GARDENA, Calif.—Hundreds attended the janazah, Muslim funeral service, for Nation of Islam Student Captain Emeritus Shaheed Muhammad at the City of Refuge LA in this Los Angeles suburb.
When the funeral officiant, Western Region Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, called for men to join him as he performed special prayers, it seemed they’d never stop coming forward, young and old alike.
The profound love and admiration for “Capt. Shaheed,” or “Capt.,” as the beloved Muslim was known, was evident at the church, at Rose Hills Mortuary in Whittier, Calif., his burial site, and at the funeral repast at Compton College, Compton, Calif.
“Each and every one of you know something of Brother Shaheed or you wouldn’t be here. As I look in this room and see all the lives that he touched this is a shining example that his life was not in vain,” said NOI Student Minister Sayyid Muhammad. “What an honor to celebrate our brother,” he added.
Former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley told The Final Call that Capt. Shaheed, who served as Fruit of Islam captain for Mosque No. 54 in Compton, was everything that the Nation of Islam stands for. “He reached down to those who could not reach up and gave them, especially the young Black men, a sense of dignity, pride, discipline, responsibility,” said Mr. Bradley.
“He was instrumental in creating the first ever office of the Million Man March in a city. He led to a presentation of the key to the city from the city of Compton to the Honorable Louis Farrakhan. He brought numerous stars, Spike Lee, Steve Harvey. Shaheed’s reach was universal, but he was always humble.”
“ ‘Always be able to walk with kings but never lose your common touch.’ That was Capt. Shaheed Muhammad. He stood amongst the stars, but he was man enough to bend down to earth to help his brothers, and I’m touched,” said Mr. Bradley, overcome with emotion. “ … deeply in my heart by his passing. His commitment to Black America and the Nation of Islam will always stand as a monument to the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan, and the people that understand the Nation of Islam, its purposes, its mission amongst the lost sheep. I love Shaheed. He will be sorely missed. He was a commander, a captain, a general, and his presence could fill a room without him saying a word. He gave hope to the hopeless. He brought peace to the defenseless. He was a good man.”
After the internment of his remains, with his casket carried on the shoulders of his Muslim brothers of the Fruit of Islam in blue uniforms and who bid final farewells, a repast was held at the beautifully transformed gymnasium of Compton College. The funeral service, the burial and the repast were held May 28.
People came from all walks of life and the repast was a reunion of sorts. Women spoke of his pure protection and men reminisced about his stern training wrapped in sincere love. His family members also spoke.
“Most people are really sad but I want you to stand strong, because grandpa wouldn’t want you to be sad either,” said Aziza Ali, 10. “Please don’t be sad … Stand strong, please, and As-Salaam Alaikum (Peace be unto you.)”
Her father, Ameer Muhammad, said she and Capt. Shaheed’s other grandchildren gave him strength to speak. “I thank Allah so much for my father, because He could have chosen any vessel to be my father, but He chose the perfect vessel, which was my father,” he said.
Ameer Muhammad vowed to channel the energy he was feeling in a way his father would desire. “That’s to help the Honorable Minister Farrakhan and save our people,” he said, igniting an explosion of applause in the gymnasium. “Allah-U-Akbar! (God is great!) Allah-U-Akbar! (God is Great!),” many shouted.
He thanked everyone who came to honor his father and expressed appreciation for the love and support shown to him, his father, and his family. “But I’m giving my word that I’m going to make it my business to do my father’s business, and that was to deliver our people and help our people,” vowed Ameer Muhammad.
Capt. Shaheed was recognized in proclamations from the cities of Oakland and Compton. Compton Mayor Emma Sharif expressed gratitude for Capt. Shaheed’s role in bringing Mosque No. 54 to her city and expressed appreciation for the Muslim community. Capt. Shaheed’s wife, Tiffany Muhammad, thanked California State Senator Steven Bradford and California State Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson who presented certificates of recognition honoring the life of her husband.
Activist Eugene “Big U” Henley or as Capt. Shaheed called him, “Hannibal Muhammad,” shared thoughts on the man he called a leader and someone he aspired to be. “When I first met him, he was tall, brown, light-skinned and strong. And he said, ‘Who’s the leader? Who’s running this show?’ And he told me, ‘Look. You look like they following you and I need to talk to you. If you a man, step over and talk to me, just me.’ That was Capt. Capt. didn’t hold back nothing. And he was just so much more.”
When he was imprisoned in 1991, Capt. Shaheed would pick his sons up, take them to FOI Class, and teach them, said Big U. “He helped me out. He sent me the lessons to teach when I was in prison and the whole time I was gone, 13 years, he helped me administer to teach the brothers in prison.”
Capt. Shaheed was his go-to person. He sent countless Holy Qur’ans, How to Eat to Live books by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and lessons on the proper handling of men, recalled Big U. “Capt. was everything to me,” said Big U. He came into the Nation in 1989 at 19 years old.
“Capt. was the key to the streets to be honest with you. When Brother Oliver X Beasley passed, Capt. was that connection that could always get 100 brothers from the streets to stand up, myself included,” Big U continued.
He first met Minister Farrakhan through Capt. Shaheed at football star, actor and activist Jim Brown’s house and said Capt. Shaheed was very instrumental in the Minister’s “Stop the Violence” meeting in Los Angeles.
“We always looked to Capt. If there was something going on in L.A., we would get a call from Capt.: ‘Brother, you need to send something over there.’ He was the rock. He was a solid post bearer to us,” said the activist, who has continued to work to resolve conflict in Los Angeles.
“I think it’s important now that we all get involved. Now it’s important for us, myself included, to get back closer to the temple, the mosque, and really just help live out his vision, his dedication. That’s important. And to help raise proper men, men and women, I mean sisters. Because we’re in a darkened time right now. It’s a struggle. And Capt. was fighting all the way to the end.”
Captain Shaheed Muhammad leaves to carry on his legacy: his wife of 17 years Tiffany Muhammad, his children Kelly, Kareem, Dawud, Quiyamma, Kenyatti, Malik, Ayesha, Ameer, Shareef, Daiyaana, Ziyadah and Ibn Shaheed, 27 Grandchildren, and 5 Great Grandchildren.