The Rise of Black Muslim Youth!
Muslim Empowerment Institute’s representative, Hakeem Muhammad, spoke with several Muslims gaining valuable insights regarding what must be done to advance Islam in Black America among the Youth.
Mosque Maryam’s rising Student Youth Minister, Joshua X proclaims, “The youth represent the future of leadership. When you have passionate youth who sincerely care about whatever movement they’re apart of, they assist heavily in guiding the movement in a positive direction.” As a Student Youth Minister in the Nation of Islam, Joshua X stated his goal was to make the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad more appealing to youth. “I strive to take what’s already been proven to work among our people and put it into a language that is attractive to the young generation.”
Known to drop lines from the latest hip-hop singles, Joshua X states, “In today’s society, the rappers are the preachers and the rap songs are the sermons. Our people are more into 50 Cent than they are Creflo Dollar. When I lift up quotes from rappers from the rostrum, my aim is to appeal to the youth, so they can see that the brother before them isn’t just some uptight religious dude.” Joshua X says he strives to convey truth to the youth with a swag they can understand and love.
Indeed, the prophetic biography bears witness to Joshua X’s profound statement. In the prophetic traditions, we are taught that we must take advantage of our youth before we grow to old age and that Allah blesses the youth who grew up with their hearts attracted to the mosque.
Youth played a pivotal and momentous role in the rise, preservation, and advancement of the Islamic movement for freedom, justice, and equality. The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) designed youth with very important roles. It was Ali Ibn Abi Talib, a cousin of the Prophet(pbuh), who embraced Islam in his youth and in his early 20’s, he demonstrated immense bravery by choosing to sleep in the very bed that the disbelievers sought to assassinate the Prophet(pbuh) upon. It was Usamah ibn Zaid who was appointed to the position of general by the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) at a very young age. Ensuring that the youth have active roles to play is essential in ensuring the success of Islam.
In speaking with Brother Dre Ali, an FOI soldier from Mosque Maryam in Chicago, on how we can spread Islam to black youth, he informed me,”One of the things we can do better to fish our youth is to show how relevant our teachings are to their specific condition in 2017.” Dre Ali explained that in order for Islam to advance in Black America, there must be practical examples of how Islam can bring people from the darkness into light and address their social, political, and spiritual needs. Black Muslim leaders must have ministries directed to the spiritual and social needs of black folks in the most marginalized neighborhoods.
Brother Trevor Muhammad, a writer at the Final Call Newspaper in London, offered also some valuable advice about how we bring more black youth into the fold of Islam, “Many young men are coming from broken homes, coming from hostile environments, so if we can produce an environment, an atmosphere among ourselves of peace and productivity – we’re going to be very effective in fishing our brothers in.” Trevor’s words drive home a critical point: the very best dawah is actively living the message of Islam.
Brother Shahid Muhammad, an FOI soldier and a purple belt in Vsk Jiujitsu, informed me of the valuable role that martial arts training plays for Black Muslim youth, “Although a Muslim is never the aggressor, we are taught to fight with those who fight with us. So fighting is essential to the life of a Muslim as taught by Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), given in the Holy Quran. “Indeed, as Muslims, carrying out the dawah and working to cleanse our black communities of drug trafficking and gang conflicts, we must project an image of strength, power, and security, and be willing to meet hostile forces head on. Martial arts and self-defense training can play an instrumental role in this as we fight to make our communities safe places to live and through Islam, address the social needs of our black community.
In the prophetic biography, the Prophet(pbuh)once commissioned to go into the city of Ta’if. Ta’if was known as a city hostile to Islam and the disbelievers insulted, mocked, and even stoned the Prophet(pbuh) out of the city. Having been badly injured, the Prophet(pbuh) made the following prayer, “You are the Lord of the weak, and you are my Lord. To whom do You leave me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy You have given power over me? As long as you are not displeased with me, I do not care what I face.” For the sake of calling people to Islam, the Prophet(pbuh) was willing to endure immense physical torture and prioritized Allah’s pleasure over his own physical comfort.
Furthermore, he maintained a profound optimism about the future, “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be people from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause.” Through all the trials, the Prophet(pbuh) maintained a conviction that the social-political realities of that people would improve.
As Black Muslim youth, we must begin to develop the same mentality that the Prophet(pbuh) displayed as he journeyed into Ta’if, which was one of profound optimism and self-sacrifice. We must work to spread the message of Islam in the trenches. This entails bringing the message of Islam to black youth who are in gangs, in prison, and who occupy trap houses. We must go into the streets of the hood wherein the people may be hostile to Islam but still deliver the message prioritizing Allah’s pleasure over our own personal comfort. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has given Muslims a very important task:
Muslims: Move out with skill and wisdom and teach the people what Allah has given to us. It’s our duty.
Though many of our people may be languishing from a lack of knowledge of self, drug addictions, gang conflicts, and prostitution, we must never stop the dawah and have optimism that perhaps one day that black brother or his progeny may worship Allah and serve his cause. Perhaps, that brainwashed black brother or his progeny who have been socially engineered to sell drugs in trap houses and carry out shootings on rival gangs may become Muslim and serve Allah’s cause. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad once said he would not rest until the Qu’ran became the law under which all black people lived, likewise, we must not rest until we bring this into fruition.