AN OPEN LETTER SENT TO: THE MESSAGE (ICNA BI MONTHLY MAGAZINE)
WITH ALLAH'S NAME THE MERCIFUL BENEFACTOR, THE MERCIFUL REDEEMER
March 3, 2016
SPEAK A WORD DIRECTLY TO THE TRUTH.
I make reference to the above Qur'anic verses because, as Muslims, we are commanded to speak a word directed to the truth. If we are not capable of doing that and we do not have the facts on the subject at hand, then an intelligent and honorable person shall not and will not speak at all. The other verse that I chose is about our beloved Prophet, Prophet Muhammad, being in such a hurry to reach out to or associate with some well to do or highly respected individual that when the blind man tried to get his attention he showed a spirit of disdain towards or impatience with the blind man and Allah revealed the wrong of that type of behavior or attitude.
I sight these verses at this time because I have just read an article by the well respected Islamic leader and scholar in the United States, Dr. Talat Sultan president of AMSS (Association of Muslim Social Scientists). Dr. Sultan has held many prestigious positions of leadership in the United States of America and is known and respected both here and abroad.
I write this article because I was shocked and troubled by the Yellow journalism that Dr. Sultan allegedly published in ICNA's monthly magazine concerning the evolution of Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam into the community of Muslims in Association with Imam W. D Mohammed.
Dr. Sultan writing in the bi- monthly magazine, the Message, published by ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) stated:
"In the 1950s, many Muslim youth started coming to the U.S. for higher education. When they arrived, they did not find very many organized Islamic groups here. The largest national organization of Muslims –Nation of Islam — was not an authentic Islamic organization. It was led by a self-proclaimed prophet, Elijah Muhammad, who had mixed some Islamic tenets with his own distorted beliefs."
Certainly the Nation of Islam did not practice Islam as Muslims practiced Islam around the world but to dismiss what nearly one million African American Ex Slaves were attempting to do under the sincere, humble and honest leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as a bunch of people following some self-proclaimed prophet who had mixed some Islamic tenets with his own distorted beliefs is a total figment of Dr. Sultan's imagination and a misrepresentation of what we were doing and what we were attempting to do with the understanding that we had of Al Islam at that time.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, as we choose to call him, the leader of the Nation of Islam, was not one who had proclaimed himself a prophet nor one who had set out to mix some of his own so called distorted beliefs with some Islamic tenets as Dr. Sultan falsely claimed in his article. Now bear in mind, Dr. Sultan has known and claimed friendship with Imam W. D. Mohammed for many years prior to his passing and has read and been told the proper history of the Nation of Islam, so why would he take such a disrespectful distorted and falsified approach to our history here in the United States and replace it with outright lies? As I said in my opening from the Holy Qur'an, speak a word directed to the truth or do not speak at all. Dr. Sultan chose to speak but he did not choose to speak the truth.
Sadly, he did not stop with that misrepresentation of the history of millions of ex slaves here in America. He went on to tell the interviewer:
"One of the most important challenges MSA recognized from its inception was to bring the so-called Nation of Islam within the purview of authentic, mainstream Islam. Regular contact was established with the NOI leaders including Warith Deen Muhammad (M), the son of Elijah Muhammad, who succeeded him as the imam and leader of the group. MSA organized an Imam Training Camp for the Bilalians (the first alternative name to NOI). A stalwart of Islamic work in North America, Imam Siraj Wahaj, emerged from that process to influence and support NOI to move onto the path of mainstream Islam."
I cannot say what MSA recognized as one of its challenges or not. But if this statement is meant to say that MSA set up training classes and instructions for the followers in association with Imam W. D. Mohammed--former members of the Nation of Islam--and that through their so called training classes we became full fledged Muslims, this is a damned lie.
MSA may have set up some classes and maybe a few members of the community of Imam W. D. Mohammed may have attended some of those classes but their classes and training sessions had absolutely nothing to do with the movement of over one million African Americans former members of the Nation of Islam into pure Islam. By the time ISNA had set up some Arabic classes around the country Imam W. D. Mohammed had already successfully moved us out of the mindset of the Nation of Islam and into taking the Shahada and accepting Al Islam as our religion.
At the passing of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, his son, Wallace D. Mohammed became the leader of this community and from the onset he began--through a process of gradualism--to evolve this community into the pure teaching of Al Islam. Imam W. D. Mohammed neither looked to nor needed any help from the MSA, ISNA or any of these organizations to achieve what Almighty G'd Allah had guided him to know, understand and achieve. And for Dr. Sultan to even suggest such a false idea that ISNA and MSA or Sirasj Wahaj were instrumental in this miracle that Almighty G'd Allah delivered through Imam W. D. Mohammad is a blatant lie.
I have lived in Indianapolis Indiana from 1981 until present and this is where the majority of those so called classes took place at the ISNA headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis) and you can count on one hand how many members from Imam W.D.Mohammed's association took part in those classes.
Dr. Sultan claims that he was concerned about the brothers and sisters in the Nation of Islam but somehow forgets the standoffish, alienated disposition that had found a home in their community and the disrespectful categorizing of Christians as Kafirs that was prevalent among ISNA and their associates and was never discouraged, and the vicious attacks made upon Imam W. D. Mohammed Bsy Imam Siraj Wahaj that ISNA, MSA, ICNA and others just stood by and said nothing as they help flan the fires of lies and hate through selling these materials in their book stores and so called religious material mailings.
He also forgot that when Imam Mohammed initiated what we called Patriotism Day and when he picked up the American Flag and showed honor and respect for it and the American Constitution, its government and political circumstances absolutely none of these organizations offered any support towards these ideas and behind closed doors even criticized them. He also forgets that It was Imam Mohammed's community that initiated the prisons program for incarcerated Muslims and carried it on throughout the entire United States going back into the early 60's--not ISNA nor the MSA. He obviously forgets that it was the community of Imam Mohammed who engaged throughout the cities of America with interfaith programs and associations, carrying the "Muhammad Speaks" newspaper all into the inner cities of every major city teaching what little understanding of Islam that we had at that time to those who ISNA and MSA never showed any concern for. Many of these programs thru ISNA with their well funded money from across the ocean were formalized and taken over sophisticatedly by writing curriculums and mission statements, using their educational credentials, and by registering with the government. But let's not forget who originally initiated these programs and who carried them throughout the inner city (an area which ISNA never ever dared to visit from their protective predominant Caucasian hideaway communities).
Let me continue. Dr. Sultan does not stop there; he goes on and states that:
Imam Siraj Wahaj, emerged from that process to influence and support NOI to move onto the path of mainstream Islam."
This is just a bold face lie and why a man of Dr. Sultan's standing would sink so low is beyond my wildest understanding. Ask Imam Siraj to verify the snake oil that Dr. Sultan is peddling and I guarantee you that even he will not support that lie.
Sadly what Dr. Sultan could not bring himself to accept and say is what Imam W. D. Mohammed told the entire world: Almighty G'd Allah inspired and guided Imam W. D. Mohammed to lead over 1 million African American, former members of the Nation of Islam, to the Sunni Path of Islam in the United States of America. Not ISNA, not ICNA not MSA, not Siraj Wahaj nor any of these fabrications he chooses to identify is credited as doing what Almighty G'd Allah did through the heart and mind of a man in America Imam W. D. Mohammed with a heart like his leader and model, Prophet Muhammad.
It hurts me to have to speak in such harsh terms to a person or community that I thought was a friend and a brother Muslim, but I am obliged to speak with such force when one witnesses a bold and blatant attempt to distort the history of a people that was written through hundreds of years of terrible suffering and bloodshed so voluminous that I believe it brought G'd to champion our cause which we believe will prove to produce the greatest Islamic Community since the time of Prophet Muhammad, through a leader with a spirit and heart in the nature of Prophet Muhammad, Imam W. D. Mohammed.
I am requesting that the editor of this magazine publish this article as it is written as a direct response to the false, demeaning, inflammatory, and libelous article written by Dr. Talat Sultan.
Brother Muhammad Siddeeq
5451 daniel Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46226
(317) 847-7805 firstname.lastname@example.org