Walking With Farrakhan: A Perspective

By Wesley Muhammad, PhD. -Guest Columnist- | Last updated: Jun 17, 2013 - 11:02:31 AM

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Disbelievers from among the men and the jinn ask me, “Dr. Wesley, why do you follow Farrakhan?” They say,

“You have acquired some of the greatest academic credentials this world has to offer. Your scholarship is recognized, debated and even hailed in many circles around the world. Surely you could parlay that into a long, brilliant academic career. Why do you so unapologetically walk with such a controversial figure? Why do you follow Farrakhan?” 

That’s easy to answer. Allah has indeed blessed me to successfully matriculate through some of the best Black and White institutions of higher learning in the Western World, and to gain the highest of this world’s educational credentials. I don’t boast in this achievement, nor am I ashamed of it. It has helped me grow towards the type of thinker and scholar that I aspire to be. But my life goal is not to be a scholar. If it was, I would be content with this world because this world would be sufficient for me. My ambitions are far greater than that. I follow Farrakhan not just for the sake of following Farrakhan. I follow him with an ambition, an agenda. I follow Farrakhan because I sincerely want to be like him.

When I say I want to “be like him,” I am not speaking in a “cult of personality” sort of way. I don’t try to make myself look like him, for I am quite happy with how Allah shaped me in my mother’s womb. I don’t for a second covet his seat or desire his job; I don’t wish for his blessings (or their concomitant burdens) that the Lord of All the Worlds blessed (and burdened) him with, for I am happy (and sufficiently taxed) with my own blessings (and burdens). Rather, I want to be like Farrakhan in a very particular sense: my greatest personal ambition is to someday grow to be the type of human being that Louis Farrakhan is.

Most people know only Minister Louis Farrakhan, the public figure. He is judged by us based on a sound bite or a speech, or a move or decision that we view from a distance. If we, from our own distant vantage point, disagree with the move or decision, we judge him negatively. If he says or does something that we happen to like, we judge him positively. This is all very superficial.

I have watched Farrakhan the public figure and walked with him from afar for most of the last 23 years. His relatively distant example has shaped my personal growth as a man, as a father, as a husband, and as a servant of God. But to know Farrakhan the man—as I have been blessed to get a glimpse of lately—is to know a truly exceptional human being. I am quite frankly awed by his character and his integrity.

In the Farrakhan that I see up close, I see a perfect combination, a wonderfully attractive equipoise, between righteousness and manhood (the two appeared mutually exclusive in the church); between unfettered intellectuality and unshakable faith; between true self-awareness/self-consciousness and genuine humility; between a truly inspiring and contagious self-respect and a truly humbling selflessness. Farrakhan has unbelievable—I would say “inhuman”—patience with his people, especially those of us who are trying to serve under him. In fact, as far as we, his Laborers, are concerned, he is nothing short of longsuffering. To be like Farrakhan is to be an improved person. 

We are all Gods, says the Bible (Psalms 82). But at 80 years young, Farrakhan’s Godhood is manifest and compelling. Through him Allah is showing to the world glimpses of what “God is a Man” looks like. I came to Islam from atheism 23 years ago. I still take an incredulous, “show-me” posture towards matters of religion and metaphysics. Thus, though I accept paranormal activity in principle, I can’t take seriously anyone purporting to teach me about these powers who cannot themselves exercise them. This is why I am with Farrakhan, the man. As I watch and study him from afar and up close, in him I see that Man is God. Allah brought us this Deen (Islam) in order to make us Gods. Having lived this life for over 50 years now, Allah has allowed Farrakhan to manifest a portion of his natural divinity. I bear witness to it. In him I am thus able to see the reality of that which is so dear to me: the Truth of God.

I am with Farrakhan because he has taught me what this world is totally incapable of teaching me: that true Godhood is anchored in exceptional human character and integrity. God is God rather than merely a god because God’s character is holy and his integrity is absolutely unfailing. I love Farrakhan because in him we are able to see what exceptional human character and integrity look like. His living example is the path, the instruction manual on how to live this life of ours, and successfully living this life makes one a god. Farrakhan is proof that this life can be lived and he is proof of the rewards for so doing.

Now, there are those today who speak vilely of the Honorable Brother Minister Farrakhan. There are Muslims who speak this way because they believe they are more theologically “sound” than he; Black Nationalists who believe they are “blacker-than-black” than he and have a “more blacker (sic)” solution to our many problems; educated people who speak evilly because they feel they are better equipped educationally to lead our people. But none of them have displayed the character, integrity and selfless love for Black People for over half a century like Louis Farrakhan has. He is the only living example, that I know of, of the type of human being—a divine human being—that I aspire to be. It took half a century of living the life that Allah brought to us to produce the type of human being that Farrakhan is. His exceptional humanity humbles all of us who come before him (at least all of us who value such things). A very offensive sight in my eyes is a person with a whole bunch of knowledge but no character and integrity, no class or ethics; a learned person who is at the same time an ugly (acting and spirited) person, or a revolutionary who has no moral compass. If you take all of the knowledge that these people who whisper to me have and put it in a vault, its collective value won’t be one-tenth the value of Farrakhan’s humanity, in my judgment. So the $64,000 question is not why a man like me walks with Farrakhan; the real mystery is why a person like you does not. 

(Dr. Wesley Muhammad is an Historian of Religion who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Morehouse College and a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan.)