[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts of the divine message of life and love the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered as part of the Janazah Service for his beloved Brother, Mentor and Friend, Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad, on Sunday, July 30, 2023, at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois. To view this powerful and inciteful prayer service in its entirety so that you can experience just how important this man from Allah (God) is to a grateful Nation of Islam, please visit media.noi.org.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, The Lord of all the worlds, The Creator, The Giver of life, and The Ultimate Cause of death. We thank Allah for His merciful intervention in our affairs in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praise is due forever;
The Great Mahdi, or Guide, Who was to come, and has come, and made His appearance among an unloved, unwanted people inside America, and chose a people like us who had no knowledge of self nor their origin in the world.
Master Fard Muhammad chose us to be His people, and He declared Himself to be our God. He came… He came to set us free indeed. He came to make us into Himself: A Nation of Gods, bowing down to none or no one but Allah, The Creator of the heavens and the earth—who have no equal, no associates! And if you are associated with Him, it is because He commanded it. Oh brothers and sisters, I thank Allah so much for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad!
‘My particular Angel, Jabril’
My dear brother, Jabril… Those who spoke today reading a brief summary of his great life and work: you could never summarize his life in a little pamphlet like this (obituary). You will love him more as you know him more! You will love him more as you learn more about who Jabril Muhammad is. Not only who Jabril Muhammad is with the Nation of Islam, but who he is with Allah, and who directed him in the marvelous way that his life was fashioned.
In the Janazah Service of Muslims, we don’t do eulogies, and we don’t sing sad songs or do a lot of sad music. We don’t do preaching. But not today! I want to talk about this unusual human being. Both of us born in The Bronx, New York, in the same hospital. Think about that! Morrisania Hospital in The Bronx, New York.
Both my brother and myself, we had a deep love for God, and love for our people, and a great desire to see our people free, justified and equal before the entire world. Both of our young years, we were in New York; however, my mother took us to Bermuda, and then to Boston, Massachusetts, where I went to school, while my brother, Jabril, was in New York going to school.
And then one day, Brother Jabril met Brother Malcolm. (It’s not a coincidence that one day I met the same man, Malcolm X.) Both of us were so positively affected by our meeting with Brother Malcolm. When I first heard him, I had already heard the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I took out my Form, and wrote a Letter to get rid of a slave name.
But, like in all things, the enemy is always trying to make it more difficult than it should be: I never got an answer to my Letter. So, I went to New York where I began a little work in show business, and there I went to the Temple, like my brother Jabril.
The Temple was a beautiful place for him, and me, and many (some of whom are right here in this room) that were nurtured into a totally new way of thinking, new way of acting, new way of life, with a new Teaching from a new Teacher, the Most Honorable and Honored Elijah Muhammad.
I want to talk about why I gave my brother the very beautiful name “Jabril.” He didn’t want Ji-bril. He said, “I will accept it, but you’ve gotta give it an ‘a’ (Ja-bril).” Now, you’ve gotta ask him: “How did you know the day, the month, the year, that Elijah Muhammad would leave from among us on the heels of a death plot?” Only he knows. And when something like that happens, and a man comes up right, who would you give the credit to?
See, sometimes we have knowledge implanted in us, given to us, shared with us by Allah through angelic forces. I called him “Jabril” because to me he was an Angel. And he was my particular Angel that God sent after me to bring me back to myself and to God!
In life, you meet many people who you call your “friends.” When I met Brother Jabril, he put capital letters on the word FRIEND. He put capital words on the name BROTHER. He had an Assignment.
A Lesson on ‘Rules of Interpretation’
Most of us don’t know much about scripture; and we are so messed up with the way Satan has put prophecy and made it “history,” and took history and made it “prophecy.” So we really needed a Teacher to unravel the beauty of both Bible and Qur’an! So The Mahdi came… A flesh-and-blood human being, He came.
Now, The Qur’an tells you; you can try your best to interpret The Qur’an. And it gives us “rules of interpretation” just so we’ll be guided better in our desire to look into the word of God. But Allah says it so clearly in The Qur’an, in Surat Al-Amran: The Qur’an has verses that are “decisive,” The Qur’an has verses that are “allegorical.”
“And those in whose hearts is a disease, they take the allegorical part,” because they want to claim something for themselves. (And I know you know people like that.) But then The Qur’an says, “But none…”—I’m going to say it again: “But none knows its interpretation but Allah…” So I don’t care what kind of scholar we think we are; the scholars have messed up religion with much of their ignorant talk of what it means.
“None knows its interpretation but Allah, and those firmly rooted in knowledge. They say…” Now some of you missed the punctuation: “None knows its interpretation except Allah(,) and those firmly rooted in knowledge(.) They say…” See, they’re trying to put themselves slyly, slickly, demonically, where they don’t belong! You don’t belong interpreting a word that comes from Allah except by His permission! So Allah clears up all stupidity by saying, “None knows its interpretation but Allah.”—and I put a period there!
“Well, who the hell are you, Farrakhan, to put a period where the enemy had put a comma?” Because I have been made wiser, by God’s permission, than a scholar! You don’t call me “The Minister” for nothing! When you hear about “The Minister,” your mind doesn’t go to Reverend Chickenfoot! What comes out of your mouth is, “Oh, The Minister! MINISTER FARRAKHAN!”
So, I put a period (.) in place of the comma (,), and thus it reads like this: “None knows its interpretation but Allah.” Period. “And those firmly rooted in knowledge, they say: ‘We believe in it,’”—notice the difference—“‘it is all from Allah.’”
They are just “believers.” See, in a divine work, everybody has to know their place. And when you try to get into God’s place when you belong somewhere else, you’re making a tragic mistake, and can cause many people to lose their lives with somebody playing “God.”
Elijah Muhammad didn’t “play” God. He met God! He was taught by God! And he grew up into God! Praise be to Allah.
So, my beloved brother lies here, fulfilling The Qur’an. I’d like to read a few verses that I think rightly describe him. “O soul that art at rest, return to thy Lord well-pleased and well-pleasing.” I had this verse from The Qur’an put in his casket. Because if you were blessed to see him in repose, in death, you would have to bear witness, “Man, he certainly looks just like he’s sleeping. He certainly looks at peace.”
You know, to be dead in this world, everybody should be dying with a frown. Because in this world, we go out in the evil of this world, and it’s hard on us. But when God has given you a reason for living, and a purpose for living—and you fulfill that purpose—then dying is as easy as saying, “Al-Hamdu Lillah. I have finished my course, I have run my race. Now is laid up for me a crown.”
I called him Jabril, because to me he was an Angel of exquisite quality.
The Command to ‘Read!’ is cyclical in history, prophecy
There is a cyclical nature to history. History does repeat itself, even when you sometime learn the lesson of it. When the circumstances are similar, the conditions are similar, the need is similar, then God acts, and sends a messenger into the world. Sometimes that messenger is supported by an angel; and sometimes, the messenger is an angel. The Qur’an says: “If you were an angel, I would send an angel for you.” … …
The cyclical nature of history and prophecy: It is written in the History that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would retire to a cave in a mountain in Arabia called “Mount Hira.” Muhammad was a very deeply spiritual human being. He saw the pain of the Arabs, he saw the condition of the world, and he would retire to that cave.
And sometimes when you’re a deeply spiritual person, you need to “close things down,” and get quiet, and talk to God. And you’ll be surprised what you can hear back as you clean yourself up in the drive to become one with God.
I call this brother “Jabril,” and I did not miss. I didn’t make a mistake. My relationship with him was one of the most loving, friendly encounters of a brother with a brother. And this beloved family here: When The Nation first started, and Jabril and I were traveling the country setting up study groups, we would come back to Phoenix where he had a mosque, or temple, already functioning; strong, believing men and women, brothers and sisters.
And when I was on the road and I came back, I needed some form of release and comfort, and I would find it in Jabril’s home with his family. He surrounded me with Ati, Bari, Naeemah, Elijah (not Barnar, at that time). And in that house, there was always love, always caring; always sharing the wisdom of God!
So, 1,400 years ago, when Jabril visited Prophet Muhammad, this time he (Jabril) was seen. (And according to Hadith, “in four different directions” they [the people] looked, and they saw a man.) Jabril didn’t come in no spirit, no spook! This was a human being, who said to Muhammad: “Read. Read in the name of your Lord, Who creates man from a clot, and taught man by the pen what man knew not.”
This beautiful program of my illustrious brother: I want to thank the family and all those who had a part in putting this together. It was absolutely beautiful. When you take this home, have the courage to read it again and again! On the cover, wow… Some of us thought, “We needed that big, beautiful picture of Brother Jabril.” But on the cover, there was a pen. I said, “Wow!” when I saw it; and then I opened, and there was my brother, oh, as beautiful as he can be. But a pen is what made him an Angel of God.
Prophet Muhammad, may Allah always be pleased with him, and grant him and those with him peace: He heard a man that told him, “Read!” “Read!” He said, “But I’m sorry, I can’t read,” because he was the unlearned prophet (couldn’t read). But Jabril didn’t stop! He said, “Read in the name of your Lord, Who creates man from a clot, and taught man by the pen what man knew not.
Read and your Lord is most Generous.” There was book to read. When he said “Read,” there was no Book in existence. But The Book came into existence after Muhammad took the hearing of it, and his friends, associates, wrote down what God revealed, and a Book came out of it.
Now let’s fast forward: What kind of condition are Negroes in, in America under the tyranny of White Supremacy? Do you need somebody? Do we need somebody to help us? Elijah Muhammad, born in Georgia. I don’t think you could be brought up in a worst place, except Mississippi, or Alabama. Elijah Muhammad loved our people.
He wanted to see our people free. He heard his father, a gospel preacher, preaching; but he knew one day he was going to preach. But he wasn’t going to preach the same thing that his daddy preached, he just didn’t know what it was. And then a Man showed up.
There is always a man. Ain’t no “spirit” showing up, no, no! You’re not a spirit, so God isn’t sending you a spirit. God is sending you a Man with the spirit to help you get up from your condition. When Master Fard Muhammad gave Elijah Muhammad a Book to read, it was all Arabic, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “I can’t read.”
The Saviour didn’t pay that no attention. He kept telling him, “Read.” And then, He gave him a Book written from cover-to-cover in Arabic, written by His hand; and He said, “When you learn Arabic, I will give this to you to read.” … …
“Read!” And then Master Fard Muhammad gave Elijah Muhammad the Maulana Muhammad Ali Qur’an. And of all the books, 104 of them, that Master Fard Muhammad gave Elijah Muhammad to read, he said the best book by far was the Holy Qur’an; but every other book had bits and pieces in it of the life of Prophet Muhammad.
Now, why would Elijah Muhammad be given books that tell him about all aspects of the life of Prophet Muhammad? Well, the work of Muhammad didn’t end with The Qur’an in China, or in Russia, or in Africa—a whole new world had been discovered that didn’t know nothing about the Holy Qur’an! So when The Mahdi came here, He chose the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and taught him how to read what is written, and gave him the meaning of The Qur’an. That puts him head and shoulders above the scholars of the world.
How Jabril Muhammad’s Writings Awaken and Restore Faith and Good Works
In this writing (obituary), it mentions “he got a postcard from me.” Yeah, that’s right, he did—but you can’t just say it like that, because The Minister doesn’t write postcards (smile). … My brother Akbar, who is watching: He and I were in Mecca; we were at the first international conference on Islamic education, and I was trying to get the scholars to give me some money so I could do the life of Brother Malcolm.
“What?” Yeah! I lived Malcolm’s life. He was my teacher. And I said, “If he converted to Orthodox Islam, what better service can I bring to the world than a real, true knowledge of Malcolm,” and that’s what I was going to do. … …
While I was in Mecca, I was almost in a state of mind where I would talk to Brother Akbar, and he’d say, “Now Minister, you talking, and I don’t even feel like praying after I listen to you!” He did say that! And I said, “But Akbar, look in their eyes…” Because in Mecca, Akbar helped me to kiss The Black Stone; he had to fight his way through these worshipers. And when you see people falling in love with a piece of stone, and are going to fight over the stone, I knew I was in the right place with the wrong people, that didn’t understand the meaning of The Stone! The Messenger said:
“I kissed The Stone, and I felt a little foolish kissing something that represented myself.” So, walking back from Al Ka’aba to our hotel, I said to Brother Akbar, just out of the blue: “One day, I’m going to come back to Mecca at the head of 10,000.” I didn’t know that what I said was in The Hadith of The Prophet; that a Negro would come back. I don’t fit that title “Negro,” but I’ll accept it.
And I told Brother Akbar, “You know, if The Prophet came back, he would have to start right in Mecca, and cleanse them up again from the worship of idols.” I mean, it’s a hard pill to swallow. Now, I’m half dead, mentally; I’m lost, man! But this is the way I’m talking as a lost man. So I wrote Jabril.
When he got that word that I was kissing The Stone, but that I knew, like The Messenger, that it’s just a stone? Man, Jabril knew then, “The Minister is ready! Let me go get him!”
See, Brother Jabril had an Assignment! He is in that box (casket)… Not him, but the body is in there. But he finished his Assignment! Now let me tell you what his Assignment was, and then you can see it for yourself.
He didn’t leave me alone when he woke me up. He came with a book, that he had written, in a brown paper bag. … And I said, “Well brother, you know, we’ve gotta talk about rebuilding his work.” He said, “Yeah, but what I want you to do is read”—(“Read!”)—“this book.” We went up to my room, put the book up in the closet on the top shelf, and he excused himself.
In the afternoon of the first day, he came back; and he looked in the room, and he could see the pained expression in my face. And he said, “Ooh, it’s working. Let me back out.” He came back the second day, and I was crying, because I knew then that I had turned hypocrite on my Messenger.
That’s a bad term, “hypocrite.” Nobody wants to be that. “Well, are you sure that’s what you did?” I say, yeah. It’s in the scripture, this brother name “Peter.” The chief disciple of who? Jesus.
When Peter was with Jesus, Jesus told him: “Before the cock crows once, you’re going to deny me thrice.” I fulfilled it. The cock crowing is somebody calling you at dawn to wake up. When the cock crowed, I had already been hypocrite and against the Teachings of The Messenger for 30 months. Thirty months… Thirty months. This man came after me! He knew what I was supposed to do—and he knew his job was to wake me up and get me started on The Assignment.
What is “The Assignment”? “You are The Right Hand of God.” The Nation was destroyed, on one hand… But Jesus said, “If I destroy the temple…”—he didn’t leave that out on somebody else. He said: “If I destroy it, I will rebuild it in three days.” And on the third day, when Brother Jabril came in that room, I was weeping so… I held his hand, and I said: “Brother, your eye operation has been a great success. The scales have been removed from my eyes”—and you can find that in the writings of the New Testament when Paul had his meeting with Jesus.
Oh man. You don’t even know that we are fulfilling the scripture from Genesis to Revelation! All of it is talking about us!
Well now, what was my Assignment? Look at what Jesus said: “Before the cock crows once you will deny me thrice. But I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail you altogether. But when you have come back to yourself, go, and strengthen your brothers.” This is the second part of my journey with Jabril. The first part was to get me to see that Elijah Muhammad was alive.
I read that book, “Is It Possible That The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is Still Physically Alive???,” in December 1980. … Wow. Man, when Jabril told me Elijah Muhammad was alive, I thought he had been smoking something! He was so sweet; I said, “Well, brother…,” I said, “he is not here. So if he is not here, the work is on you and me, and us, to do.” I’m talking about rebuilding The Nation. He didn’t argue, because Elijah Muhammad wasn’t there. But he and I were, and we went to work.
You’ve got your uniform on now; you look so pretty… See, under the imam, all these uniforms that you all got on now, they were thrown in the garbage. Yeah. You’ve got them on now, don’t you? You’re proud to be an F.O.I. And an M.G.T., aren’t you? But it started from This Man. ALLAHU AKBAR! ALLAHU AKBAR! ALLAHU AKBAR! It started from this man.
And let me tell you! You want to know why I love this man so much? Boy, he tucked me under his arms like, like I was a little baby nursing from a fat breast. (Smile) And he was so kind and loving to me! And he would send me scriptures, tell me little things to read. He was my mentor! He wasmy teacher! He was helping me to be myself again! How could I not love him? How could I not clear his name? How could I not, when I knew what he did for me? And you are the witness of what my resurrection did for all of you everywhere on this Earth.