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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Let's Know Freedom Again: Part 2

Question and Answer Session Muslim Community Members Special Gathering Detroit, Mich., July 8, 1995

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

Q: Should we allow abortion?

IWDM: I believe that abortion, the way it is practiced in this country is sinful. But, I wouldn't dismiss all cases of abortion as being forbidden. I think that abortion to save the life of the mother is a matter for that family. The husband and wife, that's their decision to make. If we know that if the mother has the baby, she's going to die, the doctors are pretty sure of that, so I think that's a decision mainly for the wife. The one who is threatened, the decision is mainly for that person, but she should also want the support of her husband. I believe that any decent husband would support his wife if her life was at stake.

Q: In a polygamous arrangement, how are the wives to be treated?"

IWDM: That answer is given in the Qur'an. They are to be treated fairly. You are to try to be just by each of them. You are not to favor one so as to make the others uncomfortable. So, that's the treatment. And we know that there should not be secrecy. No one who reads the Qur'an, who understands the Qur'an and is not rejecting it should want to have a wife without the other wife knowing it. No secrecy from the wife.

And if you're going to have another wife, your wife should know about that. If you're going to have two or three wives, they should know about the others and they should know about it before it happens. When you know you have intentions to do that, you should let them know it. You should discuss it with them. You should even be prepared to listen to their feelings, their fears, their concerns, and their demands on you. They might say: Well bring her here and let me see her, let me talk to her. If you are a decent person, you will do that.

You will bring them together and let them see each other face to face and let them talk to each other. They will sometimes bring out problems that you can't see. And you will see hurt that you can't anticipate, and after you see the degree of hurt that is going to come if you bring on this addition, maybe you'll change your mind. It is not a must that you have more than one wife. Some of us act like it's a must that we take on more than one wife. Some say: "I've got to get me another wife, brother." And be aware of something else, the Prophet said: "If a man puts aside a faithful, believing wife, and he puts her aside for another, the other will be a marriage to hell." Be aware of that.

Q: Is the war of nerves a type of character for an Imam to have? I'm saying that I do not believe that that is the type of character an Imam is suppose to display.

IWDM: I know of that kind of character and I've seen some ministers and Imams with that kind of character. That is un-Islamic and it is not acceptable that it be in a Muslim period. We certainly should not want any of our leaders having that kind of mentality.

Q: What progress is being made with the Shuraa that you sit on concerning the direction of the Muslim ummat in America?

IWDM: Yes, we have made some progress, not as much as we would like to have made. We have a National Shuraa that represents the community of Muslims in America. I am a member, Sheik Idris of ISNA, Bro. Abdulmalik of ICNA and Sheik Jamil of Atlanta. There are four of us, but we want to broaden this. We are slow but we are off to a good start. We are trying to address issues.

Q: Regarding the seating of brothers and sisters at meetings.

IWDM: It is my understanding that in settings like this the brothers should look for brothers to sit with.

Q: I was told that you've said that you would like to see the sisters become involved in dawah and there were three areas in which you'd like to see us get involved in. Can you tell me?

IWDM: I would encourage the sisters who are interested in seeing the religion promoted, propagated or spread to more people, I would encourage you to become teachers of Islam, preachers of Islam. There is nothing you can't do besides lead the prayer. Everything else you can do. In fact, you can do what I'm doing. What I do here monthly any sister can do this here too.

Q: Referring to Salat - It seems that a brother from Masjid Al-Faatir posed this question before. Individuals in charge of Masajid are not following your leadership. We thank Allah for you bringing us to orthodox Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) said: "The difference between a disbeliever and a Muslim is salat." And, "The first question that we will be asked to give account about will be the salat. The Prophet (even in the battle field) would tell the delegation to perform two rakats and move to the left and then the others would come and pray. My question is, these brothers who profess to be Imams and who want control and to be over the leadership of the new masjid inside the city of Detroit, how can they be the leader of an Islamic community when their masjid is not open for the five prayers (salat).

Your leadership has been for twenty years and one masjid after ten years is trying to open up. But, the rest of the brothers believe that we are fanatics or don't represent the true picture of Islam. First we should be devoted to Allah with salat. We come to the masjid and find it locked, and we find an ignorant (absent of knowledge) Imam who doesn't understand that this place should be open even if he has to be the Imam and the muezzin of that place. If he just keeps praying, then Allah will send people there. But we have people saying they are Imams and their place is locked.

IWDM: We appreciate you expressing your concern and making it clear to us the importance of Salat, and I agree with what you have said.

Q: Many sisters are abused by their husbands. They are not allowed to go to the Masjid, to come out and associate with others who do attend. We believe that the brothers should address this problem instead of the sisters always standing up to address the situation. How can we address this situation?

IWDM: It is very clear to every Muslim that your God is Allah, not your husband. And the authority in your life and in his life is the supreme authority, Allah. If your husband disobeys Allah, you should tell him that he is doing that. Say to him: "You are disobeying Allah, you're disobeying his messenger." It is that simple...You know that's not Islam and there's no need for anyone to come to your aide until you come to your own aide.

Q: Some men and some women are by nature physically stronger/larger than their mate and therefore in physically abusive relationships the strong can intimidate (and hurt) the weak. Human instinct tells us when someone swings at you, move out of the way, but sometimes the person swinging is stronger and faster. What can you suggest to the person being abused to do to come to their own aide? Please comment on verbal abuse also.

IWDM: Seek counseling. Be prepared also to have an abuser prosecuted under the law.

Q: Is there any place for a board of trustees or board of directors in the Masjid? If so, what is the relationship to the Imam and the believers?

IWDM: Yes, but if there is any organization formed, it should be formed under the shura. We conduct our affairs according to the teachings of God in the Qur'an, and in Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) by shura. Allah says the believers are those who make their decisions by shura ...among them. "That means that we should have the best of our minds together representing (a sufficient number of them) a decision-making body to inform us of how we should conduct our affairs. Our affairs should be conducted by shuraa. Those persons should be informed of the Qur'an and should be at least able to go and consult the Qur'an and come up with guidance for every situation and every need. So, first we need what is called the Majlis As shuraa, a mosque (masjid) council who practice the shuraa bainum, consulting each other. Those persons should be the best minds that we have available in our congregation. Then any legal entity that we want, as long as it is in accord with the Qur'an and our Prophet Muhammed, is acceptable.

Q: Then should this board of directors report to the Imam and the believers of the particular masjid? (N.M.)

IWDM: Yes.

Q: How long should the Jumuah be?

IWDM: My Khutbah used to be so long until we had to make up the prayers that we missed. I looked at that and I changed that and now my khutbahs are moderate. I believe that the khutbah should take into account the obligations of the people who attend. They have to return to their duties/jobs, etc. So the Imams should be aware of this. We know this is Qur'an because Allah says: "O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (The Day of Assemble) hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint) that ye may prosper." (Qur'an 62: 9-10): (When the time for Jumu'ah Prayer comes, close your business and answer the summons loyally and earnestly, meet earnestly, pray, consult and learn by social contact; when the meeting is over, scatter and go about your business. Yusuf Ali Translation)

Q: Please explain the Seven Heavens.

IWDM: I wish this was a question of us working together as a community, this is not. Allah says: "Above you are the seven and in you are a like number." (See Qur'an chapter 65 verse 12)

This refers to the strong spiritual constitution that God created us to have. That God evolves it front level to level until it is complete as seven. And, the highest is that one where the prophet  Abraham is in the seventh heaven. There is much to say about this topic. I hope someday we can take this up in a speech.

Q: Brother Imam, maybe you can quiet my temperament. When the holocaust comes up (in conversation or the media) and I think about all of the Black Africans who were killed/drowned and everything - what can you tell me to relax my temperament when I'm in a situation when this arises and I want to speak out about our ancestors?

IWDM: I know of an African American gentleman who has a foundation and he documents cruelties to our people and he identifies it as a holocaust of our people. I sympathize with such persons and I believe that we should want to know such history and preserve such history. We should want to have that history as accurate and as truthful as it can be. We shouldn't want to and don't need to exaggerate our treatment. It is an extreme that doesn't need any one to exaggerate it to get attention or sympathy.

I believe there is a tendency on our part sometimes to exaggerate the mistreatment of our people by White people. My reply to you sister is that you shouldn't occupy yourself with the misery, the hurt, the mistreatment of your people because that will keep you in the low. That will keep your spirits low; that will keep your life low. If you want to elevate yourself, then don't give that more time than it deserves. The goodness that happened to your people because of Allah, because- of God before we knew Islam and after we knew Islam, it is best you dwell on that more than on the past. I am not saying that we should ignore that. We are not to ignore that. We should preserve the history of our people and that means the cruelties to our people as well as the blessings that came to us, goodness that we've enjoyed.

Q: "In regards to your ministry, when we write, why don't we get any response?"

IWDM: "I pray Allah that.. .we can do better in the future."