by Fudia Muhammad
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated, “We must remember that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that baby language should not be used by us. Now, we thought at one time that baby language meant profanity and certainly that is baby language. But baby language means an immature understanding of the word that Master Fard Muhammad brought.”
Parents do not have to teach their babies the mechanics of speech any more than we have to teach them how to suck, how to crawl or how to walk. Allah (God) took care of this for us. Some may call these milestones, innate instincts; but bigger than that, it is an indication and confirmation that we are all born with God-given natural intelligence. Having intelligence and knowledge are not the same thing. The Holy Qur’an reads, “And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers – you knew nothing – and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you might give thanks” (16:78). So, we are born without knowledge – knowing nothing and yet intelligent. Intelligence is “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” It’s brainpower!
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us about the divine intelligence found in the human being when we were nothing more than sperm. If you look at sperm under a microscope, it basically consists of only two parts – a large head followed by a long thin tail. As simple as it appears, there is a superior intelligence found in the head of each sperm. One emission can consist of tens of millions to hundreds of millions of sperm. And all must face the same three obstacles in order to achieve the ultimate goal – conception! The first obstacle is the hostile acidic environment of the vaginal tract that immediately works to eliminate the sperm, which is perceived as a foreign object and potentially harmful. The second obstacle is that each sperm must travel upstream against the natural pull of gravity, which means it must not only move swiftly, but strategically. The final obstacle is competition with many – millions of sperm all competing to accomplish the exact same goal. But in the end, only one can fertilize the egg. The most intelligent one wins every time! That was you. That was me. That is our children.
The fact that we exist and were able to overcome tremendous difficulties is proof of our supreme intelligence and our divine relationship with our Creator. We must keep this at the forefront of our mind when we handle our children. Just because they are small, does not mean that we should treat them like imbeciles. At birth, babies are in-fact more intelligent than we are because they are closer to God. However, we know more. So while we do not have to teach our babies the mechanics of how to talk – we do have to introduce them to language by modeling and demonstrating proper speech for them. Educated white women seem to understand the value of talking to their babies far more than any other group. We need to disabuse ourselves of any notion that talking intelligently to babies and toddlers is silly. A significant amount of research has been conducted which corroborates the power of talking to our babies.
Children are ready to learn as soon as we are ready to teach them. Knowing this, we should begin talking to our babies when they are in the womb. Sound travels at the rate of 1,120 feet per second. But according to scientists, sound travels about four times faster in water than in air. A baby in utero is living in a sack of water for the entirety of the pregnancy. The baby can feed from the mother’s thoughts, energy and spirit immediately after conception. But later, the baby can also literally hear the sound of the mother’s voice during the second trimester of pregnancy and will physically respond to additional sounds near the end of the second trimester. So we should talk to our babies everyday while in the womb. But DO NOT stop when the baby is born!
In the Supreme Wisdom Lessons given to the followers of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, we are admonished not to use baby language at any time. We are also taught in our Lessons that everyone – young, old, men, women and children – are all equipped physically and mentally to accomplish our given assignments. How does this relate to the type of language that we should use when rearing our children?
Master Fard Muhammad made no exceptions with regards to age and our ability to learn. Speech and language run a close second only to sight, when it comes to stimulating the brain receptors and overall development. Since babies are able to understand language far sooner than they are able to speak – we must be careful to model the proper speech and proper use of language for them. Master Fard Muhammad said, “Baby language will not be tolerated.” As noted earlier, this has multiple meanings. But what we do know is that the Lessons given to us by Master Fard Muhammad do not consist of any made-up or childish speech. What people call baby talk should only come from babies, not from adults addressing babies. It is a part of the developmental process towards understandable speech for a baby to ‘coo’ and ‘goo-goo-ga-ga.’ Babies use high-pitched squeaky nonsensical sounds in their attempt to imitate what they hear others say – we are not to reciprocate in like manner.
As parents we can be funny and actively playful with our babies and toddlers without making up words and misusing the language. The reason this is not encouraged is because this starts the process of dumbing down these highly intelligent beings; instead of strengthening their intelligence by exposing them to the proper use and articulation of language and communication. We do not want to be responsible for making a child who could have potentially learned five languages before Kindergarten to now barely being able to speak English. Yes, our word choice should be age-appropriate, but that does not mean it can’t be dignified, refined and correct. For example, when our children have an injury, do not refer to it as a ‘boo-boo’ – call it what it is – a bruise, a scrape, a cut, a burn, etc. Most of us are guilty of this; but then we send our children to school and expect them to use the language correctly.
The baby recognizes the voice of his/her mother instantly from hearing her in the womb. Allah (God) says that everything in His creation is a word. As mothers, we are the first teacher of our babies. So we should expose them to as many of God’s words as possible. Note: God’s words do not include profanity because this is also baby language. The language of God is never profane. There is no level of anger, frustration or pain that does not have a word to describe it. So for most of us, the use of profanity exposes our slackness and immaturity. But as we mature in our own understanding of the Word that God brought, we will perfect our expression of that Word so that even a baby can understand. After all, Jesus is our example and he spoke wisdom from the cradle to old age…smile!
(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.)