[Editor’s note: Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, the Official National Spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam as well as a member of the Nation of Islam’s Executive Council, departed this life on Thursday, August 25, 2022. We extend our love, support and prayers to her husband Brother Darius Muhammad, daughters Sister Sasha and Sister Cherelle, grandchildren Amir and Amirah and her entire family.
Her janazah (funeral) service, was held September 3, 2022 at Mosque Maryam, the Chicago-based National Headquarters of the Nation of Islam. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan shared beautiful, poignant words at the janazah and The Final Call presents excerpts of his heartfelt message. To view the message in its entirety, visit: media.noi.org. We thank Allah (God) for the life and service of Sister Ava Muhammad, a mighty servant in the mission of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
To the family of Sister Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, to her sisters whom she loved so much; to her daughters, Sasha and Cherelle, to her nieces and nephews, and those who her life has touched—and that is all of us in this room, and all those around the world who have come to know the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and Minister Louis Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam, because she was a faithful teacher and guide for our people, I don’t want you to take this as a time of sadness. It’s difficult to be joyful when you have lost a great one in your family, but in the church, they say: “The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of The Lord.”
There would be no Sister Ava if there were no God to give her to us. He is her and our Sovereign Lord. She came through her mother and father, but did not come from them. She came from God. He gave her to us. But when God gives you life, He also gives us time. And how we use our time that only God could give, and the life that only God could give, is the measure of your reward or your favor from God.
When I was a young student in college in North Carolina, one day during the Thanksgiving vacation I went with one of my college friends to Reidsville, North Carolina, and we went to church. I grew up in the Episcopal church, and the Episcopal church is not full of joy and exuberant preaching. And this was my first time to be exposed to a Baptist preacher, and that man preached that day! I only had a quarter in my pocket, but when he asked for charity, he got every bit of what I had. That was 1953, about 60 some-odd years ago, and I remember that man’s sermon.
I thought I would share some of the sermon with you as it relates to my sister.
What are we doing with the time God has given us?
Life is like a “vapor”: It appears for a short time, and then it’s gone. The Qur’an tells us that God is not prodigal; He doesn’t waste things. The economy of America and the world is in trouble, they don’t know how to get rid of waste… Well, God is coming to take care of that. In fact, He is here to take care of a lot of wasted stuff that needs to be buried.
That preacher asked the question: “What are you doing with God’s Time?” That’s a good question, because most of us don’t know how to properly use God’s Time! That preacher was preaching that day; and when he finished, I was thinking about how I was going to use God’s Time. Today, [I want us do the same thing] in our celebration of life for the incomparable gift that God gave to us in the person of Sister Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad.
I want you to think! Because as I am talking about our sister, I am talking about her, but I am using her to talk to us, because we are wasting a lot of time! Time, that we are going to have to answer to The God Who gave us life and gave us time when He asks “What did you do with the time that I gave you?!”
You can say anything you want to, but you cannot excuse your laziness, your cowardice, your loving to watch others work—and we applaud—but when it’s our time to put in the labor and overcome the difficulty factors in our life, [we shrink away from the difficulty]. We say we praise God for Ava, because she worked, and her work touched us. But you and I are still the living: You’ve got time! Time ended for her.
I like that you called her a “star,” but you should have said one thing more: “She was a star of God.”
Only God makes stars. The devil has a few phonies out here—phony preachers, phony teachers, phony lawyers, phony doctors; human beings that put on a mask when they come out of their house (“Who am I going to be today?”). When I was in showbusiness, there was a comedian who said, “You know, get drunk and be somebody!” Because you can’t be “somebody” if you ain’t drunk; because when you’re drunk, you can imagine all kind of madness.” But you are here, and God did not forsake one of you. He gave you a gift that says how much He loves you.
Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad: A real lover of God, serious student of His creation
You don’t think that God cares about the little life that just came, or the life that just left (“He’s not that interested”). Don’t lie on God. There is not a life that He gives that He is not concerned with the way that life lives. If He knows the sparrow that flies and falls, how much more are you than the bird that fell from the tree, or the doe that the lion ate? God loves His creatures.
My sister learned to love God by studying the majesty of His creation. I don’t praise God for “things,” I praise God for the gift of the wisdom in my life of sacrifice. You can’t be great and not be willing to sacrifice to achieve greatness! You cannot achieve greatness by being lazy and envious of others who show forth their gift, and you have one, but your envy of others deprives you of acting on your own gift! I want you to listen to your brother today!
Sister Ava was a lover of God. You just heard her obituary that she was suffering from cancer, as was I, as are some of you. She didn’t just go to the doctor, she heard something that brought her back to God. She overcame cancer; and when she overcame cancer, she knew that she had a “step up” on overcoming any impediment to her progress. You can’t come back to God with excuses.
“Well, the White man…”—SHUT UP! The White man ain’t God! He is playing “God.” He looks good as an actor, but God is present now and He is showing up the phony! And there is no Oscar for the White man or Satan—or you—for playing God, but showing the world you are nothing but an enemy of God and an enemy of yourself.
Since we have been reared by Satan, what did being reared by Satan produce? “What do you mean I have been ‘reared by Satan’? What do you know?” No, I’m talking about what the scripturesays, “Born in sin and shaped in iniquity.”
Is that who you are? Is that who we are? Born from a rebellious one who has reared us as rebellious people, especially rebels of God; so the enemy, now, can make you love what God hates, and make you try to be what God calls an abomination.
Sister Ava loved Allah, and she knew that in order for her to be successful, she had to live a life that would grant her favor from God. God loves you, and me, but He is not pleased with the way we are using the time that only He could give. So, clocking in for the Caucasian master on your job, he is watching, too, how you use your time.
But what about God’s Time? How are we using the life that only God can give? You have to make up your mind today, to use your gift properly. But first, you can’t use your gift until you discover it. Some of us think “God don’t like me. I’m considered ugly.” No, you’re not ugly. The thing that makes us ugly is when we rebel against God.
I used to say in my radio broadcast: “My beautiful Black brothers and sisters!” And one day I was with my Teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; he said: “Brother, stop using the term ‘beautiful,’ because nothing that rebels against God is beautiful.” You say, “Well, I’m beautiful! Look in the mirror!” Yeah, do that. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…”—check out this fool—“and tell me some lies (How pretty I am!)” You spend hours in the mirror fixing your mouth, fixing your hair, fixing your eyes, fixing other things, that you think make you look “beautiful” in the eyes of stupid men.
Now, just listen, [because how I am teaching you, Sister Ava did the same!] TheSister Ava that I know! The Sister Ava that I met! The Sister Ava that was a hand to me in the most difficult job ever given to any man who ever lived, and that job is to raise a dead nation up and give you life!
All life has a cycle to it. Every living thing has to come to birth; every living thing has to observe nature, be fed by nature, to be itself. That’s why God loves His creation. You notice in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, when it talks about how God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and God said “Let there be light,” and there was light, and He looked at it and said “Ah, this is good.”? What made it good? Because it obeyed The Nature of its creation.
Do you know your nature? That’s what Sister Ava discovered! She’s a marvelous woman. She loved women—but she wasn’t a lesbian. She loved women, because she knew what a woman really is, and she wanted to help women be what God created them to be!
I live in a beautiful Palace made by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but you find me more, now, at a Farm, in the country, observing God in the beauty of His creatures. I see the creatures come to life; I see them reproduce after themselves; I see them guarding against the enemy of that life; and finally, I see the cycle ends with death.
But between life and death, there is a drive in the male to mate with the female of that species. Well, that drive is in you! But it is driving you to death and destruction, the way you’re misusing your nature.
“What do you mean, Minister?! I didn’t come here to hear nothing like that!” You’re coming to hear what Sister Ava heard that made her the woman that you admire! You don’t have no teacher like Sister Ava, or her Teachers (the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan).
Heaven lies at the foot of Mother
Sister Ava married a man that she could honor and respect as a man… She married a man. He is not perfect (none are!); we do the best we can (and some of us are not doing that!). But I want to say something to you, in her name, this evening…
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Heaven lies at the feet of mother.” I want you to think with me: “Heaven lies at the feet of mother.” Why is that? Wherever you see “heaven,” God has to be present, because without God there is no “heaven.” So if heaven lies at the foot of mother: How do you look at your mother? How do you respond to your mother?
I heard her beautiful daughter Cherelle calling on mom. Mom was gone; Cherelle was in so much pain (“I want my mama!”). I said, “Sweetheart, it’s wonderful that you want mom. God gave her, God took her, but she brought you to The One Who gave you life and will shepherd you like mother, better than mother, to the end of your days.”
When The Prophet said “Heaven lies at the foot of mother,” I want you to think about yourself, as a mother (and even if you’re not one, soon you will be one): God loved you so much, He created Woman. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that God found in Himself a Woman, and He brought Her out of Himself. So The Qur’an says: “He created you from a single being or essence, and He created its mate of the same kind.”
From this day forward, when you look at a woman, stop looking at “boobs and butt.” And women, stop showing “boobs and butt” that get a jackass interested in what you’re showing rather than Who you really are!
(And if that’s a little “raw,” that’s the way I taught Sister Ava! Sometimes truth isn’t pretty, but it’s wonderful to know it.)
Now look, babies don’t know how to call on Allah, call on Jesus, call on Yahweh, call on Jehovah. No. Who is “God” to the baby? It is Mother. When you are a Mother, you are standing in the place of God as The Nourisher, The Nurturer, The Feeder, The Protector, The Saviour of your babies! When George Floyd was being beaten to death on the street: as a grown man, he remembered mama, and he called for mama. It wasn’t that he was a baby, but he always knew that when he cried, mama answered! And that devil that had his knee on his neck wasn’t getting up from it, had no mercy in him, he wanted to kill that Black man; so as he was dying, he called on mama…
“Mother” is the true friend of every baby. Even when she is not fully herself, she will try to be what nature tells her to do and be. … … When that baby cries, and you put that baby on your breast, that’s comfort coming to the baby through you. But God gave you breasts, and God allowed milk to come in those breasts—and some of you love your body so much, you’ll kill it (the baby); or you don’t put the baby on your breast anymore, because you’ve got this damnable “fix it” thing that White folks made! There is nothing in the world more healthy than even a sick woman’s breast.
Why am I saying this? That breast is feeding the baby not only milk, but it’s feeding from your mind and your thoughts, and that’s why the scripture says “a foolish child is the heaviness of its mother; a wise child maketh a glad father.”
Sisters, you have been destroyed. There will be no “Kingdom on this Earth” until women are raised to be who God created them to be. “Heaven lies at the foot of mother,” because when you say “mama,” you’re actually asking for God. (“Help me, ma!”/“Mama, I’m in trouble!”) and whatnot. See, you’re calling “mama,” but you’re really calling God. And if you, as a woman, are properly prepared, then you will be like Sister Ava, and she (mother) will feed you wisdom.
An arduous labor that only the purest of love could see her through until the end
Not only does heaven lie at the foot of mother, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught me that the only heaven for a man is found in a woman. I’m going to say it again! The only “heaven” you’re gonna get in this life, you will find it if you know how to bring heaven from a woman… Because you certainly have found hell all right, from the same woman that God has made to bring you heaven.
See, when you’re operating with a fool, you can’t give him the best that God put in you, so you live your life empty. Empty!! Because we, as men, in order for us to bring out of her the heaven that God put in her, we have to be one with God.
I call this mosque “Maryam,” the only one in the world; I named it after the mother of Jesus. Do you know why? Mary is the only woman that God gives a whole chapter in The Qur’an to her, and He is talking about her throughout The Book.
If there is a god coming from The Womb of a Woman, it’s coming from a Woman that had contact with God. … And if you follow the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, you will grow up to be like Jesus. I want you to pay attention to my words, because that is Who you are looking at, a man born and made a “Jesus” for you!
Sister Ava suffered to be a “Minister Dr.” You know why? The Saviour called us “laborers,” because when you work to raise up a nation of people, you are in labor. And there is no labor without pain, there is no labor without discomfort. So preaching is not for phony people.
I want to talk about the love of labor. The Bible says don’t shrink from the labor of spreading the Gospel; don’t complain when the people you’re laboring to raise turn on you, like some of the children turn on their parents when the parents are trying to make you better than what you are inclined to be. It’s a labor of love.
But God put an end to Sister Ava’s labor. A woman so valued, so needed: “Why, God, did You put a ‘period’ to her life so soon, so unexpected?”
Why is death called, in The Qur’an, the “evil accident of time”? We all know if you’re born, one day we will return to God. Death will touch us. Do you know that? Do you believe that? Your time is coming, too. My time is coming. Sister Ava’s time had come.
The Holy Qur’an says “Think not of those who die in the way of God/slain in the way of God as dead, they are alive but you perceive not.” Well, is something wrong with your perception when you’re looking at somebody “dead,” that they’re not responding like they used to respond? What are you looking at? Brother Ishmael said you are looking at “the irrevocable will of God.” We can’t change this! We can’t turn it back! We can’t do nothing with this but to accept it as The Will of God, and say “My time is soon coming.”
Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad used her life and her time beautifully, but death came, like an enemy. “Death” doesn’t make you happy when it comes, especially when it comes to somebody like Sister Ava. You didn’t expect it; it was like that punch that was thrown that you didn’t see coming, and it knocked you for a loop. And what happens to most of us, when God does His Work, we think “Why did He do that? I don’t like that!,” and you begin to lose faith in God and His Wisdom. He put a period to her life at the time that He wanted to put a period there.
So, think about what you’re doing with God’s time and make up your mind to stop the foolishness that comes from envy and jealousy and self-hate, and stand up for God and His Christ like Sister Ava always did.