By Shakir Karriem
HOUSTON, Texas – On Friday, one year after the Grand Opening of the first Masjid built from the ground up, which bears the name of our leader, Masjid Warithuddeen Mohammed’s visiting lecturer series featured Sheikh Imam Darnell Karim.
Imam Darnell Karim is an esteemed Muslim American Pioneer of Islam in America, classmate and childhood friend of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, and one of the most remarkable Qur’anic reciters of our time.
He was accompanied by his wife, Sis. Gloria Karim, and his son Shakir Karriem, a photographer and fellow supporter of the Imam W.D. Mohammed Community Center (IWDMC). Together they represent two generations of Muslim life in America and many years of dedicated effort to our Leader, Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
Sheikh Imam Darnell Karim also was the first to call the Adhan across the airwaves of America on the American Muslim Mission radio program.
While the temperature in Houston was setting new records with plus 100 degree weather, inside the Musallah, Khatib Sheikh Darnell Karim brought the believers cool logic and calm wisdom, reminiscent of his teacher, Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
He directed our attention to the purpose and significance of the Day of Jumuah, the day for Allah, where we are to take the instruction learned and apply it throughout our lives. He went on to explain the Iqaamah and the positions in Salat, as they relate to the life and natural disposition Allah (SWT) wants for humanity.
On Saturday, Sheikh Imam Darnell Karim performed a workshop on gaining an appreciation for Qur’anic Arabic. He explained the Mercy that Allah (SWT) showed to us by revealing the Qur’an in a language no one culture can claim, as Qur’anic Arabic is not the Arabic language or any other language.
He gave multiple examples of how the changing of a single vowel also changes the meaning of a word in Arabic, while encouraging us to increase our knowledge and education of the language of Al-Islam.
He highly stressed the importance of properly pronouncing the Arabia (starting with the Adhan) and being conscious and aware of its meaning. He also shared on more of the character of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, who was blessed at an early age to be able to provide a clear picture of the meanings of the rich language of the Qur’an.
Sheikh Imam Darnell Karim transported us to a classroom in the University of Islam, under Professor Jamil Diab, containing himself, his wife Gloria Karim, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, the Imam’s younger brother Akbar Muhammad, and others who would reflect three linguistic movements, Qur’anic recitation, fluency in the Arabic language, and an insight into the meaning of the language of the Qur’an.
He related that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad asked Professor Jamil to teach the people Qur’anic Arabic, so that they “could get rid of the devil’s language,” so that they “could get a better understanding of the religion.”
For the past eight years, the City of Houston has held a Mayoral Iftar, where the facilities are provided by the city and the local Islamic community provides the food. The brief program prior to Iftar was hosted by former City Councilman M.J. Khan.
The line of speakers included: Usama Cannon of the Zaytuna Institute, who focused on community contribution and civic service provided by the Muslim community; local Resident Imam Wazir Ali provided the invocation and supplication.
Several political officials attending included Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, and Houston Mayor Annise Parker. The elected officials spoke on the positive involvement of Muslims in Houston, the State of Texas, the United States of America, and the World.
They iterated that sincere prayer for G-d’s Assistance is necessary for all humanity during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Before more than 1,500 people from a plethora of backgrounds and cultures, Sheikh Imam Darnell Karim called the Adhan for Maghrib prayer. His recitation was commented on by many as the most clear and resounding Adhan heard called in the history of the event.
Sheikh Imam Darnell Karim and Imam Wazir Ali were greeted by the political officials, as well as representatives from the sponsoring organizations: The Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH); Council On American Islamic Relations of Houston (CAIR); Houston-Karachi Sister City Association (President Saeed Sheikh); Houston-Abu Dhabi Sister City Association; Houston-Istanbul Sister City Association; and Houston-Baku Sister City Association.
Sunday’s Public Address consisted of Imam Darnell Karim’s moving words addressing the Blessing of Ramadan. He interwove verses from the Qur’an, authenticated hadiths of Prophet Muhammed (SAW), commentary of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, and his own personal history and life.
Finally on Sunday night, Sheik Imam Darnell Karim shared more of his life as friend and student of Imam W. Deen Mohammed (may Allah be pleased with him).