IN MEMORIAM:  Imam W. D. Muhammad 1933-2008

Sheila Musaji

Posted Sep 9, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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IN MEMORIUM:  Imam W. D. Muhammad Has Passed Away

by Sheila Musaji

We have little information so far except that Imam W.D. Muhammad has died.  God has honored him by calling his servant back in the blessed month of Ramadan.  Inna Lillah wa inna ilayhi raji’oun!  ( He was God’s and he has returned back to God ).  We offer our sincere condolences to Imam Muhammad’s family.  The death of Imam Muhammad comes only a week after the death of one of his brothers, Jabir Muhammad.

According to the AP:  W.D. Mohammed moved thousands of blacks into mainstream Islam after breaking with the group his father founded. He went by both Warith Deen Mohammed and Wallace Muhammad.  The Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed receiving the body of a 74-year-old Wallace Mohammed.

From the Atlanta Masjid site:

Imam W. Deen Mohammed was born October 30, 1933, to the builder and leader of the Nation of Islam, the late Honorable Elijah (Poole) Muhammed and the late Clara (Evans) Muhammad.  He is the leader of the largest identifiable consittuency of Muslim Americans and is recognized world wide as a leading Islamic Thinker and representative.

He succeeded his father in 1975 as the leader of the Nation of Islam with unanimous support of its followers and began its transformation to “Islam proper” as practiced by over 1 billion Muslims worldwide.  He operned the Nation of Islam membership up to all races of Muslims and encouraged Muslim Americans to register to vote and become full participants in the politics and economics of America. 

In 1977, he led the then largest delegation of Muslim Americans, most former members of the Nation of Islam, on Hajj, Pilgrimage to the Sacred House in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  That same year he toured China with “American Friends of China”. 

He has represented Muslims at the World Parliament of Religious Leaders for the survival of the Earth, in Oxford, England.

He signed the Williamsburg Charter at Williamsburgn, VA celebrating the First Amendment/First Freedom of the U. S. Constitution.

Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, in 1990 at the invitation of Saudi Arabia´s King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz, Imam Mohammed and a delegation traveled to Saudi Arabia in a consultative role to discuss the concerns of Muslims over the Gulf War.

In 1992 he delivered the Invocation opening the U. S. Senate in Washington, D.C., the first ever given by a Muslim.  He toured the Pentagon and addressed Muslims in the U. S. Military and its Chaplains. 

He delivered an address on the floor of the Georgia State Legislature - the state of his father´s birth, the first ever given by a Muslim.

In 1993, Imam Mohammed participated in the Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service for President William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton.

In December of 1994, Imam Mohammed was presented the “Cup of Compassion” Award from the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1995, he was selected as a President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP), and addressed its Governing Board in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

In 1995, Imam Mohammed delivered the Keynote Address at the Muslim-Jewish Convocation, the first serious public dialogue between top leaders of Islam and Reformed Judaism, in Glencoe, Illinois; and in the same year, Forbes Magazine officials hosted an address given by Imam Mohammed in Naples, FL on the topic “How Do We Save Our Youth?”

In 1996, Imam Mohammed visited Malaysia at the invitation of Dr. Mohammed Nuir Manuty, President of the Muslim Youth Movement, which resulted in a Muslim American student exchange program, for several years.  He met privately with Malaysia´s Deputy Prime Minister and was interviewed on Malaysian national television.

In 1996, Imam W. Deen Mohammed led a delegation of Muslims to The Vatican in Rome, Italy, where he met with Pope John Paul II and with Cardinal Francis Arinze, The Vatican´s Chief of Staff for Interreligious Affairs.

As an international humanitarian, Imam Mohammed supported the Peacemaking and Human Rights Efforts of Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia and traveled to San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas), Mexico, as a member of The Peace Council to hear concerns of the Chiapas Rebels.

He also led a delegation of Muslim Americans to Jerusalem and areas under rule of the Palestinian Authority led by Palestinian leader, President Yasser Arafat, visiting Palestinian cities, government agencies, hospitals and homes throughout the West Bank.  The visit culminated on Christmas Eve with a meeting in Gaza City with President Arafat at his headquarters, where he discussed the difficulties of Palestinian life.

In 1997, President Clinton, in his re-election Inauguration, invited Imam Mohammed to the White House for the 1st Annual Ecuemnical Breakfast, and requested Imam Mohammed to read from the Holy Qur´an at the Presidential Inauguration Day National Prayer Service. 

Later that year, Imam Mohammed attended the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Tehran, Iran.

In 1998, Imam Mohammed traveled to Auschwitz, Poland, where he participated in the Conference on Religion and Peace hosted by the Center for Christian and Jewish Understanding of Sacred Heart University.  From there, he went to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to explore business opportunities for the Collective Purchasing Conference (CPC), which he established as a member organizaiton of distributors and investors, in order to strengthen the economic status of the Muslim Americans and to enhance the buying power of small businessmen and women throughout the economically strained African-American communities in the United States.

He accepted the invitation of the Honorable Chiara Lubich, a Catholic Sister and World War II Survivor, to come to Rome, Itlay to address the Muslim Friends of the Focolare Conference, which brought together representatives from 24 nations.

In 1999, with Pope John Paul II and The Dalai Lama present on stage, Imam Mohammed addressed a gathering of 100,000 at The Vatican. 

He participated in the Jubilennium Interfaith Conference for World Peace held in Israel and the World Conference on Religion and Peace Assembly VII in Amman, Jordan.  There, he was elected as an International President in the U. S. for WCRP.

In 2000, he was appointed to the executive Committee of Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP).

On September 11, 2001, Imam Mohammed, in the strongest terms, immediately denounced the Terrorists Attacks on the United States as un-Islamic and evil. 

Later in the year, Imam Mohammed participated in an “Evening of Religious Solidarity,” joined by Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Minister Louis Farrakhan and members of the Parliament of World Religions at the Mosque Foundation in Villa Park, Illinois. 

The same year, Imam Mohammed attended the Contribution of Religions to Peace Conference in Assisi, Italy, at the invitation of Pope John Paul II, for religious leaders to gather to pray for world peace.

In 2002, he was ceremoniously inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Preachers at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, Georgia, where his portrait hangs in the International Chapel of Non-Violent Religious Leaders at Morehouse.

As an International President of WCRP, he participated in the Conference of Religious Leaders Addressing the Devastation on Africa from HIV/Aids held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Imam W. Deen Mohammed has lectured at Universities/Colleges throughout the United States, among them have been Yale University´s School of Divinity, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Emory University, Harvard University, Washington University (St. Louis), and numerous others.

The change and growth which has characterized Imam W. Deen Mohammed´s leadership since 1975 has been a progression toward satisfying the essentials of Muslim life and identity, and in the measure required by the authentic sources of the religion of Islam - the Holy Qur´an and the life example of Muhammed the Prophet (the prayers and the peace be on him).

Through the arduous steps of evolution from the ´Nation of Islam´ (1930-1976) to the ´World Community of Al-Islam in the West´ (1976-1981) to the ´American Muslim Mission´ (1081-1985) Imam Mohammed has piloted his people to what is today a de-centralized and thriving society of Muslim Americans.  With Mosques and schools in every major city in Ameirca, and in parts of Canada and the Caribbean, he has garnered a respect and acceptance for Islam in the West not known before.  The facts and details of his record of transforming a people depicted at the extreme of a “proto-Islamic” idea which combined Black nationalism and religion, into a community of Muslim Americans esteemed in the international following of Muhammed the Prophet, stands as testimony to his courage, dedication, wisdom, and firm faith in G-d.  But even moreso, the message of Islam in its true practice delivered by him over nearly thirty years to persons of every race, sex, and class - leaders and common people alike has been a quiet yet resolute factor for increased resepct, understanding, and cooperation between Americans of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.  It is precisely this message that is destined to influence America and other nations across the globe to acknowledge and invest in their greatest single resource, the ability, excellence, and aspriations of common human life.

Imam W. Deen Mohammed´s record of service for the promotion of universal human excellence is well documented as he has established direct and genuine dialogue between the leaders of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.  His clear and appreciable representation of the religion of Islam and unparalledled contribution toward building respect for Islamic life in America has merited him countless awards and many unprecedented acknowledgments.

Messages of condolence can be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

We will update as soon as possible.

9/9/08 Imam W.D. Muhammad has passed away.  The janazah for Imam Mohammed is planned for this Thursday at 1:45 p.m. at the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park, 300 W Highridge Rd., Villa Park, IL 60181, followed by internment at Mt. Glennwood Cemetery, 18301 E Glenwood and Thornton Rd., Glenwood, IL 60425.  A community memorial service is planned for this Saturday at 2 p.m. on the community’s property across from 2979 W. 167th St., Markham, IL.