When a stumbling block sent Dyrell Muhammad to prison, he was already active in the Nation of Islam. Ultimately, he spent a little over two decades behind bars; most of that time was in solitary confinement.
His story is one of triumph, steadfastness, and now forging forward in full dedication to faith outside of prison. His journey is a positive testimony to the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, represented by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
What must be understood, however, is he was not in solitary “lock down” for disciplinary reasons; it was persecution for organizing study groups, prayer services and uniting diverse factions of inmates under the auspices of the Nation of Islam.
“Allah had blessed me to establish a Study Group in those 22 years that the Federal Bureau of Prisons had never seen,” Bro. Dyrell told The Final Call in a telephone interview.
He explained that upwards of 300 people participated weekly in the Nation of Islam Jumu’ah prayer service and 120 attended the Study Group, consisting of Black, Red, Brown, Yellow and White inmates.
He explained the meetings were attended by groups as different as the Ku Klux Klan, skin heads and the Bloods, Crips, GD’s, Vice Lords and Latin Kings street organizations. It was an extraordinary accomplishment, not previously seen by federal prison authorities, he said.
“Because of that, they wanted to control me,” said Bro. Dyrell.
That level of organizing and work bore testimony to the “influence of following the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan” and the “success of the Prison Reform Ministry Program,” he said.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons determined that no one should wield such influence in their institutions and engaged efforts to curtail the success, Bro. Dyrell surmised.
“They would put me under investigation, which really wasn’t an investigation,” he said.
Prison authorities would “cunningly and diabolically” use policies to remove him from the general inmate population and ship him to other prisons where he would repeat the success. He was transferred to 10 penitentiaries in seven regions of the federal prison system and 15 of his 22 years incarcerated was spent in solitary confinement, where he was alone in a cell for 23 hours a day. In spite of all the opposition, they couldn’t stop it.
Dyrell Muhammad credits the “Restrictive Law” of Islam as taught in the Nation of Islam as his safety-net during those years of confinement.
He told The Final Call, a reason he was so productive within the prison walls was the support he received from the outside.
The entire time, Nation of Islam Student Mid-Atlantic Regional Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad and Regional Prison Reform Minister Anthony Muhammad, both based in Washington, D.C., were feeding him spiritually.
Bro. Dyrell said his advantage was also his training before prison from Student Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad and Aaron Muhammad, the student regional FOI captain, as a registered member of Muhammad Mosque No. 4.
There is an adage: “You don’t serve time, let time serve you.” For Bro. Dyrell that adage manifested through the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the tutelage of Minister Farrakhan.
“These teachings are real, if applied,” he told The Final Call. “You can make it, if you practice these teachings.”
While incarcerated, Bro. Dyrell did not waste time. Even in the midst of organizing, teaching and the tribulation of solitary confinement, prison could not suppress his mind.
While there, the now 54-year-old follower of Minister Farrakhan achieved college degrees in American Studies and Social Behavioral Science, and a certificate in Business. He is two classes short of Sociology and Humanities Through the Arts degrees.
Dyrell Muhammad is proof of the profundity of Islam as taught by Minister Farrakhan. Although he faced 35-years-to-life, a judge released him in October 2020 based on his faithfulness to the mission he accepted before prison. However, with incarceration, he became resolved to totally obey the guidance and instructions of Minister Farrakhan.
“It was by the power of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that I’m home,” said Bro. Dyrell. “They didn’t let me go, Brother, it was Master Fard Muhammad; the Exalted Christ, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad; and Jesus today, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” he explained. “That’s how I’m out, Brother.”
Bro. Dyrell is transparent when people raise the fact that he fell from a straight path he was on before prison. “I was already registered prior to me going to prison,” he said, not making any excuses. He wants people to understand the importance of living the life and discipline of Islam and how deviation from it landed him in prison. However, it was reactivated in that environment where it shined.
“Even though you might have Islam … you might be registered,” he said, “it don’t mean nothing if you are not in obedience to the teachings, first and foremost, and the instructions of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”
You cannot fix what you will not face, he said. “While I was in, I was able to grow and develop and fix what I didn’t face, which caused me to be in an environment that was hostile,” he said.
When Bro. Dyrell was released, Student Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad and Brother Francis Muhammad personally drove nine hours from Washington, D.C., to Edgefield, South Carolina, to pick him up.
He rejoined the ranks of the FOI right-away. “I reregistered in the mosque day one. I fell straight in,” he said.
During the drive back, the brothers counseled him about life back in society. He recalled Student Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad advising him to remain disciplined.
“The same discipline that I had during those 22 years, it’s going to take the same discipline in the street,” he recalled. Since being released, Bro. Dyrell is spending his days “putting out fires” and working with brothers in the streets.
With the full support of the mosque and utilizing the experience and positive works he gained while incarcerated, he hit the ground running, organizing for peace in the community.
“There’s a lot of killing in Washington, D.C., and I’m going to different neighborhoods talking to the Brothers … to keep them from going where I just came from,” Bro. Dyrell said.