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Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

The Struggle Continues

by Akil Fahd

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

O Allah send blessings upon our Master Muhammad, opener of what had been closed, and who is the Seal of what had preceded, maker of the Truth Victorious by the Truth, guide to Your Straight Path, and bless his household as is due the magnitude of his immense position and rank.

O Allah free our Ameer, the one who struggles (mujahid) on Your path to his fullest ability Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, from his captors. O Allah protect and strengthen him, all those confederated and the entire Ummah.

I bear witness there is no deity except Allah. I bear witness Muhammad ibn Abdullah (saws), is the slave of Allah, His Messenger and His last Prophet. I bear witness that Isa (Jesus) ibn Maryam (as) is the slave of Allah, and His Prophet, and His Spirit, and His Word, which He cast into Maryam the blessed virgin. I seek Allah's protection from Satan, the rejected. I ask Allah to guide my heart and to guide my tongue. I seek refuge in Allah from misleading and being misled, from betraying and being betrayed into ignorance by others. So says this poor sinful slave of Allah who is constantly in need of his Lord’s mercy, Abu Usamah ibn al-Aswad al-Am’reeki, March 27, 2009.

To proceed:

Some of us may have taken the past months to reflect on many different things. I reflected on the struggle of indigenous Muslims to gain freedom and some form of self-determination that respects the sovereignty of the nation.  In doing so I reflect on our predecessor and martyr (shaheed) Al-Hajj Malik Shabazz (ra), and I recognize parallels between the struggles he endured on the path leading up to his martyrdom 44 years ago this past month, and the current struggles our Ameer Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin is enduring.

In early 1974 Imam al-Hajj Koli Ahmad Tawfiq (ra) wrote the following "Al-Hajj Malik Shabazz (popularly known as Malcolm X) was greeted with loud cheers, thunderous applause, good-natured chuckles, foot-stomping and strong shouts of support by the many, many people who professed to love him. But there were numerous occasions when he was forced to wish that the loud cheers were, instead, quiet reflections; that the thunderous applause was monetary support to better aid the "spreading of the word". He wished many, many times that the good-natured chuckles were tears of awareness; that the foot-stomping was the sound of marching feet at the forefront of an Afro-American "Freedom Army;" and that the shouts of support were, in fact, strong adherence to the philosophy and principles which he expounded... And all over this country, people own and listen to recorded speeches by our brother and read so-called "authoritative" literature about his life. But few of these people try to understand the essence of the truth for which they shout praises and buy symbols... It should be noted that most of the reminders of our brother Malcolm are deliberately designed to portray him as anything and everything but the Muslim he was. Paradoxically then, many who claim him as their martyred hero actually move against the very principles of Islam for which he died."

I mention these passages at length as they seem eerily similar to the circumstances of the current struggles of Imam Jamil.

Over the course of this past month, I have seen or heard sound bites of the 1960s human rights advocate, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, displaying his energizing and incendiary oratory skills, hence the sobriquet "H. Rap" which he earned and came to be known by. In response to the angry and belligerent diatribes from elected politicians fighting against freedom for the disposed, his words were a euphonious mixture of social commentary, metaphor and eloquence aimed at calling and rallying the people to a movement geared towards the just struggle of freedom from systemic oppression. He further sought to inspire the oppressed towards organized self-determination and in this regard he spoke of solidarity with our brothers in Palestine, though he had yet to utter the kalima shahada.  Yet this movement even for all the good it brought was devoid of correct belief and defused because it was not based on a Divine program.

This past movement was not the struggle itself; rather it was only one of many movements that have visited the struggle. The struggle for the Muslim is continuously on-going—both internally and externally— and it never ceases.  However, Imam Jamil’s message of continued struggle is never in the mainstream media. So while there are still excerpts of H. Rap’s fiery words (often taken out of context) in the mainstream media, we never hear the messages of Imam Jamil in the mainstream media, for example the ubiquitous importance he placed on communal prayer. I doubt there is a single Imam who has spoken more consistently on the importance of establishing daily congregational prayer than Imam Jamil, but this is never heard in the mainstream media. The mainstream media has attempted to fossilize the image of the 1960’s "radical H. Rap" to be placed in the archives as a relic of a bygone era and to write off Imam Jamil as dead.

Let’s consider, the genre of music known as "rap" (born on the heels of H. Rap's national prominence).  Although primarily a youthful form of artistic expression for entertainment, from its inception rap music originally interwove a message (e.g. the song The Message by Grand Master Flash) of social commentary and urban angst with rhyme and a musical beat—not unlike reggae, which it shares parallels (e.g. the song Living on the Frontline by Eddy Grant).  However, the message of rap has been altered by commercialism so much that at times it's nothing more than a writhing, decaying, cacophony of misogyny, promiscuity, profanity and criminality, to the degree that rap music has been written off as dead.

Even in its decaying altered state some even claim to be the greatest rapper alive. Who can claim rap music is dead or even claim to be the greatest rapper alive, when H. Rap is still alive???  H. Rap met Islam, and as is the case with Islam it purifies those who accept it, accentuating and preserving the good and negating and discarding the bad.  In this regard, H. Rap is still alive as long as Imam Jamil lives. The irony is that the man who once boldly proclaimed: “See, it's no in between, you're either free or you're a slave”,  was never truly free himself to fully understand freedom and self-determination until he accepted Islam and became (Abdullah) a slave of Allah. Similarly, when the message in rap music meets with Islam it will free itself from the current filth and truly “move the crowd”, or in other words—create a movement.

Many fear the urge for movement based on organized self-determination that the call to true monotheism (tawheed) carries with it, thus the need to murder Imam Jamil. If anyone doubts the power of the image of self-determination, go to Basra, Iraq or Bogotá, Colombia and witness how various communities of descendants of the African Diaspora from the Middle East to Central and South America have become emboldened to increase their own efforts of self-determination as a result of the change of the face of leadership in America. Imam Jamil’s concern for others extended beyond his kinsmen, as he always supported the right of self-determination for our brothers in Bosnia and Palestine, and he showed his support for them by openly speaking against those in power who oppressed our brothers and sisters.  However, there is a toll to be paid when one speaks against power.

In essence Imam Jamil’s current situation is just a form of lynching—40 years of persecution for daring to speak truth to power. There will always be repression when the disposed seek self-determination, and in this regard, Imam Jamil’s current situation is no different from the political imprisonment that Nelson Mandela endured as he sought self-determination for his people.

Imam Jamil is not perfect and none of us are.  However, no one can doubt the sincerity of his work for the community and the entire Ummah. Even the non-Muslims in the West-End area of Atlanta testify to the positive effect he had on the neighborhood in creating a safe community environment for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Imam Jamil has been among the vanguard (sabiqun) of his time in establishing an Islamic community lifestyle (iqaamatiddeen), as well as attempting to form alliances among the various Muslim communities in North America. Following in the footsteps of al-Hajj Malik before him, as the leader of an indigenous national minority, Imam Jamil took the issue of self-determination to the United Nations, all the while understanding the repercussions this act would bring.

What we are witnessing is an attempt to murder Imam Jamil. I do not mean murder in the physical sense, but rather by character assassination. And in addition to defamation of character, they also want to break his will and spirit to struggle. Having learned from the martyrdom of our leader al-Hajj Malik, they don't want to make of martyr of Imam Jamil, by brazenly murdering him. Rather, they seek to alter his message; first by discrediting him in the eyes of the people, then censoring and silencing his voice. And if I may echo the words of Imam al-Hajj Tawfiq, there is a deliberate design to portray Imam Jamil as anything and everything but the Muslim seeking self-determination for the community that he was. And by removing him from the community, they seek to make him irrelevant and to undermine the importance of allegiance and self-determination, which in turn destroys morale and allows the community to wither.
However much to their dismay Rap is alive!! -- The struggling slave of Allah Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin is alive. The Muslim community is alive. Let us neither allow indifference, capitulation, nor the love of this world and the fear of the death cause us to turn our backs on Imam Jamil nor on establishing a dignified Islamic community lifestyle. Although I want to see Imam Jamil free with his family and loved ones as much as anyone, more important than his freedom is that we continue the struggle for self-determination for which he has sacrificed so much. Yes, we must to continue to be active by calling and writing to demand more humane treatment of Imam Jamil, yet we must not forget the principles of Islam for which he has struggled. The call to tawheed, daily communal prayer, the establishment of community (jamaat), the establishment of a community treasury (bayt al-maal), private Muslim enterprises and businesses, Islamic theater, and Muslim Athletic teams, these are a just a few of the many things for which Imam Jamil struggled. If ever there was a person in this land built for struggle and toil it is Imam Jamil.  However, let’s not allow his sacrifice to be in vain. Let’s make “Free Imam Jamil” more than just a slogan by displaying a stronger adherence to the philosophy and principles which he expounded.
Just within the past month prison authorities increased their efforts to break the Imam by taking away his Qur'an and other personal affects and placing harsher restrictions on him.  Alhamdulillah, the community responded with calls and letters until prison authorities relented, by returning his Qur'an and kufi.  Despite the trials the Imam remains unbroken and unbowed, affirming Amir Nadim's statement, "The authorities did not make the Imam and they can't break him either."  
Imam has asked the community to send letters and post cards to him and to make du'a for him.  And as you keep Imam Jamil in your prayers (du’a), I also ask that you remember another of our great and tireless strugglers in the path of Allah, Imam Siraj Wahhaj.  He needs our support as he endures the health challenge that Allah has placed on his path.
Conclusively, I ask that you ignore and look beyond the mistakes of my poor writing to see that I have a profound admiration for Imam Jamil.  Truly, these words are a reminder to me more than anyone else to continue to patiently persevere, or as an elder once wrote, “to continue working while waiting without worrying”. If Allah wills (Insha’Allah)

Anything that I have written which is wrong is from the shaytan and me. And anything that I have written which is of benefit is from Allah (Ta'Ala). I ask Allah to give us the guidance to see that we must accept to work with all who utter the phrase there is no deity except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (saw). O Allah, give us the desire for community life; give us the wisdom to make Islam relevant to all that we come into contact with. O Allah, remove the poison of malice and hatred for other Muslims that consumes the good that we do. O Allah, give us the vision to see what we need for community life; put love and confidence, trust and faith into our hearts; O Allah, increase our love for what has come to us from our Prophet (SAW), the Qur'an and his Sunnah.

O Allah, grant victory to Islam and the Muslims. Peace to you all. O servants of Allah (`ibad Allah)! May Allah bless you (Yar-ha-ku-Mullah)!

Allah's Slave: In Peace Strong! In Battle Strongest!!!
Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.

Quran: 3:104
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