[Editor’s note: The following text is taken from Minister Farrakhan at Muhammad Mosque No. 7 in Harlem on November 18, 1998.]

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Tonight, I want to talk to you briefly about the enemy within. It is one thing to know that we have an enemy outside. That enemy is easier to guard against. But the most difficult enemy to struggle against is the internal enemy, the one that comes from your family, the one that comes from your bosom, the one that comes from your loins, the one that comes from your ranks.

The Scriptures say that “they of a man’s own household will be his worst enemy.” You don’t know an enemy until that enemy comes out of your own house. You don’t know an enemy until that enemy comes out from your bed. The Bible, again, says, “They think that I (Jesus) have come into the world to bring peace. Nay, a sword. I come to set the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law, and the son-in-law against the father-in-law. And they of a man’s household will be his worst enemy.” Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was told in the Qur’an that, “Among your wives and your children there is an enemy for you, so be aware of them.”


Half the battle of winning against an enemy is awareness. The problem with the enemy within is that sometimes we are not aware until it is too late. When I learned that I had cancer—which I didn’t understand, because I tried to eat right, think right, live right—I didn’t trust the doctors in the United States, so I went to Mexico and I took my doctor from the United States, Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad, with me. The doctor (in Mexico) said it like this: “Mr. Farrakhan, you have an enemy in your house. He is a thief, but if you don’t get him out of your house right now, he will turn to be a murderer.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

I like the way he put that. It is better to deal with a thief than a murderer; and when cancer is inside, you don’t play with that. You try to get that enemy out of your house as quickly as you can, because the longer it lingers, the thief then becomes a murderer. I thank Allah (God) that the thief and the potential murderer is out of my house.

When the enemy is close, like your family, sometimes you don’t know how to fight. The first dysfunctional family started with the rebellion of Adam and Eve. Then we had two children, one becoming the enemy of the other due to envy. Any one of you that have accomplished anything in life, or are beautiful or attractive or talented, you know what it means to have people envy you for some gift that you have, and then hate you for your gift and then seek to destroy you because of your gift. Joseph had brothers who hated him because the father gave Joseph a coat of many colors; and because the son had a vision that the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed to him, and the corn stalk of his brothers bowed, which meant that they would one day bow to him. Joseph’s father told him not to tell of his vision. But Joseph was so excited over what he saw that he told it, and telling it inspired envy; envy inspired hatred; hatred inspired murder. The brothers decided to put Joseph in a pit after one of the brothers persuaded the others not to kill Joseph.

Judas was a different type of character. He came out from the table of his Master. He knew that Jesus was a good man. He had benefited from the goodness of Jesus. Judas was a real revolutionary, and when he heard the preaching of Jesus, he knew that Jesus was a true revolutionary and was attracted to Jesus. But when Jesus began showing not the militant side that he felt Jesus was going to lead him to, he felt that Jesus had betrayed him and betrayed the revolution, and that led Judas to betray his Master.

Judas sat with his Master and they ate together, but Jesus knew what his student was going to do. After supper, Jesus said, “I have chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil.” Here is an exalted assembly of men following a man that the world had been looking for, but Jesus disappointed Judas. And in that disappointment Judas felt ease in betraying Jesus to the Pharisees and to those who killed him. It seemed as though Jesus didn’t guard himself against Judas, but he knew that Judas was the means of the glorification of God and the glorification of Jesus, because it could not happen until he was betrayed. No matter how bitter the cup was, Jesus had to drink from that cup.

Allah says in the Qur’an that the internal enemy is the hardest one to guard against. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad through his Minister, Malcolm X, popularized the terminology of the white man being the devil. And when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, through Malcolm, pointed him out as the devil, a light went on in our head. We looked at all white people funny. And Malcolm used to teach us that all snakes are not poisonous, but they all are snakes. He said a baby doesn’t know the difference between a garter snake and a rattlesnake, so keep your baby away from all snakes.

Brothers and sisters, it is so easy to point at the white man. And you are right, to a point. But, to keep pointing the finger at somebody else and not accepting the responsibility to change the reality that he has inflicted upon us is a very masochistic exercise—to point out white folk as the source of our pain but not doing anything to heal our pain. We ought to know that he who inflicted pain is not going to heal it.

As a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who was on the radio broadcasting every week on behalf of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I was beating up the white man, as I thought was my job. And every week I would send my tape to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad before it was played on the radio. One day I got a call from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and he said, “Brother, I wish that you would stop throwing trash in a well I am trying to get a drink of water out of. As-Salaam Alaikum.” Then he hung up the phone before I could ask him, what trash?

Trash is something that is the residue of that which was useful that no longer has use. A well is a place from which you extract water. Water is the source of life. The purer, the cleaner the water, the better, the more preserving is the life. When somebody takes trash and throws it in a well that you are going to drink water from, it contaminates the well. Therefore, you can’t drink the water.

I was trying to figure out what I was throwing in the well that he was calling trash. I was using what he taught me. Taught me. Past tense. When you follow a wise man, you can’t live in the past tense. You have to stay in the present tense, lest you fall into the past and become of non-effect in the present.

It does not mean that what you are teaching is not true. It means the utility of it has passed the time of its usefulness. In the world of wisdom, we can’t say that Moses was not a great Prophet and a great Teacher, but when one prophet’s teaching has used its value, God abrogates one teaching for another that is more useful in the contemporary to solve the problems of a new time. When people hold on to the old prophet while the new one comes, they lose the new, and the old becomes corrupted.

Wisdom, unless it is eternal, has a time value on it. What was good in one time may not necessarily be good in another because as time moves on and human beings evolve, the problems change. Therefore, solutions may have to be different. You can’t use old wisdom in a new time. And that is why when God sent Abraham, He (God) didn’t stop. He sent Noah … He sent Lot and He didn’t stop. He sent Moses and he stopped for a while because the wisdom of Moses had a time value of 2,000 years. He was a major prophet so his life went before him. But as you got closer to the time that the 2,000 years should end, that life was going to lose its power. Then Jesus was born. And the people said they didn’t need Jesus because they had Moses. But a man had come to raise it to another level. When the Jews rejected Jesus, they already lost Jesus and corrupted Moses, because the time value of the wisdom of Moses could not hold up in the time of Jesus. So the Jews became corrupted. Then the Christians had Jesus. They did not have Jesus the Messiah because he was 2,000 years yet to come. They had Jesus the Prophet, and he gave them a book called Injil or Gospel. And that book had a 2,000 year time value, but the people were so darkened at the time of the end of Moses’ dispensation, that when Jesus was born, they sought to kill him at birth. They wanted to destroy the new dispensation. You don’t kill a man because of the way he wears his hair. If he is a Prophet of God, you kill him because of the message that is in his mouth. And if you kill the man, you don’t keep his message intact. They killed the man and corrupted his message.

You don’t have the message of Jesus Christ today, because you can’t have the message of Jesus Christ and be the weak human being that has no power to discipline yourself, but makes excuses for your degenerate behavior and use Jesus as a shield for your dirty practice of religion.

Six hundred years after the death of Jesus, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is born. The Christians say they don’t need no Mohamet because they have Jesus. But do you have Jesus? No, you don’t have Jesus. You have what the white man concocted and gave you as the religion of Jesus, but just as they murdered the Prophet, they corrupted his knowledge, so that when you had it, you would never be able to overpower your oppressor. You would never be able to overcome him with what you call the Gospel because he corrupted the Gospel.

Instead of it being one book, it is now four Gospels, not written by Jesus, but written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, four great disciples who saw the Master through four different eyes. So, Allah reveals to Muhammad the Qur’an. The Qur’an does not come as a new book. It looks new, but the Qur’an is a compilation of the best of the revealed word of God through the many Prophets that he sent, and it comes as a protector of the Torah, of the Gospel and of all the teachings of the sages and the prophets. Therefore, the book Qur’an is a guardian of the sacred scriptures that preceded it.

The Muslims have had the Qur’an for 1,400 years, and they say there is no Messenger to come after Muhammad, peace be upon him. If there is no Messenger to come, and you have the final Message, then somehow it has lost its power because the Arab and the Muslim World may say they believe in Allah … but Clinton is a God beside Allah. Therefore, America’s power has the Arab and Muslim world bowing down. That is why President Clinton can say, “I will bomb Iraq. I don’t care anything about the Security Council. We do it because we got the power to do it.” The wisdom of the Qur’an needs deeper introspection so we can extract from it greater power to heal the human family. As it is now, it is weak because the scholars have not seen into its depth.

My dear family, God raised the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the west, and he produced an Islamic Community that seemed unorthodox. We seemed unorthodox because Islam doesn’t teach color. Islam does not teach race. Islam teaches the Oneness of God, the Oneness of the Human Family and a Universal Brotherhood, but racism and white supremacy has affected every religion and every doctrine that impresses itself on the human family. Judaism is poisoned with racism and white supremacy. Christianity is poisoned. Islam is poisoned. Communism is poisoned. Socialism is poisoned. All of it is poisoned by the evil of white supremacy.

Unless white supremacy is attacked and destroyed, you will not be able to extract from the Scriptures what God intended for us whether you are a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim. You will never be able to get out of the book what you should get out of the book because white supremacy has destroyed your ability to perceive reality correctly.