CHICAGO (Mosque Maryam)—“Which of the bounties of your Lord, will you deny?” asked Student Minister Abel Muhammad during the Friday, traditional jumu’ah prayer service, as the Nation of Islam engaged in a weekend commemoration of the birth of its founder Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi of the Muslims and Messiah of the Christians.
Every year the prayer service sets the tone for the weekend annual convention generally with thousands of Believers gathering at a convention center ballroom to petition God for guidance, protection and inspiration throughout the weekend.
However, for the past two years, the prayer service was performed virtually due to the Covid pandemic, and for the first time in 24 months, members of the Nation were able to come together Feb. 25 in the prayer room in the lower level at the Nation of Islam’s Mosque Maryam.
The men were seated in the front of the room with a large empty space dividing the sexes. The seating arrangement in Muslim culture is designed to assure the men are not looking at the rear of the women during prostration, bending and kneeling as the Believers pray. Women gathered behind the men.
Each Believer brought their own prayer rug and were spaced apart following covid protocols during the prayer service. “Even though you are not standing feet to feet next to each other, the space in between you is being filled with the love of Allah that will cement you together,” explained Student Minister Abel Muhammad, who conducted the service prayer and delivered the short sermon, or khutbah.
This year’s khutbah focused on being grateful for the blessings of Allah (God) in every aspect of life. “Allah prepared everything for us because He knows what we need to live,” said Abel Muhammad.
Activist Anthony Shahid of St. Louis attended the service and expressed gratitude for the timely message. “I’m here to get ready to hear Minister Farrakhan on Sunday. But today I heard a jumu’ah prayer like I haven’t heard in a long time.
It was spiritual, and on time, and a reminder to seek refuge in Allah. No matter how bad it looks, it isn’t that bad at all and his message gave us strength to know that we are fighting for Islam and we will surely win,” he said.
“The khutbah was very inspiring. And the one part that stood out was when he talked about how the herbs adore Allah. That was profound to me. Being a farmer and gardener man that thing hit me to my soul. That was beautiful, because we cultivate and take so much from the earth and we take it for granted.
And we don’t take the time to appreciate that. But Allah created it to benefit us and the herbs fulfilled their purpose, and there are thousands of herbs and they all adore Allah. Man!” shared Lawrence Muhammad, who came in from Atlanta.
Student Minister Abel Muhammad highlighted the beauty and seriousness of this year’s Saviours’ Day celebration. He emphasized the need for guidance and seeking refuge in Allah (God). “We want refuge back into our original self, we want to return to the straight path of Allah … we have the reminder in our midst, reminding us of our ability to change and come back to Allah,” said Abel Muhammad.
“Allah is eager to forgive us if we would just seek refuge in Him,” he added.
“This message today was very important to me because he focused on the need for us to have a ground foundation of proper thinking, proper eating, and the things we say and things we do. He pulled a beautiful verse out of the Holy Qur’an for that during the khutbah. I’m happy to be around Believers again, and I feel this really strengthens us, to give us something to fight for together,” commented Joy X, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Brother Abel’s message to me was like a preview of what to expect from Minister Farrakhan’s ‘Swan Song’ on Sunday. He mentioned about how we need to be thankful for the smallest of things that we have the opportunity to experience in life and that Allah has it all planned for us,” said Luqman Muhammad from Greenville, N.C.