“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.” – Carter G. Woodson
For the many people whose lives were touched by Brother Ishmael Omar Shabazz, all will agree that one of his ever-present attributes was his humble spirit and persona. Yet in spite of this meek personality and kind disposition, Shabazz possessed a rock-solid faith in his convictions. As I began to share with the public in my last essay why it is the right and appropriate step to rename the Muslim school the “Ishmael Omar Shabazz Primary School,” I began receiving responses from many Belizeans, both at home and abroad, who had witnessed and experienced the goodwill of Brother Shabazz’s numerous charity works over the decades. On social media the reaction equally was overwhelming and is a testimony to his legacy.
While the fact that Shabazz was a foundational member of the Islamic community in Belize and, as mentioned previously, successfully negotiated and secured the property in Belize that now houses the Muslim school and Islamic center, and served as the school manager, the character of the man is what illuminated his legacy in the minds of the many people who remember his works and contributions. Shabazz himself was not a man who was interested in or preoccupied with worldly accolades, social status or being approved of by the artificial social network of society. He probably would be flabbergasted that there is a movement to honor his life and work by renaming the Muslim school in his name. As a sage, however, he would fully understand why this is important to us and its meaning for future generations.
Shabazz had the unusual quality where he was never concerned with titles and, as such, always felt completely secure with his abilities. In the various organizations to which he was a founding member, he preferred to push the young members to step up for leadership roles and responsibilities. This quality elevated Shabazz’s status among the youth because he was seen as a wise elder who gave guidance and shared nuggets of wisdom like the sages of old.
Brother Shabazz also was a writer and has left volumes of material that were unpublished. The effort is underway to gather some of the material and have it published where the public and students can access yet another dimension of this Belizean Renaissance man named Ishmael Omar Shabazz.