In part 51 of The Time and What Must Be Done webcast lecture series, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan revealed to the world an aspect of his personal faith and belief. He said that he believes that his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad is not dead, but is alive. In part 51, the Minister’s word were, “Brothers and sisters, since 1981 I have been saying to the world that Elijah Muhammad is not dead! He is Alive. I am saying to the world that Elijah Muhammad is “The Messiah” that The Qur’an is speaking of. I am saying to the world what The Qur’an says of The Messiah: He escaped a death plot against him. Of course, you still may hold on to your thought “Elijah Muhammad is dead”—but how could he be dead, and he speak to me on The Wheel? This is incredible…”
This is a bold pronouncement that deserves some exploration.
Why Minister Farrakhan’s Faith Is Important
Powerful people like Minister Farrakhan often are interviewed so that the public can obtain an “inner view” of their mind, motives and overall make-up. Interviews help us to see just what it is that makes a person “tick.” Take a trip to any major bookstore and see the many biographies of great persons that are marketed to the public primarily because they expose the inner-thoughts and beliefs of some successful person. The idea behind such books is to suggest to the reader that if you think, believe and act like the successful person being written of, you too can become a successful person yourself.
The Minister’s success makes his beliefs a very important subject. A person’s faith is always the hidden animating force within their lives. And most successful persons attribute their success to their faith in a higher power. The belief that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is alive has empowered Minister Farrakhan to become the most powerful and influential Black leader in America. Jewish leader Abraham Foxman in April said in Ha’aertz Magazine that “The only leadership that now exists in that community”—the “African American community”—“is Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan can assemble 20,000 people several times a year,…”
The Minister’s wide and far reaching leadership that is so feared by the likes of Foxman, is both national and international. Minister Farrakhan’s assembling nearly 2 million men in Washington, D.C for the Million Man March gave the world a glimpse at the deep impact of Minister Farrakhan’s leadership in America. This caused Professor Michael Eric Dyson to acknowledge that “For the first time in African American history; a non-Christian leader is a significant, if not the significant leader within Black America.” Minister Farrakhan’s 3 World Friendship Tours displayed a picture of the Minister’s global and international leadership. This caused Professor Ernest J. Allen to note that “Minister Farrakhan is the first African American since El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz to be received by African and Middle East governments as a defacto head of state.”
The Minister’s bold faith that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is alive has propelled him to being Black America’s most forceful and controversial advocate. His bold faith in his teacher has given the Minister an unusual strength and courage, which has caused him to challenge the forces of oppression unlike anyone else. Consider how the Minister’s work has foiled some of the specific objectives outlined by the U.S. Government. National Security Council Memorandum-46(NSCM/46) dated March 17, 1978 made policy recommendations for the control and derailment of the Black movement in America. NSCM/46 recommended that the government work to “inhibit the emergence from within the Black leadership of a person capable of exerting nationwide appeal.” It is clear that Minister Farrakhan has foiled this objective because everywhere he goes thousands come out to hear him making his national appeal undeniable. Author and critic Julius Lester said of the Minister in 1985 that “The appearance of Louis Farrakhan at MadisonSquareGarden on October 7 demonstrated, without doubt, that he is now America’s preeminent black leader.Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP could not have filled theGarden. There would not have been people standing against the walls on every level of the arena to hear JohnJacob of the National Urban League. Jesse Jackson mightjust have filled the Garden. But Farrakhan filled not onlythe 20,000-plus seats; he also drew another 3,000 to 5,000people to watch the whole event on closed circuit televisionin the Felt Forum next door.” NSCM/46 also recommended that the government “work out and realize preventive operations in order to impede durable ties between U.S Black organizations and radical groups in African states.” The Minister’s 3 World Friendship tours and his ongoing relationship with African heads of state in Ghana, Libya and South Africa has surely frustrated this goal of the U.S. government.
The Minister’s bold faith that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is alive has given him the courage to stand up to and expose the powerful control of the Jewish community on Black leaders and organizations. This paternalistic control was on display in 1993 when Rabbi David Saperstein wrote a letter chiding Black leaders for inviting Minister Farrakhan to speak at the 30th anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington. After receiving the letter organizers of the event disinvited the Minister.
It is therefore clear that Minister Farrakhan’s bold faith has borne fruit. And the fruit of the Minister’s faith vindicates his belief that his teacher is alive. For the Bible gives us a principle concerning faith. The Bible says that faith is “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” So even though a living Elijah Muhammad is unseen, the Minister’s ‘fruit bearing’ faith is mighty evidence the Muhammad is indeed alive.
All in Black America have benefited from the Minister’s unshakeable faith in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad being alive and well. From the numerous positive outcomes of the Million Man March to his work as a peace maker among gangs the leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan is unmatched. Former congressperson and writer Debra Hanania-Freeman referred to him as a “national asset whose voice should be heard.” Theology Professor Andre C. Willis described the Minister like this “There is simply no Black person in the world that has — over so many years — been as consistent, as unrestricted, and as forthright in defending the humanity of Black people throughout the world against its attackers.” Tuskegee Alabama Mayor Johnny Ford proclaimed Minister Farrakhan as “honorary Mayor of Tuskegee for life.” And former Chicago Tribune editorial page editor Don Wycliff beautifully compared Minister Farrakhan to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he wrote “Not since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, has black leadership spoken in a genuine, effective way to the souls of black folk. Not, that is, until October 16(1995) and the Million Man March. The genius of the event—which is to say the genius of Louis Farrakhan, who conceived it–was to couch its purpose in religious terms: atonement, reconciliation, recommitment to God, women, family, and community. In so doing, he spoke to the souls of black folk in a way that not even Jesse Jackson had managed to in the twenty-seven years since Dr.King’s death. In so doing, he transformed the Million Man March into an occasion for re-fusing a severed cord, for reconnecting with the hopeful, faith-filled religious tradition that King represented and that seemed to fall into decay after his murder.”
All of these accolades epitomize Minister Farrakhan and his leadership. No such leader can boast of the kind of diverse respect and honor that he has received. And at the root of it all, is the profound faith that has fueled Minister Farrakhan; the faith that his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is alive and well. His accomplishments and triumphs are all functions of and rooted in this bold faith.
But this is not a blind and arbitrary faith. The Minister’s faith in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s vitality admittedly conflicts with the popular belief in his mortality but, the Minister’s faith is strongly supported by ample evidence from scripture and history. An exploration of the Minister’s faith in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as the Biblical and Qur’anic Messiah who escapes death goes back to the religious beliefs of the enslaved African ancestors on plantations throughout America. Next Week Part II: “Elijah Muhammad As Messiah”