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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sects, Off-Shoots and Splinter Groups


supreme scientist allah
Originally uploaded by ALifeAllah.
Peace,
This is a piece authored by my alike Supreme Scientist Allah. You can check some of his blogging out at his myspace spot at http://www.myspace.com/supremescientist



"Sects, Off-Shoots And Splinter Groups"
(The Problem Defining the Nation of Gods and Earths)
By Supreme Scientist Allah

For those who have attempted to identify, criticize, or evaluate The Nation of Gods and Earths, it is a common practice to refer to our Nation using various erroneous and/or misleading terms. Specifically, we are often designated as being a sect, a offshoot, or a splinter group of The Nation of Islam. Having witnessed the growing number of articles and essays in recent years on the internet alone, it is somewhat interesting to see such an oversight having consistently gone unnoticed and unchecked by so-called 'scholars' writing about The Nation of Gods and Earths.
Sect - A religious body or denomination, especially a small group that has broken away from an established church, or any group of people haivng a common leadership, set of opinions, philosophical doctrine, political principles, specifically a fraction of a larger group.
With careful observation, it should not take long to to notice The Nation of Gods and Earths do not adhere to any form of religion or religious practices. Absent are all the usual religious qualifiers, i.e belief in, faith, worship or reverence of an astral deity or earthly personality (historic, literary, or presently living), adherence to a moral code supposedly revealed by supernatural dieties, accounts of 'creation' mythologies or beliefs in immaterial or mysterious 'otherwords', such as "heaven" or "hell." Also, missing are other common religious customs and trappings, such as prayer, tithe, 'sacred' places, documents and writings, etc. In fact, most notably, one would be extremely hardpressed to discover any belief, or belief system, whatsoever amongst the members of The Nation of Gods and Earths. Instead, what exists is a robust appreciation and utilization of science, logic and mathematics among our members. Curiously, all of the above continues to be ommitted from all of the on The Nation of Gods and Earths. That is extremely odd, to say the least, considering how very strongly we frown upon beliefs, ideas or philosophies that cannot be scientifically demonstrated and/or must be accepted as a matter of faith.
This is important to understand because it demolishes the argument that The Nation of Gods and Earths is a "sect of The Nation of Islam." The Nation of Gods and Earths isn't a seperate group with a new set of religious beliefs. Instead, we have no beliefs, or belief system, at all (religious or otherwise). Therefore, if one must be of a religious persuation or nature, then, according to the defintion of sect, this term is inappropiate to define The Nation of Gods and Earths. Unfortunately, many writers persist in utilizing this term because they carelessly assume The Nation of Gods and Earths have adopted some, but not all, of the beliefs held by The Nation of Islam. Namely, that we simply reject the idea of external leadership and certain religious prohibitions against drugs, alcohol, sex and marriage, but continue to remain devoted to the central philosophy of The Nation of Islam.
It seems, to the superficial observer, the average member of The Nation of Gods and Earths is nothing more than a muslim without a mosque. Or, as one source erroneously labled us, "renegade Muslims." Again, this misconception is simply based on poor research and investigation. For example, it is often highlighted that The Nation of Gods and Earths utilizes certain writings of the religious group, The Nation of Islam, in our cirriculum as 'evidence' that we both share a common belief system. However, what almost 'always' goes without mention is that members of The Nation of Gods and Earths neither revere nor blindly accept (read: believe) the said writings, as The Muslims of the Nation of Islam often do. The reality is, after one becomes acquainted with the perspective and teachings of The Nation of Gods and Earths, one becomes keenly aware that its members approach and study, not just the literature and writings of The Nation of Isalm, but all things in life, in a way which is profoundly unique. A uniqueness which undoubtedly is difficult to grasp with the casual, cursory glance of the common writer, or reporter, with an approaching deadline, ulterior motives or simple ignorance.
First, to generate a supreme understanding of the actual perspective of The Nation of Gods and Earths teachings, one is required to familarize oneself with the foundation of their Eight Point Cirriculum. That is, the Supreme Mathematics and the Supreme Alphabets. The process of learning these profound principles is itself an act of critical thinking: a means of devoloping good analytical skill and enhancing one's problem-solving abilities. And, as with many great schools of thought, such insight does not occur overnight. In fact, to preserve the integrity and purity of our teachings, "newborns", as the novice are commonly referred to, are strongly encouraged to seek the guidance of "true and living" members who, themselves, have quality experience, exposure and understanding of the teachings and culture of The Nation of Gods and Earths. Again, not suprisingly, this appears to be too heavy a burden, or obstacle, for most writers simply looking for a quick, cookie-cut editorial. However, lazy inferences and assumptions, such as those described above, continue to lend to the idea that memorizing, reading or studying, another person's writings or philosophy is the same as accepting those writings or philosophy.
Needless to say, studying the writings of The 'Nation of Islam' should no more make The Nation of Gods and Earths a "sect" of Muslims than it would make Buddhists who study Aesop's Fables a "sect" of Aesopians. Similarly, Christians who read the Qur'an aren't labled Muslims. Atheists who read the Bible aren't labled Christians. Gym teachers who read physics books aren't called physicists. So, what is the motivation behind advocating The Nation of Gods and Earths are a "sect" of The Nation of Islam? The answer is simple: It is much more convient for one to haphazardly hurl this term around than it is for one to sincerely invest the time, energy and effort necessary to delve into the core of what we teach. And, though convenient it may be, it is also dishonest and misleading. If nothing else, it simply illustrates the proponents of this term, when describing The Nation of Gods and Earths, clearly don't understand what we teach.
I should point out that many members of The Nation of Gods and Earths might not object with being designated as a sect, if this was applied to other non-religious groups with equality and consistency, as well. While the latter part of the definition of sect does not specify 'religious entities', it is commonly percieved to be a term reserved for dissenting religious groups in the popular vernacular. For instance, it would be very unconventional for the Democratic Party as being defined as a "sect" of U.S. Political groups, or the NAACP being refered to as a "sect" of U.S. civil rights organizations, or the U.S. Marine Corps being identified as a "sect" of the U.S. military. Certainly, as broad and sweeping as the latter part of defintion for sect is, it would not be long before the concept of being a sect loses all practical value and meaning. For example, one could, then, also define vegetarians as being a "sect of society" or the United States as being a "sect of England". Instead it is clear, more times than often, anyone utilizing the term sect clearly is attempting to assert that one religious body has seperated from, yet remains closely tied to, another religious body. The connotation should be clear.
Off Shoot - Anything that branches off, or derives from a main source.
The Nation of Gods and Earths is also commonly referred to as being an "off shoot" of The Nation of Islam. We have already seen the problems with loosely using the term "sect" above, so we understand that we have to be very careful with our word choices and the ideas that are associated with various terms.
To begin with, a "branch" implies a commonality or connection. Here, in this instance, there are no religious requisites by definition. In fact, we are but all too familiar with the various so-called branches of the military and, even, the U.S. government. And, in those examples, we also are aware of the level of common purpose and relationship between the "branch" and the "main source." However, what is common points of reference and/or purpose between the Nation of Gods and Earths and the Muslims of the Nation of Islam? Words. Words like "Allah," "asiatic," "colored," and "islam." Not to mention: phrases. Phrases like, "word is bond," "show and prove," "five percent," and "poor righteous teacher." All of which derive from writings of the Nation of Islam, which members of The Nation of Gods and Earths are encouraged to memorize in part.
Firstly, it should be noted that the above-mentioned terms, i.e. Allah, asiatic, colored man (referring to white people), islam, etc. are not the intellectual property of The Muslims of the Nation of Islam. They were utilized by various individuals and groups prior to the founding of the Nation of Islam. One of the more popular examples is Noble Drew Ali's organization, The Moorish Science Temple in America. However, it is not in this author's interest to cite historical references, as numerous as they are, to illustrate this point. It is merely a peripheral fact. Instead, the central point here is that the overall connection between The Nation of Gods and Earths and The Muslims of the Nation of Islam is, at best, superficial. Especially, since our definition, usage and meaning of those terms are considerably different.
Nowhere, in the writings of The Nation of Islam which The Nation of Gods and Earths study, is there any inkling of factual information to be found that was not already known, advocated or offered prior to Fard Muhammad issuing it in the early 1930's. The Muslims of the Nation of Islam wont admit this. In fact, for various reasons, they believe otherwise. As already mentioned, The Nation of Gods and Earths don't believe or advocate the mythology and the extraordinary information commonly taught by the Muslims of The Nation of Islam. We, also, do not agree with many of the very fundamental teachings of the Muslims. Instead, the only aspects of The Nation of Islam's cirriculum and teachings that The Nation of Gods and Earths do accept are those which have already been shown and proven through the aid of science, mathematics, history and rational thought. Yet, unfortunately, The Nation of Gods and Earths are rarely designated as being "off-shoots" of those disciplines.
Perhaps the only argument which can legitimately be made is that some of the cirriculum of The Nation of Gods and Earth is an "off-shoot" of the cirriculum of the Muslims of The Nation of Islam. That is to say, they both study similiar literature (often referred to as "degrees," or "lessons," among members of The Nation of Gods and Earths). It is very important to understand , however, that this is very different from stating that our teachings are similiar. In fact, I would argue that, even though the Muslim organization is older chronologically speaking, the foundational teachings (and perspective) of The Nation of Gods and Earths actually preceeds the teachings of the Muslims of The Nation of Islam. It was Allah, the Father, who had the insight, understanding and ability to synthicize those age-old, universal principles into a clear, concise paradigm.
In other words, as I stated in my essay, "Out Of Doors":
"I must point out that we cheat ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow by assuming we are no more than finished products of our environment. Whether that environment is our Planet Earth, our society, our family, our educational system or, as in the instance of Allah, the Father's experience with The Nation of Islam, our religious organization. The truth is, the content of what we study can have no redeeming impact on us unless we begin to assert ourselves. Education arises from within, not from a teacher, priest, preacher, imam, or any other outside agent."
"The root of Civilization is not only the physical environment; it is, ultimately, the mental environment. Although The Nation of Islam provided a suitable atmosphere for Original People, by offering them a rudimentary education on civilized attitude and conduct, notice that it was Allah's own intellectual ingenuity and fortitude that allowed him to respond with excellence. In fact, we can prove that the theology of The Nation of Islam was not the primary cause of Allah's success by simply noting that a similar result did not occur in every member of The Nation of Islam. If like causes produce like effects, where are the men in The Nation of Islam who are like Allah, the Father in thought and deed? I beg your pardon, I have never heard of one. If The Nation of Islam is responsible for all of the males who join their organization, then should we also hold them responsible for the Black males who underwent the study of their theology and still failed in their endeavors in life? Does The Nation of Islam agree that their failure was caused by their organization as well? Think about that."
"We can begin to see the problem with linking automatic success with the religious organization commonly referred to as 'The Nation of Islam.' That is, it fails to address the uniqueness of each individual's circumstances and experiences in life, which has a profound impact on their capacity (or incapacity) to know, understand, and think beyond what is being taught in an institution. This, in turn, sets the conditions necessary for one to ignore and avoid a number of more significant factors involved in one's success. For example, instead of applauding the intelligence and accomplishments of El-Hajj Malik Shabazz (aka "Malcom X"), we will only commend the teachings of The Nation of Islam. In addition, rather than celebrating the efforts and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we need only to praise the educational institution of Moorehouse University. Consequently, with this way of thinking, we will begin to restrict ourselves to showing gratitude towards the various kinds of institutions, rather than the talents and efforts of the individuals who make those institutions."
"The critical point is that by crediting the Muslims of The Nation of Islam for Allah's victory and, ultimately, for The Nation of Gods and Earths, it completely robs Allah of having a unique and Great Understanding. This is so that the advocates of this lie can live in the 'luxury' of arrogance and unwarranted pride. Although such a claim can fool a fool, it cannot fool a true and living God now-Allah-days! Therefore, the argument that Allah, the Father "developed in the womb of the Mosque" is only a trick to suggest that the theology of the religious group, the so-called "Nation of Islam", will lead one to success in all their undertakings. This conclusion is premature, irrelevant, and invalid unless one also were to illustrate that Allah, the Father taught Islam as a religion. We, The Nation of Gods and Earths, know that this is emphatically false.
"The most disturbing result of haphazardly categorizing The Nation of Gods and Earths with the Muslims of The Nation of Islam is that it causes the unaware observer to believe they must only study the theology of Islam and interpret it according to the point of view of religious people. This is not what The Nation of God advocate. In addition, it should be explained that the men, women and children of Our Nation are not required, nor recommended, to 'join' or 'register' as 'members' of the religious organization, The Nation of Islam. We are not a religious people. We are a Nation of scientists and mathematical thinkers."
Splinter group - Designating a group that seperates from a main party, church, et cetera, because of divergent views.
This is one of the more popular designations by those who write about The Nation of Gods and Earths. We are referred as a "spinter group" of The Nation of Islam. History is replete with examples of men who leave institutions with new perspectives and who, subsequently, found another in their own image and likeness. Allah (the Father and founder of the Nation of Gods and Earths) is no exemption to this list. However, unlike Allah's Nation of Gods and Earths, these entities aren't labled a 'splinter' of their former associations. In fact, this term is misleading in many ways.
For instance, when Allah left the Muslim organization, there was no body of individuals known as The Nation of Gods and Earths. In fact, it wouldn't be until months later that Allah educated the young Black men who become known as "Allah's Five Percent" and, years later, as The Nation of Gods and Earths. Thus, it should be noted that The Nation of Gods and Earths formed independently of The Nation of Islam. We neither identified ourselves as Muslims nor were we ever members of the Muslim organization. In otherwords, The Nation of Gods and Earths did not 'walk out' of the Mosque as some group with a new ideology. We did not 'diverge' from the core teachings and tenets of The Naiton of Islam. We never held them. Again, this term is just an attempt to promote the misconception that The Nation of Islam is the main source and origin of our teachings and culture.
Consider this analogy:
As young children, many of us were taught the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. Although fictitious, implicit within the said story were very real moral lessons which adults seek to imbue within children at a young age. However, being children, it primarily served as a form of entertainment. Of course, as we matured, mentally as well as physically, we began to grasp a more meaningful significance of this story (and others like it). Some of us continue the practice of storytelling with our own children, often with our own interpretations regarding what we deem as being most important about each story.
Clearly, no one would seriously insist that the parents who recycle and give new meaning to children's literature are "splinter groups" of the adults who taught it to them. Nor would we consider a fairytale as being the main source by which adults derived their ideas concerning morality or life in general. This is why it is both misleading and insulting to suggest that The Nation of Gods and Earths is dependent on the teachings of The Nation of Islam. Not because we equate their religion with 'fairytales', but because such an accusation distorts the actual methodology by which we generate the understanding of what we teach as a Nation.
Did Allah utilize some of the teachings of the Muslims to express his point of view? Yes. However, he also utilized science, mathematics, logic, symbology, the lessons learned while in the military and his experiences as a Black Man in America to develop a unique perception of life and matters. Yet these things almost always go without mention.
So despite many poor attempts at defining The Nation of Gods and Earths, the reality is that we are not a religious group, we are not branch or version of Muslims and we did not deviate from the teachings of the Muslims. We are not a sect, an off-shoot or a splinter group.
Peace

1 comment:

Brother OMi said...

dope post...
and that is why the history of the NGE HAS TO BE TOLD. as a historian who is forced to use peer reviewed sources, all i find is "off shoot" and "sect of..." nothing else.