American Muslims lost a great leader

It is with great sadness and pain that I report that yesterday Imam Warith Deen Muhammad died and leaves behind a great legacy and community of believers.

I ask that all the believers make Dua’ for this great brother and leader. May Allah (swt) remind us and soften our hearts to the reality of this world and the necessity of the time.

About Imam Muhammad:

The Honorable al-Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (October 30, 1933September 9, 2008) was an influential American Muslim leader and the son of Clara and Elijah Muhammad.

Warith Deen Mohammed was born Wallace Dean Muhammad. His father, Elijah Muhammad, was the leader of the Nation of Islam, an organization that preaches a form of Black nationalism from 1934 until his death on February 26, 1975. After his father’s death, W.D. Muhammad was accepted by the Nation of Islam as its leader. He introduced many reforms intended to bring the organization closer to traditional Islam, and renamed it a number of times. He rejected literal interpretations of his father’s theology and Black-separatist views. On the basis of his lifelong study of the Qu’ran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, he accepted whites as fellow worshippers and attempted to forge closer ties with mainstream Muslim communities, including Latino Muslims. He also changed the spelling of his own name.

A number of dissident groups resisted the changes in the Nation of Islam, most notably those who followed Louis Farrakhan in breaking ranks with Wallace and reviving the name “Nation of Islam” in 1981.

W.D. Mohammed gave the first invocation in the U.S. Senate ever by a Muslim. In 1993, he gave an Islamic prayer during the first Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service of President Bill Clinton, and again in 1997 at the second Interfaith Prayer Service.

Marking 70 years since the Nation of Islam was founded, in 2000 W.D. Mohammed and Farrakhan publicly embraced, and declared unity and reconciliation, at the annual Savior’s Day convention. W.D. Mohammed said on this occasion:

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, it is not difficult for Minister Farrakhan and Wallace D. Mohammed to embrace each other. That’s easy for us. When I first met him in the early ’50s, I liked him on first sight, and I became his friend and his brother. And I have not stopped being his friend and his brother. Maybe he has not understood, but I have always been his friend and his brother. For me, this is too big a cause for our personal problems and differences. Allah-u Akbar (God is great). FCN, February 25, 2000

At the time of his death W.D. Mohammed was the leader of a new project, The Mosque Cares. Most of his followers regard themselves as a portion of the worldwide Muslim community and have accepted traditional Islam.

W.D. Mohammed died on September 9, 2008, the 9th day of Ramadan.

Imam W.D. Mohammed, African-American Muslim leader, dies at 74; son of Elijah Muhammad

Muslim leader Warith Deen Mohammed dies

Official Statement from The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam on the passing of Imam W. Deen Mohammed

Updated Articles:

Remembering Imam W. D. Muhammad

Thousands gather in Villa Park for funeral of Imam W. Deen Mohammed

600 bid farewell to Mohammed

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