(Student Minister Nuri Muhammad joined the Nation of Islam in 1992 at seventeen years of age. He is now the Indianapolis representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at Muhammad Mosque No. 74. In the midst of his on-going speaking tour throughout the country, I recently went one-on-one with him on various topics. In this is Part 1, he touches on his study regiment, scripture and the art of bearing witness.)
Brother Jesse Muhammad (BJ): Often when Believers see our student ministers, even The Minister, they really don't know the preparation and the time that it takes that you all put in to prepare to deliver the message. Therefore, I want to know a little bit about what your study regiment consist of on a weekly basis, and how do you go about preparing for the messages that you deliver?
Nuri Muhammad (NM): Anything that you plan on doing and trying to offer your best to, if you can't break it down into something you do everyday toward achieving that objective, then you are not serious about doing it. Everything has to have a daily regiment. That's why our schedule as Muslims is to pray five times a day. And there's one prayer The Messenger says we should say seven times a day. The basic formula in truth for me is that I am trying to duplicate the way of The Minister. and what I have done over the years is I've studied the Minister's messages. In studying them you will always find where he exposes the way he thinks, why he thinks the way he thinks, and some of the regiment he employed to achieve that proper way of thinking. So I try to duplicate pretty much the Farrakhan playbook.
The basic strategy of study that the Minister recommended to us in the Farrakhan playbook is for everyone to study at least 30 minutes a day with the goal of one hour. So my regiment pretty much is I put in an hour or two a day in hard copy study and then another hour in studying lectures or audio books at a school that I go to. I call it Treadmill University, which means that I have my iPod in my ears and I may be on the treadmill. I may be on the elliptical machine. While I'm running, I'm listening to a lecture or an audio book and I'm typing notes in my phone to myself as I'm running, and throughout the day I always quiz myself to find out what do I remember from my hard copy study of The Qur'an, The Messenger's Teachings and my course at Treadmill University. I'm always quizzing myself. Then I go back and revisit my notes to see how or what it is I missed out on that I would like to remember. That's kind of the basic format.
I'll say this too as well that the biggest problem that I see a lot of times with us is that we become distracted. I am not just saying with the cares of the world, because you do have to have food, clothing, and shelter. Every time our mind is idle, the first thing that pops up in our head is a song. Every time we have a little down time, the first thing we do is put our feet up and turn on a television or we put our iPods in our ears to listen to some music. By feeding the mind a good beat but bad lyrics, it becomes impossible for the mind to actually focus and get from study what it is that we put in. So I do 15 minutes of Qur'an reading, and it only takes about 10 minutes at maximum to do your rakahs. If you get all 5 you've got 50 minutes of prayer and 30-40 minutes of reading, but you've got 7,8,or 9 hours of madness and music and television put in your head on the same day. You know whatever you put on your mind the most is what wins. So in the down time instead of allowing myself to recite a song or play music all the time I try to listen to lectures more. I try to do that at Treadmill University and Automobile University. Those are the schools that I go to everyday.
BJ: Why is it important for us to be constantly imparting upon our people the Qur'an and the Bible- not only just for reciting the words but putting it in the context of current events? What does that do for the minds of our people when they are able to see the connection?
NM: Well mathematically speaking, if The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that 75% of what you read about Jesus is prophecy, meaning when it was written two thousand years ago, they were speaking in advance and only 25% is historic. Then in Message to the Blackman, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that nearly two-thirds of the Bible was prophecy. Even though it was written four thousand years ago, two thousand years ago, it's more for now than it ever was then. The base word of scripture is script. A script for a play or movie is a pre-recorded document that dictates actions of an actor. It is words that they will speak long before the stage is set for the play or the camera is on for the movie. Well an actor studies that script in advance of the camera coming on or the stage being set. Whenever the stage time comes the camera is turned on and they can perform that operation in accordance with that which was previously written. The beauty of us is that we have a script--the Bible and Qu'ran; these are scripts. That's why you don't see any last names. There are no last names in The Bible or Holy Qur'an. What was Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, and Simon’s last name? What was Moses’ last name? There are no last names mentioned in the scriptures, because it is more important to know their function than it is to know their family. The function is what is written that we will have to reproduce. We have that opportunity to look at it, and by the fact that you're laying the current conditions of the world over top the scripture or in this case the scripture over top the condition of the people, you always find the parallels. It's really just advantageous to have somebody already tell you everything that Satan is going to do. The Qur’an says it all the time, "And when they do thus and so, say this..." If you have it already pre-written, you've got the whole playbook. How are you going to lose a war if you know every move your enemy is going to make before he even makes it?
So we have an opportunity to read that which God revealed to help us to have the proper strategy, tactics and maneuvers to defeat our opposition and establish the Kingdom of Islam and be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be. There's no other reason to read the scripture. We know the law. Anytime you take a picture of an environment that somebody was in, the first person the people look for is who? Themselves. Furthermore, if you know you are present at the time the picture was taken but you don't find yourself, you consider that picture to be worthless and you discard it. Well that is what has happened to our people. We know that we were here. Something in our DNA tells us that we are the Original People. We know we were here when The Bible and The Qur'an were written. We know we were here whenever philosophy, medicine, and architecture came into existence. So whenever we are given a picture of the world, it's always a white angel, white disciples, white Jesus, white Mary, white God. Always Aristotle, Plato, Socrates. It’s always some great white man that's responsible for everything. However, we know we were there. In our heart we know that if that picture has been taken of science, math and scripture and we were there, and we don't find ourselves in it, then we began to discard it. Yet, I thank Allah for The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Minister who have been able to show us where we are in scripture, the time that we live in, where our enemies are, and bringing it to the present time. Without being able to make it present, it's a waste of study. You have to make it current or it's a waste of your time.
BJ: When you teach I always hear you bear witness to Minister Farrakhan. How urgent and pressing is it right now for us as followers to increase our efforts in being a witness of what this man has done for us, and also, bear witness to what his presence has meant to the world?
NM: It's a matter of life or death, because the greatest gift that God has given man is life itself. Yet, the second greatest gift after life itself is guidance. Personally, I am not the teacher, I am the student. I don't try to engage in the art of revealing anything. I am trying to be a good servant and master the art of bearing witness. I think that the art of revealing is what The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Minister's role is, but our role is to master the art of bearing witness. My goal is to represent the Teachings in a way that it makes the person who is listening curious to want to hear from my Teacher. They look and say, "Man that was a good point! I never seen it like that! I want to be in the class with him! I want to learn what he is learning!" So I am not trying to teach anything. I am trying to bear witness to the Teacher and what he has taught and to say here I am in the classroom. There are a lot of desks that are empty and we would like for you to come and join into the classroom too. You can get what I have gotten and more, if you come and get taught by the man I am being taught by.
The ultimate aim of this world is, and has always been, to kill The Messenger of God. Not because of what kind of car he drives. Not because of what he wears. Not because of how he looks. But because of His Message. So whenever The Messenger of God is the ultimate aim to be killed because of His Message, then it is imperative of us to put on the adequate commercial. We should have some good before and after pictures as Believers. "This is Negro Kevin and this is Kevin Muhammad." Here's a before and here is an after. And if we would use the same kind of image marketing that these weight loss programs do that are selling these pills and this equipment. I don't care how well the science is and how articulate the doctor is whenever he talks about what it will do. Without that before and after picture, that bears witness from image marketing that the product works, people wouldn't buy it. Our job is to be that kind of witness that will engage our people in image marketing and show the before and after. If we did that better, it wouldn't make people love us and honor us and respect us and want to follow us. It will make them love, respect, honor, and want to follow the one that taught us and made us into what we are.
(For more information and available lectures by Student Minister Nuri Muhammad visit his website @ www.nurimuhammad.com)