By Ilyasah Shabazz (@ilyasahShabazz)
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and have lived well.” – RALPH WALDO EMERSON
My father—El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X was an exemplary human being because of the service he gave to humanity. Malcolm X was only in his 20s when he burst onto the scene of the human rights struggle. He was only in his 20s when he hoisted all of humanity upon his shoulders. And in just a few short years of tireless service, he carried all of us forward into a brighter and more egalitarian future—asking nothing for himself or his family in return. My father was just 39 years old when he was martyred. But thanks to Allah, he left us with a legacy . . . A legacy of Truth! A legacy of courage, compassion, and love for all humanity and a legacy of service to God.
My father, like his parents, was willing to risk everything—including his life, in the name of truth and justice. In my book, I discuss that one of my greatest concerns about the way my family’s history is told is the distorted picture that is given of my father’s early family life. One such distortion is that before my father went to prison and discovered the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he was an illiterate deviant who could barely sign his name. To some degree, the Autobiography is responsible for this. Before making Hajj, everything my father did was for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation [of Islam]. The Autobiography was completed after my father’s assassination. And three of the final chapters were strangely omitted.