The 1985 epic movie, The Color Purple, based on Alice Walker’s novel of the same title; had no shortage of memorable scenes and dialogue. Right up there at the top is the unforgettable confrontation between Sofia (portrayed by Oprah Winfrey) and Celie (portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg). As you may recall, Sofia was livid and hurt that Celie would tell her husband, Harpo, to beat her as a way of keeping her in check; more subdued. Sofia approaches Celie fuming with rage and exclaims, “You told Harpo to beat me! All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy; I had to fight my uncles; I had to fight my brothers. Girl child ain’t safe in a family of mens. But I ain’t never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. I loves Harpo – God knows I do…but I’ll kill him, dead, before I let him beat me…”
This movie is based on a fictional storyline, set in America’s racist rural south, during the early 1900s; but the issue of incest that lingers throughout the tale is not fictional at all. There is no country, community, religion, income-level, status or race that has not been affected by the devastating impact of rape and incest. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad was concerned enough about the potential for incest that he told the Sisters in the Nation of Islam not to leave their daughters alone with their husbands. Most of us, when we hear this for the first time, probably react the same way the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan did when his wife first informed him of those instructions. He said that he became upset. As a father of five daughters, he was very offended – he even thought someone was lying on Mr. Muhammad and that some “crazy” sister in the class made it all up.
It is completely understandable for a protective doting father, who would never think of abusing his daughter, to be initially offended by anyone saying that he should not be alone with his own flesh and blood. However, it did not take long for the Minister to understand the reality of sexual molestation in our community and why it was necessary for the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad to give out such a directive. We cannot be more concerned about sparing someone’s feelings than we are about protecting our precious daughters. It is not difficult to get over a bruised ego – but only God can completely restore a woman who continues to suffer from the abuse she endured as a child.
In his lecture, The Sin of Molestation, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “I know what you think, brothers, especially if you’re a good person…Sometimes, brothers, you are good and the thought never enters your mind and God has to make a rule taking into consideration the total society. And we should obey it, not because we need it; but for the weak one in the society that needs it.”
As it was made evident in Sophia’s case, we know that these instructions must extend beyond fathers. Every effort should be made not to leave our girls alone with any male – family or otherwise. Unfortunately, our natural God-centered mind is being overcome by a sick pleasure-seeking mind that is corrupting the innocence of our young girls, daily. The fastest way to destroy our future is to abuse children. It only takes a moment in time to ruin the hope, potential and countless successes destined in the span of someone’s lifetime. As mothers, we are charged by God with being watchful, vigilant protectors of our children; and though the choices we make may appear to be extreme to others, enacting this discipline plants the seed that will help our girls to one day protect themselves.
They may not articulate it in this manner, but the thought is: “If I can’t be alone with my own father, nobody else stands a chance.” Not permitting our daughters to be alone with men in general, including their father, inoculates them against a feeling of ease and peace when found alone with a man. Since she is not accustomed to being in this type of situation, it should make her uncomfortable enough to rebel and seek to remove herself.
We also do not permit our husbands (or other males) to bathe our daughters or even change their pampers – that role is exclusively for mother. And this practice that we are now seeing, where parents are bathing/showering with their children is completely inappropriate! We should not even bathe our children together. In the name of saving time and/or water; we are exposing our children to habits that were once rightly considered taboo. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said that adults as well as children need space and privacy. He said that boys and girls should not share a bedroom and certainly they should not share the same bed. Girls must have their own bedroom.
In addition, modest clothing should be worn at home as well as in the public. Every little girl in a family of men should own a robe and have decent night clothes that cover her developing body. These days, the onset of puberty is starting younger and younger due to our poor eating habits and the enemy’s tampering with the food and water supply. As we mentioned, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has several daughters; and he said that after the age of two, he never saw so much as his daughters’ legs. Their wonderful, diligent mother made sure that they were always covered in the presence of their father and brothers. What a great example for us all!
This is the ideal way of life that we must actively strive to attain. Yes, there will be exceptions, such as single fathers and emergencies or other situations that may prevent a perfect practice. But we must work to make this way of life the norm and not a rarity. When our children are away from us, it is necessary that we assess them, physically and mentally for any signs of tampering. If we see ANY indication of such a violation, we must move heaven and earth until we expose the culprit, whomever he may be.
In 2016, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan gave this divine warning on the popular New York based radio program, The Breakfast Club: “In our world (of Islam) the penalty for abusing women and children is death. And unless we are willing at some point to kill those who rape our women; to kill those who destroy our children – that’s going to come. Not now, because you have to be taught first and given a chance to reform your life. But you are not going to live among us and carry out that crap and not pay for it…I hope we never will have to do that.”
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)