A Deeper Look at Malcolm Shabazz- Grandson of Malcolm X Murdered in Mexico

By Dawud Walid

Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X, was viciously murdered last Thursday in Mexico.  Two men thus far have been arrested, yet there are many unanswered questions regarding his tragic demise.

Much to do has been made in the media of the troubles that Shabazz went through as a youth from the fire he set as an adolescent, which killed his grandmother Dr. Betty Shabazz, to later brushes with the law.  However, little has been spoken about the positive maturation of Shabazz.

I met Shabazz along with Hamza Perez, the focus of the “New Muslim Cool” documentary, approximately three years ago at the Ershad Center in Miami.  Shabazz gave a lecture about his recent stay and studies in Syria and some of the challenges he faced being a Blackamerican in the Middle East.  He also spoke of the impact of his grandfather and his decision to follow the Ja’fari school of thought.

After this meeting and having some conversations with Shabazz the following three days, I interacted with him later at conferences in other states and spent time with him when he visited Michigan.  My last discussion with him was after he gave a lecture at Michigan State University last year in which he later attended the Islamic center off campus in which I was the khateeb for Jumu’ah.  I definitely noticed an evolution in his ideas and purpose.

Shabazz was more than a man with brushes with the law.  He spoke at conferences about human rights and joined in solidarity with immigrant and workers’ rights activists in the Latino community.  He made Hajj and was a reader of philosophy.  He was a father who was beloved by his family and was respected by many Muslim youth, Blackamerican community organizers and leftist activists.

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I am not delving into conjecture about the veracity of media reports surrounding his demise or if his homicide was part of a broader conspiracy.  Shabazz was Muslim, who went through many struggles in life.  I ask that we pray that he receives ease in the grave and that his family is grant patience during this difficult time.

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32 responses to “A Deeper Look at Malcolm Shabazz- Grandson of Malcolm X Murdered in Mexico”

  1. Gibran says:

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    Why do Shias say they follow the Jafari school of thought? Isn’t it just Shiasm?

  2. Dawud Walid says:

    WS WR WB,
    There are 3 schools of thought within Shi’ism. That’s why.

  3. Tanveer Khan says:

    Im confused. Is Malcolm Shabazz shia?

  4. Tanveer Khan says:

    Nevermind, Ive found out now.

  5. umm.esa says:

    May Allah allow us to have good opinion of our brothers and sisters in faith, whether they are living or dead. Allah is the Ultimate Judge and Possessor of all knowledge. May Allah have mercy on our brothers and sisters in faith, both living and dead.

  6. Hena Zuberi says:

    Prayer Service for Malcolm Shabazz (Malcolm X’s grandson) tomorrow, Friday, May 17th at 10am ICCNC 1433 Madison Street Oakland Ca. Please spread the word.

    • Gibran says:

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Look, that’s very well intentioned I assume, but I think you might want to remove this comment. In light of what another commentator said, I don’t see how it’s possible for us to pray for him. We aren’t allowed to pray for dead mushrikeen and making dua to other than Allah aza wa jal is shirk. Hence the hadith “dua is worship.” Now, it may be that this man reverted before his death, but I don’t know any evidence than he did.

      So please remove this comment.

      I believe the following clarifies what should be clear to every Muslim.

    • Gibran says:

      Allah has made it clear what we ought to avoid so lets avoid what we should. He is not in need of us and he can bring up Muslims to replace us who will be cautious.


  7. Osama Hamza says:

    Imam Jafar was not Shia. He hated the Shias and said that they claim to to love his family (ahle bait) but in reality hated them them. The Shias claim to follow the Jafari school of thought, while the real Jafari school of thought is followed by Sunnis today which is very close to the Hanafi School of thought. Regarding Shahbaz, i don’t know whether he was sunni or shia… but i do know that his grand father had converted to Sunni Islam after leaving the Nation of Islam cult and was martyred by them.

    • Gibran says:

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Good comment.

      This article was not a good idea, however may Allah have mercy on Dawud Walid for not censoring these comments.

  8. Abdus Samay says:


    Most scholars say that the Jafari school of thought is unauthentic due to it coming from Al Kulayni. Furthermore, Malcolm Shabazz said in a clear comment “Ya Ali, Ya Hussein” on facebook. I’m with holding judgement but that is NOT a good sign.

    • Gibran says:

      wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      If he really made dua to them then we aren’t even allowed to pray for him. I’m not trying to be sensitive, this is a commandment from Allah and His Messenger.

      Also, I disagree with this article. We all know where this man died. Respectfully, lets keep silent and let the family grieve. We find it in the sunnah that some janazah’s were REFUSED.

      Glorifying how a man was right before he swerved one way is a disturbing thing and I’m afraid it may even become a trend.

    • Abdullah says:

      Salaam brother Abdus Samay.. Imaam Jafar was one of the great muhaditheen of Madina during his time and he was a pure Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. He despised the shias. Unfortunatey, the shias twisted, innovated and misinterpreted many ahadith and pointed to him as their source. This work by the shias was pioneered by Kulayni (la’natul Lahu alayh) in his book Usuli Kafi.

  9. Greg Abdul says:

    Thank you for telling us about this. He belonged to Allah and he returned to Allah. We all belong to Allah

    • Greg Abdul says:

      a quick ps.

      The family is not exactly strict in its practice of Islam. I always wonder why Attallah thinks that kufi she wore was cool. But the fact is, Malcolm X 50 years ago, was a pioneer Muslim in America. His autobiography has brought many people to Islam (like me). So we should praise the good. A Muslim’s grandson was killed. Yes in a bar, where no Muslim should be. But going to a bar does not automatically put you out of Islam. Young Muslim men in America do stupid things. The Minnesota four who went to train in Somalia come to mind. Unless we have absolutely solid evidence, I am no scholar and Allah knows my mistakes are legion, but my weak understanding is that we take all positive evidence that he was Muslim and give him every benefit of the doubt as we hope Allah gives us every benefit of doubt for our bad actions and we pray for Allah’s Mercy, we should be merciful in our judgement of this troubled young man. May Allah have mercy on him and accept his Islam….


      • Gibran says:

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        No, going to a bar does not put you out of Islam. I was not referring to that after all.

        I was referring to this:

        “Furthermore, Malcolm Shabazz said in a clear comment “Ya Ali, Ya Hussein” on facebook.”

        That definitely takes a person out of Islam. Dua is for Allah alone. Faduallaha mukhliseena lahudeen wa law karihalkafiroon.

        I don’t know why my comments above haven’t passed the censors. It is pretty clear we aren’t supposed to be making dua for him or giving him a janazah.

        • Muslim says:

          @Gibran – when did you become the Islamic Qadi of the Internet that authorizes you to declare if someone is Muslim or not?

          The fact that you pull a comment off of a facebook website and declare Takfir on another person just shows how ignorant you are. Why would MuslimMatters allow you to rant and post over and over again?

          1.) Common Sense which apparently isn’t so common: Just because there is a comment on someone’s facebook website is not proof enough that the person made those comments. And it is definitely not enough evidence to declare Takfir on another individual. Did you ask him or his family members yourself? Do you know if those statements are old, recent or said right before his death? Did you verify his IP Address and match that with the IP address of the post on facebook??

          2.) There are hundreds of millions of Sunni Muslims around the world who use phrases such as “Ya Muhammad, Ya Rasullullah, Ya Ali, Ya Hussein, etc” in poems, nasheeds, slogans, etc. Are you saying all of them are Kafir and are praying to other than Allah, when they themselves will tell you they would never worship anything other than Allah?? This is a concept of Tawassul & Istigatha and a significant majority of Sunni Ulema allow it. But even if you disagree, you are willing to use a phrase you read on facebook to officially declare that he is not a Muslim and try to dissuade other Muslims from making dua for him? Did you ever get your lazy self off of your chair and have the decency to make a phone call to his family and find out his true beliefs before you declare him a Kafir before thousands on the Internet after he has died and cannot defend himself?

          I personally advise you as a Muslim brother to do yourself a favor and not post on Islamic websites for some time until you gather your thoughts and attain some more practical sense.


        • Gibran

          Akihi as advised to you, your comments are on full moderation and do not go through without authorisation from the CommentsTeam or author. So please do not keep asking why your comments are delayed and why some do not show up. JazakAllahu Khairin for your understanding and compliance.

  10. Gibran says:

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    It’s not necessary to be a qadi to make takfir in a lot of cases. For example, if an alleged Muslim started saying that Hindus are not disbelievers, no one obviously would attend his janaza.

    1) To call upon other than Allah for a need, such as rain, etc, while believing that the one being addressed will answer the call is Shirk by agreement. For example: O Prophet! Send us rain!

    2) To call upon other than Allah for a need, such as rain, etc, while believing that only Allah will answer the call is Shirk, by agreement. For example: O Prophet! Send us rain!

    3) To call upon other than Allah, asking them to intercede for us with Allah is also Shirk. For example: O Prophet! Intercede for us with Allah!

    4) To call upon the Prophet, asking him to make du’a for us is Shirk. For example: O Prophet! Ask Allah to grant us rain!

    5) To call upon Allah alone, asking Him by His Prophet is a valid difference of opinion in Fiqh where none is censured. For example: O Allah! I ask you alone by Your noble Prophet!

    Detailed evidence is provided in the link.

    Also, people saying they will never worship other than Allah subhana wa ta’ala can be different from what they do. For example, Christians say they worship Allah aza wa jal alone however we know that they are mushriks and we cannot give them janazah or pray for their forgiveness after they have died.

    barakallahu feek

    • Muslim says:


      AOA – like I mentioned before, common sense is not so common.

      You have not mentioned that you know this brother Malcolm Shabaz? Have you ever seen him? Have you ever talked to him or his family? Have you ever heard any words of Kufr actually come out of his mouth? If so, did you ever ask him about it? Do you know any other legitimate scholar who has made Takfir on the brother? How do you know if he ever took certain statements back in his life?

      Like I said before, you are not a Qadi nor do you possess common sense or have any intellectual integrity. You need SOLID PROOF before you claim that someone is a Kafir. Internet blogs and evidence from others’ comments that you don’t even know in real life are not sufficient evidence. Therefore, you blasting this dead brother on the internet and advising other Muslims not to make dua for him or go see his family at a prayer service is wrong. There is a possibility he might not have been a Muslim, but that possibility applies to everyone as no one really knows what anyone else believes. For example, you might not be a Muslim either. You might be an Extremist Zionist Jew in disguise whose job it is to plant the seeds of hatred and disunity among Muslims online. But unless I have 100% proof of this, I cannot label you a Kafir.

      Whatever links you provided up there don’t matter when it comes to the points I am asking you above. You chose to ignore that fact that you did not use appropriate evidence to do takfir on this brother and you also ignored the fact that a large portion of Sunni Muslim Scholars around the world do not believe statements such as “Ya Muhammad” or “Ya Ali” are Kufr as long as the person knows their proper beliefs. Do you want to do Takfir of them? (Please don’t)

      Anyway brother, some food for thought:

      1.) In the hadith Ibn Umar related that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If a Muslim calls another kafir, then if he is a kafir let it be so; otherwise, he [the caller] is himself a kafir.” (Abu Dawud)

      2.) Abu Zarr reported that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: No man accuses another man of being a sinner, or of being a kafir, but it reflects back on him if the other is not as he called him.” (Bukhari)

      3.) “Withhold [your tongues] from those who say `There is no god but Allah’ — do not call them kafir. Whoever calls a reciter of `There is no god but Allah’ as a kafir, is nearer to being a kafir himself.” (Tabarani)

      There are many, many more narrations in the books of Hadith and books of the Scholars in Islam about this topic.

      Why would you risk your own salvation by taking it upon yourself to label another person as a Kafir without sufficient evidence???


      • Gibran says:

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa baraakatuh

        There is no need to argue. Tawheed isn’t common in this world and it is the reason most people are headed to the fire.

        “you also ignored the fact that a large portion of Sunni Muslim Scholars around the world do not believe statements such as “Ya Muhammad” or “Ya Ali” are Kufr as long as the person knows their proper beliefs. Do you want to do Takfir of them? (Please don’t)”

        If the person says “Ya Ali” as in longing for a long dead relative like “Oh mother I wish you were here” then that is one thing. He is not asking for intercession or any assistance.

        But if he is calling upon him for intercession while believing only Allah created everything, nothing separates him from Abu Jahl the mushrik Arab.

        Any person who does this is neither from the group that is upon what an-Nabi sallahualayhiwasalam and his companions were on, nor is he a Muslim nor is he a scholar. On the contrary, he is indeed a mushrik. The links I provided contain ample evidence from even scholars of perverted beliefs that dua to other than Allah is shirk. Any modern day scholar who justifies such a thing is a mushrik.

        As for the last hadith, I do not know its authenticity, however I do know we cannot misinterpret it. Jews and Christians have there own version of la ilaha illallah but we still kaffirize them. If a person claims to be Muslim yet worships a dead, rightious slave of Allah subhana wa ta’ala, I will still kaffirize him without hesitation like I kaffirize Hindus who worship Krishna.

        Allah is the only one we enslave ourselves to. La ilaha illallah.

        • Muslim says:


          You keep dodging my question about how you declared Takfir on this brother without proper evidence. I am sure at this point anyone reading your comments will realize you are not answering that question.

          For arguments sake, I will agree with your hardcore stance on saying or writing “Ya Ali” etc. Even if that is the case, how do you know the brother said it? Did you get a confirmation that he actually wrote it on his facebook page? Did you talk to his family about his beliefs. Did you ever call him to talk to him about his beliefs? Yet, you publicly declare Takfir of this brother on the internet and advise people not to make dua for him and visit his family at their prayer service.

          You keep dodging that point which is the real problem with your attitude and your intellectual integrity.

          • Gibran says:

            I was thinking of answer the question, but then I decided against it.

            “For arguments sake, I will agree with your hardcore stance on saying or writing “Ya Ali” etc.”

            I’m not here to argue. Making dua to any other than Allah aza wa jal is shirk. So come to me with the right idea of tawheed (those links show that Allah and His Messenger commanded us to make dua exclusively to Allah) and I will answer the rest of your prompt. Until then, peace.

        • Greg Abdul says:

          Brother Gibran,

          The Ummah has many problems. We have an international hate network that spends millions to misinform the world about Islam and to generate hate against Muslims. It’s hard for me to believe with all the problems we have that you are spending time kicking a dead boy out of Islam. Do you really think this is a productive halaal use of your time?

  11. Dawud Walid says:

    As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum,


    I’m not the moderator of this site. I simply wrote the article.

    I will say the following regarding madhhab Ja’fari (which by the way I am not an adherent of this madhhab and disagree with them on a few issues):

    1) Al-Azhar recognizes madhhab Ja’fari has a legitimate school of thought. It is even taught there.
    2) I’ve been to Hajj twice, and the Saudis allow them there. I’ve prayed next to them in Al-Masjid Al-Haram. If the Saudis considered them to be kuffar or mushrikeen, they would not allow them in Makkah and Al-Madinah as non-Muslims are not allowed in the Haramayn.
    3) Ahmad bin Hanbal in his Musnad narrated from men who were known Shi’ah.

    The three above points are statements of fact, not opinions on what such and such thinks.

    May Allah (SWT) guide us all to what is best.


    • Gibran says:

      wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
      @ Dawud Walid

      1) I know it was accepted by the head of Al-Azhar a few decades ago, didn’t know it is taught there now. Anyways, it doesn’t matter. I, and probably thousands of other Muslims don’t have any respect for Al-Azhar the institution. There are reasons for that.

      2) Yes, Saudis allow them there, otherwise hell would break loose. That doesn’t mean ulama from various backgrounds don’t consider them kuffar. In any case, we don’t kaffirize ALL Shia. My grandmother, uncle and aunt are all Shia and I love them to death. I hope they haven’t done any shirk (especially my grandmother-smiley face.)

      3) I know hadith narrators narrated from various types, even Qadari people who are the Magians/Zoroastrians of this ummah.

      May Allah (AWJ) guide us to what is best.

      • May Allah Blessed his soul and grant Him Jannat ul Firdaus.

        @ Gibran, Just seen your messages and would like to ask you some questions?
        1. Will it be shirk saying ” asking XYZ Doctor to cure the disease or sickness ?”
        2. Will be it shirk asking money from the people ” to construct Community centre or needy work?”
        3. Will be it shirk asking for food ” needy people asking for it”

        Looking above, asking for Cure, wealth, food other than Allah is SHIRK then majority of Muslims will be out of Islam (as per your analogy)

        My brother asking help or assistance or helping fellow human being doesn’t take you out of the Islam but make you better Human who follows the Humanity. The only way the person will be out of Islam when a person reject Tawheed ” There is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is his Messenger”


  12. Sana says:

    A “Shaheed” is not Dead… n a prayer can be made for all beings that is what Huqooqul Ibaad is.. n it comes first before Huqooq Allah. Our Prophet pbuh was Rehmatulil Alameen. . Not only for a particular sect of extremists.. He always made dua for his non Muslim brothers n never rejected them calling Kafirs days how he managed to change them. We all claim to be some one higher than him Astaghfirullah. Through love n humanity we win hearts n inspire others not by hatred. We shud learn to be a Good Human First. Islam teaches us Ethics, No Arab is better than Non Arab! Remember Prophet pbuh’s last Sermon? It is for all humanity. We shud leave the Judgement part with Allah… only having a Muslim name isn’t a guarantee that someone deserves Jannah. Allah does only “Justice”
    Our job is to pray for all Humanity, dats how an Ummati of Rehmatulil Alameen shud be!

  13. Fareedah A. says:

    As Salaamu Alaikum,

    Thank you Br. Muslim. You are on target.

    Gibran, may Allaah (subhana wa ta ala) guide you. You are in error to speak as you have, to make takfir on him. The rules of Islam are clear but you are not clear about what he believed or didn’t believe. If you feel this way, you should keep it to yourself and do as you please. You are wrong to declare him a kafir and discourage other people from praying for him or for visiting his family. May Allaah subhana wa ta ala raise the rank of Malcolm Shabazz and have mercy on all of his family members and guide them to the haqq. Aameen

    And who cares what you think about Al Azhar University. Who died and gave you ultimate authority and judgment as if you sit in the station of our nabi? You don’t. Mind your manners.

    May Allaah Subhana wa ta ala have mercy on his soul and guide his family and console them for their losses. Aameen

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