[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited remarks from words delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan July 27 in St. Louis during an evening tribute to Abdul Akbar Muhammad, his friend, comrade, brother and “Recording Angel.” With decades of service to the Nation of Islam and Min. Farrakhan, Min. Akbar Muhammad serves as international representative of Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. But he is one of the pillars that has helped to uphold Min. Farrakhan’s success and made great contributions to the liberation struggle for Black and oppressed people. We pray Allah (God) that readers will enjoy these heartfelt words and the deep wisdom, love and lessons that they contain.]

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

I thank him for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who is the inspiration for my life. And I’m honored beyond words to be here with you tonight to honor my brother, my friend, my companion. 



So much was said tonight. It is a special night to see Sister Miriam and the children of Brother Akbar and the sacrifice that she made, and they made, and then his other children and his wife Nafisah. I enjoyed everyone who spoke. I enjoyed James Mtume.  I enjoyed my sister, Denise Thimes, who sang about love, about life and about you.


I wanted to say something tonight about my brother. I don’t know if I will get to say it again. I pray so. But I want you to know what he meant and means to me. I loved, Brother George Khaldun, the beautiful picture you gave of Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese revolutionary leader, and what he said about Chou En-lai, who helped the leader. You made a perfect representation of what Chou En-lai was to Mao Tse Tung and the same is true what Brother Akbar has meant to me.

I’m the type of brother who has been very careless about the things that I do, great things that God inspired me to do; but I was careless with those things because I didn’t pay it what some would say was adequate attention. And I think it’s because of the way I was made by God.

I used to say as a young boy, “When you do something great, the moment it is done, it is dying. So, you can never live on what you did yesterday because if you are not doing anything today, then you’re always living in yesterday.” That means you are dead today. So, I never marveled at the wonderful things that Allah blessed me to do, the songs I created, the music I did. After it was done, it was done. I’m moving on looking for the next thing to do. 

But by my side was a man. I woke up maybe two weeks or so ago weeping. But, I was thinking about Brother Akbar and in the middle of the night, it was as though Allah was showing me the extreme value of my brother.  And, the way the God brought it to me, he put by my side a “Recording Angel” that I would never write about me because I never thought that I was that important. I lived my life in the shadow of greatness. Never, ever believing that I was, in fact, great. But God put by my side a Recording Angel who saw value in me that I did not see in myself.

So, he recorded what I said. He recorded what I did. He kept the songs that I made and threw away, Brother Akbar had a copy. I thought tonight I had to be here to say to his family, to say to his friends, and to say to my family and my friends, that everybody needs somebody—somebody that loves you literally unconditionally because they see the value in you that you don’t see in yourself. Although I was always teaching and sharing wonderful things with Brother Akbar, as a teacher, but a teacher that did not know who he was.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad kept trying to get me to see myself and he used different pictures and different stories of the scriptures. I heard it but I kept on moving, running away from who I finally caught up with. But Brother Akbar was always there. New York could never have been as great as New York was, except I had a friend in Brother Akbar.

We’re a people that only God could love; and I must be close to God because I have loved us unconditionally all my life. But Brother Akbar was always trying to help me do things to bring about a vision that I had but he knew how to make it happen. And the sad thing about people like Brother Akbar or Chou En-lai or the Disciples of Christ, we only see the principal. But sometimes we’re blind to the pillars that hold the principal up. New York would never have been as great as it became if Brother Akbar was not there. When they would come to him and say ugly things, he would come and tell me. But he never heard me comment about any of those who were Laborers but were envious of me.

He can tell you, even in private moments, he never heard me say a negative word about the people who were my superiors in the Nation literally dogging me. They did not understand the way I loved my teacher. And because I loved him in the way I did, I never counted the things that I did. But Brother Akbar did. And in that journal, one of many, Brother Akbar could read things to me sometimes about 20 years ago, 30 years ago. When I woke up that morning weeping that God had given me an angel, not just a brother. Notice my words. I’m not a man given to hyperbole and B.S. But an angel who wrote carefully what he saw, what he heard and he like members of my family, know that I never came home bringing a negative report to my wife or my children about anybody.

That’s very unusual. But I didn’t realize how unusual I was. People talk Jesus but I live him. I pray for my enemies. Because I know my enemies are ignorant because they don’t know me and some of them are so envious of one another, it blinds them to their own greatness. If they would only come away from the hatred that envy produces because envy is hatred for God Himself. God knows best who to give a gift to. God knows best when he gives a gift that that’s who he wanted to have that gift. So, God laid on my heart the message of the Messenger and the Messenger said, “Nobody puts the teachings together, Brother, like you do!” 

And the day he said to me, “I did not make you,” I was so hurt. What do you mean you did not make me? You’re the only man that ever taught me like this. He didn’t pay me any attention and he said it again: “I didn’t make you.” He said, “Allah made you for me.” A is to B as B is to C. God made me for him; and God made Brother Akbar for me. 

My wife and Sister Miriam, they are sisters of a very deep connection. The children and my children, they’re children of suffering because daddy was never home. It’s hard to tell your child that daddy loves you but he ain’t here. The greater love that I have is not for my wife and my children, it’s for God and for the suffering of a people that need to be redeemed. In order to redeem them, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price.

Many of us do things out of vanity, seeking some personal aggrandizement. Brother Akbar was not like that for me; and I was never like that for my teacher.  So, I just wanted to say that Brother Akbar was there when the finances of Mosque No. 7 collapsed. I had to go out to Chicago with no money to give to the Messenger. All the charity that the people gave, there was nothing for me to bring because those who were entrusted with the business of the Nation, I was not.



He just told me, “You handle the teachings,” and that I did. But those who were handling other things, unfortunately, not through scheming. We’re dealing with what they call “kiting.” And the bank knew that we were bringing in money, so the bank let us overdraft. They would write checks and there wasn’t any money there.  But the bank would cover it because they knew we always had it. One day, the bank examiner came and they had to show what was on their books and the only way they could do it was every check that they had allowed the mosque to overdraw, and the bank backed it, they had to get it then, right then. So every account that we had was cleaned out.


So, when I went to Chicago, I usually brought the monthly charities. Elijah Muhammad looked at me, “Now, brother. What happened, brother?” I gave him the sad story knowing he was going to bust them. Because he told me, “You don’t pay no attention to that. You go right ahead and preach.” But then when I told him what happened, he said, “Brother, is you the minister?” I said, “Yes, sir, dear Apostle.” He said, “Well, I hold you responsible then.” When I walked out that house that day, I came back and Brother Akbar is my witness, I took over the mosque. Now that he’s telling me it’s my responsibility, from that day not one check ever bounced with my teacher’s name on it or with my name on it.

And this man, Brother Akbar, came up with a way for us to look at all the businesses that we had. He called it a posture sheet and he showed me how to look at it. You get the posture of every business. What comes in, what is left, what you have to reinvest in the business to keep the business going. The Messenger gave me a check for helping to bring three airplane loads of professional people to Chicago. He wrote a check for me one day for $50,000. He said, “Now, brother, I would give you in cash, but somebody may hit you in the head, so I’ll write you a check.” Now, I’m in my 40s. I don’t know anything about banking. That check stayed in my dresser drawer. And when I said to Brother Akbar, “Messenger gave me a check, brother, but it’s really for me and my family. I don’t know what the hell to do with it.” He said, “Where is it?” I said, “It’s in my dresser drawer.” He said, “How long it been there?” I said, “Oh, about four months.” He said, “Oh, Minister, all the interest you could have got on that. You give me that check and I’ll show you what to do with it.”

Now, you say, why you talking like this? See, people that want to take credit for what somebody else have done are thieves. If you can’t tell the truth about what someone has done to help you be who you are, then you are a very weak man or woman, weak in character. So, this is a part of my story with my Recording Angel, and I understood that that morning. I wept that morning really hard thinking about my brother, and what would be lost of the record because the Minister didn’t write anything about what I did. I just keep doing. So, if somebody’s not there to tell the story, that’s why we call it “Bluebirds.”

Because the story was that a man only had one song he knew and that was called “Bluebirds.” So, in the West Indies he would wait, and the people would come around and say, “Well, now, sing the song, man. What song you gone sing?” He said, “I’m gone hit them with Bluebirds.” So, Brother Akbar had a Bluebird song.  So, I told him, “Well, I’ve got some bluebirds tonight.” This is a great man. He’s more than just Akbar Muhammad, world traveler. He’s a lover of history but he wrote in books things that I could never remember that I said or did.

So, I wanted to say to my brother tonight, I really thank Allah for you, Brother Akbar. And I realized how valuable you are to your Nation and to our people. I sent him to Africa, but he was a real African. Some of us wouldn’t go to Africa. They take a visit and run. But Brother Akbar went there, and he became what he went there to teach. He’s an African brother with a passion for Africa, a real passion for Africa.

So, I want to thank all of you that honored him by your presence tonight. I hope you’ll pardon my tears. I don’t know what they say about men don’t cry, but that’s how I came in the Nation when I took my first breath of life as a member of the Fruit of Islam. I was crying because I never had seen so much love in the eyes of Black men who were looking at me with so much love. My captain was kind of messed up behind an FOI crying. Don’t get it twisted now. Don’t get it twisted. I weep because I have a heart that feels the pain of others. That’s what has made me successful in teaching. I don’t need notes. I read people. 

So, Brother Akbar, I pray that Allah will richly reward you for the life of service that you have given; and I saw some of your reward tonight. I saw it in your first wife, your second and now your third. I saw it in your children. I heard it from their lips. I see it going down into the generations. I saw when your daughter was leaving with the little one, the little one said, “I want to talk.” I said there goes Brother Akbar in another generation.

So, brothers and sisters, I thank Brother Akbar for this moment in time; and I hope you will record what I said. And if any history is written, just like you can’t write about me being who I am, and not connect me to the man that helped to make me who I am, you can’t not write about me and not write about Brother Akbar because he was my Recording Angel.

As-Salaam Alaikum.