Imam WD Mohammed on Imam Siraj Wahhaj’s resignation in 1981

Dear beloved Muslims As – Salaam – Alaikum.
Dear Beloved Muslims what I have just said is “‘Praise be to  Allah  The Guardian Evolver, Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds, we seek His aid we seek His assistance, we ask forgiveness from Him, we believe in Him and we bear witness that nothing is worthy of worship except Him alone. I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.

I am happy to be with you this Sunday here in Brooklyn in the month of Ramadan. The occasion does not take any of that happiness away, Allah the Most High says in the Qur’an call on Him with fear and with humility.

Surely indeed the mercy of Allah is near to the believers who do good.

Dear beloved Muslims the right faith in our hearts is salvation for us.  Prophet Muhammad peace and the blessings be on him, he once said, there is a piece or lump of flesh that when it is good, the whole body is good, or the whole person is good, and when it is bad the whole person is bad, and when he was asked to name that lump of flesh, he said it is the human heart.  It is the heart, when it is good the whole person is good, when it is bad the whole person is bad.

Now we are not the All Knowing, we can’t judge each other, we can only identify in the light of God what we see as right and what we see as wrong, but to judge the person is for Allah alone.
Imam Siraj’s resignation
I think Imam Siraj is to be commended for the human Muslim decent way in which he resigned. And when I heard of his difficulty and his intentions of resigning before seeing him or knowing he was coming to see me, I had already accepted his resignation in the spirit of ‘friendship and brotherly love.

Muslims are not obligated to follow anything in this Religion against their conscience; we are all free to follow this Religion as our conscience bid us.  And when our conscience presents difficulties for us or something presents difficulty for us in our conscience then we are not obligated to continue with that thing.

WDM leadership
My own leadership in this part of this world, is I’m sure, a trial for me and for you, and I am not about to insist that all Muslims follow me to the letter; for me to be in a position for me to accept them as Muslims. I accept Muslims everywhere I go.

They all are Muslims, as long as they behave like Muslims, as they show the spirit of Muslims, as long as they greet their brothers and sisters, then with me they are Muslims.  I am not ever going to be the one to divide Muslims. However in this particular situation there is a strain on the community, especially the local community here because of difference in understanding, and that difference in understanding involves the leadership and an Imam who represents that leadership for this Masjid.

The right thing to do in such case is what Imam Siraj has done; this is the honorable and peaceful way to solve such problems. I told him in privacy and I’ll tell you right here before him, what he has done, that is his decision,  his, decision to leave my leadership and this community is no cause for me to treat him any different than I would treat the many, many millions and millions of Muslims out there who feel the same way.

I meet them every day, they are my friends, Pakistanis, Sudanese,  whatever, many, many nationalities, I meet all  the time, and  they don’t have the understanding that I have.   If they do they don’t say so. Most of them, they are against it most of them, and they are my brothers.

The important thing is to obey the spirit and the letter of the Qur’an, that’s the important thing we are entitled to our opinions as long is those opinions don’t violate the spirit and letter of the Quran. Now, when the matter becomes so technical that it takes the finest tools to deal with it then we should  just say “As-Salaam-, Alaikum , Wa Alaikum As Salaam”, forget it brother see you later”.

And I believe what I’ve been discussing with you that most of the Muslims have a difference with, is knowledge in the Religion that it takes a very,  very sharp tool to deal with.

Jesus Had No Father:

Q.3.47; Jesus Immaculate conception
She said: “O my Lord! how shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?”  He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth; when He hath decreed a plan He but saith to it `Be’ and it is!

Luke 1.26-35; Immaculate conception
The Imam (Siraj)  and I guess many others are of the opinion that I am saying that Joseph is the Father of Jesus Christ. That is not correct. I’ve never said Joseph is the father of Jesus Christ,  no Jesus Christ had no father. Allah created Him and still everything I said before is right; but that’s our difference; that’s our difference.

Dear beloved Muslims I didn’t come to entertain you here today, I came to let you know that I have no problem with any believer differing with me on commentary or interpretations of Scripture as long as your difference is accepted by the majority of the Muslims, because those are traditional teachings, and we accept Muslims and really Allah wants us to believe that He has power over everything.

And we know that children are not to see adults when they are not in their proper dress, is that right? So maybe some children have seen the adults not in their proper dress I don’t know, but an adult has to know how to take off  his clothes and put them back on right? And he has to get naked sometimes doesn’t he?

Right, so if someone sees him in his privacy and gets disturbed its a problem right? ‘What I want to see this community do is stay on the right path of this religion, accept the Quran as the perfect guidance for all people in all times, accept Prophet Muhammad to whom it was revealed as the Messenger and the example for people for all times to love each other, to support each other in righteousness and hold back support for each other when wrong doing is involved.

SAINTS
This is what I want to see in this community; sincerity on the part of the believers and a determination to please Almighty  God, whose proper name is Allah, and have a determination to live a full and complete life as Allah intended for us to live. We are not to become saints; the world  doesn’t  need saints, the world needs good human beings, while saints came to take on a character and personality that separates them from normal human beings.

When I speak of saints, I don’t mean a good person. I want to be as good as I possibly can. When I speak of saints, I mean the attitude of mind that makes a saintly person stop being a common ordinary human being. I know there is a tendency in us to give ourselves to extremism in the religion, just as we give ourselves to extremism in our daily life, many of us can’t help but give ourselves to extremism, we can’t play normally, we have to play too much.

Most of us can’t even live with each other normally; we have to love too much, I’m sure you understand. Most of us can’t be righteous normally, we have to be righteous too inhumanly, too angel like. I don’t want that, I know that in us; there is a tendency to be abnormal, to go to extremes, and I know that. This has been one of the main weaknesses in this people and the race, so I don’t want to see that.

Before I became your Imam, I was for years associating with people that you call orthodox Muslims and accepting them as my brothers,  and not only accepting them as my brothers but also identifying in their beliefs. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad himself taught me to accept them as my brothers because he did it. He invited them to his home, he had dinner with them, he treated them, he said As -  Salaam – Alaikum;  he treated some of them better than he treated us. I know a Pakistani that he did more for than he did any of his children.

I just don’t like to see people mistreated and I don’t like to see people venting their hostilities on people out of justice; that’s what I don’t like.  I don’t like to see people sneaking around and doing things behind the curtain or something, that’s what I don’t like, you know.  But if you stand out in the open and you are sincere, I love a person like that,  I respect a person like that, and that’s the way I was raised; that’s the way I am;

Now I  know some of the devils around here; I hope they are outside today. I know they are disappointed, they are greatly disappointed; they thought we were going to come in here and curse each other out and tear up the place. We have work to do and all of us are qualified to do something. All of us should be free to do what we have to do and what we are qualified to do; yes all of us should be free to contribute the best of what we have to contribute. But, any of us who oppress another believer we are guilty of being a tyrant, guilty of being a wrong person; don’t oppress the good in anybody; encourage the good in the people; oppress the bad if anything, don’t ever oppress the good.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad has a son Akbar, my youngest brother, you know the Honorable Elijah Muhammad treated Akbar better than he treated me? And Akbar left him ten years before I did; Yes this is a fact, if you don’t believe it go and check in Chicago any of the family they will tell you yes he left long time ago. But me, he was constantly on me; every time they would report something then he would get on me.

Akbar would come in there and challenge him right at the table, and say Daddy how can you say so and so and such and such when the…” He would try to explain to Akbar and they would talk and Akbar would get up from the table and say “Daddy can you give me a couple of thousand dollars I need to pay some bills, and Daddy would go and open up his vault and give Akbar a couple of thousand dollars.

Now I wonder how come he wouldn’t give me fifty? We have a lot to learn don’t we, we have a lot to learn.  People are not all the same and believe me some people justify means by ends, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was such a man, he justified means by ends, I don’t believe in that. I believe that means and ends must be upright, that’s the kind of man that I am; that’s why I differed with the mystic, because I don’t believe that ends justify means. And believe me I know the story of the wise man too, and I still don’t believe ends justify means.” Pardon me, that I can do a wrong for a good purpose and it’s accepted. No, I don’t like that, I can’t accept that, I don’t see that in the Qur’an. No you have to be straight all the way, straight all the way.

The things I’m telling you, believe me. Anything I’m telling you that seems to be difficult, because it’s different, believe me as I see it. It’s in accord with the Qur’an. I wouldn’t give you anything that I didn’t see was in accord with the Qur’an.
Now I don’t claim to know it all; but I know one thing, this world has not been fair with the common person; those who have had the knowledge they have hoarded it just like these people have hoarded money to get a material advantage. They have hoarded knowledge of the religion to get a religious advantage, and I don’t like that.

Now my argument with them is that – “you, are cheaters”,  they can like it or not. They know it. I tell them in Saudi Arabia. I was in Saudi Arabia, I sat with the highest Imam in Jeddah, ok. I have addressed the highest people over there; I don’t hide anything. What I say to you, I say it there, Alright. And on things they might not agree with me,  but they still respect me for it just like brother Imam respects me for being honest, for being honest and that’s the only way that I can be.

We are not to hoard knowledge from the people, in fact the Quran says of Prophet Muhammad  and this is Allah putting it in his mouth to say this, I have not withheld anything from you because of desire to do so.  The believer is to have the desire to give everything to the people, everything, so if there is anything you it is something that you think might hurt the people or not be proper or something like that.   Isn’t Prophet Muhammad the example of how the Muslims should live their lives. And if it is said of Prophet Muhammad in the Quran that he has not withheld anything out of a desire to hold something back from the people, shouldn’t that suggest to the intelligent man’s mind that, that was a problem.

If it wasn’t a problem, why is it dealt with in the Quran? The Quran is too big a book for foolishness or for things that are not important. So it is very important. All through the Qur’an wrongdoers are charged with what, do you know what “Barkil” means? Cheating the people, cheating, giving them inferior knowledge, and holding back the superior knowledge.

This is my case. I want you to understand brother Imam, I’m speaking mainly for the Imam here, but for you all too. This is my problem, I’m angry with the cheaters. If they have got nothing to hold back they’ll stop cheating. So, I’m not going to hold anything back. I’m going to give it all. They won’t have anything to hide; then they stop cheating, they will start being fair with the people; we will get rid of those cheaters.

What the person is not supposed to be given is something that will contribute to his weaknesses and his wrong doing. That’s what he’s not supposed to be given. There are some things of the religion, that maybe, if I discuss it too plainly with some immature minded people, it might cause unnecessary burdens on them and cause them to behave in a bad way. But there is a time for everything isn’t it?

Now I hope you can understand some of what I am saying.

Thoughts 1 year after the passing of Imam WD Mohammed

Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (May the mercy of G'd be upon him)

Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (May the mercy of G'd be upon him)

With the Name of G’d, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer

The praise and thanks belongs to G’d, the Guardian, Evolver, Cherisher and Sustainer of the Systems of Knowledge. And the Prayers and Peace of G’d be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all of those who follow them in excellence until the Day of Judgment then what follows.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of the Imam and teacher of hundreds of thousands of American Muslims primarily of African descent, Warith Deen Mohammed (RH).

Click to listen to “Muslim American Icon Imam Mohammed Dies” on NPR with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and myself.

Since his passing, I’ve been asked by Muslims and people of other faiths as to who is or will be his successor.  As of today, there is no one person who is his successor in leading his following, many who were former followers of his father the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. Imam Mohammed (RH) surely did not appoint a successor, nor was it necessary for him to have done so.  However, the confusion, which has ensued since his passing does summon the need for a clear leader, but not on the same level as he.

After the Imam’s passing, drama started to brew between his widow and her family and some of the Imam’s children, which has spilled over into the courts.  Also, the Imam’s business venture known as CPC is now also embroiled in some legal issues with some of the principled investors launching allegations at Rafah Muhammad, who took over the management of the company after the Imam’s passing.  These issues, although troubling, are the least of the issues that I believe summon immediate attention.

I have a saying that a body without a head is dead, and this affiliation of Muslims is currently headless.  Some discuss the Imam (RH) as if he is still alive, which he is not save the life in the grave.  As the Imam (RH) used to say, “A spirit without a body is a spook”, and a community needs leadership in a man, not just a spirit.  Many, however, correctly state that the Imam (RH) did not mean for his following to have an broad organization such as the defunct American Society of Muslims in which author Mustafa El-Amin unsuccessfully attempted to lead after the Imam resigned from it.  The Imam (RH) clearly wanted to decentralize his leadership in an attempt to break up the power-plays and the blockage of access to him that some of the Imams were exercising over community members.  However, Imam Mohammed (RH), and more importantly the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s teachings instruct, dare I say mandate, the need for leadership within every group (jama’ah) and council/gathering (majlis).  And the leading body must have an Imam.

From Musa (AS) leaving his people for 40 nights and appointing Harun (AS) to be leader in his absence to the appointment of Abu Bakr (RA) by a council after the death of the Prophet (SAAS), there are clear signs that there must be a leader to represent the interests of any group.

 The Prophet (SAAS) clearly stated the following:

“When 3 persons set out on a journey, one of them should be appointed as the leader.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

“One who dies without having bound himself by an oath of allegiance [to an Imam] will die the death of one belonging to the days of ignorance (Al-Jahiliyyah).” (Sahih Muslim)

“Whosoever dies and does not know his Imam, he dies the death of the days of ignorance (Al-Jahiliyyah).” (Musnad Ahmad)

When I speak of the need for clear leadership, I’m not speaking of a charismatic leader or even a teacher as Imam Mohammed (RH) was for the community.  I don’t believe that anyone would be accepted as such for this following, nor should anyone attempt to present himself as such a leader as the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and Imam WD Mohammed (RH) were for this historical community.  The need for leadership resides in two primary concerns in my view:

1)      The need for a representative body with a clear head with governments and interfaith/civic organizations.

2)      The need to both increase Islamic literacy especially among the Imams while preserving history and community sensitivities.

As it relates to a representative body with a legitimate leader, there frankly is not one at this time.  The Mosque Cares clearly was not established to be such a body for the community when Imam Mohammed (RH) resigned from the American Society of Muslims.  The Mosque Cares was the Imam’s charitable organization, and WD Ministry was his arm to distribute his books, CD’s, DVD’s and arrange for his speaking engagements.  The Mosque Cares’ legitimacy rested in the body of knowledge and the charisma of the Imam (RH) himself.  In other words, its’ primary legitimacy was the Imam (RH), who is no longer alive.

Currently, there is a council of Imams that have had two meetings thus far in Kentucky to discuss community issues.  The problem with this body itself is that the Imam (RH) had little confidence in these same Imams, whom he stated on numerous occasions were holding the community back and were working against his interests.  In fact when the Imam (RH) resigned from the American Society of Muslims to his last interview given to Islamica Magazine shortly before his (RH) passing, he (RH) stated that no less than 80% of these Imams are not educationally qualified to carry the title, for most of them cannot even read the Qur’an.  Thus, there is a clear legitimacy issue with this body to represent the community interests as Islamic leaders with the Obama administration, governments of Muslim countries or international and national interfaith and civic organizations from the Vatican to the NAACP. 

As it relates to how governmental bodies or organizations do outreach, they deal with actually recognized entities not loose bodies like an Imams council that has no 501©3 or legal status.  The Mosque Cares does not serve as such a legitimate body in the absence of the Imam (RH), and the Imams council, which lacks legitimacy in the minds of many community members, is not a formal, authoritative body.  Thus for instance, the Obama administration has a current issue with who to reach out to as a representative legally functioning organization that represents the interests of American Muslims of African ancestry. 

Going back to the need for increasing Islamic literacy while preserving history and community sensitivities, this must be done in a structured manner.  Believers are not to be haphazard in any matter based upon the teaching of the Prophet (SAAS) that “Surely G’d loves that when you endeavor upon any task that you seek to perfect it.” (Musnad Abi Ya’la)  Hence, there must be an organized effort to increase literacy that we begin to have the majority of our masajid with qualified Imams in the following:

1)      Reading the Qur’an (which is only in Arabic) with comprehension, not just recitation.

2)      Learning the biography and traditions of the Prophet (SAAS) from the earliest, authentic sources (which happen to also be in Arabic).

3)      Learning early Islamic history.

4)      Studying the rise and fall of civilizations.

5)      Learning the historical evolution of the Nation of Islam and considering Imam Mohammed’s commentaries.

The Imam (RH) again addressed that there was a clear shortage of Islamic knowledge, especially among the Imams who have been giving deficient instruction to their congregations, while seeking to introduce younger Muslims to it through initiatives that sent students to Malaysia then to Syria under the guidance of Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaro An-Naqshabandi (RH). 

The need for an organized effort is to introduce in oral and written forms lessons that pass on the history and sensitivities in a preparatory fashion while liaising with the proper school(s) for students to receive traditional Islamic knowledge.  The preservation of history and tradition of the community is essential while at the same time not having students go on their own without guidance from the community.  Moreover, students that go it alone may pick up influences that are counterproductive for establishing model community life in America and/or pick up extreme teachings. 

There are various discussions going on within the community right now.  Some of these concerns were just discussed at the recent Mosque Cares conference.  With the permission of G’d, there will be some movement on the 2 issues stated above.

May G’d forgive me regarding anything incorrect in this discourse, and may He forgive you. And praise be to G’d, the Guardian, Evolver, Cherisher and Sustainer of the Systems of Knowledge.

Audio From Mosque Cares Convention

This past Saturday, I spoke on a panel at the Mosque Cares Convention 2009 relating to the topic of bettering civic engagement of the community affiliated with the leadership of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (RH) after his passing a year from tomorrow.

 The moderator was Kyle Isma’il.  Other panelists included Intisar Rabb and Sultan Muhammad.

 G’d willing, I will share more tomorrow on the one year anniversary of the passing of Imam Mohammed and the state of the community.

 Click here to listen.

1st Mosque Cares Convention After Passing Of WD Mohammed

Today’s Southtown Star has an article about the annual Mosque Cares Convention being held this weekend in Tinley Park, IL.

This year’s convention will be the first after the passing almost 1 year ago of American Muslim leader Imam Warith Deen (WD) Mohammed, the son of the Honorable Elijah Mohammad, who transformed the old Nation of Islam into a mainstream Muslim movement.

G’d willing, I will be posting an extensive piece on how I view the position of the community who has felicity with him as of September 9, 2008, the day of his passing.

As a quick note, the Mosque Cares was Imam Mohammed’s charitable organization and is not a membership based organization.  It is not meant to be a supplement of the defunct American Society of Muslims.

MI Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Monday, December 8, 2008
Muslims celebrate Festival of Sacrifice
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News
DETROIT — From Brownstown Township to Rochester Hills, mosques throughout Metro Detroit will fill today for the celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, one of the two major Islamic festivals of the year.

The big mosque on Ford Road, the Islamic Center of America, annually draws 6,000 Muslims who commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim, or Abraham, to sacrifice his son to God — and the revelation that the blood sacrifices of ancient times were unnecessary to please God or to atone for sin. Many smaller mosques also will attract overflow crowds.

“It is a big day,” said E. Shukry Abdul-Ghani, of Detroit, as he completed prayer Friday at the Masjid Wali Muhammad, the home of the first African-American Muslim congregation in the country. “It is the most important of our two feasts.”

“We give our children and our families gifts, and we have great big meals, and pray and meet with our families,” said Alfred Hassan, who also worships at the mosque on Linwood, across from Central High School. “And it is a big time for donations to the poor. We give a lot at this time of year.”

The mosque, once known at Muhammad’s Temple No. 1, was originally in the Black Bottom neighborhood on the east side. Founded by W.D. Fard and led by Elijah Muhammad of The Nation of Islam, the mosque moved to Linwood before it came under the leadership of Warith Deen Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad’s son, who died in September.
Warith Deen Muhammad embraced what many Muslims considered mainline Islam long before his death.

At a time of harsh economic realities, the charity and the ceremonial sacrifice of lambs or goats and the distribution of the meat from the ritual of Eid al-Adha seems especially poignant. Annually, the freshly slaughtered meat is delivered to the needy, including food banks in Metro Detroit, and the amount of meat distributed grows every year.

There are more than 30 mosques in Metro Detroit.

The holy day is a joyous occasion that occurs annually, based on the lunar calendar, at the end of the Hajj, the great, dramatic pilgrimage to Mecca, required of Muslims at least once in their lives.

“It’s a very busy few days for us,” said Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, of the Islamic House of Wisdom, in Dearborn Heights.

Imam Dawud Walid, who also is the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan, told those worshipping Friday at Masjid Wali Muhammad that the Prophet Muhammad made the importance of Eid al-Adha clear when he called it “the greater day.”

When a goat or ram appeared after God spared Ishmael, Ibrahim’s son, the meaning of the Feast of Sacrifice was also clear, Walid said.

“This was a sign: Not only was God telling them and us that we should not sacrifice our future, but God is in no need of blood sacrifice,” Walid said.

“According to the Qur’an, our wealth and blood do not reach God; only our piety.

“This should be a sign to those crazy terrorists who go around killing and blowing up themselves and killing others: This is not Islam!” (MORE)

***
From Michigan Public Radio

Muslims Celebrate Eid al-Adha
Sarah Hulett

DEARBORN, MICH. (2008-12-08) Muslims across metro Detroit and the world are marking Eid al-Adha today. And that means tons of fresh meat for charities.

The holiday commemorates the story in the Koran – and the Bible – of Abraham’s obedience to God through his willingness to sacrifice his son.

Dawud Walid heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. He says Muslim families traditionally slaughter a goat or a lamb to mark the occasion, and share it with the community.

“And this meat is also given to non-Muslims as well,” says Walid. For example, the community here, for the last three years has donated significant portions of meat to Gleaner’s Food Bank, as well as to local soup kitchens in this area that feed 95 percent non-Muslims.”(MORE)