Revolution by The Book by Imam Jamil Al-Amin stresses that real revolution begins within us upon our recognizing the sovereignty and preeminence of God as Creator and Lord. This produces a radical and fundamental change that frees our minds and allows us to perceive and accept Divine authority. The results are renunciation of the temporal, and submission to God’s universal, timeless Truth.
In the late 1960s, he was known as H. Rap Brown, Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, (SNCC), Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party, and on the FBI's most-wanted list. Today, he is Jamil Al-Amin, a devoted Muslim dedicated to the principles of the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Imam Al-Amin, the youngest of three children, was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1943. His father worked as a laborer for Esso Standard Oil. His mother taught children at an orphanage and also worked as a maid. As a youth, the 6'5" Brown was an excellent athlete, excelling in basketball and football. The name given to him by his parents was Hubert Geroid Brown.
The street named him Rap. He had a scathing dexterity with the language, combining profound intellect with blunt coarseness. "We played the Dozens like white folks play Scrabble ... a mean game, where you try to totally destroy somebody else with words."
Influenced by many writers committed to the struggle of Blacks for freedom, the nineteen-year-old H. Rap Brown found Howard University inspiring and motivating. He had attended Southern University for a while but spent summers with his brother who attended Howard.
By 1964, Brown had moved there and become politically involved in SNCC. Under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael, SNCC had rejected its earlier policy of nonviolence and adopted a strong anti-white position. It discouraged whites from participating in the organization and disdained their support. Carmichael criticized many of the tactics of the civil rights movement and demanded "Black Power" for his people.
Brown's boldness and commitment were recognized by the SNCC leadership. He confronted the political establishment with fearless verbal assaults that moved and inspired. He helped break the spell which slavery and segregation had cast over African-Americans who held white leaders in awe and reverence. In 1967, at the age of 23, he was elected chairman of SNCC, succeeding Carmichael.
Excerpts:“[In the struggle], we were familiar with Islam in different ways, because there was a lot of conversation in the media...of [Malcolm X], his odyssey from early life to being a Muslim when he died; he was a visible image and I'm sure his conversion to true Islam had an impact on many different people. It made me look at [Islam] even more seriously than I would have...I began to ask myself, ‘in terms of what they are talking about, what's wrong with it?’ I couldn't find anything wrong...[It] caused me to investigate it even more, which required my becoming a Muslim.”
“It became evident that to accomplish the things we had talked about in the struggle, you would need a practice. Allah says He does not change the condition of people until they change that which is in themselves. That is what Islam does, and it points out right from wrong. It points out truth from falsehood. Allah has allowed me to understand that it is not race or color that is the issue. The only important thing is the word of Allah."
This book gives us a detailed look at the spiritual views of the unjustly-incarcerated Muslim leader and is recommended for anyone interested in human rights. It is a summary of the tenets of Islam from an African-American perspective, a valuable text for any new Muslims, and an excellent introduction to the teachings of Islam for non-Muslims.