Let’s Know Freedom Again: Part 1
Question and Answer Session Muslim Community Members Special Gathering Detroit, Mich., July 8, 1995
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
First let me say that I have accepted the special gathering here today, but personally I don't feel that there is a real urgent need to have this type of gathering. I believe that your better informed and more qualified, in terms of character too, persons among you are qualified to conduct such a meeting as this with you and answer questions and resolve problems or matters that you are being burdened by right now.
Most of the questions I have on one list are questions that I've already addressed at one time or another. And, the questions that I'm looking at right now, I will respond to and some of the others. Again I think that this is no real serious matter. I think that we exaggerate our own problems. People are people, humans are humans; we're going to have faults; no one is perfect.
You are not going to have a perfect community where everyone is just doing everything right. That won't happen, it won't be except in heaven. We shouldn't expect that and we should learn to love each other in spite of our problems, to tolerate each other, to bare with each other, to care about each other and to assist each other. This is a decent religious community; people will want to do that.
Q: "Imams are worried about who will be the new Imam over the New Masjid and school when it is built."
IWDM: Well, I'm worried too because I don't see anybody yet. But, we pray that Allah will show us somebody. Maybe it is someone among you and maybe you will be the person that is qualified for that, but we don't know yet. I don't think we should let that bother us. But I think in time you will be able to appoint an Imam. So, don't worry about that now. Those of you who are qualified, improve your qualifications. Our prophet (PBUH) said: "We do not accept to put in the position persons seeking the position." We appoint people to the position. I think we should obey that.
Q: "Muslims have a strong dislike for Muslims in different Masajid."
IWDM: I don't think that's true. But, if that's the case we should want to know why.
Q: "Muslims act like they have special turf. No one should come into their area. The main problem is Muslims can't get along and can't work together."
IWDM: Muslim's character is not to be the character of the days of ignorance. Anyone thinking that his territory is his and others shouldn't come into that without his permission, that person and those who think that way resemble the gangs in the days of jahiliyah time, and the prophet had to bring into a community of Muslims a fellowship, the brotherhood of Islam. They were believing the same way. If you read the history, a Pakistani scholar well known throughout the world, Maulana Maududi, well respected throughout the world, has written about this. He described that time and said that a tribe would have their chief and would be bossing a certain territory and in order for you to pass through that territory, you had to get permission from the bosses of that clan or that tribe.
Well, if we've got to get permission to come in and out of your area and we are citizens of the United States and a citizen of the United States is supposed to be able to go into any city or neighborhood he wants - you are setting up an illegal law, a pirate's law, a gangster's law and we would be stupid to accept it. We are not only free Muslims, we are free citizens of this country and that kind of attitude, if you try to enforce it, we can have you arrested. That's what I would do if any one tried to stop me from going anywhere in the United States. I'm going to deal with you as the criminal that you are. Well, you're still following the days of ignorance: "Who sent you here? Who gave you permission to visit us?" All of that to me is really a gangster's make up, and I know you all and you're no gangsters.
We had some real gangsters to deal with when I became the leader and Allah gave us the victory over them. I'm strongly against this kind of attitude. You should welcome people wherever they come from. If you don't know anything bad about them, no one has any proof against their character, you shouldn't question them at all. If they give you the greetings, you should welcome them and be happy that they are visiting your masjid. And if they can bring you help, you should be happy to receive the help if you need it.
Q: "Each masjid has problems with believers who leave their masjid and go to another."
IWDM: Well, I can understand that. Who wants their following to go to another masjid and support another Imam and make their zakat at another place? Nobody wants that. But again, you should study that problem and you should want to know why. There is no compulsion in religion. You can't compel anyone to stay with you. You have to make them feel comfortable and want to stay with you. This is a free society and Islam is a (democratic) free way too. If no one wants to stay with you or be bothered with you, then they don't have to. If you are losing people, you should try to look at your own self and look at the environment you have there for them and improve upon that environment, improve upon your own performance so that you will attract people to come and stay.
You know, some people are not qualified for certain positions and they will stay in a position that they are not qualified for forever. Instead of recognizing that they have better qualifications for some other position in some other area, they punish others by holdingonto what they are really not qualified for. First of all an Imam must love people. If you don't love people, how can you be an Imam? An Imam should love brothers, sisters, women, men, children, old people - you should love people. That is your first qualification. If you don't really love people and want to be kind to people and want to be helpful to people, you are not qualified to be an Imam. The Prophet said of all of us: "Never will we get into paradise until we have faith ... never will we have faith until we have love for each other."
Q: On life support - if a patient, your relative or your friend is on life support and the doctors have given up and say that nothing can be done further for this patient, they see no way to save him and the patient is showing no improvement, not responding mentally what should you do in this case?
IWDM: To me that is a personal decision. My personal position is that if I am paying for technology to keep a person alive that I know would die if they were not getting that technological support, I think that may not only be wrong sometimes, I think that might be cruel. That's my personal opinion. But if there is any hope at all that that person can live, I say that it would be seriously wrong for you not to do everything you can for that person. The administration has heard from the doctors and their position is that there is nothing that can be done for that patient and there is no mental response and the doctors say their judgment is that they don't expect any change, you would be keeping them on the life support with no hope, I would say take off the life support and let the person die.
Q: Regarding donating organs to your relatives or persons who would need the organs or to an institution so they will have those organs for persons who will need them?
IWDM: This in my opinion is un-Islamic. If a person is killed in an accident and the body is mangled and the person had no say so at all in that and the institution got the organs and used them, I don't think that we should agree that organs should be passed from one human being to another.
There are few exceptions: "I know that it is un-Islamic to keep the dead body out of the ground. We should only touch a dead body under orders of a court or we should only touch a dead body under orders of a court or to wash it and bury it as soon as possible. We should never preserve the body, and, therefore, Muslims can't make a decision to donate the organs of a dead relative because it would involve the doctors preserving and cutting on the body.
Q: However, if your son or daughter needed a kidney, would you agree to a transplant to save their life? If a Muslim is dying, is he allowed to eat haram in order to survive? If I am living and I make the decision to donate a kidney in order to save the life of my brother, is this un-Islamic? Should I let him die knowing that an operation could save him? Or is this an example of doing everything possible to help the patient live?" NGina
(This is good logic. WDM)
Q: What about Birth control?
IWDM: This is an un-lslamic practice. The rhythm method: if a sister knows when she cannot be made pregnant and she chooses with her husband to practice that
kind of control, I don't see anything wrong with that. Here is what we have to be aware of. Islam is not a religion that says whatever nature wants, let it happen. Sometimes nature wants us to sleep out in the cold, but you have your good senses and you go where it is warm. Sometimes nature says: "Jump from his high tower into a pool, it will be a thrill." But, you've got your good senses, don't do it especially if you don't know if you will survive that or not. So, sometimes nature bids us to do things that are very dangerous. Don't think that we are to obey nature blindly. We respect nature; we obey intelligence. We obey God's guidance.
Nature does not preserve all of the life germ. Nature wastes the life germ, understand that in dreams, in sleep etc... Where are those potential babies? We are adults here and I hope you're not offended. So, when you're trying to make judgment on a matter don't close your eyes to everything. Try to see the full picture. When you look at the full picture, you see that nature itself is losing a lot of the life. This is the way of God. That is why we should seek guidance from the Qur'an, from the higher authority, from God and from our prophets.
Our prophet was a very rational, very considerate person. He wasn't bull headed. He wasn't stubborn in his opinions. He was the prophet of God, God gave him revelation, guidance, and if he was asked something and he thought someone had experience or knowledge about it, he would consult others. That's the kind of person he was, so let us try to be that way. Let us try to be not so stiff, not so dogmatic, not so opinionate, not so rigid, not so inhuman. Let us try to be like the prophet, a human man, a human person.
Some people are looking for pain or punishment. They say: "This life is too easy; should I be eating all these things? This is too much. I think I'm going to cut out all meats, I don't have to have meat. I'm going to cut out all sweets. I don't need any sweets. I'll cut out vegetables. I don't need any vegetables." After a while they've cut out so much that they look like they're cut out of humanity. Allah addresses this in the Qur'an. Allah says: "And God did not authorize the forbidding of all the things they forbid themselves."
(To be continued)