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Muhammad University of Islam: 30 years of sacrifice and triumph

By Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad -Final Call Newspaper- | Last updated: Sep 19, 2019 - 2:43:45 PM

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(L) Crowd enjoys dinner celebrating MUI. Photo: Haroon Rajaee (R) Brother Raymond Muhammad MUI grad with wife, Sis. Sharon Muhammad. Photo: Yavonka Muhammad

(L) The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at MUI celebratory dinner. (R) Sis. Na’eema Muhammad (left) with mother, Sis. Olivia Muhammad at MUI dinner.

CHICAGO—Everyone dressed in their finest to embrace “an evening of celebration” for the alumni, pioneers and students of Muhammad University at the South Shore Cultural Center. What a celebration it was! Several hundred people attended the dinner, marking 30 years of sacrifice and triumph since the university’s re-establishment as an independent school system in 1989 by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

“We have a great school, we have a great tradition starting with the blood, sweat and tears of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Muhammad family,” Minister Farrakhan said during the Sept. 8 celebratory dinner, shortly after being presented with a “star” award for his service in preserving what the Hon. Elijah Muhammad established in 1934. Awards were also given to current and former MUI staff including Sister Mary and Shelby Muhammad who served 1989- 2000s and Brother Shahid “The Math Doctor” Muhammad.

“We don’t retire, we die on our post,” he continued. “What good is a building with no people; what good is a hotel and there’s no occupants? What good is a school where there are no students? We got to find a way to make it easier for people who want what Mr. Muhammad wanted us to learn to have a chance to experience this.

“This is ours! This made us who and what we are. Students who graduate from the University of Islam from the time the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to this day are making a contribution in many fields. We must get back to business, we must make our school grow again, we must put new levels to it. We should never again send our children to the enemy’s colleges.”

Shelby Muhammad, the first director of MUI in rebuilding era, receives an award from MUI Alumni Association.

Minister Farrakhan expressed love and appreciation to all the alumni and pioneers, including the MUI Alumni Event Committee and board of directors of the Muhammad University of Islam Alumni Headquarters Chapter, which includes President Fard Muhammad, Secretary Crescent Muhammad, Treasurer Omar Muhammad, Advisors Audra Muhammad and Margaret Mahdi.

Nuri Muhammad, a popular Nation of Islam student minister, delivered the keynote address and emphasized Min. Farrakhan’s words about building an independent education system. “I want to say to Sister Shelby, and to all the teachers, and all the parents that made a sacrifice to make Muhammad University what it was and what it is; for every dime, for every dollar, for every time you dropped your baby off—whatever you did for this cause, know this: that everything we do for this Nation, we are making a deposit of ourselves into that which is eternal and immortal.” Shelby Muhammad was the first directress of Muhammad University as part of the Nation of Islam rebuilding effort.

“At Muhammad University we don’t have spirit-killers, we have spirit-feeders,” he said. “At Muhammad University of Islam, we pray, we study, we drill—we learn [to] read, write, arithmetic and righteousness!”

Alumni from as far back as the 1960s further agreed. “Coming into the 6th grade of Muhammad University of Islam, one of the things that I found alluring was that they had a strong emphasis on Black history,” Rhea Muhammad, a 1962 alumni of MUI, recalled.

“I loved what the Minister had to say. It’s a call to order, a call to work, a call to come back to our own and build this organization, this is Muhammad University. It’ll never fall again—all praise is due to Allah—we must build our nation. The youth are in our future,” she said.

“Those in the mosque or outside of the mosque, MUI has shaped so many of us through his leadership and guidance which comes directly from the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and God himself. It’s time to give the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan a return on his investment,” said Fard Muhammad, president of the board of directors of the Muhammad University of Islam Alumni Headquarters Chapter.

“And as a side note I don’t care whether you went to MUI or not. If the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan had any influence on your life or has taught you anything and you gained as a student of his, then you should absolutely give back. My best experiences was at MUI. Every other school just used us as a template for their success. We have the best school on the planet hands down. MUI not only teaches ‘reading, writing and arithmetic, it teaches self-assurance, self-respect, and self-discipline.”

Theater producer and founder of Mahdi Theater Productions Margaret Mahdi is also on Muhammad University of Islam Alumni Headquarters Chapter board of directors. “I am humbled, grateful, extremely appreciative to Allah that He allowed this moment in time to take place. It’s certainly a celebration, and we’re just honored,” she said. “When he (Minister Farrakhan) said come back and help me, that was very profound and it just represents that we must do more and stay committed to our word, if not, we will be held accountable,” she said.

Current students of Muhammad University bore witness to the benefits of studying under an independent school system. “MUI is a great school; I personally love MUI because I love how everything is based on the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and we get to be ourselves and stay modest, and learn the proper teachings and not the White man’s words. We learn the truth,” Azaria Muhammad, who is in 8th grade told The Final Call.

“I feel like MUI really prepared me for the world, whether it was the extensive courses in Islamic Studies and Arabic and science and math. All the teachers are dedicated and are very well-versed in their craft. I’ve never experienced, like elsewhere when I went to public school when I was younger, people who cared so much,” said Zahir Muhammad, a graduate of Muhammad University.

“It is small but it is a small community, a small family where you learn how to interact with people, how to articulate yourself and you actually learn the truth, knowledge of self, knowledge of God [and] the devil, so why not?” he added.

To conclude the magnificent evening Nation of Islam National Imam Sultan Rahman lead the evening prayer, and music was provided by MUI music students, instructors and Perfect Blend Band.