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Accepting Islam and the challenge to be yourself

By Nisa Islam Muhammad -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Mar 3, 2017 - 1:09:00 PM

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Nation of Islam graduation, a highlight of Saviours’ Day 2017

Nation of Islam members who have officially joined or “registered” were able to take part in a special graduation at Saviours’ Day in Detroit.

Min. Farrakhan delivers keynote address at F.O.I. and M.G.T. graduation. Photo: Hannibal Muhammad

Honor guard displays the Nation of Islam flag. (Center) A video tribute to the M.G.T. was shown at graduation. Photo: Cartan X (R) Student Supreme F.O.I. Capt. Mustapha Farrakhan and Student National M.G.T. Capt. Sandy Muhammad spoke at the national graduation at Saviours’ Day 2017.

DETROIT (Cobo Center)—Islam, according to the Pew Research Center, is the fastest growing faith in the world.  It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 2.8 billion Muslims up from 1.6 billion in 2010.  Those converting to Islam fastest in the United States are Black Americans. It’s one thing to take shahadah (declaration of faith) at your local masjid or mosque where the new conversion is celebrated with claps and shouts of “Allahu Akbar!” (God is the greatest).

But when the shahadah is done in the Nation of Islam, it is a grand celebration on the local level and this year for the first time, those men, F.O.I. (Fruit of Islam) and women, M.G.T. (Muslim Girls Training) who came to Islam in 2016 to accept their own and be themselves—striving to be righteous Muslims—enjoyed a graduation full of pomp and circumstance before thousands of Believers. The celebration featured the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as keynote speaker.

“As I sat in that seat listening to those who presented and looking at you who have accepted your own and have accepted the challenge to be yourself, I sat there thanking Allah, never knowing what my acceptance of Islam and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad would bring. As I looked out on you, and I thought of the joy in my heart when I accepted Islam and recited the Student Enrollment and attended my first F.O.I. class,” said Minister Farrakhan.

“As a new follower they asked me to have some words to say and as I looked at the F.O.I. that were there, there were about 65 there ... I saw so much love pouring out of their eyes for this new baby, I broke down and I wept. The captain at that time was a little shaken, man coming into the F.O.I. and crying. I’ve always wanted us, to feel us, showing love for one another,” the Minister told the packed audience.

“When I saw it and felt it, I knew I was in the right place and words that I spoke on that Monday night at the F.O.I. class, I said I’m going to take this word to every nook and cranny of the USA. I gave my word! As I enter my 40th year absent our father (the Honorable Elijah Muhammad), I looked at you with great thanksgiving that my word has been my bond. Because I gave my word and kept my word, God has blessed me to produce life, righteous life—a Nation has come to life on the words of a man who kept his word.”

The graduation started with an honor guard procession of the F.O.I. carrying the Flag of Islam followed by the entrance of the graduates. This was a tear fest for many who know the challenges and obstacles that it takes to strive to live as a Muslim. The graduates came from all walks of life, parts of the globe and all sorts of struggles were overcome to get here.

Student Assistant Supreme Capt. Anthony Muhammad and student ministers Nuri Muhammad and Ishmael Muhammad listen during program.

It was an emotional moment as newly registered Muslim women were welcomed officially into the sisterhood of Islam.

A group photo of the F.O.I. graduating class at Saviours’ Day 2017.

“It was the most emotional meeting I’ve ever been in since I’ve been in the Nation. It was a tear jerker. To see the Minister see the new Believers walk in, it was like I could hear Allah saying,  ‘My good and faithful servant, job well done.’ I’m glad I was able to witness that. I’m so happy for the new believers,” Patrick Muhammad from Muhammad Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta told The Final Call.

The 2016 graduating class was welcomed by Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, student national assistant to Minister Farrakhan. “The acceptance of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad starts you and I in a process in being made a new man and woman for the glory of God. We must study to be charitable and live the life of a Muslim in submission into the will of Allah. To abandon the study, prayer or feeding of the word will deprive you of the light and power of this pure word of Allah. If we are slack we will abort the process and mission,” said Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad.

“You have your word to Allah and the mission. Have not you learned that your word shall be bond. The promise that you made will be tested by persons and circumstances. The Holy Qur’an says Allah loves those who strive hard in the way of trial. We have to be doers of the word. If we stay in the process we will be like him, a resurrected human being.”

The new women in Islam were celebrated with a video tribute.

“I thank Allah for each of you who have joined the ranks to help,” said Student National M.G.T. Captain Sandy Muhammad. “You’ve entered a process like no other process. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches we can never become a new people without a new woman ... the mind of God himself is being offered to us. We are students in the M.G.T. & G.C.C. (Muslim Girls Training and General Civilization Class). Civilization means one having knowledge, wisdom and understanding ... one who is not savage,” she said.

“Allah intends to bring in the new world through the women. We must become women of wisdom … with strong morals and righteous actions. The Holy Qur’an says whoever submits themselves to Allah takes hold of the firmest handle. Don’t let go of the handle of Islam. As the trials of life come, keep holding on. Tighten your grip through prayer and study if you want to have more life, bring more life ... that is our way of devotion.” 

For Rose Muhammad from Mosque Maryam in Chicago, watching the graduation was being a small part of history. “We really made history today. I felt like it was a great inspiration to see the young, new Believers from all across the globe. It was really beautiful and it was really an inspiring moment.”

Next was the tribute video to the F.O.I. followed by remarks from the Student Supreme Captain, Mustapha  Farrakhan. “By the permission of Allah you’ve satisfied all requirements of orientation class to become a registered member of the Nation of Islam. You’re embarking on a journey that the prophets and messengers before you embarked upon. … Today you are starting the process of becoming a healer of our people. Saviours’ must be a solider. You are a solider in the army of Allah,” said the Student Supreme Captain, son of Min. Farrakhan.

“If we must die in a noble attempt for what we believe, so be it. We are not to violate our orders from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We do not carry weapons. Some may think we are an easy prey because we don’t carry weapons but they don’t know the one guiding and watching over us who has the power. Whose soldiers are we? Muhammad’s! As a solider you are to conquer the enemy’s territory ... the territory of immorality and White supremacy,” he pointed out.

Kahlil Muhammad came all the way from South Africa for Saviours’ Day. “I thought the graduation was phenomenal. It was long overdue because I’ve never considered us graduating like that. I was very happy for those who graduated. All praise is due to Allah,” said Kahlil Muhammad. “The Minister has said the work begins with the man so we have to do a greater work to get our men in the ranks so the sisters who graduated will have a husband to choose from.”

While the graduation was exhilarating for the guests and speakers, it was an almost indescribable experience for the graduates. 

“It was the most beautiful event I’ve ever been to,” Theodore Muhammad, a graduate from Muhammad Mosque No. 4 in Washington, D.C. told The Final Call. “I’ve been trying to get to Saviours’ Day since 1995 so I was very excited about being here and participating. It was very enlightening and exciting. It put me on track for where I wanted to go.”