Elijah Muhammad, Jr.

Elijah Muhammad Jr., served in many different capacities and impacted many, many lives. He was the Assistant Supreme Captain of the Fruit of Islam, the men of the Nation of Islam, during the time of his father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He was known as the man Muslim officials went to when they wanted to get things done in the Nation. 

He died Aug. 2 and was buried Aug. 6 in New Medina, Miss., a community developed by Muslims in 1987. 

He lived about 90 minutes outside of New Medina near his daughter Yasmeen, and his grandchildren. “He had lived in that area since the death of his brother, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed in 2008,” Alif Muhammad, his nephew told The Final Call.

Elijah, Jr. was the last surviving child of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Mother Clara Muhammad. He was born June 29, 1931 in Detroit. He was the sixth child of the family that included Emmanuel, Ethel, Lottie, Nathaniel, Jabir, Wallace, later known as Imam Warith Deen, and Akbar. 

The Hon. Elijah Muhammad with Mother Clara and children.

“He was born about two and a half months before the Honorable Elijah Muhammad met his teacher Master Fard Muhammad on September 22, 1931. It was a very critical time in the development of what would become the Nation of Islam,” said historian and archivist Carlos Muhammad.

“In the ’30s and definitely through the ’40s into the mid-’50s, Elijah, Jr., attended Muhammad University of Islam and many of its seminal stages as well as the trial periods while the Muslims were incarcerated, he attended classes in the living rooms of the Believers in Chicago, but as he grew up he began to take on certain roles in the Nation of Islam as a helper,” said Carlos Muhammad.

Those roles included working in the Temple No. 2 grocery store, the South Park Bakery owned by his brother Jabir Muhammad “Mina’s Pastries.” He was also responsible for the transportation of the sheep back and forth to the Michigan Farm.

“Junior rose through the ranks of the Fruit of Islam, taking on the job of inspection, appointed by his father. He would go around to the various properties, inspect them and make sure that the maintenance and the cleanliness was up kept. He then quickly rose to second officer,” said Carlos Muhammad.

Yasmeen Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad, Jr., her father

“He eventually became first officer and then was appointed assistant Supreme Captain by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to aid his brother-in-law, Supreme Captain Raymond Sharrieff. It is in those years as Assistant Supreme Captain that Elijah Junior was basically responsible in overseeing the training of the FOI throughout the Nation.  He was the go to man.”

His responsibilities included protecting his father whenever he traveled throughout America or overseas and handling circulation of the Muhammad Speaks Newspaper.

The editor at the time Askia Muhammad remembers him.

“His influence at the Muhammad Speaks newspaper plant was really quite profound and extensive.  The FOI and those responsible for the sale of the newspaper were under his jurisdiction.  He and they sort of ruled the day. They were major influencers of the thinking that was prevalent in the newspaper plant,” he told The Final Call.

The Muhammad Speaks newspaper was the number one selling Black newspaper in America. At its peak, it sold one million copies a week.

Elijah Muhammad, Jr., the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and Raymond Sharrieff.

“He was the captain, he was the sheriff. He was a lawman, he was beloved by the brothers, to the lieutenants, to the people who served under him because he was a friendly person. He instructed them well, in how to behave, how to carry themselves. He was kind of covetous of his access to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” added Askia Muhammad, who was then known as Charles 67X. “But by the time of the 1970s, he was the influential character under Supreme Captain Raymond Sharrieff.”

 Yasmeen Muhammad, his only daughter from second wife Patricia, saw him in another light. She told The Final Call, “Elijah Muhammad, II was a force to be reckoned with. He was a protector, hero, instructor, advocate, gentle but mostly giant, the epitome of a man and father. He was a pioneer who laid so many foundations that stand strong.”

Fruit of Islam outside Temple Number 2 in Chicago under the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad, Jr., served as Asst. Supreme Captain of the Fruit of Islam.

“He had the biggest fist but his heart was way much bigger. He was admired and loved by multitudes. I shared my dad with so many that loved and admired him. He taught me so much. The best father and paw-paw a child could have. The most giving and loyal person I know. He was let down by many, but he spent his life lifting others. He spent his entire adult life building the Black Muslim community. My dad was everything. He was full of life, knowledge, life lessons.”

She added, “If you didn’t know him, you wanted to know him, or of him. He led hundreds, thousands, as captain of the Nation of Islam. His legacy lives through all he touched and mentored. He left his mark. It’s a major loss, a loss that can’t be recovered, but I will  forever cherish our memories. They say, I have many characteristics of my dad, most good, some not so good. I’m evolving every day. But I will never apologize for these characteristics, traits. They are all of what God intended them to be. Rest easy, Dad. No more trials, suffering, convincing, influencing. Your assignment/job is complete! We forever love you! Your work, your legacy stands strong!” 

Elijah Jr., is also survived by his daughter Amena from his first wife Sylvia, three grandchildren and other relatives.

Black Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad addresses a convention of Muslims in Chicago, Feb. 26, 1972. Others are unidentified. (AP Photo)

Alif Muhammad attended the Janazah for Elijah Jr., and remembers his uncle fondly. He told The Final Call, “Allah blessed my dear uncle to live to be 89 years old. He and his first wife, Sylvia, had yet to have children. My parents had five children. They asked my parents if they could raise me. I was the right age for them to raise. My uncle did so many things for me and my siblings. He did so many things for us. He took us out and gave us so many experiences as young Muslims. He was always concerned about the family.”

“He was always there to guide and correct, to help us maintain family ties. He was there to maintain ties and relationships with the Muslim community and with the Muhammad’s. Family came first with him and he always reminded us about that. He had a beautiful character that will be well remembered by many.”

He added, “Charity began at home. If family needed him, he was always there. As a young man he was supportive of the leadership of his father and stood just as supportive of the leadership of his brother also.”