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Weekly Newsletter • Volume 3, Number 19
Umm Umm Good! The Philology of Mother’s Unconditional Love by Brother Demetric Muhammad
girls that offers women a core curriculum of 7 foundaMother’s Day is a very special time for most of us who live in America and the Western World. It is a day tional stones of divine womanhood that serve as the basis for domestic, entrepreneurial, academic and prowhen we celebrate the tremendous value of Mother. fessional success. There is so much that can be written The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated in on the beneficial role and influence of the Hon. Minisa speech titled “The Women: The Value of Mother” ter Louis Farrakhan in the life of women, Black women that “every day should be Mother’s Day…after Allah in particular, that this article can only begin to scratch (God), His Messenger and the Truth, Mother is the the surface. But as a student of Minister Farrakhan’s best friend you have.” Minister Farrakhan has a very ministry, I find congruent threads running through his long history of extolling the virtues of women and teaching and the language of the Holy Quran, which is mothers. He named the headquarters of the Nation of called Classical Arabic. Islam “Mosque Maryam” to Often we read Muslim signify his undying commitnames that may begin with ment to the rise of women. He “ibn,” “abu,” “bint,” or “umm.” promoted one of his female These distinctions denote a student ministers, Sis. Ava Muperson’s familial relations. I hammad, as regional minister first became acquainted with in charge of a 5-state area of this several years ago when Muslims. discussing Southern rapper Minister Farrakhan has “Playa Fly” (aka Ibn Young) always instilled in his male folin a barbershop with another lowers that which has become Muslim. We discussed how a maxim in many Black comthe artist had laced his CD munities today—years after with sporadic homages to it was coined by the Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad—that “A Nation Can Rise No Islam and the NOI. The brother told me that the artist was a Muslim and was using I-B-N, a track on one of Higher Than Its Women.” Periodically throughout his his albums, as a play on words to show that he was ministry he has used his influence and magnetism to Islamic because “ibn” in Arabic means “son of.” I was convene large Women Only meetings where he could never able to vet that information but it did cause me deliver divine guidance to thousands of women who to look into what my Muslim brother had said of the have been abused, battered and disrespected. And his effort to rebuild the work of the Most Hon. Elijah Mu- language and he was correct. I learned that ibn is “son hammad included reestablishing the women-only class of,” bint is “daughter of,” abu is “father of,” and umm is of the Nation of Islam known as the M.G.T. and G.C.C. “mother of.” Further study of the clasclass. This class is a male-free “Black Mother and Child” by JAZZI JOHNSON sical Quranic Arabic revealed sanctuary for women and
2 that the root word hamza mīm mīm occurs 119 times virtue and) submissive to You, and show us our ways of in the Quran, in six derived forms: 35 times as the worship and turn to us with mercy, for only You are the noun umm, which also means mother and the founda- Oft-Returning (with compassion), the Ever Merciful.” tion; once as the time adverb amām, meaning “what Here the root word for mother (umm) morphs into is before him”; 12 times as the noun imām, meaning a word that means community. We find a parallel in “leader” or “guide”; six times as the nominal ummiīī, the popular African proverb “It takes a village, to raise meaning “unlettered”; 64 times as the noun ummat, a child.” The community or village, with its supportmeaning a “people,” a “community,” a “nation”; and ing institutions, is designed by Allah to function like once as the active participle āmmīn, meaning “coming, a mother. Consider the following from the Hon. Min. setting out, heading for.” All of these Arabic words and Louis Farrakhan in the speech “Self-Improvement: The their variations or cognates have very profound mean- Basis for Community Development”: “You are given ing as it relates to the missionary work of the Nation of to the child, mothers and fathers, parents; we are given Islam to restore fallen humanity to a favored position to exercise control over these forces within the child. with Allah (God). And you must feed your child knowledge, guidance, Surah 7:157 speaks of an “Ummi Rasul.” Here as you exercise control, that the child may grow into “Ummi Rasul” means an unletthe proper use of the Divine tered Messenger of God—a Force. Therefore, when the Minister Farrakhan rasul is a prophet sent by God parent does its job, it turns with Divine Law and ummi, the child over to institutions has always instilled in here, means untutored. When that become the stewards of his male followers that one is a person of “letters,” the Life Force. School is not one has attained scholarly and school—it is the Steward of which has become a literary knowledge and an the Life Force in your and maxim in many Black authorizing body has verified my children. It is the ‘other one’s ability in a said field and communities today—years Mother,’ the other nurturer conferred its approval, which fosterer of this child and after it was coined by the and is represented by a degree or its development on the road diploma. The consistent methMost Hon. Elijah Muham- to its meeting with God. odology of Allah (God) in is an institumad—that “A Nation Can Church—that scripture is that He has never tion. The pastor is supposed relied on none but Himself to educate the congregation Rise No Higher Than Its to approve of His choice of a in the matter of control and Women.” Messenger. His messengers are guidance of their lives and the missioned by the Divine Suyoung lives of their children. preme Being Allah (God) as mothers for the people to Then, you have Government—that is an institution. whom they are sent and from whom they are raised. In These are the stewards of the Life Force of the people.” Surah 91, titled Al-Shams (The Sun), Prophet MuhamCommunity is a big theme in the Holy Quran; mad (SAW) is symbolically referred to as the “Sun of hence, mother and the idea of mothering always loom righteousness.” The word al-shams is, according to the in the background of Quranic social science. Even the translator M. Muhammad Ali, feminine, yet this male Friday prayer service—which Prophet Muhammad Prophet is referred to as a sun due to the brightness is reported to have described as being 27 times more of his illuminating character and God-given wisdom. powerful than individual prayers—is called Jumuah. His role, like that of a mother, is to love, nurture, teach, Jumuah is phonetically similar to Ummah but comes encourage, correct and protect the object of Allah’s from a different Arabic root (jīm mīm ayn vs. hamza love—the people to whom he is sent. mīm mīm). Despite having different root words, there In Surah 2:128 we find the word “ummah,” used is harmony between Ummah and Jumuah in terms of to describe a community. Abraham says, “Our Lord! their meaning. The congregational prayers are an emmake us both submissive servants to You (alone), and blem or symbol of the type of community that Abra(raise) from our progeny a community (preaching ham and Ishmael prayed for in Surah 2, mentioned
above. It is a praying, God-conscious community, where all are equal in the eyes of their Creator. At this point we can also appreciate, as mentioned above, how imam (leader) is derived from the same root as umm (mother), ummi (unlettered), and ummah (community). The imam in jumuah (Friday prayers) acts as a prayer leader and teacher. But before all are led in prayer, the imam ensures that the rows of believers are aligned perfectly. He asks that everyone be in contact with one another by being shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe. This is an act of disciplining and is consistent with the role of mother, who disciplines the children. The role of the imam here calls to mind the popular church sermon and book called “The Power of a Praying Mother.” The imam as teacher (khatib) is reminiscent of mother, who is the child’s first teacher. His khutbahs (sermons) offer guidance, warning and good news of the mercy and love of Allah (God). The mother is a divine creation and mothering is a divine act, for both are born of Allah’s (God’s) great love for humanity. Most of us know of the unconditional love of Allah (God) because it first comes to
3 us through our mother. Of the 4 types of love mentioned in the Bible, the Greek word agape is used to describe “unconditional love.” It is unconditional love that is required to effect redemption. Unconditional love makes you look beyond fault to see need. Minister Louis Farrakhan has been an “ummi rasul” that has mothered the Black community. He has taught us, warned us, corrected us, encouraged us and even defended us. Most significantly, he has suffered our ignorance patiently when we distance ourselves from him when those outside the Black community speak ill of him. He has been insulted and betrayed, but like a good mother he has never retaliated. Miraculously, he has always been able to see the good in us and for that I am extremely grateful. I would hope that as we celebrate our Mothers with love and gifts and kindness this Mother’s Day, and everyday thereafter, that we would remember Minister Louis Farrakhan and do something to show how much we love, appreciate and thank him for loving us when we didn’t even love ourselves.
Happy Mother’s Day
Your first lesson comes from your mother. If you don’t protect your mother, how do you think you look in the eyes of other fellow human beings? —The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad Jewish Tribune, May 17, 1929 [The] programs of the American Government in her dealings with the poor of all minority groups lead to genocide…When we look at America from the perspective of the poor, we see only destruction and death, exploitation and oppression, yes, we see genocide. Those things which make America great for you are denied to us and the attempts of the Government to administer to our needs lead only to further destruction.
–Rev. Ralph Abernathy
The Battered Wife Syndrome or Top Ten Excuses not to Separate stage cycle found in domestic violence situations. First, tension builds in the relationship. Second, the abusive partner releases tension via violence, whilst blaming 4. We want our people in America whose parents or the victim for having caused the violence. Third, the grandparents were descendents from slaves, to be alviolent partner makes gestures of contrition. However, lowed to establish a separate state or territory of their the partner does not find the solution to avoid another own—either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe phase of tension building and release, so the cycle that our former slave masters are obligated to provide repeats itself. The repetition of the violence, despite the such land and that the area must be fertile and minabuser’s attempts to “make nice,” results in the abused erally rich. We believe that our former slave masters partner feeling at fault for not preventing a repeat cycle are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this of violence. Feeling both responsible for the violence separate territory for the next 20 to 25 years—until we and helpless to stop the violence, the despairing partare able to produce and supply our own needs. ner becomes depressed and passive. This learned Since we cannot get along with depression, hopelessness and them in peace and equality, after It has been almost 50 passivity make it difficult for the giving them 400 years of our sweat abused partner to marshal the years since the passage and blood and receiving in return resources and support system some of the worst treatment huof the Civil Rights Bill of needed to leave. man beings have ever experienced, This mirrors the life of Black we believe our contributions to this 1964; however, in 2012 a people in America, who are land and the suffering forced upon white man can step to any treated like second-class citius by White America, justifies our zens, shot down in the streets, Black man that he sees demand for complete separation in railroaded in the courts, then a state or territory of our own. and just shoot him down, paraded in the mass media to —from “The Muslim Program: the world as deserving of such lynch him, or drag him What The Muslims Want,” back “battering.” Let’s look at our page of The Final Call behind a pickup truck and top ten list for symptoms of the feel that he has done the battered wife syndrome and see This is what the Muslims how they relate to the condition who follow The Honorable Eliwhite community a favor. of Black people in America, who jah Muhammad want and have refuse to accept the solution of been preaching to Black people in separation that was given to us by The Honorable EliAmerica for 80 years. The Nation of Islam has been jah Muhammad and now through his National Reprepreaching separation, while the Civil Rights advocates sentative, Minister Louis Farrakhan. have been preaching integration. It has been almost By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad
50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964; however, in 2012 a white man can step to any Black man that he sees and just shoot him down, lynch him, or drag him behind a pickup truck and feel that he has done the white community a favor. Why would Black people continue to march and pray for white folk to treat them better? It is because they refuse to accept that they will never be accepted by their open enemy. To stay in this type of abusive relationship is pure insanity. It is like an outsider looking at the face of a battered woman and telling her that she needs to leave her husband, but she refuses to let him go. This type of behavior has been labeled “the battered wife syndrome.” The syndrome develops in response to a three-
1. Battered Wife (BW): My beatings are my own fault, because I demand too much. Black Community (BC): If rabble-rousers like Rev. Al Sharpton and Minister Farrakhan would stop demanding so much from white people, we may be able to get along with them. Programs like affirmative action are taking college seats and jobs from white people. Blacks should just learn how to fit in without being a nuisance. 2. BW: If I leave, he will kill me. BC: You know that if we go off somewhere by ourselves away from white people, they are just going to bomb us like they did in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921 or like they recently did in Iraq and Libya. Where can we go that’s safe?
5 3. BW: He will just follow me and mess up my next relationship. BC: The white man’s got the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, spy planes and high-tech artillery. You saw what the FBI’s COINTELPRO did to all our Black organizations. He will send in agent provocateurs and have us killing each other like he did in the 1960s. 4. BW: I can’t make it without him, because I am ugly and stupid. BC: Look at our young people dropping out of school. Look how we fail in math and science. We don’t know anything about running a nation or big businesses. How will we feed and clothe ourselves and where are we going to work? Who’s going to protect us from each other? 5. BW: I don’t want people to know that our marriage didn’t work. BC: Separation would show that we could not make integration work. It would show that we did not take advantage of the opportunities that opened up for us. If I leave the big city and go back South to my family’s farm, it would show that I was a failure and could not make it in the city. 6. BW: I will lose too much if I leave now—freedom is too expensive. BC: If we leave the big city, who is going to buy my home that I still owe on? At least I got a roof over my head. There is no telling what type of accommodations we will have to put up with if we set up our own towns. I don’t want to live like those people I see in Somalia and the rest of Africa. 7. BW: I am too old to start over. My best years are behind me. BC: We have stuck it out this long. Why leave now? We got a Black president now. Things have got to get better. By the time we get things going right in a new nation, I will be dead. 8. BW: I don’t deserve a better life, for I have sinned. BC: A lesson in the Nation of Islam asks: “Why does the devil keep our people apart from his social equality? Answer: Because he does not want us to know how filthy he is and all his affairs. He is afraid because when we learn about him, we will run him from among us.” However, when we went to his integrated high schools and colleges, we picked up all of his filthy ways. And instead of running him from among us, we delighted in his filth. Now we are just as immoral as the white man, so why would God want to protect us? We are so lost from God. 9. BW: The next relationship could turn out to be even worse. BC: I don’t know if you have looked around recently, but Black leadership is just as selfish and cruel
as white leadership. There are big I’s and little u’s in all the Black organizations that I have been a part of. Why should I leave a devil that I know, to be with a devil that I don’t know? 10. BW: Maybe this whooping was the last whooping. BC: Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Kenneth Walker—the list of pain goes on and on. But maybe if we protest every time these things happen and stick together, we can stop the violence. Oh, I forgot: if we stick together, we can be labeled as a gang; and we can’t use the word “boycott” anymore because that’ll threaten white people, who might retaliate. But, again, we have a Black president. This shows that there are some good white people out there. We just have to teach our boys how to behave so that the bad white folks won’t gun them down. The issue with the battered wife or subjugated Black community is a spiritual one. I heard a Black lawyer say that instead of demanding that the USDA give Black farmers back their land, they settled for $50,000, because “If Jesus came back, He could not get your land back.” In other words, the battered wife and the Black community do not believe in themselves or a God that can make the white man do right. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us of a God that rides on what’s called in the Bible “Ezekiel’s Wheel” that can destroy America in 12 hours. “Come out of her, my people…” There is a God that cares enough about us to defend us. (Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad, Agricultural Economist, National Student Minister of Agriculture, Manager of Muhammad Farms. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Actually it was suicide for them to have brought our fathers in slavery. This act was charged to them by the Divine Supreme Being as being the most wicked people on the earth. —The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad
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