by Madinah Muhammad
On May 6, 2023, I graduated from The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. I can never thank Allah (God) enough for instilling faith in me through the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad through the guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and allowing me to finish strong even through all the trials that presented themselves throughout these four years.
I cannot begin without thanking the core people who brought this into my reality: my mother, Sister Lisa R. Muhammad, my father, Brother Darryl Morrison, my grandmother, Sister Virginia Muhammad, and my grandfather, Brother Yusuf Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with him).
Alongside these four were a plethora of other supporters, ones I see and others I don’t see, who helped make it, so I had a strong foundation to come out successful. It takes a village and from the very beginning, the Nation of Islam and specifically the Chicago mosque, Mosque Maryam, has been that village for me.
As a product of Muhammad University of Islam (M.U.I.), I learned firsthand what it meant to love and walk in my truth. From being taught the Messenger’s words, “Accept your own and be yourself,” to practically applying this concept in real-time in middle school and high school through field trips and extracurricular activities, I was able to witness the beauty of representing the Teachings and how those relationships built off authenticity would carry me in the future.
The world had presented us with so many options, and at that young age, we thought it would be better than what we had, but every time we went out into that same world dressed how we knew to dress and behaving how we knew to behave, all we got were people both young and old marveling at our presence.
There was no response compared to the ones we received when wearing our headpiece, carrying ourselves in the best of manners, and speaking with the intellect we were given. These few experiences were just a glimpse of what Master Fard Muhammad meant when he promised us, “Money, Luxury, Good Homes, and Friendships in all walks of life,” and as I got older and strived to keep the faith, I saw more and more the greatness that came from rejecting the pull of the world and accepting my own.
The reactions of admiration and curiosity did not stop in high school but continued in college. Everywhere I went where I represented our style of dress and style of being, eyes would always shift to me and I was recognized like the star of the show, even if other stars were present. This further emphasized for me how valuable and true the Teachings were and how many relationships I could build just by being and presenting myself as a member of the Nation of Islam.
I started college at the age of 16 years old and by Allah’s permission, finished at 19. It is such a blessing to have done so, especially with the last name Muhammad. Coming in as a neuroscience major, my main desire was to get my degree so that I could help get our people out of the painful mental condition they were in. Having the knowledge of how we got in this state compelled me to want to connect the deeper science of the brain to the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and go into our communities with a holistic view of our experience and really bring about significant change.
Because it all starts in the mind, I knew we had to change our thinking to change our reality. Now that I’m older, more experienced, and have a degree, this is still my desire … and then some. As I continue my career journey, I want to study the elements of childhood rearing, particularly in the Black community, that contribute to brain development and decision-making as the young get older.
This research will provide insight and work to address some of the main problems we face in our communities such as social violence, domestic violence, self-directed violence, poverty, low self-esteem, bullying/peer pressure, and some of the less systemic issues many Black youth encounter. Coupling these studies with other interests of mine like writing, mentorship, and service as a whole, I want to provide a platform to promote conscious parenting, intentional living, and youth encouragement through positive self-expression.
I can undoubtedly say that if it weren’t for the Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, my experience at Muhammad University of Islam, and my village in Chicago as a whole, the success I achieved in college would not be here. I am who I am because they are who they are and through my ongoing journey in this life, if it be Allah’s will, I will continue to follow the path that He has set for me, accepting my own and being myself, and see where that takes me.