Earlier this year, Farrakhan experienced pain he said resulted from radiation treatment he received for prostate cancer in 1998, The Washington Post said Sunday. In a general communication to followers, the 73-year-old Farrakhan said he was "postponing indefinitely" public appearances.
Ishmael Muhammad, leader of the organization's headquarters Mosque Maryam in Chicago and a board member, said Farrakhan's doctors are discussing what can be done so he "does not have to suffer through the pain he's constantly in," the Post reported.
While considered equals, board members are positioned themselves to take over the organization if Farrakhan doesn't fully recover. But internal power struggles are nothing new to the Nation of Islam. After Elijah Muhammad's death, Farrakhan broke off with his successor, and founded his own following.
Muhammad said speculating about the Nation of Islam post-Farrakhan is premature, the Post said. Others outside of the organization said it probably would still be viable, but not as vital as now.