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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Muslim Journal

Moral Violations

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Editor's note: The following questions are excerptea from an interview Imam Fareed Munir of Camden, New Jersey conducted recently with Imam Muhammad.)

Q: For moral violations of members, what is the pro­cedure, the "how to"? For example (the example was given by one of the Imams): A sister was in the Masjid, she gets pregnant, leaves the Masjid, comes back with a baby, no husband, etc. No excuse. She just has a baby. Can something be done? How do you approach that?

A: Well, if she goes away and comes back with a baby, then somebody should have knowledge of her. Unless somebody has knowledge of her and establishes that she actually committed fornication, then there's nothing you can do. So the people look at her and actually may suspect that she has done wrong, but if she hasn't confessed to it and it hasn't actually been proven, there's nothing that you can do.

Q: What about violations that have been clearly proven, say adultery, or, again, I'm just pulling off the top of my head. Something such as fornication or in other words, I guess the question directs itself to the "how to" the Imam wanted to hear.

A: All I can do is tell you what I've been doing.

Q: That's what we want to hear, Brother Imam.

A: What I've done, if it was a crime against the religion and not a legal offense. in the terms of the law of the land, then what I've done is just bring it to the community's at­tention. And if it was serious: If I determined that the per­son was really not trying to restrain his or herself and was really giving his or herself to that kind of behavior, then I made strong statements against them and identified them before the community, and let the people know that until those persons have sufficient time to establish a name or a record for themselves different from that bad one, that they will not be given any positions of trust and they should not be trusted in the community by other members. The members should not trust them. That's what I've done.

But if I determined from the information that I had of that person, or the knowledge that I had of that person, if I determined that that person was not a person who gave themselves to the act or to that bad behavior, but was a kind of victim of circumstances, or confessed to it and had repented, and I thought that they would not likely get into that, again soon, then I'd try, if I could, if they would in­vite me to, to talk to them personally and privately.

And if it was known throughout the community, then I would bring the good character of that person before the community and I would even say. We pray God, forgive them. In this society and this part of the world, we can understand being forced or being caught in situations, or being forced to commit acts unbecoming of a Muslim sometimes. So, I've treated it that way. If a person had tendencies that are bad and it seems that they are just giv­ing themselves to those weaknesses. I take a strong step (against them that act).

Q: What role can Imams involve themselves in, in addi­tion to his duties, without experiencing conflicts. For ex­ample: Imam as a politician, Imam as an actor, or Imam as an entertainer, etc.?

A: Well, I think, he should be careful and not involve himself in any that would reflect bad on his role as Imam, and I would think the entertainment world would stain his image. But business is good. A good business is good, and I would think politics, as long as he's not getting into dirty politics, is good too. The only thing that I'd be a little wor­ried about is that entertainment world.