by Alverda Ann Muhammad
Brother Askia Muhammad, my beloved husband and senior editor of The Final Call, who passed away last year, cautioned me to never use the phrase, “And a good time was had by all!” as the ending to any article I write. So, I will begin this article with that sentiment.
October 7 was the birth anniversary of the Most Honored Elijah Muhammad, The Exalted Christ. It was a day of reflection, remembrance, thanksgiving, joy, and service. I spent most of the day in the company of two sisters, Maria Muhammad, Student Protocol Director for Mosque No. 1 Detroit, and Sister Zora Muhammad, a fellow member of the protocol team.
We began the day, as on most days, on our Fajr Prayer Line. The line, scheduled for one hour, was cheerfully shortened in order for the Believers to join the National Fajr Prayer which was broadcast from the Nation of Islam’s headquarters in Chicago and featured Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Sister Maria, Sister Zora and I later attended our local Muslim Girls Training and General Civilization Class at the mosque. The atmosphere was charged with unity and joy as sisters prepared gift bags that would later be given out to the community. And, the last Savior’s Day address by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1974 was played while the sisters prepared.
The three of us then headed out on our planned “Day of Service” to visit three sick and elderly sisters of the M.G.T. who are now confined in nursing homes.
Our first stop was to see Sister Rita Muhammad. Sister Rita said she was happy to see us and that she missed coming out to our Class and was looking forward to being able to come out again.
Next, we went to the nursing home where Sister Ruby Muhammad was staying. At first Sister Ruby looked inquisitively at us as if to say, “Who are you?” But when we got closer and Sister Zora said “this is Sister Zora and Sister Maria,” Sister Ruby literally howled with joy and took Sister Zora’s hand and said that she was not going to let it go!
She looked at us and smiled and smiled. I had never met Sister Ruby and Sister Zora introduced me as a new sister to Detroit. Sister Ruby continued looking at us and just smiled, touched her hand to her chest near her heart, and expressed that she loved us.
Our last stop was to visit Sister Barbara J. Muhammad in another nursing home facility. She, too, was happy to have a visit from the M.G.T. I had never met this sister either, but I thanked Allah (God) and Sisters Maria and Zora for this opportunity. It was a very humbling experience when you know that “There, but for the Grace of Allah (God), go I.”
Our stay was shortened because the three of us were excited to plan to listen later to the national webcast from Chicago to close out the festivities of the observance of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s birth anniversary. In between visits while traveling, we phoned other sisters who are currently confined to their homes.
Our “Day of Service” was wonderful from beginning to end.
Sister Alverda Ann Muhammad is a Nation of Islam pioneer and served as an M.G.T. and G.C.C. Student Captain, which means she was responsible for the teaching and training of Muslim women. She is the widow of Final Call senior editor Brother Askia Muhammad.