By Narjis Nichole Abdul-Majid
In “A Healthy Patriotism” Imam W. Deen Mohammad gives a brief overview of Nation of Islam history and the transformative growth of African-American Islam before beginning a discourse about Patriotism. The talk is frank and accessible, as was the nature of the late imam, but as much as it was historically framed the messages are as poignant now as they were in 2004.
Often we engage with speakers who expect or assume too much of their audience and Imam Mohammad brings the discussion of patriotism back to the simplicity of a dinner table chat. He reminds us all of the origins of the term patriotism and how that relates back to our understanding and self-identification of fatherland and fatherhood, which is still a challenge in the African-American and greater African-American Muslim population.
The 45-minute lecture intermixes humor and history with an optimism that is scarce in today’s African American population. What is refreshing is the hope that is grounded in what we know to be true as African-Americans. In part 3, which has been shared, Imam Mohammed reminds us that America is a land for all people, not just white Christians. He implores Muslims to follow the leadership of former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and live, both mentally and physically as a people who have ownership of their country and are determined to be successful. This lesson is not far removed from the life lessons that we take away from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who taught us that a successful community, and by extension country, will only be successful with a strong connection and awareness of God. The entire lecture and its Q&A session are available on YouTube in 8 parts.
Narjis Nichole Abdul-Majid is a part-time lecturer in the departments of Pan African Studies and Humanities at the University of Louisville. Her research interests focus on the African American and Native American Islamic experiences (Slavery-Melungeons-20th Century Islamic Movements-Present Day) with emphasis on minority voices.