In Memoriam:  Imam W. D. (Warith Deen) Muhammad

Remembering Imam W. D. Muhammad

by Abdul Malik Mujahid


As you may already know, Imam W.D. Mohammed (Warith Deen) has passed away.  Inna lillahe wa inna ilaihe rajioon. To Allah we belong and to Him we return.

Salatul Janaza
The Salatul Janaza (funeral prayer) will take place on Thursday September 11, 2008 after Zuhr Salat at Islamic Foundation Villa Park, IL. Zuhr there is performed at 1:30 p.m. The Imam will then be buried at the historic Mount Glenwood Cemetery in Chicago’s South suburbs.

Memorial Programs
Collective Friday prayers for him will be held at 167th Street, east of Kedzie in the suburb of Markham. A memorial service at the same location has been organized for Saturday, September 13th at 2 p.m. Please come with Wudu and bring your prayer rug with you.

First and foremost, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Imam W.D. Mohammed’s family. Second,
my condolences go out to our Ummah. With his passing, our community has lost a courageous and inspired leader and a truly humble servant of God. Imam W.D. Mohammed brought the largest number of people to Islam in America.

I have very fond memories of him.

He was my brother in faith, my neighbor and my leader. Despite the difference in age, knowledge and stature, he would always treat me as his friend. Since he loved business and he loved Sound Vision as well, he became a dealer of Sound Vision’s products and would sell our videos and other material himself, thus giving us an important rubber stamp of approval. He would regularly promote and encourage others and businesses.

His mentoring reached the highest level when, in 1997, he asked me to deliver the keynote speech at his convention in New Jersey. When I arrived there from Chicago, he had four people escort me in a protective circle to the program. Although Imam W.D. Mohammed was a great leader, he would always do things to honor others. I felt honored and humbled by this reception.

Once when he did not arrive on time to meet me, he sent his daughter to apologize. The reason for his delay expressed another example of his humility. He was late because he had been sitting at the bedside of some of his father’s friends and did not want to embarrass them by rushing off to a meeting. When I praised him for something, he would try to give the credit to someone else, including the authorship of one of his books.

His leadership and wisdom leave us with a void impossible to fill. I learned a great deal from his series of articles on individual responsibility from an Islamic point of view. Although his focus on this topic may have been considered a response to the highly centralized organizational model of his father, his articles were deeply rooted in Islamic teachings of individual responsibility for one’s wellbeing. If some of you have heard my sermons on this topic, they stem from Imam Mohammed’s articles. Although I told him about his influence on my speeches, I don’t think I ever formally thanked him. So thank you Imam for your thoughtful inspiration.

The Imam’s greatness was also reflected in his ability to bridge the gaps between people, whether that was the primarily African-American Muslims who attended his programs and services and immigrant Muslims like myself or between Muslims and non-Muslims. Through his openness, humility and love for humanity, Imam W.D. Mohammed reflected the true spirit of Islam and the character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

May God forgive his shortcomings and sins and grant him a great place in the highest level of Paradise. Ameen

May we all remember that the end of our lives can come any day. Imam W.D. Mohammed was healthy and was busy making speeches last weekend. Imam Sultan Salahuddin told me that on Sunday, he had said that he planned to live a very long life, but added that only Allah knows what His plans were for him.


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