Why Imam W. Deen Muhammad Resigned As Resident Imam Of Masjid Elijah Muhammad
(Editor's note: The following statement was issued December 7, 1986, at Masjid Elijah Muhammad in Chicago by Imam W. Deen Muhammad.)
First of all, my concern is that we don't allow our lives to be limited by organization. Organization can limit our lives, and I want to let my actions demonstrate to you my belief in minimum organization and maximum freedom for the individual. The least organization that we can possibly have is the best, in my opinion. The more organization you have, the more freedom you are going to take from people.
As long as I'm here, people will look at this (Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad) as some kind of headquarters or central place for decisions and everything. It has changed, it is not as serious a need as it was years ago, but it still exists somewhat.
I also want reality to come to this masjid. And given the support that we have here, we don't need all of the facilities and attention that we are asking for. We'd be better off if Allah blesses us to keep our real estate and facilities. It would be better if we sold these things, converted them to cash and put them into a trust for Clara Muhammad School, than for us to have property just for show, and as an invitation for crooks to come in and exploit us. That's what I hope will come about one day. Ill hope we get these things in manageable control, where it will reflect what's real here, and not this exaggerated thing.
Also, my purpose is to free myself so I will be able to propagate, teach and demonstrate in my life the excellence of Muslim life. I want to preach the da'wah, preach the religion, so more people can hear it, without any unnecessary ties, because believe me, the enemy can hurt our work.
And if I see our work, I see it coming from Imam Warithud-din Muhammad. It's coming from all of us, but mainly from Imam Warithuddin Muhammad.
Now, you may not agree with me, and you don't have to, but I see our work coming from Imam Warithuddin Muhammad.
The enemy can hurt our work if he ties the worker up with risk situations. So, I am a preacher of the religion.
If I am the resident Imam of Chicago's mosque, who knows what's going to happen next week? Some brother close to us may hit the newspapers and television by doing something terrible and it will reflect on me, right? And you know what kind of risk situation I'm in if I'm the leader of all these masajid. Because of all the stuff that might possibly come out of those places, they'll say, 'Here's where he's the leader of,' although I'm not guilty of it and had no part in it whatsoever. But my image will be hurt because of my association.
I'm not doing this in my own interests, don't think I will ever move in my own interests. I move in what I think is good for this religion, under Allah, number one, the Sunnah of the Prophet, and what is good for the people that I am with, or around. That's what I consider, and I'm convinced that I should not be responsible for any organization. Prophet Muhammad was never responsible for an organization. He refused that responsibility. He told them, 'I'm no regulator of your affairs. Each one has to be responsible for their own affairs.' His responsibility was just to give them the information or the tools to work with. They were responsible for how they selected and used those tools, etc.
This organization thing is something that came up during democracy. As democracy grew, the encouragement of organizations grew. That's so they can watch what you're doing. The more organization, the worse off you are.
I Favor Committees
I favor committees and working together, but nothing that gives an organizational image to the religion. No, don't do that. That's priesthood. Priesthood is an organization under priests.
So now I read this letter, and I hope everybody takes this in good spirits; don't act like this is a funeral. Allah blessed me to see a good way out, a path toward brighter light and more opportunity. We make a statement and everybody acts like there's a funeral gping on or something.
Letter Of Resignation
Wallace D. or Warithuddin Muhammad, hereby on this wonderful occasion on this wonderful date, December 7, 1986, do resign from the position of Imam and leader, and all administrative duties of said position of Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad, located in Chicago, Illinois. No one has the authority, expressed or implied to hold me out as an Imam or leader of Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad, or any other masjid. Nor do I have or hold any administrative duties for any masjid or mosque. This resignation is to take effect immediately.
Your brother and friend,
Praise be to Allah. Watch better things happen. Just give us a few months and you're going to see better things happen. Thank you very much, we hope you've gotten something out of the Taleem. I look forward to seeing you next time. But next time, I have to get an invitation because I'm no more the resident Imam here. But as long as I'm in town, I accept to be invited here anytime. As-Salaam-Alaikum.