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A grand time at Muhammad University Grand Ball

By Safiyyah Muhammad | Last updated: Aug 14, 2014 - 9:07:30 AM

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CHICAGO - While the Chicago Public School system prepares for its more than 405,000 students to return back to school and as summer draws to an eventual end, hundreds of Muhammad University of Islam students, alumni, N.O.I. believers and supporters congregated here to support quality, independent education by attending the first Muhammad University of Islam Grand Ball fundraiser, Aug. 2.

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The fundraiser was the brainchild of Student M.G.T. Captain Sandy Muhammad and the Girls of Distinction (G.O.D.), a student group at the Nation of Islam school in Chicago.

With a lot of local assistance, the ball took several months to organize. After transforming the gymnasium into an elegant setting fit for royalty, along with a full course meal, guests were wowed with splendor and entertained by talented N.O.I. youth. Youth strolled down a white carpet that led to the entrance door to Muhammad University.

“I am expecting a great Muslim experience tonight—not like the experience of a prom, but a more civilized experience,” said Tagee Muhammad of Detroit, a former M.U.I. student who drove by himself to attend the grand ball. Tagee Muhammad was recognized as Best Dressed Male for the evening.

For many, it was a long and tiresome trek across country as they traveled by buses and cars, but the sacrifice was well worth it because they came to witness and be a part of history.

Stephanie Muhammad, student director of Muhammad University at Muhammad Mosque No. 4, and Saadiqa Muhammad, student M.G.T. Captain for the Mid-Atlantic and Eastern regions were the first to exit a sleek white bus with big smiles and salutations. They brought along with them a group of N.O.I youth.

Stephanie Muhammad was elated to escort 35 Jr. Vanguard, young Muslim women and girls, and 11 Jr. F.O.I., young Muslim men and boys, from the District of Columbia.

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AKNU performers pose with Kacia Muhammad.
“I can say that preparing for the grand ball was an example of The Economic Blueprint working at its best through the unity of the Believers in the Mid-Atlantic region. We were able to provide transportation for the children to get to the ball. The ball was actually a godsend because the children really enjoyed themselves. They were able to see the fun side from a child’s perspective of the Nation of Islam and they are hoping that it is something that will be done every year,” she said.

When Sa’udah Muhammad and Vernita Muhammad of St. Louis were asked to chaperone Maryam and Numyamkah Muhammad to the grand ball—without hesitation—the two of them seized the opportunity. Sa’udah Muhammad said to chaperon the two girls was a joy, just to see them have fun among their peers in a righteous environment.

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Samad Muhammad performing at M.U.I. Grand Ball Aug. 2.
As the evening sun hovered high above the M.U.I. parking lot and humidity began to drop, scores of young F.O.I. from the 7th Region waited quietly in line to complete the registration process. Many of the young travelers from the region drove more than 23 hours to attend the festive occasion.

N.O.I. youth from Miami, Tampa, Gainesville and St. Petersburg, Florida were among the attendees. The N.O.I. 7th Region includes the state of Florida and the islands of the Caribbean.

“I first learned of the grand ball through social media,” said, Desmond Muhammad a Miami laborer, who saw an announcement of the ball posted on Facebook.

“The ball is just an experience beyond the mosque meeting. The Nation of Islam had something fun for our youth to attend and they didn’t have to go outside of the mosque to get it,” he said.

“A lot of the youth knew each other from social media and they were able to put a name to a face when they got to the ball. We dined at the Salaam Restaurant on Sunday and everyone had a fabulous time. The brothers are looking forward to next year’s grand ball.”

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As N.O.I. youth stood in a long line that extended far beyond the gymnasium doors, Fakirah and Najmah Muhammad of Greenville, S.C., showed no signs of fatigue or irritability after driving more than 15 hours to attend the grand ball. The two girls displayed dignity and patience as they waited to enter the gymnasium. Instead of appearing glum, their focus was on the promised evening that awaited them.

“I’ve never been here (headquarters) before,” said Najmah Muhammad, “but I am expecting this to be a very good experience.”  Fakirah Muhammad was happy to attend the grand ball and found out about the gala through her father who serves as student secretary of the Charlotte Mosque.

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The ball was even graced with the presence of a young international guest. Olujimmi Edison, a 12-year-old Bahamas native, drove with Believers from the city of Detroit to take part in the festivities. The young girl was told about the event by her mother who lives in Detroit. Her mother encouraged her to attend the ball since headquarters was only a few hours away from the Motor City. “This is fun. I like the ball and I am making friends,” said the pre-teen.

The Muhammad University of Islam through its many years of existence prides itself on providing students with quality education.

“The Muhammad University of Islam was established in 1934 by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the city of Detroit, Michigan, and re-established in 1989 in Chicago, Illinois by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” notes the M.U.I. website.

“The Muhammad Universities of Islam were born from the need to revive, reform, and redeem those who had suffered from the miseducation of and hostility towards Blacks in the public school system. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad founded the University of Islam because he knew that only a universal education rooted in freedom, justice, and equality could reverse the problems and challenges in the American educational system.

“Mr. Muhammad established a vehicle that has enabled us to control the education of our children and consequently the direction of our future. Muhammad University of Islam (M.U.I.) is a private institution of learning servicing kindergarten through twelfth grade students. … We are committed to providing a superior system of education that will prepare our children to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world in the 21st century and beyond.”

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M.U.I. youth dancing at Grand Ball on August 2.
M.U.I. Assistant Director Jason Karriem developed and designed promotional materials and contacted M.U.I. schools across the country to notify them of the fundraising event.  According to Mr. Karriem, the purpose of the ball was to provide financial support that will aid in the growth and development of the school as well as provide greater service to Muslim children and to the community-at-large.

He said, “I hope our young people know and understand that Islam frees us to do good; be our righteous selves and even have righteous fun.  From my vantage point, the young of our community had a great time and there was no profanity, no immodest dress (male or female), no drugs, no alcohol, and no fights.  I hope they got a glimpse of what can be done to provide safe and righteous activities without compromising our Islamic principles.  There is already talk of the 2nd Annual Grand Ball.”

Stellar performances by hip hop acts by Tadar, D. Roe, who presented the audience with spoken word poetry, AK-47 and the group AKNU from Los Angeles, brought the grand ball to a crowd-screaming crescendo. Wowing the crowd with surprising tumbling and famous Michael Jackson moves, AKNU received applause for their song Valerie.

Grand ball participants swayed to the lyrics of 0 to a God performed by regional hip hop artist Tadar, son of Tadar and Tadarah Muhammad of Grand Rapids, Mich. Tadar’s lyrics encouraged the youth to stand tall and express the gifts that Allah has bestowed on them. “I want the youth to stand up for what they believe in and don’t allow anyone to steal their dreams. I want them to know that they are Allah (God). Whatever you put in your mind, believe in it and stand (up) for it,” he said.

AK-47, composed of family brothers Arshad and Kahlil Muhammad and sons of M.G.T. student first officer Kacia Muhammad and Randall Muhammad of Chicago, brought the crowd to its feet. The duo delivered a love song titled You Got It. The group also rapped about uniting Black and Latino communities and others globally in a song called Black Amigos. According to Kacia Muhammad, the greater part of AK-47’s music is infused with the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The night ended with Kenya Muhammad and Ahmad Muhammad crowned as the queen and king of the grand ball. Kenya Muhammad raised more than $1,900 for Muhammad University of Islam. Tairah Muhammad and Khadijah Muhammad were second and third runners-up and were crowned princesses of the grand ball.

Officials in the Eastern, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Southwest and 7th regions were recognized for their fundraising efforts and outstanding assistance in ensuring that the youth were able to attend the grand ball. About 200 young people attended the function at the Nation of Islam headquarters.

After Sunday’s lecture, which was delivered by student minister, Ishmael Muhammad, 200 N.O.I. youth and chaperones were honored with a delicious dinner at the Salaam Restaurant compliments of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

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