by Yaminah Muhammad
NEWARK—Memories serve as one of the most powerful and impactful human mental faculties. Through the cultivation of memories, human beings build the foundation for numerous aspects of their lives, ranging from their worldview to their daily behaviors.
Consequently, through human interaction, the righteous have the ability to positively ingrain themselves in the memories of others. Thus, powerfully impacting numerous aspects of the lives they touch.
Of the righteous, lived the beloved New Jersey naive and retired police detective, Brother Toye Muhammad, 63. Known for his unwavering communal spirit, Toye Muhammad lived as a faithful servant to those he interacted with, positively ingraining himself in the hearts of their memories.
“Brother Toye meant so much to not just me, but to so many. He was a true brother. A respectful brother. A brother that always lent a helping hand. If I had to really describe him in one word, it would be: faithful, and, in a sentence, it would be: faithful to his calling,” Councilwoman Reverend Louise-Scott Rountree told The Final Call.
Toye Muhammad, formerly known as Toye Jimmy Kates III, was born on May 22, 1960, to Pearl Kates and the late Toye Jimmy Kates Jr. in Jersey City, N.J. In his youth, Toye set out on a mission to faithfully serve and protect. In 1978, he graduated from Weequahic High School.
From there, he went on to attend Bloomfield College, where he graduated in 1981. During that time, Brother Toye joined the Nation of Islam and later became a correctional officer. Furthering his mission, in 1992, he graduated from the Newark Police Academy.
Accordingly, Brother Toye proudly served in the Newark Police Department for several decades, retiring in April of 2021 as a detective. Additionally, Toye Muhammad worked as an executive protection agent to prominent figures throughout the East Coast and the Nation of Islam. With each role, Brother Toye demonstrated his love for and diligence in serving and protecting.
“He was thoughtful, caring, kind, and security-minded more than anything else. When he’s around, you felt safe, you felt secure, you felt that he was looking out for you and the people that were around you and with you. He’s somebody that you would leave your family with,” Mayor Ras J. Baraka said.
Brother Toye Muhammad worked in the mayor’s protection unit. “We’ve taken a big loss here, the police department, the city of Newark, his family, humanity, all of us take a big loss here, with [the loss of] Toye Muhammad,” he continued.
Also feeling the loss of Brother Toye, the Nation of Islam, of which he served at Muhammad Mosque No. 25 in Newark, New Jersey. “He was a reliable person whenever it came to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, his family and of course, the [Shura] Executive Council [of the Nation of Islam].
In any of those areas, we could count on Brother Toye to be present and ready to do whatever it takes. As our brother returned to Allah, we lost a good helper of the Nation of Islam,” Student Eastern Region Fruit of Islam Captain of the Nation of Islam Majied Muhammad told The Final Call.
Brother Toye Muhammad returned to Allah on December 22, 2023, after a highway crash in Mercer County, New Jersey. At Final Call presstime details were developing and the investigation was still ongoing.
Yet, while his return to Allah has been made his spirit of goodness remains etched in the memories of the many he left behind. “He was just an awesome guy. Everybody loved and respected him. He was just a person that when you meet him you, you have to love him because of his mannerism, his love for people and the way he carried himself,” Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker told The Final Call.
As a testimony of this, over 300 family members, community leaders and friends gathered in the Robert Treat Hotel—Tri-State Ballroom in Newark on January 2, 2024, to remember and celebrate the life and service of Toye Muhammad. Traveling from near and far, those impacted by Brother Toye came out to bear witness to the magnitude of his selflessness.
“Some of us may live and die and nobody even knows that you came this way because you never did nothing for nobody. Selfish people. But this was a selfless man and that’s why we packed this room today because this is a man that deserves honor and respect. May Allah bless Brother Toye and bless the family of Brother Toye,” Student Supreme Captain of the Nation of Islam, Mustapha Farrakhan, said.
In representation of his father, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan also cited a conversation he shared with the Minister regarding Brother Toye Muhammad.
“There never was a time when I came to the East Coast and Brother Toye was not there ensuring my protection and safety,” he read, quoting Minister Farrakhan. “So, I carry him in the heart of my memories of those Muslims who served Allah’s Calls and served first the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and served me, as His representative. I carry him in my heart until God calls me to come home to Himself,” he continued, quoting the Minister.
The celebration of life ceremony also featured a poem from Brother Toye Muhammad’s wife, Sister Celeste Muhammad, the obituary reading by his brother Lawrence Kates, and remarks from the brothers of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship Incorporated, friends and family. Student Minister Abdul Haqq Muhammad of Newark’s Mosque No. 25 brought the ceremony to a close with a eulogy and janazah prayer.
“Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, ‘by the time, surely man is in lost except those who believe and do good.’ Well Brother Toye was a man who believed. Brother Toye was a man who did good. So, Brother Toye was not a lost man, he was a found man. A man who was found working.
A man who was found serving. A man who was found caring. Toye was a man from God. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has taught us about a man in the Bible named Joseph, and Joseph has a coat of many colors. Such was a man like Brother Toye.
For he wore the colors of a Muslim, he wore the colors of the Police Department, he wore the colors of a husband, he wore the colors of a father, and he wore the colors of brother and a friend. So, with dignity and honor, with joy and gladness, we want to give our Brother Toye his rights and we want to with dignity and grace and honor pray over our ahammad said.
Following the janazah service a motorcade led by the police force escorted Brother Toye Muhammad’s remains to the Hollywood Cemetery in Union, New Jersey.
Brother Toye Muhammad leaves to cherish his memories: his wife Celeste Carney Muhammad; daughters Asherah, Madirah, Shandel, and Toyasia Kates, Shari Canzius; sons Wakil Toye Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad, and the late Samir Wilkins; his mother Pearl Kates and a host of family members and friends.