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Jabir Herbert Muhammad, 79, Dies

Imam Siraj and the leadership of MANA have sent their condolences to the family of Jabir Muhammad, recognizing Brother Jabir’s indelible impact on the history of Islam in America.  Dr. Ihsan Bagby represented MANA at the memorial for Brother Jabir on August 30.


Jabir Herbert Muhammad, son of Nation of Islam leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, passed on Monday August 25, 2008, following heart surgery in Chicago at University of Illinois Hospital; he was 79.  May Allah have mercy upon his soul.

Born April 16, 1929, Jabir Muhammad was a man of many accomplishments.  Starting from modest beginnings, he began at age 11 to work his way up from humble jobs such as, an ice loader for milk trucks, railroad worker, and kosher meat handler to establishing several businesses such as  Star Studio for photography, Top Rank (for boxing promotions) and Herbert Muhammad Enterprises.  He served as a key advisor to his late father, who led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his own death in 1975.  He was also the organization’s chief business manager, establishing and supervising a successful bakery, a restaurant, and a dry cleaners amongst other enterprises.  In addition, he worked as the editor in chief of the Nation of Islam’s newspaper Muhammad Speaks, which at the peak of its influence, dispatched correspondents to Africa, Europe and other points overseas, growing the weekly circulation to nearly one million copies.

In 1966 Mr. Muhammad took on the management of Muhammad Ali, who under his tutelage became the three-time heavy-weight boxing champion of the world and possibly the most famous athlete of his generation. He managed he champ for quarter of a century, and was considered a close friend and confidant.  Mr. Muhammad left a lasting mark on boxing and professional sports in general, pioneering the promotion of athletes and athletics on a global basis, by establishing the first million-dollar boxing purses in history.

After the death of his father, Mr. Muhammad went on to build a solid career as a businessman in fields as diverse as real estate, food service, park concessions and telecommunications.

He was a world traveler and philanthropist and was frequently the guest of world leaders, including United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, President Gamal Abdul-Nasser of Egypt, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, General Muammar Qaddafi of Libya, and he served as a member on the delegation to free American citizens held by Saddam Hussein in Iraq proceeding the first Gulf War.

Having made Umrah with his father once and several times thereafter with varying delegation, Jabir Muhammad was blessed to have sent more than 250 Muslims to make pilgrimage to Mecca, at his expense.  He was instrumental in the funding and publication of one of the first comprehensive reference books on prayer for Muslims entitled Prayer in Al-Islam.  Later, through the Muhammad Islamic foundation, he assisted in the production and publishing of the following books: Weapon of the Prophets, The Great names of Allah, Miracles of the Holy Quran, and The Book of Istikharah.  The proceeds of the aforementioned continue to support his lasting legacy, Masjid Al-Faatir (the Mosque of the Originator), which is the first free-standing Muslim house of worship erected in Chicago—that he conceived and build on land he donated for this effort.

Mr. Muhammad is preceded by his son Sultan Muhammad, his adopted son Abdul Samad (Ronald) Lewis, his daughter Sadeeah Muhammad, his brother Emmanuel Muhammad , and his sister Ethel Muhammad-Sharieff.

He is survived by his wife Aminah Antonia Muhammad and their children Elijah Muhammad III, Isa Muhammad Ali, Safiyya Muhammad-Rahman, Alif Muhammad, and Mourad Muhammad.  His former wife Patricia Spaulding Muhammad and their daughter Gina Muhammad-Driskell.  His former wife Bahiyah Muhammad and their children, Omar Muhammad, Samirah Muhammad, Saeedah Muhamamd-Hamahouallah, Salimah Muhamad-Zahid, and Saniyyah Muhammad-Sepanik.  His former wife Ameenah Muhammad Reed and their son Jabir Muhammad.  His former wife Azizah Muhammad and their daughter Samiha Muhammad.  His former wife Ramona Muhammad and their daughter Zarinah Muhammad. 

He is also survived by his sister Lottie Rayya Muhammad; his four brothers, Nathaniel Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad II, Imam Wallace D. Mohammed, and Akbar Muhammad Ph.D., as well as 45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren; all of whom ask you to remember him in your prayers and ask the Almighty to forgive him and shower him with His Mercy.

And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.

Quran: 3:103
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