Happy Birthday, Malcolm X

Today we celebrated the great el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz’s (also known as Malcolm X) 92nd birthday! His advocacy for both the pan-African movement and Islam left a legacy of inclusive dialogue vital to our times. In honor of his birthday, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite quotes by him.

  1. “Without education, you’re not going anywhere in this world.”

    Malcolm X, speech at Militant Labor Forum, NY, 29 May 1964, in By Any Means Necessary, p. 178

  2. “Look at yourselves. Some of you teenagers, students. How do you think I feel and I belong to a generation ahead of you – how do you think I feel to have to tell you, ‘We, my generation, sat around like a knot on a wall while the whole world was fighting for its human rights – and you’ve got to be born into a society where you still have that same fight.’ What did we do, who preceded you ? I’ll tell you what we did. Nothing. And don’t you make the same mistake we made….”

    Malcolm X to the Mississippi youth, 1964                                                                          

  3. “If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.”

    Malcolm X on Black people and war, 1963

  4. “I am not a racist…. In the past I permitted myself to be used…to make sweeping indictments of all white people, the entire white race and these generalizations have caused injuries to some whites who perhaps did not deserve to be hurt. Because of the spiritual enlightenment which I was blessed to receive as a result of my recent pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of any one race. I am now striving to live the life of a true…Muslim. I must repeat that I am not a racist nor do I subscribe to the tenants of racism. I can state in all sincerity that I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

    an excerpt from The Autobiography of Malcolm X quoted in an article written by the Institute for Islamic Education 

  5. “Power never takes a back step only in the face of more power.”

    Malcolm X 

  6. “The zionist argument to justify Israel’s present occupation of Arab Palestine has no intelligent or legal basis in history.”

    Malcolm X in The Egyptian Gazette, Sept. 17, 1964

  7. “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.”

    Malcolm X in Prospect for Freedom talk, 1965

  8. “If you are in a country that is progressive, the woman is progressive. If you’re in a country that reflects the consciousness toward the importance of education, it’s because the woman is aware of the importance of education. But in every backward country you’ll find the women are backward, and in every country where education is not stressed its because the women don’t have education.”

    Malcolm X in an interview in Paris, November 1964, quoted in By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter 

  9. “I believe in Islam. I am a Muslim and there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim, nothing wrong with the religion of Islam. It just teaches us to believe in Allah as the God. Those of you who are Christian probably believe in the same God, because I think you believe in the God Who created the universe. That’s the One we believe in, the One Who created universe–the only difference being you call Him God and we call Him Allah. The Jews call Him Jehovah. If you could understand Hebrew, you would probably call Him Jehovah too. If you could understand Arabic, you would probably call Him Allah….”

    Malcolm X in a speech After the Bombing in 1965

  10. “Early in life I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”

    The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” 

Do you have a favorite Malcolm X quote that wasn’t listed? Comment them below to share with us! More importantly, let us truly digest his words and try to implement his message in our lives. May his soul rest in peace in the satisfaction of Allah.