By Dawud Walid
Much to do has been made in the media of the troubles that Shabazz went through as a youth from the fire he set as an adolescent, which killed his grandmother Dr. Betty Shabazz, to later brushes with the law. However, little has been spoken about the positive maturation of Shabazz.
I met Shabazz along with Hamza Perez, the focus of the “New Muslim Cool” documentary, approximately three years ago at the Ershad Center in Miami. Shabazz gave a lecture about his recent stay and studies in Syria and some of the challenges he faced being a Blackamerican in the Middle East. He also spoke of the impact of his grandfather and his decision to follow the Ja’fari school of thought.
After this meeting and having some conversations with Shabazz the following three days, I interacted with him later at conferences in other states and spent time with him when he visited Michigan. My last discussion with him was after he gave a lecture at Michigan State University last year in which he later attended the Islamic center off campus in which I was the khateeb for Jumu’ah. I definitely noticed an evolution in his ideas and purpose.
Shabazz was more than a man with brushes with the law. He spoke at conferences about human rights and joined in solidarity with immigrant and workers’ rights activists in the Latino community. He made Hajj and was a reader of philosophy. He was a father who was beloved by his family and was respected by many Muslim youth, Blackamerican community organizers and leftist activists.
I am not delving into conjecture about the veracity of media reports surrounding his demise or if his homicide was part of a broader conspiracy. Shabazz was Muslim, who went through many struggles in life. I ask that we pray that he receives ease in the grave and that his family is grant patience during this difficult time.