Why The Messenger Devotes December
Why The Messenger Devotes December To Fasting And Other Righteous Acts
By Abdul Basit Naeem
Reprinted from the December 13, 1968 edition of Muhammad Speaks
It is an irrefutable fact that the U.S.A. is the world’s most highly commercialized nation. So dogged and dour is the dollar-demons’ dominance of nearly every aspect of life there that an average inhabitant of this subcontinent simply cannot escape the “Systems” powerful impact.
THUS IT IS, for instance, that in spite of the numerous (so-called) “freedoms” Americans (whites as well as Blacks) claim to enjoy, a vast majority of them apparently cannot think or act for themselves and, more often than not, follow many of life’s pursults in direct deference to Madison Avenue merchandisers’ machinations and whims. The latter it is, indeed,that induce you to eat what you do at breakfast or dinner time, to regularly use “your choice brand” of soap or toothpaste, and to prefer the particular fashion or style of clothing that you wear for work or for leisure.
The men and women of the U.S. advertising industry, again, forever advise you on other “necessities of existence,” such as home appliances, automobiles and annual vacation travel. As a matter of fact, they are even capable of counseling you in regard to your own funeral arrangements—to insure that you are accorded a “decent, Christian burial” after death. The “System’s” media of influence are both omnifarious and omnipresent: You find them in your daily newspapers and in the weekly and monthly magazines you receive by mail. You can see them affixed to storefronts and pasted onto giant billboards that dot the nation’s highways. They also form an essential and integral part of your favorite radio and T.V. programs—-for neither could come into being without those “brief messages” (commercials) from our sponsors.”
ANOTHER CONGRUENT characteristic of same (i.e., the “System’s media) is that they never cease to prey upon our human emotions, thereby perpetuating and giving permanence to the vicious cycle of overt commercialism. However, never is the flagrant and willful exploitation more manifest than it is in December–that is to say, during the prolonged, Thanksgiving-to New Year’s Day “holiday season.”
COME DECEMBER, the money-mad Madison Avenue manipulators’ campaign suddenly gains extraordinary momentum: News papers and magazines begin to bulge with extra promotional material. Page after page of “holiday” advertising extols the “incomparable Christian virtue” of gift-giving (“even unto yourself”). In supermarts and department stores across the country, phony, mercenary Santas (was there ever a real one?) endeavor to stimulate sales of toys and other “seasonal” merchandise for their bosses. “Buy This.”Buy That.” “Buy Now, Pay Later.” “Easy Credit.” “Convenient Terms Arranged.” “No Down Payment Until February.” These and countless additional, equally-enticing phrases become common place and incessantly fill your ears and eyes.
IT GOES without saying, though, that most December doings and goings-on scarcely relate to the perplexing, fundamental problems that confront the twenty-five million “Asiatic” (black) inhabitants of this land (American so-called “Negroes”). Neither the “holiday spirit,” nor, for that matter, other kinds of (consumer) “spirits” eliminate or alleviate their plight and suffering. On the contraty, many Black Americans actually contract additional woes as they succumb to the “System’s” sustained pressure tactics and sign up for new “holiday” loans. What is perhaps infinitely worse and wholly unjustified is the fact that much of this foolishness, extravagance and spending spree is carried on by all parties concerned ostensibly to commemorate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth—who, as many eminent historians will attest, wasn’t even born on “Christmas Day” (December 25) ! The “Devil ‘s deceit and deception” is thus further perpetrated in December making the month a veritable period of unprecedented misguidance, misfortune and temptations.
SMALL WONDER, then, that my Muslim brothers and sisters in the wilderness of North America–that is to say, members of the U.S. “Nation of Islam,” headed and magnificently guided by the divinely-raised HONORABLE ELIJAH MUHAMMAD—deem fit to devote the entire month of December to fasting, abstinence and rededication to the grand and indubitably rigthteous and most worthy cause of FREEDOM, JUSTICE and EQUALITY for all Black Americans!