Prior to joining The Nation of Islam, I voiced what I wanted for my life and I had an exhausting list of questions that were hard to find answers for. So when I attended my first lecture on Sunday, January 12, 2014, it was shocking to see and hear some of what I wanted for my life and to receive answers to questions I had for years. It only took one meeting to plant seeds in the womb of my mind and heart. No, I wasn’t sure about joining just yet, but I knew I wanted more. It was a lot to process. Could this all be too good to be true?
I am a “Nation Baby” so I was raised in the Nation, but I did still choose Islam for myself. Because we are a curious people with free will, we all have that period of time where we wander from the religious beliefs that we were raised knowing. That lasted approximately six months for me. I realized quickly that I belong in The Nation.
I am Zakiyyah Maryam and was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee in the Nation of Islam. My family’s journey to Islam began with my Great-Grandmother, Willie (May Allah Be Pleased with her). She had to pick cotton when she was growing up. She was a sharecropper and that injustice system that kept black people in an economically insufficient condition also kept them away from formal education, which my great-grandmother did not have.When she was allowed to move away from sharecropping, she then began teaching herself how to read and became an avid reader. It was also the truth in the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which is Freedom, Justice, Equality (Islam).
I’m in marketing and was offended when a story in the pipeline for Muslim Women’s Day got delayed because “it’s not a widely-known holiday”. Because I’m taught to rise above emotions into the thinking of God, I realized that it is my responsibility to spread the Good News and represent as a Muslim woman. I don’t need to wait on anyone or expect anyone else to do the work. I will say, I am happy my job will share a story on a Muslim woman. It’s just that comment was an ouch that I turned into an opportunity.
On a typical moment of scrolling on Facebook, I smiled when I noticed a Sister expressing her love for wearing a garment. In my elation, I had to stop and read her post. In it she was sharing how thankful she was to have and wear a garment that is instructed for Sisters who are registered members in The Nation of Islam (NOI) under The Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
On Wednesday, November 22, I reflected on when I joined The Nation of Islam. The Genesis of our journey, is a constant reflection that we should take the time to understand. As Sister Saron X from the UK shared, “We must always remember our Genesis as individuals, it holds so many keys to where Allah is taking us and our purpose!”