Dr. Ava Muhammad was one of the most recognized women in the Nation of Islam. In fact, she was the NOI’s highest-ranking woman, having been the first woman to be appointed as a minister in NOI history.
She died suddenly at the age of 71. A statement from the NOI is dated Aug. 26 but does not confirm Muhammad’s date of death. No cause of death has been given.
She received her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University in 1975 and was a member of the New York Bar, according to Encylpopedai.com. She hosted a weekly radio talk show titled “Elevated Places,” which aired every Sunday on WVON 1690AM in Chicago. Muhammad was also the national spokesperson for NOI leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan. It is a post formerly held by Malcolm X under Elijah Muhammad.
Black America and the NOI mourned her passing online.
“Rest in Peace sista Dr. Ava Muhammad. The highest ranking woman in the Nation of Islam has passed,” tweeted Zakiya Chinyere, co-founder of grassroots, parents-led education advocacy group Racial Justice Now.
Ex-academic, political analyst Boyce Watkins also noted Muhammad’s passing on Twitter.
Veteran hip-hop artist Chuck D, co-founder of the legendary group Public Enemy, tweeted, “She was literally the greatest and for those that dont know sister is the significant voice on the song Show Em Whatcha Got on It Takes a Nation album .. PublicEnemy forever salutes with the utmost powerful love and resPEct for Sister Ava Muhammad who has transitioned in PEace.”
Many praised her groundbreaking leadership.
“May Ava Muhammad rise like Re as she begins her journey into eternity and powerful ancestorhood. Surely we belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return. In this world, she stood, acted and spoke for truth. She helped shape many of us as a leader, counselor and guide. Asé-oo!,” tweeted Greg Carr.
“As difficult as this hour is, I thank Allah for the gifted life of our Sister and my Hero, Sis. Minister Ava Muhammad. “O Allah, deprive us not of her reward, and subject us not to temptation after her death. Ameen,” tweeted NOI member Ilia Rashad Muhammad, who also mentioned that he worked on on upcoming documentary with her.
“‘No one lives forever on earth, but you can draw the most profound sense of satisfaction through the realization that you have contributed to something enduring for the world after you are no longer here.’ Minister Ava Muhammad,” tweeted W.
Many had personal memories to share.
“Sister Ava Muhammad of the Nation of Islam has passed I was blessed to hear her speak live when she was over the mosque here in Atlanta Sister Ava gets an A+ For fighting for black people For all of the knowledge you gave us (You passed the grade your reward is in Heaven),” tweeted Malcolm Shabazz.
Photo: Ava Muhammad, attorney for the Nation of Islam, speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Jan. 13, 1995. (AP Photo/John Zich)