Wednesday, August 07, 2013
An Eid gift -- An inspiring award winning essay by a thirteen year old.....
“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” —Malcolm X
Malcolm X, or El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, is one inspirational leader that I greatly admire, specifically because of the virtuous qualities and character traits he embodied. Of these in particular: his sincerity, passion, and ability to inspire. I believe that by modeling myself on these these principles, I can become a better person.
Malcolm X was sincere, and he showed this through his fearlessness and dedication. Malcolm’s social situation was perilous, as many white supremacist groups — often offshoots of the KKK and often not — doubtlessly had him high up on their target lists. Towards the end of his life, the Nation of Islam (NOI) also condemned him and made attempts on his life, once bombing his house and eventually succeeding in assassinating him shortly before his fortieth birthday.
Yet, despite his precarious situation, he was still prepared to speak out against the atrocities and injustices of the time. Considering that all leaders face some sort of opposition, whether small or big, I find that sincerity is the key to success. I learn from this that one should never allow threats to disrupt one’s cause. Always carry forth with the truth despite what anyone says or does. To be a leader, one must be sincere and steadfast.
His sincerity also shines forth in his ability to give up things he valued in pursuit of his goals and in his search for truth. The first major instance being when he gave up his lavish crime-based lifestyle to join the NOI. The second was when he left the NOI. He found two reasons to leave it: he realized that Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, did not abide by his own laws, and he made the Pilgrimage to Mecca where he said he found "blonde-haired, blued-eyed men I could call my brothers." The latter was starkly contrary to the Nation of Islam’s creed.
He then embraced Islam as taught to us by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him), and returned from Mecca, this time with a message for all races. In this second instance, he made an additional enemy, the NOI, who proved to be the most dangerous. His capacity to readily jettison what he valued, in search of truth and higher principles, was an indelible mark of his sincerity. I understand from this that it is important not to get caught up in small things. One must always have the bigger picture in view. If one finds truth, one should not be caught up in one’s previous ways of thinking, or ways of doing things. To be a leader, one must embrace the truth whenever one finds it.
Malcolm was uneducated. After he was told by his favorite teacher that his dream of becoming a lawyer was “no realistic goal for a negro,” he dropped out of school. He was only fifteen years old at the time, and he soon adopted a life of crime. He moved to Boston where he became wealthy off of its underground market. He was eventually charged with theft and jailed.
It was in jail that he committed to reforming himself and making up for what he had missed in school. He read many of the books in the prison libraries, including the dictionary from beginning to end. It was during this time that his brother, Reginald, introduced him to the Nation of Islam. This accelerated self-education later became one of his most valuable assets in his numerous and spectacular debates.
Despite what his teacher had said, Malcolm X became one of the finest “lawyers” in history. I find his speeches and debates deeply inspirational, awe-inspiring, and a testament to his tenacity. Also, I find that his passion and fervor for his mission allowed him to accomplish and learn at an amazing pace.
Malcolm X underwent many trials — tests of his beliefs, tests of his determination and courage, tests of overcoming his ego — but he persevered and emerged triumphant over them. It is a testament to an underlying theme in one of my favorite books, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Malcolm X is a name that is known throughout the world. He did not hold to the ideas that benefited his ego, rather he held to the principles in which he found truth. After making the Hajj, he readily jettisoned the idea that all white men were devils, based on the racial harmony he saw in Mecca. He found that race was unimportant, and that all that truly mattered was what a person held in his heart.
When he renounced the Nation of Islam, he became even more at risk, and could have lost much of the power he had gained as its spokesman. He said, "Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action," and truly did he remain powerful.
His ability to recognize truth when he saw it and his ability to prevent his ego from hindering him in its pursuit are virtues seldom found in leaders today. He fought against one of the most brutal atrocities in history. He once said, "I am not educated, nor am I an expert in any particular field... but I am sincere and my sincerity is my credential," and, indeed, his sincerity led him to be great. It is my hope and prayer that, God willing, I am able to cultivate in myself the sincerity and dedication Malcolm X so readily embodied.
Posted by Mrs. Iffath Hasan at 12:43 PM