Twists and turns in my personal journey by Mauri’ Saalakhan

by Akeem Alao
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I just finished making the prayer known as Tahajud – the voluntary prayer often made by Muslims in the last stretch of the night before salatul Fajr (the mandatory early morning prayer).

Following the prayer I made a du’a (supplication) that ended with: “O ALLAH, help me to remember You; to be grateful to You; and to worship You in the best manner.

Please forgive me for my sins, and bless me to die in a state of Islam (voluntary obedience/surrender to God’s Will). Ameen.

Gratitude is what I feel this early morn.

At 16 years of age I wondered if I would see 18. At 18, I wondered if I would live to be 21. By the time I reached the age of 21 my life had taken a fateful turn along a more spiritual path, as a follower of the Hon Elijah Muhammad and the NOI. (Reliable sources report he renounced the core premise of his teachings and embraced true Islam before he passed away in Feb 1975. May ALLAH forgive his sins and grant him paradise. Ameen.)
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The adhan (call to prayer) just sounded; I will come back to this after the salat, iA

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In the summer of 75 I made the decision to move from Bridgeport, CT, to Washington, DC. By this time my life was full of tumult and uncertainty.

I had been married and divorced, and I was on the verge of leaving the NOI (as I had left the Black Panther Party two and half years earlier) – full of discontent).

I arrived in WDC in August 1975, “transfer letter” in hand. It took almost a month for me to make the decision to give the NOI another chance. I reported to Mosque #4 – later known as Masjid Muhammad (today also known as “The Nation’s Mosque”) – and I’m so glad I did.

I was introduced to a new leader with more inspiring integrity then the one I left behind in Bridgeport.

The late Khalil Abdel Alim (may ALLAH be pleased with him). I thank ALLAH for putting him in my path.

Gradually I came to know the new leader of the NOI, Wallace D. Muhammad – who would later become known as W. Deen Mohammed and Imam Warithuddin Mohammed. Imam Mohammed became known as the “Mujedid” (reviver of the religion); and this is what he certainly was for me and many others in the US.

He led me and tens of thousands of others to the Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah (the teachings and example of the last divinely sent Messenger of ALLAH, God Almighty, and the Seal of the Prophethood – Mohamed Ibn Abdullah (pbuh).

While there would be more turbulent (sometimes heartbreaking) twists and turns in my own personal journey, primarily due to my own personal shortcomings, I was (unknowingly at the time) on a path of rectitude and self realization that would be years in the making; bringing me to where I am today (Alhamdullilah/praises be to God).

On February 26, if I am still on this side of the earth, I will mark 70 years of life. Quite a distance from 18 & 21.

With that being said, it just occurred to me that I have the beginning of a personal memoir.

To be continued, iA.

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

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