In tribute to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, The Final Call went one-on-one with Abdul Wahid Muhammad to discuss his tenure in the Nation of Islam. Mr. Muhammad was a strong supporter of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and transferred that devotion to his support of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Part one of the interview follows.
The year is 1960, the end of the President Eisenhower “I Like Ike” era as John F. Kennedy wins that year’s presidential election. The Primettes, later known as the Supremes, auditioned for Berry Gordy at Motown and were not signed. The sit-in protest movement began at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. and spread across the nation. It was a year for change.
“In 1960, in San Francisco, I was a typical Negro. I had reached a point in my life where I was looking for something. I had tried nearly all religions from Catholicism to Buddhism to Zen to Daoism. A friend invited me to the mosque on a Wednesday evening. I went and heard Min. John Wesley. I knew right then it was exactly what I was looking for. The message touched me. This was what I was waiting for. I accepted that day. I was at the mosque seven days a week. Oakland had meetings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and San Francisco has meetings on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“After I heard the Honorable Elijah Muhammad speak, I knew he was the fulfiller. I knew there was a source greater than me and I wanted to be connected to that source. I committed my life to this work and whenever the Honorable Elijah Muhammad spoke, we traveled to hear him.
I saw the teachings reform people right before my eyes. The downtrodden prostitutes, criminals and drug addicts were reformed by these teachings. People would hear the teachings and a light would go off in their eyes. We just stopped doing everything we weren’t supposed to be doing and changed our lives. That’s how I knew the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was the fulfiller of the Bible and Holy Qu’ran. Everything he’s said on things like war, politics and calamities have come to pass or is in the making.
“I began to work hard in the Nation and do whatever I could to further these teachings. In 1971, I resigned my post and started to do public relations for the Nation. I knew we were reaching the downtrodden, but I felt there was another group of people we were missing, the intellectuals. I wanted to go after them.
“We organized a non-profit organization in San Francisco called Umoja Enterprises. We wanted to make it easy for our people to be with us and support us. We organized a tribute to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We used the plans from the first one at the Waldorf Astoria that Minister Farrakhan organized in New York that featured Duke Ellington and his band.
“Willie Brown, now the mayor of San Francisco, was our fundraiser and Min. Farrakhan delivered the keynote. We had to learn how to interface with people without threatening their lifestyles. Allah blessed us to use the teachings to accomplish this. We went from ritualistic to practice. We went from theoretical mathematics to applied mathematics.
“When I came into the mosque under Min. Farrakhan, each of us had to join an organization like the NAACP. We had to read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” as well as “Think and Grow Rich.” We were immersed in the Lessons of our Supreme Wisdom.
“This foundation helped us to grow beyond mosque operations to our ultimate objective of Nation. We are members of the body of Christ, but we are citizens of a government.
“I often wondered what it would have been like to walk with Jesus. Would I be like those who denied him? What would I have done during the crucifixion? Little did I know that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad would become like the Jesus and be crucified.”