PHILADELPHIA—Naji Muhammad, a beloved member of Philadelphia’s Mosque No. 12, has departed this life and returned to Allah. Brother Naji was a model member of the Fruit of Islam whose reach extended far beyond the mosque and deeply into the community.11
His Janazah Prayer service was held at the Khadijah Alderman Funeral Home. Hundreds of people attended the service, filling the main sanctuary and spilling into an overflow room and parking lot.
Student Minister Omar Kariem, who officiated the prayer service, noted that Brother Naji joined the Nation of Islam as a teenager in the mid-1970s.
“He was a wonderful spirit and a gift from God,” he said. “Naji was a model and example to us all.”
Brother Naji hosted, produced and funded The Friends of Farrakhan Show, a radio show on WURD-AM. It has been the longest-running public broadcast of the words of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to the Black community in Philadelphia. Amid the program’s financial crisis 10 years ago, Brother Naji stepped in and kept it on the air.
According to Rodney Muhammad, the student minister for the Delaware Valley Region, “Naji was a brother that was here the first day I arrived in Philadelphia. He never left Minister Farrakhan during the entire time that I have been here. He has done work for us on filming, but more importantly, he and his wife have continued The Final Call radio show, which has allowed the Minister’s voice to be heard throughout the city.”
Student Minister Rodney added: “Brother Naji was a solid FOI. While I knew him, he did not necessarily seek laborer positions. You know, he just wanted to help and, you know, there was space for him to do so. Therefore, he took advantage of this, and he did everything he could to advance Islam in the city.” Services for Bro. Naji were held May 14.
He was a founding member of The Black Male Council of Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to promoting public safety and empowerment in Philadelphia’s Black communities. The president of the organization, Stan Crawford, explained that he and Brother Naji were on a trip to New York for a program on street violence in 2018. On their way home, they had the idea for the Black Male Council of Philadelphia.
“He was an integral part of all the work we did, from cleaning to food distribution to rallying. He was actually on the bullhorn leading us and guiding us. Naji was an integral part of the council, but he was also well-known as a Nation of Islam representative in Philadelphia,” Mr. Crawford stated.
One of his most outstanding achievements was playing a vital role in the resurrection of Mt. Moriah Cemetery, which had been deserted. He single-handedly revived the Muslim section after it sat abandoned for years. He gathered a crew to help restore the area. Every weekend, he dedicated his time, energy, money and resources to beautifying the cemetery and was its sole caretaker.
He even built sitting areas so visitors could pay their respects in a serene environment. He was helping people who could not respond and could not thank him, observed Brother Leroy Muhammad of Mosque No. 12, regarding Brother Naji’s work at Mt. Moriah. Brother Leroy worked with Brother Naji for many years. He began his efforts in 2017 and has been doing so ever since.
In a true sense, Brother Naji embodied the spirit and vision of Minister Farrakhan as a powerful advocate for Islam, social justice and righteousness. Brother Leroy Muhammad, a key organizer of Philadelphia’s 10,000 Fearless initiative and board chairman of the Black Male Council of Philadelphia, told The Final Call that Brother Naji brought him to the organization.
“The council has emerged as one of the most active street groups in Philadelphia at the moment,” he said. “His presence has greatly impacted the organization. He will be missed for years to come, and his name will be shouted from the mountaintops.”
Brother Leroy Muhammad noted Brother Naji’s thread ran deep into the mosque and community. Early on, he was the mosque’s audio-visual man. He would bring his audio equipment out for street rallies to make sure voices were heard. In the Juneteenth Parade, Brother Naji was responsible for pulling a float with a giant picture of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad adorning MGT with FOI, who marched along Market Street. The parade was staged two consecutive years in 2018-2019 prior to the pandemic.
Delaware Valley Student Regional Captain Anthony Muhammad may have given the best description of Naji Muhammad’s character, saying, “He was a brother that embodied the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the guidance of Minister Louis Farrakhan, displayed character in everything he did. He was devoted to his Nation and loved the brotherhood. He had a generous spirit and helped anyone in need. If he had a bowl of bean soup, he would give you half.”
Before his May passing, Brother Naji and his wife, Sister Inez, embarked on a new chapter of their lives following the guidance of Minister Farrakhan and his call for believers to farm. Their grandchild had recently come into their care. They needed more space, so they moved to a two-acre property in rural Delaware.
“Having lost his sister, we decided we wanted to raise our grandson in an area where he could run and we could grow our own food,” Sister Inez said. “Naji planted some fruit trees. I believe an apple tree, a peach tree, and a plum tree. In addition to the garden, he planned to build a greenhouse so we could grow vegetables all year-round.”
As a lasting memory of her husband, Sister Inez cites Brother Naji’s dedication to giving a voice to the voiceless. An incredible human being, he had a kind and selfless spirit. As a devoted father, a loving spouse, and a firm believer in Allah, she said he was kind and compassionate.
According to Brother Leroy Muhammad, Brother Naji’s impeccable style of dress was a trademark of his.
“It would be impossible for me not to mention his sartorial splendor. He was immaculate. He was immaculate from head to toe. His dress, man was meticulous,” he said. “The color and precision were always intact. His legacy will always be one of the sharp brothers who came out of Mosque No. 12. The man put cleanliness above all else, and I am telling you, he sacrificed a lot.”
Brother Naji was born on November 18, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He made his transition in Delaware on May 8. He was the son of the late Rosetta Knowles and Reuben Jackson. Brother Naji met Sister Inez in 2005 and they were married one year later. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Kenneth and Brandon, and 11 grandchildren.