By Abisayo Muhammad
When we call each other “sister,” “best friend” and “queen,” what are we really saying?
If we see one of our “sisters” with a new business, or accomplishment that she posted online, do we support her with likes and shares, or do we just keep scrolling?
Do we recognize or listen to a “queen” in pain and going through something, or do we just say, “girl, you’ll be ok?”
Nowadays, while it may appear that we are living our best life—successful careers, wealth and social media popularity—some of us still carry much pain and grief that may not be so visible.
Recent reports of suicide and depression in the news have made us pause and wonder why, but are we really paying attention?
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed so many ailments in our community that have long been hidden or ignored. But in the last couple of years, the demand for therapists and counselors have been at an all-time high. People have become consumed with maintaining healthy relationships and coping with life’s uncertainties, but we may never realize just what each other is really going through.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently found that Black people have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic with higher death rates, higher hospitalizations, and less access to health care. Black students, in particular, face more mental health challenges, higher rates of depression and anxiety during this pestilence than other communities have experienced.
In 2020, 12 of every 100,000 Blacks ages 18–24 have died by suicide, according to the California Department of Public Health. In 2014 the Black suicide rate was about 25 percent lower than that of White students and 15 percent lower than Asian students. Now, the suicide rate among Black youth has doubled, far exceeding all other groups.
In this world of self-interest and selfishness, sometimes we forget how much we need Allah (God) as well as each other to achieve ultimate peace.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan addresses this issue in his book titled “Torchlight for America,” when he says, “America is going against the nature in which God created the human being. Duty to God should always come first in everything we do. The more we neglect duty to God, the more the whole society falls into disrepair. The root problem of all of America’s suffering is spiritual and moral. Therefore, it necessitates a spiritual solution.
As a braid stylist, I have close conversations with women oftentimes going through things prior and during Covid. As a Nation of Islam Study Group Coordinator, we also find that many are dealing with very troubling issues in their lives as well.
Being a “sister” in Islam, we are taught that you want for your brother (and sister) what you want for yourself. However, sometimes as we sisters fall victim to or are guilty of ignoring the very thing we profess.
In the Holy Qur’an, Chapter 9, verse 71, it reads “And the believers, men and women, are friends one of another. They enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
“There is a standard and when that standard is erased, the people no longer know how to measure their own fall away from what is right. That standard has to be reestablished and a moral backbone has to be given again,” said Minister Farrakhan.
Am I my sister’s keeper? A keeper is defined on Google as a person who manages or looks after something or someone. In the Bible, it’s described as one’s supervisor. More than just a caregiver, a guardian, defender, protector.
I am my sister’s keeper if I’m striving to love her as I strive to love God and myself? What may seem so simple, is being ignored and has a big impact.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brotherhood (and sisterhood). Anyone who does not love remains in death. John 3:14
Abisayo Muhammad, a former Final Call staffer, is an entrepreneur, a mother and first lady of Benton Harbor, Mich. Sister Space is devoted to amplifying the voices of women as well as telling their stories and highlighting their accomplishments. We welcome your ideas and submissions. Please send any material to [email protected].