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Philadelphia impacted in many ways by unifying message

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Jul 7, 2014 - 1:01:24 AM

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The Bivins Heritage Award, is an award given annually to individuals who have exemplified the highest principles of self-sacrifice and leadership through service. Min. Farrakhan received it from Rev. Terrence Griffith June 22.

PHILADELPHIA - Followers of Islam gathered for several events that will undoubtedly influence the future of the religion within this country.  In addition to being forthright regarding issues within the Muslim community nationally and internationally, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan addressed misunderstanding prevalent within the Christian community as well.

A long history of Islam exists in Philadelphia and the nearby cities of Washington D.C., Baltimore, and New York. Many who traveled from those areas shared their thoughts with The Final Call following Masjidullah Inc.’s pre-Ramadan banquet June 21 at the Philadelphia Hilton, and the Minsiter’s message at First African Baptist Church June 22.

Nailah Muhammad was very reflective after hearing the Minister speak. She was part of the Farrakhan Twitter Army specially assigned to spread the word on social media before, during, and after the events.

“It really caused me to go into a lot of self-reflection and self-correction listening to the Minister,” said Sister Nailah. “Self-reflection which is the beginning of resurrection, like it says in the Study Guides. The spirit was high energy and I just feel empowered to go back to make positive changes in my life,” she added.

Aqueelah Muhammad, also part of the social media strike force agreed.

“It was very encouraging to see the different communities coming together in peace for one common goal. It was very inspiring to see that. That is what we are trying to do now. It’s not just us, it’s not just them but it’s us together,” she added.

Student Minister Carlos Muhammad, the Nation of Islam’s archivist and leader of Baltimore’s Muhammad Mosque No. 6, said it couldn’t have happened in a better place. Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love.” 

“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad being our father, has promoted and made us strive for unity and we see that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is walking right in those footsteps and making the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s word bond and trying to make sure that we are unified with our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Carlos Muhammad.

Minister Farrakhan held a private meeting with Sybrina Fulton mother of Trayvon Martin who was killed by George Zimmerman.
Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad, leader of New York’s Muhammad Mosque No. 7 described the Minister’s accomplishments as “prophetic and groundbreaking work,” following the June 21 banquet.

“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that it would be his son Iman Warith Deen Muhammad, his physical son from his physical loins and it would be his spiritual son from his spiritual loins, Minister Louis Farrakhan, who would mop up America. The Imam is not here but he has left a community which represents the body of his work out of the work of his father. The mopping up has begun,” said Abdul Hafeez Muhammad. “This is bigger than a masjid. Allah said ‘you are the best nation raised up among men. You enjoin good and forbid evil.’ These are the words of the Minister, and so we join him. We are not here to build masjid—though it is a beautiful thing to serve the community. We’re here to build a community; a wonderful Ummah right here in the midst of the wilderness of North America,” he added.

The First African Baptist Church of Philadelphia led by Rev. Terrence Griffith celebrated its 205th anniversary June 22 with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as the guest preacher. Minister Farrakhan was given the Bivins Heritage Award. The award is presented annually to those who have exemplified the highest principles of self-sacrifice and leadership through service.

According to Rev. Griffith, who also serves as president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, the award is named after Samuel and John Bivins, who voluntarily gave up their own freedom for James Burrows—who was born a slave in Northampton County, Va.—to be freed. This allowed Mr. Burrows to become the third pastor of First African Baptist Church in the 1800’s. Later, Mr. Burrows would return the favor by earning enough money to buy back the freedom of the two men.

Normally, it is awarded in February for Black History Month, but this year, Rev. Griffith and the church decided to change protocols and gave the award to the Minister on the day he spoke.

Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad, General Counsel for the Nation of Islam said the Minister’s message of unity throughout all of his speaking engagement in Philadelphia resonated with him and took religious leaders further along the road towards unity.

“I think that it is best stated by the Minister himself that he sees that God is bringing us to a point in time where we will be coming together in one faith, one Lord and one baptism. Of course I’m paraphrasing, he said it much more perfectly than I, but what we saw is that in the spiritual family of Muslims and Christians—God is moving us together and that we have to all be willing to serve the greater good.”

Student Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad, Mid-Atlantic and Eastern Regional Student Minister based in Washington, D.C. echoed those sentiments stating that it should not end with simply coming together, the unity must include non-stop efforts, integrity, total commitment and being yoked together as one family under God using Min. Farrakhan’s leadership and example as a guide.

“Unity means understanding that is the time of us coming together to look at what needs to be put back in place with great force and with a great investment (of time). Sitting down together and trying to become one family again,” Abdul Khadir Muhammad said.

Jamil Muhammad spent time as the Student Minister in Philadelphia between the years of 1982 to 1987. Members of his family still live in the city and at the church on June 22, he described his feelings on what took place at the banquet the previous night.

“What I saw Minister Farrakhan doing last night in synthesizing the apparently disparate philosophic and religious perspectives of the Muslims and causing our spirits to rise indicates to me that what he put forward last night is the wave of the future,” said Jamil Muhammad. “I thank Allah for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, his leadership, his sagacity, his wisdom as he maneuvers through the battlefields of opinions, the minefields of viewpoints and brings us out safely on the other side.  And he always says—‘look what Allah has done.’ He never says ‘look what I did.’ He always says ‘look what Allah has done,’” he added.