[Editor’s note: The following article is based on excerpts taken from a Mother’s Day address delivered by Minister Farrakhan on May 13, 1984 at The Final Call Administration Building in Chicago, Illinois.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
Prophet Muhammad said, “Heaven lies at the feet of a mother.” Catholic doctrine refers to Mary as, “Holy Mary, Mother of God.” What do these doctrines mean?
To have a baby does not necessarily make a woman a mother. Having a baby is the process of nature fulfilling itself in the female. More is required of a female human being than the female of animals or other species that can walk away and leave their young at a certain age to fend for itself. With the human being, mothers have to be equipped to be a mother. You are already equipped physically to bear children, but are you equipped spiritually, mentally and morally to nurture them as they should be nurtured?
The scripture says, “Train up the child in the way it should go and when it is old, it will not depart from that way.” The word “train” means to lead by example. How many mothers are good examples of the way the child should go and how will they know the way the child should go if they do not know where they themselves are headed? A woman cannot mother a child into that which she has not been mothered.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that the role of the mother is to nurture, nourish, feed and develop the young in accord with its nature. The word “nurture” and “nature” are akin, because you cannot nurture a life unless you feed it in accord with its nature. What is the nature of the Black man and woman and have we been nurtured, nourished and fed according to our nature? Every creature that is properly nurtured develops the power of its own being. So, Black people have never been nurtured in the way that Black people should grow. Allah (God) gives the female a nature that is akin to His nature and the nature of the universe, which is called “she” because the universe is pregnant with new realities. A woman is a powerful creature; one of the greatest representatives of the nature of Allah (God) Himself in creation. The root of her nature reflects the nature of God, which is love.
Mothers cannot nurture new life without love for that life and a mother’s love is different from any other kind of love—not the silly, sick love of this world’s life, but the love that is represented in the life of Christ, Muhammad and all of the prophets. This is the quality of love that a mother should have, and most do have, for their children. A mother will sacrifice her own pleasure and sleep for her child. She has an instinct that is born of her love, which reflects the God-force in the female. This is the reason women should never be played with, abused, disrespected or treated as an object of pleasure, rather than a serious creature of Almighty God (Allah).
The word “motherhood” contains the word, “hood,” which covers the head. So, in order to be a good mother, a woman must have a covering for her head that would allow her to nurture her offspring. That which covers her head that allows her to nurture her child is knowledge. Any mother that does not have knowledge cannot be a truly good mother. She can have the love and care, but without knowledge, she cannot properly nurture her child. An ignorant woman is the heaviness of a nation. No woman should be allowed to be ignorant. For when you have an ignorant woman, you have an ignorant child and an ignorant nation. All women must be made possessors of knowledge.
If heaven lies at the feet of mother, then hell also lies at her feet. If a woman who is a good mother can produce children that will produce the heaven of which the Bible and Holy Qur’an speak, an ignorant mother, a misled and deceived woman, will bring forth children of hell.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that, “Whenever a nation has been robbed of a mother, God compensates for that loss.” God acts as a father and finds one from among the people whose mind is like the womb of a mother. Then, God impregnates a man from among that people with truth and that man becomes to God like a woman becomes to a man. He becomes the woman of God. Throughout scripture, prophets are styled as women—which should let the world understand that, if nations love, honor and respect their prophets, nations should love, honor and respect their women.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has said to us that the Black woman of America has been robbed of the wisdom necessary to rear her children properly. They can go to school and earn degrees, yet still not know how to properly rear their children. So many of our women today who are coming into the knowledge of their gifts and talents want to go out into the world to show the world that they can do as well as men in their chosen fields, but when a woman becomes a mother, there is a sacrifice that must be made. Although this world says that men can rear babies, and some men stay home with their children and allow their wives to go to work, this world is so upside down and backside up.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that, “There is no love in a man equal to the love of a mother for her young.” When young woman begin their menstruation, they learn how to clean themselves and understand the uncomfortable feeling of being unclean. So, when they mature and hear infants crying because their diaper is not changed, mothers immediately rush to change the diaper. Women have a mother instinct even though they may not have babies; they have it in their nature to nurture all life.
We must admit that, as a people, we need to be nurtured and fed. Male and female have much growing up to do, which means we still need mothering. We have been destroyed psychologically and emotionally. Intellectually, we are not secure and economically we are like children, still depending on White people to do for us. The Black nation needs a divine nurturing and mothering, which is a love that does not give up on a child, even if it is a bad child.
If Allah (God) does not step in and answer our needs, as a people, we are lost because mothers are bringing up children, not to the Black man, but to the White man who has no love for the father of those children. Mothers are raising children with the conqueror’s ideas, to salute the conqueror’s flag and fight for the conqueror’s freedom, while our people have not yet enjoyed the freedom that America claims to give its citizens. We are trained to love them and give everything to the conqueror, but nothing to ourselves.
Black people are the people of God and must be fed with a nurturing of wisdom that feeds the divine nature, so that we grow and evolve from a child to a human being, and ultimately to a divine being.
At a certain level, mothering is over, and the father becomes dominant. The father furthers. The title “father” means a man has generated his seed in another generation; he has gone further. So, we must take our children and make them go further, but none of us can father our children on good intentions. It takes wisdom and knowledge to further our children. It takes wisdom and knowledge to nurture and mother our children. Unfortunately, we are bereft of that knowledge and therefore, if Allah (God) does not intervene in our affairs, we are a destroyed people.
Someone must love us with a powerful love, to nurture us with a mother’s love, which is unequal to anyone else’s love. That is why Jesus is such a powerful human being. He is a mother to the motherless. He is a father to the fatherless. The mother that Allah (God) would give us is really a man, but he is a man developed like a woman. There are feminine qualities in every man because men produce both the male and female. The male genetic makeup consists of both the X and Y chromosome. So, men have a tender and nurturing part to their nature as well as a powerful, independent part.
Allah (God) cannot use a man who thinks he is as wise as God Himself. When Allah (God) searches for the man that He intends to make the mother of a nation, He has to select him like a lover selects a woman. He searches among the people for the one that He wants to bear His message like a wise man would search among women for the woman that he wants to bear his seed. A wise man does not plant his seed anywhere and everywhere. A wise man that knows the value of his seed also knows that if he does not put his seed in the right earth, he will not get the right results.
So a wise man will be selective in his search for a woman because any woman will not suffice. The Bible says, “God searches out the heart of a man.” The Holy Qur’an says, “He knows best where to place His message.” So like God searching for a messenger of His choice, a man must know best where to place his seed and search for the right vessel. Love must be present. When Allah (God) draws a messenger to Himself, his heart is taken over by God, and God becomes the exclusive object of his love. The messenger turns toward God and does not see or want anyone else. He has fallen in love with God. Now, Allah (God) can use him, because he becomes like a tender woman in the Presence of God. After Allah (God) impregnates him with a message, a revelation, a truth, a mission and a responsibility, God backs away and tells His messenger, who is now like a woman, “Go on with your child, the nation, I will back you up.”
When the righteous guide starts working with a rebellious people who rebuke, scorn and speak evil of him, he stays with his rebellious child because he is in love with God and wants to make children for God. Likewise, when a woman loves a man, the greatest act that she can do is to reproduce him. Sometimes, the conception of a baby just happens and God was not even involved in the process; but what I am stressing is that, when a woman loves a man, she truly wants him to grow inside her. She is joyful feeling his life moving inside of her as she is making him over again. When a woman falls in love with a man, that love makes her willing to give herself up—not her body, but her mind, aspirations and desires for the future. When a woman falls in love with a man, she gives up her life to accept his life.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told me that he was expecting a deliverer to come all his life after reading the Bible and seeing the condition of the people.When he met Master Fard Muhammad, it was like love at first sight and Master Fard Muhammad wooed him until the Honorable Elijah Muhammad fell hopelessly in love with his Teacher. When he fell hopelessly in love with his Teacher, he became as a child, or like clay in the hands of a potter. Master Fard Muhammad began to mold and shape the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and made him pregnant with a word that would produce a new nation of people to the glory of God. He was a like a woman, pregnant with a nation.
Black women must come into the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self and must strive to be themselves, which is a righteous person. Allah (God) wants to make wise women so that they can bring from their womb heaven, for heaven lies at the feet of mother. If women will submit to Allah (God) and grow in wisdom, they will have wisdom to feed the beautiful minds of their children and they will grow up like trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.
Women must learn how to eat and how to think righteously. Women must learn how to fast so they can discipline their bodies, which will lead to a righteous mind. Women must keep chaste until God enriches them out of His Grace with a man worthy of them. Men should not sweet-talk any woman simply out of their vanity. Women must know that there are some men that will love them enough not to take advantage of them and will respect them; those are the men, by God’s Grace that are worthy of them.
Women must do better by themselves and their children. Even though it is difficult raising children in this world, Allah (God) has blessed us with marvelous children, with exquisite, brilliant little minds. Mothers must study so that they can teach their children and feed them wisdom. Women must be made lovers of wisdom.
All over the world, women are in pain and are rising up in every society because they are not justified. They are not given justice. They are not developing fully in the way God intended. Man’s rule has oppressed women and suppressed their development. But women are no longer accepting such treatment.
Mothers in labor sometimes wish they had never met the man who made them pregnant, and sometimes when the pain of fighting for the truth comes, many people wish that they had never heard the truth. A dark period is imminent, but I want all of you to know that we are coming through this. But if we hold on like the mother holds on through the last great pain—like the scripture says, “The pain of childbirth gives way in the joy of the newborn life”—the pain that we will suffer will give way to the joy of Black people coming into a new life.
Heaven lies at the feet of mother. “Holy Mary” represents a people who are going to be made holy and then produce children that will be gods and rulers fulfilling scripture. The Bible says that, “Ye are all gods, children of the Most High God.” Heaven lies at the feet of mother—Holy Mary, the mother of a nation of gods that will rule the world in peace, righteousness, freedom, justice and equality forever.
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