Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Islam of African Americans

Elijah Muhammed started a sect that came to be known as the Nation of Islam.
But the name was deceptive. It was a sect modeled using Islamic terminology including The Qur'an but it was not Islamic in the least bit.
And then there was the miracle of modern times. Imam WD Muhammed, the then leader of this community, made the momentous decision to merge this sect with orthodox Islam.
Of course there were people who did not follow suit but they perhaps can really be taken as exceptions.
And now a brother at SF tells us about the current state of the reformed community. He is bothered about the Islamic health of his people, the African Americans, and he should but the situation seems to be much better as compared to other problems faced by Muslim Ummah. Here is the narrative by that brother - Tariq A. James. It is produced below.

With Allah's Name the Benificent, the Merciful All Praise is due to Allah the Most High the Creator of Everything, the Master of the Day of Judgement . We send salutations of peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad Sallahu Alahyi wa Salaam

Alhamduillah from the very outset I will say that this is not at all a scholarly critique of the community nor do I wish to inflict any type of harm on anyone including myself by writing this. Alhamduillah anyone who is familiar with the growth and development of Islam in America amongst the indigeneous people knows that Imam WD Mohammed(May Allah have Mercy on him) in many ways stood at the forefront of that growth and development. I myself personally benefitted greatly from the work of the Imam as it was many of his students and followers helped me make my transition into Islam. Very frequently wherever I go I tell people that some of the best Muslims I know are students of Imam WD Mohammed(May Allah have Mercy on him). Being in the community of Imam WD Mohammed was really something special in some ways as I learned how to be a Muslim without throwing away my identity as a African American. It is because of those few short years that I am able to stand proud say that I am a Muslim whose is a benefactor of the work of Drew Ali, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Al Haijj Malik Shabazz, Imam WD Mohammed, Dr. Martin Luther King, Imam Jamil Al-Amin, Shaykh Muhammad Shareef and countless others whom I do not have the space to mention.

Being a benefactor of their work means simply that they have paved the way for young men like me to continue to carry the torch of Islam in America . Typically when people remind us that we have benefitted from the work of some people they usually say this with the motive that we should confine ourselves to thier ideas. In these days has all of a sudden it has become disrespect to be honest and frank about the errors of our elders, my question to those folks is should we be "respectful" and continue to propagate lies that will only continue to set us back in the dunya as well as in the hereafter? With this in mind I ask that you read what what you will see next with the understanding that I am writing this not with the intention of attempting to tear anything down rather the intention is to continue to build upon the structure that we have for the sake of Allah. Realize that we must build on this structure with the bricks of truth and integrity.

I am just a simple convert that came from the gutters of Philadelphia I do not claim to have all the answers nor do I feel superior to anyone. I have no parents that were in the NOI, no glory stories about how I attended Sister Clara Muhammad School, I am just the quiet guy in the masjid.As I said earlier my introduction to Islam came through the community of Imam WD Mohammed. It has been quite a journey which has sometimes been empowering and other times I have been left dazed, confused about issues for weeks at a time.I am just going to submit the following based on my observations and also what has been the observation of many others from the community as well as from outside the community. I hope that this can open up the doors of dialogue that so badly needs to be opened .

This writing does not reflect everyone in the community, but it is a reflection of a good amount of people that represent the community. From what I have seen the followers of Imam WD Mohammed (May Allah have mercy on him) cannot help but attach some type divinity to him in some or from he has to be the madhi, mujedidid etc. why can't he just be a great Muslim leader who did a lot of good?why do we make him more than what he ever said he was? I see his students represent him in ways all of us clearly know he would not approve of, as he was a man of great humilty. The Imams in the community are even more sickening as the reality is Imam Mohammed was primarily self taught(nothing wrong with it neccesarily) so he made mistakes!To be honest I feel like whatever mistakes he made he had a right to make them as he was a leader of a community doing a job that 99.9 percent of us could not do. Quite frankly his mistakes are better than our corrections however we have an obligation as Muslims to leave his mistakes as we are obligated to obey Allah and his Messenger, there is not obdience to the creation that results in disobdience to Allah. There were serious mistakes made that many of these Imams knew of when he was living but were too afraid to question him and they still know of these errors now they privately acknowledge these errors while in public propagating lies in order to keep their huge following who are very well known for being generous with their sadaqa.

If you are more loyal to your teacher's logic than to the truth that they had claimed to have stood for then know that you have "killed" him. Most of the time when some of these disgusting beliefs are challenged people cry "oh African American Muslims can't accept their own" which could not be further from the truth. I personally have a sincere love and respect for Imam Mohammed(R.A) but I just refuse accept things that are not from Islam. When will the Imams stop propagating wicked beliefs like:

-There were messengers after the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salam

-Non Muslims are not disbelievers many of the "good" ones will go to paradise.

- Isa (Alayhi Salam) will not return in the physical form.

- denying ahadith that are muttawatir because they don't conform with their "logic".

- Having no concern or precedent for any scholarly consensus whatsoever.

- Imam Mohammed has a school of jurisprudence similar to the 4 Imams.

- Making whatever they want permissible all in the name of culture.

- Likening the the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salam to a mail man completely ignoring his Sunnah.

- Denying the Physical existence of all Prophets(Alayim Salam) other that the Prophet Muhammad(Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salam).

- Claiming that the Prophets were communities.

- Denying Prophetic miracles claiming them to figurative

This is not an attempt to speak bad about anyone or even discredit anybody I am just tired of the deviance that even I too was once misled by.A common reaction when people from this community are confronted about these beliefs is that they either accuse you of "self-hate" or they begin to play word games with the Qur'an. The game basically goes like this they will point to different ayahs that are not necessarily explicit in their meaning alone which need to be read with other ayahs and ahadith in order to be put in its proper context. The disregard the science of hadith so if you present a hadith that does not fit their arguement they will reject it no matter what. This is a very old trick that is typically done by folks who have not studied Islam from from its proper sources. Also keep in mind that the omission of a particular word alone cannot be used as a proof for or against something because they will resort to this also to support their shady beliefs. I sincerely believe that if the "students" of Imam Mohammed were serious about preserving his work then they would collaborate with scholars from Ahlus Sunnah (We have plenty of Black American ones if that makes people more comfortable) and begin to have some serious open dialogue on these issues if you really have a pure understanding that will change the world then share it with everyone.

There are many people in this community even to this day I still love and respect, but I absoluetly cannot support falsehood.No one could ever deny the enormous amount of work Imam Mohammed has done, but it's just a big dishonor to your teacher when you are afraid to admit that he made mistakes. For instance there are many Muslims still to this day that love Ibn Taymiyyah (May Allah have Mercy on Him) there are people who hold his work in high regard, but he received some of the harshest criticism for some of the errors he may have made from his own students!

It is also common for many students of Imam WD Mohammed like to compare themselves to the 4 Sunni school of Jurisprudence when this is mentioned I see a huge contradiction. How many books of fiqh did Imam Mohammed(May Allah have Mercy on him) ever put out? the books and instructions he did give in terms of fiqh how different was it from what was already established? Also did the students of the 4 Imams simply regurgitate what their teachers taught? very often they would come to different conlcusion then their teachers came to.

I feel at this time it is very neccessary to write this as our future depends on the correct implementation of Islam. We do not have to throw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of our historical growth and development, but if we are wrong about the things we say and believe we must correct this no matter what great leader it may have came from. I wanted these observations to be open so by chance that if I am incorrect about anything I can be corrected and I feel no shame in admitting I am wrong if I am. May Allah recity the affairs of the community and guides us all

Your Brother In Faith, Tariq A. James