A call to unity energizes Islamic prayer serviceBy Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Jun 25, 2014 - 10:07:08 AM
PHILADELPHIA—Hundreds attended the first Jumu’ah prayer service at Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence here June 20. With that historic unity prayer service, Masjidullah has now become the de facto grand masjid serving as a place for unity amongst the religious communities of Philadelphia and a community landmark, since it is now the largest masjid in the Delaware Valley region.
The khutbah (sermon) for the traditional Islamic prayer service was delivered by Imam Siraj Wahhaj who leads Masjid At-Taqwa in Brooklyn, New York, and is a prominent leader within Black America’s Muslim community.
“I believe years from now, people around the country will bear witness of what happens this weekend. You may not see it now, you may not appreciate it now, but in time, it will manifest,” said Imam Wahhaj.
“We must reconcile our differences. The best reconciliation is to be brothers,” Imam Wahhaj continued, “and if you are going to reconcile, you have to be patient,” he added.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj was once Jeffrey 12X and a member of the Nation of Islam in New York. The fact that many Muslims in America were introduced to Islam through the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad shows the potential of true brotherhood among Muslims is possible and being practiced in America. In fact, he talked about how as a five-year old boy in the Fort Green projects in Brooklyn, he had a nemesis who he would regularly fight with. Decades later, once he became the leader of Masjid At-Taqwa, he found out the brother he used to fight with later became a Muslim and would be one of his assistants in the mosque. The same man raised sons to be Muslims and other members his family became followers of Islam.
“Don’t just talk brotherhood, live it!” said Imam Wahhaj.
It is important that Muslims in the United States of America reject the sectarianism and division that has engulfed the rest of the Muslim world. Most notably in Iraq, Shiite and Sunni Muslims are killing each other, he said.
“It is absolutely against the religion of Islam to force people to believe,” he said.
Afterwards life-long Philadelphia resident Amir Anwar Bey, 29, said all of the different Muslims coming together from all around the country, and representing different aspects of Islam, shows the potential impact of a united Muslim community.
“It was powerful. It was an awesome khutbah, and he dropped some powerful nuggets that I know will cause brothers’ and sisters’ hearts to soften,” he said.
“It was beautiful to see both communities together,” said Shahida Muhammad. “He talked about patience and understanding and about striving to unite despite differences. It showed me that we can put our differences aside and come together. I felt a spirit of unity and love.”