(Hajjah) Raheemah Saadiqa Abdullah, the daughter of the late Boney Short and Louisa Lucas of Bennettsville, South Carolina, was born on December 1, 1929. She was born Catherine Short and had a twin named Arline Short who died in infancy. She was one of sixteen children and of her siblings is survived by her 95-year-old sister Willie Lou Short of Brooklyn, New York.
Raheemah grew up on a 150-acre farm in South Carolina. She and her siblings, along with her parents, built their own house on that family-owned land and ate and sold the fruits of their farming labor to the local community in the Bennettsville and Marlboro County area.
In the mid-1940s, while still a young teenager, Raheemah became part of the historic Great Migration northward of more than six million African Americans from the Southern United States to the West, Midwest and Northeast from 1916-1970. Her destination: Brooklyn, New York. She met her first husband, the late Hilliard Gibson, in New York, and her second husband, the late John Joseph Nevins (later to become Amir Sabree), when she migrated further north to Boston, Massachusetts.
In the 1950s, Raheemah joined the Nation of Islam. In 1975, she made the transition to orthodox Islam along with the community of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, her final home community among the greater community of Muslims in the world. When she heard from her son-in-law, Denord, the story of Imam Mohammed suggesting that all babies in the community born in 1975 should carry the last names of Abdullah or Muhammad, the names of the Prophet Muhammad, may prayers and peace be upon him, she decided to change her name too. With the assistance of her son-in-law, she chose the name Raheemah (Beneficent, Kind) Saadiqa (Truthful, Righteous) Abdullah (Servant of Allah).
Raheemah worked extremely hard to provide for her family at a time when there were even less rights and opportunities afforded to women of color. She worked many different jobs from a domestic servant to a beautician to hospital worker and more. She never stopped seeking education, from the cradle to the grave, taking courses at local colleges and even a few years ago expressing the desire to learn Spanish. Despite many adversities, she never stopped holding her head high and was known to declare often, “I am a Muslim!” and “Allah has a plan!” She completed Hajj to Mecca in 1979, which Muslims must do at least once in their lifetime if they are able, thus she has earned the honorific “hajjah.” For more than sixty years, Raheemah was a very active member of the American Muslim community, including in greater Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Columbia, SC, to name a few. She never stopped giving charity and was known to gift her family subscriptions to the Muslim Journal.
Raheemah loved her family and is survived in love by her two sons Amir Sadik Abdullah and Ronald Gibson; her three daughters Sheereen Muhammad (Denord), Ikhlas Abdullah, and Cathy Gibson; her ten-plus grandchildren Dana Gibson, Precious Rasheeda Muhammad (Carl Edward Jackson, III), Ruquaiyah Muhammad, Denord Muhammad Jr (Ellisha), Dirul-Islam Muhammad, Zarif Muhammad, Omar Abdullah (Crystal Ellis-Abdullah), Intisar Hadiyah Abdullah Anderson, Dara B. Songye, Intisar Hatcher-Wright, and more; her fourteen-plus great-grandchildren Mirembe-Asmau Muhammad Jackson, Nyota-Uhura Muhammad Jackson, Imani Muhammad, Hadiyah Atkinson, Azahra Atkinson, Nia Joy Abdullah, Nora Dawn Abdullah, Muhammad Wright, Taahirah Wright, Qudsiyah Muhammad, Niamah Muhammad, Zayna Muhammad, Saida Layla Nadirah Muhammad, Khalif Daeem Muhammad, and more; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other beloved relatives and friends.
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