Many Muslims who have been blessed to make Hajj often speak of
how the journey is a life-changing experience. This is more the case for some
Malcolm X, or Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, is one Muslim
who saw the light of true Islam through his Hajj in April 1964. As a
former member and speaker for the Nation of Islam, a black spiritual and
nationalist movement, he believed that the white man was the devil and the
black man superior.
After leaving the Nation of Islam in March 1964, he made
Hajj, which helped change his perspective on whites and racism completely.
Here is an excerpt of a letter El Hajj Malik El Shabazz wrote
a letter to his loyal assistants in Harlem... from his heart, telling them of
his experience. In it, he explains what it was during this blessed journey
that made him so profoundly shift his perspective on race and racism. We
should keep in mind that this letter was written in a time when the history of
African Americans in America was in making, a time when centuries worth of
oppression was being spoken about and condemned in public.
have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true
brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this
ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of
the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and
spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all
been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca, I have made my seven circuits
around the Ka’ba, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad, I drank water from the
well of the Zam Zam. I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Mt.
Al-Safa and Al Marwah. I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have
prayed on Mt. Arafat.
were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all
colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all
participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood
that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between
the white and non-white.
“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its
society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have
met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been
considered white - but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the
religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood
practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.
be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have
seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns
previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was
not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a
man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new
experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind,
which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form
of intelligent search for truth.
the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same
plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to
the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose
hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And
in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity
that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
truly all the same (brothers) - because their belief in one God had removed the
white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their
see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God,
then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man - and cease
to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their ‘differences’ in
racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called ‘Christian’
white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a
destructive problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster - the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually
destroyed the Germans themselves.
here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual insights into what
is happening in America between black and white. The American Negro never can
be blamed for his racial animosities - he is only reacting to four hundred
years of the conscious racism of the American whites. But as racism leads
America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had
with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities,
will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the
spiritual path of truth - the only way left to America to ward off the disaster
that racism inevitably must lead to.
have I been so highly honored. Never have I been made to feel more humble and
unworthy. Who would believe the blessings that have been heaped upon an
American Negro? A few nights ago, a man who would be called in America a white man, a United Nations diplomat, an ambassador, a companion of kings, gave
me his hotel suite, his bed. Never would I have even thought of dreaming that
I would ever be a recipient of such honors - honors that in America would be bestowed upon a King - not a Negro.
praise is due to God, the Lord of all the Worlds.”
Malcolm X saw and experienced many positive things. Generosity
and openheartedness were qualities which were impressed on him by the welcome
which he received in many places. He saw brotherhood and the brotherhood of
different races and this led him to disclaim racism and to say:
“I am not
a racist... In the past I permitted myself to be used... to make sweeping
indictments of all white people, the entire white race, and these
generalizations have caused injuries to some whites who perhaps did not deserve
to be hurt. Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to
receive as the result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, I no
longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to
live the life of a true Sunni Muslim. I must repeat that I am not a racist nor
do I subscribe to the tenets of racism. I can state in all sincerity that I
wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness for all people.”