From The Final Call Newspaper

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s impact on Black Youth

By Anisah Muhammad, Contributing Writer
- October 3, 2023

Malcolm X. Muhammad Ali. Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. These are all world-renowned students of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, a man who said he met with God.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was born 126 years ago around October 7, 1897, in Sandersville, Georgia. With a third-grade education, he shook up the scholars of this world. How was this Georgia-born Black man with limited education able to produce giants and confound the best in society?

Simple. He met with God. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was personally taught by God-in-Person, Master Fard Muhammad. The wisdom Master Fard Muhammad imparted to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad over the course of a little over three years forever changed the trajectory of Black life. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has impacted every facet of Black life in America, and His legacy is still being carried out by Black youth today.

Personal testimonies

Yosef Ben Prince Asiel, son of the late Nasik (Prince) Asiel Ben-Israel from the Hebrew Israelite community in Dimona, Israel, learned from a young age the importance of God and the importance of the knowledge of self.

His mother joined the Nation of Islam in 1973 and was a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. His father lived across the street from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s family. In his adult life, Yosef Ben Prince Asiel followed in his parent’s footsteps and developed his own love for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. For him, the most impactful thing about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is His true love for Black people.

“I was once told as a young man, if you don’t love Black people, you hate them. But there’s no in-between. And you can’t even really do anything for Black people unless you have a real genuine love for them,” he said.

“It was the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad who taught us to love ourselves again and to love one another and see the divinity in the Black man and woman, which allowed us to not just transform our individual selves, but our circumstances and our environment,” he continued. “And so that would be the part that I resonate with the most. It’s the love for Black people. It’s the love for ourselves and the love for the God that created us and that chose us to be His people so that we would prove His words to be true.”

Zakiyy Shabazz

Before coming across the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Jabarri X, 25, from Atlanta, did not have a positive outlook for his life. Though he grew up middle-class in a Christian household, he felt purposeless and did not value virtue or righteousness.

During his undergraduate years at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta, a friend introduced him to the Teachings and gave him material to read, and he started to study. He officially joined the Nation of Islam on October 7, 2022, the 125th birth anniversary of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

“There’s a lot of pathways that you can take as a young man that might seem appealing, but the pathway of life that comes from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and what the Nation of Islam gives you … it seems like it will outlast all of those lifestyles,” he said. “Elijah Muhammad has been consistent. That’s been a consistent figure in Black liberation.”

Zakiyy Shabazz from Atlanta described to The Final Call the impact the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad have had on his life.

“There was a time in my life where I did not have a solid direction or foundation as far as my spiritual growth and development. I, as many young Black men, had been caught up in the justice system. I had marks on my record,” he said. “The Teachings really have allowed me the opportunity to grow spiritually, grow as a man, grow as a father and as a husband.”

Shania Muhammad

Joi X is a registered M.G.T. and G.C.C. (Muslims Girls Training and General Civilization Class) Vanguard at Muhammad Mosque No. 29 in Miami and a member of the Nation of Islam’s youth committee. Through the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, she has found a sense of fulfillment.

“The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad … has forged a way for me to find what my purpose is in life,” she said to The Final Call.

West Muhammad, a 13-year-old Jr. F.O.I. (Fruit of Islam) from Muhammad Mosque No. 6 in Baltimore, and a multi-platform journalist, also found purpose through the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. West Muhammad is a special assistant to WHID-FM (What Has Islam Done For Me) and is a writer.

“Being a young brother in the Teachings, it’s not a lightweight thing. Even if it may not be as common in my day-to-day life, I noticed that whenever I have my bowtie on or I have my suit on and I walk into the grocery store, people will say, ‘nice bowtie’ or ‘nice suit,’ and my bowtie has the star and crescent on it,” he said. “So, I take that as, they recognize that I’m a part of something greater, and they can see that I’m not just a regular young boy on the streets.”

He has also seen the impact his presence has on other young boys. “Once I was on the Saviours’ Tour and I gave a young brother a Final Call. I had a little bit of conversation with him. And when we first came up to him with our uniforms on, with our suits on, he said, ‘Where my suit at?’” West Muhammad recounted.

Kalimah Muhammad

“So I think that they want this life. They want to be in this righteous world,” he added. “I believe it’s our job to help them and help our young sisters as well to grow into that best version of themselves by just being an example sometimes and giving them a word that we were given to get us to this state.”

Women impacted by Mr. Muhammad’s Teachings

Jadayah Muhammad, 28, from Brooklyn, New York, has traveled the world and has experienced different cultures. She is the executive director and the UN Representative of the International Youth Leadership Institute. She gives credit to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s vision to send committees of women around the world.

She referenced words from Mother Tynnetta Muhammad, wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who quoted from a September 11, 1973, Table Talks recording where the Honorable Elijah Muhammad shared his vision of women organizing conventions of classes for women’s training and organizing committees of further training that would “take us on travels around the world being honored and received in many places of the globe as the equal to the best in world society.”

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s understanding of the role of women in the world and the role of women in Islam stands out to Jadayah Muhammad.

“Through the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, women in the Nation of Islam have more freedom and more honor than in any other Islamic culture that I’ve ever encountered in the world,” she said.

She recalled a conversation with her friend from Bangladesh, who was surprised that she would be inside the mosque.

“Around her way, women do not go inside the mosque. Only men can go inside the mosque. Women pray outside the mosque in the dirt,” she said. “A lot of people take their culture of oppression of women as religion, which is not the case. And so, what the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad has given us is an Islamic culture that makes space for freedom, justice and equality for all of us, regardless of creed, class, color.”

Elisha Muhammad, 17, from Memphis, Tennessee, also propped up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s Teachings on the value of women.

“I’m so privileged to be able to understand my value and to not abuse myself as the Second Self of God,” she said.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s words on women have been the key to her confidence as a young Black Muslim.

“In the M.G.T. class and in the M.G.T. Vanguard, we are a different caliber of women. We are strong and we’re intelligent,” she said. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has given me that confidence, and of course, he’s given me the wisdom to be myself as a Muslim woman in this world today.”

A comfort to Black youth and a continuing legacy

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad departed in 1975 but His work and mission have continued through His National Representative, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is indeed a true friend of the Black man and woman because His message is as relevant today as it was when He was physically among us.

He worked, suffered, studied and constantly prayed for our rise. He sacrificed his own personal life to devote 44 years to the rise of our people,” Minister Farrakhan stated in a message published in The Final Call titled, “A True Friend: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.” His impact in areas of education, spirituality, business and economic development, and other areas cannot be overlooked.

Shania Muhammad, 16, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been making headlines due to graduating college at a young age and becoming a full-time salaried teacher.

Her father, Elijah Muhammad, who was named after the Honorable Elijah Muhammad by his mother, instilled in his children principles from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that he learned growing up, such as doing for self and the importance of education. When COVID-19 hit, he decided to try something different for his daughter.

Shania Muhammad enrolled in a dual enrollment course at 13 years old, and she blew through the classes. With encouragement from her father, she kept going. At 14, she graduated with two associate degrees from two different colleges on the same day.

At 15, earlier this year, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences and early childhood development and education. She turned 16 in July. She is now working on her master’s in business administration with a concentration in marketing and expects to graduate in May 2024.

As she pursues higher education, she is also a third-grade teacher at a Black school and the author of three children’s books.

“The Honorable Elijah, Muhammad always talks about being your brother’s keeper, being your sister’s keeper and uplifting us as a people. And I feel like that’s what I’m doing with teaching. I’m literally living the message He’s been teaching and that still continues to be taught over the years, which is, we have to uplift us,” she said to The Final Call.

Joi X described the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as “new and comforting” to Black youth.

“Just learning about who we are, which the Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches, we are a god. You can’t help but find inspiration and comfort in that,” she said.

“Also in addition, as we see a gradual rise in the consciousness among each generation of Black youth, in terms of understanding the importance of the liberation for Black people, the effects of White supremacy, the growing desire to support Black businesses and endeavors, etcetera, etcetera. Whether or not people realize it, this all stems from the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” she added.

A big part of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s message to Black people is to “do for self.” Kalimah Muhammad, 17, from Houston, Texas, has been an entrepreneur since she was nine years old, when she started “Powder Power,” talc-free powders.

“My mom came to me and said, ‘Kalimah, you’re nine years old. You need to start your own business like I did,’” she recalled to The Final Call. “And I decided to go with it. And for the last eight years, we have been developing all-natural, homemade talc-free powder products to sell nationally and praise be to Allah (God) internationally.”

She grew up hearing the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to “Do for Self.: “His inspiration, His guidance, being able to do for myself and have this business has not only been a wonderful experience, but it gives me the chance and the ability to spread these all-natural products across the world to help keep my people safe by what they put on their bodies and what they consume,” she said.

Kalimah Muhammad described the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as someone who desires the best for Black youth, “because He knows of our potential.”

“Even if we’ve never met Him personally, He knows that we are all destined to do great things,” she said. “He is relevant because he wants us Black youth to be our best selves in whatever field of study.”

For Jadayah Muhammad, simply showing love to Black youth rather than condemning them is significant.“They get enough hate. They get enough disrespect out here in this world, and we can’t be another space with more of the same. We have to give them love and show them love, and that, at the end of the day, is at the root of our Teachings,” she said.

West Muhammad shared a message to his fellow young people: “Just stick to the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. Now, I’m only 13, I’m young, so I haven’t been in prior to 1975 or I’m not even registered yet. But I can already recognize that we are part of something greater. We are part of a new legacy, and it’s our job to establish this Nation of Islam and help it to move on.”

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