Minister Jabril Muhammad's Interview With Minister Farrakhan (Part 3)
Brother Jabril: What we've covered, thus far, is directly related to what you said the other night concerning the public statement that you're writing for Saviours' Day; for the concert specifically. The essence of what you said to me, the other night was, "I'm about to perform something that's beyond my ability. God would have to help me." Please correlate that statement with what you've just outlined respecting your growth in the delivery of the word of Allah.
Minister Farrakhan: Yes. You know, as you know, I have a passion and a love for classical music, which some of our people would define as European culture. I have a passion for the violin and this is a European-made instrument.
A dear friend said, "It would have been better man if you had played the saxophone rather than a violin man." But all of the instruments that our people play have been fashioned or refashioned by the Europeans. The saxophone, the clarinet, the oboe, the flute, the base violin, the guitar-we have become masters of these European instruments, but not in the European idiom, but rather in that which came out of our culture of suffering and out of our creativity.
Well Beethoven was one of these men that influenced the whole classical and romantic period of the development of music in Europe. They credit him with being the father of this period of music.
One of the Sisters who encouraged me, who is the promoter of this music festival called "Gateways," where I first performed the Mendelssohn, with Maestro Michael Morgan and the tri-city members of the tri-city symphony, (Armenta) said to me, "I don't want to hear you play Mendelssohn or Brook or European composers, I want to hear you do Beethoven." So she put me on Beethoven.
Later my teacher (Mrs. Foreman) suggested it to me. But she also told me, "It's such a deep spiritual piece that your people may not like it, like they would like the Brook or the Mendelssohn because of the bombast, the different dynamics of these things," but Beethoven came at it so different.
I did not realize the difficulty of playing the Beethoven violin concerto. The difficulty is in its simplicity. It's like asking a person freehand, to draw a straight line perfectly. That's the difficulty. It appears that you should be able to do that. But try it. Well, that's Beethoven.
So the more I got into the music I began to see that the playing of Beethoven was far beyond my years of training and study; far beyond the foundation that I had in music.
You have to be at a certain foundational level to attempt to play certain pieces in the classical genre. I guess that's the right word. But now I've jumped into Mr. Beethoven. The more I played him, the more I saw that something was lacking in my foundation that prevented me to really express this man as wonderfully as I would like too.
So I said, I have accepted the challenge to do something far beyond my ability. When one attempts to do something, far beyond the limitations of one's ability, if one is sincere and humble enough to recognize that, that person must seek the help of God. The scholars say, "He took ordinary people, but with their reliance on God and following the discipline of Jesus, ordinary people were allowed to do extraordinary things."
Well that principle applies in everything. So I am an ordinary person with the violin; maybe even less than ordinary, because I have not given myself to that study, with the diligence of a virtuoso, or the diligence of a professional, or a diligence of somebody who has made this their life's devotion. But I wanted to do it.
I knew that I had to do my part. My part was to practice; to give it the time that it would require; to learn as much as I could about that piece; about the state of mind of Beethoven when he wrote it, so that every nuance in the piece could mean something; so that I might be able to interpret his soul.
Well the more I did this the more I realized that, "Boy, do I need the help of God to do this." The more I struggled with my inefficiencies, the more I relied and cried out to Allah, to please help me.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me, "That when Allah created the heavens and the earth from nothing He destroyed the impossible."
And then from the writings of Paul, in this instance, I keep saying it over and over like a mantra, "I can do all things through Christ, or through Allah, which strengthens me." This keeps me focused on God, because without Him I will not be able to do this, at all. Without God's intervention I would not represent Beethoven as well as I would like.
So I'm begging Allah and believing that He's going to be with me and help me to take an ordinary talent and do something, maybe, a little more than ordinary, by His grace.
Brother Jabril: You told me of this conductor the other night-
Minister Farrakhan: You know, the fact that you ask me questions over the years, that you didn't prompt me on, so I never knew the question, but as you give me the question the answer is formulating in my head. So you, more than anybody, can attest to the truth that this is not regular; it's not necessarily ordinary, but that God is with Brother's mouth.
Brother Jabril: One of my purposes, in these interviews, is to show, through you, what God has and is doing with and through you for us, to help us to have more confidence that He is with us.
Brother Minister I don't fully remember the man's name, it starts with a "V" and you said that he talked about what you are attempting to do, is like walking on a tight rope-
Minister Farrakhan: Charles Veal.
Minister Jabril Muhammad: Please repeat what you told me that he said of the difficulty factor involved in what you are preparing to do.
Minister Farrakhan:: He said that the difficulty factor in what I intend to do this is compared to a man walking a tight rope, a hundred feet in the air with no safety net. When he first heard me play, a few weeks ago, he said, "You know, there were some moments of brilliance in what you did."
He said, "You're close." But he came back then days later, after giving me some guidance, he said, "Man, what you've done in a week's time is amazing." He said, "You're there now."
Brother Jabril: All praises are due to Allah for blessing us with an example such as He has given us in you.
Now Brother Minister, be it the will of Allah, I intend to make of these interviews another little "Gap Two" book, for in your words are many lessons for others - young Brothers, Sisters - who want to teach; who want to help advance the Nation of Islam.
So now, in a summary fashion, what would you want them to get out of your experiences, that you have just outlined, that would help them do what they are trying to do, or will try to do?
Minister Farrakhan: I wish that every Believer could see me in the role of a student. They always see me in the role as a teacher. But you can never be a good teacher unless you first become a good student. And you can never be a good leader unless you first become a good follower.
Now there are characteristics one must develop to become a good student. The reason I believe that I excel, as a student, is because my desire is so intense to know and to improve. So it doesn't make any difference how you critique me, my heart has been made by God so humble and my desire to be better is so great, that I suck up what you tell me like a sponge.
Brother Jabril: Of criticism or critique?
Minister Farrakhan: Yes, of both. So that when you leave me I go to practice what you showed me that I was deficient in. I say this that most of us, as students, become [seemingly] knowledgeable too quick and with that kind of [superficial] knowledge we become arrogant and we lose the desire to know. If we don't have the desire to [really] know, and our heart is so crippled by false pride, then we won't humble ourself enough to even accept critique.
So when we meet again, I'm meeting the same person that I met the last time and that person is no better, after being critiqued, than he was before critique. But every time my teacher meets me, I'm better than the last time because my heart has accepted the critical analysis because I want to be better at whatever I do.
Brother Jabril: The Bible says that Jesus was not a learned man and Paul was a highly learned man, according to the world's standard at that time.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, as we know, had four grades of this world's education, which I heard him say one day, was just enough to teach him how to read and write. Although you did not graduate from college, you had, in comparison to him, quite a bit more of this world's education. Please comment.
Minister Farrakhan: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was the most learned man that I ever met in my life. He may not have been learned in terms of what the world says is learning, but how could he be unlearned and teach those of us who had learning that which overwhelmed our knowledge, that we became his followers? Without a doctoral degree, he mastered those courses of study that we had spent years trying to study; trying to master, while the Honorable Elijah Muhammad could show us in our own choice of subject matter, that which we had never seen before.
He taught bankers, banking. He taught architects, architecture. He taught scientists, science. He taught doctors, medicine. So then you have to ask yourself, since he did not have formal learning, who taught him? The student absolutely is a witness of his teacher. I bear witness that God taught the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Brother Jabril: Thank you. Now Brother Minister, that leads me to this.
I am among those who have sat at your dinner table many times when there had been a table full of Ministers; medical people, who not only are formally trained, but had years of experience; in short, many who are in all of the major fields of learning and practice that represent the institutions that hold this society together. There are many of us who have witnessed that all these people were/are profoundly impressed with your ability to educate them in their own disciplines, which you have not studied. You provided them with insights into their own field. How would you account for that?
Minister Farrakhan: Because I'm a student of the man I just described. If my teacher, having not letters, yet is learned, and I am his student having not letters either - because the only diploma that I can show you is a high school diploma because I never finished college in order to have letters, although I was above average as a student - so then its my being his student that has caused me (and any of us who would diligently study the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad) to have the ability to help others in their chosen fields, even though, we may not necessarily have known much of their field.
Brother Jabril: Brother Minister, about a week and a half ago, I showed you the chapter titled, "Minister Farrakhan's Magnificent Answer" out of the little book, Is It Possible That The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Is Still Physically Alive???
You were somewhat amazed over your own words in it. There have been many instances where you looked back at words that you have spoken to me in interviews, such as this interview, and in your speeches, etc., with utter and genuine surprise. Please comment.
Minister Farrakhan: I was with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad one day and they were playing a tape of him speaking. He made a point and he applauded. He was excited and he said, "Boy, Allah really gave me something there."
Well I'm like that too. You give me a question I give you an answer but the answer comes as inspiration. Then if I'm blessed to be able to read what I said, sometimes I ask the question, "Did I say that?" Well I didn't say it. He said it through me, but now I'm fascinated and often overwhelmed by what came out of my mouth.
It just drops me almost to the floor in humility, to know that God would use me in this way to glorify Him and His servant, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and to help our people, and the people of the earth, out of the condition that six thousand years of Satanic rule has put humanity under. I am awed and overwhelmed that Allah saw fit to use me in such a magnificent way. You are right.
To see the end of your faith, meaning to see the flourishing of what your faith has shown you. Although I may not live necessarily to see all of it, because there's so much that the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad causes one to see, but at least, to get a glimpse into the Hereafter would be a tremendous blessing.
Brother Jabril: Well honestly I feel, you are going to get more than a glimpse. I earnestly believe that. Of course, many might say, "Well, that's just you talking, Jabril." But I believe that. I want that for you, my Brother - and all of us.
Minister Farrakhan: For all the Believers.
Brother Jabril: Right!
[Read only The Living Bible, 2 Timothy 4: 3 through 5, especially 6-8, to more fully understand what's being discussed. Then read the same in any other translation you can.]
Jabril Muhammad: What is key in the interpretation of anything, especially in what you intend to do in the Beethoven violin concerto on February the 13th in Los Angeles?
Minister Farrakhan: In order to properly interpret anything that has been said or done by another, one has to be in harmony with the mind and the spirit of the one whom he or she desires to interpret.
People that wish to interpret the word of God cannot do so properly without His permission. That person must be in tune with the mind and the spirit of God, as He revealed His word, in order for one to properly interpret that word.
Every mind of greatness is from God. Every person of greatness in any field, who becomes a standard of measurement of proficiency in that field, must be studied - not from the mind of envy; not from the mind of jealousy; not even from the mind of self-aggrandizement.
For example, to study a prophet, whose heart was so humble that he could receive revelation from God, and in order for you to even approach the meaning of that revelation that prophet, you would have to be in the same spirit of humility of the one who received God's word, for God to open that revelation up to you. Based upon your capacity to grasp, God gives you.
Now, Beethoven was inspired of God. His - I don't want to call it genius, because it's beyond genius - his divinity is seen in the magnificence of his ability to compose. Through adversity, his creativity was brought to a level of excellence, that has caused him to be an innovator and considered the father of a period in the development of classical music, called the romantic period.
He embellished the classical period and became the father of the romantic period. He was dark skinned, with a broad nose, born in Germany, a country that gave rise to Adolf Hitler and a people that found in his development of the Arian supremacy theory, great resonance in the German people.
Beethoven was nicknamed "the schwarzer" which translates into the "Black one." Black, in the language of white supremacy, is a very negative thing. Therefore, throughout his life he felt the sting of being "the schwarzer."
This was in a large measure, a major factor in his creativity and the manifestation of his divinity in music because he wanted acceptance. He found women that he really loved. Some of them really loved him. But because of the social stratification in the Germane and Austrian society, the parents did not feel he was of the proper nobility of birth to be worthy of marrying their daughters.
It is something like Black persons, like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gilesby, Bud Powell, who were so innovative in the jazz idiom that many, many white people found a place for them in their homes, in their hearts, but this did not necessarily allow them to marry their daughters. So Black musicians have always found a level of acceptance in white supremacist societies simply because of what we provided for the white supremacist mentality, by the genius or the divinity of our expression.
Beethoven found a woman that he truly loved. But she was unable to marry him, although they would meet secretly. So after his death, they found a letter addressed to his eternal beloved with no name. They began to search: who could this be? Why could it not be known?
So in my preparation for the playing of Beethoven, on my prayer rug, I asked Allah, if He would give me the spirit that He gave to Beethoven when He created this violin concerto. It is unlike any other violin concerto because it is a give and take. It is a conversation between the soloist and the orchestra and different segments of the orchestra. It starts with the timpani drum beating [the Minister makes drum sounds.] This continues all the way through the piece and you will hear this beat [the Minister makes drum sounds], sometimes from the violins; sometimes from the base violin, sometimes from other instruments.
I liken this sound to the heart beat. His heart was affected by a woman that he could not fully have as his own.
So I believe that this piece was his conversation with her; his deep love for her, hers for him; the highs and lows; the frustration that came about in his inability to make her his life long companion.
The more I studied the nuances of the music, the more I hear his crying; his pleading; her responses; the family; the anger - all of this incorporated in his music - which was an expression of all that he was going through.
It's like Quincy Jones saying, that when Michael Jackson composes, his life is intimately involved in the songs that he sings.
Jabril Muhammad: Adversity was the constant companion of this outstandingly great composer, Beethoven, yet he persevered. What accounted for his perseverance and success in spite of his adversities?
Minister Farrakhan: He suffered the adversity of being dark skinned in a culture or society that would one day accept an Arian philosophy at the apex of white supremacy.
I read that he spent considerable amount of money trying to prove the nobility of his birth. I read that he was unfulfilled in terms of marriage and having a companion at his side, whom he truly loved and by whom he would have children.
Then the greatest adversity in his life was at the age of forty, when he began losing the ability to hear. Yet the greatest of his compositions, according to those who study music in colleges, tell us that these compositions that he created on his going deaf and at his deafness were the greatest of all his compositions.
This meant that he had to rely on an inner strength and an inner connection to the God Who created sound and gave each creature a sound that is unique to that creature. So when he came to the point where he could no longer hear the sound, he had to remember; he had to dig deep in his capacity to remember the sounds of birds and he imitated that in his music.
He heard from the inner ear what God allows us at times, to hear - the unspoken - as though he actually heard it spoken and to see the unseen, as if he were looking at it. He got in touch with the greater power of seeing and hearing, which afforded him the opportunity to make his greatest contribution to music, which meant he had to get in touch with God, on a more profound level.
So his adversity, not only put him on a deep musical journey within, but it also took him on a deep spiritual journey, where he became more and more in tune with the God, Who created him and gave him this marvelous gift.
But as you raise this question, I thought of the teachings of the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Adversity accompanied God's Self-creation. So it's natural for adversity to accompany everything of value, and it must be accompanied by adversity. Adversity becomes the mother, out of which creativity and the genius or the spirit of God is made manifest.
So out of the darkness of space and the adversity of overcoming nothingness, came sun, moon, stars, life; all forms of life. So when one is created in the image of God, that means that adversity will accompany that life. This is why the Qur'an says "Allah has ordained struggle."
Struggle means that there is something that you must move against that is a natural impediment to prove yourself. You have to break through that impediment. What flows from that is a creation [ones self] that glorifies God.
Brother Jabril: Every one of us who really knows you, knows, that you have had - especially since the departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad - to deal with an unusual degree of adversity. Not just in the light of what you said, but in the light of all that you have learned from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and from your life's experiences, please explain, what has gotten you to this point, through the non-stop adversities in your life? How have you used adversity for your own growth and to advance the divine cause?
Minister Farrakhan: "One can never overcome the natural obstacles and impediments to one's growth without faith in God; that tells us that this that is in front of us is not an immovable object. So Jesus said "If you had faith the grain of a mustard seed, you could say to the mountain, be removed and it would be so. Or you could say to the sycamore tree, be uprooted and be planted in the depth of the sea."
"So faith in God is the prerequisite to overcome adversity. With a Muslim, when we say "Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim," it is a prayer seeking the help of Allah to help us with whatever we are engaged in.
"So is there anything that we cannot do with the help of God and belief that you have His support? This is why the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me, when David went after Goliath, he picked up five smooth stones from a brook, but he only used one. He said that that one was "Bismillali—"In the name of Allah."
"Every prophet of God, though one person, was able to do just magnificent things in the name and with the help of God. So all of us today are called to the apparent impossible - to raise a people from the dead; to overcome the adversity of a negative world; to plant and nurture the seed of a new world; and overcome all opposition to that truth until that truth is firmly established in the hearts and minds of the people. But it can only be done in the name and with the help of Almighty God Allah.
Brother Jabril: "Brother Minister, from time to time, over the last near twenty-five years, we've discussed things that have come up in the Nation of Islam in America and events world wide, that involve the reality of chaos. Adversity and chaos - of course these are relative terms because nothing is chaotic to the God. Nevertheless, there are times, as we move through our own lives, especially in this most critical of all times, so much seems absolutely upside down. Please explain the part that chaos has in the plan of God and how should we see it in our personal lives and utilize it."
Minister Farrakhan: "It would seem to me that in order to understand what chaos really is and how it serves the purpose of God, in establishing order, one must go back to the origin of creation; to when the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught of God's Self-creation.
"The first atom of life that sparkled in the universe contained positive and negative. Since the first atom that sparkled in the darkness, had positive and negative then all of creation bears witness to that atom - that there is no positive without negative; there is no darkness where you cannot find light; there is no death where you can't find life. Death feeds life and life feeds death. They’re companions of each other.
"If light and darkness are companions and life and death are companions, then, in a certain sense, God and Satan are companions and good and evil are companions and chaos and order are companions, but one feeds the other and gives birth to the other.
"So the scholars and scientists, who talk about the, "big bang" theory, talk about chaos as though it was first. Well, they don't really know the root of all of this. Out of what seemed to be chaos, came order. This produced motion.
"So the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who taught us so much deeper than these scholars and scientists, taught us that the first law is motion. How can you produce motion unless these opposites are present? With the positive and the negative charges, you produce motion. That motion may appear chaotic at first but then the second law comes into existence, which is order.
"So out of what seems to be only chaos comes order. Out of darkness came light. Out of nothingness came everything. Out of death comes life. So then, in another sense, out of evil comes good; out of demon or devil or Satan comes God. Well how is that?
"Was God Satan at first and then becomes God? Not in that sense. But the Qur'an says that the jinn came before the man. In my humble opinion, it means that this fiery spirit and temperament is seen in the infancy of development, where one must learn to control the emotions in order for the rational mind of a man to come forth.
"If you look at a baby, they want immediate gratification for the change of a diaper; for the bottle or for whatever they have a desire for. So they cry. If you don't attend to them right away, you will see in the baby their cry, demonstrating an emotion that makes their face to become red with the flame of anger. So in the development of the human being, we go through these stages.
"Well, what about God? What about the making of a God? If we are created from God, then the adversity that He went through, to evolve into Himself, shows us the path of all things to come to that point or place in development that God intended.
"So, what's called "chaos" serves order.
"What we are experiencing now is the chaotic disorder of the breaking down of a world that will give birth to the order of a new world. So this chaos is absolutely and vitally necessary to create the motion toward order.
"So the evil that Allah has permitted to touch the earth, almost completely, has created such dissatisfaction with evil, that even the evildoer wants a way out of evil because there is no peace in evil. There is no real productivity now in evil. There is diminishing return in the doing of evil. There is complete loss and frustration in the doing of evil.
"The human being's nature is to be made secure. So now in this chaos, everybody is insecure. We're hungering for that security which brings peace, for unrighteousness has had its sway.
"Now the greatness of the evil, has determined the greatness of the good that has come out of the desire of the sufferer of evil and even the doer of evil, reaping the consequence of evil, to get out of that into peace and security.
"Thus the evil, under the Satanic rule, demands the presence of God, to bring about order out of the chaos, as it is the presence of God in the world of evil that is producing the disorder and the chaos that is ending one world and bringing another."
Brother Jabril: The next three questions are intimately interrelated.
It's recorded in the 9th chapter of Acts, that Jesus removed the scales from Paul's eyes. Then Jesus made it known that this man, Paul, is a chosen vessel of his, substantially to do two things. He is to bring a message to the Gentiles and their rulers and the kings and also to the children of Israel. How does this bear on your mission?
Minister Farrakhan: The scales are many. The first scale had to be the scale of hypocrisy, that the Minister had fallen asleep and went into darkness after having had been exposed to the light.
The Qur'an says, "In the alternation of the day and the night there is a sign for those who would reflect." In another part it says, "The night is made for rest and sleep and the day to rise up again." Some scholars say, "Seeking the bounty of God."
In my losing sight of my father and Master Fard Muhammad, for a brief period of time, the scales that came over my eyes and my heart produced a period of darkness in my life, chaos and spiritual death, that later fed order, life and sight on my emergence from this condition.
So when I read this wonderful book that you have written on the life of Jesus, which I read in three days, some time between the first and second week in September of 1977, I experienced a resurrection. I experienced a new birth. When the understanding came to me, through the reading of certain passages, in that book, it energized me to then want to do the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
That was the first scale.
There were layers in the scales on Paul's eyes. The first scale was he had to see Jesus properly. Then he had to know that Jesus was in fact alive, so that he could declare that "I know that my redeemer liveth and because he lives, I too shall live and stand with him at the latter day."
In the removal of the second scale, a third scale would [also] be removed, which was to take Paul out of the limited vision of Peter and the disciples, who were more nationalistic in their focus on the Jews and not on the Gentiles.
So Paul saw what Peter came to understand when he saw this cloth or sheet descend from heaven with all manner of meats on it. He said that he could not eat that which was unclean. Then he came to see that the vision was not talking about meat, but was talking about the different circumstances and condition of human beings beyond the children of Israel and that he could eat them. He could take the unclean and make them a part of the body of Christ.
Peter began his work with the Gentiles but it was limited. But when Paul had the third scale removed from his eyes, then [came] the fulfillment of the Holy Qur'an Ta Ha, chapter 20, the prayer of Moses, that his breast would be expanded and that a knot would be removed in his tongue that they may understand his speech and that this helper would be made to bear his burden.
Paul then, [in his] seeing the broad scope of the message of Jesus Christ - that Jesus was so important to all of humanity because he offered in his person and in his wisdom a door to all of humanity to access God's spirit; God's mind; God's wisdom to become a little God; a reflection of the Almighty True and Living God - [another scale was removed.]
So in Paul's having those scales removed from his mind and heart, he knew then, that the mission of Jesus Christ, though starting narrowly, with a focus on the lost sheep of the house of Israel, now had to be taken to every nation, every kindred and every tongue, that every human being, demonic or otherwise, Jew or Gentile, Greek, male or female, would have access to God through this divine door that God had made for humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.
As these scales were removed from my mind, I came to see the Honorable Elijah Muhammad clearly again and believe in him clearly again and even see him beyond where I saw him before. That happened when I read the manuscript of what you wrote.
The second scale and one of the most important of the scales, was to know that Elijah Muhammad was, in fact, alive. Without that knowledge, I could not do what I am doing, with the faith that I would be victorious and nothing of adversity would stop me from being successful in the mission of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
I had to have that scale removed.
My heart had to be expanded and God had to allow me to see how to loosen the knot in the language of the revelation of Master Fard Muhammad to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that that word that seemed so nationalistic, in its first expression, could be made universal in this expression, that all of humanity could find refuge under the branches of this tree that started from the mustard seed of faith.
Now the Minister is at a point in his development, where he has the duty, before he can go, to receive what his father promised him. And by the way, a sister had an experience at Saviours' Day a few years ago, and she was here in Phoenix recently with her beloved mother, and she said, "Remember, Brother, that I was told to tell you, that every thing that he promised you, he would fulfill."
Note: Excerpts of the interview of Minister Farrakhan conducted by Minister Jabril Muhammad have run in The Final Call for several months this year.
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Monday, May 6, 2002