CHICAGO—There was no lingering outside Mosque Maryam Nov. 14 as members and guests rushed inside to escape the freezing drizzle at the Nation of Islam’s headquarters. But inside, the warmth was abundant as the traditional greetings of welcome and peace resonated throughout the vestibule.
The scene was repeated across the country in warmer and colder climates as more than 100 NOI mosques and study groups reopened to the public for weekly meetings since March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered the United States.
That warm atmosphere continued as ushers moved guests into the main auditorium where a recorded greeting of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan explained the purpose of Mosque Maryam as a center for re-education and re-training of the Black man and woman of America.
“It’s a great honor to be chosen to deliver the keynote address on the day mosques are reopening across the country,” Student Minister Abdul Muhammad told The Final Call. “All our mosques will come in with renewed energy and levels of excitement.”
His keynote address, “The Lie and the Liar Must Be Exposed,” certainly was a revelation for those new to the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as he dealt heavily in uprooting the lies told to Blacks in America and the lies that have the world groping in darkness.
What are the greatest lies that Satan has told, he asked? Religion is number one and the knowledge of self is second, he said. It wasn’t until White people saw how religion made Blacks more manageable and submissive to White authority that they started to teach us about Jesus, he said.
But, the presence of truth is quickly diminishing the White man’s power to rule, he explained, that’s why trust in the media and government is at an all-time low.
Min. Abdul Muhammad described as “spooky” the White man’s teaching of a heaven beyond the stars and a hell in the middle of the earth that “is hotter than the sun.” He pointed out that bunnies don’t lay eggs at Easter and the “bad math” Whites used to teach Blacks that Jesus died on a Friday evening but rose on the following Sunday morning. That’s not three days, he said.
With a stack of books more than seven high on his podium, Min. Abdul Muhammad used news recordings and printed material to support his facts. White men were angry when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the fictional book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” because of the portrayal of slavery. So, she wrote the fact-based “A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that told in detail the horrors of slavery and the falsity of the slave master’s version of Christianity as taught to the slaves, he said.
“We’ve been lied to, so we think we’ll get a reward after we are dead. There’s no hell in the ground. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says heaven and hell are conditions on earth while we live,” he said.
Holding a copy of the phenomenal book “Message to the Black Man,” Min. Muhammad said Whites lied about Jesus because he’s the “man raised up by God, so the world won’t be victims of Satan’s lies.” The more we lie the more we go down the road of becoming a devil, he continued.
Between standing ovations, laughter and applause, Min. Muhammad said Whites had to dehumanize everybody else to rule. He demonstrated the research of archaeologists Louis and Mary Leaky and their son Richard whose study in Africa reveal the origin of the human is in the Black man and woman, and that other “races” descend from the Black.
“We’re not savages, as we’ve been portrayed. We’re not Black because we were cursed. We’re Black because we came from God,” he said.
The young minister, high school principal and history teacher, presented Minister Farrakhan as the Jesus figure who is uprooting the lies of the White world. “Jesus is the one who comes into the world and exposes Satan. It’s one thing to know that God is within you, but another thing to bring Him out … and this is what Jesus does. He’s the one who brings the truth,” he explained.
Throughout the message, FOI and MGT draped the walls, watching and ready to assist the socially distanced and masked audience. Prior to the keynote, Student Minister Jeffrey Muhammad welcomed guests describing the teachings as “wholistic, spiritual and physical,” while Student Min. Shahid Muhammad said the state of America and the world is one of “degeneracy, immorality, savagery and depravity.”
Student Min. Tariq Muhammad pointed out that Black people “not only doubted the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but outright rejected him” and his message of reform.
In 2021, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and the truth he told has been vindicated with Whites now bearing witness to the teachings of one meal a day for longer life as written in “How to Eat to Live” and the presence of so-called UFOs that Messenger Muhammad taught of in the 1930s.
“It is such a blessing to be among the brothers and sisters in person. To feel that energy that each person has, and to see everyone come back, is so beautiful,” said Ruby Heath of Chicago. “I gifted my husband a subscription to The Final Call newspaper as his birth anniversary gift, and we watched online every Sunday, but there’s nothing like being in one another’s presence.”
Dr. Felecia Burton of Morrisville, Penn., who developed cancer in 2018 and Covid-19 in 2020, called the day very special.
“Watching the lectures on Sundays online helped save my life, and one of my dreams had always been to visit Mosque Maryam. Connecting with the Nation brought me to myself. I now eat one meal a day, and I am no longer a diabetic because of these teachings,” said Dr. Burton.
“I just thank God that I encountered the kind of people who know the truth, I really feel good about being here,” added first time visitor Lolita Meachum of Chicago.
Reopening NOI Detroit
Immediately after announcing the Nation of Islam would re-open its doors, Mosque No. 1’s Laboring staff, officials and volunteers went to work spreading the word. Troy Muhammad, Detroit representative of Min. Farrakhan, met with leaders from faith-based, political and grassroot organizations while volunteers set up a phone bank and the Fruit of Islam distributed Final Call newspapers across the city informing everyone that the Nation of Islam has resumed in-person meetings at its mosques and study groups.
“There’s been a great response across the community and I’m just as excited as everyone else!” Troy Muhammad declared.
In addition to Sunday, all regularly scheduled meetings are also set to resume. Local Student MGT & GCC Captain Missey Muhammad and her staff have been eagerly preparing for the successful transition from remote to on-site training of women and girls. “We are so excited and have been thoroughly blessed to be returning to our mosque and resuming in-person MGT Classes,” she said.
Troy Muhammad’s keynote address, “The Guide and the Guidance for These Troubled Times,” was delivered to an audience at full capacity with Covid-19 guidelines in place. Picking up from Minister Farrakhan’s 2020 Saviours’ Day address, “The Unraveling of a Great Nation,” Troy Muhammad delved deeper into the importance of heeding the Minister’s divine guidance against the backdrop of increasing natural disasters, economic distress, racial injustice and confusion over the Covid-19 pandemic.
A brief survey was conducted via text at the conclusion of the lecture and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Guests were asked, “What are your thoughts on the Nation of Islam’s Re-Opening?” Mary Marzette responded, “I think it’s great, we all need guidance and education right now and the Nation provides that.” Adrian Winters shared he was “excited for the in-person teachings.” Martaz Timmons wrote, “I missed my Mosque, Brothers and Sisters.” “I’m so excited!! It was an honor to be in attendance!” offered Brandi Dexter.
When asked to rate their overall visit during the reopening, over 97 percent responded they were satisfied to very satisfied with 100 percent replying, “Yes” to receiving future notifications from the mosque and Nation of Islam.
Divine words and worship in St. Louis, East St. Louis
In the metropolitan area of St. Louis, two mosques, Muhammad Mosque 28 and 28B, were happy to welcome their communities back. “I was very happy with the attendance and the reception of the people was very good too. We practiced social distancing and let the guests be in the main auditorium and sat the Believers throughout the mosque, like the masala (traditional prayer area) and downstairs. This was a trial run and we look forward to getting better,” said Student Minister Donald Muhammad of St. Louis, Mo.
“I came out today because my husband is a member here at Mosque 28B and it is for me to stand by my husband. I know these teachings is the truth and some people are afraid of the truth and I was one of them,” said Vickie Ivory. “So, it is time to step out of fear.”
Student Minister Ralph Muhammad, of Muhammad Mosque 28B, spoke to the audience from one of the books of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, “The Fall of America.” He spoke about the horrible condition of Black people in America and the effects of slavery on their lives. “Why did God put us in this condition?” he asked. “Because he allowed us to suffer in this condition to prove He is God and only He can change our condition. God came to build His kingdom on earth, and the Nation of Islam is that kingdom,” said the student minister from East St. Louis, Ill. The audience clapped and cheered with agreement for his message of salvation and hope.
An historic day in New York
The Eastern Regional Headquarters of the Nation of Islam in Harlem welcomed the Muslims and their guests once again. Mosque No.7 has long been established as a safe haven for peace summits for street organizations, a meeting space for planning sessions with elected officials, leaders, dignitaries and counseling for the community and its members under the leadership of the Eastern Regional Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad, whose untimely passing in April of 2020 due to complications of Covid-19 made it hard for some to be present and to recall his statuesque presence where he once stood tall, prior to covid.
Mosque No.7 is where Minister Farrakhan did a mighty, legendary work for the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. A message of new beginnings came from longtime Student Minister Arthur Muhammad, who served under the mentorship of Abdul Hafeez Muhammad. His message of blessings and hope entitled “The Dawn,” which was an ode to his mentor and friend and as a declaration to the many who attended the meeting to carry on the work.
The core of Arthur Muhammad’s message dealt with Allah (God) bringing light even in the darkness of the hour. Newly registered brother Leeworth X, 24, from Belize, said, “Minister Arthur’s message brought me comfort knowing that the Believers will have a light from Allah (God) in the dark hour that is approaching, only if we put our faith and trust in Allah.”
Brother Leeworth X and several other newly registered Muslims in the Nation of Islam in NYC were trained virtually via Zoom before the reopening of mosques and study groups and were thankful to finally be in the mosque in-person and to finally meet the many friendly Believers.
Student Minister Henry Muhammad in Brooklyn at Muhammad Mosque No. 7C said, “The spirit that I shared with the Believers and the guests was that of how the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan conveys his spirit of love and hospitality. That love and spirit that we gave from my lecture, ‘Put On the Armor of God,’ was beautifully received.”
Delaware Valley Region reopens
The Delaware Valley Region of the Nation of Islam, headquartered in Philadelphia, opened for business with vitality as mosques and study groups throughout the area reported excellent attendance, spirit, and love. Many of those in attendance accepted the teachings and were determined to change their lives.
Rodney Muhammad, student regional minister, delivered a lecture entitled “The 21st Century Educational Challenge.” He exhorted the audience to actively seek knowledge of self.
Qadir, a young man who came out with his father, said, “You know this is something positive and constructive to do. The information I learned today was positive and reinforcing.”
“I just got out of prison,” Hassan, another guest, said. “I was in for 26 years, got out two weeks ago. And I said, let me get something on my mind. I ain’t been hearing nothing since I’ve been out here. I’ve been running around trying to do what I need to do for this parole man and all that. And I came down here to settle my mind down a little bit, and it was all right. It was cool. I’m cool with it. I will be back,” said the Philadelphia resident.
Brandon, also from Philadelphia and who is of Asian heritage, had visited the mosque prior to the pandemic and couldn’t wait to get back. “What Minister Rodney was saying about the importance of education, I think, is my greatest takeaway today because we live in a time where so many young people are miseducated. Our leaders have to be educated. They have to know their history, and they have to know their past to know where to take us,” he said.
Rashon was full of energy. “I love the word,” he said. “I accepted. I’m ready to walk with the brothers, sell Final Call newspapers and help get the community together,” said the young man.
Student Minister Victor Muhammad in Pittsburgh told The Final Call, “We did a total renovation downstairs. From the feedback I received, many stated in-person was refreshing and much better than screen presentations. It was so good just to see each other, and they got to see the renovation done. The Believers talked about just how it just felt like home, and that’s the beautiful thing. Our opening was a success.”
The Atlantic City, N.J., study group welcomed the public at to a brand-new venue located in the heart of the community under the direction of Student Minister Michael Muhammad. “My message today was ‘Universal Change in a Time of Trouble.’ And my primary source was Minister Farrakhan’s ‘The Criterion.’ I wanted to give a message that explained why we have a pestilence among us in the form of the covid virus. And after being away for 18 months, I thought it was essential to give people an update on what we have been experiencing with Covid-19. Still, more specifically, through the message of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” he said.
Student Minister Robert Muhammad of the NOI mosque in Wilmington, Del., said, “I see a difference in the eagerness of the brothers and sisters that have come out that really desire to learn more about the Minister. They have an intensity.”
MaryAnn Muhammad, a pioneer who entered the Nation in 1973, attended the Philadelphia mosque opening. “I think the meeting was great. The mosque was missed being closed. So, it’s great. I’m just happy to see that it’s coming back. I am. I was out today to get my Form 4 so that I may again become an active MGT,” she said.
Baltimore: Overcoming, surviving troubled times
Muhammad Mosque No. 6 reconvened at the ConneXions Community Arts School just minutes away from the mosque. The Baltimore school allowed the mosque to offer guests a safe and secure environment to hear the welcome back message of Student Minister Carlos Muhammad.
His theme was “How to Overcome and Survive These Troubled Times.”
“We focused on going after the youth of this city,” Carlos Muhammad said.
That focus was reflected in the attendance at the reopening. About eighty five percent of the first-time guests appeared to be 35 and under.
“This was my first time out and I really enjoyed it,” said Naajidah, a high school graduate from West Baltimore who heard about the meeting and decided to attend. “It’s time for me to get on my deen (religion). I enjoyed the history that was told during the message. I learned some things I hadn’t heard before.”
Naajidah had some familiarity with Islam but was motivated to attend the Nation of Islam reopening after meeting the FOI in the street.
Jabreel Hardwick came with a group of friends. It was his first time at a Nation of Islam event. “I met some brothers and they told me about this meeting. We came to hear the message. It was more than I expected. The brothers were cool, and I liked what I heard. The minister said if we liked what we heard, to come back next week and bring a friend. I’m going to tell my mother about this. She would like this message.”
“A much better teaching, education, support and love,” commented Missy West, a supporter of Muhammad Mosque No. 6. “These teachings have the power and potential to improve our lives, if and when we apply them in every way we can. These teachings are truly lifesaving if we get out of our own way and start using what we are given to save our lives,” added Lakisha Rahman of KiKi’s Cuisine.
Atlanta: Remembering God’s word
It was a day of reassurance, reunion, and spiritual reformation for guests and Believers of Muhammad Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta, Ga. The socially distant guests and Believers, with the same in NOI venues nationally, sat down to hear the Sunday lecture.
Nation of Islam Southern Region Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad spoke on the topic, “Jesus Is the Way.” He used scriptural sources and modern-day references to connect the example of Jesus to our lives today. He lifted the name of Minister Farrakhan and reminded the listeners of the importance of obedience and unwavering faith. The listening guests and Believers gave personal testimonies as they applauded and nodded to the truth.
“It’s good to be in the environment of modesty,” said Rahkim Milam, a guest at Muhammad Mosque No. 15. “I’m definitely going to be coming back to more meetings,” he added. Lakeia X, a newly registered member of the Nation of Islam, added, “The feeling that you receive coming back home is amazing.” Franklin Morris bore witness to the message: “It was a great lecture. It was enlightening. It’s what we need right now.”
At nearby Muhammad Mosque 15B in College Park, Ga., the voices of Believers and guests blended in with the sound of Minister Farrakhan’s song, “A White Man’s Heaven is a Black Man’s Hell,” before the meeting. Sensitive hand sanitizer dispensers were on the back tables. Colorful artwork lined the walls, enhancing the energy of the space. Green and white flowers decorated the stage.
“This was a very liberating experience, because during the pandemic, I actually got my X. And I’ve been processing forever, but I never had the chance to come into the mosque as a Muslim in my all white,” said Shaunielle X. “It was a very empowering feeling. And just to reopen and go after our people in a time like this, that’s what matters the most, and I thank Allah for this opportunity.”
Jessica X also joined the Nation during the pandemic. She said it was her “first time at the mosque, period,” and described it as uplifting and exciting.
Others told The Final Call that they were energized, lifted up and happy that the doors were open. They expressed thanks to Minister Farrakhan for opening the doors and said the keynote address delivered by Student Minister Desmond Muhammad was beautiful.
On Twitter, #NOISundays and Student Min. Abdul Muhammad’s name trended as his message was webcast from Chicago. Many retweeted the powerful points he made such as “We’ve been lied to. Heaven and hell are conditions.”
Tweets from the lecture had an average of 400 impressions which means each Tweet appeared on 400 timelines. On Facebook and Instagram, many shared the link to the lecture on the Nation of Islam website.
Over 6,000 watched the webcast from Facebook on the Nation of Islam’s page. On Instagram, each post from the lecture averaged 1,000 engagements on The Final Call’s account.
Others under the hashtag #NOISundays posted selfies, happy to be out at the mosques throughout the nation and with other guests.
“All Praise is due to Allah for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for [the] Honorable Louis Farrakhan,” wrote @nraydavis313. @lil_a_butterfly said, “The lecture was [fire].”
The numbers will continue to grow as more are encouraged to watch and rewatch the lecture.
Written by James G. Muhammad (Chicago), Shawntell Muhammad (Chicago), Andrea Muhammad (Detroit), J.A. Salaam (St. Louis and East St. Louis, Ill.) Daleel Jabir Muhammad (New York), Michael Z. Muhammad (Philadelphia), Nisa Islam Muhammad (Baltimore), West Muhammad (Baltimore), Azizah Muhammad (Atlanta), Anisah Muhammad (College Park, Ga.), and Tariqah Muhammad (Chicago).