WEB POSTED 04-16-2002

Adversity accompanies everything of value

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan continues his response to my question: What is key in the interpretation of anything, especially in what you intend to do in the Beethoven violin concerto on February the 13th in Los Angeles?

Minister Farrakhan: Now, Beethoven was inspired of God. His—I don’t want to call it genius, because it’s beyond genius—his divinity is seen in the magnificence of his ability to compose. Through adversity, his creativity was brought to a level of excellence, that has caused him to be an innovator and considered the father of a period in the development of classical music, called the romantic period.

He embellished the classical period and became the father of the romantic period. He was dark skinned, with a broad nose, born in Germany, a country that gave rise to Adolf Hitler and a people that found in his development of the Arian supremacy theory, great resonance in the German people.

Beethoven was nicknamed “the schwarzer” which translates into the “Black one.” Black, in the language of white supremacy, is a very negative thing. Therefore, throughout his life he felt the sting of being “the schwarzer.”

This was in a large measure, a major factor in his creativity and the manifestation of his divinity in music because he wanted acceptance. He found women that he really loved. Some of them really loved him. But because of the social stratification in the Germane and Austrian society, the parents did not feel he was of the proper nobility of birth to be worthy of marrying their daughters.

It is something like Black persons, like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gilesby, Bud Powell, who were so innovative in the jazz idiom that many, many white people found a place for them in their homes, in their hearts, but this did not necessarily allow them to marry their daughters. So Black musicians have always found a level of acceptance in white supremacist societies simply because of what we provided for the white supremacist mentality, by the genius or the divinity of our expression.

Beethoven found a woman that he truly loved. But she was unable to marry him, although they would meet secretly. So after his death, they found a letter addressed to his eternal beloved with no name. They began to search: who could this be? Why could it not be known?

So in my preparation for the playing of Beethoven, on my prayer rug, I asked Allah, if He would give me the spirit that He gave to Beethoven when He created this violin concerto. It is unlike any other violin concerto because it is a give and take. It is a conversation between the soloist and the orchestra and different segments of the orchestra. It starts with the timpani drum beating [the Minister makes drum sounds.] This continues all the way through the piece and you will hear this beat [the Minister makes drum sounds], sometimes from the violins; sometimes from the base violin, sometimes from other instruments.

I liken this sound to the heart beat. His heart was affected by a woman that he could not fully have as his own.

So I believe that this piece was his conversation with her; his deep love for her, hers for him; the highs and lows; the frustration that came about in his inability to make her his life long companion.

The more I studied the nuances of the music, the more I hear his crying; his pleading; her responses; the family; the anger—all of this incorporated in his music—which was an expression of all that he was going through.

It’s like Quincy Jones saying, that when Michael Jackson composes, his life is intimately involved in the songs that he sings.

Jabril Muhammad: Adversity was the constant companion of this outstandingly great composer, Beethoven, yet he persevered. What accounted for his perseverance and success in spite of his adversities?

Minister Farrakhan: He suffered the adversity of being dark skinned in a culture or society that would one day accept an Arian philosophy at the apex of white supremacy.

I read that he spent considerable amount of money trying to prove the nobility of his birth. I read that he was unfulfilled in terms of marriage and having a companion at his side, whom he truly loved and by whom he would have children.

Then the greatest adversity in his life was at the age of forty, when he began losing the ability to hear. Yet the greatest of his compositions, according to those who study music in colleges, tell us that these compositions that he created on his going deaf and at his deafness were the greatest of all his compositions.

This meant that he had to rely on an inner strength and an inner connection to the God Who created sound and gave each creature a sound that is unique to that creature. So when he came to the point where he could no longer hear the sound, he had to remember; he had to dig deep in his capacity to remember the sounds of birds and he imitated that in his music.

He heard from the inner ear what God allows us at times, to hear—the unspoken—as though he actually heard it spoken and to see the unseen, as if he were looking at it. He got in touch with the greater power of seeing and hearing, which afforded him the opportunity to make his greatest contribution to music, which meant he had to get in touch with God, on a more profound level.

So his adversity, not only put him on a deep musical journey within, but it also took him on a deep spiritual journey, where he became more and more in tune with the God, Who created him and gave him this marvelous gift.

But as you raise this question, I thought of the teachings of the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Adversity accompanied God’s Self-creation. So it’s natural for adversity to accompany everything of value, and it must be accompanied by adversity. Adversity becomes the mother, out of which creativity and the genius or the spirit of God is made manifest.

So out of the darkness of space and the adversity of overcoming nothingness, came sun, moon, stars, life; all forms of life. So when one is created in the image of God, that means that adversity will accompany that life. This is why the Qur’an says “Allah has ordained struggle.”

Struggle means that there is something that you must move against that is a natural impediment to prove yourself. You have to break through that impediment. What flows from that is a creation [ones self] that glorifies God.

Brother Jabril: Every one of us who really knows you, knows, that you have had—especially since the departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad—to deal with an unusual degree of adversity. Not just in the light of what you said, but in the light of all that you have learned from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and from your life’s experiences, please explain, what has gotten you to this point, through the non-stop adversities in your life? How have you used adversity for your own growth and to advance the divine cause?

More next issue, Allah willing.