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“I’ve been stuck. Stuck in my mind, so frustrated with my life, trying to figure out how to live not knowing who am I. Being a black man I walk with my head down but inside atomic bombs are going off from the time I wake till the time I sleep. The things I’ve learned about Islam are completely opposite from the words I’ve been reading on this site concerning the articles. I would think that one would even dare to think that way about my SELF and could never really be a focused black man who really knows who he is and what he’s a part of. I have so much to say concerning me. Reading these articles about God and the black man. I need to know the truth about Islam, and the truth about me.” — Yusef Green
How would you respond to this brother and any brother feeling this way about himself? I believe from what you shared in New Orleans, he would benefit greatly from your experience coming in to Islam and what you learned about yourself within the Fruit Of Islam (FOI) class. Please expound on that as well as how the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan taught you what it means to love yourself as a Black man.
Rashad Muhammad (RM): Since most of your questions have some aspect concerning love, I would like to start this interview with defining my understanding of love.
According to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in Study Guide #18 Rising Above Emotions Into The Thinking of God, “Though Love is generally defined as an emotion, I would say that love is not an emotion; Love is the Mother of Emotion. Love is the Creative Force out of which all things come. Love can be broken down into four (4) principles: Freedom, Justice, Equality and Obedience to the will of Allah (God). We call our intense feeling of like and dislike Love and Hate.
But Love is not just an intense feeling. That is a limitation that this world has placed on it, making it our emotional reaction to something”. This goes right into my thoughts. Allah loves us so much that He creates everything we need to sustain life, even before we are created in the wombs of our mother’s. There is nothing that we can think of or that we need or want that He has not provided for us. All that is in His universe has been made in the service of man.
According to what we have been taught, it’s the promise of God and the Blackman’s future and the knowledge of his past that this world does not want him to know. So before he was created in the womb of his mother, this world worked to destroy his very existence, by creating an environment that tries to crush the mind and thoughts of anyone who would recognize greatness in a Blackman and dared to teach him. This kind of hatred of the Blackman is supported by institutions created by our open enemy that is against our rise.
The Devil blocks and tries to ensure that the prerequisite knowledge that is needed to grow into a “God”, does not reach the Blackman, which is the knowledge of God and self which are one in the same and the knowledge of other than self, the Devil, and the knowledge of the time. Once he (we) the Blackman understands this and accepts the offer, which is the mind of Allah (God) in the person of Master Fard Muhammad (MFM), then we may start the journey to God and become ourselves, which can be a long and painful struggle with great rewards. When we gain the knowledge of God, we will learn to love Him then out of His Love and Mercy we learn to love ourselves. The reason I say His love, is because “God is Love” and all love comes from God. Love presupposes duty, and He has done by us a great duty making everything we need to sustain life. This justifies us being dutiful to Him by living according to His creation of us. When we do so, that allows us to live in harmony with every person and the things that Allah has made to serve our existence which proves His love for us.
EM: What was your life like before you joined Nation Of Islam?
RM: My life was that of a typical Blackman raised by a strong mother without the influence of a father. Growing up in affordable housing apartments units better known as “The Projects”. Not having adequate funds to sustain balance in the lives of eight children my mother struggled. Being poor without the understanding of what it means and not knowing why I couldn’t have the clothes I desired or eat the foods I wanted led to many question that were not answered. In this kind of environment as children we would mock and taunt one another about the condition of our lives, and not to feel ashamed, we lied. This behavior led to hatred and pain that produced destruction in the lives of most of us who live in these housing units.
I didn’t know how to handle humiliation and embarrassment. So most of my childhood and teenage life was fill with self-hatred and rebellion against my mother, the school system and all whom I thought didn’t have love for me. I found myself in trouble at home, in school and my neighborhood. I would try to hurt any and every one that caused me pain. I was not a bad child just confused and potentially dangerous, which led me into the street as a hustler using trick dice to rob unsuspecting working men of their hard earn monies. My mother did the best she could to instill Christian values in my sibling and I, so we were God conscious but it was not the guiding light of our lives. She tried to shield and guide me from the practice of self-destruction, but I rebelled. She was not successful and I fell into the pits of life where I was robbed and deprived of the very essential that were needed in becoming a man. Independence, self-sufficiency and the ability to do for self which is paramount for every young boy who’s desirous of become a man.
I found myself in a terrible state not knowing what to do and where to go, until I found The teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad as taught by The Honorable Minister Farrakhan. In the teachings, is a profound understanding of the destruction of the Blackman and the only solution to solving all of his problems. The teachings forced me to analyze myself, the things that I placed values on which were based upon lies taught and used by Satan to destroy the Blackman’s mind and his ability to think. I now have the solution to solving my problems and the ability to think, exposing and crushing the mind that has supported my destruction. Because of this teachings I’m now being freed, justified and made equal to all civilize people on the earth. With love and respect for myself, my Mother, and all who had a part in my development in becoming the man I destine to be; I now have the ability to take on the responsibilities for my life and family. All praises are due to Allah and His Christ to whom I will forever be indebted.
EM: What prompted you to visit the Mosque, and what inspired you to join?
RM: It was an invitation from Prison Minister Abdullah Muhammad and the gift of the book Message to the Blackman in America. As I read the book it unlock many question that I had pertaining to God and religion. After reading The Honorable Elijah Muhammad response to the Imperial Wizard of KKK I was very proud to see a Blackman with strength standing up to white people. The Muslims were very active in my neighborhood.
There were three Muslim Restaurants and they also held meetings at the local college, and my barber was also a Muslim. I thought it would be nice to one day become a Muslim or Mason because of their ability to organize and secure black people. When Minister Abdullah invited me, I gladly accepted and I have been active ever since. This has been the best decision of my life, I’m very grateful to Allah for His intervening in my life. I highly recommend for all young black men the book (Message to the Blackman in America) as required reading.
EM: What challenges did you face as you were learning what true self-love was as well as how to love others?
RM: The challenge that I faced, in my opinion, is believing that I have value and that God loves me and the discipline to change. As a people, we have been taught that black life has no value and we accept that concept. The evidence is in how we treat one another and the reverence we have for others. I needed to be retrained in my thinking because of the many years under the tutelage of white supremacy and black inferiority. So there were times I found myself acting out of emotion, which robs one of the process to think, allowing inferior minds to govern your actions. So I placed emphasis on Belief, “for as he thinketh in his heart so is he” Proverbs 23:7. It starts with believing in God’s love, which makes it easy to love others once you love self.
EM: What words from the HMLF stand out to you as it relates to self-love and what it means to be a black man in America?
RM: That Allah has come Himself to claim the black man and women as His own, and that we would be His people and He our God. To me this is the greatest thing that has happened to the Blackman since his sojourn to America. Allah (God) consider us as His own, and He has come to restore His mind and heart in us. This is the greatest love story that has ever been told. I say rejoice and be glad, for this is the day that our Lord has made and it is marvelous in our sight. All praises are due to Allah for Coming in the person of Master Fard Muhammad!!!
EM: In what ways have you seen the HMLF grow in love with himself as an example to you and others who travel(ed) with him?
RM: The beauty of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is his heart and the way Allah formed him. He went through the same vicissitudes of life that we are going through. In my opinion, he suffered from the lack of love in self as many of us do. But it was his profound love for God that allowed him to overcome his insecurities and fall in love with himself. I will try to explain how that happens. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is a humble man so he did not spend time thinking of himself, most of his time was in reflection of Allah (God) and The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. As he was being developed in the teachings, he discovered a gift. The more he uncovered and perfected the gift, (his ability to represent The Honorable Elijah Muhammad), the greater his love grew for Allah and The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. His love for his teacher is so great that he dedicated his life to the perfection of the word, to whereas he is a living example of Their love for us. So as he grew, he started to see the God in himself and naturally fell helplessly in love. That is when he recognized his father (Elijah Muhammad) and he were one. He discovered that what he had been taught of God in man is the truth and he came into the knowledge of how it is done, how to replicate the process and also came into the understanding of the purpose for his life. His journey has been one to inform the world of the greatness of God coming in a person of Master Fard Muhammad and his raising of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and how to obtain this gift that Allah has made available to man (Allah Himself). The way he lives his life in public and in private is a great testimony to his teacher and the God he serves (Master Fard Muhammad), he is the greatest example of man’s reconciliation to God.
EM: In your world travel with the HMLF, how would you relate patience with self-love as he continues to show both to our people?
RM: We are taught that patience is derived out of understanding, faith or love. It is difficult to have patience without one of the aforementioned. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is the embodiment of patience. He has consistently, for the last 58 years of his life, served black people in America and throughout the world. As I have watched him serve, I must bear witness to his love and patience for us as a people working day and night to change the condition of how we are living, only to find in some cases us degenerating to a worse state of being. Yet, he still continues to work. It’s out of love and his faith in Allah that he knows his labor will not go in vain, and Allah’s promise to restore the Blackman to the top of civilization will come to pass no matter how dark it may seem. So he is very patient with us and he appears to be working effortlessly in accomplishing the goal. We thank Allah for such a wonderful example in The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan!!!
EM: While Sis. Ava Muhammad was visiting Houston, she made a profound statement that we as Black people are able to kill one another easily, because we are looking with the eyes of our former slave masters when we see another black person. This naturally made me think of the THEM’s words that every time you look at a Black man or woman you are looking into the face of God. How would you address this to a group of young brothers in street organizations who only know violence toward each other? How would you open them up to see each other and themselves properly versus how Sis. Ava described we view each other as our former slave masters did and do?
RM: Young black men need to see the example of the teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the lives of those of us who believe. We have to build a new reality and invite them to take part. How do young men grow into manhood without examples? The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan believes what The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches about the Blackman. “When you’re looking at the Blackman you are looking at God”. So he is very mindful of his duty to God and shows gratitude by his service to black people and humanity. He asked all of us who believe in him to go out into the streets and serve the needs of our people sharing what we have learned. My question to us who say we follow Him: What do we owe in service to young black men, and are we performing our duty? Will we hide our light that God has given us in our Mosques or homes? No! We must go and get our people and share the teachings that heals and restores.
My message to young Black men; you are destroying what God has come to save. Wake up and except the truth about yourself and take on the responsibility to help change the world in which we live. The future is yours, God has already claimed you and declared he would make a nation out of black people. The enemy knowing this is working very hard to keep you distracted with illusions as his world crumbles by giving you false values to serve your vanity that they create. Knowing you are without the means to buy and support your desires, you will promote and partake in your own destruction by participating in vices that are designed to railroad you to prison. I say, get up and go report to the local mosque or temple where The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is the instructor and participate in your development into God. Claim your stake in the new world (The Kingdom of God)!
EM: What influence did/does Bro. Salim (May Allah Be Pleased with him) have in your growth and development? What was it like working with him, and what are some words and experiences with our brother that stand out to you that have found a firm resting place in the person you are today?
RM: Brother Salim, as a senior instructor in our class, had a great impact on my Islamic life. As a young F.O.I. under Bro. Salim’s tutelage we learn all the basic of being a man. For years I studied his coverage of The Principal with great admiration before becoming a member of the E-Team. Once a member of the E-Team, my journey began. It was fascinating to watch Bro Salim hold post, moving nothing but his eyes, and the way he would care for the Minister. Salim was indeed a jack of all trade, a master in his craft, and a man of many talents. Salim was such a great man, it took several members of the team to perform all the duties he carried out daily. He was a Valet, Chef, EMT, Chauffeur, Peace Officer, Scuba Instructor, Lifeguard, Restaurateur, Maître D, Executive Protection Specialist, Captain, Father, Brother, Friend, and most of these jobs he performed while serving The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
It was a great joy to be with Brother Salim. The manner in which he expressed love to others through his service was a great example to all young Muslims. He was indeed his brother’s keeper. I remember when The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan gave him the name Salim and the words The Minister spoke. The Minister said everywhere they went Brother would make friends and keep peace so he now will wear the name Salim, which means maintainer of peace, peaceful, secure. In the words of Brother Salim “Keep Breathing AKH”(Brother)!!!