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)?
Shimah Muhammad (SM): The standard of civilization is measured by the woman. The degree of civilization that our women are displaying is being reciprocated by the view the world has of us. Save Our Girls was not just for females young in age, but for females of all ages, as we are all girls in the sight of God. Our minds, our spirits, and our souls need to be saved. The message is that a universal healing needs to take place and who better to save the women than we who have been taught by the Saviour through His Servant, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. It was necessary to come from the MGT and GCC because the women of the Nation of Islam are striving to be an example of the strength and beauty that embracing our nature can give.
Ayanna Muhammad (AM): The message of Save Our Girls was to really convey the importance of the woman. It was a platform that allowed us to showcase to the world that a nation can rise no higher than its woman, and that because we are the mothers of civilization and we have the responsibility of not only being the vessels which bring forth life, we are also the teachers and trainers of that life. I believe that it was necessary for this message to come from women in the MGT&GCC because we have really been blessed to not only have a class designed for specifically for us, but we also have been exposed to the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught by The Honorable Minister Farrakhan, and we would be remiss in our duty if we did not share these jewels that we have been given to our sisters so that we may all have a better understanding of the vital role that we play in producing a nation.
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?
SM: Being a part of this event was a glimpse into what the world would look like if it were eradicated of the effects of self hatred. All different races, ethnicity, religions and ideologies were present on that day. I believed the event tipped the balance of the scales in the minds of those that have the impression that women are in adversity with each other based on societies standard of beauty. My hope is that the presentation offered an alternative lifestyle other than what is being displayed on Reality TV.
AM: Being a part of such a historical event was nothing short of amazing for me. The MGT&GCC worked day in and day out to make this event what it was, so to see a packed house at Mosque Maryam of women of all different faiths and ethnicity come together on one common ground was absolutely beautiful. We all came from different backgrounds, with different experiences, and different stories, but the spirit that filled that sanctuary that day was unimaginable. I had several of my friends in attendance, and to see how receptive and excited they were about what they had witnessed is something I will never forget.
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?
SM: We are living in “The Time and What Must Be Done” to save our women from the effects of demoralization by our former slave masters. Through advanced technology, we are able to reach into the deepest crevices of the earth. Our beloved Student National MGT and GCC Captain, Sister Sandy Muhammad, capitalized on this opportunity to share with the world the tools used to reform our women in the Nation of Islam.
We are taught that when you make a mistake in public, then you should be corrected in public. The media is making the mistake of portraying an inaccurate depiction of the Muslim woman. Therefore, our 7 units were showcased to the world to erase the stigma that has been placed on us. We are not oppressed. In fact, we are leaders in our community! We are empowered, free, justified and made equals. The Constitution of the Nation of Islam states in regards to its women, ” A woman shall rise as high as her God-given gifts and talents allow her in her own interest and in the interest of her Nation within the framework of the Laws of Islam.” The guest left the event empowered and uplifted wanting to know more. Many returned that next day for our Sunday meeting and joined the Nation of Islam.
AM: The timing couldn’t be more perfect. We are living in a different hour today where the world has tried to uncover, oppress, and disrespect the woman, and by us showcasing these 7 units on a worldwide platform, it gave the world a chance to see just how beautiful and sacred the woman really is. I know that one of the messages throughout Save Our Girls was that although the home is our base, it is not necessarily our place, and I believe that by expounding on these 7 units, it allowed not only the world to see, but the woman to see that she wears a number of different hats and is capable of all that she puts her mind, so once the woman taps into her divine essence, there is nothing that she can’t do. This most certainly has an impact on the world by showing them the true potential and power that the Muslim woman, and woman of God carries, but I believe that the even bigger impact was the impact in had on the women who witnessed that event because there is nothing more powerful than coming into the understand of who you truly are, and that is God’s second self.
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?
SM: I can personally testify to the positive effects of being a follower of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the leadership of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Though I was born and raised in the Nation of Islam, I did not always practice Islam. Much like the Prodigal Son of the Bible, I was lured outside of the safety and protection of my home (Muslim community). The blatant disrespect from young men that I encountered as a young women when I chose not to cover up my body or acted in an undignified manner was a harsh reality to face. But, it made me appreciate my upbringing. After coming into the realization that the laws and codes of conduct given to me in the Nation of Islam were not put in place to “kill my vibe” but to protect me. I, like the Prodigal Son returned home. Since becoming a registered member of the Nation of Islam and being taught by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan how to become a woman of God and putting that teaching into practice, I have acquired a dignity, a self respect and a self love that I could not have obtained anywhere else.
AM: The one thing that I would like for them to know and understand very clearly is the unconditional love that The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has for the woman. And it’s the kind of love that is so pure, and so genuine, and runs so deep. It is a love that he continuously shows through his actions. Because he understands the value of the woman, no matter what her current condition is right now, he understands that she is the most important piece of the puzzle in developing a new people and a new nation. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us that every man has a woman in him because God studied himself, and from himself he fashioned a woman. Just in knowing that it shows you just how strong of a connection that God has with the woman.
Just going off of my personal experience and journey in Islam, nowhere on this earth have I ever witnessed a man who has been trying to reform the woman back to her righteous self, except for The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. By putting into practice the divine guidance that he has given the woman in helping us come into a better understanding of who we are through the teachings, it has given me the strength and the discipline to not fall victim to what has been showcased to us in this world of how the woman is represented. I am so thankful to Allah for his grace and mercy for protecting me in the times that I may have veered off because I am far from perfection, but I thank him over and over for giving me the strength to get back to my true self.
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?
AM: Both men and women can benefit from the words shared on that day, and the message that he continues to spread because once the man and woman comprehend the roles that they play , and how they are a help meet to each other, we can bring the woman back to her righteous self so that she may teach a nation, and we can build the man back up from a world who constantly tries to tear him down, so that he may build a nation. This message is so vital to the man because it is the man who is to respect and protect the woman, so it so necessary for him to comprehend the seriousness of her power.
SM: The Holy Quran teaches us to “reverence the womb that bore you: for God ever watches over you.” A Nation can rise no higher than its woman and if we are continuously mistreated, used, and abused by our own men then how far can our nation grow when it’s women are kept at a subordinate level? The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s words are working to empower women and men alike and encouraging them to embrace their own natures. He is helping the men realize that they need to elevate their women. When you teach a woman, you teach a Nation, when you teach a man, you teach an individual, therefore by the proper treatment of the woman, the man insures his future.
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?
SM: From what I have read in the comments of these criticizing articles is that people misinterpreted the spirit in which he gave his stance. They believe him to be hateful and, chauvinistic. That could not be any more untrue. They think him sexist to have addressed Jay-Z in regards to Beyonce’s scantily clad attire. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of EVERY woman (including Bey) is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”(1 Corinthians 11:3) So is the Bible now sexist and chauvinistic? The entertainment industry has women leaving NOTHING to the imagination. In the Bible, the Book of Matthew 7:6, it reads “ Give not that which is Holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine….” The Minister was not coming from a prejudice standpoint but from a Divine one. He’s asking those who claim to be lovers of God to follow what has been sent down through Christ, his disciples and the other Prophets of God.
AM: I believe that many criticize The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on his stance of keeping the woman covered because they have gotten so accustomed to the filth that the world presents. It has become normal, especially through the media, that the woman is showcased as being uncovered and exposed, so doing anything opposite of that has become the unnatural thing to do. The woman is not a play toy, and that is exactly what she has been looked at as. Even when you look at the fashion trends, the television, and the music, they are selling sex and they are using the woman to sell it. Her body is now used as eye candy accessible to all instead of vessel that brings forth life. It is the nature of the woman to reproduce through her womb, and we know that because life comes through her wherever she there will be growth, so we have to learn that the woman and her body is not something that should be put on display for personal pleasure, because that was not was God created her for.
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.
SM: In a world where being close to naked is the norm, the only way to show individuality is to be covered up. Am I to understand that showing your body has become a sign of liberation for women and dressing like Mary, the Mother of Jesus the Christ is a sign of oppression? Every image we have been given of Mary has her clothed from head to toe. She was a chaste woman, a virtuous woman and her clothing was symbolic of her virtue. Look at the type of offspring that she produced! She gave birth to Jesus the Christ. Why would we not model ourselves after her in every way? There are many ways to be modest and fashionable. Covering yourself in a respectable manner does not inhibit you from showing your individuality through fashion, it actually allows yourself proclaimed fashionista skills to grow.
AM: I don’t believe that requiring the women and girls to cover themselves is a method of oppression, nor does it take away from your individuality or ability to think for yourself. I believe that the modest woman is the protected woman. It all goes back to understanding the true knowledge of ourselves, and I will say this time and time again that when you realize exactly who you are, what power you possess, and how vital you are spiritually, mentally, and physically to the growth of an entire nation, it makes you reevaluate how you represent yourself to the world. We are not here to be pleasing to the eyesight of man, we are here to be pleasing in the eyesight of Allah (God) and summit our will to do His will. When you look back and study the women who were with Jesus, you didn’t find them half naked and uncovered, so if we are the women of God and we are his self second, then that should feed our desire to be modest.
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?
SM: I would like the world to know that I have received no greater respect than when I walk out of my door covered up! I’m not viewed as a “Thot” or a “Ratchet” in the eyes of the world. People refer to me as “Sister” when they see me. Men open doors for me. They realize that I should not be approached without the right intentions for commitment. Some even bow (smile).
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has worked tirelessly for over the past 50 years to uplift and unlock the black man and woman from the mental shackles of slavery. He holds the most successful track record in transforming so-called thugs and criminals into civilized, moralized, upstanding citizens. Utilizing the Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he has continued the work of the reformation of black men and women. He has been happily married for over 60 years. He is the Father to righteous, virtuous daughters which has given him the opportunity to witness first hand throughout the years, the pull that society can have on young girls if they are not properly guided. His unconditional, unyielding love and respect for the black women enables him to not only father his biological daughters but to serve as a father figure to women all over the world, such as myself. This brief overview of just a few of his qualifications make him best suited as a teacher for women and girls in this day and time.
AM: What the world should know about the Muslim woman is that her focus remains solely on Allah and maintaining a strong connection with him, who is our ultimate source of strength and divine power. As a young Muslim woman, I can only strive to do my best to continue to grow into the woman that God has fashioned me to be. The Muslim woman is a woman who submits her will to do the will of Almighty God Allah, and if my God desired to see his women covered, then I humbly submit to His will. When I was younger I use to think that sometimes it was awkward to be the one that stood out, but as I got older and begin to understand the reason and importance behind my modesty, I found that when I walked out my house in my garments fully covered, that was when I felt the most beautiful.
Now in regards to what I want the world to know about The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, I believe that his actions show just what kind of man he is. He is a man who is not afraid to fight in the cause freedom, justice, and equality for an oppressed people, and who continues to sacrifice is life to get a people who have been the rejected, and the despised into the promise land. He is a man who is not afraid to stand up and protect the woman because he her true value, and I am eternally grateful to have a man in our midst today who exemplifies the true definition of real love. He is divinely guided by the ultimate power in command so in my humble opinion that is all the qualification that he needs. The critics already know just what kind of man The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is and that is precisely why they may be upset now because they are witnessing a man without fear who is here to guide a people who have been lead astray.
I thank you Sis Ebony so much for allowing me to share some of my thoughts, and I pray that this reflection brings understanding to those who may have been unclear. Once again thank you!
EM: Absolutely POWERFUL sisters! Thank you both so much for your beautiful responses, love and for standing up to defend the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Islam!
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