Highlights of Imam Siraj's Khutbah at NOI Saviors Day
Before a crowd of 10,000 in Detroit’s Cobo Arena, Imam Siraj Wahhaj gave a stirring Jum’ah khutbah at the Nation of Islam’s Saviors Day event on February 23. Acknowledging the positive that has come from the Nation, Imam Siraj pointed the Nation towards the truth of Islam and ended by calling upon the Nation and the Sunni community to talk and dialogue so that they might come closer together.
The main focus of Imam Siraj’s khutbah was the verse, “This ummah of yours is one ummah and I am Your Lord, so worship Me.” From this verse, Imam Siraj made the point that Islam is not a new religion but an ancient religion, beginning with Adam and culminating in the last Prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Imam Siraj quoted the verse, “Today I have perfected for you your religion” and then cited the hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad (saws) said that his likeness in respect to the other Prophets is like a house with a brick missing and the Prophet (saws) said, “I am that brick.” Islam is one, and all the Prophets are brothers, bringing the same message.
Imam Siraj also used the verse, “This ummah of yours is one ummah,” to show that Islam is world-wide community that is growing throughout the world. He mentioned the growth of Islam in America and Europe, where Muhammad is the most popular name in England.
Gently and carefully—with wisdom and beautiful preaching—Imam Siraj demonstrated that Islam cannot be considered a new religion, invented in the 1930s. Instead it is an ancient religion, defined by the Prophets, the last Prophet being Muhammad ibn Abdullah. By emphasizing the growth of Islam in Europe, Imam Siraj also made clear that Islam is not a nation for only African Americans. It is a single ummah that encompasses people from all parts of the world.
As a former member of the Nation, Imam Siraj pointed out the positive aspects of the Nation and the lessons that the Sunni Muslim community can learn. Quoting the verse that “Man will have nothing except what he strives for,” Imam Siraj said that the dedication, hard work and commitment of Nation followers have been exemplary. He criticized those Muslims who think that they can pray and then sit down, thinking that things will change. The other aspect that the Nation taught him was love of his people.
Imam Siraj ended by saying that he believed that one day the Nation and the Sunni community would be one. He called on the Nation and the Sunni community to start the process by dialoguing with one another. Imam Siraj mentioned that his presence was part of a process of dialogue that he hoped would continue. Imam Siraj was alluding to the fact that Minister Ishmael Muhammad (the heir apparent to Farrakhan) and Akbar Muhammad had visited Imam Siraj at his masjid in Brooklyn. At the meeting were many Imams from the New York area, and they talked frankly about the differences of aqidah and practice between the Nation and Islam.