All over the world, Muslims are fasting, praying, reflecting and participating in acts of service as they observe the Holy Month of Ramadan, the month in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Ramadan is a prescription from Allah (God) wherein Muslims forsake the things that are natural, such as food, water and sexual relations between spouses during the daylight hours. Muslims also partake in reading the entirety of the Holy Qur’an, the Islamic scriptural text, across 30 days and refrain from quarreling and vulgar words and activity.
The root word for Ramadan means to burn, scorch or roast. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, expanded on the meaning and purpose of Ramadan on the Ramadan Prayer Line.
Opening the prayer line on its first day, the early morning of Apr. 3, Minister Farrakhan started his annual Ramadan message by quoting from Chapter 2, verse 183 of the Holy Qur’an: “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.”
“In those words, Allah is giving us the purpose for fasting. He didn’t say fasting is a prescription to lose weight. He did not say that we should look at fasting as a discipline of the loss of weight, diminishing the real purpose of the fast. It is a prescription to a people who have been born in sin and shaped in iniquity to guard against evil. That is the purpose,” he said.
The Minister said “the weight that should be lost is the weight of sin that has burdened us and keeps us bound,” and that the fast is meant to “draw us closer to Allah that we may find the discipline and the strength to cast off the unnecessary burden of sin.”
The prayer line’s international reach
The Ramadan Prayer Line is the brainchild of Nisa Islam Muhammad, who wanted to make sure her family stayed connected during the Islamic holy month while her children were away at college. With its origins in 2006, it has since evolved into an annual call running about 30 consecutive days a year.
The core team consists of Abdul Shahid Muhammad, who calls the Adhan (call to prayer); Memphis-based Student Minister Abdul Muthakkir Muhammad, who opens the prayer line with welcoming remarks; Abdul Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam, who shares Islamic history; Imam Abdul Jalil Muhammad, provides the “Hadith of the Day” which are sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and Nisa Islam Muhammad, who closes the call out with a “fast fact.” Muslims from various communities are featured as guest speakers during the month.
Nisa Islam Muhammad told The Final Call that the prayer line is important because it is meant to inspire the believers as they begin their fast.
“We try to give the believers tools they need to start their fasting day off to a good start,” she said. She said part of the value and beauty of the prayer line is that it unites Muslims all over the world.
Minister Abdul Akbar Muhammad joined the line this year from Ghana, West Africa. He explained the international reach and impact of Min. Farrakhan’s Ramadan messages over the years.
“The thing about it that is so beautiful, people listen from all over the world, across Europe. Brother Hakeem has people in Paris, Germany, Italy, and quite naturally, the UK. And every year, we’ve touched brothers and sisters in those areas,” he said. Student Minister Abdul Hakeem Muhammad is the European Regional Representative of the Nation of Islam based in London, England.
A village chief in Ghana went to school in New York City, where he would listen to the Minister, Akbar Muhammad said. “They didn’t know that much about us, but the Minister’s voice was so loud and clear during that time on the college campuses. These students heard him, went back home and had conversations, talks about the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” he said.
Almost 5,000 people listened live to the Apr. 3 message, according to numbers provided by Sister Nisa Islam Muhammad. She said some lines were at capacity. She predicted about 10,000 people would have listened to the replay by Final Call press time. Some of the countries that listened to the message include the UK, Bermuda, Barbados, the Virgin Islands and Canada. This year’s message was also broadcast live on FinalCallRadio.com.
Last year, the prayer line’s hosts held a Ramadan relief fund. With the donations they received, they were able to help several struggling Muslims.
“Let me tell you what your money did. We paid rent for believers who were suffering. We helped with other bills. We bought a sister with children who was a single sister a much-needed car. We moved a sister with special needs across country to a better living situation. We bought Eid gifts for the children of incarcerated Muslims. We did so much with a little,” Sister Nisa Islam Muhammad said on the prayer line.
She urged listeners to give, to help them be able to do more this year. “May Allah bless our efforts to serve our people and to help them in their time of need,” she said.
Excitement circulated on social media as Muslims prepared to hear the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s words.
“We are very excited to hear your Words of Wisdom and Guidance to carry us throughout the month of Ramadan and beyond. We thank Allah for you, and may He bless us all with a successful fast,” Renata Muhammad said, responding to Minister Farrakhan’s tweet announcing day one of the prayer line.
During his message, Minister Farrakhan spoke to the seriousness of the time, saying that ever since his Saviours’ Day address Feb. 27 titled “The Swan Song,” God’s power over nature has been manifesting more and more. He also addressed the importance peace and the consequences of failure to follow a path of righteousness as exemplified by the prophets of God.
Min. Farrakhan urged listeners to turn to Allah (God) and seek refuge in Him. He also urged the believers to make the fast a “great fast of nearness” to God Who gave life.
“Have a blessed Ramadan. Have a peaceful Ramadan. May this Ramadan bring us closer to Allah. May this Ramadan bring us closer to each other,” he concluded.
Believers took to social media to thank Minister Farrakhan for his words. Some were live tweeting, while others shared quotes via Facebook and Instagram.
To read the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s message, see page 20. For more information on the Ramadan Prayer Line, visit, www.ramadanprayerline.com.