By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the First Lady of the Nation of Islam Mother Khadijah cut the cake as well-wishers look on at Salaam Restaurant May 11. Photos: News

CHICAGO (  – The phrase “party with a purpose” took on a whole new meaning as the Nation of Islam gathered to celebrate the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s 80th birth anniversary on May 11.

The highlight of the weekend-long event was a highly exclusive preview of the documentary chronicling Minister Farrakhan’s life and music.  

The approximately 2-1/2 hour long documentary was executive produced by his  son Joshua Farrakhan. Michael Amir Muhammad was the director. And Jaami Muhammad, Jihad F. Muhammad and Elijah “EK” Karriem helped produce the film. It strategically and skillfully showcases a fact that still shocks many when they learn it:   Minister Farrakhan is a master classical violinist.


Minister Farrakhan expressed he just wanted to give something on his birthday in the gift of his music that would help show the universality of his message, that people often hear in word, but not in his music.

Muslims traveled from cities all across the United States and after viewing the documentary based on the Minister’s life enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Muhammad University of Islam. A wonderful time was had by all.

Some came with ease and others of these such people came on lean and broke down camels, in efforts of tremendous sacrifice, to honor the day he was born and enjoy events of the historical occasion.

Christians, Muslims, Jews, White, Black, rich and poor, educated and the so-called unlearned descended on Mosque Maryam, the Nation of Islam’s National Center for the occasion.

(From Top Left) Mother Evelyn Muhammad and her daughter Shalamar, Mother Tynnetta Muhammad with her son Rasul and his wife Charlyne, Atty. Abdul Arif Muhammad, Prince Asiel ben Israel, Rev. Henry O. Hardy, Abdul Wahid Muhammad, Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan and his wife Karen, Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad with Final Call General Manager Fontaine Muhammad and his wife Michelle. Keith Muhammad follows tweets during Part 18 of ‘The Time and What Must Be Done’ prior to the start of the dinner, as Hilary Muhammad looks on, 17th Ward Alderman Latasha Thomas.

Many of their gifts lay in their heartfelt remarks about how Minister Farrakhan has touched their lives.   Gifts came in the form of music and song by artist Zzaje and Rev. Mitty Collier and Norman 3X Butler.   One came in the form of a poem by Harold Power, a powerful spoken word artist and also brother to Nation of Islam Student National Secretary Berve Muhammad.  

“So many people gave cards and kind words, which I deeply appreciate, but I did not want anything on this day,” Minister Farrakhan in a hushed tone.   He’d intended to be in solitude and meditation and reflection, he shared.

He was the gift-giver that day.

His offering was not a secret.   People knew he was sharing a documentary.     But, the magnitude, significance and impact of his gift rendered his guests speechless and it took them through an array of emotions high, low and everything in between, according to their feedback given to The Final Call and displayed in presentations after the viewing.

The fortunate invitees received a precious glimpse into the historic documentary of facts, photos, music, and dialogue that even many of his own family members had never seen or known.   It was truly a one-of-a-kind gift.

And there was more, including a dinner after the viewing of the documentary.   His invitation welcomed all of those from all over the United States and abroad. Those who could make the journey filled two locations to capacity.  

Family, friends, dignitaries and Believers filled the fine dining ballroom of the newly-renovated Salaam Restaurant, as well as its Crescent Cafe and adjacent dining room. An overflow of guests filled the Muhammad University of Islam’s gymnasium, which doubled as a dinner/ballroom May 11 for food and entertainment provided by a live band.

As if that weren’t enough, Minister Farrakhan delivered a conscious-raising, spirit-piercing, lecture titled, “The Priceless Value of Mother,” in honor of Mother’s Day.

“As they say in the world, it was off the chain,” said Nation of Islam pioneer Minister Emeritus Abdul Rahman Muhammad.   “It was very enlightening, very emotionally touching and tear-dropping and joyful,” he said of the documentary and experiencing the two-day celebration.

At one point during the evening at Salaam Restaurant, Minister Farrakhan’s daughters delivered heartfelt words. Their comments were inspirational, motivational and touching. Pictured (L-R) Khallada Farrakhan, Jaleela F. Muhammad, Donna Farrakhan Muhammad (center with microphone), Betsy Jean Farrakhan, Fatima Farrakhan, Samida F. Muhammad and Maria Farrakhan.
Minister Farrakhan with the band Zzaje who played beautiful jazz during the dinner at Salaam Restaurant.