Estimated reading time: 15 minute(s)
by Fudia Muhammad
God – Family – Nation. In that order. A recent statement by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan via Twitter stated, “Family is the essence of the Nation. When you neglect your family, you have neglected the Nation. When you uphold your family and look out for your family, you’re looking out for the Nation.” This statement makes it very clear that family and Nation are inextricably linked. Strong, healthy, successful families are the foundation of a great Nation. However, to ensure that our families experience the fullness of success, we must put God first. For some, misunderstanding and confusion exists about what it means to put God first; and what it means to put God before family and family before Nation.
Allah (God) must be the exclusive object of our worship. No one is worthy of worship except Allah (God). As much as we revere, honor, respect and love our parents or our spouses, they are not worthy of worship. We can discern when we are placing others before God by recognizing a willingness within self to compromise righteous principles in order to gain favor with others – all at the risk of displeasing Allah (God). Will we lie to protect our reputation, or in an effort to avert punishment? Will we steal in order to impress someone we admire? Will we sacrifice our character or integrity in order to earn acceptance or popularity? If we answered‘yes,’ to any of the aforementioned or can relate to similar circumstances, then we have work to do before we can claim that God is first and foremost in our lives. As we move throughout the days, the weeks, and the years; our self-accusing spirit must be quickened by constantly measuring our thoughts and our actions against the standard of what is pleasing to God.
God, then family. Does this mean that if we are praying and the baby starts to cry, we should finish praying first before attending to the baby? NO! We are duty bound by Allah (God) to answer the cry of our baby, a gift from Him. However, it does mean that we should never think of proclaiming to a spouse or a loved one, “I can’t live without you.” We shouldn’t even think it. First, it’s not true…you can. But most importantly, it’s idolatry, a sign of worshipping someone other than God. The scripture reads, “The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Polytheism is the gravest of sins. You do not have to be a worshipper of animals, celestial bodies or statues to be guilty of polytheism. Loss through abandonment is indeed a great trial and loss of life is even greater. There is perhaps no greater loss than the loss of a child. Initially, the pain can be so debilitating that we truly believe we will not overcome it. But, Allah (God) is so Merciful that He does not give us more than we can handle. There is no trial we cannot overcome if we put Him first. The only Being we cannot live without is Allah (God).
So, as much as we love and adore our family, we cannot worship them. But they should hold a high position on the hierarchy of life. After duty to Allah (God) and duty to self, our family is next. Family, then Nation. If we do not pay attention to the spiritual, mental and physical health of our family, disease will emanate on all planes. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “Divorce is a threat to National Security.” In order to protect our Nation from external foes and forces it must be strengthened internally. Anything that threatens the health of our marriages must be examined, analyzed and corrected. Lack of communication, quality time, and quantity time must be addressed. Inadequate support, affection, or encouragement must be remedied. If not, this can lead to increased arguing, abuse and straying from the marriage. All of this threatens the very existence of our Nation.
Brothers are often charged with putting the Nation before family and quite often the charge is justified. Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad wrote, “He [Allah] put it in the nature of the woman to ‘demand good treatment’ from the man because consideration of her wants and needs do not come to the man naturally. So, though it is not in his nature, it is like many of the Divine Attributes: it is an acquired trait.” This means that Brothers certainly have the capacity to be considerate of specific wants and needs, but in order to develop these qualities, they must be taught and trained. This training is delivered through the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
During the Theology of Time lecture series (1972), The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “Any man loves his family. If he doesn’t, he shouldn’t have a family. All men that have families, they should love them. Do good to the wife who brings an increase of yourself into the world. We can’t do [anything] but plant seeds, but we should watch the seed and help it to grow. One thing we must remember again is that we are up from slavery with slave ideas towards self and towards our wives. Our wives are far more better than we think they are, if we show better to them. So, let us do that. Let us show them good and that we are good men. They won’t want to go away from you. I don’t see [anything] out of your house that you should go after. If you have a Black woman there, you have the best.”
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)