DETROIT–Spirits were high and definitely in various stages of development during a lively Saviours’ Day workshop hosted by the Ministry of Spiritual Development.
Featuring student ministers Ishmael Muhammad, Rasul Muhammad, Nuri Muhammad and Sultan Rahman Muhammad, national imam of the Nation of Islam, the ebb and flow of the conversation drew loud applause, contemplative silence and even tears.
Student Min. Jeffrey Muhammad of Chicago’s Mosque No. 2 moderated the Feb. 19 discussion attended by an audience of some 200-plus.
Imam Sultan Muhammad explained that performing prayer in and of itself does not indicate a level of spiritual development. Why else would Allah say in the Qur’an “woe, or warning, to the prayerful ones?” he asked.
“Woe to those who are maintaining their prayers but not providing their neighborly needs. (Prayer) is an external action,” the imam said. “The internal belief is manifested in the activities. Once we make the prayer, we must say ‘amen,’ which mean to just do it. We must get up and go into our communities and manifest what it means to be humble,” he said.
Imam Sultan Muhammad explained that one meaning of “salat” (Arabic for prayer) is to roast or burn. It refers to our egos, he said. Break away from whatever you are doing in your lives that you think is more important than the worship and duty to acknowledge the One who has created us all, he said.
Min. Nuri Muhammad of Indianapolis said the Nine Ministries of the Nation of Islam operate as organs in the body, but the Spiritual Ministry is the most important and operates as the brain.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has asked for 1,000 farmers and 1,000 ministers, he said. Farmers to grow our own food to give the physical constitution we need to build the Kingdom of God. But also 1,000 ministers so that the most important aspect, the spiritual constitution, can be built so we can, in fact, establish the Kingdom of God, he said.
“There is a difference between a believer and a true believer,” Min. Nuri Muhammad said. “A believer will follow the instructions of the God or the Messenger, but a true believer follows suggestions like they are instruction,” he said.
Anytime the Minister says “it would be nice” or “I need,” that’s him saying “be” and it’s our job to be the “and it is” squad, he said.
The spirit is the energy of life, explained Min. Ishmael Muhammad, and it can only be activated by reaching out to the spirit that is Allah (God) that activates the Allah in us.
“That’s what prayer is all about. Allah (God) doesn’t need your prayers, you need the prayer yourself. Allah is above need of His creatures,” he said.
The enemy has stunted spiritual development of the people by connecting them to materialism, sexism and other desires of the flesh, he said. Reality television programs are nothing but slander, backbiting and gossip and keeps you operating at the lowest form of energy, he said.
One’s relationship and communication with God is what raises us up from the underworld so that we can operate at a higher level, he said. But how do we communicate with God? he asked.
“Prayer is one form. When you love God, He begins to evolve Himself in you. If you eat His word with love and faith in Him, at some point in your development you will be like Him.
“That’s spiritual development 101,” Ishmael Muhammad said.
In an often humorous presentation, Min. Rasul Muhammad walked the audience through some of the most painful, yet spiritually impacting aspects of his life.
The results of congestive heart failure, the loss of his vision and many of his material possessions, Min. Rasul said, has caused him the greatest spiritual development he could ever have imagined.
“I know that pain is an ordained pathway to spiritual development and increased faith,” he said.
Min. Rasul Muhammad described for the audience one of the greatest compliments he has ever received. One day Min. Farrakhan said he admired Bro. Rasul’s attitude in going through suffering.
“He said you’re not angry. How can I be angry at God when everyday I’m waking up and breathing?” Min. Rasul Muhammad said. “It has been like the awakening of my spiritual being. I’ve not lost anything, I’ve gained.”
A spirited question and answer session raised issues like the proper intention of prayer and its healing power, the distinction between love, duty and prayer and the role and presence of women in the ministry.
“Duty is love. The evidence of love is action,” Min. Nuri Muhammad explained.
“This is me in my beginning phase,” said Cassandra Grant of Oakland, explaining her sometimes painful journey toward spiritual development.
“The workshop gave me insight. They asked and answered lots of questions that have been going through my mind. Pain is the ordained pathway to our spiritual development.
“That pain has led me right here today,” she said.