Reflections on the life of Minister Jabril Muhammad
CHICAGO—“He was my mentor. He was my teacher. He was helping me to be myself again,” testified the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the divine work of his friend Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad. That work Minister Farrakhan would go on to explain was his realization that the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad is alive and that everything we were taught is destined to come to pass.
“How could I not love him? How could I not clear his name?” the Minister asked. “How could I not, when I knew what he did for me and you are the witness of what my resurrection did for me and did for all of you, everywhere on this earth!” he charged during a message of reflection and honor for his longtime trusted friend and comrade.
Mosque Maryam was filled on July 30 with love and the memory of Minister Jabril Muhammad. The “exemplar in the classroom of God” and longtime companion, aide and supreme witness to the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan departed this life on July 16.
Hundreds of Muslims from across the country filled the seats of Mosque Maryam on the main level and downstairs in the musallah to participate in a beautiful janazah (Islamic funeral prayer) to honor and pay respects to this noble man and his works.
Since his passing, tributes, reflections and sentiments from members of the Nation of Islam have poured in. Those who attended the janazah and the repast held at Muhammad University of Islam shared their memories and tributes with The Final Call.
“The service today was absolutely beautiful. The Minister made me have an even more introspective perspective about Minister Jabril and who he is and what he did for our Nation,” said Sister Aalia Muhammad from Lauderdale, Fla. She attended on behalf of her family who were able to view the service on noi.org.
“I thought it was very eye-opening in a way that before Brother Jabril may not have been the most forward face — he worked behind the scenes. But I feel like today the Minister really brought him out in front of us and showed us and demonstrated that he, alone, didn’t get where he is today. He had help,” said Brother Elisha, 17, from Memphis.
“The Minister’s message stood out to me, in particular, about who Brother Jabril is,” said Sister Qadira Muhammad who is from Oklahoma City. “Even the Minister attributing to where the Nation is now, down to us being able to wear our garments — all of these things have to do with the mission of the angel that Allah sent to him.”
Brother Rasool Muhammad, who traveled from Atlanta, stated what was shared during the service concerning the life and impact of Brother Jabril was timely with regard to the Nation of Islam’s history. “We got a chance to hear more history, and in that, we can piece what we heard. It was beautiful. We miss our brother but at the same time, he is in all of us.”
‘He loved the believers’
Student Minister Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad is the Southwest Regional Representative of the Nation of Islam. He told The Final Call he had known Brother Jabril since 1984 and “he saved my spiritual life two times.”
“The first book I read in the Nation of Islam was not the Autobiography of Malcolm X nor the Message to the Blackman in America. It was in 1974 when I read This is the One: We Need Not Look for Another, by Bernard Cushmeer (Jabril Muhammad),” said Student Minister Haleem. “In 1975 the Nation of Islam fell, and it is that book that kept the pilot light alive in me.
I moved to Texas in 1980 and in 1984 I attended the study group where Brother Jabril came after the tragic death of Minister Raymond in Houston, to rebuild the study group. Brother Jabril nourished us back to health and I thank Allah for his life and his work.”
Sister Johnna Muhammad, of Mosque No. 7 in New York, recalled the early days of rebuilding the Nation of Islam with Minister Jabril’s guidance. She told The Final Call about the many hours of teaching Minister Jabril gave the believers during one of the study sessions at Brother Linwood’s home.
“He spoke for about three or four hours; he spoke so long that one of the brothers on post passed out. Brother Jabril looked at the brother, moved the podium over and kept speaking while we managed the brother,” she affectionately reflected. Study and studying was also very important to him, said Sister Johnna who is the Eastern Regional Student M.G.T. Captain.
Brother Rod X Ambrose is from Phoenix, Arizona, and attends Mosque No. 32 where Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad did much of his work and where he lived. Brother Rod reflected on more than four decades of being a companion of Brother Jabril. “I remember seeing Brother Minister Jabril during Black heritage month in 1968 while I was in high school, but it would be 10 years later at Arizona State University, where I was directing a play when I would get to meet him and began to know him more personally,” he said.
Brother Rod shared that Brother Jabril was like the wise uncle he needed in his life since both of his parents were dead by the time he was 16. “Brother Jabril taught me scholarship that I didn’t get from the White man’s institutions. Brother Jabril provoked me intellectually and was a master educator that used every way possible to lift someone’s mind. Brother Jabril Muhammad knew how to take you from point A to B to point Z, and made you discover your own cognitive abilities, and he would question the devil out of you, and I mean that literally,” he chuckled.
Sister Edith Muhammad arrived in Phoenix in December 1995, at 24 years old. She had just married her late husband, Brother Michael, and they’d become great helpers to Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad in various ways. Upon first meeting Brother Jabril, he asked her to introduce herself, her talents, and her interests.
She would go on to join the intimate ranks of those blessed to help him write and publish his books. “He didn’t just allow you to come in and do something. He had to weigh you. He had to observe you. And he had an angelic ability to weigh you and sort you out and see where you really were,” Sister Edith said.
Brother Minister Jabril would swiftly put them to work according to their skills and talents. He never wasted the efforts of anyone who said they believed in the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and wanted to help, she said.
Sister Edith considers herself blessed to be part of the time period when Minister Farrakhan characterized Phoenix, at that time, as leading the Nation in love first, study second, and productivity third, she shared.
They had different study sets across the Valley, every meeting was always filled, and no matter how much responsibility he had, Brother Minister Jabril always had time for the “little” believer, Sister Edith added. “That’s one thing I love about his angelic behavior. He cared about the believers. He loved the believers. He took care of the believers,” she said.
Brother Ghazi Muhammad lived in Phoenix for 15 years as a close helper and friend of Minister Jabril. And though he was a serious scholar, Brother Ghazi got to experience another side of Minister Jabril.
“I was blessed to be among a group of believers that would visit his home for many years eating dinner with him and his wife. I have some of the fondest memories with Brother Jabril, one being that we would watch boxing matches together. He loved to watch the fights, like the Mayweather and Pacquiao fights and others. He would study them meticulously, and he always had a spiritual eye on everything he looked at,” noted Brother Ghazi. “He was very succinct and to the point, a straight shooter no BS, just a beautiful human being.”
He added: “Brother Jabril had a great sense of humor and kept me cracking up. But even his sense of humor was spiritual and deep; it was never low. Lastly, outside of the Minister, I don’t know anybody personally that manifested the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad like Brother Jabril.
Whenever he would speak, he would say ‘My Father taught me’ with such passion when talking about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I have never heard anybody speak like that outside of the Minister.”
“I thank Allah for Bro. Jabril coming to wake the Minister up. I thank him for the study,” remarked Student Southern Regional Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad. “Because early on, he made all of us study, so we would not be some fly-by-night followers. I thank Allah for that. Where do we go from here?
We follow whatever the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan tells us to do and that’s what we are going to do. I thank Allah for Bro. Jabril’s family and all the great work and sacrifice that he has done.”
“I think the impact of the loss will be felt for quite a long time among us and yet at the same time, Allah never wastes the work of a worker,” began Final Call General Manager and Student Minister Abdul Rasul Muhammad. He described the day as a very sad yet also joy filled. “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan instructed me to ‘lift your head up,’ and that’s exactly what I’m striving to do. Long live the spirit of the angel, our brother and friend, Minister Jabril Muhammad.”
Brother Jabril was a serious scholar and for Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, Western Region Representative of the Nation of Islam, he feared him.
“I kind of feared brother Jabril because he was such a staunch teacher and a defender of the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Minister, that he would question you on whether or not you knew how to use scriptures to defend these Teachings,” he said.
“Lastly, I was impressed with his intense seriousness, not just about defending the Teachings, but doing it in such a scholarly way that when people left your presence, they knew you were certain of what you knew! I was scared of Brother Jabril, not a fear like you fear Allah but a fear in that you didn’t want to disappoint him with your defense of the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”
Brother Leonard F. Muhammad is a longtime aide to Minister Farrakhan and is a member of the Nation of Islam’s Shura Executive Council. He expressed his gratitude for the love Brother Jabril had to save God’s people. “He’s always interested in saving people. Even when he came out with the study guides, the purpose was to keep us all together and provide something for us to be saved.
Not just to write a book, but to develop those study circles that some of us participated in. Those were circles to save people and that was his heart and his spirit, so he is a Saviour,” he said.
Student Minister Dr. Wesley Muhammad is a scholar, author, and also a member of the N.O.I.’s Shura Executive Council. He echoed the sentiments of many about the quality and level of inspiration Brother Minister Jabril gave them to study the Teachings.
“Brother Jabril opened the lane that made me comfortable in how I did my Islam. His intellectual, his cerebral approach to the study of the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad was an early inspiration and continued inspiration to me. I needed to experience Brother Jabril Muhammad and how he approached the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. So, I am forever thankful to Allah for his example and sacrifice.”
Student National Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad called Minister Jabril “a companion’s companion,” adding that “he has been a vanguard of the resurrection of our Nation.”
“As the Minister revealed more of their relationship, we will see much more of their relationship unfold. There is so much yet to understand of the significance of our Brother Jabril Muhammad as a community, as a Nation, and really the world.
As our Minister has stated, Brother Jabril represented the resurrection and return of our Minister to the belief in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In a way, that instilled in him the courage and the spirit to resurrect an entire people,” stated Student Imam Sultan, who is also a member of the Shura Executive Council.
Minister Jabril’s efforts were so effective. He worked in silence mostly, without a lot of fanfare, and allowed the success of what he represented to make the noise. “Many people don’t know that Jabril use to send free books into the Michigan Department of Corrections,” said Brother Student Minister Troy Muhammad of Mosque No. 1 in Detroit. “So, he used to send us free books all of the time to help each man in his development.
To look at our Nation and to understand that it’s his work that opened the doors and helped the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to get the scales off of his eyes; we wouldn’t have the life that we have if it wasn’t for him accepting the role and responsibility that Allah placed on him. But those books being delivered on a monthly basis was a wonderful time,” he said.
It was Brother Jabril who helped us to get to know Minister Farrakhan from the word of God so that we would truly know him in his proper light, explained Student Minister Abdul Rashidullah Muhammad of San Francisco. “It’s one thing to walk with a man, but how deep do you know him? It gets no deeper than the word of God.
He helped me personally to see my father more clearly (and) to be able to help him from the perspective of sight.” Brought to tears in his reflections, the San Francisco minister continued, “He helped me to see the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad more clearly, and now that I know them both from scripture now faith … it has given my life aim and purpose. I know my life is to help and serve them. I would not be that man if I were not able to nurse the word of God and His witness.”
Sister Aminah Bayyinah Muhammad serves as Min. Farrakhan’s Executive Administrative Assistant. She is also a member of the Nation of Islam’s Shura Executive Council.
“I wanted to add my voice to those who have borne witness to how special of a man Brother Minister Jabril Muhammad was and is,” she told The Final Call. She met him in the very early 1990s. “The very first time I met him, he handed me an article to read regarding the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. This is all I knew of him; his total focus was the Teachings of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He would often refer to Minister Farrakhan as ‘a guided bullet.’ But he himself was also a guided instrument for the cause of Islam,” she said.
“Brother Jabril wrote a series of articles called, ‘A Special Spokesman’ in reference to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan but he was also a very special human being used by Allah (God). May Brother Minister Jabril’s works live on and continue to benefit all of humanity.”
—Tariqah Muhammad, Eric Ture Muhammad and J.A. Salaam