by Tariqah Muhammad and Abisayo Muhammad
The Final Call @TheFinalCall
CHICAGO—Audience members at Mosque Maryam, the National Center of the Nation of Islam attended a special occasion for a special man on the evening of May 11. This evening was like no other. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam celebrated his 90th birth anniversary.
Like he always does, the Minister offered divine guidance and told the audience for each of them to decide to use the occasion of celebrating his birth, to making it a new birth for them, and that “God wants to see the beauty of your heart.” The special evening celebration was streamed live at noi.org.
Some were surprised that Minister Farrakhan allowed an entire day to be dedicated to him and his nearly 70 years of service to the Black, Brown and poor people throughout the Earth in continuing the works of his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
He was presented with and accepted a gift from members of the Nation of Islam and those who love him. Those who were present in the audience at Mosque Maryam during the program were glad they were witnesses to such a profound experience.
“Up to this point, he has not allowed really any major fuss over his birth anniversary. His family said this was a shock,” said Patrice Muhammad from Chicago. “I feel that the Minister gave us timeless advice in his 90th year as the example. He has given us the example,” she said.
Maya Garrett traveled to Chicago from Milwaukee to attend the Minister’s birth anniversary celebration program. “I would say it’s always beautiful to see the Minister. I just found out about the Honorable Minister about a year ago and what he’s done in my life in a year, he’s been doing for 90 years! … I think that is impeccable itself,” she told The Final Call.
Domynique Smith was a first-time guest to Mosque Maryam. She referred to herself as a “late bloomer” in that she did not know much about the Minister or the Nation even though she grew up in the Englewood area of Chicago. “When I learned, I was approaching 30 years old and my life has not been the same since, and I am honored to be here. Minister Farrakhan is 90 years old, that’s amazing and a blessing. The work he has done has definitely surpassed 90 years’ worth of work,” said Ms. Smith.
“Minister Farrakhan has had such a positive effect on generations and that is such a blessing. I am just learning about eating to live, the sisterhood, and brotherhood. I look forward to continuing to learn and connect to the culture. Things I have learned in a short period of time since being introduced have truly changed my life.”
Reagan Hatcher from nearby Gary, Indiana is the daughter of the late Richard Hatcher, the first Black mayor of Gary who was elected in 1968. “The Minister has always been very supportive of dad and our family over the years. As a matter of fact, in 2019, before my dad passed away, we had a statue unveiling for him in front of Gary City Hall. The Minister came and spoke, he was there at the funeral and spoke at the funeral as well,” Ms. Hatcher told The Final Call.
“So, I’m just here because I love him. My family loves him. He and my dad were the same age so, you know, they always talked about that. When I got the invitation from Brother Jeffrey (Muhammad) and Minister Ishmael (Muhammad), I just knew I had to come over and participate. So, I’m excited. And this is my first time in the mosque, so I’m just excited to be here!”
Wali Rahman Aquil traveled from Atlanta to be in attendance for the Minister’s celebration.
“I felt I had to come on behalf of my father, Minister Abdul Rahman. If an opportunity presents itself to be around the Minister on the 90th—which I don’t think anybody expected this back in the day—to see the Minister be here 90 years. For that feat alone, it was worth the trip,” he said. His father Abdul Rahman Muhammad, affectionately known as “The Rock,” was a long-time minister and helper of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan.
Sajdah Muhammad, 21, is a cellist and performed beautiful solo selections during the opening of the commemoration of the program. “I felt very excited to share what I’ve been learning. I’ve been away at school in Houston. Today, earlier I recorded the Muslim ‘Fight Song’ for solo cello and put it on Instagram and Facebook, but I hope that the Minister sees that as well, that I played the ‘Fight Song’ for his 90th anniversary,” she said.
Sibyl Lawal Muhammad is student coordinator for the Ministry of Health and Human Services at Mosque Maryam. She told The Final Call her parents joined the Nation of Islam when she was just one year old. She registered in the Nation as an adult in the 1980s.
“I am so happy to be living in this time and we’re blessed. I know we hear that all the time but so much is happening and to be able to see our Minister it’s just amazing. He is breathtaking and we cannot take advantage of seeing him. He is more than what we think he is,” she said. “I am just so happy to be able to be here, I thank Allah for the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and the Shura Executive Council. I thank Allah for the believers because we need each other.”
Annette Fa’izah Muhammad is originally from San Francisco and joined the Nation in 1969. She moved to Chicago to work at Muhammad University of Islam, where she worked for about 15 years. She told The Final Call that she was happy to be present for such an “auspicious occasion,” of celebrating Minister Farrakhan’s birth anniversary.
“He is such a perfect example. He’s just so merciful, humble, loyal and caring. He loves us. He loves teaching the truth and he said, the truth will make us free. So, I’m happy to be here.”
Medina Mohammed is the daughter of Burnsteen Sharrieff Muhammad, the first and only secretary to Allah in Person Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi and John Muhammad, the brother of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Her mother was known as “The Reformer.”
“This is an honor for me to be here to witness this day. It’s not too many people nowadays that reach it to 90 years old and who can attest to life under the circumstances of what we have been living in the hells of North America. Minister Farrakhan reaching this golden age of 90 years old is a blessing for us all to witness and see. I tell you he doesn’t look a day past 60! It’s an honor to be here to witness this,” said Medina Mohammed.
Mizani Muhammad, 16, told The Final Call, it was inspirational to just see Minister Farrakhan but another thing to actually hear his words. “His words really touched a lot of what I’m going through. The way I feel about him saying that he wants us to rebirth ourselves is that he wants us to be more than what we are ourselves. We have to look past ourselves and become more up into Allah (God) and become one with Him,” the teenager stated.
“I feel deeply humbled and very grateful to be here and experience this,” said Arafa Muhammad from Chicago. “I’m still processing everything and just focusing on how I’m going to come into this ‘rebirth’ that he wants for us.”
Student Minister Abdul Arif Muhammad is an attorney, the General Counsel for the Nation of Islam, and also a member of the Shura Executive Council. “This was a blessed day that had its crescendo in a gift of himself to us tonight. And though a grateful Nation, gave a tribute and an expression or token of appreciation as he is the Messiah among us, who reminded us that we are the black gold and that we ought to think more of ourselves and be ourselves, and asked us tonight on his birth anniversary to make a decision to be born again,” said Student Min. Arif Muhammad.
“So, we are all, insha’Allah (God-willing) tonight, newborn. Born into a new mind, a new way of thinking and acting on reflecting God. As he said, ‘Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.’ This, he has been, to us and we in honor of the God that came and the Christ that raised this one in front of us today, we should accept being born again.”
Sa’ad Alim Muhammad is also an attorney, is the Student National Secretary of the Nation and serves on the Shura Executive Council.
“Tonight was special, to say the least, to be present in the mosque for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s 90th birth anniversary! To hear him reflect on the fact that the greatest gift that we could give to him is ourselves and that the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad says, we should pattern ourselves after him. It is about his way and how he handles us and how we should handle one another. That’s what he wants to see from us,” said Sa’ad Alim Muhammad.
“So that’s what I’m taking away from tonight. He has lived an exemplary life. One that if we would follow in his way, it’s not about wanting people to love you, but people would love us the way we love him if we handle and treat one another following his example.”
Lestine Muhammad attends Mosque Maryam in Chicago and could barely contain her enthusiasm. “I am so excited to be alive to see this day of my leader, teacher and guide the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Just the awesomeness of seeing this great man and being in his arena. I’m just overwhelmed with everyone that has come out in order to participate in the joyous gathering for our Minister. By the same token, he’s not only enjoying himself, but he’s giving back to the community, giving back to the Believers. What kind of man is this? Oh, Allah!”
(Shawntell Muhammad contributed to this report)