TABLE TALKS; NAMES, POLITICS, L/F WOMEN DRESS, & BIG NUMBERS
TABLE TALKS WITH MESSENGER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD
On Names, Lost Found Sisters Dress, Politics, & Success Does Not Depend on Numbers
(Unless otherwise specified all answers listed as answers are made by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah.)
QUESTION: What should a muslim name his child? I’m sure you get many letters every day asking you what name should I have my newborn child?
ANSWER: Give them a Muslim name if you want but the fact about it is you should have one too. You should apply an independent name of God to an “X”. No, because this means any name that I would take that is an attribute of God should have nothing else attached to it such as “X” which is an unknown quantity or an unknown name because this (the attribute of God) is known. Say for instance that I would name myself Abdul X Johnson. I’m qualifying Abdul by X and Johnson.
QUESTION: Is it acceptable for one to decide to take a full name? For example Malik Muhammad?
ANSWER: It is not given for you to choose names of Allah according to your wishes. You were dead and out of his names and under the names of enemies of God and yourself and didn’t know it. You could also make mock of His name the way you would choose and try to link them up according to your wishes. The meaning of these names for example; one name could have several meanings. It doesn’t just stop at the one meaning, several meanings may be there and you may be choosing a name that nothing in your qualifications demand that you should be given such a name. Then you may choose one in which you should have choosen a different one because of your better qualifications or future life. He (Allah) named me first Karriem. Then later He changed my name to Muhammad. He told me He wanted me to have a bigger name. He referred to a more honorable name as a “bigger” name. He wanted me to take Abdul Muhammad. He wouldn’t force it on me after I was too dumb to know what Abdul meant (smile). So I rejected Abdul and held on to Elijah but I didn’t reject Muhammad because I liked that name. Then, at that time I didn’t know the meaning of these names. That was when I was first being taught. Since I learned the meanings of Abdul, I wish I had taken it. Karriem is a lesser name in its meaning than Muhammad. Muhammad has the highest honor of any of them.
QUESTION: Isn’t there a sequence in which these names should fall? For example Karriem isn’t a first name is it? Could someone be named Karriem Abdullah? Would that be correct.
ANSWER: Yes. You could also be named Karriem Allah.
QUESTION: How about Allah Karriem? Are the first and last names interchangeable?
ANSWER: No. You don’t put anything behind Allah. You can say Karriem Allah, not Allah Karriem.
QUESTION: That’s important to know because some times you find persons have choosen themselves a name and they stick them together any old way in any direction.
ANSWER: Yes, that’s like a man trying to put his head down on his feet (smile). The name has too much meaning to it. Karriem for example we could say is merciful or for a person with saintly qualities. When it comes to Allah that means the one hundred attributes of God. Therefore we should not put it in front of a name that means less.
QUESTION: Some parents will give their children a name totally different then the names they themselves carry. I wonder if this would create a legal problem for them in the framework of this society?
ANSWER: Yes, and it is an insult to the Holy name to apply it to a name that does not have any Holy meaning to it or is not a name of Allah. If I had to take a name while I’m at it I would take the whole thing. I’d take two names. I wouldn’t go and apply one of these names of Allah to little or nothing like a slave name. That I wouldn’t do. I think the Muslims or believers should be content with just adding an “X” to their salve name because this tells the world you don’t just yet know your name. Its’ yet pending, and it shows you are “X” out of your name. And then again Allah knows, and He has promised you a name and I’m not the one to go to work to give nationally to my followers names of Allah. I was not given that authority. It never did arise as such but in a way that He told me I know its according to the scripture. He Himself will name them. He told me He had a name for all when the time comes and the book teaches that the works will step up a war until He did name His people. In the Revelation where it says that He stopped the Angels from executing a judgment on the country, on the beast until he could seal them in the forehead with his name because its in the head that is the faith. alright and thats already sealed; but giving them a name would come – like the Book said there in revelation, He give them a name written on stone that no man could read it save he who received it and all like that because He give it in Arabic and there was non-speaking Arabic people there. Those whom He was naming were nonarabic speaking therefore they couldn’t read the name in Arabic. So it’s pretty well put in the Book but it has to be understood. In Isaiah it says bring everyone that is called by my name and the next few words gives us the knowledge that He did name them Himself. He said because I have chosen them for my glory. Therefore He is demanding that there be given up all that is called by His name because He gave them that name.
QUESTION: Recently the Muslims here in Chicago actively supported a political candidate for office. Does this indicate a change in our attitude about voting? Along these lines how closely should the local Muslim minister observe the shifting political scene in their own areas? And lastly, what part should they play if any in trying to help shape policy of the active black candidates? This seems to be cropping up all over the country; many black men are running for office and they are asking for the support of the black community including the Muslims.
ANSWER: I will let you know whether or not that we should enter the political field myself, personally (Note: there was no further explanation or ramifications of this point at that time. The statement was bluntly put and that was that).
QUESTION: Recently a policy change was inaugurated by you whereas Lost-Founds (women) were not to be permitted to enter the Mosque if their dresses were above their knees. What effect do you think this will have on recruiting women to the ranks of Islam in view particularly of the fact that in some areas the Ministers have reported a fall in the attendance of the women? When the women are turned away due to dress length, what explanation if any should the official who sends them away give to them?
ANSWER: That we will not have people coming in our Temple with a disgraceful style. We can not stay in the field of reforming our people from wearing such indecent styles if we are going to permit them to sit in our Temple with us. We must lock the door on such styles.
QUESTION: This then is the way you recommend the official tell the person refused admittance?
ANSWER: Exactly without any explanation further. Here, some time, they take the hem out of their skirt if they are interested. Sometimes they go home and change their skirt and come back. I will never permit them to come into the Temple with mini-dresses on. If we don’t have one sister coming to us, regardless to how it diminishes the number of visitors, I’m not going to yield to their wishes of indecency disgracing the Temple of Islam. Could they go to heaven like that? If not this is the door to heaven, That’s what the Mosque is — a door to heaven. Over here we honor no style of the devil that is an indecent style. And if not one of our sister will accept coming to the Temple because of the prohibition against wearing such styles, o.k., they can stay home forever! You can’t please two masters. With such dresses on she tempts menfolks. Especially when she sits down because she has nothing to hide herself. If you’re going to bring temptation into the Temple where you’re suppose to be reforming them, you’re a poor reformer, in fact you’re no reformer at all. I did dismiss one Minister who was permitting such acts. (Note: At this point the M.G.T. Captain at No. 2 entered. Coincidentally we pointed out to her, we were just discussing the questions of sisters and their dress and she, (The Captain) was asked how she was handling the situation at No. 2 and what were some of the responses like…)
SIS. CAPTAIN: We don’t have any difficulty there. The sisters respond well. When you tell them that we have a regulation here that all followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad carry out, that is for a sister to be allowed inside our congregation they must have a garment on that is at least 2-1/2 inches below her knees and when she sits down we can not have her garment riding above her knees. After we explain to them it is a form of respect for themselves and for the teachings we don’t have any problems, not argumentative. We had one sister go home and change and came back and her dress was still too short. They seem to understand that we have to stick to our laws. They are not argumentative at all. Some of them turn their skirts down lower.
HOLY APOSTLE: Some of them take their hems out?
SIS. CAPTAIN: That’s right. We’ve had that happen many times. (Note: The conversation went on in this vein and the Holy Apostle then made the following statement):
HOLY APOSTLE: This shows that they want to come in and hear the Truth! I don’t think any sister with a decent mind would argue with you about not permitting any indecent style into your Holy place. Then if they do begin arguing with you, you know that if you had allowed her to go in you would not have a fit sister anyway. Some of the Temples, they like to have big numbers to report regardless to what they look like. The Holy Qur’an and Bible teaches that it does not take numbers to accomplish great things. It is the ones that are sincere. So it is with us. this is warning us, that if our number is small remember that it is like all other great things in the past that came about; it was a small number that brought about such things. Even fighting the enemy, the Holy Qur’an teaches us do not be afraid to go before the enemy because we are small in number. Kingdoms have been taken with a small number. It’s the faith that you have from Allah. We may not have a world of people to fight the enemy but be steadfast in Allah for Allah is sufficient to take care of them alone.