read in: 40 min
Wesley Muhammad (WM): All praise is due to Allah. Thank you.
EM: You are not the only one that has had those type of questions relating to faith. You opened up about what you described as a tear in your spiritual garment, regarding where Allah, Master Fard Muhammad, intervenes in our affairs on an individual basis, aside from His anointed Servants. You said, “I didn’t see myself as being on the radar of the Lord of the Worlds.”
What was it that caused you to feel that way and draw that conclusion?
WM: Well, again, partly my path and partly the way my mind actually works. By path I mean I was an atheist before Islam. I was anti-religion as an intellectual. When I did come to Islam, it was through the Five Percenters, and the Five Percent Nation is anti-religion. We think differently about religious matters. We tend to need more demonstration of a point of a religious matter than most religious people. So I already had that predisposition to need greater demonstration of faith matters. That’s what it is. Faith matters. Matters that have no empirical proof, but we have to have faith in their regard.
After 28 years of critically engaging this teaching, I’m pursuing religion with a totally academic perspective. I bear witness that there are still matters that are a matter of faith. We just cannot prove them, and those are very valuable matters of faith. But in my earlier stages, those matters of pure faith, I needed a more robust demonstration of them. And one of those matters was, “Is the God, Whom I acknowledge as Master Fard Muhammad, interested in the affairs of the little believer?” Life’s challenges makes all of us ask the question, “Where is God in our life?” And for me I needed mathematical or critical demonstration of it. We would bring such questions to our pastors or ministers, “Where was God in our life when this happened?” We bring those to our pastors and we get the pastoral answers. We get the “foot prints in the sand” poem type of answers, but for me as an atheist and Five Percenter, that just was never persuasive to me. They weren’t real helpful to me. Those pastoralisms weren’t helpful to me. I needed something more concrete to make my religion make mathematical sense on a personal level. On a global level it made all the sense in the world. Master Fard Muhammad, He is Master of all of these planets and life forms that are on all of these planets. He’s the Master of them, so He’s very pre-occupied, in other words.
So I did not, I could not telescope the God into my personal life, not intellectually. Not in a way that was intellectually satisfying to me. So that was my blind spot. I needed demonstration of His intervention in my affairs, and on a critical thinking level I did not feel that I was able to point to convincing proof to me. Even though, of course, they were there all the time, but where I was in my thinking I could not point to demonstrable proof that He was intervening in my affairs all while He is protecting His Messiah against the most power government in the world, and marshalling the forces of the other civilizations of the planets to come against the enemy. He has big ticket responsibility. I was looking for and I needed more convincing evidence in the midst of all of that He even had time to consider my affairs.
EM: You answered that so beautifully, and you answered the second question regarding what evidence you were in need of that you weren’t receiving. Thank you for going right into that.
This next question is regarding your research and your doctoral dissertation revolving around the reality of God in Him being a man. We know that…well I’ll speak for myself, because I have your books; I know that there’s no deficit in your knowledge, but how and when did you realize…
WM: Well we all have deficits in our knowledge. We all work with a marginal merit. The only one who does not work with a marginal merit is the Messenger of God. Anything short of revelation, has a marginal merit.
EM: Yes sir, thank you for your correction. Allow me to say it like this in the context of this question: How did you and when did you realize that there was a deficit in your faith compared to your level of knowledge?
WM: That was always a nagging question for me. It followed me and it nagged me. I’ll tell you this if I can share it.
EM: Yes sir, go ahead!
WM: There’s this experience. There was this Summer between one of my semesters. I was a poor, very poor student. So eating and finding the next meal was a task. One time I went up to a brother’s house, who was a F.O.I., and he happened to have a fish fry. And he happened to have enough for myself and my brother who I came with and who was my Five Percenter teacher. I hadn’t or didn’t want to join the mosque yet. There was the discussion about praying over the food. Obviously, the Muslims were praying. I was inclining towards the Muslims, but I was there with my teacher, who was a Five Percenter, who gave his reason why not to. So I conceded to his reasoning, and as fate would have it, as they all were enjoying and as he was enjoying his fish sandwich, mine fell on the floor before I could take a bite of it. I was so mad and so hungry. (laughs)
The question of whether I, as a little believer, am on the radar of the Lord of the Worlds that He would even receive it (prayer over food) was what the argument was. Why would He receive it if it’s ritualism? Why would He receive this praying over fish? So that issue nagged me throughout my whole journey. There were some nagging issues. So it wasn’t a moment in which I discovered the tear. It nagged me from the beginning until I got to Chicago and demonstrable proof, demonstrable evidence, was given to me. But it nagged me the whole time.
EM: Yes sir, thank you.
In January of this year, the Study Group webcast that was shown from the Final Call Administration Building in Chicago with Sister Ava Muhammad and a few others, featured clips of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaching about faith and knowledge. He said, “Faith is greater than knowledge. Faith is in the absence of knowledge.”
EM: And he went on to say, “We are not the Best Knower, we have to have faith in Him, Allah.”
WM: That’s right…
EM: He said, “Big belief can accomplish what those in this world with knowledge cannot.”
WM: That’s powerful.
EM: Yes sir. How and at what point did you begin to tip the scale of what you know toward faith? What was that first thing that you had to do, or what was that first step you had to take?
WM: Beautiful question. The faith versus knowledge dynamic was also the dynamic that was in my consciousness from the very beginning. It became acute for me, because Allah happened to bless me to know. This is to emphasize the tear in my spiritual garment, because Allah blessed me, Sister Ebony, to factually know the reality of this Teaching of Islam. My introduction to the Teachings was totally intellectual. My approach to it was academic. I studied every aspect. The truth of this Teaching, the body of wisdom is not a matter of belief or faith to me. It is a verifiable body of knowledge that I can demonstrate by Allah’s grace across the world.
Allah blessed me to become a knower of the truth of His Islam, not a mere believer in its truth. However, therein lies my challenge and my trial. All while I’m sure and self assured that Allah has blessed me to be a knower of the truth of my religion, while I’m seeing people all around me — and I’m the main antagonist in many of these situations– people having their faith ripped out from under their feet, because knowledge will come to them or something would challenge their faith, and oftentimes it’s me ripping their rug of faith out from under their feet. True story. So while I’m self-assured in the truth, I’m still conscious of the fact the Quran is very clear that, “Blessed are the believers…”. It’s the believers, not the knowers. So I’m conscious of that this whole time, but not knowing really what that means except that I know that I had my deficit.
I did become increasingly aware of the issue of whether I am on the God’s radar. For a long time it was an intellectual question and academic question. It nagged me purely intellectually in the beginning, but over time it became clear that it’s not just a matter of an intellectual matter to be solved. As life progressed and things got harder, it did become clear to me that it is the source of a spiritual deficit. I did become aware as life progressed that that intellectual blind spot really is a spiritual deficit. So then it became a problem for me. It did disturb my soul for a long time. I had issues negotiating prayer, just on that intellectual …. “Will the God hear my prayer?” The time came where that was a pressing issue, not just on my mind but in my soul. So it did become an urgent matter for me. So I studied prayer, the science of it, and I believe Allah blessed me with understanding of the science of prayer, but again that was intellectually.
It wasn’t until I came here (Chicago) and things happened and I had to privilege to get guidance from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. As Allah is my Witness, I asked him specifically at his table in Phoenix, “Dear Holy Apostle, I know and understand that you as the Messenger of God, you have the Two backing you. Do those Two intervene in the life of the believer as well? I know that’s the prerogative of the Messenger to God, or the Messenger of God, have the Two backing him. Do those Two back the little believer in the same way?” And his answer was, “Yes, absolutely. They will back you, if you are with me. If you are with me.” And that is the criteria, because he is the door to our access to the Power of the cosmos. He is the door, and he went on to explain beautifully, and disabused all of us at the table of the notion that God is only the God of Farrakhan, that God is only the God of Elijah. Master Fard Muhmmad is the God of all us. Every believer, every Black person. He came for each and every one of us. So, yes He absolutely intervenes in our affairs.
Now as my life in Chicago would develop, Allah gave me the test. He put me in a situation to test that wisdom, to test that learning. I can say with all assuredly that if we are with Farrakhan, if we the little believer, if you will, are with God’s man, Allah is with us individually. Not just in a generic sense, but in a real personal sense. He is the God. He becomes the God of Wesley, the God of Sister Ebony as much as He is the God of the Honorable Brother Minister Farrakhan.
EM: Praise be to Allah! Thank you so much for sharing that!
WM: Praise be to Allah.
EM: Along with that particular instance of you asking him that question, you said that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is the “Father of your faith.” I think about what a father is; an authoritative figure, a guide, a nurturer. In what ways, aside from what he did in answering your question, did and does his representation nurture that part of you that needed to know?
WM: Very directly. Very directly.
EM: Let me say this Dr. Wesley. For those of us who have never sat at the table with the Minister to ask a question like that, is why I say his representation.
WM: Yes ma’am. Understood. It’s a blessing. I said the Honorable Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan is the Father of my faith, and I spoke deliberately. He isn’t the Father of my belief. I had belief without faith. I had belief that grew to knowledge, but all the while I didn’t have faith. It was absent, even in the transition from belief to knowledge.
The Honorable Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan is Father of my faith. He engendered faith in me. How has he nurtured my faith? Very directly as well as indirectly. I remember, dear sister, a particularly difficult moment in my life and I had come to him. I was blessed to get an audience (meeting) and share my pain. He gave me love and guidance, but he also said something that just floored me and knocked me in the head. He said, “When you’re a Muslim, insecurity is hypocrisy. A Muslim, by definition is one made secure in Allah.” If we are Muslims and we have faith in Allah, then we are secure in our Lord. Nothing should come to us that makes us insecure, and I was very insecure in a matter.
I’ve often said from that rostrum that the Minister’s way ain’t easy. Farrakhan’s way ain’t easy, but his way is empowering. He empowers. And I’m using that word deliberately. He empowers those who are blessed to be around him if we have an appreciation of his way. When he hit me with that, and he actually said it publically, it got me into shape and my faith was so concretized after that. That’s an example of him nurturing my faith, that he fathered my faith. He knew what I needed and he smack me right, because God forbid, I don’t want to be a hypocrite. If I am insecure in Allah then I’m not being a Muslim.
EM: Thank you for that!
I only have a couple more questions left.
For those who may consider themselves to be “realists” and need to know what it feels like and what it looks like when that faith is starting to materialize: What did you begin to see? What evidence did you begin to see when you were feeling your faith being nurtured?
WM: One of the first moments of epiphany…It has to be the day I arrived in Chicago. I think I had just gotten the keys to my place in Chicago, and I remember sitting in my car and I said to myself, literally, “I want to bottle this moment right now and drink from it and the feeling of it forever.” Because the year prior to that moment was one of the most difficult times in my life. That most difficult year was I think, if I’m getting my chronology correct, can be said to have been ushered in with a very painful meeting that I had with my Messenger (The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan). It was a very painful meeting, in which I left feeling crushed and that year would go on to be very, very difficult for me. It was particularly painful for me. Man, the Minister was smacking me up something awful (laughs). It hurt, and later I got a great understanding of it, but man Sister Ebony, that was painful.
So while personal matters in my life were at rock bottom, on top of that I’m suffering from the trauma of not knowing my place with the Messenger of God. That was very difficult. Did I fall out of favor with the Messenger of God? That was a profoundly difficult year for me. I was thankful up to that point, always blessed to be called by the Messenger of God as a part of his Research Team. To be blessed to have an audience from the Messenger of God, then we go back home. That, in and of itself, was way beyond what I could ever dream for myself as I dream of my future. So the thought that it had ended, that somehow I messed up so bad on top of everything else that was crushing, never did imagine that the Messenger of God would call me and invite me to Chicago with him, invite me to be at that time on the National Council of the Nation Of Islam, to bring me and my family.
Before I got to Chicago, he would bring me in and counsel me about the trip. He asked how old I was, and I told him I was about to turn 40. He mentioned that Jesus never lived to 40, and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) career didn’t make it to 40, but that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad after 40 years of his Mission, he began a new one. He said this is a new beginning for me. A totally new beginning for me. So when I landed in Chicago that day, I’m sitting in my car, I had just moved in and I was overwhelmed by the moment. I was a daydreaming child, I was always inclined to daydream. I always dream big, but I never dreamed this big that I would be brought to Headquarters by the Messenger of God as a helper of his in this way.
That’s why I wanted to bottle that moment. I knew I would have an occasion to need to sip on it. I did not know exactly what that meant, as it turns out, but I knew I would have a need at times to sip on that bottle, if I could bottle that moment. I think that was when I had an, “Allah does still love me, because I did not ruin myself with His Messenger”.
EM: Yes sir. Praise be to Allah!
With that said, we know that trials will definitely challenge our faith down to our very fiber. What are you doing to maintain and sustain your faith despite the trials?
WM: Praying! (laughs)
Praying a lot more. Praying with purpose a lot more. Very simple. Praying with purpose a lot more. Now the value of prayer isn’t just intellectual. Intellectually I got the science of prayer, but life’s circumstance taught me the value of praying. Life’s circumstance here in Chicago is one of the first major trials I encountered. I thought I could self-god my way through with the Five Percent “The Black man is god. I’m a self-aware Black god.” So I literally thought I could self-god my way through that particular trial.(laughs) I learned that I am not the god for this task, and I was forced to turn directly to and call directly on Master Fard Muhammad in a specific way, and His answer was very blatant.
That was the beginning, just the beginning of the demonstrable evidence, the robust, demonstrative evidence that I needed. He would intervene numerous times, and even when I didn’t see it or understand as such, the Honorable Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan helped guide me with an understanding of what just happened. He shined a light on Allah’s Hand in these various situations. He has helped me to know that I am, we are on, personally and individually, the radar of the Lord of the Worlds. He has intervened in my affairs, but had the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan not put me under his wing and given me spiritual guidance, I would have been knocked out of the game that first year. The spiritual tear that I came with would have been sufficient. The first year was sufficient to just rip the garment off of me if not for his counseling and feeding my faith.
EM: When I was interviewing Brother Rasul Muhammad a few years ago about how his father, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, escaped the death plot, one of the things he said was that the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s faith forced their faith. By their, he means the believers who were with him prior to his departure. For you to make the point that standing with and following the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is one of the ways that we can sustain our faith is parallel to that, very powerful and I’m sure very reassuring.
WM: Yes ma’am. This life requires constant upkeep of faith. Faith once acquired requires constant upkeep, because Allah deliberately sends things in our lives and challenges the level of faith we are at, at the time. When we have little faith, then what He sends to us to grow our faith will be relatively little, but as our faith grows, the adversity grows to challenge the level of our faith at the time all with the aim of leveling up.
EM: I was just about to say, He’s going to level us up!
WM: He will level us up. Yes ma’am.
I appreciate you, and I appreciate your questions.
EM: All praise is due to Allah! Thank you for your time and testimony. I think for those who are religious can identify with needing to know and balance off the blind faith with having knowledge of the truth that support their faith. And for those who are not religious can identify with how to go about achieving demonstrative evidence of the Lord of the Worlds to know for sure that they are on His radar. May Allah continue to bless and grow you and us all in our faith in this Time.
WM: Yes ma’am. You as well.