CHARLENEM -Western Reg. Correspondent-
Remembering a servant and a soldier
[NOTE: Use various photos of Brother Salim to accompany this article. Photos courtesy of the Final Call Archives.]
PHOENIX (FinalCall.com) – “To the family of our departed brother, to the believers, all of us who are present, we are here because Bro. Salim in some way touched our lives,” said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as he began officiating the funeral for Fruit of Islam Captain Salim Muhammad.
The man remembered as a consummate servant and soldier passed away due to heart complications on Dec. 4. Hundreds gathered for his funeral, which felt more like a warm family reunion.
Captain Salim was physically thousands of miles away from his native home of Aruba, Dutch West Indies at the time he returned to Allah, but he was surrounded by his immediate family, friends and numerous brothers and sisters of the Nation of Islam.
The Believers traveled from various mosques and study groups throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean to support his family and to pay their respects at the Resthaven Park Mortuary Cemetery on Dec. 12. His family included Irene, his wife, and his children, Nicole, Ameer, Ameera, Anicia (Tanse), Salim Shah, Thameemah Maryam, his son, Aaron, passed away in 1993, his brother Omar Shabazz, and a host of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Minister Farrakhan admonished the attendees to have no regrets, and said that the instruction of Captain Salim’s funeral was actually counsel to the living who yet must die.
“How should we view this? What attitude should we have? Our attitude should be thank you, Allah, for the days, the months, the years that we spent with our brother, that he spent with us. Thank you, Allah, for the lessons that he taught us all, thank you,” Minister Farrakhan said.
Captain Salim’s granddaughter, Fatima, read the obituary and the composed gatherers listened intently to his long list of accomplishments. He was a dental hygienist, lifeguard, paramedic, operating room technician, National Guard Reserveman, auxiliary policeman, safari taxi driver, manager at the Carlton Hotel in St. Croix, a corrections officer, proprietor of Salim’s Supreme Limo Service, and Fruit of Islam captain for Muhammad Mosque No. 32 in Phoenix and Mosque No. 8 in San Diego and security person, driver and aide to Minister Farrakhan.
Before Captain Salim had even become a follower of the Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad, he entered Minister Farrakhan’s life by help secure him in New York during Black Solidarity Day at the Manhattan Center in the 1970s. Ever since then, he had looked over and after me, Minister Farrakhan said.
“This is an extraordinary brother and all of us are better because he came this way. So let us rejoice that we knew him. Take seriously the lessons that he taught us, and the way he lived his life in service. If we could be that way toward one another like Salim was, it’ll be a stronger Nation, a better Nation, a faster moving Nation,” said Minister Farrakhan.
Before leading the Janaza Prayer for his longtime brother and companion, Minister Farrakhan explained the service, which was conducted according to the guidance of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. There were no sad songs because the departed cannot hear. There was no eulogy, because everyone present knew Captain Salim, and the beauty of the life that he lived that touched their lives. That type of spirit lives on and cannot be buried, Minister Farrakhan said.
“We don’t give flowers because as Muslims, we try to live our lives every day giving the flowers, the kindness and goodness toward one another so that when death touches us, we’re not filled with regret,” Minister Farrakhan said.
After the ceremony, members of the Fruit of Islam’s elite security team lifted Captain Salim’s coffin shoulder-high and carried him to his final resting place in the cemetery.
During the repast, smiles, even laughter, replaced some of the sorrow as people reminisced about Captain Salim’s life and travels with Minister Farrakhan.
Abdul Akbar Muhammad narrated a slide presentation, facilitated by Joshua Farrakhan, Minister Farrakhan’s son. Top hits by famous reggae singer Bob Marley played as photographs of Captain Salim in various settings flashed across a big screen at the front of the congregation hall at First Institutional Hope Center.
His daughter, Ameera, said, “Today is a blessed day. My father went home. … He last told me have faith. It will give you strength. With strength, you have power. With power, you are one with God.”
Captain Salim was considered a big brother, uncle, and a dad to many others. He took very good care of Minister Farrakhan’s children and family, and for that, the Minister, his wife Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, and their family were grateful.
Nation of Islam student Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan found it difficult to speak for a moment, because Captain Salim had been a significant figure for most of his life and taught him many things. But Mustapha Farrakhan was especially grateful to Allah for how Captain Salim served the Minister.
“If you want an example of how you serve each other, he would be a good example to study on how to serve and make other people’s lives a little better … I really thank Allah for his life and he’s one of those brothers that you’re not going to be able to replace,” Captain Mustapha said as the audience applauded.
Joshua Farrakhan remembered Captain Salim as “table salt” that put flavor into every aspect of his and his family’s life. “He was always there to sweeten it up with taste,” he said.
Student Minister Charles Muhammad of Mosque No. 32 recalled a man with the ability to perform the seemingly impossible. “We need to look at his example for he arose to the occasion to perform his duty even when he was not feeling his best. What comes to mind was the recent World Day of Atonement. He was not feeling his best, but when he popped up in his white uniform to help the Minister on the dais, that’s Brother Salim, a soldier’s soldier,” Minister Charles said.