Warith Deen Mohammed


Warith Deen Mohammed
Warith Deen Mohammed
Leader of the Nation of Islam
In office
February 26, 1975 – 1976
Preceded by Elijah Muhammad
Succeeded by Louis Farrakhan
Leader of the American Society of Muslims
In office
1976 – August 31, 2003
Director of The Mosque Cares
In office
2003 – September 9, 2008
Succeeded by Wallace D. Mohammed II
Personal details
Born Wallace Delaney Muhammad
October 30, 1933 (1933-10-30)
Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S.
Died September 9, 2008 (2008-09-10)
(aged 74)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Resting place Mount Glenwood Cemetery,
Thornton, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Shirley Muhammad
Khadijah Siddeeq-Mohammed
Relations Dr. Akbar Muhammad, PHD, Jabir Herbert Muhammad
Alma mater Muhammad University of Islam
Occupation Imam, Religious Reformer, Muslim Scholar
Religion Islam

Warith Deen Mohammed (born Wallace D. Muhammad; October 30, 1933 - September 9, 2008) also known as W. Deen Mohammed or Imam W. Deen Muhammad, was a progressive African American Muslim leader, theologian, philosopher, Muslim revivalist and Islamic thinker (1975 to 2008) who disbanded the original Nation of Islam in 1976[1] and transformed it into an orthodox mainstream Islamic movement, the World Community of Al-Islam in the West which later became the American Society of Muslims.[2] He was a son of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam from 1933 to 1975.[3][4]

He became the national leader (Supreme Minister) of the Nation of Islam in 1975 after his father’s death.[5] As a result of his personal studies and thinking, he had led the vast majority of the members of the original N.O.I. to mainstream, traditional Sunni Islam by 1978.[6] With this merger, he oversaw the largest mass conversion to Islam in the history of the United States of America.[7] He rejected the previous deification of W.D. Fard, accepted whites as fellow-worshippers, forged closer ties with mainstream Muslim communities, and introduced the Five Pillars of Islam into his group's theology.[2][8]

Splinter groups resisting these changes formed after Elijah Muhammad’s death, particularly under Louis Farrakhan, who revived the name Nation of Islam for his organization.[2][9]

Contents

Biography

Early life and education

Warith Deen Mohammed[4] (English: Inheritor of the Religion of Muhammad) was born Wallace Delaney Muhammad in 1933[10] on Yeman Street in Hamtramck, Michigan. His mother was Clara Muhammad and his father was Elijah Muhammad, the Supreme Minister of the Nation of Islam, the organization that preached a form of Black nationalism and its own version of Islam.[11] Elijah Muhammad led the Nation from 1934 until his death in 1975.[12]

Growing up within the N.O.I., his early education came from the Muhammad University of Islam school system now known as the (Clara Muhammad Schools) or Muhammad Schools.[13] Warith Deen Mohammed was taught Arabic in his youth by Professor Jamal Diab a Palestinian who was hired by his father to teach at the M.U.I. in Chicago.[14] He became a minister under his father and served in Philadelphia in the late 1950s and the early 1960s.[15][16] His father excommunicated him three times for denying the divinity of W. F. Muhammad (Fard), a position the son reached after his own study.[17][18] Warith Deen Mohammed was excommunicated for one year starting in January 1964; for four years starting in late 1965; and for several months ending in mid 1974.[19]

On his 28th birthday in 1961, Warith Deen Mohammed was imprisoned in Minnesota for having refused induction into the United States military. In his 14 months in the federal prison, he spent most of his time studying the Qur'an,[20] the scripture of Islam. He became convinced that the Nation of Islam had to change. In 1963 he was released from prison.[21][22] After the assassination of his friend Malcolm X in 1965,[23] Muhammad was readmitted into the Nation of Islam.

Leadership and Ministry

Reforming The Nation of Islam

Warith Deen Mohammed (W. Deen Mohammed) assumed leader of the Nation of Islam after his father's death at the annual Savior's Day convention.[1][24][25] He introduced many reforms to bring the organization closer to traditional Islam,[2] including but not limited to the following: (1.) Purged the myth of Master Fard Muhammad being God (Allah), (2.) Clarified the concept of the devil (3.) Presented Islamic beliefs and practices to the community through the Muhammad Speaks News paper,[26] speeches and by personal example, he introduced and explained Islam's Five Pillars.[25] In 1976 he dropped the tittle Supreme Minister and took the title Chief Imam or simply Imam.[27][28] All of the over 400 temples were converted into traditional Islamic Mosques and renamed. He also renamed the community several times, settling on the American Society of Muslims to reflect the new thinking.[22][29] Also at a pre-Saviour's Day meeting in February 1976 He unveiled a new flag for the Community (Nation of Islam).[30][31] He rejected literal interpretations of his father's theology and Black-separatist views and on the basis of his intensive independent study of Islamic law, history, theology and his lifelong study of the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, he accepted whites[32][33] as fellow worshipers and forged closer ties with mainstream Muslim communities, including Latinos.[34]

W. Deen Mohammed was instrumental in establishing interfaith cooperation with other religious communities, especially Christians and Jews in America and around the world.[2] In 1976 10,000 Muslims attended the first ever Eid Al-Fitr celebration to be held at the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Mosque #2, formerly Temple #2.[25] In 1977 W. Deen Mohammed led 300 Muslim Americans, then the largest delegation, mostly former members of the Nation of Islam, on Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[35] On September 10, 1978 in an address in Atlanta, Georgia he took the first steps toward separating his Ministry from the World Community of Al-Islam/American Muslim Mission and expanding it to the broader Muslim and non Muslim peoples of the world by resigning as Chief Imam and appointing a six member council to lead the Community.[36][37] In 1980 he changed his name to Warithuddin Muhammad (Warith Deen Muhammad).[2][38]

Mainstream acceptance

Warith Deen Mohammed became a leader for interfaith cooperation and for American Muslims, speaking in numerous cities across the country for renewed ties between people. On May 23, 1976 He conducted a massive interfaith Spiritual Life Jubilee in Los Angeles, California and spoke on the subject A New Heaven and a New Earth.[39] He also conducted a Spiritual life Jubilee in Atlanta, GA and then Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson presented a proclamation to then Chief Minister Wallace D. Muhammad proclaiming the week of August 22 to 28 1976 to be dedicated to the Southern Spiritual Life jubilee.

In 1977 he participated in a Muslim-Christian dialogue in Fort Worth, Texas with Dr. Jack Evans, then President of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas.[40]

In February 1978 Mohammed gave a historic address before more than 1,000 Jews and Muslims at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C., then under the leadership of Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman.[41] On July 15, 1978 he participated and spoke at a Spiritual Life Jubilee in Chicago, Illinois, on the subject: "Strengthening Human Dignity and Freedom." On Nov. 19, 1978 he spoke on the "Evolution of the Nation of Islam" at the American academy of Religion in New Orleans, Louisiana.[42]

On October 8, 1989 Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the keynote address at the Conference on Finality of Prophethood in Chicago, Illinois.[43]

In 1993 he spoke at the Interfaith Roundtable National Conference of Christians, Jews and Muslims in Detroit, Michigan.[44]

From October 15–16, 1994, Mohammed was visited in Cleveland, Ohio by Grand Mufti Abdullah Mukhtar, the leader of an estimated 60 million Muslims at Masjid Bilal, on his first visit to the U.S.[45] On December 9, 1994 he received the Cup of Compassion from the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn.[46]

In February 1995 he was invited to officiate at the first "Acts of Kindness Week" in Dallas, Texas.[47] On March 1995 he delivered the keynote address at the Muslim-Jewish Convocation in Glencoe, Illinois, in one of the first serious public dialogues between top leaders of Islam and reformed Judaism.

From October 1–6, 1996 he met with Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Vatican's Chief of Staff for Inter religious Affairs at the Vatican in Rome.[48]

On August 17, 1997 he was presented the Luminosa Award for Unity from the Focolare Movement.[49] On September 9, 1997 he addressed the Baltimore Jewish Council. He told the Jewish Leadership in Baltimore, Maryland: "The most important thing God gave us when He gave us revelation was that we see ourselves (people of faith) having a mission to make this whole world better by promoting fairness and justice in the world."[50]

On May 18–20, 1998, he participated in the Conference on Religion and Peace sponsored by the Center for Christian, Jewish Understanding of Sacred Heart University in Auschwitz, Poland. On June 1998 he addressed the Muslim Friends of the Focolare conference in Rome, Italy.[51]

Warith Deen Mohammed among others were elected to the Islamic Society of North America Shura Board during their 36th annual Convention held in Chicago, Ill., during the 1999 Labor Day weekend and on Oct. 16 1999 he along with others were sworn in to serve on the (ISNA) Majlis As-Shura.[52] Warith Deen Mohammed along with a 92 member delegation returned to Rome, Italy on October 28, 1999 and he addressed a gathering of 100,000 in the Vatican[53][54] Rome with Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama present.[55] In Ramadan 1419 A.H. (1999) He met with Shaikh Nazim al-Haqqanian-Naqshbandi and the then Grand Mufti of Syria, Shaikh Ahmed Kuftaro an-Naqshbandi(raa),and in this meeting he pledged to work with Shaikh Kuftaro for the advancement of Al-Islam.[56]

Warith Deen Mohammed was the special invited guest and keynote speaker at the "Inaugural Conference on the Growth and Development of Islam in America", held at Harvard University on March 3–4, 2000. Dr. Akbar Muhammad his brother was also a participant.[57]

On October 29, 2001, Mohammed participated in an "Evening of Religious Solidarity" joined by Reverend Robert H. Schuller, Minister Louis Farrakhan and members of the Parliament of World Religions at The Mosque Foundation in Villa Park, Illinois.[58]

Political and social activities

In 1975 he met with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the National House (The former residence of his father Mr. Elijah Muhammad).[29] On July 4, 1976 he started the New World Patriotism Day celebrations which were conducted on Independence Day in the major cities across America.[29][31][59] In 1976 Wallace D. Muhammad hosted Sheik Sultan Bin Muhammad al-Qasami the then ruler of Sharjah[60][61] and in December 1976 he visited Sharjah. Also in 1976 He took a delegation to Guyana on an official State Visit. While there he visited the N.O.I. Mosques there and forged ties with the other Muslim communities in the region. He also met with Prime Minister L. Forbes Burnham, and the then President of Guyana Arthur Chung.[62]

In January 1977 he met with then President Jimmy Carter to discuss the crucial issues of drug addiction, violence, immorality, and other forms of blight in the African American communities across the country.[29] Later that year he addressed the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and urged them to "Promote excellence in consumer and voter education." On his 44th Birthday October 30, 1977 He received the Key to the City of Detroit, Michigan from the then Mayor of Detroit Coleman Young, along with a Proclamation declaring October 30, 1977 Wallace D. Muhammad Day in Detroit.[63] Also in 1977 he toured China with the American Friends of China.[64]

In 1979 he was the only American invited and the only American to attend the 10th Annual Islamic Conference of Ministers in Fez, Morocco, held from May 8 to May 12, 1979.[65][66]

Then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton proclaimed March 26, 1983 "Economic Dignity Day" in the state of Arkansas. In doing so he stated the following: Whereas, through the leadership and efforts of Warith Deen Muhammad, the American Muslim Mission is on the path of economic progress and achieving growth through unity...(I) urge all citizens to engage in activities which promote economic progress.[67] On July 4, 1983 Imam W. Deen Muhammad shared the Reviewing Stand for the 1984 New World Patriotism Day Parade in Chicago with then State Senator Emarald Jones, State Representative Howard Brooks, parade Grand Marshall Harold Washington the then Mayor of Chicago, Ill,and many other dignitaries. Mayor Harold Washington issued a Proclamation declaring July 4, 1984 as New world Patriotism Day Coalition Parade Day in Chicago.[68]

In 1984 W. Deen Mohammed went against the mainstream African American political establishment an opposed Reverend Jesse Jackson's run for the Democratic nomination for President.[69]

In 1985 500,000 participants joined in a Walk for Justice convened by Warith Deen Muhammad to protest the handling of the American Muslim Mission (Nation of Islam) Probate court case in Chicago, Ill.[70] Also in 1985 he met in Geneva, Switzerland with Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Al-Sharif, Secretary General of the Islamic Call Society of Libya and Dr. Abdul Hakim Tabibi, an Afghan Mujaheddin to discuss areas of future cooperation with the Islamic Call Society and the Muslim Community of America.[44]

In 1986 He was selected to serve on the World Supreme Council of Masajid (Mosques) as one of only three United States residence on this council.[66]

In 1988 he was invited to Morocco by King Hassan II to participate in the traditional devotions during Ramadan. During the visit, King Hassan II stated: Through you Imam W. Deen Mohammed all the people in America are represented.[71] In April, 1988 he participated as the representative of Muslim Americans in the "Political and Religious Leaders Campaign for Planetary Survivor" Oxford Town Hall, England were 150 leaders from around the world met. Later that year he was among 100 leaders in religion, government, business, law and philanthropy who gathered in Williamsburg, VA during the Williamsburg Charter Foundations "First Liberty Summit". Where they signed a charter that restated the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Freedom of Religion).[72]

In 1989 He changed the spelling of his surname Muhammad to Mohammed to reflect the spelling on his birth certificate.[73] Also on December 23, 1989 he spoke at the Annual Conference of the Islamic Committee for Palestine on the plight of the Palestinian people.[74]

During the week of February 2, 1990 he attended a World Supreme Council of Masajid Meeting in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and he also attended the Annual Organization of Islamic Conference. From March 8–20, 1990 W. Deen Mohammed and the 15 member delegation of Muslim American leaders and scholars he led to the Persian Gulf were given a State Visit of Saudi Arabia. While in Saudi Arabia he met with Crown Prince Abdullah and the late Sheik Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz, the General President of the Department of Academic Research, Ifta, Dawa and Guidance for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki the Secretary General of the World Muslim League and many other dignitaries and scholars. On June 30, 1990 he met with Nelson Mandela in Oakland, California and donated 85,000 to Mr. Mandela to aid his efforts to smash apartheid in South Africa on behalf of the Muslim American Community under his leadership.[46] On September 10, 1990 he participated in the International Conference on "Current Situation in the Gulf" and at this conference, he made his opposition to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait a matter of public record.[75] On September 23, 1990 he spoke at the 2nd General Assembly of the Continental Council of Masajid of North America.[76] Also in 1990 W. Deen Mohammed along with Muhammad Ali supported and endorsed Neil Hartigan for Governor of Illinois.[77]

In 1991 he led three delegations of Muslim Americans to Saudi Arabia to discuss and see up close the situation in the Persian gulf.[78] From January 15–21, 1991 he led a 21 member delegation to Saudi Arabia, were he met with the Mayor of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Saudi Arabia's minister of Defense Prince Sultan. From February 18–20, 1991 he attended and participated in The Convention on Jihad which was held at the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Warith Deen Mohammed gave the first invocation in the U.S. Senate ever by a Muslim in 1992[79] after touring and visiting the Pentagon from Feb. 5-6. Also on March 3 of that year he became the first Muslim to deliver an address on the floor of the Georgia State Legislature.[79]

In 1993 he spoke at a tribute luncheon hosting South African President Nelson Mandela;[80] Delivered an address to the Los Angeles, California, based World Affairs Council, which serves as host to outstanding world and national leaders and also 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.[81]

In March 1994 Imam Warith Deen Mohammed toured Sudan with the African American Friendship Delegation, while in the Sudan he met with Dr. Hassan 'Abd Allah al-Turabi also known as Hassan al-Turabi, Secretary General of the Popular Arab and Islamic conference and Rev. Dr. Lehman Bates, Executive officer of the African Health foundation.[46]

In 1995 Warith Deen Mohammed attended and participated in the Forbes Forum on Management in Naples, Florida.[46] Also in 1995 he was selected as a President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) and addressed its governing board in Copenhagen, Denmark.[55][82] As an International Humanitarian, He gave his support to the peacemaking and humanitarian efforts of Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia.[82]

On April 15, 1996 Dr. Mohammed Nuir Manuty, the President of the Muslim Youth Movement invited Mohammed to visit Malaysia. The Deputy Prime Minister and Mohammed met and he was interviewed on Malaysian National Television program "Good Morning Malaysia". His meeting with Dr. Manuty resulted in a Muslim American student exchange program, which lasted for several years.[83] On May 23, 1996 he participated in the National Discussion on Race & Reconciliation, this event was organized and sponsored by the National Press Club in Washington, DC by Hope in the Cities and its participants included but were not limited to U.S. Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey and U. S. Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr..[84] On December 1996, he led a delegation of American Muslims to Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, to take part in talks with Palestinian leader, President Yassir Arafat. Also in 1996 he was invited to Egypt by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to address the Supreme Council of Affairs in Cairo on the theme: "Islam and the Future of Dialogue between Civilizations."[85]

On January 1997, he was appointed to then President Bill Clinton's Religious Advisory Council under the auspices of the U.S. State Department.[85] On October 22, 1997 he attended a reception given in his honor at Masjidul An Nur of Minneapolis, Minn.. Among the 50 or so people present were Minnesota's Attorney General Skip Humphrey, son of the late Senator Hubert Humphrey, Minneapolis City Council members, educators, religious and civic leaders. He also met with Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton in her office.[86] From December 9–11, 1997 Mohammed attended the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Teheran, Iran. In attendance that year were the heads of Islamic states, including King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, King Hassan II of Morocco, King Hussein of Jordan and President Yasser Arafat of the West Bank.[87]

Warith Deen Mohammed attended and participated in The Religious Community and Moral Challenge of Poverty Round Table Discussion convened by former U. S. Senator Paul Simon from March 24–25, 1998 in Carbondale, Illinois. Forum was attended by over 25 religious leaders.[88]

During the month of November 1999 he attended Back to Back World Peace Conferences. The first conference, Jubilenium Interfaith Conference for World Peace, was held in Tiberias, Israel, November 20–23 and it was an invitation only conference; he met with Israeli official three days prior to the conference to exchange ideas about peace and its process. The second conference was the 7th World Assembly of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, held in Amman, Jordan, November 25–29, 1999.[89]

In 2000 Warith Deen Mohammed was appointed to the Executive Committee of Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP).[90]

On September 11, 2001 Mohammed, denounced the terrorist attacks on the United States as un-Islamic and evil.

On April 6, 2002, Mohammed was inducted as a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Preachers at Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA. Mohammed was honored with his portrait in the International Chapel of Morehouse College.[90] From June 12–15, 2002 as International President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, Mohammed was invited to attend an HIV/AIDS Conference in Kenya.

On Sat., Sept. 3, 2005, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) presented an award to W. Deen Mohammed in recognition of his outstanding leadership role in the American Muslim community at The Mosque Cares sponsored Annual Islamic Convention.[91]

Relations with Louis Farrakhan

A number of dissident groups resisted the changes in the Nation of Islam, most notably those who followed Louis Farrakhan in breaking ranks with Mohammed and reviving the name 'Nation of Islam' in 1981.[92]

Marking 70 years since the Nation of Islam was founded, on February 25, 2000 W.D. Mohammed and Farrakhan publicly embraced, and declared reconciliation, at the annual Saviours' Day convention.[93][94] Although the relationship between Warith Deen Mohammed and Minister Farrakhan had thawed by that February, as early as 1995, their relation was very cool because of the different directions they had taken in religion and politics.[95] Warith Deen Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan have been at odds since 1978 over a number of issues not related to Elijah Muhammad.[96] On August 10, 2007, in one of his final interviews before his death, Mohammed repeated his frustration with Farrakhan and the separatists stance of the current Nation of Islam.[97]

Mohammed declared that he accepts Farrakhan and the NOI as Muslim because they adopted the Friday Jum'ah prayer and the orthodox form of prostration prayer.[98]

Islamic Belief and Ideology

W. Deen Mohammad wrote over 30 books, delivered over 2000 lectures at Universities, Masajid, Churches etc. Almost all of his over 2000 lectures, were archived in the Muslim Journal Newspaper and almost all of his audio discs and DVDs or available for purchase or study.[99][100][101] His greatest wish was to complete a translation and tafsir (explanation) of the Holy Qur'an, and to do a commentary of the Bible. In an address on September 10, 1978, in Atlanta, Georgia he expressed the desire to write a comparison of the Bible and Qur'an and to work with the educators in the Muslim community on a Social Science text book for all grade levels - kindergarten through high School. On December 17–19, 1999 He began holding sessions during Ramadhan to expound on his unique Qur'anic tafsir.[102][103][104] His three day Ramadhan Sessions drew thousands.

Fiqh

Warith Deen Mohammed called for the establishment of a new school (Madhab) of Fiqh for America and the west: "We are going to have a school of fiqh and that school is raising up, or growing up right now with the growth of this community, under the leadership of your Imam and my Imam Warith Deen Muhammad. Yes, Imam Warith Deen Muhammad."[105]

In his last interveiw before his death he reiterated this belief to the ISLAMICA magazine: As a Sunni Muslim, you've never positioned yourself within any particular madhab. Do you follow any particular school and how, if at all, do you instruct your pupils about the madhab system?

IWDM: It's because, as I understand, the madhabs are geographically influenced. We are in a totally different geography in America. And I don't think we should adhere to any madhabs because those were influenced by their location and they are different based on their location. The Shafi school and the Maliki school in North Africa and the Wahhabi one in Saudi Arabia. Regions are supposed to develop these madhabs. I think we are gradually getting a sense of madhabs in America, especially those like me. We are getting a sense of madhabs. And with the coming generation I think that we will be getting a much stronger sense of it. It is coming more and more.[106]

Controversy

In an interview published in the Muhammad Speaks newspaper and conducted by his brother Jabir Herbert Muhammad, Mohammed described his role as successor to their father as that of a Mujeddid (Mujaddid),[107] one who would watch over the new Islam or community.[95][108] In 1976 He called for all African Americans (Bilalians) to change their names from the surname given to them by the Caucasian Slave Master.[38][109] In 1979 he used the title Mujeddid (Mujaddid) on his byline in his weekly Bilalian News (formerly, Muhammad Speaks Newspaper) articles.[110]

Mohammed has written about religious imagery and use of symbols. In a 1975 article, Mohammed explored the profound latent effects of images in religion.[29] In 1976 the Bilalain News (Muslim Journal) began carrying an article by him on the effects of racial imagery in religion "A Message of Concern," this article has ran in every copy of the Muslim Journal since.[111][112] On Saturday July 23, 1977 he engaged in a (debate) public forum discussion with Reverend Al Sampson, pastor of the Fernwood Mehtodist Church in Chicago, on Images in Religion and Racism. The event was billed as the "Color of Christ Community Forum." Also in a June 17, 1977 Jumuah, he taught on "The meaning of colors in Scripture and the Natural Powers of Black and White". In this talk (Khutbah) he described and explained ancient scriptural symbolism and its effect on modern-day scriptural and religious interpretation. He also elaborated on how colors in scripture have triggered racist influences in the religious societies.[29] In 1977 he formed the Committee for the Removal of All Images that Attempt to Portray the Divine (C.R.A.I.D.).[113][114]

Marriages (Polygamy) and family

Warith Deen Mohammed was married a total of 5 times, once legally to Shirley Muhammad and four Islamic marriages. He has had a total of nine children with his succeeding wives.[115] His first wife was Shirley Mohammed, with whom he had four children (Laila, Warith II, Ngina and Saudi, the latter who preceded him in death).[115]

Imam Mohammed's eldest child Laila Mohammed, confessed that Warith Deen did pratice polygamy.[116]

After his first wife Shirley, he married Lorraine and had two children by her. He then married Thelma and had three children by her. Next he married Binah Mohammed, June 16, 1993.[citation needed]

He finally married Khadijah Siddeeq, who was 20 years old at the time, 50 years younger than Mohammed, and they remained married for four years up until his death.[117] The distribution of his estate is being challenged by Shirley and many of his children.[118]

The family is currently in probate court over rights to the estate.[117]

Last years

At the time of his death, W.D. Mohammed was the leader of The Mosque Cares, an Islamic evangelization group, and a business called the CPC (Collective Purchasing Conference). His lectures were published weekly in the Muslim Journal newspaper, where his videos and audio tapes were also listed. Mohammed had a syndicated television program, 'W. Deen Mohammed and Guests, heard locally and nationally on the World Wide Web broadcast of "Imam W. Deen Mohammed" in over 100 cities. A member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques and the Peace Council, he was an international president of the World Conference of Religion and Peace. His estimated 2.5 million "students", formerly with the Nation of Islam and new converts, have accepted traditional Islam.[119]

W.D. Mohammed died in Chicago on September 9, 2008, the 9th day of Ramadan, of heart disease and complications from diabetes.[120] His Janazah was held at Islamic Foundation in Villa Park, Illinois on September 11, 2008 and it was attended by thousands from all over American. According to the Final Call Newspaper: The Janazah prayer service was delayed for close to an hour as the huge crowd that had assembled could be organized and situated.[121][122][123] The Amir of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Dr. Khurshid Khan said that he had lost a close friend and a mentor. "It is a very sad day today for the American Muslims. Imam W.D. Mohammed was a great leader and Da’ee of Islam. He will not only be missed by his family but by all the Muslims of America," said Dr. Khan.[121]

Legacy and honors

  • In 1975 he led the largest mass conversion to Islam in the history of the United States of America, when he led the Lost Found Nation of Islam in the West to mainstream Islam.[124]
  • On October 30, 1977 He received the Key to the City of Detroit, Michigan from the then Mayor of Detroit Coleman Young, along with a Proclamation declaring October 30, 1977 Wallace D. Muhammad Day in Detroit.[63]
  • Selected by Ebony Magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential Black Americans in 2002.[125]
  • On February 26, 2010, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, and Mayor Bing of Detroit issued proclamations marking February 26 as Imam Warith Deen Mohammed Day.
  • Walter P. Reuther Humanitarian Award
  • 1992, 1993 - President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt honored Warith Deen Mohammed with "The Gold Medal of Recognition" for his religious work in the United States.[126]
  • 1994 - Cup of Compassion award from Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut on December 9, 1994
  • 1997 - Focolare Movement "Luminosa Award for Unity"[127]
  • 1999 - United States Department of State: Certificate of Appreciation, awarded on May 17, 1999[128]
  • 2003 - Mohammed received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the Internet Islamic University in New York City
  • 2003 - Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore, Maryland awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters
  • 2005 - Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Leadership Award
  • In eulogizing Warith Deen Mohammed on CNN blogs, Ahmed Rehab Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago, called him "America's Imam."[7]

Publications

Books authored

  • The Teachings of W. D. Muhammad, Muhammad's Mosque #2, Chicago, Illinois, 1975
  • The Lectures of Emam W. D. Muhammad, Muhammad's Mosque #2, Chicago, Illinois, 1976
  • Book of Muslim Names, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Mosque #2, Chicago, Illinois, February 1976
  • The Man and the Woman in Islam, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Mosque #2, Chicago, Illinois, February 1976
  • As the Light Shineth from the East, W.D.M. Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1980
  • Prayer and Al-Islam, Muhammad Islamic Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, 1982, Library of Congress Card Number: 82-61077
  • Religion on the Line, W.D.M. Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1983
  • Imam W. Deen Muhammad speaks form Harlem, N.Y. Book 1, W. D. M. Publications, 1984
  • Imam W. Deen Muhammad speaks form Harlem, N.Y.: Challenges That Face Man Today Book 2, 1985
  • Meeting The Challenge: Halal Foods for Our Everyday Needs, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Masjid, Chicago, Illinois, 1986
  • An African American Genesis, M.A.C.A. Publication Fund, Chicago, Illinois, 1986, Library of Congress Card Number: 86-63266
  • Focus on Al-Islam: Interviews with Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Zakat Publications, Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 1988, Library of Congress Card Number: 89-090728
  • Al-Islam: Unity, and Leadership, The Sense Maker, Chicago, Illinois, 1991, Library of Congress Card Number: 91-061449, ISBN 1-879698-00-5
  • Worst Oppression Is False Worship "The Key Is Tauheed-Oneness of Allah," W.D.M. Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1991
  • Growth for a Model Community in America, W.D.M. Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1995
  • Islam's Climate for Business Success, The Sense Maker, Chicago, Illinois, 1995, Library of Congress Card Number: 95-071105, ISBN 1-879698-01-3
  • Mohammed Speaks, W.D.M. Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1999
  • Blessed Ramadan - The Fast of Ramadan
  • Plans for a Better Future: Peace, Inclusion and International Brotherhood
  • The Schemes Of Satan the Enemy of Man
  • The Champion We Have In Common: The Dynamic African American Soul Books 1, 2, 3, & 4, The Mosque Cares Publications, August 2005
  • A Time for Greater Communities Vol. 1-4
  • Securing our Share of Freedom
  • Prayer in al-Islam, A Learner's Guide w/Instructional CD, WDM Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 2007
  • Return to Innocence: Transitioning of the Nation of Islam, The Sense Maker, Chicago, Illinois, 2007
  • Life The Final Battlefield, W.D.M. Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 2008

Pamphlets

  • A Look At W. Deen Mohammed: Muslim American Spokesman for Human Salvation, A Ministry of W. Deen Mohammed Publication, Chicago, Illinois, 1993

Video and Audio Presentations

  • Imam W. Deen Mohammed: "Systems of Knowledge", Muslim News Magazine, recorded as a television special by MNM during the 1994 Islamic Convention in Washington, DC. This historic classroom lecture was delivered in front of more than 200 Imams and scholars at the Renaissance Hotel. "Systems of Knowledge" is a powerful classroom presentation on the essence of Quranic Arabic and it's meaning to all mankind. This presentation marked the first and only time that Imam Mohammed allowed camera’s into one of his private Imam classes. RT: 60 Minutes. 1994.

References

  1. ^ a b Wall Street Journal, Vol. CIV, NO. 6, Friday, July 9, 1999
  2. ^ a b c d e f http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/john_esposito/2008/09/wd_mohammed_a_witness_for_true.html
  3. ^ The Emergence of Islam in the African-American Community
  4. ^ a b "Warith Deen Mohammed", This Far By Faith, Public Broadcasting Service.
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