Channel: Zaid Shakir
The importance of making connections with our Islamic history and why it is important to be aware of how their steadfast nature and upright character serve as examples to Muslims across the world today.
And gradually they were able to build a strong movement and probably from that, beginning in the 30s. In their efforts in the 40s, they made a village in southern New Jersey as Udine village, another village in upstate New York where brothers and sisters will migrate and establish little Muslim villages out in the wilderness, grow their own food have the masjid schools, and
the kids or children will usually drift back to the cities, but a lot of them are still especially upstate New York
on these lands, but that movement
merged with the movement of a couple of usually mentioned as being from Trinidad
shake Tao Faisal and his wife Khadija, so the she's popularly known as mother Khadija, and they started down in New York City and Brooklyn, and they were able to build a very strong community throughout the 50s and 60s, and primarily on the east coast. So there's there's a whole history of that, but going back to this era, that earlier on before he brought him up the ramen came to the United States and eventually ending up in Natchez, Mississippi, and his life chronicled. There was another amazing story in colonial America the story and really comes back here to England. And that's the story of
a you've been sued a man who's known in America as the fortunate slave, because his life illustrates so much blessing that even the non Muslim said he was fortunate. So I even saw a man also was from the Fulani people like Ibrahim of the ramen. He was an Imam amongst his people. His father was the leader of their people from a region known as bondo booboo in eastern Senegal, the northern regions of footage alone, and very strong Muslim people who memorize Quran who was trained in the traditional Maliki
West African curriculum, which was predicated on the classical Greek system of the trivium and the quadrivium trivium. Being grammar and rhetoric logic. So and Arabic studies are called now Bulava and mantap. And then the quadrivium music geometry, music being studying the relationship between sound and time. So music not necessarily music as we know it. But the foundation of music the relationship between sound and time, geometry, astronomy, and arithmetic mathematics. So he was trained in that so he knew how to think very well and memorize CT n is a very knowledgeable young man taken into slavery, sold, his father heard he was captured, he sent gold to the ship. But the
ship itself for the Americas landing in Annapolis, Maryland, in 19 1731. In colonial America, he spent 18 years months in bondage. He ran away because he couldn't pray. He would pray and then the Masters children would find them and throw dirt on his head and salt him. So he ran away, they captured him.
They identified where he was from a men who knew another slave knew Arabic they work to communicate. They brought him back, usually when slaves ran away, they were punished severely. But in this case, he was asked why he ran away, he couldn't pray. So he was given them more sunlight. And then he said he didn't like working in the fields. His people were pastoral people. So he was put in charge of the horses and the livestock. And so is that really a typical treatment but I believe he was a saint. He was a colleague of Allah, and eventually wrote a letter in Arabic dispatched it. To he heard that the ship that had brought him to America had come back to Annapolis.
He wrote a letter when the letter reached Annapolis he was in Kent County, Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay Area. The letter reached Annapolis the ship has sailed on to England. The letter was dispatched to England. When the letter got to England. The ship had sailed on to Africa. The letter ended up in the hand of James Bartholomew Oglethorpe. Rather, Oglethorpe was one of the founders of the originally slave free colony of Georgia. Oglethorpe can read Arabic He sent it to the Oriental orientalist at Oxford University. They tried
They did the letter he was so impressed with the addition of the writer he himself sent the quantity quantity of gold to America you purchase the freedom Have you been sold a man. He sailed across the Atlantic to England six weeks he learned
English during the six week passage, even though he's very sick for most of the trip. When he got here he began to debate and discuss theology with the Anglican priests and bishops. They were so impressed with him, they made him a full re member of the Spalding regions. Society, which at the time was the most prestigious academic fraternity in the world. It was members included Sir Isaac Newton and Alexander Pope and others. So for not an honorary member. And most a lot of his life, especially here in Britain, we know from the records of the Spalding region, society, and his wife was chronicled in the United States by a gentleman by the name of Kala debt, and his story, the
fortune is slave is and and this shows the neglect
is the oldest extent, work of African American literature. The oldest work about an African in the Americas is about a Muslim. And in fact, we find that out of the 10 extent slave narratives, I think, eight of them were written by Muslims because Muslims had literacy. And so they can write in Arabic. So we have a bin Sulaiman, we have grown up inside, we have our backer of Jamaica, and and many others whose literacy availed them. And in this case, you've been sued a man's literacy was instrumental in his freedom. While he was here in England mentioned he debated the Anglicans, they were so impressed, they eventually got him an audience with the queen. The Queen was so impressed
she outfitted him with a ship full of the latest literature, technological implements instruments, and made him an agent for the Royal
African company, which might not be such a good thing and sent him back to Africa as a free man. And once he and then his story is even more miraculous. Also, while he was in Britain, two things happen. You can see if you go online and just do a google image, or you've been sold a man you assume painted and traditional Fulani garment or big white turban or white booboo, grand ruble, the end.
He wasn't wearing those clothes because he didn't have it. So the painter, he said, I'll agree to be painted on one condition you paint me in my traditional garment. They said, Well, where is it? He said, well just imagine it. And he said, the artists that we never seen, how can we paint you in your traditional clothes? And we've never seen them? He said, Well, you you paint Jesus, you never saw him.
That was his response.
Anyway, so he described it. And so the picture you see, if you search it is a picture of based on his description to the artist of how the booboo and how the turban looked. So his incredible figure He also wrote, while he was here in England, three copies of the Quran from his memory. And unfortunately, they're all been lost but is documented. And the records of the Spalding region society that you've been sued a man wrote three copies of the Quran from his memory while he was here. And in England, when he went back home, it was amazing thing happened. He was captured by man dinkles. And when he was on his way back to his village in Senegal, they passed the same rating
party, that it captured him and sold them to Captain Pike. So he now he has pistols. They then recognize him. He's all done up in this British garb. And he has pistols and he's like, I want to kill them.
And the gentlemen who was with him, I don't know if it was I think it was called that. No, or another British minister node and too numerous and they'll overwhelm us. So he said, Okay, let's talk to them. So he asked me say you remember about two years ago, you captured this Fulani guy, and you sold them to Captain Pike on such and such. And how we remember that guy is actually him. It sees they said, you know, a strange thing happened. So we sold them in exchange we got ROM and we got pistols and muskets and
some gold and the strangest thing happened we've gave the muskets to the guns too.
As a president, and then one day one of the guns misfired and killed the king is call us. I don't need to do anything. So this an incredible story. And he was one of the slaves who came back to Africa who successfully reunited with his family. As you know, I haven't seen the film in a while, but I think it shows Abraham up there, and then did make it back to Africa after freeing himself being free. Also based on a letter. His letter was actually the Fatiha and a few notes that he wrote, after almost 30 years in bondage, he still could write a beautiful West African Arabic script. And if you see his picture, usually it's a picture and he wrote underneath it is smooth, who
have the right men. So you've probably seen that picture. And anyway, he wrote a letter to the king of Morocco, his incredible fraternity between all the Muslims in West Africa, asking him to petition the United States for his freedom. So the king of Morocco actually sent a letter to Andrew Jackson, the President at that time, his secretary of state Henry Clay,
sent a letter to Abraham up the Romans,
owner at that time, asking that he be freed and he actually complied with certain conditions that he immediately leave and go back to Africa. But Abraham, he wanted to free his family. So we went on a speaking tour in the north. And during that speaking tour,
he was very outspoken against slavery, because most of the tour was sponsored by abolitionists, when he was in Boston, and this is an interesting historical twist. When he was in Boston, he actually spoke in the church of David Walker. And there are those who say David Walker's appeals, which is one of the strongest anti slavery appeals that was written during the slavery period was actually influenced by the exchange that took place between Abraham of the ramen, and David Walker, while Abraham was in Boston, and eventually went back to DC and sailed to Africa on the ship was the first who would become the first president of Liberia. And he made it to Africa but he never made it back
to futo. Jalan, he died shortly after his
touching base in Africa, he became sick. But the first thing he did was he prayed some people said he had left Islam.
And there's a debate.
But the first thing he did when he was free, he started writing copies of the Fatiha and writing various things in Arabic. When he got to Africa, the first thing he did was prayed to rockets. So that puts that particular historical debate to rest. So there there are amazing, incredible stories, and it behooves us to study them, because it's part of the history of Muslims in the Western world. Like I tell people in the United States because a lot of times you go places, you show this film or related films, you introduce the literature, you talk about the issues and people, you know, Afghanis Pakistanis, Arabs are the ones that concern me, his only concern to people of African
descent, and I say to them, then you must not be a Muslim. This is part of the history of the oma. This is the history of the oma in the West. This is the roots of the Muslim people. So just as we study how Islam spread to Egypt and Syria, how Islam spread to India, how Islam spread to Malaysia and Indonesia, we should be concerned we take great pride that always now wasn't spread by the sword. There were missionaries and merchants who went to these places and they introduced Islam through peaceful means, then
Shouldn't we be concerned about the roots of Islam and hearing the Western countries and especially when as Muslims like now there's a lot of talk about
and this is more relevant problem in the United States Muslims don't belong here. People with can't even speak English straight. Talking about Muslims don't belong here. And you know, you know, who are you? They've been brought
Gert builders over there. The Dutch, Islam, anti Islamic racist, to give speeches, who you people, we've been been here for 400 something years and blood up
Blood, Sweat and Tears built this country.
And Sylvia do use her research shows that upwards, well over, but minimally 20% of all the slaves brought their will Muslims, one in five. And in some areas because of the nature of the crops where they grew crops such as rice was very popular in the Delta areas. And so the senegambia area, which is almost 100% Muslims, the rice growers would prefer slaves from those areas because rice is a very labor intensive crop that takes a lot of know how. So in areas like the Mississippi Delta, we had a lot of rice cultivation. Some of those areas over 50% of the slaves were Muslims that are off the coast of Georgia, and the Carolinas, the same thing. Parts of Virginia over 50% of the slaves were
Muslims. A lot of you might some of you might be of Jamaican ancestry, for a period of time about 100 years is documented, over 50% of all the stage brought to Jamaica or for most areas that are majority Muslim areas in West Africa. And you have people like Abu Bakr, Siddiq and others, were fluent in Arabic, Trinidad some you might be from Trinidad, Trinidad, you had the free Mandingo society, which was a Muslim, anti slavery society that worked to liberate all the Muslims and then others in Trinidad during the war of 1812. They liberated over 1200 slaves from the American South brought them to the Caribbean to fight against the British in the war of 1812. And upwards to three
or 400 of them accepted Islam. And so they weren't just liberating Muslims, they were liberating anyone they can liberate. And so those are Muslims undertaking those efforts. So that's a great part of our history. And by connecting with that history, saying, that's my history. That's instant legitimacy. How can you tell me I don't belong? Those are my ancestors. What do you mean who are Muslims, or Muslims or brothers in the men what men on earth or those are my Muslim brothers and sisters, their blood, sweat, and tears built this country, and in the Caribbean, goes a high percentage of Muslims. The wealth of Britain came from the Caribbean and the sugar that was white
gold, Oxford, Cambridge, they all built their endowments on sugar.
They built their endowments on sugar, the British Crown in the 17th 18th century, a lot of their wealth was coming from sugar in the Caribbean is brutal, is a brutal operation. In America at the time of liberation, the number of slaves who were there were three to four times the number of slaves that were imported in. So the population increased in the Caribbean the number of slaves with less than the slaves that were important in does the brutality of working sugarcane fields getting caught up. Sometimes you cut your finger on a bit blade of grass think that blade of grass being 20 times taller, and much sharper and firmer like like as hard as this, this column, razor sharp, and
you're in there slashing it with your hands, cutting your arms up getting infections, you working in the presses, if your arm got caught in the press, it was economically better to just cut your arm off than to stop the press. So your hand got caught. McCann Don, who was one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution. Yeah, one on one hand, he lost his hand and a sugar cane press.
Bookman, one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution was a Muslim. A lot of the Muslim called Bookman because they had their core ends and they were always reading it. Now this is our history and and the the famous Haitian Voodoo ceremony. It might have been a molad and they just didn't know what was going on. It says the Voodoo ceremony and they look into all these things. That's our history. And so it behooves us to know it. And and new Muslims people come into Islam shall hold on to that history. You have Muslims become Muslim, and they're taught by some crazy people, your family or Kufa. You have to divorce yourself Is that what what Bara? You know, you have to disavow
them. How about making a vow to them? How about just treating them like decent people? That's your family. So we lose all the capital we have. We have friends. We went to school with their ministers now. We can go and I listen. You have no problem. You're minister. Yo, what's up? Let's have some tea. Then I gotta ask a favor from you. So I know the Kufa breakoff relations. A lot of us went through that phase.
myself included, where we don't have relations with our family, friends, we don't have relations. Then we problem is even even relation like how do we make TAO to these people who have and our seminars, which is basically how do we talk to people we grew up with?
I sitting around intellectualizing like how do we talk, man?
This is tough man, we need to bring a big shake for this one. Need to bring a milkshake
just go just go and, and reintroduce yourself. Like Yeah, I've been going for a while. I know y'all miss me, I miss you too. And I was tripping for a few years.
It's all right now. They like looking at you got a baggy shirt on. They're licking. Something's taken up on the
So really, I mean, we have to we have to connect with our people. These are people, we have to connect with our people, we have to be people service, then a quantum hydrometer naukri yetman. As a Leo admitted nurse, the best pupil raised up for humanity to serve humanity to serve humanity. So inshallah Allah, Allah make it easy. And it makes it easier when we connect with our history, because it's a common history. So we're studying and connecting with the history of Muslim slaves, that connects us with the history of our slaves. And we connect with the history of our slaves, we connect it with the history of all of those people descended from all of those slaves. And so we
start out to realize we have common struggles. We have common issues. We have common pathologies that we have to work through sometimes, and we can share each other's experiences in terms of how we work through those pathologies. How do we re humanize ourselves? One point that a doctor makes in her book is that for a lot of the Muslim slaves, they never surrender their humanity. They never surrender their dignity. And you can see in the portraits of them portraits of people like au bin Sulaiman, Abraham have the right man. So you see him in his big fro and he's dignified after 30 years of slavery, he hasn't been broken.
Or you've been sued, a man was never broken, or inside, we have portraits of Him who is never broken.
and many others, they weren't broken. They maintain their dignity.
Muhammad Ali, one of the most illustrious Muslims in the Western world wants the most popular person on earth. When they did the story of his life was the theme song, no matter what you take from me, you can't take away my dignity, you could take my title. They took Ali's title. They took Ali's money. They took Ali's thought they took his fame, they took his boxing career, right at the height of his career, you can't box anymore in America.
They took everything, but they didn't take his dignity. And because they didn't take his dignity, he's known as the people's champ. And he inspired a whole generation. He didn't just didn't inspire Muslims. He inspired or inspired or oppress people everything everywhere, because he stood up to the mighty American war machine, and said, I'm not killing anybody, for you,
especially people who never did anything to me.
And people were inspired. So we have a role as Muslims to go out there and inspire people without courage and dignity and not create fear in people. I was riding down here and just talking with brother dow ood and some of the things that are happening is just ludicrous. Like people are afraid of Muslims because of what Muslims are doing, what Muslims are saying. And the attitudes that Muslim have. This is insanity. We're supposed to be a source of inspiration for people motivation for people and things are going to get worse before they get better. People want to need some people who can reach out and give the helping hand and help uplift people. So we'll stop there. Perhaps you
have some questions as just rambling on. Please forgive me a lot. Allah bless you or give you much, much tofik a lot of time to make your path to paradise a smooth one. Remove all the obstacles in your path. May Allah tala put wind in your sails and Allah tala may put put light in your hearts. mela tala bring us all together for common causes.
May Allah tala help us to break down the barriers that we build between each other so we can come together and do great things together was Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh