New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir

Who Revived Malcolm X?

Posted in notes by Imam Zaid Shakir on 2020-02-26 Thumb

With the release of the Netflix series reexamining the assassination of Malcolm X there is a renewed interest in determining the identity of his killers. It is not my desire to delve into that contentious issue. Rather, during this time when Malcolm’s passing is commemorated by so many, I pray that Allah grants ease and comfort to his daughters. The commemoration is probably difficult enough for them. It is certainly made all the more difficult by the controversy that has erupted around the Netflix documentary.

Lost in the confusion is the real question we should be asking. Namely, who will revive the legacy of Malcolm X? That legacy is one of struggle for an oppressed people. That legacy is one that challenges the mechanisms of empire. That legacy is one of religious integrity. That legacy is one of fidelity to family. That legacy is one of smiling in the faces of children. That legacy is one of intellectual curiosity. That legacy is one of speaking truth to power while understanding the dangerous implications of one’s words. That legacy is one of submitting to the truth be it for or against one’s interests. This is what Malcolm X should represent for us.

When we endeavor to be like Malcolm X, we honor his legacy and when we honor his legacy, we display ourselves to the world as serious, dignified people who are to be contended with. So, let us not be so concerned with who killed Malcolm X that we do not take the time to do everything in our power to revive his legacy. Reviving his legacy is not only something the world desperately needs; it is also the greatest tribute we can pay to a great Muslim leader.


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