Return to the nation’s mosque – Cont’…

Reflections on a community, its leadership, and spirit of collaboration…


Masjid Muhammad as it stood, circa 1969 when a young Mukhtar Muhammad (far left male in shorts facing the mosque) visited the community with members of his immediate and extended family.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. Continued from previous page

I had come to visit the Mosque with my family some fifty years earlier. And now here I was again standing in front of what I had known growing up in the Nation of Islam as No.4, a mosque with a long history built under the leadership of then National leader the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, may Allah forgive his sins and grant him Paradise; and later evolved to a Qur’anic-based Islamic institution under the leadership of Imam Dr. W. Deen Mohammed (R). Suddenly names like Muhammad Ali, Captain Yusuf Shah, Minister James Shabazz (may Allah forgive them and grant them all the Paradise), Minister Louis Farrakhan, and even to the present West Coast’s Imam now Abdul Karim Hasan, flashed into my thoughts, and I was taken back to my childhood with one glimpse of a building, to a time of almost mythic heroes of my youth; heroes not in the comic book pages mind you, although Ali was even in comic books. No, the heroes of my youth were on the pages of the Muhammad Speaks Newspaper.

Back then I was a student at Philadelphia’s Temple No. 12 and had visited many times No. 7 now Masjid Malcolm Shabazz, New York; and No. 25 in Newark, New Jersey now known as Masjid Imam Ali K. Muslim. You see I lived in Trenton, New Jersey and these iconic institutions in the history of our community were in my geographical backyard. But the Washington Mosque was also a special place then and now with an 80-year community history.

In the moment before entering the building, I thought about how fifty years earlier, neither I nor my family could have known that I would be welcomed back to the city and to that masjid by its leadership with a dignitary’s welcome—not because of me personally, but because of the office of leadership I was fulfilling and it was a humbling experience. As I entered Masjid Muhammad’s hallowed halls to pray the two rakat in respect to her and thought of what she through all the years had witnessed and accomplished through the many believers passing through her doorways, I felt humbled and thanked Allah (SWT) for bringing me back and for allowing me to serve and become even in those brief days a continued part of her history and Insha Allah, her future. Part 2 of this article begins here.

Stay tuned to American Muslim 360 at or (701) 719-4197 for special interview coming soon on the Washington, D.C. Journey. Click here to add your institution’s name to the Never Again Interfaith Campaign for subsequent iterations of the Letter. 

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“Education is the greatest tool for advancing the society.” We do want to advance our society, don’t we? Are you a part of a society or are you just a part of a Masjid?”―Imam W. Deen Mohammed (RA)