Imam W. Deen Muhammad
QUESTION: By calling people hypocrites and using the Holy Quran to whip people instead of uplifting them, are we, in effect, taking the life of a Muslim? — Detroit, Mich.
IMAM: No, I don't think so. No one can take a life but Allah. If a Muslim permits himself to become despondent or dispirited just because someone is shouting abusive language or making negative comments regarding people's faith or people's trust or whatever — if we allow that to weaken us and kill our spirit, we were really weak to start with.
In fact, false accusations coming at a believer make a believer stronger. He then has the obligation to prove that untrue.
Now I admit there are some of us who are too negative. Often I have to tell some believer, "You are talking all about the 'minuses' and you haven't mentioned a single 'plus' in all of this time you have been talking to me. You should get away from that."
So I, myself, in privacy, have cautioned certain believers not to be so negative. Perhaps some of us come across like that. Maybe at times when I give a khutbah and I'm railing on the hypocrites, on those who come among us to undermine to good work, perhaps 1 come across as one who is too negative — sometimes I have to be aware of that.
I check myself, you know. I say, well I spent an hour here on the negative note, and I better balance this a little bit. I better get on some positive note.
Occasionally I "look back at my talks." I'll review my talks for the last week or for the last month or so and try to see what spirit they were carrying. If I find that those talks carried a lot of negative, a lot of criticism, then what I do is kind of balance that and try to make up for it by giving talks that inspire the people to look up to better things, to have hope and faith and to love each other.
So I would say we Imams have to be aware of that, and we appreciate the writer giving us a question like that because it just makes us more mindful while attending the needs of this community, and being aware that sometimes we can become too negative and create a bad spirit or a dead spirit in the community.