Thursday, February 28, 2013

Islamic Context

Imam W. Deen Mohammed speaks at Florida A&M University (1983)

All people live in some kind of context and we have chosen to live in the context of the religion of Islam. It therefore follows that in order for one to know us better, he should know our religion. Islam is universal. This is what we have been taught by Prophet Muhammed, to whom the Qur'an was revealed, and we find this universal theme throughout the Holy Book (Qur'an).
Since Islam is a universal religion, then it shouldn't present any problems for us in the modern world. It shouldn't present a problem for us (Muslims) in the human family. In other words, we don't have a problem of racism. We don't have a problem of fanaticism. There is no room in our religion for fanaticism. We're not fanatics of any kind and our religion forbids us going to any extreme. Extremism of any kind is forbidden in Islam.
Muslims, if they live up to their religion, are peace-loving people. The very name, "Muslim", suggests a peace-loving people. "Muslim", is from the word, "salaam", which means "peace". "Muslim" means one who has agreed to, or accepted a life of peace. The Muslim life then should be motivated by peace, because that is the character of the Muslim community. Also, it is important for us that we live a complete life. Our religion establishes the principle of tauheed, or oneness; and the first principle in our religion is, "Laa ilaaha illallah, there is only One Allah, One G'd! Muhammedar Rasul Lallah". That is to say, "Muhammed is not G'd! Muhammed is the messenger of G'd!" We don't believe in G'd, manifest. We don't believe that any man can be G'd. We believe that the concept of G'd is too big for creation, itself.
I would like now to refer you to the Bible where it speaks of Solomon. When he was building the temple for the worship of G'd, he said, "Oh G'd! This house can't hold you, nor can the heavens and the earth hold you".  So G'd, in Solomon's eyes then, was a concept too big for the temple that he built and also too big for the external world, the world all around us. He saw the Creator as bigger than the creation and this is the concept of G'd in our religion, Islam. We say, in expressing this idea, "Allahu Akbar", which in Arabic means "G'd Is Bigger!" Some people say that it means "G'd is the Greatest!" Well, that's true by reasoning. But it's, "G'd is Bigger! G'd is Greater!" And there it indicates that two things are to be compared. If someone asks me, "Then what is He bigger than?" Then I say, "That's left to your imagination! Anything that you can imagine, He's bigger than that!" Allahu Akbar!" That is what we say.
So, the concept for us in religion is One G'd, one humanity, one creation. We believe that the whole world is tied together, that everything is related to something else in creation. This is the idea in science. Science tells us that everything in matter is related. Everything in matter has its place in the realm of matter and works together. So, we must find our function and we believe the true function of the human being is not to worship himself. But it is to worship the One Who created all of this and made this possible.
Our worship then is the worship of the One G'd. We've studied many things that are related to religion and we find that religion and other branches of knowledge point to man's difficulties in trying to find himself, trying to establish himself. Allah says in the Qur'an of the creation, that He, "khalaqa", meaning, "He created, gave form to". Then it says, "Fasawwah, and then gave proportion and balance. Qadara, then, empowers the being, gave him a potential for fulfillment; empowered the being, Qadara fahaada, and then gave him direction." You'll find that here the Qur'an is explaining to the human being how he is to progress along stages; because G'd says that He creates life in stages and that man is thrown into toil and struggle. Life is not an easy thing. We don't expect that we will have no work to do. We don't expect that we will meet with no opposition. This religion prepares us for work. It prepares us for opposition and this is life. G'd wants this for us to strengthen us, to grow our muscles, to make us more fit for higher planes or bigger fields of work or devotion.
We find that when we look at the stages of development, the spiritual life of man is his biggest problem. When we say spiritual, it may suggest to you holy things, sacred matters. But, I'm using "spiritual" l in a very broad sense, as influences. When we speak of spiritual life we're speaking of influences. So, we find that man has to find himself and the thing that challenges him the most is the need to align himself, spiritually. And only G'd, only a belief in G'd, only a belief in something superior to us, can give us that stability that can give us security, spiritual security, that the human life calls for. We're not saying that our religion is the only religion that offers this. We're merely presenting to you the essentials of our religion.
We see the human being as I believe the majority of the people see the human being, as a moral creature. However, we find that when man is engaging in the work of the day to accomplish something for himself, or his family, other concerns come into play and other concerns begin to override the moral concern. This busying of himself in the material world and seeking the needs of the day takes him off course, in time, and man finds a need to settle himself, spiritually, to organize himself on a spiritual basis. If man is able to do this, he can start again. He can get started again and make some progress. We find then that the devotional life is a big problem for man, because the devotional life can take him off center, can take him off track. It can throw him into turbulent waters or into the trendy waters of society and he loses himself there. In our religion, the path is clearly shown to us these pitfalls are clearly pointed out for us and we can avoid them by accepting the concept of the human being in our religion.
This tendency in us to imitate and copy, or to follow heroes or certain popular figures, to accept certain role models in our life, this is all an expression of that inborn nature in us to worship G'd. And it takes man sometimes generations and sometimes thousands of years to realize that really he has been misplacing this principle. He's been giving it to false things. I'm sure that most people have been in love, deeply in love, madly in love, at one time in their life. When you fall madly in love then the person that you're attached to becomes everything for you. Sometimes people find themselves in a state of hopelessness and they eventually commit suicide, because things are not going well with the person that they love. We know that usually people who suffer like this are very selfish and when you look back at your teen years, you say, "Oh, I had a big this and a big that!" After we become mature, we look back on that and we have to laugh at our helplessness.
But, that's a misplaced devotion! Anytime that you give your whole life to anything except G'd, that's a misplaced devotion. If you give it to your mother; if you give it to your father; if you give it to your own baby; if you give it to your lover, it's a misplaced devotion! And it's going to punish you because it's a misplaced devotion. Eventually, you'll find yourself suffering more and more and you'll wonder why the relationship doesn't work. I've seen men trying their best to love their female partner, mate, wife, or girlfriend, and they were failing. I've seen women doing the same thing, doing their best to try to love and win the affections of their mate and they were failing because they were giving them too much. They were giving them the devotion that's only due to G'd. They were making them their whole world and no person is the whole world for us. Allah is the whole world for us! G'd, Alone, is everything for us! We become attached to material things. We give our whole life to material things and the material object becomes the whole world for us. Pretty soon we see that we have a material deity in our life. That's a misplaced devotion!
I could go on and point out many of the things that take us off track. But man has to know his devotional nature and it should be understood that in religion, especially in Islam, it's clearly pointed out that man's devotional nature is to be given to One Allah, One G'd. When you give your devotional nature to One Allah, properly, you will then love your fellow man, properly. If you love G'd properly, you will respect the material concerns properly. G'd is the Light for us to find the proper relationship with every other thing.
This is a simple religion! Islam is not a complex religion. It is not a religion that is above the head of the common person. If G'd can't reach the common person, He's not G'd. If G'd gives us concepts that He can only teach the genius, or only teach the sons of intellectuals, then He's not G'd. G'd should be able to reach all of us common folks. I find that when you really understand the scriptures, whether it be the Bible, the Torah, or the Qur'an, you find that it's been made complicated by people who wanted to lock up its treasures from the masses. But G'd didn't reveal it like that. The prophets came here teaching a common sense message and they were able to make converts and to give the good life to the common masses. Then it was their leaders who became selfish and hoarded those treasures. They denied the knowledge to the masses. People advanced. They got ahead of each other. But this is the way that G'd tries us, too. G'd says that He tries us with this. He tries us with wealth. He tries us with knowledge. He tries us with poverty. He tries us with ignorance. G'd is trying us with everything. But what He tries us with turns out to be the very thing that triggers us into growing a vision, into growing an awareness, into growing a bigger appreciation for life. It is G'd that frees us. It is the Word of G'd that frees us. It is man that steals the Word of G'd and then he revamps it. He puts his philosophical touches on it. He makes it Marxism. He makes it dialectic materialism. He makes its capitalism. He makes it this or that. But, all men are thieves, that don't represent G'd as the Books say He should be represented. This is the Bible and also the Qur'an.
Now, let me give you the principles of the faith. In our religion, the principles of faith are as follows: (1) Belief in One G'd. (2) Belief in His Angels. We don't believe that man can have any direct communication with G'd, unless G'd aids man. There is no approach to G'd without G'd aiding that approach; and He has angels to aid in that approach. (3) Belief in all of the Books that were revealed. If you say, "Well, do you believe in the Bible?" we must say, "Yes and no!"
We believe in the Bible as the word that came to the prophets. But, the Bible will tell you, any good Bible in its commentary, or its introduction, that the Bible has undergone translations and interpolations. Translation means taking out of one language and putting it into another. Interpolation means trying to arrive at the meaning. So, man has not only found scripture and translated it. But man also found scripture and tried to arrive at the meaning. We know that the version that the Christians have is the King James Version and we know how they canonized the Book. In fact, there were centuries of debate over many crucial issues in the Bible before they came to the conclusion that, "This is what we'll go by", or, "This is what we'll stick with". So, we have to accept that the Bible does not pretend to be the Word of G'd as it came directly from the prophets. It's a Book of history. It's a Book of mysticism. It is a Book shrouded in mystery. When we understand that, then we can accept that the Bible, in its essence, is a pure book, revealed by G'd, as the Qur'an is in its essence, in its pure essence.
You might say, "Well, what makes the Qur'an different?" The Qur'an is still in the language revealed to Prophet Muhammed. It is exactly today as he received it. History bears this out; not only Muslims' words, but history bears this out that it is exactly as he received it. The tradition is easy to follow. In fact, the Prophet that is easiest to follow and to establish in history is Prophet Muhammed. He is the latest and we would think that he would be the easiest to establish in history because he is the latest. But there are many other reasons, also, that he is so clearly established in history. 
We also have (4) Belief in all the prophets, and (5) Belief in life after death. Christians believe in this, also. Under the old leadership of the Honorable Elijah Mohammad, the late leader of the Nation of Islam, we used to boast, we used to think, that we were super people. We thought that everybody else were fools. We would say, "We don't believe in any life after death! Are you stupid enough to believe that?" But, I guess we had the same kind of experience as other people had, and when death approached us, the reality came up. We were around here boasting that we didn't believe in life after death. One of the old, pioneer members among us, I saw her get into a situation where she was frightened badly and I was surprised. I thank G'd that I witnessed this. She had been a Muslim for many, many years and I was shocked. She said, "Oh Lordy, Jesus! Lord have mercy!" So she reached back for her old religion. I guess she was saying, "I need something supernatural, now! This isn't enough!" This is something that I witnessed with my own eyes and ears.
Islam is a sound faith and it is a faith that has been tried for generations and generations. Other things have failed society. We think materialism and Communism are great ideas, but how long have they been tried? Already Russia has turned from that idea (Communism). We see that they are now leaning towards western ideas. They are getting televisions and drinking, getting drunk. Pretty soon, you won't be able to tell their life from this life in America. These things are temporary, but the things that G'd has established, through His Messengers, those things are permanent. Religion Is the True Liberator
Don't be deceived, by the ideas and inventions of the world, to believe that religion is backwards, or religion is what gave man all of his problems. That's a lie! Religion has been the true liberator, and when man fails the religion, then the religion becomes oppressive. I'm talking about true religion. True religion is a liberating religion. Christianity is a liberating religion. Islam is a liberating religion. We have the history of it. It spoke to the needs of the masses of people who were oppressed, who were made slaves, who were kept out of knowledge, who were kept in ignorance. It spoke to their needs, championed their cause, and it brought them to dignity and freedom. This is the history of Moses, the history of Jesus, the history of Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon them. And we have clear history in our religion, Islam, to support that. Its history is recent when you compare it with Judaism, and even Christianity. So, we have more evidence of it, not only because of that, but because in Islam, each individual is responsible for keeping up his religion.
Most of us are not aware of the importance of the individual believer in the religion of Islam. The believer in this religion doesn't have to join in a special class or become a member of the elite scholars, or whatever. There's no priesthood in this religion. Once he becomes a Muslim and reads the Qur'an, he feels an obligation then to learn, to commit the Qur'anic teachings to memory. You know, there are Muslim youths, twelve years old and younger who can recite the Qur'an from the beginning to the end, by heart, without making a mistake. I understand that there are many youngsters of seven years that have learned the whole Qur'an by heart. They call such person hafith and we believe that this is an answer to the Bible, or to the previous scriptures, because our religion is a continuation and a perfection, a completion, on previous revelations. We believe that revelation is one continuous process. It has an end and it has a goal. Once it has reached that end or goal, it is complete. It is universal; all of the crucial issues have been revealed and man has the universal message, the complete light to walk in. That's how we see revelation.
Now, the Bible says, "And He shall write it upon their hearts". You know, "Written upon your heart", can have many meanings. One meaning that comes to us right away is that they shall love it. They shall love it so much that they shall hold it dear to them, and it shall be in their hearts. That's one meaning. But, something like that makes you commit it to memory. I've known people who committed lines of poetry to memory. Why? Because their affection was that strong. They loved it so much that they committed it to memory. We still have an expression with us, "I learned it by heart!" I know my mother used to say, "Boy, you better learn that by heart"; or, "I learned it by heart". Well, that's how we see it and the Muslims have committed the whole Qur'an to memory. We think that is an answer to the saying that G'd would write it upon their hearts.
We also have a Belief in the Ordinance of G'd; that man, though he is under G'd's power and completely in G'd's charge, G'd's Will is going to be fulfilled on his life, on his whole life. He has free will and whatever he does; he is accountable for, especially if he does it with knowledge, with awareness of what he is doing. So, the potential for good and bad is from G'd, Most High. You can't do good or bad without that potential. You have a capacity or potential to do that. G'd gave you that, but how you use it is up to you. If you use it well, you get the good benefit. If you abuse it, you get the bad results. Sometimes many innocent members, in the society, suffer the doings of a few. But, G'd does not allow us to be affected adversely by the doings of that few.
Now, I'll give you an example. I'm sure that many of you have been in hellish situations, but you didn't feel the burden of the hell that was in that situation. Many of us have come through hard economic times and we're still going through hard economic times. Many of us have come through the bad moral decadence in this country and we're still facing it. We have seen maybe worse things yesterday and we've come through this and not been affected as other people have. So, if you will take the right position, in your heart, if you are well-meaning, then G'd protects you from the hell that you find other people in all around you. If you have the right attitude in your heart, you don't have to suffer as the people who are suffering all around you. G'd does not punish any individual for what another is doing. That's our belief.
Believe me; I've come through the experience of the Nation of Islam, as a Muslim, believing in the G'd that my father preached, and in the idea of heaven that he preached. Our idea of heaven was going to Mecca and we thought that the streets over there were paved with gold. We were poor people and I guess money was a strong bait. He told us that, "When you go to Mecca, the streets will be paved with gold." He said that, "They are building homes over there for you and the white man doesn't have anything to match those expensive homes over there that they are building for Muslims. So, when Allah gets ready, He's going to finish the white man off and you're going to go there and be in heaven!" That was our idea and I was brought up under that teaching. It was given to me as an infant and I believed it until G'd blessed me to see differently. We were people who were conditioned with those things. But, I know from experience that nothing satisfies like the life that is cut out plainly for us in proper scripture; and the Qur'an is the perfect scripture, as the Muslims see it.
We also believe that whatever man does will affect man. But, G'd has given us such a nature that if we are well-meaning, whatever has a bad effect in our life will eventually be brought to the surface. The human being, his emotional make-up, is designed by G'd to bring it to the surface so we can see what the trouble is in us.
We believe that the best gauge for society is the common human person, not the scholar; not the political leaders. The best gauge for the human society is the common human person; that G'd has created us of a certain emotional make-up that registers what is good and bad for us. That's why many political leaders, or doctors of political science in the West have come up with this idea that it is not really the leaders that carry the society forward, or carry the government forward. It is the nature or the state of the people that carry the society or the government forward. If the state of the people is not right, the leaders can do nothing. But if the state of the people is right, then the state of the people attracts good leaders and puts pressure on good leaders and the society moves forward. So, we believe that the common person plays a major role in determining the outcome of society, the outcome of nations.
We have things also that we must do as a community. We have to live within a community context, because we are called the "Ummah of Islam, the Ummah of Al-Islam". It means the "Community of Islam, or Al-Islam" and we're given certain devotions that we have to carry out in our life. We're obligated to do these, too. One of these is to meet in groups and pray. Most people in this country only see us going to Jumu'ah Prayer, or congregational Friday Prayer. But actually, every day is a day of congregational prayer for Muslims. All over the Islamic world you will find, especially the men, coming together five times a day for congregational prayer. The women can't leave the babies or their home responsibilities five times a day like the men can. So, it's not an obligation that's heavy on the women as it is on the men.
You will find the men coming to the morning prayer, midday prayer, late afternoon prayer, the after sunset prayer, and even the evening prayer. You'll find men coming together as a group and they pray before G'd, facing the Qibla, which is a symbol of man's natural orientation. Certainly we worship, but we have a natural orientation and that place is called the Holy House, the Kaa'ba, in Mecca. It is called a Masjid, the first mosque. And if we understand it, G'd says the earth is the mosque. The earth is a mosque and the Kaa'ba is just a symbol of the earth. G'd says that here is the earth. He formed you out of the earth. He brings you up and to the earth He will return you. It is a place for your meeting together. It is a place for your work and it is a place for your return; the earth! So, the earth to us is very, very, important. G'd is telling us in this that our life supports are in the earth. We have to feed upon the earth. Vegetation, the animals, all of this comes out of the earth. Without this can we survive, physically? No! If we have some community life, where does it have to be established? On the earth! We can't establish a community life suspended in space somewhere. We have to establish it on the earth. G'd wants to show us how precious this earth is to us that He has created. So, we meet together to pray, in the earth, knowing that the earth holds life supports for us.
We have to engage in business. We have to engage in education. We have to study the creation. We have to improve upon our knowledge. We have to improve upon our environment. We have to be a fully knowledgeable person, not giving all of our time to spiritual matters and neglecting our community, or our material concerns. In order to progress, materially, we have to learn more and more about the material world. We have to get involved in the sciences, take advantage of this. Believe me, the people who are going to do the most for our religion are those very people that do the most for society. It is the student, the learned person. You who are on the campuses, you are really the people who are going to do that. I regret that I didn't get a degree from college, that I didn't finish even junior college. However, I hope to one day find an opportunity to do so. Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, said, "Higher education is the lost property of the believer". He made education an obligation on every male and female. And he gave incentives to men, to help liberate the females who were persecuted or oppressed, in those days. He said if any man would spend on two female children, to give them an education, G'd would give him Paradise. He gave them this as an incentive.
Now, let us try to understand some of the hidden meaning behind all of this. If the Prophet said to the believing men that if they wanted to be saved from hell, that they could do that by paying for the education, care and education, of two female children, that is a strong incentive. What it does is bring the men to accept that the women, the females, should be educated. So, we find that Islam showed us public education long before the world realized it. If men had that obligation, then that is public education. If we were told by the Prophet that the higher knowledge is the lost property of the faithful, then that's public education.
The principle of zakat, or charity is another one of these fine principles that are to be instituted in the Muslim community. If we understand that principle, then it brings money from the whole community, from all of the citizens. It brings money into a treasury to take care of the needs of all the citizens, with the concerns of the poor the major concern in mind. So, long ago, Prophet Muhammed established that there should be a public fund to take care of the needs of the poor, to see that none be deprived of an education, none be deprived of access to the graces or benefits of the society.
We also have the principle of fasting that we all are to participate in. Why fasting? We fast during the month of Ramadan. For a whole month, we don't eat during the daylight hours, and this month rotates through the western calendar. Therefore, we'll be fasting in June. We'll be fasting in July. At certain times in our calendar we'll be fasting in December, a short month. We have to fast throughout all of the daylight hours, whether it's cold outside or hot outside. We don't take in water. We don't take in food. We don't touch our mates, 'sexually, during the daylight hours. We don't give ourselves to rages of violence or ill temper. We are to restrain our tempers during this month. It is a month of total discipline of the whole being, spiritual, physical, and sexual. Everything is disciplined during that month. Also, during that month we're reciting the Qur'an, daily. We're reading it, daily, with the object of completing the entire Qur'an during the thirty-day period; reading a section of the Qur'an each day. There are thirty sections of the Qur'an.
So, fasting is very important for us and I've heard the scholars, sheiks, ministers, as you may call them, in our religion, say that this discipline keeps us in touch with the needs of the poor. No matter how wealthy we become, this is an obligation on us. Anything that G'd has prescribed for any Muslim is an obligation on every Muslim. It is clearly stated in the Qur'an that not even the Prophet is excluded from anything that He has ordered for any person in this religion. Prophet Muhammed had to fast, too. So if the rich fast, during the month of Ramadan, then they feel the hunger pangs that the poor feel who can't get food. This makes us sympathetic. It brings back, to the conscious of the well-to-do, that, "This is a shame! This is a suffering! This is a hurt! This is a pain! So, go feed somebody else!"  And to prove that G'd has done this so that it would result in benefits from the rich to the poor, the punishment for willfully breaking a fast is to feed the poor; to feed so many persons. This is the object of the fast.
We also have the principle of Hajj, which brings humanity into its universal setting and shows all men as belonging to one common, human essence, with one human potential, men and women, alike. Sometimes, I cause some problems for myself with some of the learned people in our religion. They say, "Oh, Imam Mohammed, you go too far! You don't have proof! You should stick to the traditional knowledge!" But, I'm convinced that I am correct. When we go to the Hajj, in Mecca, you see people who have traveled from all parts of the world. You see Chinese people there. You see Frenchmen there. You see Africans there from all parts of Africa, where the religion of Islam exists; and that's in most parts of Africa. You see people from everywhere, from America, from the Philippine Islands, and they come there, not in their nationalistic mind. They come there in their Muslim minds and take off their nationalistic clothes, or the clothes of their nation and they put on a simple Ihram; two pieces of simple, natural, white cloth, very much like the cloth that Mahatma Ghandi used to wear, but, two pieces. One white piece is worn on the lower part of the body and one white piece is worn on the upper body.
They all join together, with hair cut short, looking very much alike. And the women there, they are covered, too, properly, as the women's dress requirements demand. But the woman, there on the Hajj, may walk before you. If she's not your woman, you have nothing to do with her. She may go up before you. You can't say, "Sister, get behind the brothers!" It's not permitted there. And when they pray, the women may pray in front of the men. You can't say, "Remember that back home you don't pray in front of me! You're supposed to pray behind me!" You can't say that there. If the woman prays in front of you, that's her business and you can't make any trouble for her. You have nothing to do with her there. She's before G'd. You're before G'd and G'd accepts us there as equals. All races are there and He's not favoring any race. As Prophet Muhammed said, "G'd does not look to your faces or your colors. But He looks at the content of your heart".
This is, in brief, the concept of religion for the Muslim. I hope that I have hit upon some major points and have given a better picture of our religion. Now, when Muslim men and women live within that context we're safe. When we step outside of that context, we're not safe and people will accuse us. They will judge us, and we will be condemned in the public eye. So, we pray that we are blessed to realize the heavy responsibility that is on every Muslim to live within the Islamic context for life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Key To Success

"And who is better in religion than one who submits his whole self to G'd, and is a doer of good, and follows the order of Abraham, the upright in faith."  Qur'an 4:125

When we read the above verse from the Qur'an, we learn an important lesson for people of faith. We must realize that if we give ourselves wholly to G'd, He will befriend us. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has also taught that if anyone will give himself totally to G'd and love Him with all of his heart, G'd would then become his defender. His actions and his soul would then be protected by G'd as though G'd was the one committing those acts. Whatever he does with his hands or with any other part of his body or his soul, G'd will be with him. His deeds will become prosperous and successful.

To love G'd totally is the answer for us. We find that Prophet Abraham (pbuh) held nothing back from G'd. He gave himself totally to G'd. You probably have heard the story of how he offered the life of his son, Ishmael to G'd in sacrifice because he saw in a vision that G'd required this of him. However, as the Qur'an tells us, "It is not the blood that reaches G'd, but your goodness (your sincerity) that reaches Him."

G'd did not want a blood sacrifice. This is not only the Qur'an, but the scriptures before it said the same thing. The Bible says that it is obedience and not blood sacrifice that G'd wants. Once Abraham (pbuh) carried out in his heart what G'd wanted, G'd showed him that his willingness was enough. By having this willingness, Abraham perfected his faith. Abraham perfected his faith because he denied nothing to G'd. Whatever G'd required of him, he gave willingly. Thus the verse says, "And who is better in religion than one who submits his whole self to G'd and is a doer of Good."

There are some people who say, "Oh, I want to be so much in accord with G'd that my will becomes G'd's Will, that my spirit becomes one with G'd's Spirit." But these people then leave the society to accomplish that. We cannot be really holy and be contributing nothing to the good life of human beings. If we are ho­ly, but off alone somewhere in a closet or in a cave, that kind of holiness is not accepted in Al-Islam. So in surrendering himself totally to G'd, in doing good, and in following the order of Abraham (pbuh), man becomes in accord with G'd's Will.

We see then that it is not enough just to do good. We must also follow the order of Abraham (pbuh) which was the order of sacrifice and goodness for the sake of pleasing G'd. You can do good, but your goodness may not be to please G'd; it might be vain or selfish. Abraham (pbuh) showed that he was a servant of G'd because he did nothing for selfish motives or for personal gain. Whatever he did, it was for the sake of others.

According to the history of Abraham (pbuh), he engaged in business, but he did not make himself a burden on the people. He didn't ask the people to support him or his business. His business was a support for the people who were in his environment  This is the character of Abraham (pbuh), the upright in faith. If scripture says that G'd took Abraham (pbuh) for a friend, and we want G'd to be our friend, then these are the conditions: first, commit yourself totally to G'd. Second, be a doer of good. Let your goodness be seen benefiting people and follow Abraham (pbuh) in his inclination which was to please G'd.

G'd tells us in the Qur'an that we are to be in the forefront of those doing good, and not behind others. We don't want to be just even with others in this. You may say, "Oh, I just want to be equal to the average person." You should not want to be average. You should want to be foremost. Anyone who wants to be second or third is not following the spirit of what G'd asks of us. Foremost is the Word of G'd. Keep His Word in front of you at all times. Make His Pleasure your main objective in life, and make everything else conform to that objective. This should be our concern. If the concern to please G'd incorporates and overrides all other concerns, then it makes all other concerns successful. And if you have that kind of attitude, G'd says that you are a sure success.

If we follow the Word of G'd, have faith in Him and give ourselves totally to Him, He will kindle the right spirit in our hearts. And as long as we burn with that desire, and with that spirit, we will be successful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Allah Is Present Everywhere

The signs of Allah's presence are in everything wherever we may be. Think about how society develops into economic orders and political orders and eventually becomes what we call modern civilization. The life of society starts as simple life with people living on the land and living from the fruits of the land. Early society does not have to cultivate the land because the people have not advanced to the point where they know that the land needs cultivating. They just move along on the earth as animals, picking up all types of food that they find and then they move on.
Finally  they find a place  that  has enough food to enable them to stop moving and settle down soon, when people find that they have time on their hands, they begin to use that time to see what else they can do. In time they begin to study and they discover that they can do some things for themselves that nature did not do for them. Eventually, man becomes master of his environment. Soon he forgets that he was once just like the bird, the cat, the dog, and other animals that had to roam about in the wilderness. Time was the essence that enabled him to think, to learn from his environment, and to come up with new tools that enabled him to become a master in his environment.
We see that man should be grateful to the someone or to the something that made the advancement of his society possible. If modern man has discovered something so unique that he can claim all of his achievements for himself, we should listen to modern man and forget about the G'd Who has supposed to have made all things possible for us. As I travel in different parts of the world and listen to different ideas about how life should be lived and how society should be run, I have been convinced over and over again that Allah is G'd and that Allah is the One Who deserves all of the credit for everything that man and society have been able to achieve.
As you know, it did not take the primitive man long to discover religion. He recognized that he was helpless before the mighty forces of nature. When the thunder rang out with its loud clap and when the lightning flashed and lit the dark forest or brightened the dark doorway of the cave, the savage man trembled in fear. This fear forced him to cry out to some kind of g'd. Because religion has this kind of primitive beginning in the earth, some modern men acquire the knowledge of modern man's society and look back on the beginning of the spiritual movement in the earth (religion) as also being primitive. We, as Muslims, know that religion is the most advanced thing on the earth; in fact, it has always been the most advanced thing on the earth. Religion is really the invisible thing that is moving and guiding man all of the time. Although man does not know it.
We should consider our simple beginnings in the earth and weigh them with our achievements. We should also be asking ourselves the question, "By what way have all of the ideas for our advancement reached the minds of men?" Everything that we see in human society that has been made by modern man has its original image (pattern, essence or substance) in the creation itself. What we have is just an opening of a flower that was already complete.
Once the rosebud sprouts from the plant, the petals have already formed and the structure of the beautiful flower is already designed. Even after the flower bud opens up and we see what is on the inside, we might think that the flower had been fully open all the time if we did not have knowledge of what happened before the bud opened. The Holy Quran speaks of the wonders of the natural creation as "signs" that pass knowledge on to the mind of man. This precious knowledge from Almighty G'd enables man to create himself after the pattern of the things that Allah has designed in creation.
In various caves that I have visited in China and in Jamaica, I have seen how man was given a knowledge of building with cement perhaps a million or more years ago before he came into the knowledge of how to use it. By the wonders of creation the cave drips a limestone water substance from the roof and it piles up on the ground in columns. Over periods of hundreds and thousands of years, the dripping of limestone from the roof of the cave and the piling up of limestone on the floor of the cave form stalagmites and stalactites that function as great columns. If such columns had not been built up in time, perhaps the weight pressing down on the top of the cave would have caved in the structure and simple man would not have had a place to live. But the Designer of creation had designed early man's home so that it would naturally make its own strong columns to hold up its roof.
Not only in the natural formation of columns, but in many other things that you can see in caves are ideas of how to construct things in the world. I could give you example upon example of things that I have seen in natural formation (things that grow naturally out of the earth or things that happen naturally in the earth) that are clear patterns for man to copy so that he can build great structures for himself.
The techniques and the principles of construction are also seen in the growing of certain trees. Their limbs stretch out over great distances and drop vines which grow and become big like the trunks of big trees. These trees with their huge branches stretching out would break if the Great Designer had not caused them to drop down vines that take root and become strong as support columns to hold up the mighty beams that are going out from the trunk. Man makes a lot of "to do" over his accomplishments, but the righteous servants of G'd who have given their hearts and their minds completely to the Maker of the creation can see and understand that man has nothing to brag about. Almighty G'd, the Great Architect of creation, suggests everything to man's mind before man comes into the knowledge of the thing.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Light of Knowledge

G-d told the angels to prostrate (submit) themselves to Adam (the mind, the heart, the nature and the spirit that He wanted to rule the earth), and they all bowed down, saying to G-d that they had no knowledge except that that He had given them. But Iblis, the leader of the angels, refused to bow down to the man that G-d had. made. G-d pointed out to the chief of the angels that all of his followers had submitted to Adam; He asked Iblis why he was refusing to prostrate himself to His new creation, the man that He Himself had shaped from stinky mud and breathed into him of His own knowledge and of His own wisdom. Iblis, in his arrogant, self-serving mentality said, "I am better than he (Adam)," thinking of himself before he thought of what was right and best for the whole. The leader of the angels told G-d, "You made me of fire, and You made him of black, stinky earth (clay) fashioned into shape."

This leader of all of the other angels had a nature that was different from that of his followers. In giving G-d credit for all of the knowledge that they had, the rest of the angels confessed with their own words that they did not even have the nature to disagree with G-d. Here the Holy Quran is using picture language, teaching as G-d teaches the baby when he first comes from the womb. G-d gives the newborn baby picture language to open his mind to a higher kind of language (truth).

The angels are things that we conceive as having no physical forms (invisible entities). We find that in creation there are many invisible things that have reality and that act on us from without and from within. There are the forces of gravity, the forces of electricity, the forces of light, and the hidden, invisible forces of noise. Not only are we affected by the noise itself, but there is also a force behind noise or in noise that affects the human being's nature  The noise hits the physical ear drums, but there is an entity of the noise that affects your very nature.

There are numerous invisible entities in creation that science has now discovered that early man had not yet known. Early man thought that those invisible forces had some kind of reality like human reality, that they conversed with each other and that they had husbands, wives and children. But as the man came into more knowledge, he realized that these forces are only invisible forces in physical matter and that they have direct relationship with the physical world. When man comes into this knowledge, he take on the light of knowledge and the light of science. For example, if a person is ignorant, we might call him dull or dark because this is the language that the world has given to us. They have translated physical light into terms to serve the meaning for spiritual and rational light. In the religious language, we have light meaning spiritual light, spiritual knowledge or deeper knowledge into the things that are physical. The physical world has their knowledge, they refer to it as light, and although they do not use the term light any more, we still use the term bright for a smart person, or for a person who is highly intelligent. With this language, G-d brings pictures to our minds that will enable us to understand a higher concept, a higher reality or a higher language of that reality. As our knowledge increases, we learn how to break the chains and the gravity of the physical world, how to get away from or to step above the natural law, and how to make a plane for ourselves and call it man's law. But man has to come from the same nature (the same simple origin) that the creation is of, so he, in his beginning, was an angel; man grows in knowledge and he becomes the leader of the angels. Then this leader of the angels, man, gets to thinking of himself as being the boss in creation, that he is his own boss, and that he has no force to answer to. But G-d is ever in charge and ever in control and He raises up a man from among them who begins to question their knowledge and question their conduct.

G-d revealed to His prophets that they should say to the angels, "Your knowledge is of the nature of fire. G-d has decided to make a ruler in the land, and he will not be a ruler of fire." Fire burns up things, twists them out of their natural form and causes them to deteriorate  break a loose or disintegrate. Fire destroys forms and it creates new forms. When we throw a piece of fat in the fire, we end up with grease and smoke. When G-d says that He is going to create His man and make him the ruler in the land, He is saying that He is also going to burn the world but with a new kind of fire. The fire of G-d's man will be the fire of pure light (truth). Light is different from fire in that it does not destroy the forms of things, it reveals (shows) the forms of things. G-d is not going to force a devil to come back into good form, He is only going to shine the light on the devil to let the world and the devil see that he is out of form. All ah is not going to change the human nature; He does not want to make the human being an angel or a spook flying around somewhere in the world. He is just going to shine the light on the real thing that He created to show you the reality that He made to exist. He does this so that we can allow that reality to come into being.

The Qur'an, The Key

The Qur'an makes it possible for the human intellect to connect back with the creation as Al­lah intended for the intellect to be connected with the creation. The Qur'an is therefore the key, the miftah; the key that opens up the crea­tion again for man to get the proper benefit that Allah, his G-d, his Lord, his Creator intended for him. That's a great mercy! The Arabs, when they understood the attribute, Ar-Rahman, in their intellects as scholars, they became so ex­cited about that attribute of G-d that they started saying, "Ar-Rahman", more than they said, "Allah". And it's mentioned in the Qur'an because the others ques­tioned that. They were thinking that they were doing wrong. They complained to the Prophet that the others were saying Ar-Rahman in­stead of Allah. So, Allah revealed to Muhammed, "Call on G-d by Ar-Rahman or any other name. For to G-d belongs the most beautiful names." That was the answer, which means they were not condemned for pleading to G-d saying, "Ar-Rahmanu, Ar-Rahmanu!" But that was approved because G-d is Ar-Rahman and over and over in the Qur'an you hear G-d referred to as "Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem!

We want you to appreciate the perception of yourself and the per­ception of the world outside your learning environment as G-d wantsyou to appreciate it. Once you do that we can go home. We don't have to worry about you anymore. You're going to live and progress. We know it. It is guaranteed. Once you feel comfortable with that, nobody has to worry about your mind anymore. You're going to live and pro­gress. That is what Muhammed came to do and that is what he did. He gave the Qur'an in the right way to those people, his first followers, and they became the teachers that revived the intellect and brought back the sciences that were lost; and introduced what we have today as the world of modern sciences.

The word of G-d is our life! Our life is not this body, this flesh and blood, my own intelligence and my own emotional makeup. The life is not really that. I need G-d's word to come into that life, to make it really a life, the life that Allah wants. So our life is human. But what makes it really alive, gives it life, gives it vigor, gives it will power and everything that G-d wants for that life, the life that G-d wants has to come with the word of G-d; and that's the life. That's the only life! That is the real life! Until then, we are dead or sleeping. We have to have the word of G-d in us to be alive, really alive as G-d wants us to be alive; the life that Allah intended for us, highly praised and glorified is He.

So we know the Qur'an is the life and we're anxious. Our own bio­logical body knows, "That is the real life, not this life I have; not this biological life. But the real life is what comes into me when Wallace is listening to the Qur'an and feeling the Qur'an, and he's digesting the Qur'an. That is the real life!" This body, this physical body, it gets its life from the material world and the material world you know every­thing that's there. The water and all the elements that are in the material world that we take into our body (a hundred and eight or so elements that we have to take from the material world into our body) give our body its physical form and keep the physical form for us.

The Common Good and the Common Destiny

We praise G-d, the One G-d for all of us. We are told in our religion to say to the People of the Book, the Christians and Jews, that "Your G-d and our G-d is One in The Same G-d." I begin with that.
I want to say that we, as Christians, Jews and Muslims, are having the same Guidance from G-d for our human life. G-d intends for us all to have life and have it better and better all the time.
We have the life of our Prophet Muhammed, the model for human life and behavior in excellent form. G-d wants a beautiful and excellent life for all of us. Jesus Christ, as I understand him in Scripture, also is a sign and model of the best human life that is possible for us on this planet earth.
Muhammed and Jesus Christ invite us to the same, the best possible life we can have. And we don't believe we can have that life without G-d Who created it. He Who created it knows best what is good for His Creation.
I have felt so wonderful since I have been in this town (Columbus, Ohio) meeting so many of my friends and fellow leaders of my association, and the Christians and leaders from other faiths. The honorable leaders here behind me, I have been made to feel so good to be in your presence and to know what you are all about.
It will be the Believers who will make the world better. Leaders can come from unexpected places and people, or families and neighborhoods, etc., if they are touched in their hearts the way G-d wants them to be touched.
If they are motivated and sincere, eventually G-d will bless them with the light and enough support to get help from many other people in their area and outside of their area - from the whole world. G-d can do that for us, and G-d has done that for us.
Our religion is no different from Christianity and Judaism, in this respect, it wants to promote the best. Even the Scripture, itself, has variations, when it comes to what it can produce for us. Some parts of the Scripture, the Qur'an or the Bible, if you take it, it will give you only so much.
Other parts of the Scripture, if you take it, it will give you much more. Even the Scripture varies in what we can do for human life, how we can serve human life and how we can promote the excellence that we all want for our life on this earth.
G-d says, "Take the best thereof." This is Qur'an, our Holy Book. You know you can open the Bible and the Qur'an and your eyes might fall on a certain page that may not move you at all. It might perplex you. It might confuse you. It might make you say, "I have to get away from this page and open another page."
That is with any Scripture. The Scripture is given to serve life on all levels - intelligence on all levels, sincerity on all levels. Some of us are not as sincere as others, so it is designed to serve all levels of life and the whole of life -life for the individual, life for the family, life for the community, life for the world, life for a person in a particular profession or aim in life or ambition.
In Christianity, Judaism and Islam, you will find men of all professions, who believe in these faiths. G-d says, again, "Take the best thereof." And G-d gives us a human model. He says of this human model, "This is what I want in all of you."
Jesus Christ, of him He said, that he spoke to his people and said, "I in You (G-d), and You in me." Christians will tell you that Christ is in everybody.
Muhammed said, "Every human being born is born a Muslim, until the environment they are put in makes them otherwise," a Christian or other.
Brother Muslims and Sister Muslims who are here, our Prophet is pointing to the same excellence, purity and goodness that G-d put in Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Christians will call it the Christ-nature. We call it Muslim. We are talking about the same thing. We have been created for the same thing.
We are to be conscious of that life and have respect for that life and build on that life, so that it will grow and become more useful for ourselves and more useful for mankind.
Our Prophet said, "The best of you are the ones who are most useful for mankind, for all people." We are not as separate as we think we are. We are essentially one people.
We have concepts in Islam called Taqwa and Tawheed. Taqwa is a consciousness that brings small minds into the open universe, with our minds and our hearts. Eventually we arrive at Tawheed, the way of the Prophets who guided mankind to the Oneness of mankind and the creation, the unity of mankind under One G-d.
If you were to hear Muslims say what is their Articles of Faith, the important statements of Faith, and then listen to the Christians say what is their important Articles of Faith, you will see that they are the same.
It is the same for any human being who is motivated to embrace goodness everywhere and acknowledge that goodness everywhere.
The Muslim says, "Surely, G-d is all good, and He does not accept anything except that that is good." We are to appreciate good and want good for our own life.
It is our own short view or opinions or perceptions of what is logic, what is rational, what is true that separates us.
If we follow our natural urges coming from the purity of our essence, we all would be in agreement. We are here for the same and all want the same for the future, an excellent life. We want our families to be in good shape. We want our children to be safe.
Our babies come here speaking baby language. They don't come hear speaking Yoruba, Arabic, Swahili, Chinese, Japanese or Russian. All of them come here speaking baby language and have to learn all of our separate languages.
The Creator gave us one and the same life and made us one and the same people. Then there come the differences, the different histories, the different languages, the different ethnic make ups, etc. But all of these are additions put on the baby, born in the family of human beings as one member.
Our separate locations put a dress on the baby, an addition on the baby. It takes the baby and makes it different. Then he looks around and sees how different he is.
But if we could go back, return as Allah in the Qur'an says, "To G-d is your eventual return."
When we return to the baby, we return to the original Muslim, the original innocence of the baby, the innocent nature and life of the baby. For the Christian returning to that, it is returning to the first Christ nature.
The languages, as we learn to express them, separate us. But if you can research and go back in history and find the original language, the language of the original nature in its purity as G-d created it, we find that we all want peace and the good life for ourselves and for our families, our children.
We all want heaven. We don't want hell. We will have hell, but we don't really want it. Everybody wants heaven. This is the common life, the common good, the common destiny.
The common destiny is the destiny that G-d has created for us in our very human composition. G-d has composed us naturally, originally, to want goodness, to want heaven not hell, to want peace and decency and respect. We want to feel that we are with people who care about themselves and about others.
We cannot have this without respect for the better. If the followers of our leaders would return to their better nature, listen to their better nature, and choose leaders with that better spirit and better nature, the world would improve so much. Misery would be taken out of our lives and out of our neighborhoods, if we would do that.
But somehow, the environment that we live in, in these times, is not as conducive for us collecting our better senses, coming back to our better minds, as it was for man before industrialization and accumulation of money, and things that give us pleasure, cluttered the neighborhoods and cluttered the buildings, cluttered with dead things.
It is not like the original environment before man built his world and made his environment and made it so cluttered.
We need leadership to keep us aware of what is best for the original life that G-d made. We know this environment that we come out in everyday, with the liquor store across the street and on the corner and all other stuff in our view when we walk out of the house, is not what G-d wanted us to look at when we wake up and go out from our private quarters.
G-d wanted us to see the beautiful world of living things, trees and animals and how beautiful fall is with all of its beautiful colors. See how G-d made the green things to grow strong and beautiful. But before they go to sleep for the long period of time before spring comes again, they give us the beautiful colors of fall.
Not only beauty, they give us substance for our life, fruit and grain. And it gives it to us abundantly. They just drop the fruit down, generously. They give us beauty generously.
G-d said in Scripture that He gave the parable of human life as the parable of a plant. So that says to us that G-d wants us to give our best before we die, before we take that winter sleep. He wants us to give the beauty of life.
If we could be motivated as the Seers, the Prophets, the Messengers of G-d - motivated by G-d's Handiwork in His Universe with all of its possible views - we will have a power to overcome a lot of these weaknesses we have and the trends that we have become set in. We would have the power to overcome.
G-d said in our Holy Book, "Oh man, don't think that your creation is a bigger creation than the Universe." The Universe is bigger than us. If we become separated from it or unrelated to it, we become smaller and smaller.
If we wake up and began to appreciate it, and say, "Let me look at G-d's Work, at what G-d did!" as you look at it and start appreciating it, it will start increasing your own worth.
G-d's Work will increase your intelligence and most of all increase your decency. But in man's world, we have not the original environment that G-d intended to support your life and open up your life to a great future, that would make a Paradise on earth for us, if we accept it.
We want the same things. Science tells us that we are all human. That is our first identity. That is what connects us all together. We are human. We are not dogs, cats, tigers, trees - we are human. That is our true identity.
And because we recognize that as our true identity, we can be served by the same doctor. The doctor can serve a black man or a white man. He only wants to know if it is a human, for he was taught to treat humans. He has the science and the medicine and skills to treat humans.
Life would be so much better, if we would just close our eyes to everything we think we know and then ask G-d to open our eyes again.
Thank you and may G-d guide us to His Purpose for human life on this earth. Ameen.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Imam Warithudeen Mohammed - Topic: Scripture's Critical Message

Scripture’s most critical message offered to man for avoiding unnecessary crisis, comes as a moral life condition warning man. Man is urged to protect his intelligence. This can be achieved if man chooses to keep his five senses in a morally innocent environmental plan, or the Garden, the Paradise, the Eden concept.

Man in scripture represents an overriding moral strategy for safeguarding the social community and all of its necessary features. Hence, ultimately, destiny, concerns moral life, and industrial life ingenuity, that give us all these material things that we see and enjoy and recognize as progress on earth for human condition on this planet earth.

The story of humans in a community setting, starting life on Earth in a paradise given the name Eden, serves to assist man, that is, industrial man, working man, for avoiding crisis, and, explaining crisis.  It all got started when object, (spelled) o-b-j-e-c-t hyphen reasoning(object-reasoning), won sway over moral urges, or moral urgings, in the human soul.  The serpent, or snake charmed “Adam”, into accepting to rationalize moral issues, that were in the way of man’s path to world leadership, and world dominance.

Did the snake do this with man’s interest in front of him? No. He did it with his own interest in front of him.  In other words, the serpent, or satan, would never help humanity rise to world power, or to world leadership.  
Moral design supported by cosmology, (spelled) c-o-s-m-o-l-o-g-y, c-o-s from cosmos, cosmology, and universal logic were sacrificed to free “intelligence design”. That’s a new expression, relatively new, “intelligence design”.

This strategy was contrived by satan. Hence “humanism”, h-u-m-a-n-i-s-m, “humanism” and “secularism”, s-e-c-u-l-a-r-i-s-m, in quotations again like “humanism”, “Secularism” developed in time.  These two developments develop in time as a result of the scheming, or planning and plotting by the satan, shaytan.  Now some of you all can’t follow me too well because you think satan is a mystery.  Our scripture says satan is your plain enemy, your open enemy. He’s no mystery, he is not hid.

But you don’t find him by looking for a person or race, or a particular color.  You find him by looking for evil that is oppressing the humanity of mankind. And when you find that evil, and find who supports it more than the other, most likely you identify the plurality of the devil.  And he’s not in one people. He’s helped by everybody that want to benefit from his strategy that they believe in, because they think this is the way, to become the rulers on earth.

Satan disguised as the serpent, charms world leadership, now you understand more what Adam represents, world leadership, charms world leadership into serving his plan, as opposed to the creation plan.  G-d made the universe to give us the plan for our advancement. How can I speak with such confidence, that I am representing the Scripture or the revelation that comes from G-d?

Our father Abraham, Ibrahim, in Arabic, Qur’anic Arabic, when he was threatened by the ruler, who was a dictator, and a ruler that wanted to dominate all other nations and people, on the planet Earth. This was one of the oppressive pharaohs, of Egypt.  Abraham replied to his threats by saying, “The One who created me, Will guide me”.

Now scholars who search for G-d’s meaning, not for the meaning that may satisfy me, but the scholars that search for G-d’s meaning in what He says, they come to the conclusion that G-d is saying, “I made the world as a map, I made the world as a plan, to guide you to all the things you need, for your existence, and for your progress and prosperity.

Now think about it, what can you show yourself or others, that is valuable in your life, or in the life of others, that hasn’t been produce, by man using his brain, his mind, women included sometimes, while studying or working with the material world.

What can you think of? Nothing!
I have on clothes, where (did) they come from? Out of the material world.
I’m wearing eyeglasses, where it comes from? Out of the material world.
I’m leaning on a podium here, because my back is sensitive, I have a little nerve problem in my back, what is giving me this support?  The earth. This came out of the earth. Came out of the material world made by G-d.

I see the electric light bulb shining, and I see an umbrella, that’s holding the light in the area that they want it to be in, for the benefit that they want from that.  Where was it made, where did it come from?  The earth! It came from the earth……..

……Satan, not wanting to appear to be rude, and condescending, satan very gingerly tells man, your moral innocence is stupid.  A casual look into western psychologies’ evaluation of the human soul, and its intelligence bears out, what is here said.  Keeping our five senses in moral life, begins where a male and a female decide to make their home for themselves and for their children.

This is the message of Eden. It’s a concept it’s a picture, not to be taken as something that existed before the world was or before human history started, but mainly as something that is given to us, as a picture to open our eyes, to what’s going to transpire, to prevent man from coming into, the life that G-d created for man.  Satan wants to keep us in the dark as to what G-d wants for our life.