultures/religions to see if they are indeed similar. The primary reason that many accuse the NGE of being quasi or Proto-Islamic is the use of the terms Allah and Islam. Although both groups use the terms, the meanings and context in which they are used are strikingly dissimilar.

In the traditional Islamic context, Allah is used to refer to an omnipotent, omniscient, astral God who is the object of adoration and worship in western monotheistic thought (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). God in Arabic is Ilah, so the prefix Al (meaning the) was added on to indicate a shift away from polytheistic culture/religion, as was the norm in pre-Islamic Arabia. In the paradigm of the NGE, Allah is the Blackman, who after gaining an acute awareness of his positive qualities, history, and the world around him, actualizes these positive qualities in order to be the creator of his own destiny and a positive enriching influence in his family and community (global and local). This worldview is not unlike the concept of the “perfect man” in Sufism and the Kabbalah. While many would hold that Allah is a term exclusive to the religion of Islam, it is actually an Arabic term that is also used by Arab Jews and Christians when speaking of God. Our use of the Arabic term is not only related to the history of the NGE (and our evolution out of the NOI, but also on the profound affect that the term carries when speaking of a change in the worldview from the Christian perspective held previous by many in the African-American and Latino community. While the Terms Allah & God are similar in religious usage, when used among a population that has been oppressed by a mix of white supremacy and religion (in this case Christianity), the term Allah often signals a stance of independence and separation from their previous cultural and religious experience.

The term Islam in the traditional Islamic context means “peace through submission”, and refers to the religion and culture developed by Muhammad Ibn Abdullah in 7th century Arabia. From the perspective of the NGE, Islam bespeaks the cultural filament of high civilization practiced and maintained by people of the Afro-Asiatic Diaspora. Even in orthodox Islam, it is acknowledged that Islam as an ideal championing the existence of the oneness of God predated the emergence of Islam as a religion. Similar to the term Allah, the NGE does not use the term Islam to be seen as Muslims, but to underscore the correlation between a civilization’s development of character & humanity, and it’s development of science & mathematics. It is well documented that the religion of Islam was a catalyst for the development of science, mathematics, and philosophy for hundreds of years, even influencing the enlightenment period in Europe. Within Africa, cities such as Djenne and Timbuktu are testimonies to Afro-Islamic achievements in mathematics and science, as well as human development and spirituality. In the African- American community, Islam (in it’s myriad of manifestations) usually indicated a system that improved one’s character, as well as one’s knowledge of and standing in the world. By seeing oneself within this ethno-cultural framework, the mental paradigm is developed where people of varied backgrounds can transform the behaviors that many of us suffer from (lack of motivation, defeatist behavior, anti-intellectualism). This is why within the NGE community, you will find terms such as “science/scientist”, “mathematics”, “right and exact”, and so forth. The NGE use of the term “Mathematics” is of particular importance as it relates to the Hindu-Arabic numerals we use. The history of the Hindu-Arabic number system is an example of the historical and social bond that connects civilizations and promotes human development by way of cultural and intellectual exchange. By seeing the filament that runs through the high civilizations of people of color, one can develop a universal worldview that champions and relates to the achievements of people of color all over the planet. While some may dismiss this framework as underdeveloped and imaginary, it is no more fantastic than the Zion of Rastafarian thought, or the “glory days” of Kemet of some Afrocentrists.

On a religious level, however it is important to note that orthodox Islam and the NGE are in no way the same. There is no veneration of Muhammad as the last prophet in the NGE, and the NGE has no set amount that is required to be distributed to the poor. Due to the view that man is the creator of his individual and collective destiny, prayer in the form of Salat is not required. Fasting is encouraged in the NGE, but not in a structured and mandated form as is Ramadan in orthodox Islam. Conversely, most Muslims would consider it anathema to call themselves God, and there is no outward expression of ethnocentrism present in the religion of Islam. Historically, there have been Islamic groups/sects that held views similar to the NGE, such the Zaydis of Yemen, the Druze of Lebanon, and the Baye Fall sect in Senegal, but these groups are the exception and not the rule. While comparisons to Sufism are fair (Exemplified by famous Sufi Al Hallaj, who was beheaded for exclaiming Anal Haqq, or “I am the truth”), it is important to note that many of the Sufis that advocated self-actualized Godhood identified with Gnostic and Neo-Platonic thought and often ran afoul of traditional Islamic tenets.

While it is understandable why the NGE is identified with Orthodox Islam given the history of the NGE as well as the usage of selected terms by both groups, the truth is that the NGE espouses many concepts that do not fit neatly within an Islamic scope. In fact, after Allah, the founder of the NGE left the NOI, he went to great lengths to identify the NGE as a separate community, even going so far as to order sweeping name changes so that the Gods and Earths would not be mistaken for Muslims of the NOI. While one may be tempted to dismiss this change as slight, it is no less indicative of a new worldview than Muhammad changing the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. It is also important to note that Allah, when asked about Islam, remarked, “that’s just I-Self-Lord-And-Master”, again speaking to the process of self-actualization rather than submission. Ultimately, to place the NGE in an Islamic scope does a disservice to both groups. One, it forces the NGE to fit it’s values within a previous but unparallel framework. Secondly, It compels Orthodox Islam to include a group with values that are dissimilar to their own. It also infers that there will be no “new” value systems, and that no cultural/religious development can take place after the last revelation of the western monotheistic tradition (Islam). Following this train of thought, Christianity would be seen as “Quasi-Judaic”, and Protestants would be known as “Pseudo-Catholic”. The NGE is a new value system that has similarities to and influences from a variety of Cultures/Religions (Islam, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Christianity), but is a unique ethno-cultural response to the condition of people of color in contemporary society. It is no less valid due to it originating from another group than Protestantism, being a response of the excesses of another group (Catholicism in this case). Building upon the legacy of Cultural/ Religious Nationalism left by the Moorish Science Temple and the NOI, the NGE and the ethno-cultural worldview that we espouse deserves the respect and consideration afforded to other Cultures/Value Systems and should be seen as adding another dimension to the contemporary Afro-Asiatic Diaspora.

Already, within the last forty years, the NGE has made a considerable impact on urban youth worldwide and is well known through its influence on Hip-Hop Culture. The ideas and values projected by many NGE musicians (Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers) has influenced youth culture, serving as the impetus for tens of thousands of disaffected youth to learn about and research the history and culture of aboriginal people across the globe. Viewing the NGE outside the limited parameters of “Proto-Islam” will allow many to gain greater understanding and appreciation for the ideas and concepts found therein.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Show & Prove


For those of you who don't know, we in the Nation of Gods & Earths have a yearly event entitled the Show & Prove, which commemorates the life of Allah the founder of the NGE. This event is a testament to the life and vision of Allah, as it relates to what he wanted for future Gods and Earths. The event began in 1971 and was centered around a science fair in which the young Gods and Earths could exhibit their awareness and competency in science and mathematics (the subjects in which Allah placed much of his focus for the Gods and Earths). The event also featured singing, dancing, drumming, and a fashion show.

The past weekend, I attended our 35th annual show and prove. Gods and Earths from all across the country attended to see the universal family. As I looked around and saw the thousands in attendance, I marveled at the power of an idea(Knowledge), and the majesty of proper application and implementation(Wisdom). When those two elements come together, a positive result often emerges(Understanding). Both elements must be present to insure success; An idea w/ improper application will be dead on arrival, and the best intentions can't mask a bulls(!T idea.

That premise leads me into the importance of the concept "Show and Prove". To show is to exhibit, demonstrate, or make visible. Prove means to verify or establish by means of fact or reason. The use of the term compels one to not only speak of something, b.u.t. to provide supporting details or proof as well. This is one of the steps that allows us to set a standard of excellence for all of the human families to follow. It also ensures that your exhibition is aligned with the means to verify your assertion. Just as we demonstrate and establish that the Blackman is God and the Blackwoman is the Earth, so should you show and prove whatever your premise is. By doing that we will be able to interact and build as civilized people and change the world that we live in today.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Stop Snitchin'


Today's mathematics is Power. Power is the ability to affect and change your environment. There are many types of power (coercion, influence,domination), however when using power in the most supremely mathematical sense, it is the abilty to move something in a positive direction based on a righteous way of life. One's power should always create equality (balance, homeostasis) in the environment.

I wanna talk about snitching for a minute. I must say in advance that I have a perspective that won't go over well with some segments of the population that read my blog. What I'm finding is that if you have a perpesctive that is in line with the Black "intelligensia", you're probably out of touch with the "common folk". Okay civilized people, here we go: I am anti-snitching as it exists in a contemporary sense. Enter a hypothetical conversation/debate with a person who is pro-snitch:

I: I can see where the kids are coming from with this "stop snitching" thing

T: How can you say that? Drugs and violence are tearing apart our communities. How can you say that someone shouldn't tell on criminals?

I: When I say that, I mean that people who engage in criminal activity should not tell on others who engage in criminal activity to get a "get out of jail free" card. I'm perfectly fine with civilians reporting criminal behavior to the police; that's part of the game.

T: Still, how can you condone crime and intimidation? That's part of destroying our communities!

I: I don't condone intimidation, b.u.t. I also don't condone lack of accountability or responsibility. People know what they're getting into when they get into the game, and they don't have much remorse when they out there hustlin', so dont get holier-than-thou when you get caught. Besides, snitches are notoriously bad pipelines of info, and are replacing real police work in many cases.

T: Don't you agree that we should get drug dealers off of the streets?

I: What I think is that we need to look at the problem realistically. First of all, the drug game has become a industry in our communities, and it ain't because our youth are out to destroy us, either. As a people, we still haven't adjusted to post-industrial America, so our children are making due with anything that they can. Add in the institutional racism that permeates all fibers of our society, and you get generations who really believe that hobbies and crime are the way to go (See Basketball, Hustling,& Entertainment). So while I do think that we need to reduce the negative impact of open-air drug markets and the resulting violence, locking them all up and throwing away the key isn't the solution. The larger issue is that we need to start policing ourselves, b.u.t. that would be getting off topic a little.

T: All I know is that drugs is choking the life out of our community

I: To me, unprincipled drug selling, use, and the resulting behavior is chocking the life out of our community. All communities have drug sellers, users, and abusers, b.u.t. ours is out of hand due to the absence of any rules or morals when dealing with that cipher. In Washington Heights, they sell more powder than a little bit, b.u.t. every block isn't a drug market. This idea can be extended to other aspects of our community as well. We need to establish rights and wrongs and convey them to our children so that the youth don't continue to terrorize the elders and the larger community. If we want the youth to stop hustling we have to advocate for better education, create industries in our communities, and change the way that we look at a communities survival in the wilderness

T: On to the next topic...