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Word is Bond

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us simple acts of kindness, like, “If you have a bowl of bean soup, your brother got half.” When Islam came to the black community in America, self-hate was rampant. We were still calling one another big lip, nappy head, black niggas, and carrying on. In this book, I attempt to show the reader just how wounded we were as a result of the African American slavery experience.


My shortcomings disclosed in this book are by no means a confession, but rather my hopes that someone may identify with them and learn from my experience. In Islam, confession is owed to no man, only Allah (G-d). I have changed the names, places, and events to protect the identities of some individuals. However, these are real-life accounts that occurred in my life.

I also try to correlate the significant current events that were taking place during that time. The loss of notable leaders such as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Malcolm X Shabazz, Dr. Martin Luther King, and President John F. Kennedy had a profound impact on the growth and development of Islam in America. The uprising, better known as “The Riots,” in Newark, NJ, and other Black communities in the late 60s, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, also had profound impacts on the growth and development of Islam in America.


I will speak to the ravaging impact that drugs and alcohol had on Newark, and other Black communities across the nation through my own, personal, life experiences. I must say, while it was not pretty, I will try to give the reader some insight into the disease of addiction. I will try and dispel the notion that the disease of addiction is a moral, intellectual, or social status issue. It has been my experience that drug addiction does not discriminate. However, when it comes to the treatment of this disease, the Black community was not very high on the priority list.

Most of all, I hope to ease the growing amount of Islamophobia in the nation. Unfortunately, with all the terrorism going on across the country, including home-grown terrorism, and across the world, Islam and Muslims have somehow become the boogie man. I say, nothing could be further from the truth.


Islam means peace, and a Muslim is one who submits to the will of Allah (G-d). Through my own life experiences and the experiences of many of our great Muslim leaders and ancestors, I will explore the positive influence that Islam has had in our communities and across the nation.  

This book is not about me, as much as it is about the growth and development of Islam in our culture. It is truly my hope that the reader will keep an open mind and look for solutions rather than fault-finding. There is enough fault to go around. We are entering a new year, 2020, and living in critical times. When you just reflect on it, no matter what your faith or cultural belief might be, you might find that we have more commonalities than differences.


Qawi Shahid

Word is Bond

  • The goal of this book is to share a memoir of the positive impact that Islam had on my life and the Black community dating back to the early 1960s in Newark, New Jersey. I titled this book, “Word is Bond,” (and I will give my life before my word shall fail) because this expression had significant meaning to me, as a Black man, and to the Black community, at large. This expression was a lesson given to Muslims by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, which later spread, and was adopted by the Black community. For me, it exemplified the highest level of integrity one could have.

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