“If you’ve ever met a True and Living God, you know this ain’t no game.” said Dr. Supreme Understanding Allah in the introduction to The Black God Anthology. “We don’t produce no suckas or fruitcakes. We produce strong, intelligent, dedicated men, and righteous, sincere, beautiful women.”
Before beginning my journey into Black Consciouses (which is, in reality, human consciousness), I had never heard of The Nation of Gods and Earths (the NGE, also called the 5 Percent Nation or The Five Percenters) – much to my detriment. It is my personal opinion that the NGE has done more to evolve Black Consciousness than any other similar organization. The NGE isnt a religion (as is the Nation of Islam), nor is it an “activist” organization (unlike the NAACP or Urban League). The Nation of Gods and Earths is a way of life.
In August of 2006, the Five Percent movement received national attention when National Public Radio (NPR) aired God, the Black Man and the Five Percenters. In it, NPR attempted to break down the beliefs of the Five Percenters:
Here’s what the group called the Five Percent Nation believes: Ten percent of the people of the world know the truth of existence, and those elites opt to keep 85 percent of the world in ignorance and under their controlling thumb. The remaining percentage are those who know the truth and are determined to enlighten the rest. – Christopher Johnson; NPR Correspondent
While those beliefs are essentially correct, the teachings and philosophies of the Five Percenters go so much deeper, as we will explore later. But in order to understand the Five Percenters today, one must look at the original Five Percenter, and understand how the movement came about.
The Controversial Origins of the Nation of Gods and Earths
Clarence 13X, born Clarence Smith, served as a Private First Class during the Korean War, receiving the Korean Service Medal with a Bronze Service Star and a United Nations Service Medal. He served until 1960, and converted to Islam at Temple No. 7 upon his return to the United States. Clarence 13X became well-known for his martial arts skills, charisma, and speaking ability, which led him to become a student minister.
While the details of Clarence 13X’s dismissal are unclear, it is generally accepted that Just two years before the assasination of Malcolm X, Clarence 13X was excommunicated from the Nation of Islam after questioning the divinity of W. Fard Muhammad (the NOI believed that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, and Elijah Muhammad was his messenger. So when a member of the Nation says that he believes that Elijah Muhammad is the messenger of God, he is also saying that W.F. Muhammad is God. Its easy to see why anyone would disagree with that belief, for why would Black men worship a white man as the Messiah?)
On a side note: Has anyone noticed that all of the appointed heads of the Nation of Islam have been light skinned or damn near white? Has anyone wondered why they routinely expel or kill their best and brightest (Clarence 13X, Warith Deen Mohammed, Malcolm X, and Khalid Abdul Muhammad to name a few? Anyway, thats another debate altogether.
Upon being expelled from the Nation of Islam, Clarence 13X took the name “Allah” and founded The Nation of Gods and Earths. He taught those who began to follow him that each black man could develop and eventually realize his godliness through meditation, study, and through spiritual and physical fitness. To his students, he instructed them to “never deny yourself of being Allah. Even if the whole world denies you, its your own doubt that prevents you from becoming Allah”.
Clarence took from the NOI the “120 Lessons”, and from them developed “Supreme Mathematics” as a numerological method for understanding man’s relationship to the universe. Each number represented a concept:
(1) represents Knowledge, the foundation of all in existence, for it must be known in order to make it manifest
(2) represents Wisdom, the vital building block of life. Knowledge plus the reflection of Knowledge equals Wisdom (1 + 1 = 2).
(3) represents Understanding, for Knowledge plus Wisdom equals Understanding (1 + 2 = 3). If you knowledge my wisdom you will understand what I am talking about.
(4) represents Culture and Freedom
(5) represents Power
(6) represents Equality, Truth, and Justice. Justice is accomplished when Equality is applied and Truth is manifested. Their mergence will bring about Justice.
(7) represents God, which is everything: sun, moon, and stars, and also represented by the 7 in the center of the Universal Flag of the Nation
(8) represents both Creation and Destruction: To build is to elevate the mentality of self and others around the self to add positive energy to every nation.To destroy is to ruin by allowing negativity to outweigh the positive.
(9) represents “Born“: To be born is the completion of all in existence, which isto manifest from Knowledge to Born, the law of mathematics—to be complete in itself.
(0) represents Cipher, the completion of a circle consisting of 360 degrees (120 degrees of Knowledge, 120 degrees of Wisdom, and 120 degrees of Understanding), which is a whole. All things in existence pertains to a cipher.
Supreme Mathematics were leveraged to calculate everything from the square mileage of the Earth (196,940,000 square miles), to gaining a deeper understanding of their cipher, to contemplating the totality of existence (you know what I mean if you have ever heard two brothas “build”).
Like all great and revolutionary Black men of the era, Clarence 13X became the target of the U.S. government in addition to the Nation of Islam. He was found shot dead in his Harlem housing project on June 13, 1969. His death was barely investigated and his killer was never found.
…he instructed them to “never deny yourself of being Allah. Even if the whole world denies you, its your own doubt that prevents you from becoming Allah.”
After his assassination, the teachings of Allah (the Father) continued to spread and change the face of America, finding its way into mainstream Black culture and language. The origins of the slang adjective “the bomb”, has its origins in the Five Percent term “dropping bombs” of knowledge. In its original use, “G” didnt mean “Gangsta”, it meant “God”. The Five Percenters were a major force behind the Attica Prison uprising in 1971 (which ended when authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoners’ demands), were a notable peace-keeping force during the gang-plagued 80s and 90s, and have influenced men such as Rakim, Mos Def, Adisa Banjoko (co-founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation), legendary DJ Kool Herc, Kalik Scientific, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Jay Electronica, and so many others.
The Philosophies of the NGE
Nation of Gods and Earths refers to the philosophy that all Black men are Gods, and all Black Women are Earths. Referring to Black women as “Earths” refers to the fact that the Earth is the only planet in the Solar System capable of bringing forth life. This is reproduced exactly in the Blackmans relation to the woman. Just as the Earth brings forth life, or fruits of the seeds that God plants – The Black woman brings forth a child from the Black man.
More specifically, the Five Percenters teach:
1. That Black people are the original people of the planet earth (See: Origins of the Original Man)
2. That Black people are the fathers and mothers of civilization.
3. That the science of Supreme Mathematics is the key to understanding man’s relationship to the universe.
4. Islam is a natural way of life, not a religion.
5. That education should be fashioned to enable us to be self sufficient as a people.
6. That each one should teach one according to their knowledge.
7. That the Blackman is God and his proper name is ALLAH. Arm, Leg, Leg, Arm, Head.
8. That our children are our link to the future and they must be nurtured, respected, loved, protected and educated.
9. That the unified Black family is the vital building block of the nation.
Hip Hop has been a powerful factor in bringing new Gods into the knowledge of the 5 Percent Nation, along with new media, and independent publishing platforms. If the Five Percenters are able to bring about a new age of Black Consciousness and a Great Awakening, then there may come a day when the 85 percent become the five, and vise versa – an era where ignorance is the exception rather than the rule.