By Ashahed M. Muhammad
BLOOMINGDALE, Ill. (FinalCall.com) – The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said the Nation of Islam’s educators, and, by extension, the Muhammad University of Islam should be in the vanguard position of a new educational movement enabling students to reach the highest levels of personal development in working to master all that is God’s creation.
He said, “It’s true that the Sun is the center of the universe, but the Earth is the home of God. So, if the Earth is the third planet from the Sun yet it is the home of God, then the most intelligent life in the universe is where God is!”
His message was the highlight of the first day of the fifth annual Nation of Islam Educational Challenge Conference held here August 2-4. Customarily, the Minister would be speaking to wrap up the conference; however, he was scheduled to travel out of the country to Jamaica for the Caribbean island’s 50th anniversary of independence from the British.
Speaking for a little over an hour, his comments centered on the importance of educators “thinking outside the box” in presenting educational subjects to the students motivating them to explore and create. Many young Black men and women are not interested in education because the strategies of the educators are outdated, and the material is presented in a boring manner and therefore unable to attract their active minds. It is Master Fard Muhammad who is establishing the Muhammad University of Islam said Minister Farrakhan. The Islam being taught and studied at the Muhammad University of Islam should not be a regurgitation of the old world of Islam dealing only with the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) of 1,400 years ago.
“This is a different type of institution which demands that those of us who will teach in the Muhammad University of Islam be well versed in the knowledge of the Muhammad whose University of Islam we are a part of. Master Fard Muhammad and his prime student, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, didn’t want to set up a university as we know universities, so we should study: what is a university? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said you can have a university under a tree, as long as you are teaching subjects pertaining to the universe,” said the Minister.
This is the reason every member of the Nation of Islam is given the Student Enrollment upon entering, because a reorientation is needed not based on the past, but what has been revealed and what is to come.
“So no matter what degrees you bring to the endeavor, you are striving now to get another one, from the master of master teachers at the Muhammad University of Islam,” he said.
“It’s interesting that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said the whole scope of the teachings of Master Fard Muhammad is astronomy,” said Minister Farrakhan.
The Minister read a definition of astronomy which describes it as “the study of celestial objects” and “phenomenon that’s originating outside of the atmosphere of Earth.” The Minister said that definition gets it partially right but not completely.
“It would be foolish for you to study outside the earth before you study the planet out of which we came, so The Honorable Elijah Muhammad invites us to enroll and he starts us off with the Student Enrollment,” said the Minister.
The first question of the Student Enrollment is: “Who is the Original Man?” because the students are being offered the opportunity to “return to the original position that we once held in the universe.”
“The lessons say Islam is everything, sun, moon, and stars, so if we are to become the Original Man, then he is guiding us in getting a discipline and a study that will bring us back to mastery of that which our fathers created.”
The knowledge of these things should begin in preschool. It is never too early to teach the children of their divine origin and placement in God’s creation.
“Even the little babies can be taught about the Original Man and the Colored Man and the difference between the two. Why should we wait until they are graduating from high school to learn the teachings?” he asked.
If the teachers are not instilling that knowledge in the small children, they are duplicating—in an inferior way—the education of the world because “when God abrogates one scripture for another and you reject the new and get stuck in the old,” you are no longer a representative of the Divine Revelation of God.
“You are being carved out to be a standard of something new to reflect back to the old to bring the old forward into the new. That takes great courage, great strength, great conviction, great faith in what you have been given,” said Minister Farrakhan.
“But if you don’t believe in what you’ve been given enough to make it the food that is fed to every student including yourself,” he continued, “What food did you eat to get your diploma or your degree? Who was the cook in that kitchen?”
He described the old educational system as an old pot of soup that is “rancid and spoiled.” Many members of the Nation of Islam do not realize the value of that which has been revealed, which is like “brand new fresh bowl of bean soup.”
“We keep putting other studies over the study that God came to put us on, and as a result of that, we are not preparing our children to be rulers,” said the Minister. “Master Fard not only declared us a Nation, but he said he’s going to make us into the perfect rulers of this next world that we are the cornerstone of.”
“We respect and honor Islam as it has been taught and practiced over these 1,400 years, but Master Fard came to make us superior, not to flaunt supremacy, but to be superior in knowledge wisdom and understanding,” said Min. Farrakhan.
In America, home schooling is discouraged, extracurricular activities at many inner-city elementary schools and high schools are being curtailed, and teachers lack the patience to implement solutions that would make learning an active part of the lives of the students. Instead they are creating trained students that have only been taught to parrot the outdated conclusions of White supremacists lacking comprehensive knowledge.
In Chicago, because of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s desire to lengthen the school day and school year, a labor dispute is threatened which could result in a strike, and a possible interruption of the school year. In many cities, similar battles are being waged, and many teachers are unhappy and fear for their safety.
The work of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan represents a retraining and a reeducation of the Black Man and Woman and humanity, said Student Minister Abdul Muhammad of Mosque Maryam in Chicago. He was named Teacher of the Year for his work for the Chicago Public School system, and also teaches at the Muhammad University in Chicago. He knows firsthand the challenges faced by students and teachers in the public school systems of America.
He reminded those at the conference that education was so important that everywhere the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad established a mosque, he also established a school and called it the Muhammad University of Islam.
“When you have true and proper education, it is through that education that you get all the other things that we need and want,” said Abdul Muhammad. “But the root of it is education.”
“We must ensure that the work that is done in the mosque is not undone by the public school systems,” said Demetric Muhammad, an author and student in the ministry at Muhammad Mosque No. 55 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Additionally, Brother Demetric, also a member of the Nation of Islam’s Research Group, said it remains important for students, who are in reality representatives of the Nation of Islam to the world, to be able to defend the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This is important as the Nation of Islam’s Ministry of Education grows.
“We want to ensure that our babies not only go to school and learn history, mathematics, science and engineering but that they also learn how to defend what they believe in,” Demetric Muhammad added.
Dr. Larry Muhammad, national director of the Muhammad University of Islam, said there is much that needs to be done, and a conference such as the one being held is designed to formulate strategies and solutions.
“The idea is that we take up the challenge that the Minister has asked us to take up,” Dr. Muhammad continued, “to develop a curriculum that is universal in scope, that’s applicable across the board.”
Over the days of the conference, those present participated in workshops or “mini-courses” on the entire body of knowledge revealed by Master Fard Muhammad to the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The second day of the conference was convened under the theme “The Scientific Analysis of The Teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad as the Foundation of Curriculum.” The workshops on the third day were held under the theme “The Sciences of Everything in Life.”
Some mini course topics included “Engineering a New World: Components of the Blueprint,” which included hands-on science projects that many participated in. Another topic was “Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Science,” presented by National Student Minister of Agriculture and Manager of Muhammad Farms Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad. Dr. Safiyya Shabazz, from Philadelphia, and author and researcher Kevin Muhammad from Delaware presented information dealing with the Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s teachings on How to Eat to Live.
“What we have to offer is valuable not only to us, but to every child out there in school and every adult that needs to learn,” Dr. Muhammad added.
Education in America
According to data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2011, over 49.4 million students nationwide attended public elementary and secondary schools. It was projected that public elementary and secondary schools spent about $525 billion for the 2011–12 school year, an average of $10,591 per student.
Some Chicago residents were critical of President Barack H. Obama’s decision not to attend the Bud Billiken Day parade in person. The event is said to be one of the largest Black back- to-school events in the United States, annually drawing huge crowds for a day of celebration along with messages emphasizing the importance of a good education.
Two months ago, there was discussion that Pres. Obama was to be the Grand Marshal; in fact, the parade’s theme was “Education: Built to Last; A Tribute to President Barack Obama.” Reportedly, scheduling conflicts prevented his appearance.
The President was in Chicago during the same weekend, dining at an upscale River North restaurant and planning to attend several private campaign fundraisers. Throughout the years, Mr. Obama has been a regular at the Bud Billiken Day parade, and his Kenwood home is just a few short blocks away from the parade route and staging grounds. Ironically, many police are taken away from their regular patrol locations on Chicago’s dangerous streets, in order to maintain an additional security presence and safety corridor while the President is in town.
Southside resident Jason James, 40, was not happy about that. He was present for one of the stops Minister Farrakhan made on August 11, shook his hand, and talked with him. Mr. James contrasted the appearance of Minister Farrakhan shaking hands with the people, with Pres. Obama’s absence while meeting behind closed doors with wealthy donors.
“Minister Farrakhan is a soldier in my book and has been for the forty years I’ve been listening to him,” Mr. James told The Final Call. “We know and see our brother (Pres. Obama) didn’t make the Bud Billiken Day parade, it’s reality you know, but he’s here though, in Chicago, for a fundraiser, so as Black folks, we get up and rejoice for the brother and all that, but after four years, you’ve separated yourself from us,” he added.
Residents said it would have been nice for the young Black children to see him at the largest back-to- school event in the country, especially with all the killing going on in Chicago’s Black community and elsewhere. Mr. Obama did send a videotaped message but it was not seen by a majority of the parade’s attendees or those watching on television.
Obama and Education
President Obama’s supporters point to several accomplishments of the administration related to education. Mr. Obama did sign what the White House termed “an overhaul of the student loan program,” which doubled funding for Pell Grants and allowed for direct student loans. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included $5 billion for early learning programs, and $77 billion to bolster activities resulting in elementary and secondary education reforms such as hiring of highly qualified teachers, rigorous monitoring of their effectiveness, and the establishment of “career-ready standards” for many schools, along with $5 billion in competitive funds “to spur innovation and chart ambitious reform to close the achievement gap.” The Act also included $30 billion “to address college affordability and improve access to higher education.”
In July, he signed a bill which kept interest rates on federal student loans form doubling. This was good news to many who are saddled with crippling federal student loan debts. According to reports, over $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt exists in the U.S., and while educational spending on the local and national levels is going down, tuitions at many colleges and universities, along with other fees, are rising. Undergraduates student are carrying record-high credit card balances to pay for education, and many are opting to attend 2-year community colleges instead of traditional 4-year institutions because of the high costs.
The American children are being “dumbed down,” herded into ill-equipped schools like cattle, and given psychotropic drugs like Ritalin instead of being engaged by interesting information and unique learning strategies, said the Minister.
The educators present for the conference said the increasing amounts of debt, coupled with the inferiority of the information presented, is not a viable and sustainable model for the survival of the Black nation.
According to Dr. Wesley Muhammad, who recently relocated to Chicago to work on the establishment of a curriculum and a structure to facilitate higher learning in the Muhammad University of Islam system, curriculum development is key to achieving the goal as put forth by the Minister of creating a nation of Gods on the planet. His “mini-course” on the subject of “The Reality of God” was very enlightening according to those in attendance.
Throughout his entire college career as student and now an educator and author, he has always defended the body of knowledge presented by Master Fard Muhammad, however, he now sees it as primary to work to establish a curriculum to teach the children “as a necessary prerequisite to making them greater than us.”
“It’s absolutely necessary that Islam begin not in the mosque, but in the Muhammad University of Islam, and it took the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to hold up that mirror to us as educators, and then show us the path to realize God’s vision when he established it,” Dr. Wesley Muhammad told The Final Call. “It’s a very critical and revolutionary perspective,” he added.
Dr. Ava Muhammad has always been thoroughly involved in the Nation of Islam’s curriculum development, including her key involvement in the creation of the study guides titled “Self-Improvement: the Basis for Community Development.”
“We are poised now to transition from the ceiling that the Caucasian people have put on our ability to acquire divine knowledge,” Dr. Ava Muhammad told The Final Call. “He (Minister Farrakhan) showed us in a phenomenal way that we cannot dilute the supreme superior knowledge that Allah has given us, with the knowledge of the slave master.”
Though it is human nature and habit to refer to what you learned in college or in graduate level studies, it is a habit that needs to be broken if we are going to be free, she added.
“The teaching and training that we have received has been to facilitate the world of our slave masters,” said Dr. Ava Muhammad. “We don’t require the confirmation of the children of our slave masters in order to be ordained or be considered competent in a profession, we have to decide that.”
(The presentations taking place during the 5th Annual Education Challenge Conference can be viewed at www.noi.org/webcast.)
(Ashahed M. Muhammad is the Executive Director of the Truth Establishment Institute and Assistant Editor of the influential weekly The Final Call. Ashahed is a veteran journalist, organizer, and author. His syndicated column “Take Another Look” is widely read, and he frequently appears as a news analyst on radio shows nationwide.)