CHICAGO—The foundational and cardinal principle of faith for believers in the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.) is that Allah (God) is a man. For over 90 years the N.O.I. has long been a beacon for revolutionary ideas and actions in the Black community. From re-appropriating identity from “Negro” to “Black,” cultivating economic independence, promoting education initiatives, and rejecting slave masters’ names—this faith continues its legacy by introducing one of standing on its most essential tenant: The reality of God.
This cardinal belief was discussed during the 2023 Saviours’ Day convention opening plenary session titled, “The Reality of God: Point # 12.”
On February 24, the McCormick Place Grand Ballroom hosted a panel of theological scholars from the Nation of Islam, representing the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to Minister Farrakhan, National Student Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad, Student Imam Abdul Salaam Muhammad of Baltimore, and Student Minister and author Demetric Muhammad of Memphis were the featured panelists of the session moderated by Student Minister Jeffrey Muhammad of Mosque Maryam in Chicago.
Point No. 12, as highlighted on the inside back page of The Final Call newspaper, states: “WE BELIEVE that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July 1930; the long-awaited “Messiah” of the Christians and the “Mahdi” of the Muslims. We believe further and lastly that Allah is God and besides HIM there is no God, and He will bring about a universal government of peace wherein we all can live in peace together.”
Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad’s compelling opening remarks served as the introduction to a robust and scripturally backed presentation.
“God and self are one.” he explained. “Through analysis of both the Holy Bible and Qur’an, this groundbreaking revelation was established; after 66 trillion years, we now understand what it truly means to understand the reality of God.”
He highlighted that scriptures state that “God sees and hears.” By citing the Holy Qu’ran—the book of scripture of the Muslims—he pointed out that only the human being has been granted an intellect to gain knowledge. He concluded with a provoking assertion: “Knowledge must be contained in something.”
“The outside Muslim world may have you believe that Allah is an incorporeal spirit, but the truth tells a different story,” Student Minister Ishmael said. “From both books of faith, we learn that God communicates, and His word has been heard by prophets throughout time. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was particularly clear about this—living in a material universe as we do, it stands to reason then something so powerful must also be tangible!”
Student Imam Sultan proclaimed during the discussion that “truth is a powerful ally which requires no defense.” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad educated his followers on their understanding of God and His presence in everyday life and recognized scripture such as in the Holy Qur’an, where Allah states He has taken control over enemies (Surah 8:17).
He referenced two verses from the Holy Quran; one shedding light on how Allah is responsible for victory in battle, while another reveals that it was Allah who breathed life into Adam. These passages demonstrate personal power in Him and unity within His divine presence.
Minister Ishmael illuminated the Arabic concept of “Ruh,” seen as Allah’s divine energy infused within human beings. He further explored “Nafs,” which indicates that thoughtfulness creates strength and harmony between one’s mind and heart. Minister Ishmael emphasized the life-long connection between spirit and being—“never to be separated.”
Imam Salaam Muhammad passionately shared the remarkable backstory of Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s initial encounter with Master Fard Muhammad, asserting that it was a moment where history and destiny formally intersected. He emphasized how Messenger Muhammad immediately recognized who His teacher truly was—someone sent to resurrect and restore Black people into their reality as gods and children divinely appointed by Allah himself. According to Student Imam Sultan, “this could not have been planned or scripted any better than what transpired in reality.”
“On July 4, 1930, a pivotal moment for Black people began,” said Student Minister Demetric Muhammad. He explained the history of the Great Migration in which Blacks left the South, heading to the North to cities such as Detroit. They were looking for refuge from White terrorism, only to find ghetto-like conditions pocked by vice operations led primarily by Jewish gangs such as The Purple Gang in Detroit. “Master Fard Muhammad stepped into this reality with His message of transformation, which displeased those profiting from gambling dens and illicit activities.
He inspired many men away from patronizing such activity,” explained Student Minister Demetric. This man from the East began to teach among Black people in Detroit. The result: “The Detroit city clerk’s office was inundated with requests for name changes, an effect of the joyous reunion between Master Fard Muhammad and Hs followers. This deeply moving experience is one of history’s greatest love stories. As evidenced by God Himself when He promised in scripture to come down Himself,” Student Minister Demetric said.
As several thousand people spilled out of the Hyatt McCormick Ballroom following opening Saviours’ Day Plenary session, Abednego Muhammad of Atlantic City expressed his thoughts about the event.
”It was amazing to learn about the love of Master Fard Muhammad and the culture He established that we carry on today,” Bro. Abednego told The Final Call. “I was particularly amazed with learning about His (Master Fard Muhammad) strategy of courting brothers and sisters, and His strategy in naming brothers and sisters. I was interested as well to hear about His communication with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the fun activities the Muslims engaged in.”
Salomae Muhammad, Chicago, Mosque Maryam, said she was fascinated to hear about “all the different aspects of our early history.”
“I didn’t know that Cobo Hall (in Detroit) sits where Master Fard Muhammad once lived. It was interesting to see the vehicle registration of Master Fard Muhammad and the personal correspondences between Him and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Just seeing the depth of their relationship is something we hear about but to have it reinforced was amazing,” she said.
“The plenary definitely reaffirmed my faith as far as Point Number 12 is concerned. It introduced to me different nuances on how to defend it. I’m steadily using this kind of information to build up my storehouse of knowledge and I learn something new every time I attend Saviours’ Day,” she said.
Alverda Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque #1 in Detroit was resting in the vestibule of the convention center after hearing the weighty words expressed in the plenary session. She is the widow of the late Muhammad Speaks editor and Final Call senior correspondent Askia Muhammad. She expressed gratitude for Master Fard Muhammad “who gave us this wonderful Muslim life.”
“In the middle of the hells of North America we’re enjoying heaven, He gave it to us by leaving His home and coming to North America and finding someone who had a heart like His own heart that He strengthened to help purify and develop our hearts to love each other and submit to Him that we could go, hopefully, into the Hereafter,” she said smiling.
She appreciated learning that Master Fard Muhammad wanted balance for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s life. She had heard that Master Fard Muhammad used to play with children and that He liked to dance the waltz. “They didn’t mention that today, but I like that,” she added.
Monica Cooper, 55, from Baltimore, Md., a first-time attendee at Saviours’ Day, fought back tears as she expressed feelings of joy after experiencing the plenary session. “This is my first Saviours’ Day. I am so full, and it’s just starting. I was telling my sister from Baltimore, if it gets any better than this you are going to have to pick me off the floor,” she said.
“Wow! The (Muslim Program) was so important for me so I can get myself prepared for separation. And I wanted to hear about the balance and the belief and just reassure myself. It’s like a revival for me because the weight of the world is so heavy and to constantly to hear the Teachings is the one thing that keeps me going and lets me know I’m on the right path,” said Ms. Cooper.
Jethro Nawab Muhammad, 71, of Pensacola’s Mosque 98 in Florida, grew up in the Nation of Islam. He said his grandparents lived near the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Georgia and knew him as Elijah Poole. They all migrated to the Black Bottom community in Detroit around the same time, he said.
“My belief has always been in Master Fard Muhammad,” he said. “I enjoyed learning about the love letters He sent to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and how Master Fard Muhammad loved the converts. It was invigorating to hear it and it re-enforces my faith and my belief of what I knew growing up in the Nation of Islam and embracing my identity so much more. I’m eternally grateful for the meeting.”
Final Call Contributing Editor James G. Muhammad and Contributing Writer J.A. Salaam contributed to this report.