Minister Farrakhan will be 85 years of age on May 11. This is the second installment of five honoring his life, his journey throughout the Nation of Islam, his mission, his accomplishments and his legacy.
At his first Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day Convention, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan heard the voice of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Elijah spoke for hours on the subject “A Saviour is Born.” His lecture was a direct reference to the spiritual birth of Minister Farrakhan.
“At the end of his lecture he asked for acceptances. Now my wife [Khadijah] was in the audience, and in her lap was our first child, Betsy-Jean Farrakhan. She was a year old—a year and a week old,” Minister Farrakhan said.
Mother Khadijah left her seat, went to the back of the room and started the process of joining the Nation.
“I was still sitting in my chair. I wasn’t quite, you know, ready. And my uncle came with his beautiful West Indian accent and he said, ‘Get up! Your wife done gone already. Get up!’ Well I was always taught to be respectful, so I wouldn’t not do what he asked me to do. So I went and I got my form,” Farrakhan said. “My wife and I both wrote our letters* together, and we sent it off.”
At that time, Minister Farrakhan smoked. After he and Mother Khadijah sent their letters off, Farrakhan inhaled reefer smoke one last time.
“I gave up smoking. I gave up eating the swine. My wife was my girlfriend; I didn’t have any girlfriends to give up. So I was cleaning up my life to become a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” he said.
Minister Farrakhan went back to his hometown of New York and started attending Temple No. 7, where Malcolm X was teaching. Hearing Malcolm was the culminating decision in joining the Nation.
When his letter was accepted in October 1955 and he officially joined, he had the opportunity to speak about his experience.
“I never knew that I had the gift of speech. However, on a Wednesday evening Brother Malcolm asked for the new converts to come and have a word to say, and when he called ‘Louis X’ up, he said, ‘I’d like you to speak on what Islam has done for you,’” Farrakhan said.
“Well, Islam had done a lot for me, so I just began to speak about this Great Teaching of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and the Great Word that I heard from Brother Malcolm; and the mosque, or temple, erupted with applause. And the next thing I knew, Brother Malcolm put me in the Ministry Class, and my journey in The Ministry began.”
Minister Farrakhan was only in the mosque for 30 days when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad sent a decree down. Farrakhan was eating a bowl of bean soup at the Muslim restaurant “The Temple No. 7 Luncheonette” when he received the news.
“A brother came over to me and said, ‘Man! You missed it today! Malcolm read a letter from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and in that letter he said all that are in show business, all that are in music: They would have to get out of music, or get out of the temple,’” Farrakhan said.
He may or may not have finished his bowl of soup. The impending news caused him to think, and he made a decision that would change the world.
“I may have walked 30 paces, and I said: ‘I can live without music, but I cannot live without The Truth,” he said.
Elijah Muhammad gave 30 days for those in show business to leave the industry. On the last day, Minister Farrakhan decided to get everything out of his system. When he finished singing, dancing, telling jokes and playing the violin, a man approached him and offered to manage his career, starting him off on $500 a week.
That night, Allah (God) gave the Minister a vision of two doors. One had a sign saying “success” and held a mound of diamonds and gold. The other was covered by a “Black Veil” and had a sign saying “Islam.” Minister Farrakhan was told to choose.
“I chose The Door of ‘ISLAM’ not knowing where that Door would lead me; but if I stayed in show business, I was guaranteed to have a mound of gold and diamonds. I chose ‘The Unknown’—but what I did know was what I heard from Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X of The Truth was what I was ‘looking for’ all my life! . . .I chose to give up the world to learn a Truth that would free The Minds of Black People,” he said.
* The Nation of Islam letter is written by those interested in joining. “Writing your letter” is a process of copying an already written letter by Elijah Muhammad. The letter causes the signer to submit under the handwriting of the Messenger and to revoke the slave name.
Stay tuned for the continuation of the second installment on Minister Farrakhan’s early Nation of Islam life. Background information and quotes taken from http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/article_9658.shtml and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CJ3J2HRNZs.