by Fudia Muhammad
It goes without saying that every father has a duty to provide continual sound advice for his son, during the time of his youth and beyond. A good mother will naturally do the same for her daughter. However, the wisest of parents will partner as each other’s reinforcement irrespective of the child’s gender. The experience and knowledge of others, particularly one’s parents, can be far more beneficial than going it alone if the successes and failures are studied and used as a tool to guide future decisions. There is a brief section in the Book of Proverbs where a mother offers such counsel to her son; but not just any son – her son is a king, King Lemuel.
A study of King Lemuel will offer very little in terms of concrete facts; but will provide quite a bit of speculation and scholarly conjecture about his actual identity. Outside of nine brief verses, there is virtually no additional scriptural information about him.We know he was a ruler, somewhat of a poet and that he had a very wise mother. The latter is clear because within those nine brief verses we find three excellent pieces of advice from a Queen Mother to her son. The prevailing view is that King Lemuel was actually King Solomon, who was known for his great wisdom. If true, this would then make the Queen Mother, who imparted such profound advice, Bathsheba. But, whomever the King was, we know he was a leader with great responsibilities and a great following, therefore the advice she gave to her son should be modeled by all mothers who want their sons to aspire to greatness. After all, the bloodline of the Black man and woman is regal, and our DNA is divine.
The Queen Mother first advises her son, “Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings” (Proverbs 31: 2-3, NIV). According to linguists and scholars, the name Lemuel means, “for God” or “devoted to God.” Here, we have a mother pleading with her son and reminding him of who he is, a man of God. Men of God are not promiscuous or casual about relations with women. Not only is this way of life immoral and sinful; but it will undoubtedly lead to the ruin of a great man and perhaps the destruction of his family and kingdom. Unfortunately, history (and present-day) provides us with a litany of examples of powerful men who have been taken down and trapped by their inordinate lust for women and lascivious behavior. One’s strength and vigor are gradually weakened by succumbing to lower desires. Not only is his seed weakened with each unlawful act, but he also becomes mentally impotent and ineffective.
The Queen Mother’s next piece of advice is a warning about the dangers of intoxicants: “It is not for kings, Lemuel – it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights”(Proverbs 31: 4-5, NIV). It is not difficult to understand why the Queen Mother would warn her son against the dangers of alcohol. The ethanol in alcoholic beverages is mind altering and if overused leads to symptoms of intoxication – difficulty concentrating and processing information; memory loss; problems with planning and decision making; and having difficulty regulating emotions – not the characteristics one would expect from a great ruler. How can justice be fairly adjudicated by a lawless incoherent king?
Alcohol does not only have an adverse effect on the brain, but also on the body. It overworks the liver. One of the primary functions of the liver is to remove toxins from the bloodstream. If the liver is constantly removing alcohol from the system, it cannot adequately remove the countless other poisons the body accumulates. In How to Give Birth to a God: Part Two, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan also warns of the harmful effects that alcohol can have on the man’s offspring, “You must clean yourself up, Brother; because the sperm that you have, which represents the future of your life, that’s a sacred thing. But you’re poisoning it every time you drop alcohol, a cigarette, or dope into yourself – it’s reflected in your sperm.”
The Holy Qur’an also bears witness that intoxicants are unclean, “the devil’s work.”Therefore, the Believers should shun strong drinks if they want to be successful. According to the Qur’an, intoxicants are one of the things the devil (wicked men and women) uses to create enmity and hatred among the righteous and to keep Believers from prayer and the remembrance of Allah (God). Therefore, the sin of intoxicants is greater than any advantage it may offer.
The Queen Mother’s final words of wisdom for her son were regarding his responsibilities to the poor and the destitute. She instructs her son, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy”(Proverbs 31: 8-9, NIV). What a wonderful woman! What a wonderful mother! This advice reveals the true beauty of the heart and soul of this extraordinary woman of God. She is the Queen Mother; her son is a King and their family rules over others; but her concern remains focused on the least of these. Her first two pieces of advice were given so that ultimately, her son would be in a physical and mental position where he could execute her third instruction to the best of his ability.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has reminded us that we cannot rise above the condition of our people. As long as there are others who lack the knowledge, wisdom and understanding needed to improve their condition, our work is not done. Our concern should not be for our family alone; but for all of humanity. We should follow this Queen Mother’s sound advice and the example of our Beloved Minister, who continues to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves; who advocates for the destitute; and who tirelessly defends the rights of the poor and the needy.
(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.)