CHICAGO—Brother Joshua Nasir Farrakhan was eulogized Nov. 25 in a janazah (funeral) service that was more a celebration of a vibrant life than a solemn goodbye.
Cheers and loud applause accompanied bursts of laughter at Mosque Maryam as Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad remembered the beloved 64-year-old son of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Mother Khadijah Farrakhan.
Josh, as he was affectionately called, made his transition on Nov. 18, suffering a massive heart attack after being taken to the hospital for chest pains. He was known as a dedicated helper of his father and was present at the beginning of Minister Farrakhan’s acceptance of the mission to rebuild the Nation of Islam.
“Josh, Joshi, Joshua was loved by so many,” Student Min. Ishmael, National Assistant to Minister Farrakhan, told the audience, recalling Bro. Joshua’s many affectionate monikers. “Do you know why? It is because his heart was good. If his heart was dark … he couldn’t be loved by so many.”
Student Min. Ishmael said Bro. Joshua was the first to greet Min. Farrakhan in 1977 when the Minister returned home from from meeting with Minister Jabril Muhammad in California where after a three-day spiritual experience, he decided to rebuild the Nation of Islam after the departure of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.. Before the Minister exited his car, Joshua asked if he still believed in Master Fard Muhammad and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad?
When the Minister responded “yes,” a smile brightened Bro. Joshua’s face. Recalling the Minister’s words, Min. Ishmael said, Joshua walked back into the house as the first convert in his family to the mission to the rebuilding effort of the Nation.
Bro. Joshua immediately went to work, establishing the tape department that allowed the Minister’s messages to be widely spread and generating revenue that was reinvested in the rebuilding effort.
Min. Ishmael described the early days when he, Mustapha Farrakhan and Bro. Joshua would load blank tapes and equipment into the Minister’s car, drive to the city where the Minister would speak, meet the Minister at the airport and escort him to his hotel.
“It was Musti, Joshi and Ishi. Three musketeers.” This is how the word was spread during the early days of the rebuilding of the Nation. “[Joshua] made invaluable contributions to the Nation. He was there before [many] of us!”
Bro. Joshua was born January 25, 1959, at Boston City Hospital in Boston, Mass. The fifth child and second eldest son, Bro. Joshua attended Muhammad University of Islam and Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago.
Known as the “little mischievous brother” because of his fondness for jokes and pranks on his siblings, Bro. Joshua also had a passion for animal life. It was Bro. Joshua as a teenager, who while helping to secure the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the hospital, informed Min. Farrakhan of the Messenger’s departure in 1975. At age 18, he married Sister Marie Muhammad, daughter of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Mother Evelyn Muhammad, this union produced six children. This union was sanctioned by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who wanted to see the Muhammad and Farrakhan families enter into marriages with one another, further fortifying the bond between Himself and His chief helper, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Bro. Joshua served as a watchman, demonstrating a “no-nonsense” approach to making sure Minister Farrakhan’s time and energy were not abused.
Bro. Joshua was a visionary who encouraged his father to produce the 58-part series “The Time and What Must Be Done” in 2013, as well as helping with the release of the documentary “My Life’s Journey In Music,” that coincided with the Minister’s music project, “Let’s Change the World” in 2018.
Student Min. Ishmael’s remarks were also encouragement to the faithful and Black people in America.
Every human being struggles with internal and external forces, and sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, he continued. Allah (God) knows the mitigating circumstances that shape everyone, he explained. “But in the final analysis, the Beneficent, the Merciful God is the Judge.”
Student Min. Ishmael shared from the Minister that prophets are like the moon. They reflect the light of God as the moon reflects the light of the sun. Allah (God) holds His prophets blameless of their sins because of their obedience to His Will, he said.
“The Minister said to me and he wanted these words shared today: ‘The prophets of God in the scriptures, the moon is what represents the prophets because the prophet has no light of his own. But He takes light from the sun and the sun literally makes the moon so bright and it’s the brightness of the moon that causes the moon to equalize the waters on our planet to ripen the fruit. To do all the good things that the moon does is done from the bright side, it’s not done from the dark side of the moon.’”
In continuing his quoting of the Minister, Student Min. Ishmael explained that God loves His prophets and He loves the Righteous. “It doesn’t mean that the prophets are sinless but in Him they have no sin. He blesses the prophets because of their obedience to His (God’s) commands. He allows the light of the prophets to share that light with the people in the absence of God’s presence,” Min. Ishmael said, quoting Min. Farrakhan. The prophet is always giving light, strength and is always ensuring balance.
“So, God holds the prophets blameless.” God does not glory in the shortcomings of His prophets and while the Holy Qu’ran lifts the good of the prophets, the Bible deals with their shortcomings.
While Min. Farrakhan’s contemporaries would write disparagingly about him to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Messenger’s response was, “A man who preaches like that doesn’t have any sins.”
Student National Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad recites the janazah prayers in Arabic during service.
Student Min. Ishmael noted that the two doctors who tended to Bro. Joshua were Muslims, and when told the heart-breaking news of their son’s passing, Min. Farrakhan thanked the doctors and recited the Holy Qur’an chapter 3, verse 145: “No soul may die except by the permission of Allah … .” and chapter 2, verse 156, speaking of a Believer: “Who, when a misfortune befalls them say: ‘Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall return.’”
The doctor then immediately began reciting Al-Fatiha (oft-repeated Muslim prayer and opening chapter of the Holy Qur’an) as others joined in.
Knowing that death is the “irrevocable Will of Allah,” Student Min. Ishmael related that Min. Farrakhan told him that he and Mother “handled the news with the dignity of one who believes in Allah” and were “at peace.”
“Nothing really prepares us for death, but faith and belief in Allah gives us the spirit to handle a loss of a loved one,” he said. “Each of us are on His earth on borrowed time. What are we doing with our time?”
Bro. Joshua was “a kind and generous man” who also struggled with “internal and external forces.” But “all of us stand in need of God’s mercy and His forgiveness,” Student Min. Ishmael said, advising the audience not to judge others. He said the Farrakhan and Muhammad families suffered and made tremendous sacrifices “that we could have a level of consciousness that never would have been raised” if not for the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
He pointed out to Bro. Joshua’s children and grandchildren that God passes the good of His servants to future generations; and that the reward to them for Bro. Joshua’s good works is for them if they remain in belief in the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Student Min. Ishmael recognized some of the many dignitaries in the audience who came to pay their respects, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and his son, Congressman Jonathan Jackson; music icon Stevie Wonder; rap artists Chuck D of Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh and Eric B, Father Michael Pfleger, Attorney Londell McMillan and businessman Gene Kilroy. He also shared that Min. Farrakhan’s social media director, Bro. Abdul Qiyam Muhammad compiled messages of sympathy, condolences and well-wishes expressed from people around the world.
The program began with prayer from Student Minister Jeffrey Muhammad, who described the Islamic janazah service for those who were unfamiliar. There are no flowers because we are taught to give our flowers while they live; there is no music and song in consideration for not extending the pain of family and friends; personal testimonies and reflections are reserved for the repast, he explained.
Bro. Joshua’s casket, emblazoned with his name, was flanked by two guards and two large portraits at either side. Two monitors displayed photos of the many moments of Bro. Joshua’s life. Nation of Islam Student National Imam Sultan Muhammad recited the janazah prayers in Arabic and at the conclusion, everyone stood to their feet and performed a final salute in front of the casket, led by Student Assistant Supreme Captain Abdul Azziz Muhammad.
Following the service, the processional, which was nearly a mile-and-a-half long, carried the casket on a 62-mile journey to Pine Grove Cemetery in New Buffalo, Mich., where Bro. Joshua was interred.
Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad and Student Imam Sultan Muhammad recite prayer at Pine Grove Cemetery in New Buffalo, Mich. where Bro. Joshua was interred. Photo: Haroon Rajaee
Minister Farrakhan places some earth onto the casket. Photo: Andrea Muhammad
Brother Joshua Nasir Farrakhan is survived by his parents, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Mother Khadijah Farrakhan. He was preceded in death by his daughter Melia and his brother Louis Farrakhan Jr. He is survived by eight sons: Joshua Jr. (Anne), Elijah, Louis (Kristy), Fard, Muhammad, Amey, Khalifah, Sharrieff, his youngest daughter Olivia Bender, his brothers and sisters and a host of grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The Nation of Islam is forever grateful for his service, dedication and sacrifice. To view the janazah service in its entirety, visit media.noi.org.