Matters of Faith: By Any Means Necessary!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Isaiah 7:9 (NIV) ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’”

The phrase, “By any means necessary” is arguably the most well-known saying of Malcom X, or El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. It was borne out of his great faith in God. This Black nationalist was famously noted for his rejection of integration while promoting the separation of races. Nothing bothered him as much as the lack of unity between Black people, which he saw as a direct result of centuries of enslavement. His famous quote was to encourage Afro-Americans (as we were called then) to claim their rights, their respect, and their freedom by creating a separate nation within the borders of the United States of America.

There is significant power in the quote, “by any means necessary.” When Malcolm spoke these words, he was an opponent of integration as well as the non-violent civil rights movement. He was convinced that the races could not co-exist, that equality could only be achieved if racist violence was met with equal violence and that a separate state established be for Black people. That was his early belief and he stood by it. But he could never have imagined that those same words would eventually become critically important to the non-violent protests and to his transformed position on integration. “By any means necessary” advanced to include both non-violence and integration as a means to claim freedom. Words can be transformative not only to the hearer but the speaker as well.

When Malcolm embarked on his Hajj to Mecca, he witnessed people of every race coming together to worship the same God in the same tradition he did in America. He was transformed from a strict nationalist into an internationalist who promoted the unity of Black people worldwide. His narrow use of the phrase “by any means necessary” was exponentially expanded and became his unofficial battle cry for African American unity worldwide. His creation of the Organization for Afro-American Unity was the evidence of his transformation which went beyond race to include “humanity.” His new world view defined his life and his actions from that moment onward, even unto his assassination. It now sets the stage for the world’s understanding of his significant contribution to the unity of the African Diaspora. El Hajj Malik el-Shabazz stood firm in his faith, and the world is so much better for it.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Financial Strategy Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen on Matters of Faith on Facebook LIVE.

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