by Fudia Muhammad
Let’s be honest: When we hear that a couple is getting divorced, 9 times out of 10 we are not the least bit surprised. Why is that? How could we have anticipated the end was coming long before the pronouncement? The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said that how something comes into existence often determines how long it will last. This universal law is as true for the origin of a country as it is for each of our marriages. Everything has a beginning – every plant has a root; every building starts with a foundation; and every marriage was initiatedby a pursuit. The composition and quality inherent in every beginning will determine its strength, health and longevity. So, if we want to determine why something ended or how long it will last, examine the beginning.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1890, just 25 years post chattel slavery – Black women were more likely to be married than white women; and Black men were more likely to be married than white men. However, the trend began to reverse in the 1960s for men and in the 1970s for women. In 1890, 80% of Black households were comprised of two parents. Over one hundred years later, only 40% of Black children live in a household with married parents. As it stands today, according to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, “African Americans are significantly less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to ever marry, less likely to remarry, more likely to divorce, separate and cohabit and bear and rear children out-of-wedlock (and in mother-only households).”
There are many factors contributing to these sad statistics, but one variable remains unchanged. Instead of engaging in a careful, thoughtful and deliberate courtship process, we are replacing courtship with dating, premarital sex, and cohabiting. This is the way of the world, not Allah’s (God’s) way. Allah (God) forbids premarital sex and He hates divorce. Therefore, in the Nation of Islam to increase our likelihood of success, we do not date. We do not have boyfriends or girlfriends; in fact, this concept is completely foreign to both Bible and Holy Qur’an. We will not find a reference or equivalency to “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” in the scriptures. Today, we can no longer lip profess about God being the center of our lives and our marriages, our actions and choices must bear witness that we prefer His way.
When a young man believes he is ready for marriage and sees a young lady he would like to pursue, he should never share his intentions directly with her without first approaching her father. Regardless of her age, if the father is living; any honorable man will seek permission from the father and mother first. There can be no shortcuts during the courtship process because a proper courtship has one purpose: to determine whether or not the couple is compatible for marriage. This must be approached with all seriousness and righteous intention, we cannot allow our physical attraction to one anotherto cloudour critical discovery.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan shared these words, which give us a snapshot of a proper courtship process: “Among the righteous, courtship is chaperoned. This is done to keep the parties who are attracted to each other from entering into premarital sex, which then stops the process of courtship. In the word courtship is the word court. By definition we mean a place where justice is administered and a place where the process of finding the truth which forms the basis of justice and judgment. When two people are courting they are bringing evidence to either support their intention to be engaged, or evidence that they should look in other directions. This process of finding out as much as we can about each other is necessary in forming good and proper judgment. The individuals are the jury that must render a decision and the individuals must become the judges that ultimately make the decision that he or she is the right one for me. Cross examination is a part of court procedure, which allows direct testimony to be challenged to see if the persons are telling the truth, for it is only truth that will permit us to make good judgment. The more truth we know about each other, our characteristics, ways, strengths and weaknesses, it is the more right we can be in making a decision if we should become engaged to be married or not.“
Our conversations during courtship should begin with a focus on spirituality, our personal backgrounds, career ambitions, and family goals. If we find compatibility in those areas, we must then deal with and not shy away from practical areas. For example, in the N.O.I. if either has been previously married, proof of divorce must be provided. Before marriage we must also be willing to share our medical history and provide proof of health screenings; particularly for HIV and other STDs. Finances must also be discussed – some couples actually request to see credit reports before walking down the aisle (not a bad idea). In addition, it is mandatory that all couples receive counseling before they are married.
All courtships do not lead to engagement and marriage. If a couple determines they are not compatible, the courtship should end immediately. There are no commitments made during courtship and no intimate contact; so, this allows both to part with reputations intact and no ill feelings toward each other. The courtship process is far more in-depth than can be shared in this brief article; therefore, we strongly recommend that before entering into a courtship everyone read the Nation of Islam’s Comprehensive Courtship Manual compiled by The Healthy Relationship Initiative Team. We also recommend reading the book, Before You Say I Do by Brother Nuri Muhammad; and Real Love by Minister Ava Muhammad. Most importantly, please invest in your future by taking the time to listen to as many lectures on marriage and family by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as possible. He has given dozens of lectures on this profound topic that must be parsed; not to mention he is a living example, happily married for 65 years!
In a recent lecture, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said to the Sisters, “There are good men around. Don’t look for them. Let God bring one to you.” We need to stay out of God’s way and remain steadfast and patient. He is preparing someone for everyone. Don’t circumvent the courtship process out of fear of losing out on someone. What Allah (God) has for you, no one can take from you; and what He does not intend for you to have, no one can give to you. We know that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. It’s time to try God’s way and submit to a righteous courtship process – His way works!
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)