An Apology Heartfelt Reflections on the Passing of a Legendary Blackamerican Muslim leader

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Azhar Usman

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Abstract

On September 11th, 2008, while countless American flags whipped in
the wind and the television and radio waves were dominated by remembrances,
recordings, and stories about the terror attacks of seven years ago,
I attended the funeral of ImamW.D.Mohammed (may God be pleased with
him). Forme, it was a somber day, but I found myselfmostly lost in thought:
about African-American Muslim communities, about the challenges ahead
in American Muslim institution-building, and about the future of Islam in
America. If you don’t know who ImamWDMwas, you should look him up.
The Sufis say: “The true sage belongs to his era.” And of the many gifts
given to ImamWDM by God, perhaps the most obvious and beneficial one
was the Imam’s profound understanding of the principles of religion, and his
adeptness at intelligently applying those Islamic principles in a socially and
culturally appropriate manner befitting the everyday lives of his North
American followers. While carefully respecting sound, traditional jurisprudential
methodologies of the Islamic religion, and the collective religious
history and time-honored scholarship of classical Islam, he promulgated creative
ideas and dynamic teachings across many domains of human endeavor,
including theology, law, spirituality and even ethics and aesthetics, that
together articulated a vision for a quintessentially “American Muslim” cultural identity. And he did all of this before anyone else, with quiet strength
and unending humility – a true sage indeed ...

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