Rolling Out

Min. Farrakhan and Muhammad Ali’s brotherhood shows at final prayers

Photo Credit: AR Shaw for Steed Media Service
Photo credit: AR Shaw for Steed Media Service

If you talk to older members of the Nation of Islam, you might hear them referring to the “First Resurrection.” This is the time period when Elijah Muhammad was alive and actively building the Nation of Islam in the United States. These were members of the Nation who personally knew and witnessed Muhammad and his teachings and the impact it had on the Blacks in America. Two such men who witnessed this together were Muhammad Ali and Min. Louis Farrakhan. In the early days of Ali’s conversion to Islam and membership in the Nation of Islam, Min. Farrakhan was one of the champ’s biggest supporters. He pointed out that “America has a way of making sports heroes into god’s and here is one god that the America has a problem with, but why should they… He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t cheat and lives a healthy lifestyle.”

Min. Farrakhan welcomes Muhammad Ali to Mosque Maryam in 2002 (Photo Credit: Courtesy NOI-Bro, Richard Muhammad)
Min. Farrakhan welcomes Muhammad Ali to Mosque Maryam in 2002 (Photo Credit: Courtesy NOI-Bro, Richard Muhammad)

With praise such as this, Min. Farrakhan went on to assist Ali in his conversion to Islam along with Malcolm X and W. Deen Muhammad, the son of Elijah Muhammad. How fitting that the man who was there when Ali first uttered his prayers in Arabic was also there to say final prayers over his Muslim brother. In the days before the memorial services and prayers for Ali, Farrakhan stated in a press release: “Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to his family and to all those whose lives his life touched. There is a verse from the Bible and a verse from the Holy Qur’an that run through my mind at this time that I would like to express. One is found in the Bible in the Parable of the Talents, Matthew, 25:23, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master! The Holy Qur’an, 2:154, says, “And speak not of those who are slain in God’s way as dead. Nay, (they are) alive, but you perceive not.”The flesh of Muhammad Ali must return to the earth but what he has done for the Cause of Islam, for the Cause of Freedom, Justice and Equality will never die. These are the words that strike me, a life well lived and a job well done. He has finished his course. May Allah (God) grant him the Paradise that we believe he justly deserves. May Allah’s mercy be with his family and with us.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson at prayer services for Muhammad Ali (Photo Credit: AR Shaw for Steed Media Service)
Rev. Jesse Jackson at prayer services for Muhammad Ali (Photo credit: AR Shaw for Steed Media Service)

Farrakhan was at the Muslim prayer service for Ali and seemed solemn and retrospective.  Undoubtedly, besides Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad, Ali was a force that brought the light of Islam to America and helped to normalize it as a religion on this soil. Bro. Richard Muhammad, the editor-in-chief of the Final Call newspaper, stated to rolling out, “The root of Muhammad Ali, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and Min Farrakhan are all tied to the Hon. Elijah Muhammad who taught us a faith that was connected to our ancestors and who we are as a people. It is connected to the struggle of our people in the world. “

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