[Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint and was published online on September 19, 2015.]
The word obligation means an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment; the condition of being morally or legally bound to do something.
The word obligation is also connected to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s assignment, given to him in 1955, from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad when he first met him.
Why I’m writing this now, at this time?
This article continues an interview I conducted with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for the book Closing The Gap.
Brother Jabril: We’ve all heard the old expression that to be a good leader you must first become a good follower. But some have stated this expression this way, that to be a good teacher you must first become a good student. So, how important is the relationship between being a good student first and an effective teacher later on?
Minister Farrakhan: A good student learns from the good teacher, the method, the psychology of how to deal with the mind of the person in whom you hope to place a certain type of knowledge. You may not understand motive. You may not understand method, but as you mature in the practice of what your teacher is giving to you and you become one in spirit with the teacher, you then grow into the understanding of the method, the motivation and then you are of the same mind, the same spirit, the same accord of the teacher. Now the student can become a teacher.
Brother Jabril: Prominent in our conversation, last night over dinner, was the factor of love in the learning process. Sister Ayke Agus, shared her views and experience with us in her relation to her teacher, Jascha Heifetz. You commented on that.
Now, we know that there are some subjects or areas of knowledge, where the love factor does not seem to be a major factor in the learning of those subjects, even though it must be there to some degree for successful learning experience to occur. One may be in a computer school and your learning may be of a technical knowledge or nature. One’s study may be in some other field, again, where that love factor does not seem to be as key as in other areas of learning.
However, in the higher fields of learning, especially in the highest area of knowledge, where the subject matter involves the study of God, the love factor becomes more obvious and predominant.
How important is the quality of love in the study of any subject, but especially in the higher areas of learning? What position does love occupy in a student learning from a teacher, these higher aspects of knowledge, and, in your case, your learning from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad?
Minister Farrakhan: Love is never absent from a student who desires greatness in his or her chosen field of endeavor. First of all, we study ourselves. All of us have been given a gift from our Creator. The greatest joy and peace of mind is when a person finds the purpose for their being, for their existence, for their life, on this planet and the peace of mind comes, not just when you dream about the purpose, but when you actually are working toward the fulfillment of your purpose.
Once you discover your gift, you must love the gift and love the Giver of the gift, in order to become great with that gift. Now, if it’s basketball, if it’s baseball, if it’s boxing, if it’s computer science, if it’s medicine, if it’s law, whatever field of endeavor you chose to become great in, you have chosen that field. The worst motivation is to choose to be something for the sake of money or for vanity, rather than for the sake of service and the glorification of God, Who is the Giver of the gift.
In loving the gift, you automatically will fall in love with the one who teaches you how to become proficient in your gift. I don’t know of any basketball player that has become great, a baseball player, tennis, boxing, music–whatever your endeavor is–that does not remember with great fondness the teacher, who made them excel in their chosen field of endeavor. So love is all the way through.
Now the degree of love, that is required to become great in anything, must be a high degree. But the greatest degree of love is required, when one is to interpret the word of God. One has to be so in love with God, that he or she knows God in a hint or a sign and can look at the word of God and is so in tuned with God, because of the profound love of the student for God, the Master Teacher, that the student can look at the word and know God’s intention in revealing such a truth.
That’s the highest level of love. Prophets and messengers don’t reach that highest level. They reach, or I would say, they come close to that level. But the Messiah reaches that level, because his love for God is so, so magnificent, and so great, until he subordinates himself, so, totally to God that he becomes one with God. God lives in him and dwells in him and manifests Himself through him. That cannot happen, except with the profoundest degree, the superlative degree of love.
This continues the interview I conducted with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on May 30, 2000.
Minister Farrakhan: It is difficult for a student to comprehend the ways of a master–the methodology of the master, the psychology of the master, the spiritual sensitivity of the master. A good teacher prepares the student, not only in the art or science of the profession, but the teacher, if he or she is a good one, recognizes that your gift becomes the means of your trial.
The gifted person, who has the gift but has not the character to go along with the gift, must be careful, because the gift can become the means of the student’s destruction. So a good teacher will carry the gifted one to the threshold of pain and then take them over that threshold and continues to give the student painful experiences. Why is this? Because to become great in any field, you will inspire the evil emotion of envy in others, who want to be great in that field but cannot equal the one who is supremely gifted of God.
The envy of the envier causes the envier to criticize you harshly, to throw stumbling blocks in your path. If you lack the character to persevere past or through your pain, from someone who is in your field, but hates you because you are doing well or better than he or she is doing, if that embitters you, if that becomes an impediment in your spirit, then you cease to become as great an artist or a professional as you could have become, if you did not allow the surrounding emotions to become a stumbling block in the pathway of your progress.
In the case of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he was looking for a student who would be able to carry or share the burden of his mission in his absence. Which meant that the student, must not only be proficient in the teaching of the message, but that the student must be able to bear the pain that goes along with success.
Study these words: “burden of his mission in his absence.”
More next issue, Allah willing.