CWSC Archives – An Open Letter from Executive Director Mukhtar Muhammad
Changing of the helm!
CWSC in transition…Executive Director completes official tenure
NATIONAL — After five years leading CWSC, Executive Director Mukhtar Muhammad is preparing to turn over the helm of the institution to a new executive director. The planned transition is in accord with CWSC’s operating guidelines that seek to ensure institutional integrity and perpetuity through effective redundancy and timely succession of leadership.
The vice president of famacopublishers.com, FAMACO Publishers, LLC and author of Genesis of New American Leadership, will retain board membership and continue to help CWSC not only through its transition, but Mukhtar will be honored with the title Executive Director Emeritus and continue helping the institution in other ways.
A military mustang (former enlisted and commissioned naval officer), Muhammad University alum and at one time, the youngest appointee to the former Islamic Affairs Council selected by Imam Dr. W Deen Mohammed (R) to help communities nationally, Mukhtar oversaw phenomenal growth and development of CWSC and its family of intelligentsia components that include the AM360 broadcasting center.
He stated recently, “We have a great team with leaders and supporters at all levels of the institution. We’ve been working diligently over the years, methodically, carefully, and strategically to build a national intelligentsia and resource center to serve institutions nationwide. Both Imam Mohammed and our founder Imam Thomas Abdul-Salaam (R) were visionaries and each left us some powerful blueprints for construction. And as the CWSC continues with a new executive director, I am confident our best days helping communities are ahead, because Allah (SWT) has always been with us guiding our spirit, our intellects, our faith and our hearts. CWSC will continue moving forward because it’s not dependent on any one person or personality, but upon the resourceful people that represent the productive life of society. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as Executive Director and I thank all the believers for exhibiting the trust in my ability to execute the duties of this office. And now I return the trust to the institution and to my relief and next Executive Director.”
CWSC will soon announce its next Director after some 24 nominees were looked at for attributes ranging from familiarity with Qur’an, the Life Example of the Prophet and Tafsir and Leadership of Imam W. Deen Mohammed in the application of leadership, knowledge of the intelligentsia administrative and operational systems, experience in multiple leadership roles inside and outside CWSC, and temperament as a leader, to demonstrated problem-solving, organization and team work, and very important—a true respect for the group intellect and commitment to shuraa baynahum.
CWSC expects to announce a new executive director by the end of this week. Mukhtar’s final address and interview as Executive Director is scheduled for Friday, July 3rd at 9 a.m. EST on AM360.org’s the CWSC Friday Roundtable. All believers are invited to tune in and congratulate Mukhtar on a stellar performance and wish him the best in his next leadership role. Then on Friday, July 10th, the new CWSC Executive Director is scheduled to take the Oath of Office at the Friday Roundtable at 9 a.m. EST. Stay tuned! [Note: Below is Mukhtar’s Open Letter to the Community upon his election in 2015. Inset photo link is an open letter to the Community published in 2003.]
“Lov’ Ya My Brother. Love You Too Man”…Last Words
LETTER TO CWSC FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DATED APRIL 8, 2015
With Allah’s Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer
Dear Believers: As-Salaam-Alaikum.
I pray that your day has started fine and that all is well.
I wanted to share with you some important developments happening inside the CWSC for the benefit of our entire community and at the same time I’m going to share some very personal reflections of the last few weeks including the major change that has affected my life and my family’s life since assuming the responsibility as executive director for CWSC. And finally I want to share with you a vision…not my vision mind you, but a group vision.
March 2, 2015 was a major moment in my life both civically and personally.
As perhaps you can imagine, I have felt like I’ve been at the mouth of a fire hydrant over the past few weeks with many issues, urgencies and demands coming at me from many different angles.
Although before March, my schedule was certainly packed as corporate secretary and director for strategic planning & development for CWSC, the loss of my leader, friend, mentor, and brother Thomas, was an especially difficult experience that I am still dealing with and will be for some time.
I want to share with you that Thomas and I often talked several times a day over the last few years and even communicated more via texts and email.
I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that 99% of our communication was about how to help our community, even though we did share occasional humor or a personal or family matter. We had a lot in common. We were both volunteering together, published authors, veterans, dads and husbands, we had quite a deal in common, even though he was about 10 years my senior, and we often had inside jokes with each other about his Air Force service versus my Navy service.
But the community was foremost our topic of discussion and concern, and whatever we talked about always came back to our responsibilities to help our community. It was a topic Thomas and I had discussed in depth over the last 6 years. And we had had such other conversations with other people and groups well before 2009 and thereafter. I’m sure you have too.
When I was serving in my prior CWSC responsibilities, I was fortunate to have Thomas to rely on for his guidance, advice, and direction and now I have to rely on the history of those conversations we’ve had and the vision he and I shared, and now a vision we all share in CWSC and AM360.
I can’t speak to him anymore, but he is here with me and with us, just as our Imam is here with us, just as all our pioneers are here and all the heroes of our struggle as a people in America are here with us, just as the Sahaba are here and our Prophet (SAW) is here with us…they are all with us in our hearts and in our group intellect.
And so after settling into this office of leadership and having a few weeks to survey the landscape and tremendous tasks that lie before me, I realized I needed to connect in a different way with this wonderful group intellect that Allah (SWT) has caused to come together. I needed to speak personally with each of you, not a joint leadership conference, but one-on-one to learn how I can better support you as a leader in this office of executive director.
there are going to be mistakes along the way, so there must be a dose of forgiveness and a benefit of the doubt…
I once wrote in Genesis of New American Leadership: “Leadership’s foremost responsibility is to arrange the environment for individual and organizational excellence…to remove the obstacles that deny the full participation and contribution of all the group’s members.”
I believe that quote with all my heart is essential to effective leadership. I have to know as a leader first, what obstacles inside CWSC either operationally, administratively, procedurally or culturally, that interfere with the excellence we know we can achieve and that we deserve. Second I am committed to removing those obstacles first in myself to help create the best environment for all of us to flower into the best contributors we can be, and to in turn, continue building CWSC into something we have never had before as community…a powerful national collaborative working group intellect that serves the best of all our interests and allows all to help. It’s going to take some time, work, faith, and there are going to be mistakes along the way, so there must be a dose of forgiveness and a benefit of the doubt (what I call the BOTD), that we give one another. We must assume, that we are all here at the table of this group intellect for the benefit of the community and out of love for serving Allah (SWT) and our fellow man.
In this regard, I firmly believe that not until we see shuraa baynahum as we see the salaat, that is the trust, the discipline, the decorum and adhab, the vulnerability of being shoulder to shoulder as babies in the position of sajda before our Lord, willing to turn our intellect and hearts over to Allah (SWT) for His molding of us, while believing that I can be in such a state with you right beside me or in front of me or behind me, and feel completely safe; not until we see in the shuraa the same respect for time that we see in the salaat and the succession of leadership and necessary redundancy of knowledge and training that is present in the jamah of a musella, not until we value those same elements in our group intellect and its use in shuraa will we get the highest reward.
Not until we see the importance that the institution is more important than the person, so much so, that if I am the person leading, then I must lead and not delay shuraa anymore than I would delay prayer; and not until I as a follower eagerly willing to stand behind an imam, would never sit there all day long waiting for an imam to arrive to lead me or the group in prayer, when I know that I or someone among us is required to take the lead if necessary, for the prayer must go on…It must proceed. Likewise our work and the workers must not be subjected to waste either in terms of time or resources. Not until we feel equally the weight of our intention before salaat equal to the weight of our intentions in our oaths and promises to do the work in shuraa, will we gain the victory.
“Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden of bliss without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When will come the help of Allah?” Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is always near!” Al-Qur’an, 2:214
The Most Merciful has the Power to remove error from shuraa, just as He has the power to remove error from prayer…
Not until I respect your right to hold an opinion different than my own in shuraa, just as you may hold your hands differently in the prayer and I not suspect your faith in G-d, simply because your hands are at your side or at your midriff, will we get the blessings that G-d has given us in our group intellect.
My predecessor said we must be a place where the intellect is respected and the voice protected. CWSC like its intelligentsia component, AM360, must be a place for respect of differing views for we cannot attain to the highest level of shuraa baynahum or what Stephen Covey calls, The Third Alternative without such respect.
And not until we understand that though knowledge and faith complement one another in the performance of salaat, it is by no means our knowledge we rely upon to receive the Grace of Allah (SWT), any more than we’re relying on intellectual exertion to receive Allah’s (SWT) Blessings through shuraa. We rely upon intellect to apply the blessings, but it is only by Allah’s Mercy that we receive His Blessings whether in prayer or in our teams and committees or other bodies where shuraa is our process of deliberation.
And there are going to be mistakes. Yes, we are human beings, so there most certainly will be errors. But when we think a mistake has occurred, let us be kind to one another as we do in Salaat when we believe the imam has made an error. We gently call attention to Allah (SWT) and we offer a correction. And the Most Merciful has the Power to remove error from shuraa and grant His devotees immeasurable reward, just as He has the power to remove error from prayer and grant us great reward.
So no Muslim of sound mind and heart would conceive of trying to control or affect the outcome of his salaat—that is in the Hands of Allah (SWT), that outcome is in the realm of faith, for our Lord best knows what we need. So we seek instead to perfect our prayer…to perfect our faith. And so it should be, must be with shuraa, that is we need not seek to control its outcome, but rather to perfect its process.
“So whatever thing you have been given – it is but for enjoyment of the worldly life. But what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive, And those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” Al-Qur’an, 42:37-38
So I said these things to say that I am committed to “helping” perfect our processes. But I can’t do it alone. None of us can do what needs to be done working alone.
enter an office of leadership day one thinking about your successor and making sure you turn over a better circumstance than what you assumed.
Beginning this Friday, April 10, through Sunday May 3, I am seeking to speak personally with each one of you, one-on-one, outside of a joint leadership teleconference, so that you can share with me what is on your heart and mind about our work, our mission and vision. I want to learn from you what you feel is working and not working and what may need to be changed. To remove obstacles we need to know what those obstacles are.
Although it will take a significant amount of time for me personally, I am confident in the long term that the investment of time now will pay huge dividends later in helping me carry out my responsibilities. Now is the time because we are growing so fast, that it will become impractical to try and speak with everyone. Insha Allah, by speaking with you now, it will help prepare us to continue the journey toward that model institution we envision.
So I ask you to be patient with me as I speak with each of you inside CWSC. Please expect my call starting this Friday and if I miss you, return my call and let me know a specific time and day you wish me to return your call and I will try my best. If you want, you can email me now with a preferred time at email@example.com.
CWSC is also implementing training throughout for its board, teams, committees, staff, etc. for we must be a learning organization…everyday!
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”— Albert Einstein
We are also instituting Orientation to help new volunteers learn about CWSC and come up to speed as quickly as possible, so they can begin contributing to the best of their ability. Our newest volunteers will go through orientation first, and then all of us who have not been through orientation will have an opportunity through periodically scheduled special teleconferences to complete orientation.
I thank Allah (SWT) that He has brought all of us together, including the believers yet to come.
In my years since being trained in systems management, human resources and other disciplines, I have never entered an office of leadership without thinking from day one about my successor and making sure that what I turnover is in a better circumstance than what I assume; I owe that not only to my successor, but to you, and to my predecessor, who in this case I know devoted some of his last days readying this office of leadership, CWSC and AM360 for sustained success; he did that knowing he had more yesterdays than tomorrows.
Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan? For Allah will increase it manifold to his credit, and he will have besides a liberal Reward. Al-Qur’an, 57:11
I opened this email with the last words Thomas and I spoke to one another. At that time, I could not know it would be the last time we would speak to each other. But we had become accustomed to saying we love one another, even before he told me of his illness. His last unspoken words to me was on March 1 when he wrote: “I’m in emergency. Difficult breathing. Very difficult. No phone calls. Love you.” Just a few days before, he had volunteered to be the Interim Director to help lead the AM360 Transition Team.
I shared this with you as a reminder to all of us that tomorrow is in the Hands of Allah (SWT). But today He has given us time to make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of our family, friends and community. What we do with the time we have is up to us. I pray that Allah (SWT) will bless you to share some time exerting your intellect, straining for new ideas to help us discover new opportunities that will produce on earth as it is in heaven.
“Maybe we can come up with a better solution than either one of us has in mind. Would you be willing to look for a 3rd Alternative we haven’t even thought of yet? Hardly anyone asks that questions, yet it is the key not just to resolving conflicts, but also to transforming the future.” —Stephen R. Covey, The Third Alternative
“Think for surely thinking profits the thinker[s].” Prophet Muhammed (S)
Sincerely & respectfully,
/s/Mukhtar Muhammad, Executive Director, CWSC