Recognizing the importance of investing in the younger generation, Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad, a longtime companion, helper and witness bearer to the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, dedicated significant efforts to support youth development. He empowered young people to discover their passions, talents, and leadership potential. Through mentorship and guidance, he inspired a new generation to contribute positively to their Nation of Islam, and society and to make a difference in their communities.
Brother Jabril had been teaching and working with his father, Brother Hannibal Yusuf Sirboya Muhammad, for 10 years when he was born, according to Brother Hannibal Muhammad, now 39. Brother Jabril would teach his father and others from the campus of Arizona State University, in what could be considered the beginning of the Nation of Islam Student Association, he said.
At one point, when there was no building for the mosque in Phoenix so the Muslims would gather in the home of Brother Hannibal Yusuf Sirboya Muhammad and his then-wife, Sister Latanya Muhammad. That had a significant impact on Brother Hannibal Muhammad, who was a boy at the time.
“Brother Jabril was a photographer. I became a photographer. He loved the arts. So when you look at the youth, he always encouraged us, and he was like that encouraging parent to our parents in what they were doing in our upbringing,” Brother Hannibal Muhammad told The Final Call. Brother Jabril encouraged young brothers to create, work out their ideas and report back on the progress, he also recalled.
“He really had a ‘go be the best version of yourself’ type of attitude, and he would remind us that God didn’t just come for the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Minister! Allah, in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, came for all of us. And you would hear that in so many of his lectures.”
He laughed a bit, recalling some of the many stories he heard about Brother Jabril growing up. For example, he was very punctual, as Minister Farrakhan is, and if the meeting was to start at 2:00 p.m., and he came out and the attendance was low, he would give a quick 10-15 minute message, followed by strict instructions not to tell anyone. “If they weren’t here, don’t tell ‘em! Tell them they should have been at the mosque,” he would say, according to Brother Hannibal.
“He would remind us that you don’t know what may happen because you’re late. You may miss out on that blessing, or you may miss out on an opportunity or what may be coming for us, because you weren’t on time,” he continued.
That is what Brother Jabril meant to Phoenix and as a child growing up in that environment, he didn’t realize what he had, said Brother Hannibal. “From my stance, Brother Jabril lives, because he lives through us! No matter what! We would not be who we are and we would not love the Minister the way we love the Minister if we didn’t have a Brother Jabril helping us to see the Minister the way we see the Minister,” said Brother Hannibal.
For Sister Dorrana Muhammad and her siblings, Brother Jabril was very special. She is the daughter of Brother Joel Muhammad and Sister Joyce Muhammad, longtime Nation of Islam pioneers who were also among the first to stand up and help Brother Jabril do his work in Phoenix as a helper to Minister Farrakhan.
“I’m a little shocked and saddened and devastated, but he is like a father figure to us. Every time he saw us, he would grab us by our heads and call us the ‘bitties.’ ‘Let me hug the bitties,’” recalled Sister Dorrana
She cherished the moments when Brother Jabril imparted knowledge about how to properly give birth to children. She was in the M.G.T. and G.C.C. Vanguard in the early 1990s.
During that time Sister Dorrana said that her task from Brother Jabril was to enlighten the women about why Allah (God) created them the way they are, and how a mother’s actions and environment affect their unborn child’s brains.
“He taught us to be very careful about when we’re pregnant, who we should be around. We shouldn’t see certain movies. We shouldn’t go to funerals and things like that because he said that was like a scroll on the brain of the child; any outer experiences that the mother is having,” said Sister Dorrana. “We’re going to miss him so much! But his legacy is there. It’s there! He has left so much for us to learn.”
Brother Jabril was also like an uncle to YoNasDa LoneWolf Muhammad, whose late mother is renowned Oglala Lakota (Sioux) activist Wauneta Lonewolf. However, she has been reflecting on the importance of having a good friend, one that sees the divinity in another, and pushing them to their purpose. Some may have friends who congratulate, motivate or encourage them, but it doesn’t seem driven and guided by Allah (God), she stated.
“What an amazing friend that the Minister had. … The best friend that I saw was Brother Jabril, for him to be with him in travels and to write books about him,” said Sister YoNasDa. “He foresaw the Minister, foresaw who the Minister is, and he made sure he documented that entire process, from his articles to his books, his photography, and being by his side,” she continued.
Britain Muhammad joined the Nation of Islam in 1994 in California and was attracted to Brother Jabril and what he means to Minister Farrakhan. “When you see them together, man, these are brothers, friends! This ain’t no spookiness,” he stated.
“You could tell he was this scientist, given an assignment, or you’re in this, and you figure it out as you go. … I’m just watching men of God, who are the ones who are given it, but it’s still a process. There’s nothing hocus pocus about anything,” he added.
Brother Britain first met Brother Jabril through reading his articles, but always had a preconception of what he was like, so he was eager to actually meet him. When it happened in 1994, the connection was genuine, he said. Brother Jabril was laid back, in a black hoodie, some regular pants, regular shoes, just down to earth, recalled Brother Britain. “I said, ‘Yeah!’ because I’m a hoodie guy. … I could see myself in him,” said Brother Britain.
The first thing Brother Jabril did was hand him something to read, Brother Britain continued. “He’s always giving you something, directly or indirectly. He’s checking you out, seeing what your reaction’s going to be,” he said.
“Brother Jabril’s one who knows how to talk and test you in ways to bring out of you the best. He would challenge you and hurt your feelings! And if you’re not one to actually love this Teaching or love self-improvement, he would make you feel like yo! … You want to think five times before you say something,” said Brother Britain, laughing at the fond, teachable moments.
As one who didn’t talk much, seek the limelight, people would forget Brother Britain was there, so he said he got a chance to be with Brother Jabril on a regular basis, whether helping to produce his books, recording his lectures, or observing his humorous side, he recalled.
“He would say, ‘Brother Britany …’ I got to the point where I got enough courage to say, ‘It’s Brother Britain, sir.’ He knows my name,” chuckled Brother Britain. But Brother Jabril knew how to break one down and build them back up, he said. He recalled many personal experiences shared by Brother Jabril that helped to save him.
“During different times I linked up with him, maybe him knowing or not knowing, it made me change my whole perspective. … I came over his house, crazy upset, and he said, ‘Brother Britain, read this!’ And I’d read it, and when I’m done reading it, my whole perspective and life changed,” stated Brother Britain.
He learned how to deal with pain and suffering, and felt his problems were less severe, after speaking with Brother Jabril on multiple occasions, according to Brother Britain.
“One thing I loved about being around Brother Jabril, you got a chance to see the reality side, the down-to-earth side about being around the Minister. With Brother Jabril, everything is just raw! Down-to-earth, straight, ‘Brother. You know or you don’t know,’” he said, impersonating Brother Jabril’s manner and voice. The way Brother Jabril used words, it just shuts you down, he explained.
“I was 17, 18, in ’94 and he was always focusing on the youth, organizing certain meetings with the youth, sending private calls with the youth only, giving us information, and I was a part of that,” said Brother Britain.
He recalled one meeting, in which Brother Jabril dealt with what’s to come. “He told us on one particular part as I remember it, that Allah would use confusion to bring down this nation (America). And at the time, I didn’t quite understand, but as I look at everything that’s going on right now, it’s so crazy! Confusion everywhere. It’s like a weird movie that people make up, and you don’t know what’s happening, and he said this years ago to us,” said Brother Britain.
Brother Andreas Muhammad, 17, of Phoenix, became a registered member of the Nation of Islam on July 27. He met Brother Jabril once but heard about his workings a lot, he said. Some of that knowledge came through school, as a student of Sister Edith Muhammad, a longtime educator. “She would always tell the story about Brother Jabril doing the reparative eye surgery on the Minister. And I feel like if the Minister never went through that and had so much love for one brother and love for us, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Brother Andreas shared.
That love, among other things, has helped him on his journey in Islam, he explained. Brother Jabril would never bend on what he believed, and that is something Brother Andreas strives to do too. “Even if I can’t find my words properly, I never bend on that. I heard about how he used to hold the Believers in the meetings longer, because he felt like they needed to hear what they needed to hear, and I feel like a brother who stands on that truth so well, I could use that as an example,” he continued.
Sister Ayanna Muhammad, 16, registered into the Nation of Islam on February 4, 2023, at Muhammad Mosque No. 75 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She shared the impact of Brother Jabril on her life as a young Muslim. “I think that he carries a lot of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in himself, the way he speaks, the way he talks, and it was very impactful,” she said after the one lecture she heard by Brother Jabril.
“I feel like he’s inspired me to want to become a better me, grow, and study harder, do things better, because you could always do something better than what you’re doing currently,” said the aspiring neurosurgeon, who also wants to join the Nation of Islam Honor Guard.”