Say what you will about the Nation of Islam, but it is one of the largest and most successful Black organizations in the country. The success of the Nation of Islam can be attributed to one man: Louis Farrakhan.
After we published last week’s article on the Rise of a Black Messiah, a reader suggested that whoever led the Nation of Islam after Farrakhan would be that messiah. The subject of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s successor has been given very little attention (in part due to his resilience and longevity – the minister celebrated his 80th birthday on May 11).
So who will be the successor to Minister Louis Farrakhan, and how will a regime change affect the direction of the Nation of Islam?
The Muhammad and Farrakhan family have relied on family members from their bloodline to function in key positions for organizational ministers, officers, and other positions established by the Nation of Islam “Provisional Constitution”. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that these three most likely contenders all come from the “royal priesthood” of either the Muhammad or Farrakhan family.
The National Assistant Minister to Minister Louis Farrakhan for nearly two decades, Minister Ishmael Muhammad has long been in the public spotlight. He is a prominent writer, a gifted orator, and as charismatic a leader as any other within the nation. As the son of the Late Founder Elijah Muhammad, he has
According to NewsOne Media, “prior to being requested by Farrakhan to assist at the organization’s Chicago headquarters, the eloquent and professorial Ishmael resided and studied in Cuernavaca, Mexico for 17 years where he focused on Quranic and Biblical scriptures. The husband and father of seven children speaks fluent Spanish and has traveled extensively throughout five continents.
Given his bilingual fluency, his internationalist perspective, and the NOI’s more inclusive approach-instead of being groomed to eventually fill Farrakhan’s shoes-it appears the Assistant Minister is being prepped to don a different style of footwear altogether.”
Minister Ishmael Muhammad’s ascent would mean a more transparent and mainstream Nation of Islam. In this Final Call interview, he was quoted as saying “My preference would have been to work behind the scenes and to help better organize the nation so we could be more effective in our programs and outreach to the community. ” With his ties to the Latin American community, the Nation of Islam could also see more of a focus on Hispanic outreach.
Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad
Known affectionately as “The People’s Pastor”, Student Minster Abdul Hafeez Muhammad (formerly known as Kevin Muhammad)has been in numerous newspapers (4Korners, Daily Challenge, Caribbean Times, Christian Times, Final Call, Amsterdam News as well as daily newspapers).
He has appeared as a guest on various radio stations and TV programs such as: WBLS, WLIB, WBAI, WWRL, POWER105.1, WRKS KISSFM, MNN, BRONXNET, BCAT, NY1, SATELLITE RADIO and a cross section of other minority radio, TV and newspapers outlets. He is the New York Representative of Minister Louis Farrakhan in Mosque No. 7 in Harlem.
Student Minster Abdul Hafeez Muhammad served as Co-chair of the city wide Local Organizing Committee (L.O.C.) for the Million Man March in 1995, mediated and arbitrated between rap artist 50 cent and Ja-Rule in 2003, and has a long track record of being a man with good character and integrity.
The post that he currently holds is a high one, and his ascent could mean a far more moderate Nation of Islam.
Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan
Minister Louis Farrakhan has 9 children: Mustapha, Joshua, Louis Farrakhan Jr, Donna, Maria, Betsy-Jean, Fatimah, Khallada and Abnar Farrakhan. Of these 9 children, his sons Louis Farrakhan Jr and Abnar remain unlikely successors to their father, as neither possess the moral bearing or leadership abilities that are possessed by Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Louis Farrakhan Jr was arrested in 2001 for assaulting his pregnant wife with a serving tray. Nasir has always relied on the financial support of his father and the Nation, and had never been employed up until his late 40s. He was also arrested for charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of personal injury accident and possession of drug paraphernalia. To his credit, Nasir was also one of the few people that helped his father rebuild the Nation of Islam in the late 1970s, and has long been one of his father’s right-hand men.
Of all of Louis Farrakhan’s sons, Mustapha Farrakhan is the most likely candidate.
Mustapha Farrakhan is a police officer and the Supreme Captain of the Nation of Islam and has a background in law enforcement. Captain Mustapha has managed to avoid the public spotlight to a large extent, but we can only assume based on his position that there will be very little change to the organization as a whole. Just as the change of command between Khalid Abdul Muhammad and Malik Zulu Shabazz in the New Black Panther Party didnt produce too many ripples, neither do we believe a change in command between Minister Louis Farrakhan and his son will lead to a radically different NOI.
Love it or hate it, the Nation of Islam, and its charismatic leader Louis Farrakhan is an integral part of our collective identity here in North America. The next leader will either bring credit to the Nation, or chaos.
What are your thoughts?
Are you currently a Member of the Nation of Islam? Would a new leader effect your decision to stay in the Nation? Would a change in command influence your descision to join? What are your thoughts on Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam as it stands today?