By Imam Dawud H. Mahdi
“Oh My Lord, cover us with your forgiveness, me, my parents, and all the believers on the day when the reckoning will be held.”
I will always remember the day when I called my mother from my college dorm. I told her that I was changing my religion and becoming a Muslim. She said, “I’m with you son, because I know you will do what is right.” That was back in 1979. She was always supportive of her children in Al Islam. After 32 years, my mother, Mrs. Thelma Evans, who, turning 93 years old on December 25th, declared that there is “no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. She made this declaration on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011.
She is quick to remind us that she is not senile and still has a strong mind. She is a woman of faith. It has been her faith that has kept her strong over the years. She had lost a husband, our father, Thornton Evans, in 1968 to a hit and run driver. He was walking on his way to work on Tuesday, December 17th. She subsequently lost 4 of her 6 sons over a short span of time. Four of her surviving 6 children have embraced Al-Islam. My older sister, Allean (Evans) Hart, accepted the deen 3 months after I did and a day before the month of Ramadan. She fasted the entire month. Bernice Abdus Salaam became Muslim within a year. She is the youngest of 10 children and I am number 9. Another sister, Anniece Evans, embraced the religion in 2009 along with one of her son, that same year. Her sons name is David.
One day, Bernice came home from work, and my mother said that she was not feeling well. Bernice said to her, “you know what you need to do?” Mamma replied, “I do, I need to take my shahada.” Bernice showed her how to make wudu and Sulaimon, my son, led them in Maghrib prayer. He recalled waiting for them and turning to his first cousin, David, and saying, “do you realize we are getting ready to make salat with our grandmother?” It is remarkable that when I spoke with Bernice, she informed me that she had been making Tahajjud prayer and made du’a for our mother and I informed her that I was also making Tahajjud prayer the same night as she, for our mother. Allah surely answered our prayer. The majority of children and grandchildren have become Muslim.
This reminds me of the story of Abu Huraira, the companion of the Prophet (SAWS), who’s mother was one day saying some harsh things about the Prophet (SAWS) and he Abu Huraira felt bad about it. He later asked the Prophet to make du’a for his mother. Upon returning to visit his mother, he knocked at the door and his mother told him to wait, for she was making wudu. After that, he used to say to his mother, “Oh my mother, who had mercy on me in my childhood, and she would greet him, Oh my son, who saved me from the hell fire in my old age.”
It seems as though this religion is definitely in our genetic make-up. Our beloved leader, Imam W. D. Mohammed (may Allah grant him paradise), reminded us, that Dr. C. Eric Lincoln said, “African Americans have a predisposition to Al-Islam”.
On my father’s side of the family, one of his sisters, (now deceased) my aunt Beatrice Simmons, formerly of Flint MI, and follower of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad since the 1950′s, made the transition to Imam W. D. Mohammed’s leadership. I also have a first cousin that is Muslim, from my father’s sister, Allean (Evans) Collier, whose name is Idris Faruq and lives in Chicago. I have not seen Idris since the 1980 family reunion in Detroit, MI.
I thank Allah for His blessing of Al-Islam and for His putting us in the environment of America. America is best suited for the African American Muslim to come to their full destiny. We thank Allah for the leadership and legacy of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, a bold and courageous man. We thank Allah for Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, who has proven to be a “Reformer” of this day. He gave us, by Allah’s Mercy, the keys and the “logic” to understanding Quranic language and the life example of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).