Sister Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad

by Abisayo Muhammad

In Hollywood, a “star” is a term used to describe some of the most popular actors, musicians and sports figures. They are treated with respect and honor for showcasing their beauty and talent and are recognized all over the world. But what really is a star? 

A Google search defines a star as “a fixed luminous point in the sky which is a large, remote incandescent body like the sun.” Another definition is a beacon of hope; a shining light that guides the way. These descriptions display the majesty of Allah’s creation that reflects its light on those able to appreciate its magnificence. But what does it represent?

Still reflecting on 2022, one of the major things that shook our Nation, Black leaders and the community as a whole was the passing of our beloved Sister, Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad. During the Janazah service, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan highlighted the light she illuminated as a star and shared with us her true value. He liked that Student Minister Ava was called a star but said she should be called a “Star of God.”


“She was a Star of God. Only God makes stars,” Min. Farrakhan said.  Whether it was her great defense of the Minister, which she so passionately spoke about in lectures, books, and radio programs, or her strong promotion of women empowerment, love of self and separation, she affected us all.

“I was one of Sister Dr. Ava Muhammad’s students,” said Margaret Mahdi, founder, producer, playwright and artistic director of Mahdi Theatre Company in Chicago. “She taught me at Muhammad University of Islam from the age of nine all the way until the age of 16. She was our Islamic Studies teacher; she set the foundation for the day and all of what she taught stays with me, resonates with me and I pray to Allah I will live and represent what she gave to us until the day that I die.”

Former Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins shared her reflections on Sister Ava during her Janazah service: “I’ve known her and worked with her when I was in college. I did my thesis on ‘Black Women in the Nation,’ she oversaw that.” Sen. Collins was the Assistant Majority Leader. She recently retired after 20 years of serving as the longest-serving woman in the Senate.

“She [Sis. Dr. Ava] was a woman to be reckoned with—a force to be reckoned with. She was a fierce fighter for justice in raising the dignity of the Black race,” she said.

One of the most impactful things Sister Ava was involved in was the revelatory study course, “Self Improvement: The Basis for Community Development,” revealed through Minister Farrakhan. The Minister dictated the entire series of books (Study Guides 1-21) to her. This series is a life-changing study and practical application is designed to bring us into the true knowledge of God by examining self, analyzing self and correcting self in order to affect true change in our communities.

“I’m thankful to be a part of this study,” said Online Study Group Coordinator Sis. Lenore Muhammad. “To be asked to be in the study circle as a coordinator and to be able to communicate with her on that level, it has been absolutely life changing. To be able to carefully go through that study with her, it gave me a new appreciation that I didn’t realize until reflecting how much it has changed me in being able to handle situations in my life.”

Nearly three years later, the online study circle is still in place as a complement to in-person study circles held at NOI mosques and study groups across the country.

In the Janazah, Minister Farrakhan also shared: “You can’t be great and not be willing to sacrifice to achieve greatness.” Using Sis. Ava’s example, we must pick up the mantle and challenge ourselves to apply this valuable teaching to our lives and the community and carry further the work that has already begun.

So, women of faith, we must shine like true stars and begin to work hard to shine our light across this universe! Like the Minister said, “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. What are we doing with our time?”

Abisayo Muhammad, a former Final Call staffer, is an entrepreneur, a mother and first lady of Benton Harbor, Mich. Sister Space is devoted to amplifying the voices of women as well as telling their stories and highlighting their accomplishments. We welcome your ideas and submissions. Please send any material to [email protected].