Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan recovering after 12-hour surgery

The Chicago Defender/January 8, 2007
By Demetrius Patterson

Minister Louis Farrakhan, spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam for nearly 29 years, is recuperating after a 12-hour surgery from an undisclosed ailment.

The sketchy details of the surgery were posted Saturday on the Nation of Islam website at

"Nation of Islam (NOI) officials have confirmed that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has undergone a twelve hour operation," according to the statement on the NOI website. "Doctors have informed Minister Farrakhan's family that they are pleased with the outcome. The Minister will be monitored closely over the next 24 to 48 hours. We are asking friends and supporters to continue to pray for Minister Farrakhan's complete recovery."

Rev. Dr. Al Sampson, pastor of the Fernwood United Methodist Church and a friend of the Farrakhan family, told the Defender Sunday that he spoke with Farrakhan not long before his surgery, and with family members afterwards.

"The operation was successful," Sampson said. "People around the country have been fasting and praying. For security reasons we are not discussing what type of surgery it was or his location. He's the most important person of our day and time, so we want to respect his privacy."

Farrakhan was in good spirits before the surgery and optimistic, Sampson added.

"He has helped so many people around the world that we feel as Christians that we should pray and fast for him to have a speedy recovery," Sampson said. "We must also respect his privacy."

In September, the 73-year-old Farrakhan wrote a letter to his followers revealing that he was experiencing pain in the anal area, and had lost weight as a result.

"I will be available to give guidance in any major situation that may arise, but I would prefer that the Executive Board of the Nation of Islam help to solve the problems of the Nation, without asking me," the letter continued. "Then, at this time of testing, it will show me that you are ready to move beyond personality to live and function on the principles that make personalities attractive."

On Oct. 15th, during the NOI's "11th Anniversary Celebration of the Million Man March Holy Day of Atonement," Ishmael Muhammad, national assistant to Farrakhan, told nearly 4,000 followers of the minister that "I wish I could stand here and tell you that he (Farrakhan) is in good health, that he is progressing and is on the mend, but that would not be telling the truth."

"He is in constant pain," Muhammad continued. "He has had infection and constant inflammation. And now, pain and constant discomfort. So the doctors are now meeting to try to decide what steps to take to manage the pain, the swelling and the infections.

"Nutritionists are using food to inspire the body's self-healing process. But even though he is afflicted, he does not allow this affliction to afflict his spirit."

NOI Chief of Staff Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad could not be reached for comment.

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