Discover the Rich History of Our Educational Institutions
The History of Schools of the Sister Clara Muhammad Memorial Education Foundation
With instant access to breaking news around the world and with the instant ability for one to communicate with others globally, it is imperative that as adults, we continuously seek knowledge and truth while providing guidance and direction for our children as we assist them in their search for knowledge and truth, which will allow them to grow into justly balanced adults.
“Education takes our minds from darkness into light,” according to Imam Warithudeen Mohammed [RA], which is imperative at this juncture in the history of humankind because of the various destructive, extremist, ideologies that – with modern technology - one has instant access to, which can impede one’s growth into a justly balanced individual. To that end, from early on, parents and educators must socialize our children to understand whom they are as members of the human family AND what their roles are and will be in contributing to the building of their local and global society as adults.
As an illustration, this has been an uphill battle against a plethora of odds for the African American community for the past five hundred years, when they began to involuntarily migrate as enslaved persons to what became the United States of America. Sixty-five years after slavery was abolished in 1865, in 1932, a group of African Americans in Detroit, Michigan, led by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who had begun to hear about Al Islam one year earlier from a man originally from the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent, opened their first school, the University of Islam School [UOI], under the direction of The Honorable Sister Clara Muhammad.
Early on, they began home schooling their children with an emphasis on assisting them in developing a positive mindset about African Americans during that period of segregation and Jim Crow laws. This was a process of re-socialization from the “slave mindset” to that of developing oneself. They were using certain tenets of Al Islam to develop the necessary discipline for this process of transformation.
Joining the community during that first resurrection period, which continued until 1975, were such illustrious personalities as Muhammad Ali, the champion boxer; Malcolm X/El Hajj Malik Shabazz; the future United States Congressman from Indiana, Representative Andre Carson, and the future Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times photojournalist, Ozier Muhammad, a grandson of Sister Clara and Mr. Muhammad, who attended the University of Islam School.
As the thinking of Americans, in general, began to become more progressive and to evolve, after the passing of his father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1975, Imam Warithudeen Mohammed brought members of that community to mainstream Al Islam, and, in the process, changed the name of what was the University of Islam Schools to the Clara Muhammad Schools [CMS], in honor of his mother. These schools have continuously assisted students in developing critical-thinking, sober, positive, moderate mindsets by using a “creation-inspired curriculum” based on the teachings of Imam Warithudeen Mohammed and his instruction to educators. Imam Mohammed reconciled our association with the world! Following his instructions from our scriptures, the Qur'an, and so forth, examples of his followers include such luminaries as the Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, the Honorable Keith Ellison.
Following his instructions from the Qur’an, in addition to those mentioned above who are living, includes such luminaries as Rabbi Abdullah, the former NFL Super Bowl star; the Honorable Judge Anthony Simpkins of Illinois, and the Honorable Judge Fatimah El Amin of Georgia, who is a graduate of the Clara Muhammad School and W.D. Mohammed High School of Atlanta. Although the schools now have diverse student populations, Muslim and non-Muslim, the majority of the students are African American, and because of their history in these United States, the task has been and continues to be arduous. However, we are overcoming all obstacles!
Imam Warithudeen Mohammed, who revived the faith that many of our ancestors brought with them when they were forced to migrate to what became the United States of America, said that “all Muslim children have a right to an Islamic education, and all children have a right to an education in a moral environment.” The creation-inspired curriculum used in the Clara Muhammad Schools is based on the notion that the one Creator of all humankind instructs us through the Qur’an that He has placed observable signs in creation – biological, physical, social, spiritual – which we must study to broaden our knowledge to be able to fulfill His purpose for us as His agent here on earth.
The primary focus of the curriculum is the development of the human being. This includes critically thinking about the many destructive forces in society which impede this positive development of the human mindset, including our relationship with each other. For He says in the Qur’an that the variations in our colors and languages are signs for us to know each other, so that we can work together to build a good life - good families, strong friendships, and good communities together - not for some to dominate others in various unjust ways with extremist ideologies, exploitative business practices, antisocial popular cultures, and other destructive practices.
Everyone has the potential for human excellence. The Clara Muhammad Schools are striving to assist all children in realizing this potential and striving to achieve their human excellence!