Monday, August 8, 2011

For the sake of conversation, I'll bite...

Ramadan Mubarak! (Day 8)

I get questioned a LOT about my decision to join the Nation of Islam and follow the Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

I tend to not mind the questions, but it does become time consuming. I decided to post my most recent exchange here and will begin directing people here to start and hopefully, get those initial questions out of the way.

So here goes....This exchange is with a person that I know who is a Baptist minister.

Q-Didn't you tell me that once upon a time you were Baptist? I thought I remember talking about it once, but can't remember if you did it as part of your relationship with your husband or if you met him thru it. Anyway, my question is why did you leave the faith?

Answer: I was in the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) in Detroit. My mothers family brought one of the first COGIC ministers to the city and set him up. We grew up in the same Cathedral as the Clark(sisters) and Winans families. I would say that my study of and practice of Islam is a result of my growth. I did not get the answers from Pastors that I needed to remain in any Christian church. Basic questions like "Where did God come from?" "Jeremiah 10-is this talking about Christmas trees?" 

So leading into the Million Man March in 1995 I went to hear Min. Ava Muhammad in Dayton, OH and this was around the time that Susan Smith killed her sons in the Carolina's and blamed a Black man. The reasoning and logic that she put onto that subject was fascinating and I knew that day that I wanted to hear more of that kind of teaching. (I was married to someone else at the time and went to hear Min. Ava on my own).

When my current husband and I reconnected, I knew he was Muslim but did not know that he was in the Nation. I had not registered into the Nation and was still attending a multi-cultural/Caucasian pastor/non-denominational type of church when I left Dayton. Once in Chicago in 1998 I visited several churches and the mosque and felt that was the best choice for me and my future family. I married my husband in 2000 and it was never a "requirement" that I join and he actually encouraged me to visit churches first. I had to ask him several times to even take me to the mosque, he wanted me to go on my own. After the first visit I knew how to get there and we never rode together again, even after getting married :o) We take religion VERY personally and both are responsible for our own "salvation". So I'd say that Islam brought us together "officially" because his lack of religion was the reason we parted back in 1997. 

Question- So the reason you changed from Christianity to Islam was because folks didn't answer your questions? You said you see Islam as an extension of your growth, so what has changed? Same God? Understanding of Jesus? Personal responsibility requirements? You're unique in that you have been a part of both. Help me understand the difference and thus the choice. Just curious at this point.

Answer - "So the reason you changed from Christianity to Islam was because folks didn't answer your questions?" - Yes! The Teachings of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad answered my questions and the social dynamics were similar to the fundamental COGIC that I was raised in. There are three Abrahamic religions and Islam is the last of the three so it was not a stretch. There is much overlapping in the three teachings. So I chose to stay where I found the answers. Islam honors all the Prophets of God (including Jesus) and the Nation has the social dynamic and justice quest that I believe should be tied to religion. I do not feel that I changed religions. I have always worshipped GOD and still do. I changed my worship practice.

Q-"You said you see Islam as an extension of your growth, so what has changed? Same God? Understanding of Jesus? Personal responsibility requirements?" 

PM-My study of the Bible left me with questions which is a sign of growth to me. My search for answers led me to the NOI. Only my practice has changed not my belief in God. 

Also, I don't feel unique as part of both, I don't know many people who are over 30 and not raised in the church. I only PERSONALLY know 2 or 3 people raised in Islam. My husband was raised in Catholic and Episcopal churches, I have a local Muslim friend whose father is a Baptist minister. 

People who didn't grow up Pentecostal don't always realize how restrictive traditional Churches of God in Christ are. And I like that. I believe that believers should have limits and daily practices to remain focused on God and His work and both the NOI and COGIC promote that to members. Also, I like teaching more than preaching style messages and I found that there too. I like structure and rules :o)

Photo: Me, my husband and our daughter who was born in 2004. This was taken after the Eid prayer in 2010.

No comments: