[Editor’s note: The following article contains excerpts from the special address given by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to the brothers and sisters of the European Region of The Nation of Islam in London, England, live via Zoom, on the occasion of his 90th Birth Anniversary, Thursday, May 11, 2023.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
I bear witness there is no God but Allah, Who came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad to Whom praise is due forever. And I bear witness that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is His Messenger-Messiah, The Exalted Christ. I greet all of you, my dear and wonderful brothers and sisters, with the greeting words of peace: As-Salaam Alaikum.
My dear brothers and sisters of the UK and elsewhere, I am so honored, so privileged, and so blessed to be able to visit you in London and to see your beautiful faces, and your beautiful spirit to wish your brother a happy 90th birth anniversary. Thank you so much! I want to thank, of course, Student Regional Minister Brother Abdul Hakeem Muhammad, the regional captain, Brother Jeffery Muhammad, the regional sister captain, Sister Francesca Muhammad, the regional protocol director, Sister Sylvania X, and the student regional secretary, Sister Andrea X.
Wow! Oh, I wish I were there to just shake your hands and look into your beautiful, beautiful faces. I thank Allah so much for you! And you have already made this birth anniversary the best one I have ever had just by being in London with you! Thank you, beloved brothers and sisters.
If my birth anniversary has brought us together once again in this beautiful spirit, I need to have this anniversary every day, and we need to have it every month! You look so beautiful to me; and I have missed seeing you. But this auditorium looks to be completely filled.
I am so thankful to Brother Abdul Hakeem, who called me and told me what he wanted to do for my birth anniversary; to invite everybody that is a Muslim, whether they are absent or present, or wherever: “Let’s come back together and celebrate The Minister’s birth.”
Ninety years seems to be a long time, but it’s very short! When you look at life, some writers say life is like a “vapor”: it appears for a short time, and then it vanishes. I realize the shortness of the span of life; but I am so grateful to Allah Who has ordered our steps, and we have been blessed by Allah to bring the Message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to at least five of the seven continents. And I am sure Antarctica and The Artic Region, there must be a tape up there somewhere! (Smile)
So, to think that all of you came one day to Chicago … And all of you became Muslims, just from the hearing of an audio tape! It just shows how powerful the word is; that you could hear it, and properly respond to it. You shocked me when you showed up in Chicago at Saviours’ Day, and I shall always remember that effort with fondness and great, great respect and love.
‘Return journeys’ and signs of a ‘sinking ship
Beloved brothers and sisters, I watched the coronation of your king—not really your king, but King Charles III—and I can see that the British Empire is no longer the magnetic pole that it once was. With the death of the queen, and the ascension of King Charles, the Caribbean is not so willing to stay as a subject-nation; the Caribbean, I guess led by Mia Mottley from Barbados, is saying: “Me no want it no more! We want to be a republic!”
When I heard those words from the prime minister of Barbados, I knew the world of White people was coming to an end, because Barbados was the most British of the British West Indies, and yet she is the first to break away and say she wants the queen, or the king, no more.
They have a new King, and that new King is Allah (God) in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad: The King of kings, and The Lord of lords! And we have a Messenger-Minister-Messiah, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Now, we have God as our Shepherd, so we’re not looking for “a leader” anymore. We have the best that God could make in the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad!
I understand that some of you are thinking about returning to Mother Africa, and to the Caribbean, to the islands. You know, the “return journey” is a journey of fulfillment; because when we, in the South[ern] [states] of America, had a chance to get out from under the tyranny of oppression, we ran to cities like Chicago and Detroit, and New York, and Cleveland and Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.
But now, many of us have gotten a little money, good jobs, and we’ve saved some money, so we’re going back to Mississippi, we’re going back to Alabama, we’re going back to Georgia, and we’re buying up land and trying to farm and do for ourselves.
So imagine what the Caribbean and Africa will look like, when you have been living in the country of the White people that have ruled the known world? You didn’t come up [in the UK] dumb. In fact, you didn’t go there dumb! West Indian people went looking for a chance; and they took that chance, and made England and France, and other big cities in Europe, live with the culture of Africa and with the culture of the Caribbean. And here we are:
We are now thinking about, “Ok, well, if we want to stay here, it’s not going to be too pleasant,” because it’s falling fast. And we’re not rats, or mice, who leave the ship—but [our leaving] is a good picture that the ship is surely sinking! We see we have better hope for the future in the islands of the Caribbean, bringing back to those islands what we have learned in England and France and Germany, and other places in Europe. Now we are ready, many of us, to return home.
The Bible teaches, “In that day, every man will find refuge under his own vine and fig tree…” (Micah 4:4) That is telling you that Europe is yours, too! If you want it. The Lessons teach us that we left Europe for the others; that they were there for 2,000 years in the caves before Musa helped them to come out of the caves; and, they have done pretty well.
We can’t deny that they have done pretty well. But! Why isn’t the devil settled on the best part of our planet? Because the Earth belongs to the Original Black man. And knowing that he was wicked and there would not be any peace among them, he put him out in the worst part of the Earth and kept the best part preserved for himself…
No matter where they are today, they are being driven out. Things are getting bad for them in every colony, or former colony; it’s getting bad for them in Africa, in the Isles of the Pacific, and Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The poor prince William, and his wife, were visiting the Caribbean—and the Caribbean was not like the Caribbean of yesterday, so happy to entertain the queen, so happy to entertain the princes. Not today! Not today. You want to be to yourself; you want to be with each other! You want to learn deeply how to love yourself, and how to love your brother and sister as you love yourself!
‘Learn all about yourself’: The Lessons we gain by searching for The God within
Again, I would just like to thank Brother Hakeem for the idea of just having everyone come together. I see the beautiful program that you all have had, and I guess I come at the tail of it. I am a little late, but I am so grateful to Allah that you had the patience to wait for me to come and see you, and feel the power of your presence, and feel the love that is pouring from you toward me, and mine certainly pouring out for you!
I would like to offer you something. I know they say it’s my birthday, and people like to give people something for their birthday. But I am so glad that God blessed me to see 90! Ninety… “Wow! I never thought the day would come when “the old man” would hit 90, and be young again!”
Well, that’s what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad promised us, that our Saviour is going to turn the clock back by teaching us “how to eat to live”: When to eat, how to eat, what the best foods are to eat; how to fast, how to take good care of our health. And that’s what you look like to me… Boy, do you look beautiful! If you were a chocolate cake I would be biting you all day long! (Smile) I am so happy to be in your company!
Brothers and sisters, I want to tell you why I am so happy that I was made by God for you. I am so happy… And I know the enemy has made us such a tough people, some would say, “Oh, the Black man and woman of America, they’re only a people that only God could love—and He has a problem, too, with them.” But I find it so gratifying to be your brother, and to be your servant.
Do you know why I am so happy to see you, so happy to be your brother, so happy to be a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and so happy that he gave me permission to sit in his seat over The Nation in his absence? I’m not happy that I’m a “big shot,” or nothing like that. I am happy because I know what The Seat of Elijah Muhammad really means.
Do you know that the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said we are all gods, children of The Most High God? Jesus said it so beautifully, “The Kingdom of God is within us.” Just feed on those words for a minute. Not the kingdom of “hell,” but The Kingdom of Heaven is within us! That means like the Earth is so full of riches, but it took science to know how to mine out of the Earth what she holds as a treasure.
So we see the enemy in Africa with the diamonds, the gold, the “this,” the “that,” but there is more diamonds and gold in the young men and women that I see sitting in front of me in London. You are rich with what God has gifted you with. And the reason I am so happy to be your servant, because it gives me a chance to study you.
The Holy Qur’an says it like this: In every thing that Allah (God) created, there is “a lesson” for man, if man is “mindful.” That’s not just in the diamonds, in the beasts, and the flowers and whatnot, and the planets. All of that is good, but the greatest gift He deposited in the human being, that is made in His image and after His likeness:
Now, that is what I am discovering, in being a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad! And I am so in love with you, because I know you: You are of God! You are from God! You are God! But you must know yourself, and accept your own and strive to be yourself, and it starts with these simple words: “Accept Your Own and Be Your Self.”
“Well, what is my Self?” My “self” is a righteous Muslim. You are born in the nature of God. Whatever God’s nature is, that’s “who” you are, and His nature is your nature. So the more you discover about God, the more you will discover about yourself! The Kingdom is in you, but it’s buried under the rubbish and the tyranny of White supremacy, and this lack of love for your self. So when I look at you, I am never disappointed; I keep looking more, and more, and more.
Do you think that any of us that come to God don’t have faults? Of course we do! We have natural faults. And remember, we were made by the White man! He made us into himself. Well, he is not a good person, and he made us similar to himself, so when The Saviour found us, He says it so sweet: “I didn’t find you ‘devils,’ I found you ‘other than your own self’.” So what we want to do is present your self to your self.
Everyone that you have a quarrel with, I don’t care who they are, and what or how deep the quarrel is, go back and look again! Look deeper this time, and you will find God. All up under the fault, all up under the madness, there is God, there is The Kingdom. And if you love your self enough, and you know the treasure that lies within you, that same treasure is in the brother and sister sitting beside you that you haven’t seen in a while. And I know you’re happy to see each other; but man, what I want to see is I want to see you just embrace each other!
Today, something big happened to me! I came to The National House, and Sister Aminah (my executive administrative assistant) was at the door waiting for me. That was nice. But she ran to me, with her hand out. I said, “This is different…,” and I shook her hand, and then I embraced her. I hope I didn’t squeeze her too much—and I don’t want you squeezing each other, either! (Smile) But I am trying to tell you that was the biggest surprise: We have been working together for over 30 years, and I have never embraced her in 30 years! I have shook her hand occasionally, but today was different.
I am saying this to you: If you look again at your brother and your sister, especially the one that you don’t like; if you look again at the person you don’t like, go look again, and look deeper this time, and you will find God waiting to embrace you. That’s why when Brother Hakeem told me what he wanted to do, he just wanted to gather the fold together, he’s not asking questions about “Where you been?/What you been doing?”
“I ain’t telling you where I’ve been, and what I’ve been doing either, but I have been trying to be a good Muslim and keep the program of Elijah Muhammad going!” But, some of us have gone and had a little nip … [West Indian dialect] I don’ know whuh you call it dere, but I know what a little “tip,” or “nip,” mean here: You went bythe bar, and you weren’t trying to be a lawyer.
You went by the bar, went in and hid, and had a little drink and whatnot; and then you went to a liquor store and brought a little home, and put it under the bed, you know? You do little things. But I laugh when I look at us in our foolery—but I know what I am looking at! I am looking at the most priceless and precious jewel of the human family when I look at you. So I want to know more about you, not less. I want to learn from you, because each of you, if I studied you, there’s a lesson in you for me.
“In every thing that Allah created there is a lesson for man if man would be mindful.” Well, you are the best of His creation! So the lesson that is sitting up inside of you is not just like the lesson of the lion, the lesson of the bee, the lesson of the fly, the lesson of the flea. No! The lesson of The Sun, the lesson of The Moon, the lesson of The Stars: You are that, and then some! I am not using hyperbole; this is the real truth of yourself.
‘Hang on!’: Be patient, steadfast, as The Minister
I’m going to tell you about my beginning in this work, and I want you to listen to your brother. I grew up in a great West Indian church. It was an Episcopalian church. I don’t think any of you know anything about dat. (You’re the “Church of England,” right?) … I had the most wonderful West Indian people nurturing me from a child;
I was reared by people from Jamaica, from Trinidad, from Barbados, from Antigua, Anguilla. Oh my God, just name the islands, they were all in the church together. They seemed to love me; and I, as a young boy growing up with my violin and my calypso singing, and my dancing, and cutting de fool, everybody that knew me felt “there’s a great future in that young man.”
When I became a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and was the captain in the Temple in Boston, Massachusetts: In those days, we didn’t have the Muhammad Speaks newspaper; the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad was writing a column in the Pittsburgh Courier, and there I was, at 22 years of age, out on the thoroughfare when people are shopping every weekend, and I would be out there with my paper. And this day, one of the church members that saw me, I know she is my elder, but she said: “Gene, is dis what you become? A paper boy?!” And she slapped my face.
Do you know why she slapped me? It wasn’t a very hard slap, but it was enough to let me know: “I disapprove completely in what you are doing now!” But there is a song that is written, “If you could see me now…,” you’d know how great I was, and you’d know how great I am, as a picture of yourself.
So if I could see that sister today (I believe she is passed on) … But she had hope in me, the little boy that played the violin; the little boy whose mother dressed him in a Lord Fauntleroy garment at four years old, [to recite] a poem that she taught me to say. And I think I’ll say it to my West Indian family in London … [“The Lord’s Job” by Paul Laurence Dunbar]:
“The Lord had a job for me, but I had so much to do, I said, ‘Lord, You go get somebody else, or wait till I get through!’ Now, I don’t know how the Lord made out, but I guess He got along. But I felt kind of sneakin’-like, because I had done God wrong. And one day I needed the Lord, and I needed Him right away! But down in my accusing heart, I could hear Him say: ‘Nigga, I’ve got too much to do! You go get somebody else, or wait till I get through!”
I was four years old. That was my first being on a stage, and my mother gave me that to say. And you know, I’m 90, so that was 86 years ago and I still remember the little poem.
Now what I am trying to tell you is this: People have hope in you when you show signs of your future greatness when you’re a child. You do that right now; when you see children that look like they have promise, they are gifted, you look after them, you favor them, you try to encourage them. And then when you see them on the corner with a reefer in their hand, or acting the fool, you may chastise them verbally like that sister chastised me.
(“So dis is what you come to, a paper boy?!”) So, when you become a Muslim, and your friends see you cleaned up, some of them may not like you being clean, and different, and some may say: “Hey, hey, is this what you come to? Man, come on and have a drink.” “No, I don’t drink anymore.” “Well, what’s wrong with you?” They didn’t say what’s “right” with you. If you’re not drinking, and not smoking reefer, “What’s wrong with you, man? Let’s go to de party!” and you say, “No. I done with that!” They say, “Well, I done wit you! Be-cuh I don’ know dis man/I don’ know dis woman!”
But if you hang on, like I hung on … I became a great minister in Boston. I was known as a calypso singer, as a ballad singer, as a violinist, as a dancer, but they soon became knowledgeable of me as a teacher. They had me on the radio … And [then one day, when] my mother was washing the pots in a Jewish woman’s home, I came on the television, and the Jewish lady said: “Mm! I wonder who is that boy’s mother.” And my mother, washing the pots, she looked up from the pot and said, “That is My son.”
“A good and wise mother maketh a glad Father.” I didn’t have no father in my house to be glad, but my mother made sure that she made something out of me. She found more of God in her son … She never saw me reach where I am today, but the last time I was with her, it was before I was going to The Final Call Building to teach that day (because we didn’t have the Mosque yet). My mother gripped her stomach, and held her stomach tight, and she thanked God, she said, “for what He allowed me to produce.” She knew that her son would one day be a great man. How great?
I didn’t know, and she didn’t either. But one day I was with Elijah Muhammad, and I was introducing to him a uniform that I had designed for the F.O.I., and where the carotid artery is, I had a Nehru collar; and in that collar there was a circle with a Star and a Crescent, on both sides. When The Messenger saw it, he looked at me and said: “Brother, take the crescent out of your Flag. It represents ‘Equality,’ and you have no equal. Have a Star coming out of The Sun …”
I didn’t know all that that meant, but as time went on, I saw. I saw what he said from what he knew from Allah about your brother. And as I’m looking at you, I know what I am looking at: I am looking at a powerful group of Black men and women that can make a difference. I don’t care where you go in the world, if you would dig deep into yourself and discover The God in you by discovering the gift that He gave to you, and to you alone…
Discover God within yourself, and then look in the mirror. Not arrogant, no, because Allah does not like arrogance! He loves humility. When you find the gift that God has deposited in you, that sets you apart and makes you unique, go to the mirror and look at yourself again! And what you don’t like about yourself, look at yourself again, and say:
“Wow! God has made me after Himself. God has chosen me, and us, to be The Cornerstone of a brand new Kingdom, and a brand new world! That’s Who I Am! I must rise up from this bed of rest and go to work, and help to make my people a greater people than they are; manifest their greatness.”