Warith Deen Mohammed

Background

Warith Deen Mohammad was the son of Eljah Muhammad, the key figure of the Nation of Islam. He was born in 1933 in Hamtramack, a small city enclosed by the city of Detroit as Wallace Delaney Muhammad (named in honor of Wallace Fard who founded the Nation of Islam). He became the national leader of the Nation of Islam after his father’s death in 1975.

In 1961, he went to jail for refusing to join the United States Army. It gave him time to do a deeper study of the Quran, which resulted in a significant change in his belief.

Warith_Deen_Mohammed

Impact

He had a huge impact on Islam in America by leading the largest mass conversion to mainstream Islam in the history of this country.

When out of jail, he was convinced that the core teachings of Nation of Islam have to change and he stopped believing his father to be a prophet. He was removed from the organization a few times but each time he returned. After his father’s death, he disbanded the original Nation of Islam and lead most of the followers into mainstream Sunni Islam. He changed his name to Warith Deen from Wallace.

Imam Warith gave the first invocation by a Muslim to the US Senate in 1992. In 1993, he gave an Islamic prayer at the inaugral interfaith prayer service under President Bill Clinton.

He called on the US Muslims to develop an American Fiqh instead of copying the ones from other regions. He believed that Fiqh is geographically influenced and hence should be originally developed in the US.

He died in 2008 in Chicago.