Have you read CLOSING THE GAP; Inner Views Of The Heart, Mind & Soul Of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan? How do you see him now?
Brother Jabril: You became a registered Muslim in 1955. Did you study?
Minister Farrakhan: Oh yes. This was a new field for me. I was so fascinated by the teachings of the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, as taught by Malcolm X first; Minister Malcolm; Minister Lucius in Washington, D.C., Minister Karriem in Baltimore; the Minister in Detroit and other Ministers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and young Minister George, out of Philadelphia–these were men who were profoundly influential in my development.
Even though there were people over me in authority that may not have had a high school education, they were so well studied in the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, it meant nothing to me that they did not have the amount of school time that I had, or the quality of preparation that I had. They had what I was trying to get. That was an understanding of the message of Islam, as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
The discipline that I applied in the study of my music, once I gained the love of my violin, my mother no longer had to require me to practice. Every free moment I had I would practice my craft. Sometimes I would practice four hours, five hours, and six hours.
Sometimes I would tell my wife, ‘I’m going in this room. I won’t be out for eight or nine hours.’ I would go in and practice my craft.
So when I gave up music and became a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, my love for music, my love for my craft just was transferred to my love for Allah, my love for the Messenger, my love for Islam. I always had love for God and love for our people, but now I had a message, a vehicle to transfer–not a noun but a verb–in that I could actively demonstrate my love, by bringing Black people up out of the grave of ignorance, by sharing with them the profound message that Master Fard Muhammad had left with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for our resurrection, restoration, reconciliation and civilizing us to be top human beings.
Brother Jabril: A few of us or some of us in those days are aware of the fact, that there were times when you would go to a hotel room and spend hours studying. Please elaborate.
Minister Farrakhan: I always desired to feed the Muslim community. They were feeding me. They were giving my family and I enough money to at least to afford bean soup. It was not the amount of money, because it was very meager, and we were very, very poor. But I felt obligated to study to serve this community. They came to follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In order to follow him they had to know him, they had to know what he taught and his aim and purpose. So if I loved him and loved them, then it was my duty to study to prepare these who love him and also to be strong helpers of him, in the cause of the rise of our people.
In those days I studied every thing I could get my hands on related to the message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. By immersing myself in his message, then everything that I learned in high school, prep school and college took on greater significance. Biology took on greater meaning. Chemistry, Solid Geometry, Algebra, Calculus, everything that I studied I could now use because Islam, as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was the key to use knowledge for the advancement of self, your family, your community and your people.
Brother Jabril: Now Brother Minister, talk to me for a moment about the time you received the order to put up your music.
Minister Farrakhan: Well, I was playing in a nightclub, in Greenwich Village, in New York, called The Village Barn. I could not come to the Mosque on that particular Sunday because I had to do a Matinee show at the time of the Mosque meeting. But after I completed my show and my responsibility to the nightclub, I came uptown to the Temple #7 luncheonette on 120th Street and Lenox Avenue to chat with the Muslims and get a bowl of bean soup.
When I got in the restaurant and sat down to order my soup, one of the Believers, I don’t remember who he was, sat down and said to me “Man you know, the order came down today that all the musicians would have to get out of music or get out the Mosque or out of the Temple.” This came as a shock to me. So I didn’t drink the soup right then. I got up, I walked out of the restaurant, I walked East on 120 Street, maybe 20 to 30 paces, thinking as to what I was going to do. In that 20 to 30 paces, the thought came to me, ‘I can live without music. But I cannot live without the truth.’
I turned right around and went back in the restaurant and sat down and had my bowl of soup.
Our dear departed Brother Captain Yusuf Shah learned that somebody had said that to me. He was very angry because he wanted to be the one to break it to me in a gentle way and measure my reactions. When he came I told him, “I already made my decision Brother. I’m giving up show business.”
I had until the end of December, this was around the first of December during Ramadan or something like that, I think it was, and I had to the end of December. I had 30 days to make that decision.
Brother Jabril: 1955?
Minister Farrakhan: Yes it was the end of 1955. That’s correct.
Brother Jabril: And you just stopped?
Minister Farrakhan: Yes. In fact it was in November. It was not in December, but I had to the end of December to make the decision, but this order came down in November, one month after I had been a registered Muslim.
Brother Jabril: What then led to, and what were the circumstances, which were preparatory, under which the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to you, “You don’t have to study.” [Dictionaries define “story” to mean an account or a recital of an event or a series of events, or happenings, either true or fictitious.
It’s a narrative of incidents in their sequence. “Narrative,” “Story-line” or “plot,” basically means the same. They all have beginnings and endings. So it is with the scriptures. We are at the very end of the Bible’s and Holy Qur’an’s “story” or “narrative.”]
The interview conducted by Jabril Muhammad to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan continues:
Minister Farrakhan: Well, as he made me his National Representative and allowed me to carry on his National Broadcast, he wrote me a letter and gave me the assignment. He gave some subject matter in a letter for four weeks that I would have to deliver these subjects. After the four weeks he was very pleased. He said, “You can go on a little longer.”
As I went on longer, he was pleased. So after six months or so, he said “You can go on for six years.”
More next issue, Allah willing