[Editor’s Note: During a recent trip to Saudi Arabia to mark the last 10 days of Ramadan at Islam’s holiest shrines, the Honorable Minister Louis was interviewed June 7, 2019, by journalist Abdullah Al Jasz at the airport in the city of Riyadh. A translator communicated questions and answers during the exchange and below is an edited transcript from the important conversation.]

Interpreter for Abdullah Al Jasz (AAJ):  You came to the kingdom 42 years ago, how do you see the development and the progress that has been made?  

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (MLF): It’s incomparable what we saw 42 years ago of Kaaba; what we saw 42 years ago of Mecca, 42 years ago as Jeddah. It’s all gone. These are modern cities now. They’re so beautiful that we have to seek refuge in Allah from the envier when he envies.  

AAJ: What are some of the greatest memories you have since 42 years ago? 

MLF:  The first great memory that made the greatest impression on me at that time was the Kaaba (the holy house of Islam) itself. So no matter what state the qiblah (spiritual center of Islam) was in or what condition Mecca was in at that time, it filled my heart. When I was the guest of Crown Prince Abdullah who later became the king, we had wonderful memories being his guest and I guess I was very popular in the United States always on television defending Islam—this was before the advent of social media. I was treated with great honor and respect by the Crown Prince, and the king at that time was King Fahd.  

I did not know King Fahd like I know him now because I am of those who were blessed to see the work of King Fahd in spreading the message of the Qur’an and Islam through publishing. I was blessed to hear King Fahd’s vision of what the two holy mosques would ultimately look like. To see how he spared no amount of money to engage the best of the best and brightest minds in every field of building, architecture, engineering, and that is reflected in the beauty of the growth of Al-Haram (the mosque and complex around the Kaaba).

I have a much deeper respect and love for King Fahd and what he did to make the two holy houses greater than any house of worship in the world. And now I understand that in 2030 they are hoping to expand the capacity to host 30-35 million Muslims again. Al-Haram is the greatest house of worship in the world. It always has been and it’ll just be more and more and more as more and more of the people accept Islam.  

This is not the same Arabia, it’s the same Kaaba but made so majestic. But in that I must say Mecca and Arabia are surrounded by forces that are not happy—not only with beautification of the two holy houses—but with the growth of Islam in all quarters of the world. 

The reason I quoted Surah Al-Falaq is because it talks about Shaitan (the Devil) making mischief with created things. It talks about the overspreading of darkness. It talks about people who make evil suggestions in firm resolutions. Shaitan is busy out of his envy of the future of Islam and no future for anything other than Islam, so the aim is to destroy. This is my concern because right now my president, President Trump, I don’t know if he has the deepest respect for the ruling family. I know that he has a deepening desire to feed to the Sunni nations extraordinary weapons at a tremendous price. Every nation should be able to defend itself, defend its territory, and defend its air space but when we are being armed to the teeth and the intention is to protect ourselves from one another, that’s a problem. So in the United Arab Emirates there’s a problem with Yemen and Saudi Arabia. There’s a problem with Iran and Saudi Arabia or with the Sunni Arab community there are problems.  

When the towers fell in New York and they blamed it on Saudi Arabia, President Bush said publicly that he would work to divide the Muslim Ummah against itself. So if there’s division between Shiite and Sunni; if there’s division between members of the Gulf States; if they with their wicked mischief making are making enemies inside the House of Islam with intentions to arm us, not against Israel, not against the evil planning of other super powers but it seems like they’ll be very happy to see a war between the forces of Islam under Shiite Islam and the forces of Islam under the Sunni nations. That was very clear to me when President Trump was invited and in his speech he was aiming the anger or distrust among Sunnis toward Iran … that can only make Israel happy.

So, all the beautiful cities that we’re building can be destroyed with the weapons of war that America is feeding us and Russia and China are feeding, maybe, Tehran. Who benefits if we fight each other? A bloody war in the Middle East will hurt us and destroy the good work that has made our cities the envy of the whole world, like Dubai. A new city like Dubai, a new city like Mecca, a new city like the cities in the Arab world; they would be very happy to see that destroyed by war.  

I would hope that as we found the best minds to build some of the finest buildings to be seen anywhere on earth, is it possible that we can gather some of the finest spiritual minds and sit down at a common table and bring peace between Tehran and Saudi Arabia, between Yemen, between the Palestinians who have literally dropped off the scale because the Arab world used to be tough in supporting the cause of the Palestinians, but no more.

The Palestinians feel betrayed. We have serious problems that must be addressed by our best minds and hearts. And that would be a message that I would hope that the Custodian of the two holy mosques will gather the best and brightest minds for peace.

AAJ: I want to give you good news. I want to assure you that Saudi Arabia will not align itself with anyone to engage in a war in any country. I want to give you the good news in Ramadan. They had three sightings in Mecca on the night of May 27 to bring to a halt the conflict between the Muslims.  

MLF:  That’s the best news that I could hear coming on the heels of our Umrah. Now I can go home happy because the fruit of peace is the protection of everything that we have built.  

AAJ: I give you other good news also. In the month of Ramadan I traveled to many countries. One of the things I found that was truly amazing is that everywhere I went we found the glorious Qur’an in the language of the people with the translations.  

Saudi Arabia had some political differences with Tehran but as I traveled I went to make sure that the differences that Saudi Arabia has with Tehran does not affect Muslim community in Thailand and Thailand does not affect the Muslim community at large. So I went myself to see about these issues and these affairs.  Forty-million dollars was sent to Thailand as a donation. They will have one of the largest institutions built in Thailand.  

I want to give you an assurance that the issue of the Palestinians is alive and running the hearts of the people in Saudi Arabia. We do everything we can directly to help the people of Palestine. There was a red line drawn concerning the Palestinian people and others.  

The issue that you say brings you great sadness concerning Yemen is one that is of great concern. What we have found and where the source of the problem is, is that inside of Yemen there has been a group that has taken power from the people that is supported by Iran. And, as a result of that Saudi Arabia has interest in this kind of overthrowing of a legitimate stabilized government.  

One of the things that is very concerning is that not only do they say they would like to attack the kingdom, but they have actually sent missiles over the Houthi (the rebel group fighting the U.S., Saudi Arabia and other Arab forces in Yemen). One of the problems is that they have a firm belief that the Mahdi will not come until they destroy the Haram. One of the things is because of this doctrine, they believe that in order for the Mahdi to come they must shed massive blood. It has become their ideology and their works so everywhere right now the blood is being shed.  

Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a difference in the beliefs of the Shia community. Let there be no doubt Saudi Arabia has one of the largest population of Shiites in Madinah. They have peace and they have all their rights. We had our Eid celebration (marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and prayer) on June 3 and they had their Eid celebration on June 4.  

Much of the false propaganda that Saudi Arabia is against people’s freedom is not true. For example, when Saudi Arabia does something in the interest of Islam it doesn’t bring their enemies any joy, it angers them. I would like to point out Saudi Arabia is one of the last frontiers that’s upholding the Sharia and there are enemy forces outside that would like to destroy that because it holds on to the essence of Islam. 

A few months ago I personally went to Yemen. It is the people of Yemen that are suffering the most. They’re being prevented from some of things … right now if you look at the reality on the ground in Yemen, many of the Sunni masjids were destroyed. The number one reason that Saudi Arabia entered into Yemen was to stop the Houthi and what they were doing to the Yemeni people.  

As you have already said, there is great envy and jealousy for the growth of Islam and this is what we see. I want to turn to you with a question:  What do you see as the result of Saudi establishing Sharia—what impact does that have on America? By Saudi Arabia maintaining its conviction to hold on to the Sharia, what impact do you think it is having on America as a whole? Have you ever participated in the king’s summit where they have an agreement that all people of all faith in all religions will live in peace in the Kingdom and outside the Kingdom?

MLF:  No. I have not been a part of that. I will get to that second question. I wanted to come back to something you said that some said that there would not be any peace until Al-Haram or the Kaaba is destroyed. Where is that coming from?

AAJ: One of the envies of Iran … even the Shiite issue. It is also there is a deep conflict with the Shiite with the Persians (Iranians). They right now have a writing that clearly says they will not stop until they destroy the Haram.

There was a time when the people of Persia, they did destroy the Haram. If we return to history, you’ll find that they did destroy the Haram. I’m happy to give you some books that you can review. We’re not a people looking for conflict but we try to give a hand of peace and goodness to all people.  

In general, the leadership of Saudi Arabia is trying to do what is good for the people and extend a hand of goodness. Even our presence in Yemen, it’s only on the border and it’s dealing directly with giving humanitarian aid and training the Yemeni people to fight for their own land.

MLF:  … Something is disturbing to me because the time that I have spent in Iran speaking with many of the Ayatollahs, speaking in their holy city of Qom and meeting with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, I never once heard them say that they wish to see Al-Haram destroyed. Now I would ask, is it not true that some of the largest pilgrim gatherings at hajj (pilgrimage) have been the Iranians?  

AAJ: Their presence at Hajj is between 170,000.  

MLF: But those 170,000, if they are sincere, they know that Al-Haram is the Qiblah for all Muslims. Now when somebody tells me they want to destroy the Kaaba, we have to be wise enough to see the movement of Shaitan among us creating internal enemies that claim to be sincere. And, that’s why Allah says in the Qur’an they plan and Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners. That angers me that any group would win the favor of Muslims by talking about destroying the Al-Kaaba.  

If that is your thinking, you have been raised by Shaitan to be an enemy within Islam to destroy the power of Islam. There has not been a Caliph since the destruction of the Caliphate and the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The only thing that has united Muslims is Al-Kaaba.  

If King Fahd’s plan by Allah’s grace is finished, name me one place on earth that 30 million people will gather to pay respect? The Kaaba is that which unites the whole Ummah of Islam. And, if anyone says they are a Muslim and they seek to destroy Al-Kaaba and they are not  Allah, then they are the enemy of the power that the worship of Allah and coming to make Umrah and Hajj gives to us as Muslims. I can tell you, brother, when I have spoken in Qom (a holy city in Iran), I never, ever in my lectures talk about anything but the unity of the Muslim Ummah (global Muslim community). And, in Qom the students rose just trying to touch me. The Secret Service had to help me get out because the Muslims just wanted to touch me.  

No brother—that is the enemy and the enemy spreads lies and the enemy spreads rumors. But if you and I are Muslims and we don’t talk to each other, then Shaitan can come between us and say things like what you just said that would turn me … turn me against anybody who said they want to destroy that House that we wept as we were leaving it today.  If I heard that in Iran from the Supreme Leader I would challenge him. If I heard it from anyone, I don’t care anything about your so-called power. The real power is Allah and the message of Islam and that message must be delivered without fear of censure.  

I would like to say to you dear brother, we in the Nation of Islam are for the peace and unity of the Ummah. And we will join King Salman and all those who want peace.  

Now I will close this dear brother with this: This is the ayat of the Qur’an that we function from. Allah says in the Qur’an, you are the best nation raised among men. You enjoin good and you forbid evil. In Madinah, the imam who addressed us at Jumu’ah (congregational prayer) last Friday said the Qur’an is the constitution every Muslim nation should have. The Holy Prophet did not come to bring us nationalism. He came to bring us Islam that wherever we go on the earth is one Ummah.  

So Allah says in the Qur’an hold fast to the rope of Allah and be not divided. We are not in obedience to Allah and His Apostle if we feed the disinformation, lies of the Shaitan that is among us. Imagine if somebody came to us telling us that Saudi Arabia wants to see the destruction of the Kaaba, what would we say? Not only what would we say, what would we do?  

When a liar lies the one thing the liar fears is truth …

AAJ: A question about Ramadan in the past: when they shot the missiles at the Kaaba last Ramadan they were manufactured Iranian weapons that were given to the Houthi. Did you hear about it?

MLF:  Yes. I heard.

AAJ: Would you consider people that send missiles over the Kaaba as being Muslims?

MLF:  No.

AAJ: Based upon your own experience you have visited the Haram many times before many years ago. You’ve come back, you’ve seen the changes. What do you say to those who have spread lies concerning the development of Mecca that Saudi Arabia is in fact spending unlimited resources in the building of the Haram and making the people become very comfortable? There are people who spread rumors other than what’s good for the people happening in Mecca. How do you respond to those rumors?

MLF: You know the knowledge of truth and the willingness to speak truth when lies are told because all I’m hearing … let me tell you what I see brother. I see Shaitan working so well in the hearts and minds of so-called Muslims who are filled with anger and hatred and bitterness toward each other. So if I don’t like you I will believe a lie against you. If I hate you anything that adds to my hatred that builds me into a force of destruction against you, I will agree with it.  

Dear brother, look, my mission has to do with exposing Satan. If you don’t know Satan you can become a victim of Satan. Why, why would we stand up every morning, every afternoon, every evening in prayer and say, I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. … Why must you before you even pray, pray to make yourself distant from the accursed one? And, then we sit around feeding ourselves the things that would make Satan happy. If Muslims start killing each other Shaitan is applauding, “let’s have a drink.”  

If somebody is saying, “let’s destroy Al-Kaaba.” Shaitan says, “Oh that’s good, because that’s the only thing that the Muslims have today that unites them. They don’t have any Khalifah. They don’t have any one person that their love and conviction says that person is right and represents Allah and His Messenger. They don’t have that anymore.”  The Kaaba is the only thing we have left.  

Now if I’m an envious person and I walked in and saw what King Fahd and all of the people that are building the Haram making it glorious, making it comfortable for all the Believers that come to hajj; why would I entertain “Oh they’re spending an inordinate amount of money.” Would they be angry with Solomon, who was a prophet of God who used people that were skilled to help him build the temple?  

What do we have but the simplicity of the Al-Kaaba but to build around it what makes it modern.

AAJ: I appreciate your visit to the kingdom, but I appreciate your words of truth that you speak at this very hour and I accept that truth. I want you to know that I have been listening to you and watching your works for many, many years. My prayer is Allah will bless you at the age of 86 with success and that you will be successful in spreading Islam and that it’s in my heart. … And I want you to know from my heart that what you are doing is of the greatest works that anyone could do and it is a work that is filled with blessings. You deliver the message of the prophets.  

You also live in a country that is not a Muslim country so the effort for the dawah is not as strong as it should be. I have one request for you and I want you to agree. I have one request for you and you must agree. For the love I have and the respect I have for the elders and for the work that you have done and that you are doing, I would like to kiss your forehead.

MLF: I want to kiss your head too. This is my brother. He is working as a newsman, he writes. His pen is sacred and my tongue is sacred, if I’m speaking truth. I’m not greater than my brother. I am a brother to my brother. I will let you kiss my forehead if you let me kiss yours.  

But when Allah says in the Qur’an, you were on the brink of a pit of fire, remember Allah’s favor to you. This kind of discussion tells us that we are at the brink of a pit of fire that will cause us to shed the blood, the sacred blood of a believer who says ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah (there is no God but Allah) but “I believe you don’t Believe. So I will not accept your expression of khalimah (belief).”  

You were on the brink of a pit of fire and Allah saved you from it. Look at this … and united your hearts and you became brethren while before you were enemies. That’s where we are today. The beautiful cities of Islam will be destroyed in war, if the hatred that lives in our hearts for each other fed by the weapons of the West to allow us to destroy each other. I know that we can make peace.

I don’t think Iran wants a war that will destroy Iran. Our king does not want any war. But who wants war? See you are blinded to Shaitan. You invite him into your house and you bow down to him and he’s an infidel; he’s a liar. Every time he opens his mouth he’s a liar. How could you honor him as though he’s a respectful teacher of truth? No. You must know Shaitan. Forty days from now when hajj is declared I pray to Allah that when we go to Muzdalifah (one of the ritual sites that is part of Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and the Kabaa) and pick up seven stones and throw them at a stone with the strength of our being saying, “Allah-U-Akbar! (God Is the Greatest!)” Then, we walk away from there and Satan makes an evil suggestion to us and we take it as truth when all we have to do is pull the so-called founders of such lies in the same room and make them confess that to us.  

We are not communicating properly to each other as Muslims. We don’t need to kill each other we need to kill Shaitan. … To throw a stone at a stone is only a symbol that when you really know who Shaitan is then you pick up a stone and hurl it at Shaitan for real. 

And if the Muslim Ummah is awakened to the point where we don’t talk about Shaitan, but we actually see the slithering snake as he comes among us. It says Shaitan is an open enemy. He’s not secret; he’s a mischief maker.  

Look I’m hated in America by the Zionists, by the Jews; they hate me. What have I done? Tell the truth unafraid. President Trump doesn’t like me. Why? What have I done? I’m waking up the masses of my people and his people to the wickedness of our government. Our government is not righteous. So everybody has to pay for what they do today. I believe in Al-Mahdi too. But I don’t believe that Al-Mahdi is destroying the Kaaba and Al-Mahdi does not love the sincere faith of a Believer, male or female.  

You asked me about Sharia in America.  

AAJ: You say the Mahdi doesn’t love the faith, what do you mean by that, that he does not love the faith of a Believer?

MLF: No, no Al-Mahdi is not one that does not love the faith of a Believer. That’s not the Mahdi that I’ve been taught about. I want to see us come together and if we’re sincere Allah will bless our efforts. I pray dear brothers, as I leave this beautiful kingdom, there’s no city in the world that means more to me than the city of Mecca and Madinah.  

I never want to see bloodshed spread in this area of the world unless Allah desires that. But as long as we have breath we should work for peace. I’m with King Salman. I’m with the government of Saudi Arabia for the sake of peace. But some of these delegates were with me in Iran. I did not shut my mouth in front of none of them and that’s what’s needed today. People see you with money and they want money. They know you have money so they will come and they will perform and they will act like they love you to get money from you and then speak against you.

We are Muslims and we feel we are a part of the best nation raised among men. Sharia is what we love. Sharia is what we practice—only we don’t cut off hands, we don’t cut off heads. We understand that when you are a liar and a thief those activities cut your hands from the ability to utilize the power of your brain to bring into existence by saying “Be” and bringing it into existence.

When you live a sinful life, you cut off the power of your being and you become dead. We live what we talk; we live this thing. We love Saudi Arabia, we love to see our women covered. We don’t want them oppressed. I could walk for several days in this land and not see a woman undressed. I can’t come out of my house in America—there’s nakedness here, there’s nakedness there. There’s adultery there, there’s sexual promiscuity there. America wants everybody to be like Sodom and Gomorrah and all of you know this. It’s not a secret that America promotes same sex marriage. We don’t promote that.

So how do we save people who have been infected by Satan and been brought to nothing? Some of these people that are walking with me now they were in prison. They were thieves, they were robbers, they were murderers just like the early Muslims were before Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Now look at them. My health aide, come up Nadir Al-Shifa Muhammad. Here’s a brother that spent his young days in prison. When you look at him now you would never know that this man was in prison. But Islam transforms human life. You don’t have to deal with that every day. We have to deal with liars, thieves, cutthroats, drug addicts, prostitutes, freaks of every kind, but we clean them up with Islam. Thank you for allowing me to kiss your head. I love you brother.