The holiday season is a time of year that many people look forward to; when the weather cools and the leaves change into beautiful variations of red and orange. However, for many it’s the most dreaded time of the year. Whether your heart aches from the loss of a loved one or if distance separates you from family and friends, here are 10 ways to fight your holiday woes.
2. Give back! Volunteering for a non-profit organization or tending to those less fortunate is a sure way to realize how blessed you are and to be a blessing to someone else.
3. Treat yourself regularly! A day at a Spa is a sure way to take some of the edge off of the approaching holiday season.
5. Do something different! Create a new tradition with your family.
6. Support is key! Communicate your concerns and anxieties with your family, friends, minister, etc.
7. Get your creative juices flowing! Design a vision board of your future accomplishments and utilize the holiday time to plan your vision all the way through.
9. Avoid negative people and negative talk! These are things that zap your energy and usually add more stress.
10. Put it on paper! Keeping a personal journal is a great way to sort through and process the emotions you are experiencing.
Ebony S. Muhammad is a Certified Thanatologist specializing in Grief and Loss. If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one and would like to learn more about her one-on-one sessions, click here.
Paul doesn’t ever teach that he received wisdom from God beyond or above that which God revealed to and through Jesus. He does teach, however, that Jesus said and did things, which could not be understood until after he had gone to the Father—God. These things that he taught were laid by God chiefly on him to preach. In some instances, he referred to a major part of what he taught as the mystery of Christ.
The word mystery, in the general sense, means anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown. It is something that is not fully understood or that baffles or eludes the understanding. In the religious or theological sense, it means, any truth unknowable except by divine revelation. Again, it is a truth that is incomprehensible to the reason and knowable only through divine means. In other words only God can reveal or make this kind of information available. There are other, more specific, definitions of this term, used by the Catholic Church, and by others.
Like Jesus, Paul, and the other disciples, had to suffer for the gospel, or the body of wisdom God had revealed. This suffering was due to the difficulty in getting the people to see and accept what they taught. God used their suffering as a means of purifying them so that they were made better vessels in the transmission of His truths.
Let us look on this in terms of the subject of tests and trials. “What is a test? What makes a test a test? What is done with a test once it is either failed or passed? What effect will passing or failing this test have on you? Just in what way does this particular test which involves Jesus, serve Allah’s purpose?
“When you test something, or someone, you use some means to evaluate. Underlying the means or methods used are some kind of rules or principles. You are trying to determine quality(s).
“Any good dictionary will give the following ideas about the word test: examination or trial; any critical examination or decisive trial; means of trial; subjection to conditions that show the real character of a person or thing in particular.”
“A test is something stronger, more specific than a trial. It is a trial under approved and fixed conditions, or a final and decisive trial as a conclusion of past experiments. In a test you determine something. A test settles a controversy. A test is a decisive trial. A test is a way of establishing something or reaching a convincing conclusion. Like the word “trial,” “test” carries something of the idea of the separation of the good from the bad in a person or thing.
The Holy Qur’an teaches that trials purify. How? What is the process by which trials purify? How does that which is so painful; so uncomfortable; so difficult result in the removal of impurities in our make up or character? Is there another way? Are there any circumstances or conditions that one can be in which one can gain purification that does not involve tests and trials?
Remember, this statement, or idea, (of Holy Qur’an 29:2 “trials purify”) is from the mind of the Author of the Holy Quran, Who, almost from the opening of the words of that glorious book, states that He is the Best Knower.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan taught, in a series of study guides, that we should not be afraid to discover our faults; bad qualities. He even urged us to look for them with persistence and to be happy when we find them. So said his teacher before him. Why should we be happy to find faults, or bad traits in ourselves? So we can more easily get rid of them. It is like the removal of rocks in the road on which we are traveling to a good destination.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to some of us that it would take him 40 years to understand his mission. This means that the first 40 years of his work among us would ripen him into the ultimate understanding of his mission.
We are tested in many ways; by many factors, in this or that aspect of our being every day. Some of the tests seem so good, that we do not regard them as tests; for we usually associate the concept of “test” with that which is painful, distressful, or the like. If you were given a million dollars, right now, you might not regard that as a test. It is, however. Just because a thing may in fact be pleasurable, beneficial, and good, does not mean that it does not in some way constitute a test, or tests, or a trial.
We usually think of a trial or a test as posing some painful problem that we must bear and/or overcome. Now, of all these kinds of tests, especially those that trouble us most, come from what other persons say and/or do respecting us. The most difficult ones are especially in relation to those whom we love. They say something about us that we do not like, for whatever reason. And they do something to us, or regarding us, that we do not like, for whatever reason. We become distressed, or troubled, to one extent or another. The more we love the one(s) whom we perceive, or who did produce for us the test/trial, the more pain we experience.
Allah is acutely aware of all of this, and watches and when He pleases, He acts to help us, if certain conditions are met. Of course, there are times when He acts to generate the condition in which He can serve all involved without our having done that which produces these conditions. It depends. He knows what is best for every living thing, so says the Holy Qur’an. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.
Those whose words and/or deeds trouble us may or may not be aware that they trouble us, or they may be partly aware. These persons whose words and/or deeds test us, are either more good than bad, or more bad than good. Very, very, very, very, very, very, very rarely do we ever find that we are tested by, or even come in contact with, (under ordinary circumstances) perfectly good persons. We do, however, more often than we think, come into contact with totally evil persons.
(The Holy Qur’an teaches in Surah 18 of a group whose deeds are so foul that they won’t even be weighed on the Day of judgment. I can’t get into all of this right now, it would be too much for this article.
The point here is that, yes, some may have done, or did do, us wrong with words or deeds. We of times become so upset as to lose our balance and say and do rash things.
Most every one of us has fulfilled exactly what this word means. Rash means: acting too hastily or without due consideration; made or done with reckless or ill-considered haste.
Many times we either curse God, as if He was to blame or we, at least, think unfunny thoughts about Him; even to asking Him, or someone, why He didn’t stop this or that, which is giving us so much pain. Later we may see that we misperceived God’s purposes in these situations. If we do, in time, we are blessed.
Those who give us pain may be good or bad persons. They may have done what they did intentionally or unintentionally. All of this is important. But what is infinitely more important is the intention of God in permitting the test; in permitting the trial; in permitting the trouble, the distress, and the pain. Let us remember that the “problem” could not be if Almighty God had not allowed it to be.
More next issue, Allah willing.
You are bowing to your emotions rather than developing your power to reason above your emotions. In this hour you’ll be talked to a lot by your own disappointments, by your own anger and frustration over things in your life that you evidently can’t control, and you become bitter. That won’t help you to make it through. #Farrakhan
LANDOVER, Md.—Presented by the Reverend Willie Wilson as a hybrid angel sent by God, a cross between the angel Gabriel, a messenger and Michael a warrior, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered the eulogy for ‘Baba’ Dick Gregory. Emanating a warrior’s spirit with a sincere message calling for those in attendance to grow to where Mr. Gregory had, the Minister shared what made the humanitarian, comedian and ‘living legend’ such a special human being during a homegoing service that drew thousands.
The “Celebrating The Life Of A Legend Dick Gregory” tribute held in the spacious and beautiful City of Praise Family Ministries located in Landover, Md. located across the street from Fed Ex Field, home of the National Football League’s Washington team whom Mr. Gregory in solitary with Native Americans battled to change the franchises insulting and racist ‘nickname’ over the years. The celebration took place on September 16.
The six-hour-plus service was put into context by Rev. Wilson during his introduction of Minister Farrakhan when he said, “you can’t have a short celebration for such a tall man.” With the introduction complete, Minister Farrakhan went right to work.
Talking about Mr. Gregory’s multifaceted life and reflecting on the various speakers, he characterized Mr. Gregory as a diamond. Minister Farrakhan opened his eulogy stating the light shined on that diamond, in every direction a different color containing all the colors of the sun. “His heart and mind were always on justice not only for Black people but on all. When Dick was around you better learn to listen,” the Minister explained. “He had us laughing, but he was not a comedian, his jokes filled with wisdom.”
Minister Farrakhan went on to explain that although Mr. Gregory had a Christian and Muslim family, he never joined an organized religion as such. “He was so far beyond dogma and ritual,” the Minister pointed out. “I would love to hear Dick talk about the real God. The universal God. Dick had grown and outgrown the negativity and divisiveness and denominationalism of sectarian religion. So, he wanted us to grow to where he was.”
“When asked one day by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad when he was going to join the Nation he responded I just want to tell jokes and make Black folks glad and White folks mad,” Min. Farrakhan shared.
Dick Gregory could always be found with the common man and the common women, elevating their thinking. Few people operated from his level. He was always with people but yet alone,” he noted.
The astute Minister went on to explain the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught him that in the vastness of space there are black holes that produce new stars. We have stars in the heavens who have died but their light is still traveling, stars of immense beauty. Our brother always kept his eye on the universe. He would say, “and the universe stepped in.”
What did he mean by that Minister Farrakhan asked? “You see the God who created all of this; you cannot pigeonhole him into some mess that you call religion,” he continued.
“We are so immature in our religious expression, favoring one denomination above the other. These are satanic expressions, things that break up the human family and cause the people of God to argue and fight when the reality is we all belong to the oneness of that universal creator.”
Minister Farrakhan went on to explain how organized religion limits you. He explained, “in the Holy Qur’an it teaches if the seas were ink and the trees pens you could never exhaust the wisdom of God. Through the process of life and death, we evolved towards perfection. So, our brother Dick Gregory knew God in his special way.”
In acknowledging Mr. Gregory’s wife Lillian, he characterized her as a helpmeet. “One who helps a man meet the obligation that God has put on him. A man who does not know who he is or where he wants to go does not need a woman. A woman is to help you achieve the goal that God has given you for your life. Lillian was not only his wife, but she helped him to meet the expectation that the creator gave to that man. He wasn’t looking for a purpose; he was born with a purpose.”
Minister Farrakhan then went on to point out God creates all of his creation with aim and purpose. It is only the human being, the greatest of God’s creation that is befuddled. In referencing the impact of White supremacy, he noted Dick Gregory used his gift to lighten our burden.
“Dick Gregory spoke for the living, and he was talking for the dead. Every soul must taste of death. The only way you cannot die is that you were never born,” Min. Farrakhan said. “The moment you come from your mother’s womb, there is a day of destiny. Funerals are not for the dead but for the living, and we want to know what have you done,” he explained.
“Jesus said blessed are the pure in heart they shall see God where ever they look. Every time you look at another human being fashioned in the image and likeness of God you are looking at God. You reverence a church made of stone but when you interact with another human being your language is caustic and nasty. The church was not built by God, but you were,” he stated emphatically.
Min. Farrakhan in his conclusion pointed out the universality of a baby crying. “They don’t cry in Chinese and any mother worldwide understands their need. In the beginning, you speak a universal language, and in the end, you speak a universal language as you give up that last breath of life. But in our life time, we are in a Tower of Babel.”
“Jesus and Muhammad made a universal sound because they aimed to unite the whole of humanity into oneness with God and one community. God is not bugged out by color that’s the sickness of White supremacy. Some of you that hate Black have a black dog, and some of you that hate White have a white dog,” Min. Farrakhan pointed out in describing the madness in the human family.
“You can hug the black dog but can’t hug the man or women. The world is very sick. White supremacy has nothing to do with Jesus.”
In concluding Min. Farrakhan told those in attendance that they have been “taught some narrow mess” in the name of religion. He then pointed out the commonality of all religions that you find when you go to the root of knowledge. In Christianity, they say all are one with Christ. The problem is we are not in him yet. That’s why Dick couldn’t join, the Minister explained. He strives to be one not with religion but one with the universal king.
While going door-to-door in Southeast Houston with my Fruit of Islam brothers, we had the honor of meeting this beautiful Black woman sitting outside her apartment door; a mother and grandmother. I immediately sat down next to her to ask her how she was doing and she replied sadly, “I am not doing too good at all.” She started sharing many of the problems she’s facing and how she had no desire to even live anymore. Lovingly, we shared with her how Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an that He is closer to us than our own jugular vein and that He has not abandoned her.
We discussed how as long as God blesses us with breath in our lungs, He’s letting us know we have something of great purpose to do for His Glory. I let her know how the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us that Struggle is Ordained and that just like diamonds, gold and pearls had to go through intense heating, cooling, heating, cooling–we too shine brighter when we meet and overcome the struggles instead of succumbing to them…there was much more said that I won’t share but we were blessed to see her entire disposition change and a glow radiated from her beautiful dark face. I was so focused on her that I had no idea our brother Linton Muhammad captured the Before and After. All Praise is Due to Allah!!!!
Look at her beautiful SMILE!!!! She now felt it’s NOT over for her!!! And she promised me that I can come back to eat next to her at Saturday’s “Make Our Community A Decent Place To Live” Day! It’s moments like this that keep us motivated to take what we’ve been blessed to receive to our people in the streets who need life, light, power and hope. We’re humbled to be striving servants. ?? #inspiration #love #community #NationOfIslam
“When a woman of Amran said: My Lord, I vow to Thee what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Thy service), so accept (it) from me; surely Thou, only Thou, art the Hearing, the Knowing. So when she brought it forth, she said: My Lord, I have brought it forth a female – and Allah knew best what she brought forth – and the male is not like the female, and I have named it Mary, and I commend her and her offspring into Thy protection from the accursed devil” (Holy Qur’an 3:34-35).
The woman of Amran, in the above verse is the Mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus. Most of us probably do not generally reflect on any of Jesus’ family members before Mary and Joseph. Although we do not give it much thought, we naturally understand that if Jesus had a mother, then he certainly had a grandmother and many more great forebears in his divine lineage. It is remarkable and certainly worth studying the mindset and the way of life of those who created the environment that would ultimately give birth to one of the greatest men in the annals of history. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (God), allows us access into the mind of Jesus’ grandmother. Using just the two aforementioned verses, we gain so much knowledge, wisdom and understanding about the two most essential prerequisites to giving birth to a god – desire and prayer.
Jesus’ grandmother, like so many of the women during her time, desired to be the woman that possessed the womb that Allah (God) would bless to produce the Deliverer. Can you imagine having that honor bestowed on you as a mother? It was indeed a coveted position and one of great honor, respect and adoration among the righteous.
As mothers, we get excited and want to celebrate and share every wonderful accomplishment or skill that our children manifest – no matter how insignificant it may seem in the eyes of others; we are Proud! Why? Because deep down we hope that it is an indication that our child is on the right path towards one day making a positive contribution to the world. Jesus’ grandmother, did not just want a child that would contribute to the world, she wanted to give birth to that One who would make the most transformative contribution, ever.
Desire. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, desire means, “to long or hope for: to express a wish for: to request: to invite.” Some synonyms of desire are “to crave, to hanker, to yearn, to covet.” This woman of Amran was so desirous of giving birth to the Deliverer, that she was not taking any chances. As soon a she knew that she was blessed with life in her womb, she went right away to Allah (God) in supplication and prayer – vowing to Him that the child she was carrying would be devoted to the service of God. A vow is a binding, sacred and solemn promise. Vows are not to be given lightly for they are in-fact lawful contracts. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “When you make a vow – that is not only your desire; that is your will combined with your determination. I vow. I’m determined that what I make – what is in my womb – is to be devoted to YOU.”
Evidently Jesus’ grandmother must have been a righteous and prayerful woman prior to her pregnancy. She had to have experienced having her prayers answered by Allah (God) many times before, because when she gave birth and saw that her child was a female, she was surprised and confused. This confusion arose because she prayed during pregnancy and she not only had faith, but a profound expectation that her prayer would indeed be answered.
This must have been based on the fact that she had been blessed to have had her prayers answered in the past. Her prayers were indeed answered, as she would soon come to understand. But at that moment, she expressed concern (but never disappointment) to Allah (God) that the baby that she had so well-prepared in the womb to be devoted to His service and had begged Him to accept from her was not the expected gender.
Allah (God) comforted her and eased her anxiety. Allah (God) is the Best Knower, so He knew in advance exactly what she would produce. “The male is not like the female.” Allah (God) required a special female first; a pure vessel that would then produce the male Deliverer. Understanding this, Jesus’ grandmother – a woman of Amran – then prayed for both her daughter AND her future grandson. She entrusted both Mary and Jesus into Allah’s (God’s) protection from the accursed devil. Powerful!
As Black women, we must understand that in all of this there are signs and lessons for us. We will never produce great children if we do not first and foremost have a profound desire to do so; long before we are pregnant. This desire then feeds our will to clean up our lives spiritually and physically.
Secondly, the moment that we are aware that life is in our womb, we must pray, pray, pray. Pray to Allah (God) and make our solemn vow. We should devote ourselves to prayer continuously throughout our pregnancy. Our prayer, however; should not stop at the child growing in our womb, but should extend to future generations beyond the one that we are presently producing – never having any doubt or thought in our mind that we will not receive the answer to our prayers.
May Allah (God) bless us to produce gods!
[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.]