By Ayesha K. Mustafaa
MIAMI, Fla. – Rasool’s Menswear is a family owned and operated business in Miami, which was established by Rasool Malik and his loving wife, Guana B. Malik, in 1985.
Rasool’s, the store, began as an urban store of 600 square feet and 24 years later has evolved into a 6,000b square feet wall-to-wall “men’s paradise.”
Rasool’s has more than 500 different styles in shoes, designer suits, men accessories, casual wear, street and urban wear. Currently, Rasools has become a well-known landmark within Florida, serving Miami with their great spirits and Islamic values.
The second son of modest, working-class parents, Rasool Malik was born in 1953 to William K. Mickens and Aline White, in the beautiful city of Miami. “Building a strong foundation was a difficult challenge, and I could not accomplish it without a mentor,” says Rasool.
“I give thanks Allah for Imam W.D. Mohammed for his spirit-filled teachings that helped me to establish my life with my wife of 26 powerful years, Guana B. Malik. We have been blessed with eight business-driven children. Al Hamdullah (Praises be to God).”
He says that at one time up to three generations of family members worked in the store. His daughters – Aquila, Gloria and Guana Taheerah – have all worked in the store, though having degrees and businesses of their own.
Rasool says, “The deal we make is simple; we all work hard so that the business thrives and that allows us to take care of the family – like putting our kids through college. We all have to do our share to take care of the business that takes care of us.” Sometimes a work day may be 12 hours but it is a labor of love and enjoyable.
Rasool explains that he and his wife started their first business venture in 1979. “We opened a 24-hour restaurant called Steak, Fish & Takes. We did our best to employ many Believers. In 1980, we opened a mall named Bilalian Mall, which housed various business stalls. Following the mall venture, we opened a second restaurant that following year in 1982.”
When business got tough in the restaurant industry, the Rasools decided to downsize by opening a hot dog cart business in 1983. To their surprise this venture was very lucrative, and they had a total of eight successful hot dog carts on the streets of Miami.
In 1985, their first strip mall was built with 10 beautiful store fronts. The project cost approximately $375,000. Most of the labor was performed by African American contractors and sub-contractors.
“Because the rent we collected was low, we could not meet the mortgage and other expenses, so we went on to try our hands at a Halal Meat Store. But it needed more Muslims support in order to succeed. Unfortunately, we were forced to go back to the drawing board,” Rasool says.
“Over the years, we pursued other business ventures, which included a second restaurant business and a beauty supply store. It wasn’t until 1985 that we finally found our niche in the retail industry. Thus, the birth of Rasool’s, men’s clothing and shoe boutique,” he says.
Now, more than 20 years later, the store Rasool’s has become a household name throughout South Florida and is one of the most sought after boutiques for fine men’s apparel and also along the east coast. There is also the Rasools online store at www.rasoolsonline.com
“Over the years, our prosperity has opened many doors and eventually led to a successful transition into real estate development within the Liberty City area,” says Bro. Rasool.
“This success has not only established a solid foundation for our families but also Liberty City area and surrounding communities. Our real estate properties and various business ventures have provided many families with affordable housing and employment opportunities.”
Their professional and spiritual accomplishments are due in large part to faith in Allah and following the teachings of Imam W.D. Mohammed, explains Bro. Rasool.
He says growing up in such a fast-paced environment like Miami, he found himself giving into the temptation and was incarcerated, and in prison he, like so many African American men finding their way to Islam, he was introduced to the do for self and human dignity as taught by the late Hon. Elijah Muhammad. From there began his life long journey onto the path of Al-Islam.
“Fortunately, I was able to receive my General Education Diploma (G.E.D) from Lindsey Hopkins Technical School in Liberty City, a historic and predominantly African-American community,” Rasool says, reflecting on his efforts to pull himself up and to get back on the path of progressive life.
Another proud moment for Rasool, is that Masjid Ibrahim of Miami is located in the heart of Liberty City, completed in 2007, and sits in the middle of the Rasool new shopping plaza.
“Allah has blessed us with two shopping plazas, three duplexes and several apartment buildings in the city of Miami, along with Rasool’s Men’s Wear Suits and Shoes,” Rasool says.