ST. LOUIS—Fourteen men from the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Mosque No. 28 and No. 28B recently fed approximately 300 homeless people on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, and East St. Louis, Illinois. These men are known as the FOI (Fruit of Islam), the name given to the military training of the men who belong to Islam in North America.
They are disciplined, clean cut, well groomed, kind, caring, civilized men who have accepted the mission to help save and serve their people. They are part of a mission that requires plenty of patience, commitment and, most of all, love.
Brother Talib Muhammad was compelled to do something kind and meaningful for those who are less fortunate. Over the past 12 years he has led efforts to feed thousands of homeless people. Every two-weeks he and a couple of men will load up their cars and take fresh homecooked wholesome meals to feed the poor and hungry. Brother Talib shared his motivation for this noble act.
“What motivated me to do this was the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, when he said there are ‘no big I’s or little you’s’ with our people. The Minister said that our people need help. Our people are out there. I’ve been doing this for over 12 years and our people are in bad shape. Therefore, there is no big I and little you in this and it is just like it is, them today, but could be me tomorrow,” Bro. Talib Muhammad explained.
“This gives me the motivation to want to help someone. The worst part about it and what bothers me is to see children in the mix of that. Little girls out there with their mothers and the mothers talking to different men. Brother, you can only imagine what is going on! Children are numb to that after a while and they be crying to their mothers because they want something to eat,” Brother Talib expressed with tears in his eyes.
“I go to the women’s shelter because what they give our women in the shelter is not fit for an animal to eat. I go there to give them something better to eat, it’s not much but its more than what they are getting in there,” he added.
Every year during the month of Ramadan, a month of prayer and fasting for more than two billion Muslims worldwide, Bro. Talib Muhammad feeds as many hungry and homeless people as possible every day during the holy month. He and others distribute nicely packaged hot meals and a bottle of water. If no one is available to help with deliveries he would proceed alone.
“I go to both the women shelter and the men shelter in St. Louis then I go to the shelter on the East Side. So, like today with the brothers out here with me, my goal is to bring both Mosque 28 and 28B together as one unit, because we are one family. I want our people in general to get help not just sisters, but brothers too. Because some of our people have mental challenges and I do not want our sisters to be caught up in that, it hurts to see us like this,” he continued.
Student Minister Ralph Muhammad is the local representative of Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in East St. Louis. He has been a member of the Nation of Islam and helper of Minister Farrakhan since 1979.
Student Min. Ralph Muhammad offered to assist Bro. Talib Muhammad with the dinners. Student Min. Ralph Muhammad has cooked Friday fish dinners for over 30 years, to give the community clean, wholesome food at an affordable price.
In the kitchen of the East St. Louis mosque, Student Min. Ralph Muhammad was accompanied by Brother Shareef Muhammad at 5:30 a.m. to start cooking for the Oct. 2 community outreach. The smell of oven baked stir fried rice sautéed in pure butter with vegetables, string beans and onions, and baked chicken was like a mother’s cooking wafting throughout the building. The sound of jazz music played while the FOI cheerfully prepared the meals. Later that day several men assisted with filling and packing up the plates. Once the cars were loaded, a caravan traveled to meet more men at the St. Louis mosque.
Student Min. Ralph Muhammad expressed the importance of giving good food to people and why the men serving and volunteering is a demonstration of love.
“When you go through our community whether you are riding or walking on the East Side of the river in East St. Louis, III. or on the West Side in St. Louis, Missouri, the condition of our people is so terrible that it makes us to want to help them. They are not just homeless, but they have mental challenges and addictive behaviors,” explained Student Min. Ralph Muhammad.
“We have to provide some wholesome food for them. The nutrition in the food will aid them in their mental growth and overall health. A healthy meal is good for the body and the brain. We are taught by The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad in ‘How to Eat, To Live’ the better you eat the better you have life. We provide our food out of love because we are not looking for money or rewards in what we do. We do it all out of love and we spend out of our own pockets and we do it to serve. We protect and serve for real,” he added.
Student Min. Ralph Muhammad acknowledged the great work of a fellow student in the ministry, Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad at Atlanta’s, Mosque No. 15. Moving out on the guidance and instructions of Min. Farrakhan, Student Min. Sharrieff Muhammad has spearheaded the 10,000 Fearless Men and Women of the South in an area of the city called “The Bluff.”
“That is a good example of how you go about doing this type of work. We have not got to the point of a physical building yet, but we still feel obligated to go out every other week to feed our people. We wish we could do it every day, but right now it is every other week. We feel obligated because someone saved us, so we have to save our people,” said Student Min. Ralph Muhammad.
Bro. Talib Muhammad told The Final Call, that some of the challenges he has faced while serving the people is a testament of love. He recalled an incident when a young man refused a dinner and was upset with them for wanting to feed him. “A few months ago a brother and I went down to the shelter to feed the homeless.
We asked the brother did he want a plate and the brother went off and wanted to fight us. It made me think about what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said ‘we have to have the kind of love for our people until they make us look crazy.’ Think about that, we offer someone a plate and this person is trying to hurt you. Do you understand what I am saying?” he asked.
“Our people are in bad shape, and we show that we love our people and have to take plenty of hardship because of the love we have for our people,” he continued. He also shared an experience from a couple of months ago when he was out feeding people and Rev. Larry Rice—a Caucasian who once ran one of the largest shelters in St. Louis—approached him.
“He approached me and said, ‘Brother Muhammad, I see you are still at it,’” recalled Bro. Talib Muhammad. “I told him, I do not have nothing I’d rather be doing than feeding my people. So I gave him a plate, and he asked, ‘is this what you feed your people?’ I told him yes. I give them something that I eat. My ultimate goal is to get a shelter and take some of them off the street and educate them.”