by Zakiyyah Maryam Muhammad
Overcoming generational traumas and self-imposed limitations, 11 Black women from America traveled to Cairo, Egypt, with The Repair of the Black Family to heal on purpose. Their living testimonies prove despite more than 400 years of slavery and suffering under a wicked ruler who afflicted Black people with a miserable condition, God’s promise will prevail, and the Lost-Found Nation will be restored again.
“I feel so light. Like I am light,” said Sister Stephanie X, 49, a mother and teacher in California. “I am definitely relieved of a lot of stuff I’ve been holding onto that probably was not even mine, you know, ancestral—my mama, my grandmother, things like that.”
The Repair of the Black Family was founded in 2016 by married couple David and Nayyirah Muhammad, of St. Petersburg, Florida. Sister Nayyirah Muhammad shares, “our aim is to bring the family back to the basic unit because we understand that strong families make strong communities.”
The Ignition: Heal on Purpose retreat was hosted in Cairo, Egypt, from September 18-25. 2022. Healing retreats are one of Repair of the Black Family’s trademark services. These healing retreats—open to men and women—allow people to temporarily withdraw themselves for self-discovery and healing.
One of the core beliefs in the Nation of Islam as taught by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, The Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, is the immeasurable value of the woman. For humanity to be restored, restoration must start with the Black woman.
Shabreal Zaire, 30, a mother, nurse, owner of Healing Beauty and an attendee of the retreat, knows self-healing is possible. Sister Shabreal affirms the need “to get to the root of everything, the root of the womb, the root of the woman.”
The 11 sisters who attended the retreat retraced the footsteps of the historical Mary toward Abu Serga Coptic Church in Old Cairo. This is where the historical Mary and Jesus hid, fleeing from persecution from the Jews more than 2,000 years ago.
This aspect of the retreat served as a special reminder of the identity of the so-called Negro woman of America. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan shared in his historic 1991 Saviours’ Day lecture “Who is God?” that each one of the Marys surrounding Jesus represents the Black woman.
“The woman is the key to a new world order. The woman is the key to the Kingdom of God,” the Minister said in the lecture.
The founders of Repair of the Black Family didn’t choose Egypt, but Egypt chose them.
“It’s something when you’re in your home city and you see the buildings there and you know that people have built them but to literally know that civilization, where it started and how we are beings that [were] literally created from nothing,” David Muhammad said. “It wakes the person up to have more awareness as into their capability of what they can do.”
In the life coaching sessions, the attendees acted as students and received self-help tools to activate their own healing.
“The biggest breakthrough was pushing my physical [limits],” said Sister Patricia X, 55, a mother of two from Longview, Texas. “I had to make the steps to follow, and I had to push through, so that I wouldn’t get left behind. But I see that every step was a spiritual step and it made me realize that I can do it.”
Sister Bahiyyah Sadiki, 70, a mother of six children, retired teacher and wife of Imam Wilmore Sadiki shared her realizations. “So, I took it upon myself to say, if not now, when? And of course, what better time when you can be free to be impactful, to be having gone through all the experiences in the world that you can imagine, at the age of 70. I’m bringing that into the Motherland, bringing it back home.”
Sister Nayyirah explained the significance of the organization’s name.
“[Healing] does start with us, but it’s not limited to us. And understanding that Black is not a color, it is the essence in which all color comes from, and this is what makes it a humanitarian work. However, we are the first and the most foremost in need of restoration.”
Since COVID-19, mental health disparities have increased globally. In a report by U.S. News & World Report, approximately 23 percent of adults in the U.S. sought mental health treatment in 2021 and only 14.8 percent of Black adults requested treatment in 2021. U.S. News & World Report also reported that one billion people globally have a mental disorder.
Brother David said: “When the mind can accept that it is experiencing unhappy or unnecessary, or things that are unnatural, as it relates to sanity, then a person can begin that [process].” He shared that “confessing what’s wrong” within oneself is a challenge.
“The biggest challenge is acceptance. Accepting our own and being ourselves,” Sister Nayyirah said. “We have been made into devils. That’s what the Lessons tell us. So, devil, according to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in “Closing the Gap” is the weakness of self. It takes a lot to confront, to face your own weaknesses, and so that’s our biggest challenge.”
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