read in: 66 min
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): First off, congratulations on the release of your new book, Before You Say ‘I Do’! It’s so beautifully put together and I love the tone that you wrote in. It’s as if you’re speaking candidly to the reader in a one-on-one conversation.
Nuri Muhammad (NM): Praise be to Allah! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
EM: It’s very easy to read and very personable. What has the response been like since its release?
NM: The response has been great! Some have read it once a day (in its entirety) and have read it five and six times. I want to say that this book is for married couples as well as for those who are yet married. With the married couples: We’ve gotten feedback from some who have been married 30-something years and said that there are so many excellent ingredients from our (Sister Terri and I) relationship. They said, “Our relationship was good, but I know it will be great once we implement these ingredients”.
EM: Excellent! That was actually going to be my next question in regards to who the book is for, considering the title. A sister that I know has been married for 18 years with six children, and she was wondering if there is something in your book that she could benefit from before she says ‘I don’t’. (laughing)
NM: Absolutely! That’s actually in the subtitle. The subtitle is “Before I say ‘I don’t no more”. The writing was designed to help a person who is trying to figure out where to plant their love, but also for those who have already planted their love and are in a marriage. Hopefully this book can help them get some of those weeds out of their marriage and sprinkle some fertilizer on their marriage that it can grow better, proper and stronger.
The root of the book came from the constant request from people everywhere I go who want to know if I can do some counseling or sidebar session. This is kind of like what law enforcement says about those who get caught speeding: They have sped at least twelve times and got away with it. So for every time you catch somebody speeding that’s twelve others speedings attached to that one. Therefore, if there is a marriage concern, there’s probably 120 attached to that one that you’ll never be able to touch. Well if that’s the case and you have all of these concerns, maybe they are just a small sample of what we are experiencing as a people. If I wrote a book I wouldn’t have to have the conversation, I wouldn’t have to do the lecture, I wouldn’t have to have people drive or fly to meet me where I am. You would have it (the solution) in your hand.
EM: Yes sir! I agree, your book is very thorough! I found myself talking at the book in so much agreement (laughs)!
NM: (laughs) All praise is due to Allah!
EM: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said on the Breakfast Club this past May that no man is a man without a woman. Some of our brothers from the community who may have misinterpreted his words or just don’t have a mature understanding of what the Minister was saying commented, “I can be a man without a woman”. Through your book, can you respond to those who feel that way in bearing witness to what the Minister was conveying?
NM: Of course what the Minister is saying is based upon Divine Perception, and a man who would contend with what he is saying is based on human perception. I guarantee you if the Minister’s definition of man was given and you put Webster’s or the Negroes definition next to it, their definition of man or manhood that is not even the appropriate definition.
You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Therefore, if you don’t know what a real man is based off of a Divine Perspective then your Negro or human perspective is a cheap definition of a man. I think that man would have to be defined specifically with the Divine definition like the mind Minister Farrakhan operates from. A sister asked the Minister a question, “How will I know a real man when I meet him?” I had the opportunity to meet this sister. She told me who she was when I met her and that she was the one who asked the question to the Minister via Twitter. When I met the sister she was in her 50’s.
NM: I said, “Man this is serious”. That means out of five decades of existence that she doesn’t feel like she has met a real man yet, or she’s met men who she thought were men, and they probably thought they were men, but they ended up being boys in men’s’ bodies. So the Minister being as wise of a teacher as he is, the wisdom of a teacher is not known by taking something complicated or hard to understand and making it more difficult. It’s to take something complex and make it simple. That’s why we call the Messenger the Master Teacher, because He can take the more complex of subjects; God, the Wheel, the Nature of the Universe and make it so plain that a fool couldn’t make a mistake.
When the Minister answered the sister, he said, “Sister, if you want to know what a real man looks like read the Lord’s prayer”.
In all our lives we’ve been using the Lord’s prayer as something we say before we go to bed at night, on our knees with our hands closed and eyes closed. We send it as some invisible request into outer space, but what the Minister is telling us is that the Lord’s prayer is actually a description of what a real man looks like. If you go through this description of a real man according to the Lord’s prayer, I guarantee you that anyone who sees that knows that they are not going to be independently able to achieve that level of human expression without the help-meet (woman) to achieve this.
The one thing I mention in the book is that a lot of characteristics that a woman is looking for in a man that’s single, he’ll never have until he is married. There’s a lot of characteristics that a man is looking for in a woman that she will never manifest until she is married, because it is marriage itself that brings out certain traits and qualities. So there’s a list of manhood traits that only marriage, as an institution, can develop in you. You cannot develop those traits living alone or ‘playing house’. You should actually be living house to manifest them. So that is what it is.
The nature of a woman is to test a man in the same way that the Holy Quran tells us in Surah 29; it’s asks the question, “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and will not be tried? And indeed We tried those before them, so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will know the liars.” Well Allah already knows who’s true and who’s false, but the Minister says that means there’s a god in you that has to be made aware of who and what you’re really made of, so you can see yourself as you truly are.
Well if the Minister said that a man can’t be a man without a woman, and he follows it up in the interview with, “because a woman is going to test you”, if you cross reference that with Surah 29:1 in the Holy Quran where Allah is saying the trials is the means by which the god in you may know what you’re made of, then a woman by nature is going to test you. That woman is going to be the means by which Allah will help you to see what you are made of, and without her you’re not going to find out what you’re made of. I don’t care how much you can bench press or how much money you make, you’ll never know the true inner qualities of a man until a woman test you. I think that’s what the Minister is trying to show us.
EM: Beautifully said!
You talked about the characteristics, but you also mention in your book the three core points of why people get married. Can you talk about how critical the motive for getting married is? Can you also talk about some of the wrong motives that can set a marriage up for failure, and how some of those ill motives are mistaken for good motives?
NM: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said that if you ever want to know something then you can ask who, what, where, and how. But if you want to understand something, then you ask why. Why is what gives the answer to the reason or intent or motivation behind what you’re doing. There are a whole lot of people that get married for the wrong reasons. One of the worst reasons to get married is because you’re lonely. I learned this accidently on purpose (laughs) that the highest form of loneliness is not being single but to be in a relationship with the wrong person.
EM: Yes! Yes sir!
NM: So if you want to get married out of loneliness, that’s not a good motivation.
Another bad reason to get married is to think that if you do get married that everything is going to be a lot easier now. On the man’s side, a man sees a woman as his personal pleasure box, a personal chef and a maid. If that’s part of the reason you want a woman, then your motives are messed up. For a woman, if she’s looking for a security guard, a human ATM machine and a handy man, those are not good reasons. The reason I say that is because marriage is harder than being single. Therefore, if you’re bad at being single, you’re going to be horrible at being married.
EM: That’s right!
NM: Don’t think that because you’re doing bad and you’re single that you’re going to be doing good when you’re married. No, you’re going to be doing worse, because marriage is harder. So that’s not a good reason to get married.
Neediness … whenever Allah introduces us to Maryam or Mary in the Holy Quran, it opens up that she made Allah sufficient. Anybody that is a true believer has to live their life where they only need the validation of Allah. Anything that anyone else says or does is just extra, but they don’t need validation from no one but Allah.
So if you’re needy and you can’t function without having someone there to say something good about you, good for you all the time, then that isn’t a good reason to get married.
Another bad reason would be a rebound relationship. You know that you haven’t recovered from the hurt, anger, disappointment, divorce or death of your past mate. One of the advices that I always try to give to those who are going to be married and have been married before; I always ask them the question: Are you single? They’re like, “What do you mean?” You do know that you can sign paperwork and you can live in a separate household in a separate city and still not be single in your heart.
EM: Right, exactly!
NM: So when I ask if you’re single I’m asking are you single-hearted. Do you have the spousal love you want to have with this person? Or do you still have in your mind a desire to be with that person? If you have not gotten to the point where you are single in heart, then a rebound relationship to cover down or fill a void that you really want somebody else to fill is going to be a recipe for disaster.
So you don’t want to have those as your motivation because you need some money, someone to take care of you, need some things fixed around the house or need someone to protect you when you’re moving around. Also you don’t want to get married to have a woman for a pleasure box, or your maid or your personal chef. That’s not what marriage is.
EM: That’s what I appreciate so much in your book! You give balance. You’re not just leaning on one side of the room.
NM: Praise be to Allah! You know what I always get though? I always get that marriage is 50-50. But marriage is supposed to be 100-100.
If you went to any school and got a 50%, that’s a fail. So if I come to a marriage with 50% and get with a woman with 50%, then we have two failures together to produce failing children in a failing household with a failing relationship. So the goal is never 50-50. It’s 100-100.
Unfortunately, and as the Minister says, almost 90% of all break ups in marriage are the man’s fault. If that’s any need for correction it has to be on us as men. I think the reason that it is on a spiritual level the ingredients that are required for a successful marriage, women are innately born with those ingredients. The attributes of Allah that are manifested in a female are different than the ones that are manifested in male. We have them all, but women are naturally inclined in manifestation; first in compassion, long suffering. These are ingredients required for a relationship to grow.
Women have really been conditioned by their nature, built better for relationships, they don’t make as many mistakes as men.
Men, when they’re children they hit balls, throw balls, break stuff and crash stuff, but look at what women do. Little girls play house, they’re dressing up, serving tea, making dinner, they’re playing with their little kitchenette set, washers and dryers. So little girls have D.N.A. inclined toward the ingredients in making relationships work that they started off with when they were being formed in their mother’s womb. Then when they get out of their mother’s womb they play house, which gives them a head-start on knowing how to be a wife. Therefore, you have women who have been training for motherhood and being a wife all their life. Then you have a man where all they’ve been doing is playing and breaking stuff all his life. Now you’ve been playing house and he’s trying to jump into playing house but doesn’t know anything but to play and break. So what does he end up doing? He’s just in the relationship to be playing and he breaks it up.
I’m hoping that the brothers will pay more attention and have a specific inclination to the study of relationships in this book, because our women have a head-start. That’s what Allah placed in them; the manifestation of the attributes that are necessary to grow the relationship plus being trained to be mother and wife all their life, while men have not gotten the training. In fact if we caught a little boy playing house, we try to kill him. We say, “What the hell are you doing?”
Now there’s a different way that a boy could play house. Instead of serving tea we could play a different kind of house that’s never done in a male’s upbringing. He never trained to be a father. He never trained to be a husband. All he’s trained to be is someone who plays and someone that breaks.
I didn’t know that the other day. Maybe I was just supposed to learn this today. (laughs)
EM: (laughs) All praise is due to Allah! That was an awesome analogy.
Why is it so dangerous for us to look to television shows for examples of relationships? You kind of talk about that in the book. Shows like Love and Hip Hop and Basketball Wives and the various talks shows. Why is it so dangerous for us to look to those outlets for advice?
NM: This goes right into the same concept as the proper definition of what manhood is or what a man is. If we look at the synonyms for marriage, one of them his holy matrimony. Another one is covenant connection and another synonym is sacred union. So when you look at covenant connection, holy matrimony, sacred union these are all spiritual and divine terms that should be rooted in God. So if I’m going to look at any source to feed me holy matrimony or covenant connection, I wouldn’t want to turn on the radio or turn on the television when I know that the Devil, himself, controls both of those. I would want to look at Scripture and use that to feed me.
If you’re looking at tell-lie-vision, then that’s what it’s called, television. It’s either telling you a lie or it’s telling you a vision. A vision is a person’s image of a picture. When people look at T.V. they think that they are looking at a reflection of reality. Then they have the nerve to call them “reality shows”. So now you think you’re looking at a reflection of reality, but what you don’t realize is that there are some architects of confusion and social engineers that are manipulating what is shown and played on the radio and television, not to reflect reality but to create reality.
What they found, Sister Ebony, is that the first 20 minutes of your day the brainwaves function off of hertz (energy and cycles per second) just like sound. It is vibrations and energy. Therefore, the first 20 minutes that a person is awake, the brain is operating around 10-25 hertz, which makes the subconscious mind the most impressionable. Maybe that’s why the Muslim is told by Allah in the Islamic regiment that the first thing we do in the morning is pray, and then we should read the Holy Quran. Look at what the Holy Quran says, “Surely the recital of the Quran at dawn is recorded”. Recorded where? There isn’t some angel in outer space writing on a tablet. It’s being restored, remembered, programmed into the brain on official paper. Because 10-25 hertz makes the subconscious mind most impressionable.
They also found that when you watch television the brainwaves operate on 8-10 hertz, which is equal to the level of brain relaxation of hypnosis. Have you ever watched people look at T.V. sometimes and they’re just sitting there? You can call their name and say all kind of stuff and they don’t hear anything you’re saying.
EM: They don’t even blink.
NM: Right. They’re just staring at the T.V. That means they were under hypnosis. They call it Alpha waves. Television has a way of relaxing the consciousness to the point where you’re at a state of mere hypnosis. When you’re hypnotized your conscious mind is completely distracted and your subconscious mind is susceptible to 100% programming. So if I’m watching Empire, Desperate Housewives…I don’t even know why they call it that when they don’t have a husband, and then the Real Housewives and they don’t have a husband either, but by the time you finish watching television and you were in a hypnotized stage, then everything you’re seeing and everything you’re hearing is being installed as a command in your subconscious mind. What commands do in the subconscious mind is that they don’t always manifest themselves immediately. Sometimes it takes days, sometimes it takes years for whatever you were programmed to manifest itself.
What’s dangerous though is that whenever the subconscious mind that is programmed manifests itself, the conscious was completely distracted so you don’t remember where you got it from or who said it. So you take ownership of it and you start saying, “The way I see things in my opinion…” and “This is the way I’m going to do my next relationship”. The next thing you know you are following a script that manifest something that a social engineer installed in your brain as a command. Now you are trying to act in reality like someone was thinking on a so-called reality show.
We did a survey several years ago. Some of the brothers and sisters help us research, and we listened to the top 20 songs in R&B. Not one of the top 20 songs was about marriage. Even the songs that were relationship oriented, that would be called “love songs” which should be called “lust songs”. When we watched the videos for all of these songs, not one of the top 20 songs that dealt with male and female relationships dealt with husband and wife. It was all boyfriends and girlfriends.
So think about that command going into the brain. Male and female relationships is not for married people. It’s not about love, it’s about lust. That’s what is in the song. Then when we looked at the television: It was actually Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu who did a breakdown where he said no group of people on Earth watches more T.V. than Black people. The average Black person watches 38 hours of television a week and listens to 35 hours of music a week.
You know what Sister Ebony? I think I figured this thing out of why Black people are so broke! We have two full-time jobs that we’re paying for. 38 hours is a full-time job! Part of the reason Black people are so broke is because we spend too much time doing things we pay for instead of doing things someone is paying us to do. If we would just renegotiate some of our radio and our television time into doing some service or selling some product, we would be rich! That’s a lot of television and a lot of radio.
EM: Yes sir. All I can say is wow…
NM: This is what Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu said: 66% of all television shows have a sex scene in it. 90% of all sex scenes are with non-married couples. Look at this, and here we go with the programming: There’s more homosexual couples on television than married couples. So by the age of 13 a child has seen 100,000 sex acts. 90,000 of those sex acts were without the two being married. 100,000 acts of violence and 8,000 murders. That’s what’s being installed into the subconscious mind of people.
When the Minister said to us that we have been socially engineered, and he mentioned in the Breakfast Club interview that we are being designed for destruction, that’s what he is talking about. He’s talking about the installation of these commands and the reinforcement of the breaking down of the human being by the bad food that we’re eating and all of the chemicals in the food. By the time you take the chemical thought process that comes from television and radio mixed with the chemicals of the food all inside of one organism, then you have inside of a person someone who has been operating off of a recipe for disaster.
If marriage is called sacred union, covenant connection or holy matrimony then we should be looking towards divine sources to feed us how to be husbands and wives and married couples; not looking at television. As I said earlier, the Devil himself runs television. Do you know that in the Bible in the Book of Revelation 21 it says, “Count the number of the beast, it’s the number of a man”. His number is 666. Do you know if you took ABC and add each letter of the alphabet in numbers, A+B+C is 1+2+3 and that equals 6? The other major network is CBS. You have 3+2+19=24; 2+4=6. FOX…you know the Devil runs FOX! F is the 6th letter in the alphabet, O is the 15th letter; that’s 1+5=6 and X is the 24th letter; that 2+4=6. Therefore, when we’re watching these television networks, we’re not learning how to be a spiritual conveyance of one another. We’re not engaged in alliance with one another. We have to help each other become one with Allah to achieve our purpose for which we were born. That’s what marriage is for.
EM: Along with the details of the characteristics and the ingredients, you have this section of your book with questions and answers. These hot button questions that I swear are so on time and long overdue. These are some beautiful questions and your responses are rooted in what the Minister teaches and in your experience as well. Based on that, what do you hope your readers are going to walk away with?
NM: To be honest, I would say this: The footnote to every goal that I have in life is to put a smile on the Minister’s face. I believe that the Minister is not only a man that needs the help but deserves the help. What hurts me is to move around and see that when you have domestic problems, whether it’s in our movements, Black organizations or even in the Nation (Of Islam), your home is supposed to be a place where you go to recharge so that you can come out charged up prepared to fight against your enemy and build a world for yourself and your people. However, if a lot of us are going home and instead of the home being a recharge center it’s a place where we are drained, then when we wake up the next morning to go out into the field to fight for freedom, justice and equality for our people or to build something, we’re operating on less of ourselves than what should be present. So we’re not going to be able to be effective in doing what we say we want to do if we’re only operating off of 20% of our energy every time we do a task.
I think that if we can get the homes better where they can be places that are recharge centers, then whenever we come home and we come to a peaceful environment, a loving environment, a place where the molecular structure of the very air you breathe is lighter and purer because of the love that’s present. The positive conversation and the spiritual conversation that you have is that good, clean, righteous food that you can trust. When you have love and you have laughter. If you got that kind of home then when you wake up in the morning, you pray and read and you go to work to closer to 100% of yourself.
EM: Right, exactly!
NM: If I did a thing with only 20% of myself, it’s going to take me five times longer than it’s supposed to take me then if I was 100%. I would hope that we would be able to use the book to make our homes into the appropriate spiritual environments that we can make them recharge centers like Allah wants them to be and we can encourage and inspire each other inside of the homes that everybody would wake up in the morning closer to 100% of themselves as they go out into the world to help fight for freedom, justice and equality to build something for ourselves. That’s what I would hope.
EM: Praise be to Allah! Yes sir.
Last question: What words would you give to the so-called match-makers, married brothers and sister who “want for their brother or sister what they want for themselves” and are pressing those who are single to settle in getting married for the sake of getting married? For example, I heard a sister say that she married her husband and he wasn’t her type to justify a single sister accepting a courtship request from someone who she wasn’t interested in. I defended the sister quoting you saying, “Brother Nuri says that they should be of your faith and your flavor, so just because you chose to settle for someone who wasn’t your type doesn’t mean she has to just to say she’s married”. Now I believe some of these brothers and sisters have good intentions, but they are calling themselves match-making although it’s going against what that person wants and what the Minister just said to the single sisters regarding to be patient. So what would you say to those individuals who think they are doing something good in trying to match up or pressure others to get married?
NM: We appreciate their desire, but it’s really inappropriate. I think we should promote the principle of marriage but not the personality that a person should marry. So if you’re going to do any encouragement, you can talk about the benefits of the process of marriage. However, don’t talk about the benefits and qualities of a person you want someone to marry. We don’t even make it public when a person is courting other than to announce it to the sisters and the brothers so the people won’t look at them funny. However, when the courtship is announced that’s not a Takbir (God is the Greatest) moment. You’re not supposed to be like, “Allah U Akbar”! It’s just courtship! It’s weighing evidence. Allah U Akbar is reserved for when they both say “I do” and someone says, “You may kiss your bride”. At that point Allah U Akbar is okay.
I think based off of the culture that the Messenger gave us of not even celebrating courtship, would give us the nature of the way we should be when encouraging people to marry certain people. It’s not good. That’s up to that person and those two to interview each other. By good formula you have to make your list of what you think an ideal man or an ideal woman would look like. Then as you are interviewing that person in the courtship, you’re weighing how much of that person is present that you’re looking at on your paper and then how much is there that is potential. At the end of the day nobody is marrying the perfect man or perfect woman. I always tell people you can’t want a Khadijah if you’re not willing to be a Farrakhan.
EM: Now that’s real talk! (laughs)
NM: You want yourself an Abraham but are you willing to be a Sarah? You have to work on being the kind of mate for the mate you want. The Minister said and Allah says in that same Surah 24: Keep chaste until Allah blesses you out of His grace. Not out of sister so-and-so or brother lieutenant’s grace or this Negro match-maker. But out of His (Allah’s) grace. Allah said, “I am a match-maker”. So if we work on being what we are supposed to be, then Allah is already preparing the right one for us. We just have to get to the location spiritually, mentally and emotionally that He can gift us with one that He wants to gift. However, if we push the issue or let someone else push the issue… according to the Bible I think it says something like this, “God said: My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways. As far as the Heaven is from the Earth are as far away as my thoughts are from your thoughts.” So let Allah do the match-making.
You don’t want to marry a person that is only 30% of the present person you want them to be and 70% potential to work on. It would be better if they were 70% present person you’re looking for and the 30% potential you can see that they can become that later on.
Also, the Minister said that in courtship you shouldn’t buy gifts. It’s like bribing the judge! You coming to court bringing the judge gifts. Nah, this is courtship! You can’t bribe the judge. So a person can’t come as the Power of Attorney for another to help talk you into something. You have eyes just like they have eyes. I’m looking at the same thing you’re looking at. I don’t need you to turn my head in no direction to see. I think that if we made courtship more disciplined of a process without any expectations from ourselves who are courting or from the outside then we would figure out things a little bit better.
EM: Excellent advice! I thank you so much Brother Nuri for this interview, for your time and your work! Again, congratulations on the release of your new book Before You Say I Do! May Allah continue to bless you with much success!
NH: All praise is due to Allah! Thank you, Sister Ebony, for this opportunity to share!
You are welcome to follow Student Minister Nuri Muhammad on social media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram as well as visit his official website to purchase his messages and his newly released book at nurimuhammad.com
Special Note: Check out my exclusive interview with Terri Muhammad, “Never Settle for Less Before or During Marriage”!