On Structure, Order, and Contact
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad's masjid lecture in Miami, Fla., in late 1979.)
"What is the organizational structure of the masjid? What is the role of the Review Board in relationship to the leadership of the Imam?"
The Imam is the final authority in the masjid. But that Imam should represent the majority in that masjid. Any time he does not, the Imam should be replaced by the Council unless the majority voice is found to be un-Islamic.
There are two principles in the religion that we are to use to resolve differences and problems: we consult and discuss the matter with those among us who have better understanding; we are also to respect the judgment or will of the majority. But someone has to have the last word. In such cases this is the Imam, with authority given us in Quran and the Sunnah.
As long as the majority in the masjid supports the Imam, he has the last word. But the Imam shouldn't be insensitive. He shouldn't be a demagogue.
The Imam should welcome your contributions, your advice and your criticism. As long as you have that kind of Imam, most likely you won't have problems the will of the majority should be known and respected when it is Islamic. The Imam will invite the majority to express its will.
Don't try to make decisions in areas where you don't have knowledge.
The organizational structure can be only that of Imam as administrative head and the body as supportive, representative of our Islamic way of life.
If the Imam is the only person in the administrative head, the people themselves are a check on that Imam.
As the membership grows, an intelligent Imam will begin to include other people in the administrative body because one person can't handle all the administrative decisions. If it grows too big for one assistant, he will get a committee or a board. Some people in masjid with only 14 people want an Imam, a decision-making board, five committees, a review board, and a supreme council.
"A non-Muslim suggested that Bilalian News should have the beliefs of the Muslims in it somewhere?"
You keep reading it you'll find that in a lot of places. I guess what they want is "What the Muslims Want and Believe." They don't have enough room in Bilalian News to write what I want and what I believe.
"There are two Brothers incarcerated in New York, allegedly for the murder of Imam Malik Shabazz. Is it fitting for us to come forth in their behalf if we have some information?"
Yes, anyone who has any evidence to prove the innocence of those Brothers who are serving time in prison is morally obligated as a human being, and even more so as a Muslim, to go and give that evidence to the court.
"Regarding Muslims that are elected to public office what direction should they take to help the propagation of Al-Islam?"
If they are qualified for those high positions, they will know. We don't have to tell them.
"Should Believers of the WCIW participate in demonstrations in support of Imam Khomeini?"
Yes, if you're in Iran. He doesn't need any support over here, he needs support in Iran. We need support over here demonstrating high morals, human dignity and for jobs to dignify our family life instead of welfare.
"Considering that our young boys and girls desire to go to college, and there are so few Muslims in college and the colleges are so wild and oft times immoral, do you think it wise that we try to identify a few colleges in the United States and suggest that our Muslim children go where they would have strong representation of Muslims to help create a positive environment while they are attempting to gain higher education?"
Yes, I agree with that a hundred per cent. But, while we are identifying, I think we should look first in our own state. I don't think we have to look in as big an area as the whole United States. Most states have some pretty decent colleges.
Look for the college that best suits the academic needs of the student whether it's in your own area or outside and pick the best environment for the student. That's the best we can do.
I think a member of this community that really becomes a Believer in Allah, the Quran, and is a follower of Prophet Muhammad who understands and accepts my leadership can stand up to those bad morals on the campuses better than other students. And maybe they will be an influence on the campus to correct that kind of thing.
Let's not always run from trouble. Let us feel that we have enough protection from Allah and enough intelligence to correct these situations.
Let us be an influence for correcting these conditions on these campuses.