“John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus in those days, to warn and stir up the nation and prepare them to receive the divine creed which was to be taught by Jesus. In these modern days there came a forerunner of Jesus, who was divinely prepared by the great God-Allah and his name is Marcus Garvey, who did teach and warn the nations of the earth to prepare to meet the coming Prophet; who was to bring the true and divine Creed of Islam, and his name is Noble Drew Ali who was prepared and sent to this earth by Allah, to teach the old time religion and the everlasting gospel to the sons of men. That every nation shall and must worship under their own vine and fig tree, and return to their own and be one with their Father God-Allah.”
~Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America, chapter XLVIII, verses, 2-3
HONORING GARVEY: From A Moorish Perspective
August 17th marks the day that Marcus Mosiah Garvey, founder of the legendary U.N.I.A.- A.C.L. (Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League), was born. Many words have been used to describe the Great Marcus Garvey – visionary, legend, rebel, vanguard, icon and genius are just a few of those words. However, when honoring Garvey from a Moorish perspective, the words “Harbinger” and “Forerunner” come to mind. Bro. Azeem Hopkins-Bey wrote an excellent piece expounding on this.
To fully comprehend why Moorish-American Moslems have this view of Garvey, one must review Garvey’s works and place them in relation to the works of Prophet Noble Drew Ali. It is safe to say that there is no other man who successfully accomplished what Marcus Garvey accomplished in terms of organizing people who were labeled negro, black, colored and Ethiopian at that time. What Marcus Garvey did, in terms of organization, has never been duplicated.
Marcus Garvey created the UNIA with one simple motto – “One God, One Aim, One Destiny”. This motto came as a result of being inspired by Dusé Mohamed Ali, who was Moslem from Egypt and Garvey’s mentor. Prophet Noble Drew Ali himself was taught by the Adepts (i.e. Masters) of Egypt.
For Moorish-American Moslems, it’s important to be aware of what Marcus Garvey said in relationship to the Creed of Islam, as well as what he did not say. Marcus Garvey posed the question to European Christians, when he stated:
“…You white men, have taught us the love of God, you have had us to see Him in all goodness and perfection; is He a mockery to you? He must be something real. Must we by your actions deny His goodness and love for us, and seek and search for the God of Africa, The Allah most High, Noble and Almighty?”
(The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, pg. 412)
Marcus Garvey mentioned Prophet Mohammed several times in his speeches, as a source of inspiration whom he identified as a great Asiatic man. In one particular speech, Garvey stated:
“The great Mohammed, the leader of the Mohammedan faith-the man who swept the Asiatic world with that new cult, the new religion of Allah- he counted the cost and in his lifetime paid the price. Mohammed suffered many reverses; Mohammed suffered many defeats at certain times; half of the people, two-thirds of the people; nearly all of the people, forsook Mohammed, but Mohammed stuck to his faith and ultimately triumphed and Mohammedanism was given to the world. And as Mohammed did in the religious world, so in the political arena we have had men who have paid the price for leading the people toward the great light of liberty.”
(From a speech, by Marcus Garvey, on January 29, 1922, The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers, sponsored by the University of California)
Now, it has been stated, by some individuals, that Marcus Garvey gave the following quote:
“The Negro is crying for a Mohamed, a Prophet to come forth and give him the Koran of economic and intellectual welfare. Where is he?”
However, Marcus Garvey never made that statement. Actually, that quote came from an Editorial, which was dated March 1917, within the Chicago-based periodical entitled Champion Magazine. Marcus Garvey was neither an editor, nor a writer, for Champion Magazine. Although some of Garvey’s own articles did find their way into the magazine, that editorial was not one of them. This common misunderstanding stems from the misreading of the book entitled “RACE FIRST” by “Tony Martin”, (specifically in Chapter 4, entitled “RELIGION”, on page 67).
Marcus Garvey taught us that we needed a nationality, while Prophet Noble Drew Ali taught us what our nationality is. Marcus Garvey is quoted as saying:
“We want a nationality similar to that of the English, the French, the Italian, the German…”
“Nationhood is the only means by which modern civilization can completely protect itself. Independence of nationality, independence of government, is the means of protecting not only the individual, but the group. Nationhood is the highest ideal of all peoples.”
On March 16th 1924, during the U.N.I.A. Convention at Madison Square Garden, Marcus Garvey stated:
“If we are to believe the divine injunction, we must realize that the time is coming when every man and every race must return to its own ‘vine and fig tree’.”
This quote coincides with the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America, chapter XLVII, verse 15, which states:
“The time has come when every nation must worship under its own vine and fig tree, and every tongue must confess his own.”
In conclusion, when reviewing the words and works of Marcus Garvey, it is quite easy to see the connection between him and Prophet Noble Drew Ali. Both of these men were necessary for the uplifting of our race. For those Moorish-American Moslems who are well-studied, it is a known that there would be no Moorish Divine National Movement without the works of Marcus Garvey.