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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

February 6, 1998

Muslim Journal

Responses & Solutions For Progress

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

Q: What family insurances are acceptable, and what should the community be doing in this area?


IWDM: Our goal is community responsibility for all of the needs we find in the community life. Some group, business or ethnic always has to be responsible for these needs. G'd obligates us to be no less responsible for community life than anybody else He has created on this earth. In fact, Muslims are to be in the forefront of every good effort. If we understand the last revelation, we follow the example of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

We should be trying to create financial institutions, which includes health insurance. I am not totally against what is called 'life insurance', except where the person buying the life insurance is preparing for death. If the person is looking for financial benefit for himself and financial protection for the future of the children, I don't see anything wrong with 'life' insurance.

The term 'life insurance' is really 'death insurance'. The language is horrible and hard to accept. "Ah, I'm going to buy me some burial insurance." So they are thinking of death all of the time. That is what I don't like. Something in me tells me we should not think that way and accept that kind of language.

I don't have any problem at all with the idea of health insurance. The problem we have is "no way except to go to institutions other than our own for health insurance."

I do not know of any insurance company that is not a situation for making executive level staff and workers very wealthy. Much of the income is going to them. While we cannot deny them that right, they are becoming wealthy and our community is hurting.

If we know this and we are not of that mind, we do not believe we should become wealthy on the backs of a financially doomed poor, then we should try to satisfy these needs in our community as much as it is possible for us, or in our power.

Health insurance can be a source of income for the community and we can put profits back into our schools and other important places.

When we are responsible for health insurance, we should be looking to see where we are going to put surplus capital, such as caring for the health of the poor, education and our children, needs associated with giving the word of G'd to the lost so people will know how to live.

These concerns are equally sacred. We should not take what is sacred and put into what is not. When we put it in the path of G'd, G'd will be with us and we will be very successful.


Q: As ice approach the end of Ramadan fasting, would you give us some comments and focus for the Night of Power?


IWDM: The Night of Power is given in the Qur'an as the Night that the blessing of the Revelation came down to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). That is the first recognition and awareness we should have as we observe the Night of Power.

It is a Night that G'd says is better than 1,000 months. This is a very special blessing for a whole lifetime.

Many Muslims believe that when we are observing the Night of Power, G'd will bless those who gather (participating) in the Masjid with the blessings of Al-Islam. That is, that our Islam will be improved.

If we have areas of ignorance or questions concerning any matter in Al-Islam, such as "how should a Muslim present his religion to a non-Muslim?", I believe that if a person has that burden on their mind and are observing the Night of Power there is a very good chance that G'd will take that question off of their minds and they will know how to present the religion to a non-Muslim.

They can go and read some books, ask the Imam or someone knowledgeable of Al-Islam and they could give them that answer. Yet, some people want to feel very comfortable in their own hearts and souls that the way they are presenting Al-Islam to non-Muslims is comfortable for them and pleasing to G'd.

I mention this as an example because there are some individuals who are hesitant to talk or speak to non-Muslims about Al-Islam and they feel they are not qualified. I urge all Muslims who have such questions or doubts about their ability to present Al-Islam, that in the Night of Power they should pray the Taraweeh prayers and extra prayers to take that burden off of them so that they can feel at ease.

Sometimes there are personal problems we have with ourselves or with our mates or children. If we have not already been blessed with the answer (the blessings come the moment Ramadan begins) and we are still looking for relief, it is likely it is going to come on the Night of Power as we observe it with the community.

We should follow the tradition for the observance of that Night, and every night in the month of Ramadan.

We should take a full bath before coming to the masjid. We should wear nice mild scents on us, and be in clean, attractive attire like the Christians do on Easter Sunday. We should not wear T-shirts.

We should come looking nice and comfortable because we are going to stay there for the night. We should not dress in loud colors or wear tight clothes (men and women). We should not wear anything with pictures, emblems or writings on it.

Even if it says la illaha illa-llah, we should not wear that on the body this night because that makes for a spectacle, a detraction.

Those in attendance should bring dry foods like dates and candy that won't crumble, and finger foods like hor d'oeuvres.

The brothers should sit and talk with the brothers. Those who need to talk to their wives should do so before joining the prayers and sitting.

The men should not be standing around in the areas of the observance, talking.

We expect the Imam to address us on the Night of Power. Sometimes the Imam wants to invite believers to express themselves if they care to on this night.

When given the opportunity, they should not speak "in tongues": They should speak plain rational language and they should ask G'd for guidance and help to make what they say very plain and simple, so that the people understand what they are saying and benefit.
The people should offer praise to G'd. If they are moved and have the spirit to do that, this is the Night for it.

They should avoid all negative things (problems). It is not the Night to present troubling matters to the gathering. It is the Night of Good News.

May G'd bless us during the Night of Power with good thoughts, feelings, expressions, and Good News.


Q: As we approach the end of Ramadan fasting, would you give us some comments and focus for Eid Al-Fitr?


IWDM: On the Eid Day it is Prophet Muhammed's (PBUH) tradition to have a full bath before joining the Eid prayer. We are to wear our best clothes, be attractive but not a spectacle. The dress and color should be beautiful but not such as would cause everyone to focus on or stare at us.

On the Eid Day moreso than the Night of Power you can be a little fashionable. As long as the dress is modest, it can be elegant. Especially for the sisters, yet there is nothing wrong with brothers coming out on the Eid day in their beautiful fashions if they have a taste for that.

If a person has a rich garment, the time to wear it is on Eid Day. If the brother has a $500.00 suit, don't wear it Friday night out on the town, wear it to the Eid Observance.
The Eid Day is a day of glorifying and praising G'd. From the time we get out of bed, we are beginning to prepare ourselves to attend the Eid Prayers. We should be thinking about having completed the fast and the worshipping and celebrating that comes at its completion.

We should be praising and thanking G'd for His Blessings.

We are to give the Sadaqah Al-Fitr, or charity. It is very important for everyone to give this charity. Even the poor person should not want to come to the Eid Prayers without having some little amount of money to put into the common treasure to cover the expenses of the Eid.

If the poor can afford it, they should put something in the charity for a person poorer than themselves.

We should want all of our able and healthy family members to attend the Eid Prayer. The whole household, men, women and children should join the Eid Prayer.

We should start planning for that day — days before. Deciding what we have to do in order to bring the whole family.

If you do not have the necessary clothing, you should think about it weeks in advance so that everyone will be prepared.

We should be aware that everyone is not going to be as conscious as we are of the respect or behavior we should have for that day. Do not let anyone's behavior destroy your peace.
When you see them, for maybe a split second, they may make you feel ashamed, angry, or hurt. Such persons are not supposed to be so important, so big that they can affect your peace.

We should not let anything that is happening around us while we are trying to observe the Eid prayer take our attention.

The American Christian society believes in exchanging holiday gifts. Most of us come from a Christian background, maybe we still have that spirit in us to have a holiday where we exchange gifts or give them without expecting one in return.

It is very important for us to know that both of the major Eids are days we give gifts to our loved ones, family and friends. Giving gifts should start in your own household and every year our children will look forward to getting special gifts on the Eid Day. They will say: "On the Eid Day I am going to get a gift and I don't know what it is going to be." It would be excellent if we encourage the exchange of gifts.

Every Muslim should read something from the Qur'an on the Eid Day before they leave home and when they return home from the observance.

We are to glorify G'd and let our good feelings for people be expressed, starting with the family members. And we are to have a good time. There should be some merriment, chanting of the Qur'an in the afternoon or evening, and a meal where all of the believers can come and eat together. We should have socializing and some beautiful singing. The Eid should be a day of merriment; controlled, disciplined; that is to say, within the spirit of Al-Islam.