Imam W. Deen Muhammad
QUESTION: One of the most recent Islamic publications on the market is "Prayer and Al-Islam." It carries your name as being the author. Recently there have been some questions as to the proper use of this book and your input into the book itself? - Chicago, 111.
IMAM: Yes, Well, first we should accept it as a good book, because it is.
The prayer book is an excellent work and it has, I think, a very thorough coverage of the subject matter — the Islamic teachings on prayer. That's the first matter.
Now, we do have some concern because we want people to make decisions in the open, in the light. We don't want them to be in the dark when they try to make decisions.
Many people, we know, will support the distribution or sales of a publication for many reasons, not just for the sake of getting the information in the book in their hands. Many will support it because they want to treasure something — a book that the Imam's name is on might be one reason, a reason that will be most likely stirring the people more than that is will be financial support for the community.
They say, "Well, this is the Imam's book, we have to support our community," In the case with this book, it's not quite that way.
This book is produced by a foundation headed by my brother, Jabir. The selection of materials to go into the book was not my choice, it was his choice.
I think he's done an excellent work, in fact, I myself, would have liked to produce a similar book. All the materials he selected that didn't come directly from me are the very same materials I would have selected if I had the opportunity or the means to do that.
But to say that I am satisfied with my own comments that the book carries on prayer—no, I can't say that. They are good comments, but I'm not satisfied.
I hope, one day, to do a prayer book myself, and my brother mentioned in the book that I promised my father that I would do a prayer book.
In fact, my father didn't ask me to do any book, but I mentioned to him that I had a desire to write a prayer book and a guide book for members under his leadership, and he welcomed both and encouraged me to do it.
So I'm still not satisfied because, as I say, we're in transition — our language is in transition. I have gone through a personal experience of spiritual and religious transition within my own self and I feel that it's just here very recently that I could say, "Well, I think I have settled and I know now exactly what this community is going to look like from now on."
So I would just like to free people from any obligation to our community or to me to purchase the book out of sentiments or out of a desire to financially support the masjid, the American Muslim Mission. The money will go to the Muhammad Islamic Foundation, headed by Jibir Muhammad, and a good percentage of that money will go to build the masjid on 47th Street.
I was offered $2 per copy on each book that's sold. I refused to accept that as a contribution to myself and I asked that it come to Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but Jabir insisted that it come to me personally. So then I said, "Well, what about it going to your new masjid construction? I would like for it to go to the new masjid construction that you are building?!" He accepted that.