Estimated reading time: 19 minute(s)
by Fudia Muhammad
It was necessary to qualify this article’s topic by adding the adjective, “righteous,” to its title since generally speaking, nepotism is frowned upon and even illegal in certain sectors of employment. While several may argue that nepotism has no redeeming qualities; one could argue that the Black community, in particular, needs to reassess the practice of nepotism because it may have utility. Our resistance to nepotism is understandable – it is seen as an exclusionary practice; which unfairly benefits those who may be ‘connected,’ but not necessarily qualified. Largely, this has not included the Black man and woman. A basic definition of nepotism is, “the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.”
It is ironic that a practice considered to be so disagreeable received its name from the western world’s oldest religious institution, Catholicism. According to the history, Catholic bishops would “bequeath wealth, property, and priesthood to their ‘nephews’ ” – hence the word, ‘nepotism.’ The only problem was that these so-called nephews were not their nephews at all, but they were in fact their biological sons; born out of wedlock and kept secret. This was all an effort by the church clergy to own land and property, but mostly to keep all the power within their lineage. Though the modern name for this practice has sinister roots, the practice of favoring relatives and friends over others goes back tens of thousands of years.
There is no aspect of life or history not covered by The Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This includes an in-depth body of knowledge, which covers the most ancient of days – a time long before the white man ever walked the earth; and a time when Black men and women were truly gods, capable of predicting and writing what would happen in the future 25,000 years in advance. Prior to the coming of Master Fard Muhammad, the identity and knowledge of God was a closely guarded secret by twelve very wise Scientists.
In Our Saviour Has Arrived, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote, “The knowledge of God has been kept a secret by twelve men on our planet for many thousands of years. The twelve pass their knowledge on from son to son, but the number possessing this knowledge is never more than twelve; and they are not to ever reveal it” (p.61). There is so much to be extracted from this one statement of his; but for the purpose of our topic, we will focus on the fact that the answer to the most important question of all questions that one could ask, “Who is God?” – was kept secret from son to son. There is no doubt this decision had nothing to do with our colloquial understanding of nepotism today. These men were certain that their sons were qualified to hold this secret, so there was no need to look elsewhere.
Righteous men and women are our example; not President Trump, who skirts anti-nepotism clauses by allowing his daughter and son-in-law to serve in governmental positions, which they are in no way qualified to hold. Optics are probably the most negative aspect of nepotism – there will always be an unfavorable perception by some who believe that no one else ever stood a chance at a particular position because they were not highly connected.
Nepotism done properly, by righteous families, can be extremely advantageous in the Black community. Honestly, how are we ever going to make sustainable progress at Nation building if each generation has to start from scratch, decade after decade after decade? We leave our children no real wealth; no land; no businesses; no established institutions – only debt. We cannot blame our youth for going in another direction, if we have not established a solid foundation from which they can continue to build. If we study wise white folks (and other ethnicities), one of the many things we will discover is that they plan for generations into the future. In the United States alone, we will find several powerful family dynasties in a range of industries – politics, business, banking, media, law and entertainment. These families are few compared to the overall U.S. population, but the wealth and influence they garner affects the masses.
We should take a page from their ‘family first’ playbook – minus the greed, corruption, fraud, dishonesty and general immorality – and look at the benefits of nepotism. We should not only pass on knowledge, wisdom and understanding to our offspring; but we must begin to pass on tangible assets as well. Children must be the beneficiaries of their parents! Keep in mind that we are not just referring to an inheritance. Unless otherwise stated, children will automatically inherit what their parents leave behind – the good and the bad. If we wait until a parent or grandparent passes, there are no guarantees that their offspring will carry the vision forward. However, if we are blessed to have offspring and family who are the joy of our eyes, then preparation, training and grooming must begin as soon as possible.
Our first option should always be family – our children, then relatives and friends who share our vision. Those closest to us, know us best; so they do not have to figure us out nor we them. We know their personalities and characteristics exceptionally well. We are comforted because they thoroughly understand the vision and the mission; so time is not lost with additional education and training. Almost always, we can count on them to be truthful – and loyalty is unwavering.
There is an assumption that if we work with those whom we are closest, the standard or expectation is somehow lowered. No! Not with ethical, highly-principled Black men and women. God is always the standard for the righteous; therefore, our criterion will always remain high. And those who refuse to abide by such standard – family or not – will have to be dismissed. If the desire from our offspring is present and we are determined to prepare our children and family to help secure unlimited progress through our businesses, our institutions and our mission; then there is no doubt they will be the most qualified and the most deserving of these positions of power and influence.
So let’s get started! The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave us a sound economic program to help fight against poverty and want, which the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam continue to promote today; but we need everyone’s help! The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote, “The white man spends his money with his own, which is natural. You, too, must do this. Help to make jobs for your own kind. Take a lesson from the Chinese and Japanese and go give employment and assistance to your own kind when they are in need. This is the first law of nature. Defend and support your own kind.”
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “God wants to bless us. We ought to put ourselves in a position to be blessed.”
(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.)