MILWAUKEE—All roads led to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the Nation of Islam’s 27th annual National Training Conference where the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered an insightful, poignant and spiritual message to martial arts practitioners of all ages and pointed out in his remarks that those with years of experience did not develop into a “master” until they surrendered and submitted to Allah (God), the Ultimate Master, and were willing to take instructions.
Dressed in green and wearing dark shades, the Minister made his presence known during a series of martial arts and self-defense demonstrations performed by attendees. He shared his beautiful and heartfelt words afterward.
“I am so moved by what I experienced being with you. Sometimes when you work hard to bring about change in your time of life, it’s so rewarding when you can come among your people and see the effect of knowledge being imparted to us,” he said. “I want to thank grandmaster (Abdul Azziz Muhammad) and all the grandmasters, male and female, that are here.
And I want to thank you for demonstrating the greatness of your skill, but the most moving thing to me is that you didn’t keep your skill to yourself. And that is what makes you favored by Allah (God), because you discovered your gift. And in discovering your gift, you discovered your reason for being, your purpose for being on this earth at this time,” said Min. Farrakhan.
He expressed that the training made him feel like the elder he is becoming and that the work is not in vain and never will be.
“If we are vain, we’re thinking only of ourselves, but this is a beautiful gathering of men and women, boys and girls, who are beyond themselves. They want to see a Nation rise, and they want to see an earth free from the dirt of the wicked,” he said.
Min. Farrakhan also spoke on the importance of defense. “When you move your hands to teach others how to defend yourselves, that’s what God has given you, because you’re living among your enemies, so you have to know how to fight and you must become skilled as fighters,” he said. “But the first war, the greatest war, is with yourself. Never say what you can’t do, because you can do anything that you wish to do.”
A weekend of renewal
Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, spoke on the theme of the conference, held July 28-31 at the Wisconsin Convention Center, during a plenary session opening the weekend. Attendees traveled from around the country to participate. The theme of the gathering was to renew, rebuild and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.
Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad described renewal as a restoration of what has become faded or disintegrated, so that it becomes like new again. To be restored, he said, implies a return to an original state after depletion or loss.
“Time, circumstances, trials can fade us. Time, trials, circumstances can wear us down, wear on the spirit if we are not connected to the Source of the spirit that allows for the faithful believer in Allah to regenerate, to be revived instantly,” Min. Ishmael Muhammad stated.
The United Schools of Survival, founded and operated by National Trainer and Student Assistant Supreme Captain of the Nation of Islam, Grandmaster Abdul Azziz Muhammad and his wife Azziza Muhammad, hosted the training conference.
“We need to renew our thinking, we need to strengthen ourselves as we renew our thinking, and we have to align. So that’s where the martial arts mindset comes in, where we say that we want to align our mind, our body and our spirit,” Grandmaster Azziz Muhammad told The Final Call. “So that’s the combination of the martial arts and Islam.” This year’s conference was the first in-person gathering in two years since the pandemic. Many attendees could be heard stating it felt like a “mini” Saviours’ Day, the large annual Nation of Islam conference held in February.
Conference activities included Friday congressional Jumu’ah Prayer, workshops, men only sections, women only sections, a youth division and martial arts training. The conference was closed out with an awards banquet and concert held the evening of July 30. For those trained in martial arts, the Scimitar Open an Olympics-style tournament and closeout finals was held July 31.
“The training that we do is well-rounded. We focus on the things that our Minister is saying, our Nation is saying, and we look to put that into modules of training or workshops of training that we can go into,” Grandmaster Muhammad said.
For many of the conference’s participants, the highlight of the weekend was Minister Farrakhan’s message on Saturday.
“He talked about the male and the female. Everything in the Holy Qur’an is as said. If we would just read in the name of Almighty God Allah and be yourself; not be anybody else,” said Christina Muhammad, coordinator for the 10,000 Fearless First Responders out of Austin, Texas.
“When you know who you are, then you could sit there and say Allah-U-Akbar (God is the Greatest)” she told The Final Call.
“Obviously the Minister was the cherry on top,” expressed Kevin 5X, the Student Investigator at Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit, Michigan. “The Minister is so consistent with what he said and the reminder that he gives us. If I could kind of boil it down, the Minister is teaching us to treat people how we want to be treated. He reminded us of the golden rule, and if we let that lead us, then, and in love, it would be the necessary prerequisite to going after our people,” he said.
“What a man! To be 89 years of age and to come from a place of comfort to visit and to witness the training that is taking place is extraordinary,” said Memphis-based Nation of Islam author, researcher and Student Minister Demetric Muhammad to The Final Call. “In addition to that, the fact that what he gave to us was revelatory and that he speaks into that which is within any and every situation he happens upon. And so, he gave us, in such a short amount of time, really a message that should be unpacked and studied and applied.”
Weekend workshops to train mentally, spiritually
July 29 workshops included: “How to Survive the First 90 Days After a Catastrophic Event,” “Active Shooter and Emergency Response,” “Farming as a Way of Self-Defense,” “Preserving the Home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Importance of Urban Historic Preservation,” “Preparing for Combat: The Health Challenges You Must Control for Battle,” “Estate Planning,” “How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones at Home,” “What Are the Influences Society has on Youth Violence,” and “Conflict Resolution.”
A panel discussion was held on “The Struggle for Balance.” Panelists included Student Minister Nuri Muhammad of Indianapolis, Indiana, Nation of Islam Student Auditing Director A’ishah Muhammad and social workers Aamilah Muhammad and Teresa Muhammad, with additional words shared by Min. Ishmael Muhammad.
He presented to the audience a regimen to help gain balance in one’s life. The list included prayer and the remembrance of Allah (God), a daily study regimen, following “How to Eat to Live,” Books One and Two by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, exercising daily, getting rid of all addictions, getting rest and relaxation, getting sun and communing with nature, and getting a dental and physical checkup once a year.
Some of the panelists talked about their personal experiences with depression and suicide. They emphasized building a personal relationship with God while also taking advantage of the solutions He has given the Black man and woman through the Person of Master Fard Muhammad and through the Teachings of His student the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
“If the Black man is god, what does god do to achieve balance?” A’ishah Muhammad questioned. The workshop resonated with many in the audience.
“The mental health of the community is very real and it is very transparent. I appreciated all the presenters giving us their path that they’ve been going through and their trials,” said Naimah Muhammad from Newark, New Jersey. “It helped strengthen me, because sometimes when you go through certain things, you feel like: OK, nobody understands. But then when somebody shares their story, it’s power in it. Even though the pain that the person experienced is hard, there’s power in that pain.”
Naimah Muhammad said it was her sixth time attending the conference, and that it felt like a renewal. “And, the Minister is just an example of the mercy of Allah that we have another chance to go back to our cities and serve,” she said.
Youth division workshops included a moderated question and answer on building tomorrow’s leaders today, emergency first response training, recognizing, addressing and defending against bullying and doing for self and project-based education for life.
Awards banquet and concert
The mini-Saviours’ Day, family reunion closed out with an energizing awards banquet and concert. Performers included Michael E. Muhammad and his son Sharif Muhammad, Ozara Ode, hip-hop artist Roku, Danielle Lee, Hecava Mecca and Hashim Hakim.
Grandmaster Abdul Azziz Muhammad was presented with two proclamations. David Crowley, county executive of Milwaukee County, presented the grandmaster with a proclamation, and the mayor of Milwaukee declared July 30 “Abdul Azziz Muhammad Day.” Wisconsin State Senator Lena C. Taylor presented a proclamation on behalf of the state of Wisconsin. She congratulated Grandmaster Muhammad for his commitment to martial arts and his devotion to the Nation of Islam.
“I’m like, a day in my name? As it was being said, I’m thanking the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for his light, and I always say that we need to just be great reflectors of his light,” Grandmaster Muhammad expressed. “It’s all the Minister’s,” he said in reference to the proclamations.
Throughout the evening, awards of recognition were given to Glen Muhammad, Halim Muhammad, Student Minister Nuri Muhammad, Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan, Student National MGT and GCC Captain Naeemah Muhammad, Charlotte and Scott Muhammad, Student Auditing Coordinator A’ishah Muhammad, Southern Regional Student MGT and GCC Captain Nusaybah Muhammad, Grandmaster Bill McCloud, Soke Lil’ John Davis, Cheryl Powell, Lisa R. Muhammad, Alethea Muhammad, Adolph Muhammad and Allen Muhammad.
“This conference allows me to be my true self, which is a warrior for God. It allows me to train and prepare,” Nusaybah Muhammad said. She appreciated the way Grandmaster Muhammad recognizes the female soldier and the female warrior.
Also recognized at the banquet were the Nation of Islam’s student regional FOI captains, masters of the arts and fallen warriors, the conference organizing team and all of the national training staff.
Taking it all home and the work begins
Student FOI Captain Sharrieff Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit, Michigan, described the national training as the best one he has attended.
“Just the energy, the atmosphere, the presenters, the words of each one of them that were said, and it just resonated so well with me that this was my greatest,” he told The Final Call. “And of course, as for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, what can you say? What can you say? It’s a beautiful thing just to see that beautiful man. I don’t even have to hear him say a word, just to be able to see his beautiful face. And his words are always something that keeps us lifting to a higher level spiritually.”
He noted the survival aspect of the training, stating, “We have to be able to come together and get training and skill sets and continue to be able to make sure we can build a strong Nation and survive what’s coming our way.”
Zaakirah Muhammad, an 18-year-old Vanguard from Atlanta, loved how interactive the conference was in helping people to understand different situations and how to handle them. The MGT Vanguard are young women of the Nation of Islam ages 16-35 who undergo in-depth physical and spiritual training.
“I loved how everything was set up, I loved how everything played out. And when the Minister spoke, I thought it was so beautiful. I felt so close to him, and everything that he spoke about was just, he’s always on time with everything,” said Zaakirah Muhammad.
Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad explained to attendees the ultimate purpose of the weekend conference. “We want to leave Milwaukee with the anointing of the spirit. We want to leave this city reinvigorated and with our minds determined to do His Will and to not take on any mixed instructions other than our assignment. It ain’t complicated. It’s not difficult. We just need to fall in. And once you and I have that desire and that will and we make Allah our exclusive object of worship, nobody else can get in the space of Allah and His Messiah.
“Building your endurance, that’s the process of becoming a god,” he added. “Let’s stay the process. Stay the course, because from this class, from this training, gods have already been made!”
Stay tuned for additional coverage from the USOS International Training Conference in upcoming editions of The Final Call.