By Andrea Muhammad
DETROIT—The Nation of Islam gave a final salute to esteemed Fruit of Islam (FOI) Captain Emeritus Abdul (Roy) Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit. He was a beloved leader, mentor and businessman.
Family, friends and supporters gathered January 10for a janazah (Muslim funeral) service celebrating Abdul Muhammad’s life at James H. Cole Home for Funerals in Detroit. People from all walks of life came paying their final respects.
Born in Detroit, on May 21, 1948, Abdul Muhammad’s entire family joined the Nation of Islam in the early 1960s. He was also involved in many civil rights organizations and was a lifelong member of the NAACP.
His older sister Hattie described him as a family man with a passion for cooking, “He loved his family. He loved to eat. There was nothing that we couldn’t ask Roy to do, and he didn’t find a way to do it,” she said.
For over 60 years Brother Abdul served on several posts in the ranks of the FOI including drill instructor, inspector, first lieutenant, and captain in Detroit and Flint. In 2018, his distinguished service as FOI Captain earned him recognition as Captain Emeritus after being properly relieved from his post. He passed December 28, 2021.
Fellow Captain Emeritus Majed Muhammad first met his soon to be brother-in-law as officers in the FOI under the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s leadership prior to 1975. Bro. Majed recalled that in the early 1980s he and wife Majediah were encouraged by Bro. Abdul and other family members to go see the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and join efforts to rebuild the Nation of Islam. Bro. Majed chuckled as he reflected, “From that point on, we really became close because we were traveling a whole lot helping to secure the Minister across the country.”
In 1983, Bro. Abdul was appointed FOI Captain in Detroit with brother-in-law Majed serving as his first officer. Years later, when Bro. Majed became FOI Captain, he then appointed Bro. Abdul as his first officer. He fondly recalled their decades of service early in the rebuilding effort. “We’d room together and eat out the same bucket of chicken. Sometimes, we couldn’t afford a room, so we’d sleep in the car together. There were four in a car, somebody had to stay awake while the rest slept,” Bro. Majed said.
“We’d often have to change at rest stops on the highway prior to going into the cities to help with security. It was so much fun!” he chuckled. The Minister was always happy to see us together, having great love and affection for Abdul and our family.”
In April 1989, Minister Farrakhan appointed Bro. Rasul Muhammad, a son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, as minister of Mosque No. 1. Just 23 years old at the time, the young minister said, “The Minister told me to keep close a couple of brothers who really just knew the lay of the land, knew the Believers and the people there,” he said. Those brothers turned out to be Bro. Thomas (Majed) and Bro. Roy (Abdul). “I’ll always remember the kindness of Brother Abdul,” added Bro. Rasul.
Brother Troy Muhammad now serves as student minister of Mosque No. 1 and shared his reflections on his former captain’s tenure. “He was dedicated to the work of Islam and being a Muslim,” he shared. He also acknowledged Bro. Abdul as as mentor, brother, friend and helper of Min. Farrakhan. “He was a captain in the truest sense of the word, who could bring things out you didn’t even know was there! We’ll miss his smile, kindness and work on behalf of our Mosque.” He sees Captain Emeritus Abdul Muhammad as a star whose light will shine in Detroit and the Nation of Islam for a long, long time.
No one may have benefitted more in their relationship with Bro. Abdul than his former first officer and successor, Sharrieff Muhammad. He regards Abdul Muhammad as much more than the captain he worked under. “He goes back before I was born; having soldiered in the Nation with my father prior to 1975 and as Mosque No. 1 FOI Captain in the early 1980s while my mother, Sister Athenia, was the MGT Captain, was a great thing to me,” he shared.
Their bond was strengthened when Bro. Sharrieff was handed the mantel of FOI Captain from Bro. Abdul who in turn, served on his staff. “He made a promise to me that he’d be there and would do everything he could to help me be successful and he kept his word before returning to Allah (God). I have nothing but love and great memories of the things we accomplished.”
The more Bro. Sharrieff grew to understand Bro. Abdul, the more he was reminded of his own father. “It was easy to learn from him because he was very practical in his approach. Others are not so practical and may be difficult to understand but not him.”
Others also shared sentiments on the life and legacy of Abdul (Roy) Muhammad, including Detroit NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony. “I’m here because here lies my brother and my friend,” said Rev. Anthony. “I can remember various events throughout the state he would provide security and he’d always tell his people, ‘We’re going to stay until the end.’”
He was one of the last people to leave an event after walking Rev. Anthony to his car. “Roy would be the last because he understood the last shall be first so he’s first in the arms of our God. He’s first in service. He’s first in giving. He’s first in not quitting.” In honor of his legacy, Rev. Anthony announced the Detroit NAACP Chapter will offer “The Brother Roy Abdul Muhammad Scholarship,” for young people on an annual basis.
Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans also issued a proclamation affirming, “As a Student Captain within the Nation of Islam, he taught and trained dozens of men who desired to make a difference to themselves, their family and their people. Brother Abdul (Roy) was also an entrepreneur who was the founder and President of Courtesy Crowd Control, a local firm that provided executive protection and security services to dignitaries and businesses across our nation.”
Bro. Abdul founded two security companies in 2003. One time employee, Henry Muhammad, now heads his own security firm. “When I met Brother Abdul in 2011, he gave me a job as a guard. There’s not a lot of people in the city who haven’t been affected by our brother’s security company. A lot of people who worked for him have their own businesses and are very successful.”
Student MGT & GCC Captain Missey Muhammad applauded Captain Emeritus Abdul’s mindfulness of duty and his respectful interaction with the Muslim sisterhood. “We bear witness that our Brother Captain Abdul lived life as God designed it to be. He was a master watchman; all of us who were under his guardianship. Sisters, when they needed something, he was a guardian angel. He was also a guardian to the brothers because he was a father figure. I was blessed to be able to work with our brother. He was dutiful, committed to the Nation and the community. A law-abiding captain,” said Sis. Missey.
Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan delivered a heartfelt message of sincere condolences to the family of Abdul Muhammad via video on behalf of his father, Min. Farrakhan, the Farrakhan family and a grateful Nation. Bro. Mustapha shared a cherished moment he witnessed during a conversation between the Minister and Bro. Abdul who he described as “a beautiful soul of a man” prior to his passing. He described it as “the most beautiful demonstration that I have ever witnessed in my 60 years of being in the Nation.”
During the conversation, the humble servant in a very soft voice made a request of his Minister. “Brother Minister I’m going to fight as hard as I possibly can to beat this. However, if I return to Allah, may I have a Holy Name before I return?” he asked. Mustapha Farrakhan confessed, “I instantly broke out in tears because I’ve never heard something like this being a request of a man who was on his deathbed. He did not ask of anything but to leave this world with a holy name so that when he returned to Almighty God Allah, he would have that holy name!”
Min. Farrakhan replied that when Master Fard Muhammad wanted to give the Honorable Elijah Muhammad a holy name, The Master asked him to take the “big name,” Abdul which means “servant” in Arabic. Though Elijah Muhammad was elated, he asked his Teacher if he could keep his birth name—Elijah. Master Fard Muhammad permitted him to do so.
Min. Farrakhan then told “Brother Roy,” to take the big name, Abdul Muhammad. “I thank Allah for Brother Abdul Muhammad and I pray that his family find their way in a Nation he helped the Messiah to build!” added Bro. Mustapha