By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
LOS ANGELES – More than 1,000 family members, friends and admirers filled Holman United Methodist Church to celebrate the life, legacy and works of Emeritus Minister Abdul Wazir Muhammad.
The beloved teacher, helper, mentor, father, grandfather, and father figure returned to Allah on September 14. When the news of his transition began to spread so did sadness and sorrow because people understood the impact of his passing clearly. Not just the Nation of Islam, but the world had lost a giant, a sincere servant who dedicated his life to the resurrection of the Black man and woman in America.
“We’re here to celebrate the Janazah of the man I believe will go down in the history of the Nation of Islam as one of the pillars who helped the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to rebuild this great Nation of Islam,” said Western Regional Student Minister Tony Muhammad at the Sept. 23 service.
He gave heartfelt condolences to Minister Wazir’s family for their years of sacrifice in allowing others to be taught, trained and guided by the beloved pioneer.
‘I personally have lost a dear friend, companion in the struggle and helper in the cause of Allah,” expressed the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a written statement of condolences and deepest sympathy read by Student Minister Christopher Muhammad of Mosque No. 26 in San Francisco.
In his message Min. Farrakhan said he’s known Bro. Wazir since January, 1960. He became acquainted with him based on his brilliant writing in the Herald Dispatch Newspaper, under the byline Randolph Sidle.
“As believers in Allah and followers of his Messenger Messiah, we are comforted by the words in the Holy Qur’an, which says, ‘Speak not of those who die or are slain in the way of Allah as dead. They are alive, but you perceive not,’” said the Minister.
“How is our departed brother yet alive? He is alive in the work that he has done in the cause of Allah. He is alive in the thousands of persons whom he has taught. He is alive in the multitude of those whom his words have brought from mental death to mental and spiritual life. He is alive in a Nation that will never die,” his statement continued.
Min. Farrakhan also expressed gratitude to Bro. Christopher and the believers of San Francisco, who took Minister Wazir in and aided him over the last months of his life.
Bro. Christopher was briefly overcome by emotions when he thought about his young daughter feeding Minister Wazir his last supper.
Several months before his passing, the highly regarded Muslim pioneer moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to be with Bro. Christopher, whom he considered his spiritual son. He lived in the “Embassy,” property located right across the street from Mosque No. 26, and had constant 24-hour care from the Believers, who waited on him hand and foot. “And he was giving orders, too,” Brother Christopher said, invoking laughter from the audience.
He said they bought Minister Wazir a big screen TV and was poised to get him cable with all the channels. “He said, ‘Brother. I don’t want that. Just make sure that I have the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s messages,” Bro. Christopher shared.
He thanked the unidentified believer who’d sent Minister Wazir a package consisting of all of Minister Farrakhan’s Justice or Else tour lectures. They spent marathon hours watching the lectures, he said. The only other thing Minister Wazir wanted to do was listen to his music, artists like Charlie Parker, he continued.
“He was strong. He was alert. He wasn’t on a hospital bed with tubes and morphine and pain killers. He was in no pain,” Bro. Christopher said. He went to sleep, and returned to Allah with a smile on his face, he continued. “It doesn’t get any better than that for a believer,” said Brother Christopher.
“Allah-U-Akbar,” rang throughout the sanctuary. People stood in applause. The sadness and sorrow dissipated as many shook their heads in affirmation, and some others smiled and rocked side to side when Bro. Christopher shared that Minister Wazir only missed one Sunday meeting in the time he was in the Bay Area, and that was the day before he passed.
Before Minister Wazir moved to San Francisco, Inland Empire, Student Minister Kareem Muhammad was his constant companion and caretaker. Before his wife Marie passed away (and before their daughter Gwendolyn), Jane Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 27 became their in-home caregiver.
As he had been taught by Minister Wazir, Student Minister Keith Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 26B in Oakland performed his mentor’s Janazah Prayer Service.
Ishmael Muhammad, Student National Assistant to Minister Farrakhan, also brought a message from Minister Farrakhan, and spoke of his own personal love, respect and admiration for Minister Wazir, who was kind to him and his entire family, he shared.
“He was kind, dear and loving to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, his family, and of course, volumes would have to be written on what he gave to this Nation that we all have benefitted from,” Minister Ishmael said.
Since he was a teenager, he admired that Minister Wazir was brave, strong, fearless, and loved the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Min. Farrakhan, said Student Min. Ishmael.
“Because of the quality of love for his teacher, it was easy for him to serve. It was easy for him to be humble. He didn’t have to feign humility. It came natural to him because of his love and connection to the teacher, so he was able to serve his community, able to serve the Nation of Islam. Whatever the Minister wanted, that’s all Brother Wazir wanted to know,” he said.
“Until his last breaths that he took, his mind, his heart was on the minister and helping his minister to get his people to Washington, D.C.,” Minister Ishmael said.
He thanked Allah for Minister Wazir, who helped to raise so many ministers for Minister Farrakhan.
“May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the family. May Allah comfort you and lift the burden of sorrow from your hearts. Know that your father dedicated, your grandfather dedicated, his life to the cause of freedom, justice and equality,” he encouraged.
Minister Wazir began his journey in the Nation of Islam by becoming a member of the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.) in the late 1950s. He witnessed the Los Angeles Police Department’s unprovoked attack on Mosque No. 27 on April 27, 1962 during which seven Muslims were shot and most of them sent to jail. Ronald T. X Stokes, mosque secretary, was shot to death and Brother William 12X (Ansar Muhammad) was paralyzed.
Rosalind D. Muhammad, who joined The Final Call newspaper staff in 1991 at Minister Wazir’s request, shared the impact he had on her life. She said if it wasn’t for Minister Wazir, she would never have become West Coast Correspondent, West Coast Bureau Chief and then Foreign Correspondent (until December 2000) after she moved to Paris, France.
“The brilliance of Min. Wazir was his exceptionally keen ability to find and groom promising young talent and ‘rising stars’ to carry forth the teachings. He was always thinking of the future of the Nation,” Sister Rosalind stated.
“One only has to look at some of the brilliant West Coast ministers and captains appointed by Min. Wazir in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Diego, for example, who still hold their posts to this day. Countless numbers of us have benefited from his mentoring,” she said.
Following the Janazah, Minister Wazir was interned in the LaVerne Cemetery where his wife Marie and daughter Gwendolyn were laid to rest. His repast was held at the Church of Scientology Community Center in Los Angeles.