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One-On-One with Ishmael Muhammad, Student National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (Chicago, IL)
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan says, “What is work? It is force times distance; the exertion of energy on an object that is not moving on its own, resulting in the movement of that object. No matter how much force is applied, if the result is not motion, there has been no work” (Study Guide No. 13). He mentioned in an article that he wrote in The Final Call entitled, “We Must Depend On Allah and Ourselves”. He says, “In it, I reminded the Believers that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad has warned us against sitting at home waiting on a mystery god! He has said we can’t sit down; we can’t lay down. We must get up and go to work doing something for ourselves!”
Therefore, when you talk about the expectations that we have and the perception that we have of the work of being redeemers being one thing, and then when we see it and the process, we may get discouraged or we may abort the process all together. We may not have realized how much work was involved. We have to engage our people and interact with them. We can’t be afraid of them.
Ishmael Muhammad (IM): That’s right.
EM: I’m so happy that you touched on how we view the Mission, because I believe there may very well be a misunderstanding of the level of work involved. If we just look at Minister Farrakhan and the work he’s put in for over 57 years that should let us know that the results won’t come overnight.
IM: Yes ma’am.
EM: What are some things that you’ve observed with Minister Farrakhan that a lot of us may not be privy to in regards to what you both endure in the redemption process of our people? We see him and we see you at various speaking engagements and touring different cities and different countries. However, what are some things that we don’t see as it relates to this struggle that we can anticipate for ourselves as redeemers?
IM: Well first on the beautiful words that you read from Study Guide 13, if I may, on what can produce frustration and those of us who have come to help the Messiah and His Servant in this Mission. If we are exerting energy on an object that is not moving on its own and no matter how much force and distance is being applied, if there is no motion then at the end of all that exertion, scientifically and mathematically, it is said that there has been no work. I’ve been studying that, because the energy and the force that we apply through the giving of our talent, the volunteering of our time, the giving of our finances – whatever we can spare toward the cause – we don’t see the return from that effort. In the Problem Book, number 32, we are presented in that problem where the Messenger and His laborers know that the time is limited, and He has seventeen million keys, at that time, which is very interesting, because that means there is not one key that will unlock all of the minds of our people. That’s powerful that every human being or every individual has a door and on that door there is a lock where a key has to be put in it and turned at a certain rate. Then, that problem tells us that the Messenger asks all of you students to help Him to solve this problem. What means and methods will be used?
We often time keep using the same methodology or the same approach in solving the problem, or we keep using one key to unlock many. We don’t take enough time, in my humble opinion, to explore other means and methods that will help us be more successful in the Mission that we have accepted on our shoulders in helping the Messenger and the Messiah. Therefore, we get exacerbated, exhausted, worn out, fatigued and frustrated, but why? It’s because we keep exerting all of this energy, and at the end of the day we don’t see any movement or any motion. Although we may not know the law of physics we know that there has been no progress, and we’re not achieving the results that Master Fard Muhammad said and guaranteed us that we could realize, but what is it that we not doing?
I just wanted to comment on that, because it is an important principle that will help us as students and laborers and followers to not get frustrated, but let us come back to the table and let’s look at what we’re doing, look at the results that we’re getting.
I love sports; the chemistry, the team building, strategies that have to be developed. If it’s basketball, there are five men on the floor. If it’s football, there are eleven men on the field, and so on. However, when there’s a time out or a halftime, you’re going in and you’re accessing. You could be down, but you carefully access and evaluate the things that we’re not doing that we could do better in order for us to secure the victory. That’s what we don’t do. We don’t come back and put up on the board, “What are we doing, what are we not doing”? As Brother Jesse said, we have all of these mediums. We have the Facebook and Twitter. We have all of these things and that definitely is a means that in this modern world needs to be used, but what are we saying? If we are not, and we’ve had a lot of discussions and I think this goes to the behind the scenes that you asked about, on strategy; effective, strategic planning, means, methods of how we can, with a new generation, repackage the Teachings.
You have a generation now who don’t know about the Million Man March. It has value to this generation only if they see the work product of what the march produced that is useful and applicable in their life for today! Well, you’re younger than I am, but when I was growing up the old folks would tell me about Dr. King and the march of the sixties, and it didn’t mean anything to me at the time.
One day when the Minister was in Harlem, I don’t know if you’ve heard him tell this story, and he was with Muhammad Ali. They went out and they were on a corner and there were young people gathered around. Another great boxer of the sixties, I believe it was either Sugar Ray Robinson or Floyd Patterson, who had won the championship and he was with them as well. They were all around Muhammad Ali, because he was the champion. Muhammad Ali asked the young people, “Do you know who this is (point to the other boxer)?” They quickly took their eyes off of him and back on to Muhammad Ali. It didn’t make a difference to them, because Muhammad Ali was the current, present heavy weight champion who I grew up watching as well as Dr. Jay then Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and Michael Jordan. However, the new generation says that Jordan was your man. LeBron is our man. Wade is our man. Kobe’s our man. It’s good and you can’t argue with them. When the “old” ones are watching basketball with the young ones they say this and that about Jordan. Well maybe so, but it’s irrelevant.
The point is the new generation and those who are in their early twenties; they were only five years old when the Million Man March took place so they don’t know. That generation was unfamiliar with Minister Farrakhan. There’s a whole generation that you could basically take from thirty years and under don’t know the Minister. We were introduced to the Minister as teenagers and in our early twenties, so we have followed him and his development. Yet, many of us have not taken this man and his message and packaged it in a way that is appealing and attractive to the new generation. We have some work to do, and in my humble opinion, we have to come up with new methods, means and a repackaging of the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that fits the language and the culture of the time that we’re living in. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “Quick thinking, fast moving right down to the modern time”.
EM: Thank you very, very much for your time and these thought-provoking words. May Allah continue to bless you and those of us who are striving to be the Redeemers and Saviours for our people in this critical hour.
IM: All praise is due to Allah. Thank you for the opportunity.
To learn more about how you can assist the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, visit the official website of the Nation of Islam at www. NOI.org
To learn more about Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint, Ending Poverty and Want, visit www.EconomicBlueprint.org