What do Islam, music and basketball have in common? They are the passions of John Muhammad. He has combined his love for Islam, with his appreciation for music and basketball, to start Farrakhan Radio; help the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad thrive in Paris, France, and become a model professional basketball player in the European League.
Final Call Staff Writer Nisa Islam Muhammad went one-on-one with Mr. Muhammad to learn how he did this.
Final Call (FC): How were you exposed to Islam?
John Muhammad (JM): Through my wife, Attallah. Her practice of Islam and her discipline and love for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made me fall in love with Islam.
While I was living in Paris, France, playing professional basketball, I became a Registered Muslim in London, England, and was told that I was the First registered Brother in Paris.
My wife has played a big part in my development and becoming the man I am. Her practice of Islam has made her the wife I need to care for our children and develop our family. My wife has been with me when my checks were late, and all we had were rice and beans. She stood right by me and didn’t complain at all.
FC: Where did your love for basketball come from?
JM: When I was five years old my dad took me to a Boys and Girls club in New Jersey where I was born, gave me a basketball and told me to shoot, and I have been shooting ever since.
I graduated from high school in Memphis and went to Tennessee Tech University. I graduated in 1993 as the top scorer in the NCAA and was drafted by the New Jersey Nets, however, I didn’t get signed my first year. They told me to play overseas for a year, develop and then come back. My agent had a French connection, so I went overseas and loved it.
My family has traveled with me all over Europe. I’ve played for teams in Spain, Germany, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Phillipines. My oldest children, Jameel and Takiyah, speak French and German. I have two younger children, Aneesa, 3, and a newborn, Amer, who is three months old.
As a result of Islam, I am a model player for the basketball league. The average player smokes weed, drinks and is out in the club until 5 a.m. My coaches know I’m not out drinking or smoking. They know I have a family and that I’m stable, and that they can trust me to get the job done. The discipline of me being an F.O.I. has made me a model player.
FC: Where does music fit in with all of this?
JM: I was in New Jersey when hip hop started. I love music and always wanted to be the first person in my neighborhood to play the latest hit and to watch people’s reactions to the song.
Three years ago, while I was living in Berlin, my wife suggested that because I love music so much, I should start a radio station. My wife saw my passion, so I did it.
I wanted to play the best jams and allow people to hear Minister Farrakhan, so I could do my part to help expose people to Islam. When I talked to people about this, I was discouraged from combining the two, so I just started www.thebestjams.com, which people can go to and listen to Internet radio.
In 2005, I received permission from The Final Call to play CDs of Minister Farrakhan’s lectures on my station, and started with 10 lectures. Since then, I’ve developed my skills, and now people can listen to Minister Farrakhan on thebestjams.com via Farrakhan Radio–an on-demand service, which has anywhere from 150-200 listeners each day. I can also send it to their cell phones and home phones 24 hours a day.
For Muhammad’s Mosque No. 55 in Memphis, Tenn., I set up their local website www.mosque55.com, which also provides a link to Farrakhan Radio.
In 2006, during the month of Ramadan, I was a part of the Tsunami Prayer Line and started a righteous message forum for the Believers at www.knowledgeisthekey.info where we can communicate with each other.
I first became interested in computers when Minister Farrakhan said that everyone should have a computer in their home. I practice basketball twice a day, and before, after and in between that, I run the three websites. Even though I’m far away, I’m still trying to represent.
FC: Thank you.