[Publisher's Note: Although one member of the team is "responding" in the interview, the questions were given during a team conference call where ALL of the Mosque No. 7 drill team members gave their feedback and contributed overall.]
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): In your own words, what is the meaning of military drill in the Nation of Islam? Why is it such an intricate part of our culture?
Tariq Muhammad (TM): NOI Military Drill is the physical expression of a Muslim’s continuous struggle to exemplify the oneness of God through the exercise of discipline. As we stand in ranks; clean, crisp, strong, militant and protected by our brothers, we are forced to remove ourselves from the arrogance of the world and into the submission of humility in synchrony. This exercise means focus, determination, observation, alertness and awareness. This exercise means the physical manifestation of what a Muslim is supposed to be. This exercise means Islam. Military Drill is such an intricate part of our culture, because it demands those who submit to empty themselves of personal initiatives; taking on the mission of Allah (God) which is the unity of the Blackman and woman in America and across the World.
EM: Who are the F.O.I.?
TM: The F.O.I. are the Fruit of Islam. They are the best part of the complete submission to the will of Allah. They are the men who protect our women, the fathers who guild our children and the vicegerents who were tailor made to build the kingdom of God. They are the “men who are the envy of men, the men who are the object of passion when women look at men; in whom is the spirit of God.” – The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Many are called…but the F.O.I. are chosen.
EM: What attracted you and most men to military drill? Why do you drill?
TM: Being blessed to grow up in the Nation of Islam, Drill was our Football, Basketball, and videogames. Drill was our fun; our pastime. The competition of elimination attracted me and many of the other young brothers to drill. Elimination represented a group of soldiers, alongside on another, striving to stay steadfast to the word of Allah (our Drill Instructor). As we moved left, right, back and forth, keening solely in on the DI’s command, the team remained sharp and crisp as the sweat rolled from our faces. The battle of righteous competition continued until one of the last two soldiers anticipated the command and moved contrary to the word of God. Once the champion was rewarded by a strong round of applause for his excellent execution, the team was granted another opportunity to strive to exemplify the perfect execution of Allah’s word. Elimination instilled in us as young F.O.I. the core principles of obedience to Allah and His Messenger. Today we drill in efforts to transfer these principles from a physical application into tools to become the vicegerents for Allah and His Messenger. We drill to serve Him.
EM: What should someone expect to see and experience at a Nation of Islam drill competition?
TM: During a NOI National Drill Competition one should expect to see militancy, creativity, precision, execution, poise, elegance and honor. Viewers will see the diversity in drill as they view the small nuances of the different cities; in addition to the mirroring images of formations and movements from all the teams, because although we may be from different cities we represent one God. The number one thing we pray every viewer can experience is the essence of true love the Nation of Islam has for Master Fard Muhammad, our long awaited Saviour. This exhibition is 100% in His honor.
EM: The New York drill team were awarded as 2nd Place winners at the 2012 drill competition. How are you all preparing to make it as finalist to compete for First Place this year?
TM: Muhammad Mosque #7 Drill Team of New York City is striving to immerse ourselves into the essence of Master Fard Muhammad through practice, studying and fasting. First Place would be nice but our goal is to assure the Nation of Islam that the Heart is beating faster than ever.
EM: What type of work and sacrifice is needed during this time of preparation as a drill team?
TM: In this juncture of time, one month until Saviour’s Day, the type of work and sacrifice required is the same work and sacrifice it took for Master Fard Muhammad to knock on our ancestors doors and offer to teach them of their brothers and sisters in the East; the same work and sacrifice it took for the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad to go to work after Master Fard Muhammad departed from him and left the NOI in his hands; the same work and sacrifice it took for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to rebuild his father’s work after the Angel Jabril removed the scales from his eyes.
EM: What makes the National Saviours’ Day Drill Competition such a highly attended and anticipated event? TM: The believers of the Nation of Islam are warriors, and any great warrior loves to see the execution of commands and the showcase of military excellence. The energy of this event makes it what it is!
EM: Is there anything you would like to add?
TM: From your brothers hear in New York City, the Heart of the Nation of Islam, we pray that all teams strive to represent the Oneness of Master Fard Muhammad as we join in a celebration of His sacrifice.
EM: Thank you and the New York drill team so much for your time! May Allah bless you all in your efforts to represent the Oneness of Allah (God) through drill and in every aspect of your lives.
To learn more about the 2013 Saviours' Day Convention visit www.noi.org/sd2013. Watch the promo below.
Follow on Twitter @NOISavioursDay and @NOIDrill