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Reconciliation is the commandment of Allah

By Jehron Muhammad | Last updated: Oct 14, 2014 - 9:35:03 PM

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Imam Siraj Wahaj and Jehron Muhammad
PHILADELPHIA ( - “Reconciliation,” among Muslims, said Brooklyn-based and renowned Imam Siraj Wahaj, “is the commandment of Allah. Allah wants us to do it.”

There is a “compelling (enough) reason” as to why we should put our hands together with the Nation of Islam, said the imam during a message delivered at a traditional Friday congregational prayer service known as Jumu’ah.

September 5-7 marked the beginning of an important “Reconciliation Conference: Next Steps,” which was a follow-up to the June 21 inspiring message from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, at an historic pre-Ramadan banquet speech heard by Muslims from many different communities. It was an important show of unity and a desire for reconciliation with the community led by Imam W.D. Mohammed before his passing.

During the Friday Jumu’ah service here at Masjidullah, Imam Wahaj spoke openly of his love for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and how, for many, the fullness of what the patriarch taught is just beginning to be fully comprehended.

He discussed the Holy Qur’an, the revelation of Allah, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the importance of considering the “context” under which each verse of the Qur’an was revealed.

Those seated here represent many area Islamic houses of worship and the N.O.I.’s influence in urban America is without comparison, he said. “Their ability to talk to the masses of the people, Minister Farrakhan’s ability to relate to brothers and sisters, to relate to the people … (in ways) many of the Sunni Muslims can’t. What is it that they have that the Sunni Muslims are missing?”

Imam Wahaj, whose beginning in Islam dates back to the late 1960s at Mosque No. 7 in New York, added, “what is it that the Sunni Muslims have that may be missing” from the members of the N.O.I.? “Put them (both) together and brothers and sisters, I’m telling you the whole world would change,” he said.

The imam said he has a renewed appreciation for the Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s historic book, “Message To The Blackman.” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad had put in his followers a kind of time capsule that at an appointed time would go off and bear fruit, he continued. There was something about the Nation that “kept eating at me,” he said. Your argument with Mr. Muhammad is really about strategy, he said. Mr. Muhammad was a strategist and his book is “exquisite strategy of the highest level,” the imam continued.

Toward the end of his book Mr. Muhammad wrote, in a chapter titled, “Authority From Allah, None Other,” that “We are the brother of the Muslims not only of Arabia but from all over the entire world, wherever one is found.”

Declaring to the world that he has never been under the authority of “the Muslims of Saudi, Arabia,” the Hon. Elijah Muhammad said, “There is no such thing as that you will see coming from the Muslim world a representative to tell me and my followers in America to stop teaching what we are teaching.” 

The imam said Mr. Muhammad deliberately isolated the N.O.I. from the rest of the Muslim world. “In 1930 there are two circumstances that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is dealing with. He’s dealing with the conditions of Black people … also dealing with the circumstances of the Muslim Ummah.”

The Muslims in the Middle East, even with the benefit of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, were bending under the weight of Europe’s colonial powers, the imam said. Imam Wahaj said Mr. Muhammad didn’t want the N.O.I. following after the world of Islam which, in many cases, remains under the influence of Western powers. In the East today, Muslims are killing one another and divided and under the influence of America, he said. They have deviated from the path of Prophet Muhammad, he said. The Muslims whose Islam is rooted in Elijah Muhammad have had differences but have never fought and killed one another, he noted. We can be an example for the world of Islam which needs to be reformed, the imam said.

Mr. Muhammad was also dealing with the sickness of Black people who hated themselves, needed to have that mindset uprooted and his teachings did that, the imam continued. Muslims from the community of Elijah Muhammad have a strong sense of identity and do not try to mimic other cultures, he said. The teachings of Elijah Muhammad reformed Black people and made them want to be themselves and to be good Muslims, not imitations of others, the imam said.

When Muslims in New York thwarted drug dealers who were besieging a community, it was because they never forgot the training of the Fruit of Islam in the N.O.I., he said.

“Message to the Black Man” also contains references to the Sunnah, or practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), passages from the Holy Qur’an, calls the Qur’an the best book—and says we should read an Arabic Qur’an to gain a full understanding, the imam said.

Throughout his sermon he stressed the importance of taking another “look at the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” his books and stressed the importance of studying the 18th chapter of the Qur’an, which includes the story of Al-Kidra and Moses. Prophet Muhammad recommended reading this chapter once per week, he said.

The chapter titled “The Cave” includes this “mysterious” man who has confounded the scholars and who Allah blessed with more knowledge than Moses, one of the greatest prophets ever, said Imam Wahaj.

To appreciate what happened, you’d have to understand the context, he continued. Jews say Moses is the greatest of all prophets, according to Imam Wahaj, “because God spoke to Moses face-to-face, even as a man speaketh to his own brother.” Allah revealed to Moses that there is not one messenger who is custodian of all knowledge and there would be another who knew what others did not, said the imam. To his credit Moses asked to learn from this man, called Al-Kidra, and asked to follow him. Al-Kidra’s response was Moses would not have “patience” with him. He asked, how can you follow me when you don’t have comprehensive knowledge? in the Holy Qur’an.

As three episodes are chronicled in the Qur’an, everything Al-Kidra does Moses questions and wishes that Al-Kidra had done the opposite. Imam Wahaj said, what Allah “meant” in the Qur’an is greater than what is actually said. The same applies to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his book, Message To The Black Man, he said.

What was so miraculous about the “time capsule” implanted in us by Elijah Muhammad, said Imam Wahaj “is all of a sudden other brothers, under similar circumstances, start saying what I’m saying. And I’m telling you brothers and sisters, all of a sudden now all of us wake up and we have this love. I honestly believe that the true followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad (will) evolve to be the best Muslims ever.”

“And Allah wants us to be united,” he said.

Jehron Muhammad was co-chair of the Reconciliation Conference. He writes from Philadelphia and can be reached at [email protected]. Find him on Twitter @JehronMuhammad.