Malcolm X and I: Opening a new vista in belief and self-realisation

Posted by News Express | 29 August 2019 | 663 times

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El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X, is one person whose recollection does not cease to cause me to smile.

Malik and I had a posthumous love affair, I as a 16 year-old young woman and he by proxy through his autobiography.

I met Malik as I researched the history of Africans – Blacks in the United States of America. Simultaneously, I came across numerous other great names whom I admired.

However, it was love at first sight for Malik and me. He had all the desirable qualities in a man: outspoken, articulate, confident, independent, and brave. I intended to get closer to him, relate with him to know him better. A once in a lifetime opportunity arose for me to become a part of the life of the irrepressible and charming man Malcolm X.

His novel, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, dictated by Malik and penned by Alex Haley was freshly republished. Eagerly, I purchased a copy of the book and delved into Malik’s life. I fell in love anew with each page I read.

The man!

The year was 1992. Our love has grown over 27 years. That year a film on his life was released, directed by Spike Lee with Denzel Washington playing my man, and Angela Bassett, his wife Dr Betty Shabazz. The first day the movie was shown in the theatre, I took my younger siblings to watch it. Amid munching of popcorns and refreshments, my delightful engagement was sustained with the characters on the wide screen.

I stepped out of the movie theatre into another world – a promising world where positive change is assured so long as one does not succumb to deterrence. The icing of my affection with Malik was my curiosity over his beliefs. Malik was a Muslim.

In his autobiography, he portrayed his religion. What was that religion really? To discover more, I considered purchasing the Qur’an.

One night in an interaction with fellow Africans, I relayed my intention. One, a young woman, dismissed Islam – Islam oppresses women. Another equally had her reservations. The remark of the third, a male, clinched the deal: Despite everything, the Qur’an remains the only revealed Book that is in its original text.

Shortly after, I walked into a bookstore and bought A. J. Arberry’s The Qur’an Interpreted: A Translation. I studied it back to back and believed. I was a Muslim.

Of course, I had three reservations with Allah’s word:

1. Obeying God in everything. I was not in need of anyone to obey, let alone God whom I do not see. I was – and still am – the boss of my life.

2. Men are the guardians of women. What? I do not think so!!! Men cannot run their life. They want to run someone else’s.

3. A woman was worth half of a man. Absolutely not! I grew up at par with boys, academically and otherwise. It reached an extent that if I was seated and a boy stood beside me, I would ask him to sit.

The rational was to eliminate the domineering effect of someone standing over me.

I excelled the male gender in every sphere. If anything, I saw men as exceedingly inferior to me.

Well, I did create a clause in my principles: granting God access to my decision-making.

Only Allah and I choose my life. As for my relationship with men, they are no more than my peers at best.

Thank you Malcolm X for that experience. Kisses. I love you.

•Umm Sulaim is the Publisher of Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts (
Copyright © 2019 Umm Sulaim. All rights reserved.

Source: News Express

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