[Editor’s note: The following text is excerpted from a timely message delivered by Minister Louis Farrakhan on Aug. 12, 2001 to an International Islamic Symposium on “The Seerah of Prophet Muhammad in the Light of the New Millennium” and in celebration of the birth of the Prophet. The symposium was held at the O’Hare Ramada Inn in the Chicago area.]

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

This great day of honor, we thank Allah (God) for his (Prophet Muhammad’s, Peace Be Upon Him) birth into the world, and thanking Allah that he (the Prophet) had a heart so attuned to Allah (God) that it pleased Allah (God) to give him the final revelation that would be given to the world before its judgment.

We thank Allah for a perfect example in him (the Prophet), and we thank Allah (God) for his (Prophet Muhammad’s) sunnah (way). I’m honored to speak of him today, and I shall speak of him probably in a different way than you are used to hearing of him.


Although there are no words that are good enough to describe the beauty of such a human being, yet, he is not glorified by words. We honor him best by being Muslims; and we honor him best by performing our duty to Allah (God) and our duty to our fellow man.

I would like to read from Surah Al-Baqarah, the 127th verse or ayat. It reads: “And when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House: Our Lord, accept from us; surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Lord, and make us both submissive to Thee, and (raise) from our offspring, a nation submissive to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully);

Surely Thou art the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. Our Lord, and raise up in them a Messenger from among them who shall recite to them Thy messages and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them. Surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.”

This is a prayer that Abraham and Ishmael prayed after they had raised the foundation of the ancient House, Kabah, which is our Qiblah (Spiritual Center). He prayed that they would be made Muslims, but also that from their offspring a nation of Muslims would be raised.

It is very important to understand this terminology, “Show us our way of devotion.” They used the possessive pronoun “our” way of devotion, that “our” way of devotion will be a little different from the ways of devotion given to those before us.

“And turn to us mercifully.” This is a very, very beautiful prayer that Allah heard from Prophet Abraham, and we know that the answer to Abraham’s prayer was born in Arabia in 570 A.D. They called the nation in which he was born Arabia, but he was commanded by Allah (God) not to build a nation called Arabia, but to build a Nation of Islam.

He was called by Allah (God) to build one nation into which he would invite all of humanity regardless of their race, ethnicity, color, or their religion. He brought the revelation that would unite all of the diverse elements of religion, because this Qur’an answers with clear arguments that which would bring all of the religions into oneness.

So his mission was first to unite the Arabs, purify the Arab and make the Arabs bearers of witness of the presence of Allah (God) in this Qur’an and the presence of Allah (God) in a servant named Muhammad (PBUH); and that they should be witness bearers of this great event to the entire world of human beings. That was a great assignment for the Arabs and a great assignment for the Prophet.

This book, Qur’an, was revealed to the Prophet over a 23 year period, but no Ayat (verse) of this Qur’an was revealed absent a context. And every context imaginable was addressed in this Qur’an, so that in the cyclical nature of history, as we constantly repeat history, this book would answer in every age the problems that human beings would face.

This book is to be recited. This book is to be studied. But, this book is to be implemented. It must be acted upon in the context of what we find in our countries and in the world in which we live.

Islam is not a stagnant religion. Yesterday’s understanding of the Divine Word of Allah (God) may not be sufficient to answer the pressing needs of humanity today. Therefore, a deeper, more profound understanding of the Qur’an must be reached by those who would serve Allah (God) because it is clear that our present understanding of this Qur’an is insufficient.

If our understanding of the Qur’an were sufficient, we would be a power in the world to make the world in the image and the likeness of Islam, (submission to the Will of God), but the world is making Islam in its image and after its likeness.

Beloved brothers and sisters, the Prophet (PBUH) was born in Arabia, but he envisioned a nation without boundaries. He envisioned a nation that every human being on this Earth could find true brotherhood in the faith of the belief in the Oneness of God and the Oneness of the human family.

This was his desire, and this will be accomplished. Don’t say “Insha’Allah” (meaning, God Willing), because this book is His Will and His Will is going to be done whether we do it or fail to do it. If we fail to do it, Allah (God) already has said, “I will bring another people in your place.”

The 30th Surah of the Qur’an, the 41st Ayat (verse) reads: “Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of that which men’s hands have wrought that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return.”

“Return” means that someone has gone astray or away from the path, and corruption has appeared to take them off the path, and Allah (God) is going to make them taste a part of what they have done so that perhaps they may return to the path of the Prophet that they have turned away from.

What is meant by “corruption has appeared in the land and the sea”? We live in a world where the Earth is corrupted by poison. The air is corrupted. The water is corrupted. I’m sure that the Prophet was talking about a time when the Earth would be poisoned and the land and the sea and the air would be poisoned.

Man, in his technological advancement, is advancing, but not according to the active Will of God, but, instead, by the permissive Will of God. Man’s technology needs to be perfected, but it’s going to take a righteous scientist to perfect the work of unrighteous scientists. It’s going to take a righteous Nation to correct the wickedness of this present world.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says: “Behold, I make all things new.” It says, ‘There will be a new heaven and a new Earth, and the former things shall pass away.” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that it meant that there was corruption in the political system and corruption in the religious system.

And because corruption has been in the political and the religious spheres, the people suffer because of corrupt leadership. Muslim political leaders have adopted ideologies and philosophies that may not necessarily be in harmony with the Teachings of the Prophet or the Teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

Religious leaders—imams and sheikhs—have come up under these political leaders and they have preached a watered-down Islam for fear of persecution by the political leaders who have gone astray from the Teachings of the Holy Prophet. Let’s agree with truth.

My brother that spoke before me mentioned that he was a Sunni Muslim. His brother is an Ishmaeli Muslim, and I’m sure we’re among Sufi scholars who have tried to dig very deeply into the esoteric meanings of the Qur’an. But I have never seen that name “Sunni” or “Sufi” or “Hanbali” or “Hanafi” or “Shia” in the Holy Qur’an.

Prophet Abraham didn’t say, “Make me a Sunni.” He didn’t say to Allah (God), “Make me a Sufi.” He said, “Make us submissive to Thee and from our offspring, raise up a nation submissive to Thee.” The Qur’an says, “They did not become divided until after revelation came to them, splitting up their religion into sects and parties, each one rejoicing in what they had due to envy.”

We must deal with this because the Umma (community) of the Prophet is one Umma. It’s not saying that you can’t be Sufi and a Muslim, or Sunni and a Muslim, but you must not exalt your specific difference over the Umma. You must subordinate your specific idea to the oneness of the community.

If you fail to do this, then you and I are guilty of working for Shaitan (Satan) to divide the Muslim Umma, brother against brother, due to our faulty interpretation or understanding of the Qur’an and the Prophet and His Way, Peace Be Upon Him.

We have to admit that Allah (God) Chose the Arabs, and their condition was deplorable. And do you remember in Surah Abasa (80th Chapter of the Qur’an titled “He Frowned”), the Prophet was speaking to some highly placed people and a blind man was tapping his way up to the Prophet and disturbed his conversation.

The Prophet frowned because he evidently was getting his point over and this man interrupted him. And then Allah revealed this Surah titled “Abasa” or “He Frowned” and He says: “He frowned and turned away because the blind man came to him. And what would make thee know that he might purify himself or be mindful so the reminder should profit him.

As for him who considers himself free from need, to him thou dost attend. And no blame is on thee if he purify himself not, and as to him who comes to thee striving hard and he fears, to him thou payest no regard. Nay, surely it is a reminder so let him who will mind it.”

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) united the Arabs and the Arabs brought the message of Islam to the whole world. Yet, the Holy Prophet in his Hadith said, “The sun that rises from the East, you will see it rising from the West.” Did he mean that the (physical) sun, 853,000 miles in diameter, was going to rise from the West?

Or did he mean that the light of Wisdom that has always come out of the East and shone westward, that in the last days of the world a light would come out of the West that would shine back eastward.

Then Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] said he heard the footsteps of Bilal going into paradise ahead of his own. What did he mean? Do you think that Bilal (a Black man who was the caller to prayer) could enter Paradise ahead of the Prophet Himself?

I don’t think so. Nobody goes ahead of the Prophet. He makes the way for us. I believe he was saying that his community, entrusted with the responsibility of spreading the message, fell victim to Shaitan (Satan) and started attending to those who felt free of need.

So you go to Europe, you spend a lot of time there, but your work is minimal. You come to America, you spend a lot of time with those who feel free from need, and your work is minimal. But a blind man is tapping his way up because he wants relief from oppression. That blind man happens to be Black and from him you turn away.

You don’t know how to handle the Black man in America, who has been destroyed by 400 years of slavery. You can’t teach him the way you teach. He will never hear you because you do not know how to reach a mind that has been destroyed. So Allah (God) had to raise somebody up among us that would know how to reach us with the message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

You may not have understood Elijah Muhammad’s approach, but I think if you dig deep, you would say, “Boy, what skill!” He came to a people that White people had taught were inferior because of our color.

You say Islam does not deal with color, but I beg your pardon. Islam deals with everything, but Islam never exalts one color over another. But something has happened to the Umma, and the Prophet saw it before he left us. He spoke to it in these words:

“There is no superiority of the Arab over the non-Arab, and there is no superiority of the White over the Black.” And then he admonished the community that, if one should come to you whose face is as Black as soot and his hair like dried raisins, but if he speaks the Wisdom of God, you should accept his leadership.

Let’s follow the sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and honor him and love him by bringing the world to this magnificent faith. I love you, Muslims. And I thank Allah to be one among the most beautiful Umma in the world, the Umma of Islam. But this Umma must be purified, and it must be made better so that Allah’s Favor will come to us again.

Thank you.