CHICAGO–Amidst great pomp and circumstance, hundreds of newly registered members of the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.) filed into the Grand Ballroom of the McCormick Place for the Nation of Islam graduation at the 2023 Saviours’ Day annual convention.
The audience of hundreds more registered members of the N.O.I. welcomed their brothers and sisters into the ranks of the M.G.T. & G.C.C. and F.O.I. classes (the women and men of the N.O.I.) with thundering applause and tears of joy at the first in-person graduation since Saviours’ Day 2020. The graduating class consisted of those members who registered between 2020 and 2023.
Throughout the program, graduates were encouraged by words from the Student National Secretary Sa’ad Alim Muhammad, Student National M.G.T. Captain Naeemah Muhammad and Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan, who originated the idea of a national graduation that would allow for the entire Nation of Islam to celebrate the growth of the ranks.
Student Minister Nuri Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 74 in Indianapolis delivered the keynote address and impressed upon the attendees the importance of staying diligent through the trials that come from following the Messenger of Allah—trials by means of other people and the pre-ordained struggles that are outlined in the Holy Qur’an: fear, hunger, loss of life, loss of property.
Husband and wife Bro. Johnny X and Sis. Tacara X from Valdosta, Ga., joined the ranks of Islam at Muhammad Mosque No. 100 in Albany, Ga., in 2022. They are the first members of their family to accept the call to Islam, but Sis. Tacara, who is a foster care case manager and yoga instructor, sees this decision as “a way to change the trajectory of my family,” as she looks forward to having children.
She also reflected upon a video presentation shown during the graduation which highlighted the seven training units given to women and girls in North America by Allah (God) in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, followed by words of guidance by Student National Capt. Naeemah Muhammad on the importance of the role of the woman in Islam in the reformation process.
“I’ve seen that video before at the Vanguard Retreat. Every time I see it, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like a fire inside and it gets me excited understanding that we are to be the master of every one of those seven units that we have been given. I never looked at it like that before, and to hear it be said like that, I’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’m really excited about getting back and getting started,” she said.
Seventeen-year-old Amina Muhammad, registered at Muhammad Mosque No. 55 in Memphis, and she explained how she felt being a part of the graduation ceremony. “This is it. This is like the marker for me to go forward as a believer and follower. Before, when I was registered and on post at my mosque in Memphis, it felt like a responsibility, but this really solidified it as this is just me being here. I’m actually a part of this Nation.”
Sis. Amina was moved by the words of the Student Supreme Capt. Mustapha exhorting the Believers to stay steadfast. “It’s not easy, but it’s a lot easier than you think to stay here and listen and obey,” she said.
Brother David and Sister Dawn Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta were grateful to have their three sons, Muhsi Muhammad, 21, and 16-year-old twins Muqtadir and Muqaddim, march down the aisle. Brother David marveled at the seriousness of his sons in the processional. “They were laser-focused,” he remarked.
Bro. Eugene X of Tallahassee, Fla., said he did not intend to miss this graduation, even if it meant walking from the warmth of Florida to the cold weather weekend in Chicago. “I knew, to see Black men so disciplined, there was such dignity, you don’t see this anymore. I love the brotherhood, I love the spirit, the Teachings. I mean you cannot deny this. You cannot deny there is something here. What is it? That alone makes me so happy,” he stated.
What resonated with him most, however, was Student Minister Nuri Muhammad stating how Master Fard Muhammad didn’t come to make a Nation of followers, but a Nation of Gods.
“That to me is sheer love, sheer joy. That to me is the ultimate. It’s one thing to go out and teach somebody to worship something. It’s another thing to go out and teach someone to be the highest and not go outside looking for something floating around,” he said.