“Praise be to Allah! Whose is whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and to Him be praise in the Hereafter! And He is the Wise, the Aware. He Knows that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from heaven and that which goes up to it. And He is the Merciful, the Forgiving.” Holy Qur’an, Surah 34, verses 1 and 2
On the last three days of the month of October, I was in Houston, Texas as one of the invitee’s to participate in the Third annual Women’s Conference organized by the M.G.T. and G.C.C., Muslim Girl’s Training and General Civilization Class of the Southwestern Region of the United States. The theme of the conference was “Women of God, Ascending and Transcending, A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than Its Woman.”
It proved to be for me a time of reflection and remembrance which took me back to my roots or beginnings in Detroit, Michigan where I was born. This was a delicate period in my life that linked me to the Nation of Islam as a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad at the age of 16, which was my graduate year as a senior at Central High School.
What made this journey to Houston, Texas, particularly joyful was the quality of the experiences that I had that included jointly sharing in a workshop focusing on male and female relationships with my son, Rasul Muhammad. That day terminated with a special evening of culture and entertainment in which again my son, Rasul, joined his mother in my presentation along with Sister Sareeta Muhammad from Los Angeles, California and members of the Houston Community and our Host Committee.
On the next morning, it was fulfilling and gratifying to visit the Church Bookstore and Exhibit Halls of the Shrine of the Black Madonna, located only five minutes away from the Regional Mosque Headquarters in Houston administered under the spiritual stewardship of Min. Robert Muhammad, whose housing properties include a beautiful Church-Mosque complex and adjacent school building in this Southwestern Region under the Leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
The visit to the Shrine of the Black Madonna took me back to about 44 years ago when I was an active youth member of the Central Congregational Church, then pastored by the Reverend Albert B. Cleage, who renamed the Church to the Shrine of the Black Madonna with other locations in Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan and Washington, D.C. He has now adopted the name Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman, as the Founder and Holy Patriarch of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church.
I have not seen nor met with my brother and former pastor since those early years in Detroit, Michigan. I recalled that between 1957 and 1958, when I initiated my studies of the Divine Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I had arranged a meeting between the former Reverend Albert B. Cleage, Jr. and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad along with the former and late Minister of the Mosque in Detroit, Michigan, Brother Wilford X., who was also a brother of the late Malcolm X, El Hajj Malkik El Shabazz.
I was truly grateful to my Hosts, Sisters Valerie and Betty Muhammad, in particular, along with all others who gave me such a warm welcome and opportunity to spread my wings and fly during the last October weekend of the last year of the 20th century. I will always remember the gracious and kind Lady, Sister Vertabe Muhammad, who as an Elder of the Nation of Islam, always stood by faithfully in her support of all of our efforts to promote our new evolving cultural expression designed with our youth and young adult participation throughout the ’80s and the ’90s.
In my Mosque Lecture presented on Sunday, Oct. 31, I entitled my address: “Thank you Houston,” and traveled from Genesis to Revelation on a reflective spiritual journey in which I shared sketches of the lives of the Prophets and the Women of God who were chosen to serve their communities and peoples throughout the past 6,000 years of world History.
And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to thee from thy Lord, is the Truth, and it guides into the path of the Mighty, the Praised. —Holy Qu’ran, Surah 34, verse 6