by Fudia Muhammad
Student Minister Nuri Muhammad (Indianapolis, IN) said that, “the child of a Muslim is not necessarily a Muslim child.” Hmm – let that sink in. The same can be said about the children of Christians and those of any other faith. Those of us who are striving to practice a way of life that is congruent with the principles of our faith, desire to reproduce children who will adopt those same righteous practices and principles. It is a challenge when the major institutions in this society – which we are forced to engage with – do not reflect our faith traditions and beliefs. This can make it difficult to reinforce the values taught at home or at the mosques and churches. There are no guarantees for any parent; but there is a direct correlation between effort and outcome – so our efforts must be intentional, strategic and consistent.
We cannot take for granted that our children will do as we say and as we do if we do not give them an understanding of WHY we do what we do. The Book of Proverbs 4:7 reads, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (KJV). The New International Version of the same scripture reads, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). What we can extract from this verse is that wisdom is the prerequisite for understanding, which is the ultimate goal. Knowledge and wisdom starts us on the right path – understanding keeps us there – and faith takes us to our god-potential. Knowledge, wisdom and understanding can all be taught. However, faith is an experience. Faith can only be established through a personal journey and relationship with Allah (God). As parents, we are responsible for what can be taught.
Parents who faithfully immerse their children in the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad by bringing them to mosque meetings and by living a disciplined lifestyle reflective of those Teachings, may yet be surprised by the responses from their children to basic questions about what we believe and why we practice as we do. The breadth of the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad goes far beyond universal principles such as, belief in one God, prayer, charity, fasting, personal struggle, and treating others the way we want to be treated. In addition, we are taught a specific body of knowledge and wisdom that is comprised of lessons which cover – the deportation of the moon; the 24-Scientists; the history of Yakub; the history of Shabazz; the Mother Plane; How to Eat to Live; and so much more. Our children must be taught this same body of wisdom.
In order for the children of Muslims to become Muslim children, they have to be directly taught the Teachings as we would teach them to the new converts. They cannot simply receive an influx of knowledge and wisdom; they need the same understanding we would give to a brand new Believer. “Do as I say, or else,” only works for a finite period of time. And there is no such thing as spontaneously consuming the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad; it must be purposefully taught and studied.
Those cities who are blessed to have Muhammad Universities of Islam or affiliate schools fully operational, have to also be careful that the curriculum not only includes core academics (math, science, English/language arts, social studies); but also the Lessons and the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Those without fully operational schools are not off the hook. We have to cast down our buckets where we are and take baby steps. Churches have Sunday school – and every city with a Mosque or a Study Group should at least have the equivalent by having Saturday School. Saturday Schools are a wonderful first step to expose our children to a structured, focused curriculum that covers the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Children love to be around other children and will be far more engaged and attentive than learning alone. Remember, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “You can have a university under a tree, as long as you are teaching subjects pertaining to the universe.” Our children are not only our future, but they are our present. We cannot wait for the complete establishment of desired institutions of learning before we pay attention to what our children need at present. They need The Teachings. The Originator created Himself and His home planet simultaneously. We must do the same. We will discover that what we desire for our children is the same desire that other Believers have for theirs – like minds must come together. Simply start by teaching the children what you already know. Then, follow every lesson by checking for understanding and giving a practical application exercise.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “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 went on to say, “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.”
Do not let this world’s grand institutions get us starry-eyed so that we lose focus. What we have been given is a superior Teaching, intended to produce the Kingdom of Allah (God). Our children will not accept this way of life simply because they were born into it – they must know it as we know it – understand it as we understand it – and then try Allah (God) so they can build their faith in it.
(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.