Those Who Leave The Temple
Says Those Who Leave The Temple Find Loss of Blessed Life To Much To Bear
By Abdul Basit Naeem
Reprinted from the June 7, 1968 edition of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
Riding New York City’s subways and buses (I’m not very fond of automobile travel and do not, by choice, own a car) and pounding its pavements, often I find “strangers” walking up to me and greeting me in the manner of the “people of Paradise” (i.e., the Muslims).
“AS-SALAAM Alaikum,” say the “strangers.”
As is required of and customary for a Muslim, I return their greetings, “Wa-Alaikum As-Salaam.”
Then, during the course of small talk which naturally ensues, I try to ascertain just who my new found “friends” might be.
HAPPILY for me, in six or seven out of ten cases they turn out to be my brothers in Islam, i.e., followers of the great American Muslim leader, Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who happen to recognize me “from the picture in our newspaper, Muhammad Speaks.” The remainder – apparently no less avid readers of this newspaper – usually represent themselves as “former Muslims” or “believers in Allah and Islam but not active in the Mosque at the present time.”
Meeting the latter does not perturb me as much as it perplexes me. “After all,” I ask myself, “why would anyone want to join and then leave – or become disassociated with – the wonderful U.S. Islamic movement?” At the same time, I try to find out if the “confessed apostates” in my company might perchance be “hypocrites.” As all Muslims are aware, it is imperative that the righteous (Muslims) avoid contact with those who, having once embraced the Islamic faith, are known to have rejected the Truth.
Then I learn that in almost nine out of ten cases the ex-member” did not voluntarily leave the Nation of Islam but was actually expelled from the Muslims’ ranks, either for a given or an indeterminate period of time. (The rigid Muslim code of discipline demands that any and all members deemed and proven guilty of neglecting or violating the sacred laws (of Almighty Allah) be removed from the Nation’s rolls.)
THE OTHERS may be described as individuals who left because the found the “rigors of being a Muslim – practicing absolute righteousness (Islam) as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad-too difficult to bear.”
Curious as to the latter’s intentions of eventually “re-entering the fold,” I inevitably inquire: “But you DO plan to seek re-admission, don’t you…?” Their answer ordinarily is: “But, of course, Brother Naeem – if it be the will of Allah. Right now I am just too weak and helpless…As soon as this monkey (i.e., the devil) is off my back I want to rejoin my wonderful brothers and sister.”
“How about your personal attitude towards the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s work and teachings?” I press on.
TO THIS I frequently received a reply which goes something like this: “Brother Naeem, I’ve got nothing but every admiration and love for our dear Holy Apostle, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I can never forget that I owe so much to him.
“He is the one who found me and took me out of the gutter of misery and ignorance) and acquainted me with the real nature of the devil and his hell-on-earth where we live. I was once totally (mentally) deaf, dumb and blind and the Messenger is the doctor and surgeon who made me hear, speak and see all over again…
“Yes, brother, I admit – and I am ashamed – that I’m kind of ‘lost’ right now and cannot be counted as one of the followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I also know that I cannot attend the Mosque or participate in any of its activities. But there is nothing to prevent me from thanking Allah for the Messenger and his teachings and from loving our ‘Little lamb without spots or blemishes’…”
MORE OFTEN than not, I also find may a “lost” brother tearfully “begging” me to convey “my sincere greetings and greatest love to our Holy Apostle. We know you are blessed to have some personal contact with him…Please tell him that for us being outside the Nation of Islam is like or worse than the fish out of water. Please tell him that we are indeed sorry for our mistakes and we pray that Almighty Allah will grant us forgiveness. We shall never again let the devil tempt or deceive us…
“If the Messenger would only grant us general amnesty, we pledge that we shall spend the rest of our days in complete submission and obedience to the laws of our Almighty God, ALLAH, to Whom all praises are due forever!”