Imam W. Deen Muhammad
QUESTION: It is reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that we Muslims should live everyday as though it is our last.
WDM: Now that's the end of the quote that they give here. However, this is just half of the quote. Prophet Muhammad says also, live everyday as though you're going to live forever and as though you're going to die on that same day. He says live the day as though you're going to live on and on, and live the day as though you're going to die that day — that will be the last day — that's the full quote from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
QUESTION (Cont. from above): With all due respect to our current leader. Imam W. Deen Muhammad, I would like to inquire about how the next leader will be chosen? I assumed that leadership would be kept within the blood line of Elijah Muhammad as in the tradition of a royal family of Saudi Arabia; or would it be decided in a political manner with voting? I believe an assurance to this would eliminate dissension in the future.
WDM: Let's look to the order of a Muslim society as to how leaders come into positions of leadership.
Prophet Muhammad sayswe never accept, for a position of leadership, the person seeking it. If we never accept the person to leadership who is seeking that position then that eliminates anyone coming up saying: "I would like to be the Imam over this masjid." We're not to accept him.
How then are we going to choose an Imam of the masjid? How are we going to get an Imam for this masjid?
Prophet Muhammad hassaid that the people should choose their leader — and he gave us the rules. Choose the leader based on his character and on his ability. Not just his character, but, when it comes to sacrificing one or the other, we are to choose the one with good character and turn down the one with the good ability that doesn't have good character.
We should choose people on the basis of experience, training and knowledge; how to do the job, and on character.
That's the ideal person wewant, one who has both good character and know-how.
Again, I have to repeat this. When it comes to choosing between good character and know-how, we choose the one with good character and pray that God will bless him with experience, knowledge as he goes.
Now the Islamic society is democratic. If anything should happen to a leader, the-people — the majority of the good people not just anybody — it's not like this society where anybody or everybody participates in the selection of a leader or the nominating of a leader that's in public life.
In Islamic life, that's not the case. The persons whom we respect, who vote or select or nominate a leader are those persons who have good character and they are known in their community to be honorable people.
It is the honorable membership, the decent, honorable membership who have lived true to their religion — they don't just say they're Muslims, their life reflects their religion. Those are the persons whose votes we are to respect. And, if the majority of those persons get together and select a leader, we are to respect that leader.
If something should happen to me: if I should be hospitalized or something; or should have to leave the country for a long time or even be locked up or die — who know's? I hope none of these things will happen soon. I do hope to die one day. I don't want to live forever.
But if any of these things should happen, then the Muslims are to remember the democratic order of Al-Islam. They are to get together and the majority of them select the new person. They should be people who practice the religion, not just people who say they are Muslims, but people known to be honorable. And whenthe majority of honorable people select a leader, we are to accept him, if he is Muslim.