Today, I spoke to with Imam Siraj Wahhaj, the Amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America and one of the most prominent imams in the United States. Imam Siraj sends his condolences to the family of Michael Jackson and well wishes to his family.
Yesterday, the Imam Siraj completed his last radiation treatment for prostate cancer (cancer 3X higher in African-Americans), yet expressed his eagerness to attend the janazah Muslims funeral service for Michael Jackson whenever it is held he said, “Even if I stand in the back, I want to be there”.
Someone asked me, “Why are we making a big deal about it!”. I say we are not making a BIG deal about it. It is the right of a Muslim to receive condolences and we are doing that by the Prophet’s (pbuh) instruction independent of the faith of the deceased. The burial of the dead is an obligation upon the living; it is called in Islamic terminology fard kifiyya (collective obligation). No one can bury himself or herself; the living must bury the dead.
Is Michael Jackson a Muslim? Muslim means to follow the way of peace – Salaam=Islam. To become a Muslim requires 2 steps, one who submits their will to the will of God, is easy to say and believe. If you were in Bahrain sitting with some Muslims as Michael did!, your brother Jermaine has been a practicing Muslim for years, which he is! and you are asked do you believe in God (One God in Arabic=Allah) and you say YES (Step 1) and then you ask do you believe that God, The Almighty, sent guide and messengers, some that were mentioned in Books and others who are not mentioned and that (Step 2) Muhammad is a prophet? If the answer is YES, then you are by definition a MUSLIM. Many of us believe in that statement but don’t think of ourselves as Muslim. This is because people get caught up in words and labels. Imam Siraj has shared with me over the years that if someone believes in God and The Prophets including Muhammad, pbuh – leave the rest to God.
The WAY of Islam is not a way of dressing, or the religion of a language or a place of national origin. There are many people around the world and in America who are “Muslim” who look very different from one another. Allah- the word for God in Arabic from the scriptures will judge who was a good “Muslim”-follower of God’s way in peace, which was struggling to follow the WAY or who was only giving lip service. Only God and time will tell………….
Allah says the Holy Qur’an Surat (8) Al-Anfal (Ayat) 53
‘…Allah will never change the condition of a people until they change what is in their (own) souls: and verily Allah is hears and knows all things.’
I’m looking at the man in the mirror…….
I’m asking him to change his ways….
no message could be any clearer….
if you want to make the world a better place
take a look at yourself and make a CHANGE
– Michael Jackson-Man in the Mirror)