In 1984, Shabazz gave birth to her only child, Malcolm Shabazz. At the time, she was living in the suburb of Meudon, a few miles outside of Paris. Betty Shabazz was informed by a concerned friend of Qubilah's poor living conditions and insisted that Qubilah return to the United States. Shabazz lived in New York City briefly and then moved with the baby to Los Angeles, where she lived for most of 1985. Over the next few years, she and Malcolm moved back to New York, then to Philadelphia, and back to New York.
In January 1995, Shabazz was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. She was accused of trying to hire another person to carry out the murder. The alleged hitman, who would later be identified as Michael Fitzpatrick, had attended the UN International School with Shabazz. Fitzpatrick was reported to have been working for the F.B.I.
After Shabazz's arrest, Farrakhan held a press conference in Chicago in which he accused the F.B.I. of attempting to exacerbate division and conflict between the Nation of Islam and the Shabazz family. Charges against Qubilah Shabazz were dropped in May 1995 after she agreed to enter treatment for alcohol and psychiatric problems.
On May 6, 1995, a public meeting at the Apollo Theater in Harlem featured Farrakhan and Betty Shabazz. Originally organized by community activists as a fund raiser for Qubilah Shabazz's legal defense, the meeting marked the first public rapprochement between Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam, and the Shabazz family since the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X.
In 1997 Shabazz sent Malcolm, a troubled child, to live with his grandmother, Betty Shabazz. On June 1 of that year, he started a fire in her apartment. Betty suffered burns over 80% of her body and died three weeks later. Malcolm was sentenced to eighteen months in juvenile detention for second degree arson and the juvenile equivalent of second degree manslaughter.