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Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): As women in the Nation Of Islam at the Chicago National Center, you were participants in this year’s Save Our Girls event held at Mosque Maryam. What was the message of the event and why was it necessary to come from women in the Muslim Girls’ Training and General Civilization Class (MGT&GCC)?
Kenya Muhammad (KM): Save our girls was simply a display of the talents, skills, beauty and potential of all women. The message that was given through multiple speakers, a fashion show, a drill exhibition, a martial arts exhibition and much more. The standard of womanhood that this world promotes is far too low and does not equal to the quality of women that God desires for us to be. The women in the Nation of Islam, in my humble opinion, are some of the only ones that could put on such an event, because the MGT & GCC [Muslim Girls’ Training & General Civilization Class] have always been representations of style, grace, beauty and most importantly modesty. What is important to note is that we don’t just dress modestly when going to the mosque, but we always strive to represent a higher level of civility wherever we are found.
Subsequently, what I find equally important to note is how throughout the entire event, we didn’t find it our place to condemn anyone for any lifestyle that they live, but we instead showed an alternative way to be “modest, covered and look absolutely beautiful doing it.”
Maryam K. Muhammad (MM): The message of the Save Our Girls event in my opinion was to show the world what God desires for His woman. You can read any scripture in the Bible and see how the women were displayed and it will compliment the teaching and training of the MGT & G.C.C. Even the stories of the women who were stereotyped by their societies, like Mary of Magdalene. She was a woman who saw Jesus for who he was when others could not recognize his divinity. He restored her, healed her and brought her to her true value that God had already placed in her. This is whom the MGT represents. Women who have been reformed and are receiving this reformation through a man that has been ordained by God to do the job. And that man is The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan.
EM: What was it like to be a part of such a historical event and what did it mean to have the presence of women and girls from the community, of different faiths, ethnicity, and all walks of life?
KM: I was honored and blessed to be a part of such a program. As an MGT, specifically MGT Vanguard, I receive a lot of training in all of the areas that were touched on during Save Our Girls and was more than excited to share everything I have learned thus far with the world. I believe that whatever skills, talents, gifts and knowledge one has is useless unless it is used for the upliftment of others. To be able to speak, drill, modestly model and even demonstrate martial arts (did I really do all of that?) and see the impact that all of those things had on the audience, was absolutely motivation for me to continue growing into an intelligent and beautiful young woman. I was able to hear many reactions from the crowd and even those who may have been dressed completely different, and thought differently respected our representation of a higher level of behavior for our women.
MM: I felt overwhelmingly blessed to be present during such an historical event. To see the faces of women who also represent myself. I too was once in their seat and I am not too far out of that seat. To see women who have gone through so much pain come out seeking knowledge to help relieve them of that pain, showed the need that is present amongst all of our communities. I don’t care where you live. Black & Brown women are in pain and they are tired of being in that condition.
EM: Each of the 7 units of the MGT&GCC were highlighted, explained and demonstrated before the entire world. These training units were never showcased on a worldwide platform before in the history of the Nation Of Islam. Why now? What impact did and does it make to give the world a view of what it means to be a Muslim woman and woman of God?
KM: I would assume (and hope) that it is clear to the majority of us that women, black women in particular, have been completely degraded, mistreated and outright disrespected in and by this society. Whether it’s through music/music videos, TV shows, movies, advertisements and unfortunately even in the way we treat ourselves, we have been dehumanized and made objects of pleasure.
Some of us believe that duties such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, and rearing our children is outdated and even disrespectful to be associated with women and womanhood. To be clear, I do not believe that cooking and serving others is what constitutes being a real woman, but I do think that there is immeasurable value in women knowing how to take care of themselves and their families. I mean, if we aren’t cooking for our families then who will? If we aren’t taking care of our children then who will? The short answer is that someone else who’s standard of what “wholesome food” is or what “good children” are may be different than ours and we as women lose the ability to control the condition (physically and mentally) of our families.
I believe with the current injustices going on in the world and the mistreatment of black and brown (and really all oppressed people in the world), the state of women and our level of modesty and respect is a part of that fight which is what made Save Our Girls such a timely and relevant event. What we were saying to the world is that regardless of how fair seeming evil and indecency is made to seem today, us as Gods women refuse to lower our standard of morale to fit in with a world that is on a serious decline.
EM: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was the special keynote speaker for this event. He is also the head of the MGT&GCC. To the critics of his guidance for women’s issues, the condition of the female, and more importantly the value of the woman and her connection to and with God, what would you like for them to know straight from women who follow Minister Farrakhan’s guidance? How has your journey testified of the truth and divinity of his guidance?
KM: I did not always see the value and honor in modesty and a righteous way of life. Being in this world it’s very hard to see that value unless someone is teaching you contrary to the everyday messages propagated by the media. That is why I am so grateful for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan because his teaching has helped me to fall more in love with myself, my God and what He intends for me to be. In all of the correction that is received when learning to properly respect yourself, I have honestly never once felt that the correction was given out of hate or wanting to suppress or oppress me and my womanhood, but to protect it.
MM: Most people may think because I was born and raised in Islam I may not have a testimony that fits the average girl today. I have been through a lot in my life that has caused me to carry pain and be in the position of one needing healing. For me, The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan through the Teachings of The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad has provided for me the steps, stages, developmental process, holding of a hand, everything needed that you can imagine to heal the pain of a broken heart & a broken spirit. Most that criticize these men don’t know them. Because if you knew them you would be defending the word not criticizing it.
I mentioned Mary of Magdalene before because she is a woman I can relate with. When others label you negatively, when you have been abused and felt like you are worthless and you meet a divine man sent to represent the desires of God that shows you who you are and it dispels away all falsehood that you had been previously told or circumstances you have been placed in. To meet a man that can look in you and see Gods light in you when others cannot. To meet a man that gives you what you need to be reformed and restored. To meet a man that teaches you how to love yourself, value yourself; respect yourself in a world that teaches you the opposite. That man has to be one sent by God! I don’t know of any other man today that sincerely puts his life on the line everyday for the rise of the Blackman and woman, plus he fearlessly defends us. How good does it feel being a woman in today’s world and can have a man that defends, protects, reverences and covers you out of his love for you? Ask yourself do you want to meet a man like that? If so, come on and listen to The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan and allow God’s spirit to move through you!
EM: In what ways can both women and men benefit from the words he shared that day as well as the words he continues to share regarding the sacredness of the female and what they saw during Save Our Girls?
KM: Simply put, what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan shared during Save Our Girls and continues to share as it relates to women and our sacredness gives both men and women a better lens to judge and treat women by. In his upliftment of us, he gives us a higher standard (which I will continuously refer to) that we can now implement in ourselves but also use as we interact with others. The difference in the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and many others is that the standard that he gives is that which God set up and put in place. He isn’t telling women simply what he wants us to be, but introducing us into our nature and how God desires for His women to behave and present themselves. How can you argue with that?
EM: Why do you believe so many are criticizing his stance on women covering when clearly the opposite has the female in a derogated and devalued state? In this world she is viewed as a tool for sex/pleasure and not the second self of God, the woman of God and the agent by which all life comes through?
KM: I think the main issue is that we don’t even know what a derogated and devalued state looks like. I know this to be true because comments that I hear such as “it’s a woman’s body, she can wear what she wants” is used as a rebuttal to criticism. However, giving us ownership and control over our bodies doesn’t mean that we can’t be disrespecting and dishonoring it ourselves. Most of the time when we say that, we don’t even have control over our own actions to choose to not cover because we are bombarded by images in the media and the standard of women’s chastity has dropped resulting in our imitation of what we see around us. Many women and men are not even clear on the woman’s role and purpose, yet, rebuke people who try to give us that guidance simply because it is contrary to what we believe. I believe that is an ignorant stance to have, and a little open mindedness and humility will most likely cause us to take in the guidance and love from such a concerned and caring man.
MM: If you have been given a dirty glass of water to drink all of your life, you may not know what a clean one tastes like. If in today’s world you have been raised on seeing the woman half naked it is foreign to you to see her with clothes on or understand the value of covering yourself. I never fault a person for not being taught, I fault the person who put them in that condition. Once you teach the female her value she will then want to cover herself. We have to reform the woman. Due to our history and what this enemy has done to our woman and girls I expect for people to respond the way that they do. As we teach and train we will see the enemy fall and the God in us rise.
EM: It seems that most of the criticism of women being covered as a form of royalty, respect, honor and protection is coming from other Black media outlets. It almost seems as though they believe they are coming to the rescue. Is requiring the women and girls to cover themselves a method of oppression and taking away your individuality or ability to think for yourself? Please explain.
KM: No. No. No. Also, absolutely not. In other words, no. Nah. Incorrect. This is one of (if not the) most common misconception people have about women in the Nation of Islam. Firstly, we are not forced to wear anything. I repeat, no one forces us to cover ourselves and our modesty. We are taught there is no compulsion in Islam. So whoever makes the decision to join the NOI and become a part of the MGT & GCC should be making that decision because they feel it is right and are ready to strive to represent what it is they say they believe. So the number one question I’m asked is “you have to wear that?” Or “they make you wear that?” However I personally make the decision daily to dress modestly and not show the world my body. I have been introduced to the beauty (mentally, spiritually, and even physically) of myself and my value in relation to my Creator.
As an 18 year old, I have already fallen in love with the power, beauty, magnetism, and divinity in covering my adornments and in return find creativity and individuality in doing so. The more that you learn about who you are the more that you are even able to properly express who you are. There is much room for personality and character while being a Muslim and righteous woman. In fact there is no better way to stand out than by protecting yourself and honoring your body and mind. That is very rare these days and it shows you how twisted this world is that the women who chose to guard themselves and their chastity is questioned about our ability to think for ourselves when those same people are usually the ones who say that “clothes don’t make a person.”
MM: Look at the responses men give to women when they are half naked. You have men rapping young girls. You have men disrespecting their women. We are taught that a nation can rise no higher than it’s woman. Because once she rises the man has to follow suit. We are the first teacher of the child. But who is teaching our children today? It’s not us.
We love to get attention. Who doesn’t? We just have to be taught how to receive the attention we deserve not the kind that will bring us harm. Keep a man curious. Why should he see the entire gift that he might receive? You have to teach a man how to take care of you, how to treat you and by taking off your clothing you are training him that he doesn’t have to work for you. You are stimulating him in such a way that he may take what he sees because you are displaying it to him.
I am not oppressed because I cover myself. I am free! Mary the Mother of Jesus covered herself! She was beautiful in her covering! I love my bright flowing colorful garments. And believe it or not when I walk in a room heads turn and people want to know who I am. Not because of Maryam, no it’s because of the Teachings of The Most Hon Elijah Muhammad given to him by God, Himself, being placed in me. When you display yourself as a God fearing woman, one who knows the love God has for you, you raise the god that resides in man!
EM: What would you like the world to know about Muslim women, covering and loving it? What would you want the world to know about the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, his character and his qualifications to address the condition of women and girls?
KM: I believe that there is no one more qualified to give guidance and correction to women and girls other than someone who has fought for, defended and uplifted us ever since he began his “fight” for freedom, justice and equality. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s inclusion of women in some of the most respected positions surrounding his work serves as proof that his main aim is to elevate the level of civilization of us and give us a platform to exude that beauty and intelligence to the world.
For example, he appointed a female minister as his National Spokesperson (Sister Minister Ava Muhammad) and even has a woman as one of the co-conveners and directors of the upcoming movement Justice… Or Else (Tamika D. Mallory). That sounds like a man that cares about the treatment and condition of women and fights to give us back our rightful place in some of the most esteemed positions in society. He teaches us that anything a man can do, a woman can except that which degrades and disrespects us. I personally find much honor, love and respect for a man like that and am grateful to have someone to stand up for me even when I may not know how to stand up for myself.
I am absolutely a beautiful, intelligent black woman that is modest and loves it! And if anyone would have a problem with women standing up for such, that goes to show just how messed up your mind is to find issue in that. I am a woman striving for modesty and respect and am grateful and honored to have a beautiful man (of course, Minister Louis Farrakhan) aiding me in this struggle.
MM: There is no other man on this earth qualified to restore and reform the women today than the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan. Here is a quote from the beginning of the lecture at the Save Our Girls event. Please read the rest of it on finalcall.com website. You can use the search engine to find it.
“There will never be a Righteous Kingdom until and unless there is a Righteous Woman. Where there are no decent women there are no decent men. For the woman, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches the Black woman in particular, is the Mother of Civilization. So I want to talk about The Divine Nature and Value of Women. No matter what your color, or race or ethnicity, you have never looked at yourself as a part of The Divine. After this message today that view of yourself will change.” – Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
EM: Yes!!!! Magnificent words and testimonies sisters! Thank you so much for sharing and for being transparent in your journey. I know many will appreciate this!
Watch more highlights of Save Our Girls