World Muslim News
Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
In this column Imam Warith Deen Muhammad answers questions directly from our readers
QUESTION: Would you describe the factors or give the reasons why Malcolm left the Nation of Islam, and why you decided to name the masjid in New York after him?
— Benton Harbor, Mich.
(Continued from last week)
Malcolm did break with the Nation of Islam, but those circumstances that I have just mentioned (last week) and others caused him to break. The reason for him breaking, the main reason, I think, was because he had to continue to work, and he felt that there was no more opportunity for him to work inside the Nation of Islam.
He had to work because that was his life. He had a compulsion, almost, to work in the capacity that he was in. With no opportunity within the Nation of Islam, he made the decision that he would have to work independently.
He discussed with me his idea to establish a mosque and other political movements. I don't know if he used the term political movement but that's what it amounted to, to me. You might call it a civil movement and a mosque combined. He invited me to head the mosque operation. I felt that his Islamic intentions were good -- I don't care to criticize his political intentions at this point.
I didn't accept his political idea myself because at that time I didn't see a political need separate from the Islamic need. I felt that all political needs could be satisfied within the concept of the religion, so I didn't join his political movement.
I didn't accept his offer to head the mosque either because I saw a lot of desperation due to the need to establish himself quickly.
I felt that after that period of desperation was over maybe the situation would be calm enough for us to discuss the matter and make more wiser decisions.
My reason for advising that we name the masjid after him was my belief then and now that his contribution to the community was so great that it would hurt us to leave him out of our history