One-On-One with Ishmael Muhammad, Student National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (Chicago, IL)
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): I would like for us to talk about the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as the Redeemer in our midst and how he’s teaching us to be redeemers of our people. This will be important especially during his absence. He defines a redeemer as “one who redeems the object to be redeemed, the item bought back” (Study Guide #13). For us as Black people who were stolen from Africa (East Asia), we were in need of being bought back to our natural state of being by Master Fard Muhammad, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and now the Minister.
In your observation, study and representation of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, what are the characteristics and qualifications of being a redeemer?
Ishmael Muhammad (IM): Well, we are blessed to have as our examples Master Fard Muhammad, Himself, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. A careful study of these three men teaches us the character of the three men, therefore, giving to us the qualifications and the character necessary to do the job that is before us in resurrecting our people. So when we talk about qualifications, I think that it starts, first, with the purity of one’s heart.
There are many of us who hurt and carry the pain of our suffering, and out of that hurt and pain we are inspired and motivated to do something to relieve that hurt and pain and suffering of our people. Therefore, many individuals have stepped forward, I believe, they start from that sincere desire to help to alleviate the pain of our people. Through that process if they are committed then the character that is necessary to accomplish the task is built, but if we abandon the process through adversity and the difficulty that this job presents then there is the erosion of the necessary character needed to free our people.
What we find in the Prophetic One, the Messiah, the Jesus, the Christ he’s described as the Atoning Sacrifice, which means that he is a human being who is prepared from the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth to bear the burden in such a mission in the redemption and resurrection of a dead people who God chooses at the end of Satan’s world, but he also serves as the redeemer of humanity.
The purity of the heart and the humility that the Minister constantly teaches us about and reminds us of that is necessary as you recall the Minister sharing with us that Master Fard Muhammad told His Servant, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, that He didn’t send him to beat the savage but to teach the savage and that he, Elijah Muhammad, would have to take plenty. So this Jesus, Messianic figure who is loved by so many because of his capacity to love the people and see their needs and go far beyond the faults that we demonstrate and express, and address the need of the human being.
Therefore, that character and quality that you speak of is one that is put in a four letter word – LOVE. It’s a love so profound, so great that the love can take plenty and can take much, because that love sees the essence, which is the real beauty of the human being and will sacrifice whatever is necessary to manifest that essence that is in the human being.
All good character starts with Truth, and these wonderful examples that we have and the examples of the prophets, they were successful in the mission that God had given to them because of their capacity of love. The quality of their hearts and their hearts being so in harmony with Truth and as men, they were all noble men even before they were assigned to the mission that God had given to them; they were honorable men, noble men, and honest men. Any of us who wish to help the Messiah in this work, we have to be men and women of good character built on a foundation of Truth, being true to ourselves and being true to others.
EM: Yes sir, thank you. You sparked another question regarding what we’ve been taught love is. When we see real love coming from a man who’s trying to show us what that is, we as Black people think there’s something odd or suspicious about it. In that type of thinking we miss the call, the Final Call. So how can a people who have been lied to recognize the Truth when they see it, as opposed to what they’ve been taught?
IM: Because of so many leaders that have given us false promises, we are naturally suspicious of those who come before us. Therefore, that man has to prove himself, and the way that he proves himself is through that power of love to persevere. His perseverance is what ultimately wins the people, because then they see over time that he’s consistent, all of the time. He has not compromised his position to our oppressor or to the opposition. I’ve studied that in our people, and of course the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has warmed the hearts of our people, because they know him to be a man of exceptional character, and they know that they can trust him. They can trust him, because he has proven to them to be a man of good character and a man who has their very best interest at heart and does not bend or bow to the pressure of the enemy.
The man of God has a heavy, heavy burden in winning the people and then you factor in the fact that we have been programmed against ourselves, and from that programming of self-hatred we have been made to hold anyone who comes to us in good in suspicion. So we are suspicious. We have been programmed to hold those who offer good to us in suspect. It’s a very difficult task, but over time the people will realize and come to know that indeed there is a redeemer in their midst, because he perseveres. He is made in such a way by God that he is able to take their ignorance and the many insults that we make towards the man of God and ultimately they realized, “Oh, he truly loves us”, which demonstrates the immeasurable love of the God that made the man for us, which shows the people God’s love for them.
EM: I was just about to ask you that question regarding the Minister and with yourself. How do you keep from being discouraged and frustrated? I can’t imagine the phone calls, the letters and the messages that you get as well as the encounters that you have. How are you both handling that? How do you stay in the fight?
IM: Remaining focused. Remaining focused on the goal and aim of this Mission and keeping my eye on the man (Farrakhan). If he is able to suffer for our redemption and he is able to do what he is doing, yet he maintains such a positive spirit. Although he has days, naturally, of upsets and frustrations and stress, but he never takes his frustrations and his upsets out on us. He understands that this is all a part of the process of resurrection. Therefore, I’ve learned from him. Although there are times when you become somewhat overwhelmed, you realize what we’re working with and who we’re working with, and as the saying goes, “It’s all a part of the terrain of the territory”. You have the take it, because this is the road. As time passes that aspect, which is a daunting aspect of this work, it doesn’t frustrate me or bother me as much as it did in my earlier years in the ministry, because I realize this is a protracted struggle. If it took 400 years to put us in this terrible condition, it’s going to take time to bring us back and it’s going to take time for the redemption work to bring about a different product. When you understand it, it’s okay.
I think those of us who think that or approach the Mission with an expectation of a certain result and that we can achieve those results in a short amount of time, we get disappointed. That means that our understanding of the Mission and our expectations were not realistic. Therefore, I try to be very realistic in understanding this Mission and looking at 80 plus years, which may seem long to us because of the short life span that we live, but as the Bible says, “A day unto the Lord is as a thousand years…” It’s our perception of Time that causes us to become frustrated in this work, because we want so badly to reach the goal in our lifetime, but if we are patient enough and focus in on the contribution that we can make in the process then we can work more joyfully and more cheerfully because we understand that it will take a couple more generations to get near to the product, near to that valuable final product, but we will be comforted seeing and realizing through those that we reach, that we touch we will begin to see life come from those that we touch and work with. So we have great, great hope of a better tomorrow by the work that we do today.
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, visitwww.EconomicBlueprint.org