On the morning of February 27, at 7.a.m., members of the Nation of Islam’s military training of the men who belong to Islam in North America, the Fruit of Islam (FOI), gathered in different cities via webcast for their annual class during the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day Convention.
This year commemorates the 144-year birth anniversary of the Nation of Islam’s founder, Master Fard Muhammad, who was born February 26, 1877. Every year, members of the Muslim community would travel to designated cities in honor of His birth. But after one year of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the many workshops, drill competitions and panel discussions were broadcast and facilitated virtually.
The main class was conducted from the Nation of Islam’s National Center in Chicago where Student Minister Nuri Muhammad of Indianapolis moderated the program. The image of the men—sitting six feet apart in rows of gold seats, wearing their brown, gold trimmed military uniforms with the radiant red and white star and crescent flag of Islam on their shoulders and wearing brown bow ties—was very different from the traditional scene of thousands of men standing shoulder to shoulder.
Even though they were not physically standing together in ranks in the same room, their enthusiasm, unity and expression of love for each other could be seen and felt through the computer monitors.
A highlight of the FOI class every year is the awards ceremony that acknowledges the commitment and dutifulness of the top man in different regions of the Nation of Islam. These awards are presented by each regional student captain to the men under their charge and command.
The FOI work hard all year to prove their love and persistence to be rewarded as the FOI of the year. This year, nine recipients from nine regions of the U.S. and Europe received awards.
Student Minister Nuri Muhammad spoke about the sacrifices of men that exemplified what a man of God is and the purpose for their class. “God came to make gods, and that’s what the FOI class is. The FOI class is the Saviour-making class … the father-making class … the husband-making class,” he said.
“The FOI class is the warrior-making class; the FOI class is the entrepreneur-making class; yes, the FOI class is the god-making class,” he said.
Student Assistant Supreme Captain Abdul Aziz Muhammad shared words of Minister Farrakhan from the book “Closing the Gap” by Jabril Muhammad. He spoke of the oneness of God, man and love.
“God is love because God is a man. It is love that makes you something in the eyes of Allah (God). Because it is only the love of Allah (God) and love of truth, and love of the purpose for His coming and love of the people for whom He came that would cause you to have value in His sight,” said Nuri Muhammad, quoting the Minister.
“Allah (God) has to make you selfless and only when you are selfless are you not offended by the wickedness of those whom you have come to save,” he added.
Delivering words to the men, Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan paused a moment with a solemn look of love in his eyes before speaking in a calm, serious tone as he shared personal lessons in his life to encourage listeners to strengthen their faith.
At one point when he spoke about the example of his father’s work and teachings, the men stood with a thunderous applause in agreement. The student supreme captain encouraged the men to be steadfast and not break under trials.
He stressed the importance of faith in Allah (God) and to stay dutiful and patient when faced with trials and afflictions. “Never let what it is that you are going through cause you to lose faith in the God of Hosts and the living God that we were taught of. Never let what you’re going through injure that faith,” he said.
“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and would not be tried,” he said, reading from chapter 29 of the Holy Quran, called “The Spider.”
Recipients of the “FOI of the Year” awards are: Bro. Samuel X (Delaware Valley region); Bro. Thomas Muhammad (7th region); Bro. Donald Muhammad (Mid-Atlantic region); Bro. Odertei Lampty Muhammad (European region); Bro. Rashad Muhammad (Central region); Bro. Hasan Muhammad (Western region); Bro. Ben X (Southwest region); and Bro. Darwin Muhammad (Eastern region).
The Southern region had an additional award called the “I am a Soldier—The Rock of the South” in honor of Minister Abdul Rahman “the Rock” Muhammad, the longtime companion, friend and helper of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
Five brothers recited words from a book written by Minister Rahman. They were Bro. Robert X of Nashville, Tenn.; Bro. Lutalo Muhammad of Greenville, Miss.; Bro. Julius X of Birmingham, Ala.; Bro. Demetrius Muhammad of Augusta, Ga.; and Bro. Tariq Muhammad of Atlanta. From among the five, Bro. Julius X was chosen for the “F.O.I. of the Year Award” (Southern Region).
“Love your people while you can love them. Enjoy your family while you can enjoy them,” Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan concluded.—J.A. Salaam, Contributing Writer