By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
DETROIT (Cobo Center)–Muslims from all over the United States and even overseas converged on the Motor City, highly anticipating the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day convention.
The historic event took place Feb. 17-19 under the theme, “The Ultimate Challenge: Survival of the Black Nation.” The theme for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address to close the convention was “Have No Fear for the Future: The Future Is Ours.” He delivered the message before thousands inside the Joe Louis arena and thousands more listened via webcast to the Sunday message.
Thousands filled the halls of the Cobo Center for what would prove to be an exciting and highly inspiring weekend. Official events began when Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, greeted conference goers with a motivational and instructive message out of Min. Farrakhan’s welcome letter during the Feb. 17 opening plenary session.
“Welcome to our Annual Saviours’ Day Celebration of the Birth of Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi and Founder of the Nation of Islam,” Min. Ishmael Muhammad read.
He continued from the letter, “We return to the city where the Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit, Michigan and the second city where Islam was established in Chicago, Illinois. We pray that this Saviours’ Day will increase our knowledge, wisdom and understanding and our Way of Devotion to Allah.”
Muslim men, the Fruit of Islam, and women, the MGT&GCC, were dressed in beautiful suits and garments of different styles and colors.
The excitement was matched by a power-packed three-day schedule, which included everything from informative and educational workshops focused on Nine Ministries to serve the needs of Blacks, to historical exhibits, entertainment, children’s activities, and physical and mental exercise.
A favorite event, the Saviours’ Day Drill Competition, remained true to form with long lines, fresh sharp uniforms, and a stiff competition between teams from cities across the Nation.
First Lady Mother Khadijah Farrakhan’s Children’s Village continued its streak as a centerpiece of the annual affair. It was created out of her love for the Nation’s youth, from the tiniest Muslims in strollers to pre-teens and teens. It included games, rides, entertainment and gifts and was held in a huge convention hall.
There was a Nation of Islam Historical Exhibit, which showcased some of its most precious artifacts and photographs chronicling its rise in America.
The words “As-Salaam Alaikum,” which translate to “May peace be unto you,” echoed throughout the weekend. The positive energy was electric and infectious.
“This Saviours’ Day is the most significant to date, because it marks the 40th year of Minister Farrakhan’s work absent his teacher the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” said Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad.
“Let’s not be hearers of what the Minister has said today. Let’s resolve that we are going to act upon the rightness of the word that he’s given to us from Allah that would save our lives,” he said after Min. Farrakhan delivered his Feb. 19 address. “I always look at the message and how that message is relevant to the times because Saviours’ Day is the Minister’s day to really forecast the year that we’re in.”
Filled with revelations, stern warnings, guidance, and declarations, the message concluded a great weekend of activities designed to inform, educate, strengthen, and empower the Muslims, the Black community and anyone who would listen and accept truth and divine guidance.
“This Saviours’ Day was highlighted first by our first annual graduation–absolutely beautiful,” Min. Ishmael Muhammad added. Newly “registered” members of the Nation of Islam were blessed with a special visit and tear-jerking message from Min. Farrakhan, as well as their Student National FOI Captain Mustapha Farrakhan Muhammad and Student National MGT Captain Sandy Muhammad.
Min. Farrakhan spoke kind, inspirational words about his own experiences joining the Nation of Islam 62 years ago. He would eventually sit in the seat of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation, as a father over the house.
“I’m gonna take this word to every nook and cranny of the United States of America.’ I gave my word. As I enter my 40th year absent my father, I looked at you with great thanksgiving that my word has been my bond, and 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 word of a man who kept his word,” said Min. Farrakhan. He was referring to his first words after induction into the Fruit of Islam class in New York in the 1950s.
“I am looking at those who now are going to take the Nation to the next level. Looking at you and listening to you, I was so proud and I was so thankful.”
Min. Farrakhan was visibly moved to tears as was the audience before he concluded his message.
“I have done my job. I have planted our Father in your hearts and in your minds and now you know him not just as the Messenger of God, but He is the first among us to be made the Black God, and I am his son,” Min. Farrakhan said.
From the minute the first graduate marched in behind the N.O.I. Honor Guard, there seemed to be a burst of energy from those watching.
Many of the Muslims cried while the others clapped until their hands were red and numb. The graduation was held after the women-only MGT and men-only FOI classes.
Many posted photos of the event online and expressed how emotionally full they were to see everyone and how excited they were by the rising trajectory of the Nation.
Immediately following the ceremony, noted scientists, architects, engineers and journalists conducted a panel discussion on what really happened on 9/11. “The War on Islam: 9/11 Revisited, Uncovered & Exposed” included a slideshow on “false flag” operations used to create violence, conflict and consolidate power, such as Pearl Harbor and 9/11, according the session’s presenters.
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and Feb. 18, featured different workshops connected to the nine ministries and ranged from housing and community, development, to prison ministry, to international affairs, health and farming, information, justice, financial awareness and other important topics.
Attendees came together for “Salat Al-Jumu’ah,” the traditional Muslim Friday congregational prayer service. Nation of Islam National Student Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad gave a beautiful sermon centered on love for one another and a sense of mission to save Black communities plagued by trouble.
He reminded Muslims they haven’t accepted another man’s religion or way of life, but have come to learn and accept the way of Allah (God).
As Believers in the Nation of Islam in the West, conference participants were encouraged to strive to find a common agreement with others to keep peace between people of different beliefs. Do not be so quick to go on a defense with others, said the imam. Point to the work of the great wise man, Master Fard Muhammad, who is the Great Mahdi of the Muslims; and his Messenger, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; and Min. Farrakhan as proof we are following the way of God, he told the Muslims.
Alimmah Muhammad, who attends the Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago, was overcome with emotion as she recited an entire chapter of the Holy Qur’an during Jumu’ah.
Her recital of Surah 55, “Al-Rahman” (The Most Gracious), touched the entire audience as she recited, not just from memory, but also from her understanding of the words and their meaning.
The day concluded with a special theatrical tribute to the late Mother Tynnetta Muhammad performed by the Mahdi Theatre Company. “The Rise of the Great Ones,” produced by Margaret Mahdi, CEO and the company’s artistic director, consisted of singing and dancing.
It ended with a song and heartfelt message by Rasul Muhammad of the Ministry of Love, Mother Tynnetta Muhammad’s son. On Feb. 20, an honorary street was named for Mother Tynnetta Muhammad, who was a Detroit native. She is also the mother of Ishmael Muhammad and a wife of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.
“With this year adding the graduation to the list of events the Believers are allowed to enjoy, that just put everyone on a whole new high,” said 18-year-old Mariam Muhammad of Mosque 27 in Los Angeles.
“It’s the love for your fellow Believers, and the love for your Minister, and especially your love for Allah, that allows Believers to become their beautiful selves around one another. This is a weekend that puts the fire in the Believers and reminds them as to why they pledge allegiance to the greatest and most beautiful flag in the world of the Nation of Islam,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to the Ministries that the Minister has set up to help our Nation go forward and really be established. It will happen with the root of love that we have for each other and then from there to work. That will do it,” said Muslim pioneer Alverda Muhammad from Washington, D.C.
Jihad Muhammad of St. Louis, said he thought Min. Ishmael Muhammad eloquently articulated the opening of Saviours’ Day 2017. “I also think that it leaves openings for newer people who are not familiar with the Nation to actually kind of get a feel for the knowledge that we’re working with and the intelligence that we have and what we can bring to the table for young brothers out there that are lost and trying to find a home, so I thought it was a very nice opening,” the 20-year-old said.
(Akeila R. Muhammad of Los Angeles; Keila X of Dallas; and Michael X of Rialto, Calif. contributed to this report.)