The Meaning of FatherBy the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Jun 10, 2014 - 2:29:32 PM
[Editor’s note: The following message is excerpted from a speech delivered by Minister Louis Farrakhan on June 17, 2001 at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, IL.]
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
There is a scripture in the Bible that reads, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, and of the increase of his government of peace there shall be no end.” This is a great scripture to start a Father's Day message, because Isaiah the Prophet saw one coming that would be born of a woman, meaning he is like you and me, but, though he was born of a woman, a human being, yet the work that he did and the wisdom that he shared would be so magnificent that he would be called Wonderful, a Counselor, a Mighty God. Not Almighty, just Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. This one who was born of a woman would become a father, but he would be a father of an everlasting nation, and, of the increase of his government—but it is a special government, a government of peace—there shall be no end. That is powerful.
I want to take it from here to look at Jesus as a son who became a father, because every son ultimately becomes a father, and the quality of your sonship will determine the quality of your fatherhood.
Jesus submitted totally to The Father. Let us look at the words of Jesus and the actions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Jesus said, “Whatsoever I hear, that shall I speak. Whatsoever the Father commandeth me, that shall I do.” Whatever Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) heard from Allah (God), that he spoke, and whatever Allah (God) commanded him to do, that he did. He related to Allah (God) as an obedient son would relate to a father, and that is what qualified him to be the Father of a Nation of Peace. If we follow the example of Jesus, the example of Muhammad (PBUH), we would be good sons. Then, we too, could become good fathers.
It is the same with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was a soldier and a commander, but Muhammad obeyed Allah (God), and everyone that obeyed Muhammad was raised to eminence from a low state. Do you want to be raised? Then you have to practice being a soldier, being obedient to a son, who is obedient to a father, who is obedient to Allah (God).
“Our Father which art in heaven?” What does that say to men? If you are a father, you should exist in your house in an elevated state. Everybody should look up to father. “Hallowed be thy name.” That which is hallowed is that which is sacred. Some of us did not have a father like that. We never looked up to our fathers.
“Thy Kingdom Come.” How do you know that Farrakhan is a father? Because, when we started in 1977 to rebuild the Nation of Islam, there was nothing, but I had something in my head from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and, with faith, we said, “Thy Kingdom Come” and we brought it in.
“Thy will be done.” As a father, you have to have vision, something in your head. What do you see? What do you want? Whatever you see and whatever you want that is of good, by faith you can bring it into existence. With Allah (God), there is nothing that you cannot do.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Fathers, you have got these hungry children out there and you may have given them some bread yesterday, you may have sent your little payment, maybe last year, and you figured that what you sent last year was sufficient, but the prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” That means every day a father has to be producing for his children and for his family.
“And lead us not into temptation.” When there is hunger in the house, when you do not have anything, you are really leading your family to be tempted. Satan is always there to tempt you for something that you need or want, but, by an illicit way to get it. If you are a good father, you do not lead your son into temptation, but you deliver him from evil. A father delivers his family from evil.
“Forgive us our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us, for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever.” Every father knows he has messed up somewhere along the line. All of us have done it. So, we ask The God to forgive us for our shortcomings, but we must have a heart to forgive those who have been short with us, but, for how long? Forever! Evidently. That prayer is associated with that One that was born who would be an Everlasting Father.
The Holy Qur'an comes at it a little differently, but it is the same result. The oft-repeated prayer of the Muslims is called “Al-Fatihah,” meaning “The Opening.” If you say this prayer and live this prayer, it opens up everything of good for the servant. “Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim,” meaning, “In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.” The Commander is Beneficent; the Commander is Merciful. I am a soldier. Should not I be beneficent? Should not I be merciful?
“Al-hamdu li-llahi Rabbi-l-‘alamin,” meaning, “All praise belongs to Allah (God), the Lord, Nourisher, Sustainer of all the worlds.” So do not do your good deeds, dad, seeking praise or seeking honor. Do good because it is right to do good. One of my children called me and said, “Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I have a gift for you.” I said, “You are the gift. You don't ever have to send me a card to enrich the already rich or buy me something that I don't really need. Just be a good son and a good daughter. That is the gift to me as a father.”
“Maliki yaumi-d-din,” meaning, “Master of the Day of Judgment” or the “Law of Requital.” He is not a judge, He is a Master. I cannot necessarily be that, but I can be a judge. When the father comes into the house and there is an argument, put it on the table without favoritism. I cannot favor my wife. I cannot favor my elder son. I cannot favor the baby. I have to come straight with justice, because I represent God in my house.
“Iyya-ka na‘budu wa iyya-ka nasta'in,” meaning, “Thee alone do we worship. Thine aid we seek.” There is a singularity of focus of the Believer in God, and what you, as a husband want from your wife is singularity of focus on you and on me, but we are so deficient that we create adultery. The woman is not adulterous by nature. She is adulterous by circumstance. She would be faithful to us if we could complete her desire for a man. We do not care whether she completes our desire as a woman. It seems like we are always looking someplace, but I am here to tell you that the Qur'an says, “One is better for you, if you but knew.”
“Ihdi-na-s-sirata-lmu-staqim. Sirata-lladhina an‘amta ‘alaihim,” meaning, “Guide us on the right path. The path of those upon whom thou hast bestowed favors.” Every father should be in a position to give favors to his children. When they obey and do good, favor them, and the ones that rebel, do not favor them. Then, the one that did not get the favor will say to the other one, “Daddy sure gave you a nice bike. I want one, too.” The favored one will say, “Yeah, but Daddy said you are always disobeying him. He has the money to get you a bike, but, you are acting a fool, boy. You need to get your act together.” The next thing you know, the one who wants to win favor brings his report card grades up and begins to do things that please the father. Then, dad can say, “Now I can favor you, because you favored me by being obedient. Thank you, son. Here is your bike. Thank you, daughter. Here is your bike.”
To me, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad has been a Wonderful Counselor, a Wonderful Father. Once, he called me to Chicago and gave me guidance on a speech that he wanted me to make. In my stupidity, I thought I did not want to do it the way he wanted me to do it. He saw that in me, and, very gently, he said, “Brother, I sit right here at my dining room table and I order things for you all around the globe, like a god. I bought thousands of acres of land for you, but I never left my table. I asked them to describe the land, and when I got a description, I said, ‘That's a good piece. Buy that.'” He said, “I do not leave my dining room. Surely, I can show you how to make a speech in Atlanta and win.” I said, “Yes, sir,” and I took my notes. It was one of the best speeches I ever made at that time. He told me that with that speech, if I obeyed him, I would be in the history of 40 countries on this Earth. I made the speech exactly like he told me, and I have found friends all over the Earth. In all the countries that I have been to, I have friends that he made for me by his work.
When you look at your children, thank Allah (God) for the women or the woman that bore your sons or your daughters. Be kind to them and help them in rearing your children. Think about the son or the daughter that you brought into this world that you have not even communicated with in years. Write your children if they are away from you, and do not be too proud to say, “Son, I have been wrong.” There is nothing wrong with that. Do you know your children will love you more if you could muster the courage to say, “Daddy was wrong, but I intend to make it right and I hope you will forgive me for not being to you as I should.”
You have got to start making amends. You have got to start reconciling. You have got to start opening up to your children.
Thank you for reading these words.