WEB POSTED 12-26-2000

The weight of a ‘death-bed confession

Farrakhan The Traveler by Jabril MuhammadWebster’s Dictionary defines the word “parentheses” as an “amplifying or explanatory word, phrase, or sentence inserted in a passage from which it is usually set off by punctuation.” This is the way this article must be taken if it is to be understood. A parentheses is also defined as a “remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse; a digression.” It would be a mistake to see this article in terms of this second definition of “parentheses.”

I intend to continue the study of “travail” as well as the interview I conducted of Attorney Lewis Meyers about the death-bed/dying declaration of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan last year.

A day before The Million Family March I conducted a short interview with Minister Ava Muhammad. It was a short and impromptu interview, which she graciously allowed in the restaurant of the hotel where many of us who follow Minister Farrakhan stayed as we participated in The Million Family March.

I thank her husband, Brother Darious, Minister Rodney and his wife, Sister Maryam, who all graciously allowed me to interrupt their conversation that day to gain these words from Minister Muhammad.

Here are her comments.

Minister Ava Muhammad: “A dying declaration. I was saying to Minister Rodney and Sister Maryam before the tape came on that this law dates back to a time when people believed in God. It predates the Western system of jurisprudence where, and of course, to this day, as Muslims we confess our fault daily, in prayer.

“There is a strong desire in the spiritual being to cleanse ones self, to close any open issues, and as you said Brother Minister Jabril, it’s not limited to criminal confessions. That’s why it’s called a dying declaration; for instance, what a person said about what they want done with their estate.

“These things are taken very seriously. And so what emanates from the mouth of the person who honestly, it doesn’t matter if they in fact died, it’s that they think they’re dying, or they are in fact dying, and then by Allah’s grace, if they do survive, still weight is given to what was said more than it would be [if you did not think you were dying].

“Also your mind is not—you’re not formulating and scheming. When you’re in the throes of pain and suffering and distress, you don’t have the mind-set to formulate falsehood because truth is natural. So at that point in time what comes out of you is what’s natural, and that’s going to be what’s true. Because lies have to be thought on carefully and formulated. Also, it’s not necessary that the person recall that they said because most times they’ve died.

“And so, in all cases, the statement is going to be said by someone other than that person and in law, generally, what a third party says is hearsay. I can’t come in court and say, Darious said that, Maryam said that, Rodney said that, Jabril said that, Suleiman said that, Luqman said. But if a person is no longer among us I can come in and say that, as they were leaving us they expressed this. The court will accept that as a statement; it’s evidence in a court of law on any issue that what was said might be material to—

Brother Jabril: “Exception to the hearsay.”

Minister Ava: “It’s an exception to the hearsay rule. Yes.”

Brother Jabril: “What makes certain kinds of evidence exceptions to the hearsay rule?”

Minister Ava: “Well generally, if you look at the hearsay rule itself, the hearsay rule is simply designed to keep out language or evidence that cannot be made susceptible to cross examination. That’s its whole purpose. It is to protect the accused, or another party, from being confronted with the statement of somebody that I can’t challenge. So if I’m sitting in court and I’m being charged with robbery and they say, ‘well Joe Smith said he saw her running down the street; Well, where is Joe Smith? Because I’m saying Joe Smith is a liar. That Joe Smith is not here for me to say, ‘Well Joe, isn’t it a fact that you just got out of jail yourself and it was you walking down the street with the gun?” That’s the principle behind the rule.

“Now what makes it an exception to the rule is, first of all, if a statement is not being offered for the truth of that statement, but is merely being offered to prove it was said, whether it’s true or not, it’s admissible.

“For example, if Minister Rodney says to me, ‘Sister Ava, there is a million dollars waiting for you at the concierge’s desk.’ Well that can be admitted to show the effect that that statement had on my mind if the issue is actions that I took. But if we’re trying to prove that the money was actually there, we can’t use that statement. So that’s what makes something an exception.

“So the dying declaration may not necessarily prove the truth of a thing, but it proves that the person that said it believed it to be so, whether it was so or not. But we have so much faith in the idea that a person who is leaving here is speaking what’s in the depth of their soul, that the court wants to hear that.”

Brother Jabril: “Less reasons for a person to lie.”

Minister Ava: “To lie, yes. So that, even though this person is not available to you to be questioned any more, we will still take that statement.

“Now, in the Minister’s case he survived, but he’s still not available to be examined about the statement because he doesn’t remember that he said it. So you can’t question him about his state of mind. However, because he felt that he was leaving and probably was leaving, you know, see, and in my feeling, it was Allah’s mercy because he is God’s mercy.

“So what we’ve experienced was God’s mercy, because I believe in my heart we’re experiencing His attribute of divine mercy in the Minister in this time. Whatever one of Allah’s attributes is dominant at that period of time in history, I believe you see that He manifests that through people that He chooses.

“And here He has placed in a man that attribute of mercy [to an exceptional degree] and so, in my judgment, his [near] physical departure was a manifestation that Allah is tired of us and our failure to respond.

“So He’s moving out of mercy into the next cycle of attributes which is Creator, of which the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said theological attributes have an order and the first one was Creator. So He’s about to start a new cycle. We’re in a universal change. A whole new world coming in.

“So He’s going to bring in a new world, but there’s no such thing as creation without destruction simultaneously. And so He’s going to destroy. When the Leader stops talking, stops delivering God’s instructions and messages that’s the end of a whole cycle.

“And so to me it was God Himself, in a decisive moment, manifesting what He was going to do next. And His decision to bring him back was a decision to give us a little bit more time. To me, that’s why whatever the Minister said in that moment is—Oh my God—we need that!”

Brother Jabril: “And Minister Farrakhan said what he did, knowing that everything that he was promised hasn’t happened yet. For a man to say, well this is what you want; I’m in complete submission. It doesn’t cross his mind to remind God of those promises that are being fulfilled, but are not completed, or have not yet begun their fulfillment yet.”

“Minister Farrakhan is Muslim to the bone!”

A few days after The Million Family March I had the opportunity to ask Minister Arif a question on this same subject. It was in Midway Airport.

More next issue, Allah willing.