Minister Jabril Muhammad's Interview With Minister Farrakhan (Part 1)
Generally speaking, over the last two years, in the Black community and without, we have noticed an increased attitude of receptivity and interest in the words and actions of Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative Of The Lost-Found Nation Of Islam In The West.
Some have attributed the change to an increased level of sympathy being poured out toward the Minister as a result of his near-death experience in 1999, and his courageous and touching efforts to regain full health, as he continues an arduous and taxing schedule full of counseling, administration, public speaking engagements, and the work of restructuring and reorganizing the Nation Of Islam.
Others have attributed their newfound openness to Minister Farrakhan, who will turn 69 next month, to an increasingly circulated view that the Muslim leader has "softened", "moderated" or changed his fundamental views and core beliefs.
As a person who has studied and watched Minister Farrakhan for the last 10 years, I reject the veracity of the latter view, although I do not deny the impact that the belief in such a perception is having on many of the Minister's followers; those who sympathize with him; and even, his worst detractors.
One of the most interesting aspects of this phenomenon of different interpretations of Minister Farrakhan's motives and beliefs, in the last few years, is that so many people have formed their opinion of this Black man and expressed such, even in public, without getting acquainted with his actual words. As an example and test of this; of those who state and repeat what they have heard and read from others in reference to the Minister's alleged "changes" - how many of them have carefully viewed and studied the Minister's last 4 Saviours' Day addresses, in the months of February in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002, all made since a particular point in the Minister's battle to re-gain his full health, in February of 1999. How many opinion leaders, on this subject have seriously compared and contrasted those four talks/speeches with the theology, and core beliefs and wants of the Nation Of Islam? The point is : how well have those who believe the Minister has made fundamental departures from his previously stated beliefs really know those beliefs, in the first place? This question can be posed to more individuals than just those who have expressed ambivalence or a dislike for the Minister.
I have noticed this dynamic at work even among those who hold what most would consider a "positive" view of the Minister. These individuals get acquainted with a certain aspect of the Minister's mission, and even after considerable time has past, exclusively devote their attention to a limited portion of what Minister Farrakhan represents. They then ignore or even subconsciously reject the rest of what Minister Farrakhan teaches, without engaging or reasoning with it. It is as if they have an emotional as well as intellectual need to view the Minister from their own point of view - their own level of understanding and personal disposition, rather than through that personal interest combined with the wide lens of the actual life experience(s) of the Minister, his words on a variety of subjects, and the broad and most universal application of such to Blacks and the entire human family. The result of such exclusive, subjective, personal, and narrow thinking toward the meaning of the Minister's life promotes misunderstandings that create an atmosphere of confusion and even danger, for the Minister, and a multitude of others.
A classic example of this is the controversy that continues to rage over the relationship between the Nation Of Islam and particularly, the American Jewish Political establishment. Many - Blacks and Whites - get lost in the most superficial aspects of the media-driven public discussion and act as if this controversy is the sum total of Minister Farrakhan's public ministry. Others speak and write in a manner that could lead one to believe that unless Minister Farrakhan and the Jewish community form a certain type of relationship, the Minister's leadership will be judged as a failure. Of all of the public participants who offer public commentary regarding the controversy, I rarely, if ever, hear them mention what the Minister himself has mentioned - that his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, expressed a favorable expectation regarding the possibility that Blacks and Jews in America would one day work out a better relationship than the one that has historically existed. The Minister is operating out of the heart and spirit of his spiritual father when he deals with the Jewish community. This was most recently visible when the Minister visited a Jewish synagogue in Kingston, Jamaica.
Leaving theological aspects, and an accurate grasp of the history of the Nation Of Islam out of the discussion associated with the controversy causes the matter and the Minister's words and actions, in the present tense, to be viewed out of context and impossible to understand. How can the critical issues central to the problems between Blacks and Jews, in general, and the Nation Of Islam and members of the Jewish community be resolved in such a climate of confusion? Many people due to ego, narrow self-interest, ignorance and lack of knowledge have made a mess out of a situation that could easily be understood and improved. The media is chiefly responsible for this scenario.
In some cases individuals express dissatisfaction with Minister Farrakhan in a manner and for reasons, in my opinion, that are almost impossible for the Minister, by himself, at this stage, to satisfy or alleviate. One such instance, that I can remember was at the Million Man March in 1995. After the Minister had arrived at the podium and gave thanks to and acknowledged God, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Prophets and those Black leaders who came before him, or who helped to make the Million Man March possible, a Brother who was standing right next to me said, " Damn, I hate it when he does that." I asked the Brother what the Minister had done wrong that he was referring to. And this Black man said, " He never gives thanks to Mao Tse Tung!" The Brother was dead serious and irritated.
Now, that was a new one for me. I just sat silently, shaking my head, in momentary, voiceless disbelief and minor exasperation, thinking to myself 'What will it take for the Minister to win over our people when they hold expectations and disappointments like that?'
But years later, when I would share that anecdote with others, with a degree of humor, I would reflect over my desire to see that Brother again, not to indulge the Brother's judgment of the Minister on that day, but to share with him a small fact - that there did exist communication between Mao Tse Tung and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Today, if I saw him I would even tell him that when the FBI , on the orders of J. Edgar Hoover and President Roosevelt, arrested the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in May of 1942, in order to keep him from teaching Islam in the streets during the war effort; among the many things that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had in a bag, taken and examined by the U.S. government, was an account of the future of China that the government would later see come to fruition. I had first learned of the latter fact by reading This Is The One by Minister Jabril Muhammad - the only book written about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad by a member of the Nation Of Islam, prior to 1975. If I saw that Brother today, I would actually give him a copy of This Is The One with the section earmarked and highlighted that mentions China (smile).
One of the points I hope to accomplish in bringing that story up is to demonstrate, in a glimpse, how difficult the mission of raising the consciousness of Black people, and producing and increasing their unity, while teaching universal principles to the entire human family, is for Minister Farrakhan. While most may say that it is unreasonable and even ridiculous for a Black man to be displeased with Minister Farrakhan because he did not honor, pay respect or mention Mao Tse Tung, while speaking to over 1 million Black men; that opinion does not change the fact that much of the judgments and opinions that people have formed, developed and acquired regarding the Muslim leader are built upon partial information, misinformation, and second, third and even 1000th hand views of the Minister, combined with whatever preference and personal taste the individual may have, based upon their own unique qualities and their own personal life experience. Nor does it change the fact that people who hold such diverse and even unreasonable positions are members of the universal Black family and worthy of compassion, education and attention by Minister Farrakhan and any servant seeking to spread the Truth and uplift humanity from its fallen position.
If not Mao Tse Tung, one can hear over and over again the supposedly numerous subjects that the Minister has not adequately addressed, in the opinion of some. Unfortunately, the issues and subjects in question have not only been covered by the Minister, but with a degree of attention and insight that is staggering. In almost every case, an article, audio or videotape exists that provides the information and demonstrates activity, on the Minister's part, that the person has determined has not yet been covered or adequately addressed. This is especially true nearly 25 years after the Minister stood to rebuild the Nation of Islam, and 47 years after the Minister first accepted Islam.
In addition to these views and individuals there are those who have what I call a professional need to view and depict Minister Farrakhan in a certain way. Among such group are educators, religious teachers, economists, political scientists and journalists who have to speak, write about, and interact with the Minister in certain defined, confined, and "traditional" ways in order to keep their positions and station in life, and to receive financial compensation or support for such. Among this group are individuals who may be sympathetic, friendly and helpful to Minister Farrakhan but who yet, and still, refuse to acquaint themselves with very important details of his life, statements, beliefs and actions. Some of these individuals project their own limited understanding of the Minister onto the Minister, as if he too, shares their limited view of himself. They act as if they know all there is to know about the Minister, as if the Minister's life and work is said and done with, while the Minister continues to evolve, grow and do his work in front of them. Some from among such persons, are in an emotional time warp regarding the Minister or only acknowledge his existence in reality when his actions and words manifest points of a agreement with critical aspects of their worldview. In being consumed by an excessive preoccupation with these points of agreement, the individual attempts to make Minister Farrakhan conform to their image - producing a state of delusion in themselves and an illusion for those who may come under their influence. Individuals in this condition and state of mind will even ignore the Minister's words, when presented to them, if they do not correspond with their pre-established worldview or with how such individuals have determined that Minister Farrakhan's influence and reputation can serve their ambitions and professional interest(s).
There is yet another group of individuals who state publicly that the Minister's worldview is myopic when it is their own uninformed judgment, not even an informed opinion of him, that qualifies as such. While the Minister has acknowledged the benefit that he has received from even his worst detractors, many who style themselves as the Minister's critics providing a public service in their undertaking, oftimes criticize the Minister from a very narrow point of view or painful personal experience and not from an up-to-date assessment of the Minister's words and activities viewed in context. Their right to express an opinion that may not be complimentary to the Minister is certainly legitimate but the poor quality of research and lack of basic familiarity with the Minister's history and current activities and words,that supposedly supports that opinion disqualifies the legitimacy of such "criticism", in my opinion.
Nevertheless, the Minister has in the past, and continues with greater frequency and intensity, to encourage critical thinking and constructive criticism regarding his own leadership. Many people could benefit from viewing the videotape of an September 23, 2001 address the Minister made at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington D.C. The Minister, in a beautiful and gracious manner, expressed his appreciation of Black economist and political analyst, Ms. Julianne Malveaux for her criticism of him, which she has written and which has been published in numerous Black, mainstream and alternative publications over the years. The Minister said, to the audience, with Ms. Malveaux present,
" Here is Julianne Malveaux. She is one of my critics. But I love this woman because I know that if I am going to be right, there has to be somebody watching, somebody writing, somebody critiquing. And as long as we've got people like this, we in leadership will get it together. Thank You Julianne.
Most of us think that people who criticize us are our enemy when they might be our best friend. Because your best friends tell you what they think you want to hear when they are seeking something from you. But your critics tell you what they think about you... So don't condemn my critics. I read, and then I examine myself."
There is so much for all of us to learn from that attitude and spirit.
And then there are the brilliant insights of individuals who observe the Minister from various angles and who glean and perceive deep understanding of the nature of the Minister's impact, and are in a position to express such publicly and in a way that merges with the view of other individuals who recognize the same, but from the perspective of a different discipline and/or profession. This has been happening with increased frequency over the past few years, in my opinion. One particular instance of this that recently struck me was during the recent BET documentary on Minister Farrakhan where musician and artist James Mtume expressed his view that one of the things that makes Minister Farrakhan such an effective leader is the fact that the Minister himself is a musician. Mr. Mtume said words to the effect that any Black leader who aims to effectively interact and influence Black people must have such cultural sensibilities/sensitivities. Other people, from the perspective of a study of the scriptures and the role that music has and is prophesied to play in the lives of men and women of God and humanity, have recognized the same of Minister Farrakhan.
And of course, artists, like Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, and many performers in a variety of genres have connected with Minister Farrakhan through the power of words. An important fact to consider is that, in 1957, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad spoke to Minister Farrakhan in a very direct way that connected the Minister's background as a musician with an aspect of his identity from the word of God. Very few people are familiar with the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad regarding the relevance of culture and the performing arts with the eventual rise of Black people and humanity throughout the world. Minister Farrakhan's private and public efforts with respect to his increased mastery of the violin and his interaction and relationships with Hip-Hop artists is germane to this subject and is an intricate part of his mission.
I reflected over all of this and so much more when I read the interview that Minister Jabril Muhammad conducted in January with Minister Farrakhan and which has been running for several weeks now, in the Final Call. Minister Jabril Muhammad has known Minister Farrakhan since 1955, the year that the two entered the Nation of Islam in New York City, in a temple and at a time where Malcolm X served in the capacity of Minister. Minister Muhammad would later become the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's Minister in Phoenix, Arizona, where he would live in the home of the leader of the Nation of Islam for over 6 years, during which time he would receive direct training, as a theologian, from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In September of 1977, Minister Muhammad would be present at Minister Farrakhan's side, in California, when Minister Farrakhan arose and determined to rebuild the Nation of Islam.
Readers familiar with BlackElectorate.com since our inception, should know that I periodically feature the writings and articles of Minister Jabril Muhammad on theology and current events because of his unique insight into, and experience with, matters of great importance. Over the past several years, I have been especially intrigued and struck by how many so-called experts on Minister Farrakhan, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation Of Islam refuse to properly examine, refer to, or deal with what Mr. Muhammad has written in his published books and weekly column, Farrakhan The Traveler, which has run in the paper published by Minister Farrakhan, for over 20 years, The Final Call newspaper.
I have personally interacted with authors who have written books about the Nation Of Islam and even Minister Farrakhan who are embarrassingly uninformed and ignorant about their subject(s) and facts that Minister Jabril Muhammad has written and which have been part of the public record, for years, in some instances, decades! One such person who I have met and spoken with, for several hours, who displayed ignorance and even intellectual dishonesty regarding Minister Farrakhan and facts written about him by Minister Muhammad is Arthur Magida, author of Prophet of Rage, a supposed authoritative book about Minister Farrakhan.
Whenever I see Mr. Magida quoted in print or on respected television outlets like C-Span, being represented as an "expert", my thoughts and prayers immediately become focused on those unsuspecting readers and viewers who are relying on whatever is coming out of the mouth of Mr. Magida. The only prominent writer/author on the Nation Of Islam whom I have ever met or spoken to, who, in my opinion, approached the subject of Minister Farrakhan with a relatively high level of intellectual integrity, during his research process, was Mr. Mattias Gardell, who wrote a book about the Minister and the Nation published in 1996. Mr Gardell told me to my face, in a meeting in New York City in May of 1997 of the great insight and understanding that he gained from This Is The One. He told me he benefited greatly from including it in his research. I highly recommend the book to anyone who sincerely wants to understand or learn about the Nation Of Islam, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan.
Minister Muhammad's interview of Minister Farrakhan, which has run in portions, for over two months, in the Final Call newspaper, is magnificent and newsworthy. The Minister says things that I have never heard or read anywhere else and with a depth and insight that is stunning. I was especially engaged by the manner in which the Minister, in the interview, goes into great depth regarding Divine principles and natural law. In addition, the portions that deal with his approach and attitude toward the concepts and principles of study, justice, playing the violin and its relevance to Black people and all of humanity is riveting and very touching.
To my knowledge, the interview, which covers a broad array of subjects and which contains never before published details of his life has yet to be referenced by any publication or website - mainstream, Black or alternative, other than The Final Call. I am thinking over why that is, especially since the interview has run for so long on the Nation's widely-read website, and so many people are interested in Minister Farrakhan - for good or for evil - especially at this late hour in world history.
Here is Part 1 of our running of the interview. Read, Study, and Enjoy!
April 3, 2002
Brother Jabril Muhammad: "Brother Minister, yesterday, in a limited way, we discussed the state of mind of one who is judgmental. You mentioned a tendency in human nature, which the word ‘haste’ defines. You mentioned history's judgment on the judgmental comtempories of certain kinds of persons and why. Please comment."
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: "Let's start with the word tendency. There is a natural tendency in the human being to look at a circumstance, an event, or a person and hastily make some form of judgment. Oft-times when that person comes closer to the subject, digs deeper into the event or the circumstance, they recognize that their first judgment was improper, incorrect.
"This tendency that exists causes the human being great trouble, because, unfortunately, when we make a hasty judgment of an event, a circumstance, or a person, our ego can get involved in that judgment and therefore, that judgment could be a blinding factor in our properly relating to the event, the circumstance, or the person.
"There is, in human nature, as the Holy Qur'an teaches us, that the man is made in haste. This is why the Qur'an counsels us to gain the quality of patience. If we were by nature patient, we would not make hasty judgment. But, because by nature we are hasty, then we make hasty decisions based on hasty judgment.
"I find, in my experience with our people, and with human beings generally, that that tendency is real in everybody. It takes great discipline to withhold the tendency, or to control the tendency to make snap judgment, without having, not some of the facts, but as many of the facts that are possible to be known. This is why I believe, the Bible teaches, "Judge not, lest you be in danger of judgment." Because no matter what we think we know, only God knows all of the factors in an event, in a circumstance and that which is in and surrounds a person. So only God, the Best Knower, is qualified to really make a judgment. His judgment, then becomes a trial for the judgmental, because He sees so much when He judges, that it takes the hasty judgmental person time to catch up to the wisdom involved in a judgment or determination made by God, and they may do much harm to themselves and others until they catch up to His judgment.
"This is why most great men are never properly seen by their contemporaries. The veiling of divinity, by the flesh and the drives of the flesh, causes people to be blinded by the flesh, making hasty judgments of that which is divine. So great men have to be judged by history, not by their contemporaries.
"When our Beloved Brother, Martin Luther King was assassinated, and I looked at his funeral on television and began to weep, and I asked the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, why did I react like that, when we thought so differently from Dr. King? He said, "As long as the testator lives he is writing his testament."
"The testator is the person who, every day of his life, is writing his testament. Life takes so many twists and turns that one can never fully know a person until death puts a period to the writing. He said, "Then the historians come and gather all of the bits and pieces of evidence of this person's life and work. Then the historians assign this person his, or her, place in history."
"So, in truth, one can never receive one’s reward while one is alive. Your true reward comes after death has put a period to your testament and others can now view your life, its work, its impact, starting with the gathering of as many of the facts as can be known. Those facts give the person who reads them and digests them, maybe a totally different view of the person, or the event, or the circumstance, than [from] the contemporary, who lived with that person was a part of that event, and was a part, or an observer of that circumstance, whose judgmental state of mind mis-judged.
"So, in concluding my answer to that question, it would seem to me that none of us is truly capable of making a true judgment. And none of us is patient enough to wait for God to judge an event, a person and a circumstance. So history will always be correcting our judgments."
Brother Jabril: Would you say that in a limited circumstance, we can make true judgments, but not the truest judgments?"
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: "In a limited circumstance, we can make true judgments, but oft-times our egos are so wrapped up in the judgments that we make, we never leave room in our judgment for the possibility of mistake or error. That is the tragedy of judgment.
"This is why, in my mind, to be made a judge of the human condition, is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed on a person. But when you are made a judge, you are in the greatest position to come under the judgment of God.
"So when I see a person robed in the garment of a judge, I often wonder how bias, how prejudice, how status symbols, how the nobility of a person, or the lack of it, enters into the judge’s decision.
"So when God says, 'Judge not lest you be in danger of judgment,' we ought to speak less, and think more, and desire to know as much as we can about the circumstance, the event, or the person, before we open our mouths to make a judgment.
"That, unfortunately, is not always done. And this, unfortunately, will always be the human condition, until we become so humble and righteous in character, that we desire to do no man, or woman, wrong.
"So then we must speak less and we must counsel more, and do it with patience. This is what I find in the Qur'an, that God is consistently counseling us to learn to be patient."
Brother Jabril: "Brother Minister, since we will one day have a full blown judicial system, which will include judges, what are just some of the qualities that immediately come to your mind that should characterize these kinds of persons?"
Minister Farrakhan: "I think the greatest quality must be first, a love of God; a love of truth and an insatiable desire to know more and more and more about the subject.
"One must have the characteristic of humility. No judge should be arrogant because arrogance over your position makes you ineffective as a judge.
"Humility always keeps your heart open for greater knowledge because you recognize the value, the importance of making a right judgment and you recognize the consequences of making an improper judgment.
"It is the consequences of faulty judges and faulty decisions that bring down nations, societies and individuals.
"So a judge must not just be one who has completed the course of study in law that is required, but the judge must have the quality of character that would make one a good judge of the affairs of human beings."
Brother Jabril: "Brother Minister, yesterday we spoke a little bit about some of the factors involved in the advancement of human life, of society, of nations. You said that there was no advancement without sacrifice and that the advancement of humanity toward the ultimate objective of God, requires, on the part of some, or many, or all to one degree or another, pain, bloodshed and even the loss of life. Please comment."
Minister Farrakhan: "There is no advancement without the sacrifice of life, bloodshed and pain. Those human beings whom God has chosen to advance us in whatever discipline that is, must first have the quality to endure suffering, to endure insult. Such persons must be able to endure criticism, made by judgmental persons, who are comfortable where they are and are challenged by where this human being is trying to lead us.
"There is no advancement in any field without tremendous sacrifice and then life lost and bloodshed. Any advancement, in any field, has caused the one who leads us into that new field of knowledge and advancement, suffering or great suffering.
"The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, ‘Blessed is he who forges the way for others.’ There is a scripture that talks about the one whom God assigns the task of bringing in a world that is totally new. This would mean he brings in a new knowledge - a knowledge that challenges the scholarship of his day. So the scripture teaches, ‘No visage was more marred than his.’ This is because what he's doing is like cutting a path through a jungle.
"The branches of the trees that you have to cut down hit your face and scar your face, but as you cut that branch down, the ones coming behind you feel little or no pain, because you have felt it for them.
"So it says, ‘By his stripes we are healed.’ In the newness of the knowledge that he brings, and in his intense love for the world that he sees in his mind, which is not yet in reality - this is what causes him to endure what he endures of the ignorance of his contemporaries. So, when his truth is established, he may or may not be present, but he will be vindicated by history.
"I can imagine the prophets of God, who saw beyond the range of vision of their contemporaries, to speak of things yet to come. Such gifted persons, who in certain areas possessed gifts far beyond the gifts of the contemporaries, were subjected to thoughts that ‘he is sick, or crazy.’
"So he is rejected of men and despised and evil spoken of and ill thought of, because he sees what others are unable to see. So there was no prophet that escaped the judgmental nature of his contemporaries.
"I can imagine how lesser ones, such as Nostradamus, suffered. I can imagine how Galileo, how Newton and Boyle and visionaries in every field, suffered.
"Look at doctors who have discovered, in the DNA, that which would allow them to clone a human being, and who to some extent, suffer the same.
"Look at those who have discovered, in stem cell research, that they could literally grow new organs, rather than implant organs of a different person into a different body. So they can literally take the DNA of that body and grow organs that would replace organs that are failing.
"Well, this kind of research has created controversy, debate. The doctors sometimes are considered demons, rather than great doctors who are on the cutting edge of great new discovery.
"I guess this is natural, for I once read in a book that when God sends a prophet, He ordains opposition for him, because it is only the severest opposition that tests the quality of the character of the bearer of the truth and tests the truth of the bearer of that truth.
"So opposition is a necessity. So one must not necessarily be overcome by the judgmental. One whom God has given an assignment must understand that in the nature of that assignment God has already ordered judgmental persons to attack him, to vilify him, to malign him, to say all manner of evil against him.
"But he knows his Sender. He knows the value of the truth with which he has been sent. So he stays the course, knowing that his greatest vindicator and witness is God Himself.
"Even if he does not live to see, or witness his vindication, he knows, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad knew, ‘I will be the winner living or dead.’ "
Brother Jabril Muhammad: Brother Minister, to what extent does the judgmental state of mind open us up to the wiles of Satan - and the Satan of self - but more especially the evil agents, the provocateurs, described in current TV documentaries about the government's infiltration of many groups, to misdirect and hurt the members of these various organizations, but especially, of course, including the Nation of Islam, in the '50s, '60s and the '70s?
An example was the COINTELPRO - the Counterintelligence program - that was designed to "disrupt" groups and "neutralize" individuals "deemed to be threats to domestic security." To what extent does the judgmental state of mind open us up to these wicked secret agents, who look like Believers, who we know are in the Nation to get Believers to unconsciously do their bidding? As I raise this question, I'm thinking about your Study Guide #17, wherein you raised the question, "Could we be unwittingly involved in a conspiracy against ourselves?"
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: When one makes hasty judgments on individuals, events, or circumstances that, in its initial interaction with us, causes us some degree of hurt or pain.
Once our egos get wrapped in our judgment, our ears close to words that might alter our judgment. Our eyes close to that which we might see that would alter our judgment. Our tongues become dumb to speaking a proper word concerning that event, circumstance, or person, and in that judgmental state, we can become guilty of slander, gossip, backbiting, which opens us up to the evil whispering of the sly slinking devil, who whispers into the hearts of men from among the jinn and the men.
The first devil we must confront is the devil of self. Once we have closed our hearts and minds on a particular view that we have concerning an event, a circumstance, or a person, those with whom we have friendship or kinship, we would have a tendency to share that view with others and because of our relationship with others and the amount of influence we have over others, our unfinished tainted view can become the view of others.
So unwittingly, we get involved in a conspiracy to put down and destroy members of our own tribe or family, church or Mosque, organization or community.
Satan, who is always listening as the righteous speak, can use our judgments, followed by our pronouncements, to make a chasm, and then widen it, between individuals and then groups, depending upon who we are engaged in conversing about. In this instance, we become unwitting tools of Satan. This is why the Qur'an forbids backbiting and offers a "Woe" to the slanderer and the defamer who goes about exceeding the limits.
Allah says in the Qur'an that, "He can and does forgive hurtful speech." But we, who claim to be the righteous, would not desire others to form harsh judgments concerning us, if we forget or make a mistake or even an error. So we must refrain from being quick in doing these things to each other, which in the end damages the self; damages the person, about whom we have made our judgment; then damages the community that we have some degree of influence in; and ultimately, we damage ourselves with Allah.
Brother Jabril: Brother Minister, from the time we enter the Nation of Islam, to become registered Believers, and even before that, we are told directly and indirectly to see ourselves as "students." We get Lessons, and we’re referred to as "students." Even the Lesson by which we are even enrolled in the F.O.I. and the M.G.T. meeting classes, is referred to as the "Student Enrollment."
The concepts of student and study are put before us in various ways throughout our Islamic life. It was that way under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. It is the same way under your leadership.
First, what are the fundamental or the primary characteristics of a good student?
Minister Farrakhan: The good student is seen practicing that of which he or she is studying. The more one studies, the more one must practice, for it is only the practice that refines our understanding of the principles.
Those who study ofttimes become separated from those who do not study. Those who do not study, find themselves convicted of the truth that they have come to believe but not studious in that truth. Finding excuses for not studying more about that truth, they find themselves divided now within the group into different camps.
All of us who have come forth to follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, must always see ourselves as students and be about the business of studying that which we have come to believe or to confess as our belief or our way of life.
Those who study will continue to grow and the more they practice and refine that practice, the more they will grow apart from those who do not study and do not practice. Then this leads again to judgments.
The studious person might - I don't say they always will - make a judgment against those who do not study. The one who does not study may find themselves judging the person or persons who do study. These judgments produce cliques. These behaviors produce groups within the group, which of course, gives Satan a field day to keep the house fully divided, fermenting strife and even belligerence and then even hatred and murder.
So one of the meanings of the word "Taliban" is that they were students. They were students of a great universal message.
The problem, sometimes with students who study, is that they begin to think that they are the equal of their teacher. Then these students want to implement practices that only demonstrate that they are students that are not even "half-learned." [Watch for Minister Farrakhan's insights into this term, "half-learned" in an upcoming article.]
Sometimes when one thinks one knows, one develops arrogance. Once we become arrogant in what we think we know, we come out of the state of being a student, because one of the characteristics of a student, is that he or she is always humble, always open, ready and willing to learn something more about the subject matter in question.
So those who study must be careful of the heavy wine that comes with thinking we know more than the other fellow who does not know, or is not advanced in their studies, or more than we really know about the subject under study.
Advancement in our studies becomes a test of our character. How will we use our advancement? Will we use it to serve the non-studious to inspire them to study? Or will those who study make a judgment against those who are slow and slovenly in their studies? Will the studious refuse to serve them in the study? Or will they help them, by constantly reminding the non-studious, in a most humble way, that we all have come forth to study.
In our Lessons, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad says, "We can all accomplish the above said with very little study." He didn’t say, we could accomplish the above said with no study.
"I often wonder why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me, 'Brother, you don't have to study.' His words frightened me because I know the value of study. But he told me, 'Stand up and Allah will speak through you.'
"Some of us are favored by God in that way. This is what sets apart the prophet from the great historian who predicts and prophecies. The prophet does not need to study. It is the gift that God has given the prophet to see beyond what is presently seen. But the historian studies the cyclical nature of history and the cyclical nature of the struggle of the human being to achieve peace and security and fulfillment. As a consequence of that intense study, he can with fairly great exactitude prophesy. But those are rare cases and rare individuals. But for the most part, all of us have to study.
"I close this point with the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He told his followers to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Don’t spare to go at any length to gain knowledge, even if you have to travel to far off places for knowledge, for that is what draws us closer to God. The more we know, the more we seek to know; the more we find God and love God and want to please God and be one with God.
"May Allah bless all of the Muslims, whether followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad or not, to be humbled enough at heart, to become students. Even those who are considered scholars by the world, those who have gained degrees of scholarship, let not those degrees arrogate to ourselves ‘that we know.’ Let us be humbled enough to continue to study what we think we know. And the more we study, our thoughts will change and grow from what we thought and believe and understood yesterday to that which is closer to the thinking of Allah."
Brother Jabril: "Brother Minister, what is the value of the six written Lessons we were given? Why should we study them?"
Minister Farrakhan: "The value of those Lessons first, cannot be perceived, unless we properly understand who is giving the question and who is giving the answer.
"Once we have an appreciation of the value of Who the Author of the question is, then we can begin to assign greater value to each and every question and by understanding the value of him who was being questioned and the state of mind that he was in at the time of his answer to that question.
"Then we will learn that the questions are deeply profound, in that they stretch our minds from the past to the present into the future. If we start with the study of the answers given by one born to meet the Questioner, born to see and know the Questioner, then his answers have to be the basis of our beginning study of the course that would not just make us Muslims, in the common understanding of the meaning of Muslim, but make us into Gods, the very uncommon understanding of being a Muslim.
"So one must approach the study with deep honor and respect and love for the One Who came; Who studied forty-two years to deliver us; for the One Who broke the circle of the Gods to bring us into equality with those men—these very great scientists. When we begin to look at it in this manner, we can begin to perceive the value of the six Lessons, that Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praises are due forever left with us, for us."
Brother Jabril Muhammad: "Why were we given, as the first Lesson, these twenty statements, called the 'Actual Facts'? Why not real or true facts? Why 'Actual Facts' and why should it begin like that? And how does this Lesson, called the 'Student Enrollment' enroll us?"
Minister Farrakhan: "I think that Master Fard Muhammad wanted us to always begin our process of study and growth with that which is actual, in the sense of that which is presently real, and that which is true at the time we are studying what we are studying of the subject.
"The cells of the brain, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us, were/are created by God to think rightly. One cannot think rightly except that the basis of our thought is on the actual or that which is factual. So the student must always search for the real, the truth; the actual facts - the way things are at the moment he or she begins their study.
"Some of those actual facts (in our Lessons) are not actual facts today. 'What is the population of the Original Nation in the wilderness of North America and all over the Planet Earth?' 'What is the population of the Colored People in the wilderness of North America and all over the Planet Earth?' Those were facts in those days (the early 1930s) but they are not actual facts today.
"So how do you ascertain what is actual today from what was actual yesterday? But we start with those 'Actual Facts' to ground us in the time period of Master Fard Muhammad's manifestation to His servant and from that point, our process of growth begins.
"Now how do we enroll? Well, whenever you go to any course of study, you first must know what it is you want to study. Then you must know who the professor or the teacher is of that course. Then you must go and sign up for such course and gather the materials for such course and then be in attendance in that classroom, so that you can grow in that chosen course.
"The moment we hear the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad two or three times, and we sign that form, we are acknowledging the Headmaster of the school. We are acknowledging the teacher of the course. We are acknowledging what the course is and we do want to sign our name, unfortunately, we were handicapped, so we didn't know what our real name was but we signed our slave name.
"Then to make sure that we were serious, we had to declare our intention and then we received what can be termed as an entrance exam to complete the process of enrollment. Once we answered the ten questions and answers properly, we were accepted in the classroom as a student of a new Islam.
"These ten questions and answers are the rules of Islam, meaning that, they teach us principles that will guide our study and the application of what we study until we come to the point of graduation.
"May Allah bless us to be serious about our enrollment in this great class with such an illustrious Headmaster and magnificent teacher."
End Of Part 1
Wednesday, April 3, 2002
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