Eid Mubarak! May Allah accept all of your fasts and prayers from the month of Ramadan Insha’Allah. I haven’t posted much for the month of Ramadan because of how intense the month becomes. But while I haven’t been posting; I have been working. I’m preparing for my next blog pieces already. This post is a prologue for those next pieces. The next blog posts I will be putting up will different from those I have done thus far. They form a two-piece series that will cover a topic I have felt compelled to talk about. For some people, what is said in this interview by the two sisters will be controversial. For others, it will be an insight into a community that has for black Muslims, always been a part of our history here in America. A community that is too often spoken about in the past tense. Whose influence and notoriety has been pushed for some to history books and black pop culture references. As if, that is all it is and should be.
I am of course talking about the Nation of Islam or NOI. The Nation is a fixture in the Black Muslim community. However it and it’s members are often pushed to the edges of the Muslims world by other Muslims. In particular, non Black Muslims. They are often talked about by other Muslims as not being Muslim at all. They are a a strong and powerful community that has undergone changes and shifts throughout society. However, their importance seems to be lost on many.
My desire to conduct these interviews and share them with you all come from a combination of things that I have witnessed. When I was hired at my current job, I remember talking to students about how every Muslim should be accepted. However, often black Muslims are not present in MSA spaces; and are not represented in large scale conversations about Islam and Muslims. As the conversation continued one international student raised his hand and said “ In my country we don’t consider the Nation of Islam Muslims” . This sparked a conversation about racism, faith policing, and the history of Nation in this country.
The next time this conversation came about was after a panel, on which I was a presenter. A student came up to me and told me she never got involved with any Muslims at the University. As a member of the Nation, she had been told that her Islam wasn’t valid too many times. We continued to talk and she was given hope to come around more.
My heart hurt after both conversations. First and foremost, all Muslims in this country wouldn’t have the access or rights they have without the NOI. The NOI was and is on the first line when it comes to social justice and Muslim visibility. They began as an avenue for agency and faith for black people in America. Giving an option to African Americans that was alternative to the Christian perspectives.
My ultimate question to those who criticize the Nation is; who are we to deny those who refer to themselves as Muslim? Calling someone a non-believer is something, we as lay shouldn’t undertake lightly or passively. If you are curious about the rulings on calling someone a non believer check out the following on https://islamqa.info/en/85102 . A small snippet of this post is as follows
“The basic principle is that the one who appears outwardly to be a Muslim of good character is regarded as still being a Muslim of good character, until it is proven that this is no longer the case by means of evidence that is acceptable in sharee’ah. It is not permissible to take lightly the matter of judging someone to be a kaafir or faasiq, because that involves two very serious matters:
1 – It implies fabricating lies against Allaah with regard to this ruling, and fabricating lies against the one who is being judged.
2 – Falling into that which one accused one’s brother of, if he is free from that.
In Saheeh al-Bukhaari (6104) and Saheeh Muslim (60) it is narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man declares his brother to be a kaafir, it will apply to one of them.” According to another report: “Either it is as he said, otherwise it will come back to him.”
Therefore, I call on those who have predetermined judgement about those from the Nation to refrain from judgement. Take this as an opportunity to learn about your sisters in Islam. While we may not agree, all judgement is Allah’s first and foremost. We as humans should leave all judgement up to him and him alone. For me, myself, if you call yourself Muslim and give the salaams, you’re my brother or sister in the Deen. The End. Insha’Allah you will enjoy the interviews from these wonderful sisters.