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At a beautiful service in the magnificent sanctuary of the Crenshaw Christian Center, the body of Muhammad Nassardeen, the man who forever will be known for his positive, gentle, and business oriented spirit, as well as for encouraging Blacks to spend their money with other Black businesses and creating the non-profit organization, Recycling Black Dollars (RBD), was laid to rest in a service administered by Pastor Frederick K. Price Jr.
Opening with scripture readings from son Raheem, and brother Bilal Nassardeen, and brother-in-law, Michael Hamilton, Price announced that the service was a celebration of life, as he offered an opening prayer, followed by a musical selection by Dr. Harold Johnson entitled, “How Excellent (Is His Name).”
Graycee McDonald acknowledged the presence of Nassardeen’s family, as did all of those who spoke from the podium. She also acknowledged the presence of select community, business, civic, and religious leaders, in addition to the local elected officials who attended the service.
Following the obituary reading by Kitty Davis-Walker, a powerful, DVD presentation was viewed that captured some of the most memorable photographs of Nassardeen’s life as a young man in Philadelphia, during his college years at the University of Pennsylvania, as a family man, and as the president and CEO of RBD, which he established in 1988, and where he worked tirelessly to build the Black business community, up to the time of his passing on October 11.
The kind words, personal anecdotes, and other stories and memories about Nassardeen that were shared with the hundreds of people who attended the service, were truly heart-felt and most projected the image of a dear friend, consummate businessman, an un-apologetic Black business advocate, a devoted father, brother, and son, and simply put, a “good brother.” Many encouraged us, the Black community, to continue with the work of supporting Black Businesses that Nassardeen began in 1988.
Remarks were presented by some of the most prominent members of the Los Angeles community including: Bernard Kinsey, Danny J. Bakewell, Jr., Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Attallah Shabazz—daughter of Malcolm X—Isadore Hall, Compton City Councilmember, Leonard Jackson, representing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office, Reverend Eric P. Lee, Anthony Samad, Khalid Shah, Debra Santos, John Ward, Tony Price, Melba Jackson-Carter, Vernon Young, Dr. Frederick Murph, Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn, Charles Blake, II, and Steve Bradford, Gardena City Councilmember.
The final speaker, before the eulogy was offered by Crenshaw Christian Center patriarch, Dr. Frederick K. C. Price, the parting view of Nassardeen, and the recessional, was Amina Nassardeen, Muhammad’s beloved mother.
Delivering an emotional, yet relaxed, confident, and spirit-filled message to those who were present to celebrate the life of her son, Amina Nassardeen noted that she had spoken with her son on the telephone for about an hour the day before his fatal heart attack. In an almost prophetic fashion, she explained that God had recently spoken to her and indicated that he would be the first of her children to die. She said that the message was repeated to her and her devoted son died not long after her message from God.
This writer, who attended the funeral and heard the passionate messages from all of the speakers, including Nassardeen’s mother, who certainly appeared to be in excellent physical and emotional condition, under these extraordinary circumstances, was devastated to learn, as this article was being written, that Amina had died in her sleep on Saturday, one day after Muhammad’s celebration of life service.
Amina Nassardeen was a deeply religious woman who at age 77, according to one of her daughters, Salima, had come to terms with her son’s death and, in retrospect, believes that her mother had come to terms with her own mortality.
“She accepted Muhammad’s death with dignity and after her initial shock and a brief outward expression of emotion, encouraged all of the family to refrain from mourning,” she said. “My mother believed that when we leave this earth we are in a better place and I feel that she came to Los Angeles from Sacramento for her final act to do what she had to do.”
Amina was an active senior who “loved the Lord and stayed in the word,” Salima described. “Even though she had retired as a full-time social worker, she volunteered in the juvenile detention centers ministering to the young people and she was very active in her church where she was the leader of their senior citizens center.”
“Our mother was very active,” she concluded. “She walked every day, ate properly and took good care of her health. When I dropped her off Friday night, following a long and rather difficult day, she did not appear ill, in any pain or under any stress whatsoever. She went to sleep and simply did not wake up Saturday morning.”
Salima indicated that no autopsy will be performed and that her death did not appear to be related to any stress or other medical trauma. She is happy that her mother is in a better place and certainly thankful that her passing did not involve any lengthy pain or suffering.
During Amina’s remarks at her son’s service, she made it clear that she had a special relationship with God and that she was at peace with the God’s plan. “God is in control of everything. There is nothing he does not know, nothing,” she shared with the those in attendance.
In his eulogy, Dr. Price delivered his message in the same teaching-style that is enjoyed by those who attend his house of worship or watch him on television. He has the ability to effortlessly bring simplicity to the scripture and explains the meaning of what has been read in a manner that everyone can understand.
Dr. Price helped the masses understand that God does not refer to one’s passing as death but as a condition of sleep. “God never intended for us to die,” he said. He also explained that our human body is only the temporary house for our spirit and soul that will be with the heavenly father for eternity if we accept Jesus Christ as our pathway to Him.
Dr. Price urged the assembly to celebrate Nassardeen’s life by accepting the word of God as he, himself had done. Those in tattendance who were interested in learning more about developing a “Christian Walk,” were given a package of information that will assist them in receiving Jesus Christ as their personal savior.
Muhammad Nassardeen’s words, printed on the celebration of life program that was given to everyone who attended the service, are a fitting way to end this report.
“Wisdom is one of the greatest resources we have to share. It is also one of the most underutilized. Each generation seems to want to do its own thing. We must strike a balance between the creativity of the young with the wisdom of our elders. It is this connection that will help us build a better future.” I love you and I appreciate you. Muhammad Nassardeen.