Monday, October 13, 2014

THE CHILDREN OF ADAM

Imam W Deen Mohammed (raa)

We must understand that it is in that original gift from Allah that we find our equality. We are equal. Whatever Allah gave the first human being, He gave all. We are the children of that one original parent, Father Adam — peace be upon him. Being that Allah has corrected the error of cheapening Adam, in our eyes Adam is excellent and noble and the highly respected father. We are not ashamed of him.

We are "honored" to be his children. Allah Most Beneficent taught Adam "the names" and ordered that Adam be the bearer of responsibility on earth.

Some of you will say, "Oh, he committed sin." And we did too. That is why we are told he committed sin. It is to let us know that we are human, not divine. We are not gods or angels. We are human beings subject to err. Our Holy Book does not present Adam as a man of sin because he erred. We have no concept in our religion as "the man of sin", unless you are talking about Satan. And Satan is not called man, he is called "jinn".

No Father Transmitted Sin To The Generations

The man of sin would have to be all of us who are sinning. There is no father who transmitted "sin" to the generations. Our Father Adam was the man of obedience to Allah. However, because he was the excellence of common man, he could be tempted and led astray. Adam was tempted by the "Arch Deceiver", Satan himself. It was no ordinary smooth talker. It was the chief deceiver over the "angels".

How did Satan deceive Adam? It was a deceit put into Adam's sentiments and sentiment-charged thinking. Satan did not address Adam directly. He addressed Adam by way of deceit, which tells us that Satan recognized that if he went straight to Adam, Adam would reject him. Satan is the chief con "man". Adam did not see that he was being offered something wrong until much later. Our Holy Book says that Adam learned later that he had erred and he repented to Allah for his wrong. And Allah forgave him.

Father Adam Represents Great Potential For Excellence...

We have a father that Allah made with great potential for excellence but with limitations. Allah did not make a god when He made our father. Allah is the Only God. He did not make an angel when He made our father. He made one with the freedom to make choices to rise up from erring and return to the pursuit of excellence. One day man will wake up and realize that he went wrong and will turn again to the best of himself and to the Greater, Allah. Adam did this, and Allah forgave him.

Isn't that a wonderful story to be told to the generations. Isn't that a wonderful story to tell our young boys and girls who are growing up. We are not ashamed of our Father Adam. We feel very dignified as the children of Adam. Allah says He made Adam to be the responsibility-bearer in the whole earth.

The Angels Disagreed; Allah Said: "Wait..."

Those of the angels said, "We disagree with this." I am giving it to you short for the sake of saving time. And what did Allah say to them? "Wait until I have breathed of my breath into him." Adam's nature is developmental and progressional. His full potential was yet to be seen. Adam was given a capacity to do more than angels. We know that whatever "breath" Allah gave Adam, He gave of it to us as well.

Allah says in our Holy Book that He has given every (human being) something of His Spirit. You may say, "I don't have that . And I guess Adam said the same when he found himself in the clutches of Satan. Adam had been taken off course, as perhaps some of you are. You can repent as your father did.

Perfect Human Nature With Limitations (We Do Not "Image” Allah)

We know that Allah made the natural man with perfect human nature and with limitations. Allah made man to be responsible on this earth. Now the gift of creation will not take man all the way along the pursuit of his excellence without the assistance given in the revealed word, the Qur'an, Life will require that man turns again to his Creator Who created him and gave him excellence. He will turn to Allah for that additional help. Turn to Allah for additional help to meet the challenges that will come as we live on this earth and make trouble for ourselves.

That is the way we see man by his nature and potential in this religion. Allah (God) is the Creator of everything. He is not a God that has human form or weaknesses. Allah is not in the image of a human being. You may say, "We are in His Image," but that is not the language of Muslims. In the first place we do not try to "image" Allah, We know Allah by and through what He has revealed (the Qur'an) of Himself. Allah is not in physical form. Allah is not contained in matter or in the earth or in any vessel or in any idol or in any creature. We Muslims have to accept that. We cannot picture or visualize Allah in any human person or in any object of the creation.

Allah Is Creator Without Mistakes

Allah is the Creator and everything else is creation. He has not made any mistakes. We do not believe that Allah made a mistake and had to (repent) do it all over again. That is not Allah; that is man. That is us. We make mistakes and have to do things all over again. If there are problems, the problems are ours. This is the Muslim belief.

"Is there a religion that says God made a mistake?: Well, just keep your ears and eyes open. There is justification for me saying what I am saying. We do not believe in that idea of Allah making mistakes. We do not think of God as a Being or Force that comes to our aid when we are in trouble as something equal in importance to God the Creator. All good and benefits are from Allah the Creator. I hope you are understanding what we are saying, and when I say "we" I am recognizing others.

This brings us to the natural conclusion that respects the excellence of what is natural for man. When we say nature, we are not talking about the nature we fall down to. We are talking about the nature we are created in to be established.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Celebrating the Victory of the Hajj on Eidul Adha

Imam W. Deen Mohammed (raa)
02/11/2002

We witness that G-d is One, the Lord, Creator and Cherisher of the worlds. And we witness that Muhammed to whom the Qur'an was revealed is the Seal of the Prophets and the one prophesied in the Bible to take off the heavy yoke of slavery that weighed them down and to break every bond of slavery.

It is given to us in the Qur'an that he is the one mentioned in the Torah and in The Gospel or Injil to carry out that responsibility. He is a liberator who liberates from all forms of slavery. And the best key for unlocking the locks of slavery is correct education.

The leader in Islam, Muhammed the Prophet, established for us the Ummah, the global community or worldwide association of Muslims. He established that for us under G-d and following G-d's Guidance, and he established it after the Order of Abraham.

A learned sheikh told me when I was in Saudi Arabia once, "Imam Mohammed, you know Abraham is a community." He was telling me that Abraham was not just an individual figure but that he was a type of a whole community.

And when we study Jesus Christ in the Scriptures that were given to the People of the Book and also in Islamic knowledge, we see Jesus' type also as a mysterious Sign of the community, the community of Adam, the community of mankind. We are after that order.

Muhammed the Prophet taught us and we know Allah says to us in the Qur'an that you will find the Christians, those who call themselves Nazarahs, the people of Nazareth the old name for the Christians, will be the nearest to you in the practice of religion. That is the Christians.

The Qur'an also says that the world, the People of the Book, will see Muhammed the Last Prophet and Jesus Christ, also G-d's Prophet and Messenger, and they will see them together. So let us keep our spirit correct by not seeing Islam in opposition with Christianity.

Islam is in opposition with any untruth, with any falsehood, with any indecency. Islam is in opposition to nothing but what Allah has ordered it to be in opposition to. Islam does not pick up any personal quarrels with anybody or any idea or with anything.

Our obedience is to our G-d Who revealed scriptures before and then revealed the Qur'an as a clear explanation on that which was revealed before. So we must understand from those Words from G-d in the Qur'an, that the Qur'an and Islam are G-d's last address regarding what He said or has revealed to man.

We are not to go to the Bible. We are not to go to the Torah or The Gospel or to any other religions for guidance. Our guidance is the Qur'an, and we would hope that the whole world of religion would get acquainted with the Qur'an, so they would know what G-d has said more recently on what is right and what is wrong, when it comes to what He said to mankind.

G-d has spoken to many prophets before, and He has spoken to females, we are told in the Qur'an, and He spoke lastly to Muhammed, the model man prophesied that his day would come. Jesus Christ pointed to Muhammed.

All the prophets pointed to Muhammed, and that was told to us in the Sign that was given to us in the Ascension and Travel of Muhammed in the Night Visit, when he was seen leading the prophets in prayer.

Here is a revelation to tell us, the Muslims, that Muhammed is the last one and the last one is completing what the previous ones were all about. Muhammed, addressing this particular point, said there was a house being built by the Prophets and Messengers and Servants of G-d. He said, but there was one stone left to be placed to complete the structure of that house. And he said he is that last stone.

We know the last stone is the cornerstone, the stone that makes sense of the whole structure. The whole structure is left without sense, until that stone is put there. That stone is the stone of universal brotherhood, the stone of universal truth, the stone of oneness not only for G-d, but oneness for mankind.

Abraham was all about that. He was prepared to make a great sacrifice, to sacrifice his son. We in Islam say "Is'mail," as it is said in the Qur'an. In the Bible, it is Ishmael. The people of the Book, the Jews and the Christians say it was Isaac or Ishaq, as it is said in the Qur'an.

As you study what they have with them, it is very doubtful that the Jews and Christians are correct. Not even looking at Qur'an, without even hearing the words of Muhammed, if you just study what they have their own records, it is very doubtful that the one to be sacrificed was Isaac. The truth and evidence in their own records point to Is'mail as being that one.

Arafat is from the verb in Arabic, which means "to know," arafa. Arafat means the place where you come to know your brother in Islam, where you meet leaders from around the world. Many of you and I have been there. And you meet based upon Islamic equality, the equality of Muslims in Islam.

The one who meets you there may be the Custodian of the Kaa'ba, the King of Saudi Arabia, or he may be the President of Egypt, or he may be the highest scholar recognized by the Muslim public. When you meet him there, he may carry airs or show self-importance. But the spirit there will be against anyone showing self-importance

The spirit on Arafat at Hajj will be to recognize brothers as equals. A little man like me, the son of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and Clara Muhammad from Georgia and who were not educated people, I was welcomed in 1967 when I made Hajj with the Muslim Student Association of Canada and the U.S., under the leadership then of Dr. Ahmad Sakr, who lives in California now. He was their president.

They invited me to join them to make Hajj, and I told them that I didn't think I would have enough money. And they said it would only cost $500, and that was a long time ago. So I talked to my wife, Shirley, and she was happy and wanted me to make the Hajj. So with her permission, we all sacrificed and saved money from other things. It was me, my wife and only my daughter Laila at that time.

We made the sacrifice from our home needs and I saved the $500 in time to make the Hajj. They were very kind and generous and were handing me food and offering to pay for my ihram, and the brothers were just so loving. But I managed out of my own pocket.

I knew something about the Hajj from reading, and I felt that G-d obligated us individually to do that. And I didn't want anybody carrying my cross. So I carried my own cross and accepted my responsibility to myself under G-d. I paid for everything, and I would offer dates to others.

At that time, I realized that the Hajj is a connection for us to all people. This is the most important thing we need to know. Abraham is called the Father of the Many and in Islam, he is called the Imam or the Leader for the Nations. That means that his Sign was bringing all people into the one community of man under G-d.

And Prophet Muhammed was ordered or commissioned to order that again. In fact, it was never established. It was a hope, and that is why it is called the "millah" of Abraham. They translate "millah" to mean order, but it also comes from the word that also has a play on the "Hope of Abraham, the Upright in Faith."

We know we also have during the ritual of the Hajj to pray two rakats standing very near the Kaa'ba, after making our seven circles around it. We stand in a place called "Maqaam Ibrahim." It means where Abraham stood and it is understood that it is meaning where he stood in prayer. We follow him making two rakat of prayer.

Now did Abraham make exactly two rakat of prayer? The way we do prayer was only established in the time of our leader, Muhammed the Prophet. We know they made sajdah, for that is in the scripture that came before the Qur'an. But it is not in those scriptures that he performed salat like we do.

Although I know he didn't make two rakat like we do, in a sense by interpretation he did. The first two rakat in our Jumuah Prayer, which is just like the Eid prayers except for the takbirs, represents salat. And what happened to the other two rakat of the midday prayer? The education we give, when we give the khutbah, is the other two rakat.

Our prayer is the prayer of nature and nature prays not only for discipline, nature prays for growth increase. And nothing increases us more than knowledge. "Our Lord, increase me in knowledge" is the prayer of the righteous.

Abraham should connect us with education that was established by Prophet Muhammed, who was fulfilling the obligation of Abraham, the covenant of Abraham with his G-d. Education should be made available to all equally. If you are poor, you should have a way to get education as much as you want. If you are in the community of Muhammed, the Ummah of AlIslam, you should be able to get education as much as you want.

"This sounds like the socialist program," you may say. Well, a lot of good that you find not only in the socialist program but also in the capitalist program was in the Qur'an and Muhammed's teachings before it was in the world and in the West. So Islam wants liberal education and public education for all citizens in the Ummah of Al-Islam, that is for all members in the global community of Muslims.

We don't have that yet, but that is what we should be after. That's what our leaders should be helping us get. They should help us to get closer and closer to that goal of having education available to all members who are Muslims and have it available to them equally.

No one should be held back because they don't have enough money to get the education. No one should be held back because he is ignorant or dumb. He should be not only encouraged but also inspired. People need to be inspired sometimes and have someone to turn on their interest.

Islam is not only here to tell you where to go. Islam is here to prepare you to want to go there, to turn your interest on, so that you will want more knowledge and better education. This has happened to many in our association, since I have been the leader. And it happened to many before I was the leader.

I have had many to tell me, "It was your father who inspired me to go back to school, and I went back and got my degree." Isn't that wonderful? And many have told me, "Brother Imam, it was you...." I know what they mean; it is not me personally. They mean what I teach, and what I teach i? from Qur'an and from the guidance of Muhammed the Prophet and that which agrees with the Qur'an and with the guidance of our Prophet.

Many, males and females, and some 80 years old have gone back to school and got a degree, after being out of school for a long time with only a high school education. This is marvelous. This is wonderful. Islam doesn't war as much and as meaningfully with physical weapons as it wars with truth.

And truth is not just a moral issue; truth is a community issue. Truth has to be whole, and the Whole Truth cannot leave out any truth that we need to support our life in the community or in the society or in the world of mankind. We need leaders who are firstly leaders for good moral life, but also who are leaders for social life for man's life in "community."

Islam is the religion of brotherhood and sisterhood. Islam is the religion that makes all of us one family. This was the purpose of Adam, the first father. And it was advanced by those who followed after Adam: Noah, Moses, Abraham before him, Jesus and finally Muhammed. There are many who are not named and some of lesser importance than those I've named.

They came to advance the good life of mankind and to make knowledge accessible or available to all members of society, to bring mankind into one public the public of humanity. They came to bring mankind to see himself as one family the family of humanity. That is why we have two fathers Adam representing the natural man and Abraham representing the enlightened or educated man.

Celebrating the Victory of the Hajj on Eidul Adha
By: Imam W. Deen Mohammed (raa)
02/11/2002

We witness that G-d is One, the Lord, Creator and Cherisher of the worlds. And we witness that Muhammed to whom the Qur'an was revealed is the Seal of the Prophets and the one prophesied in the Bible to take off the heavy yoke of slavery that weighed them down and to break every bond of slavery.

It is given to us in the Qur'an that he is the one mentioned in the Torah and in The Gospel or Injil to carry out that responsibility. He is a liberator who liberates from all forms of slavery. And the best key for unlocking the locks of slavery is correct education.

The leader in Islam, Muhammed the Prophet, established for us the Ummah, the global community or worldwide association of Muslims. He established that for us under G-d and following G-d's Guidance, and he established it after the Order of Abraham.

A learned sheikh told me when I was in Saudi Arabia once, "Imam Mohammed, you know Abraham is a community." He was telling me that Abraham was not just an individual figure but that he was a type of a whole community.

And when we study Jesus Christ in the Scriptures that were given to the People of the Book and also in Islamic knowledge, we see Jesus' type also as a mysterious Sign of the community, the community of Adam, the community of mankind. We are after that order.

Muhammed the Prophet taught us and we know Allah says to us in the Qur'an that you will find the Christians, those who call themselves Nazarahs, the people of Nazareth the old name for the Christians, will be the nearest to you in the practice of religion. That is the Christians.

The Qur'an also says that the world, the People of the Book, will see Muhammed the Last Prophet and Jesus Christ, also G-d's Prophet and Messenger, and they will see them together. So let us keep our spirit correct by not seeing Islam in opposition with Christianity.

Islam is in opposition with any untruth, with any falsehood, with any indecency. Islam is in opposition to nothing but what Allah has ordered it to be in opposition to. Islam does not pick up any personal quarrels with anybody or any idea or with anything.

Our obedience is to our G-d Who revealed scriptures before and then revealed the Qur'an as a clear explanation on that which was revealed before. So we must understand from those Words from G-d in the Qur'an, that the Qur'an and Islam are G-d's last address regarding what He said or has revealed to man.

We are not to go to the Bible. We are not to go to the Torah or The Gospel or to any other religions for guidance. Our guidance is the Qur'an, and we would hope that the whole world of religion would get acquainted with the Qur'an, so they would know what G-d has said more recently on what is right and what is wrong, when it comes to what He said to mankind.

G-d has spoken to many prophets before, and He has spoken to females, we are told in the Qur'an, and He spoke lastly to Muhammed, the model man prophesied that his day would come. Jesus Christ pointed to Muhammed.

All the prophets pointed to Muhammed, and that was told to us in the Sign that was given to us in the Ascension and Travel of Muhammed in the Night Visit, when he was seen leading the prophets in prayer.

Here is a revelation to tell us, the Muslims, that Muhammed is the last one and the last one is completing what the previous ones were all about. Muhammed, addressing this particular point, said there was a house being built by the Prophets and Messengers and Servants of G-d. He said, but there was one stone left to be placed to complete the structure of that house. And he said he is that last stone.

We know the last stone is the cornerstone, the stone that makes sense of the whole structure. The whole structure is left without sense, until that stone is put there. That stone is the stone of universal brotherhood, the stone of universal truth, the stone of oneness not only for G-d, but oneness for mankind.

Abraham was all about that. He was prepared to make a great sacrifice, to sacrifice his son. We in Islam say "Is'mail," as it is said in the Qur'an. In the Bible, it is Ishmael. The people of the Book, the Jews and the Christians say it was Isaac or Ishaq, as it is said in the Qur'an.

As you study what they have with them, it is very doubtful that the Jews and Christians are correct. Not even looking at Qur'an, without even hearing the words of Muhammed, if you just study what they have their own records, it is very doubtful that the one to be sacrificed was Isaac. The truth and evidence in their own records point to Is'mail as being that one.

Arafat is from the verb in Arabic, which means "to know," arafa. Arafat means the place where you come to know your brother in Islam, where you meet leaders from around the world. Many of you and I have been there. And you meet based upon Islamic equality, the equality of Muslims in Islam.

The one who meets you there may be the Custodian of the Kaa'ba, the King of Saudi Arabia, or he may be the President of Egypt, or he may be the highest scholar recognized by the Muslim public. When you meet him there, he may carry airs or show self-importance. But the spirit there will be against anyone showing self-importance

The spirit on Arafat at Hajj will be to recognize brothers as equals. A little man like me, the son of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and Clara Muhammad from Georgia and who were not educated people, I was welcomed in 1967 when I made Hajj with the Muslim Student Association of Canada and the U.S., under the leadership then of Dr. Ahmad Sakr, who lives in California now. He was their president.

They invited me to join them to make Hajj, and I told them that I didn't think I would have enough money. And they said it would only cost $500, and that was a long time ago. So I talked to my wife, Shirley, and she was happy and wanted me to make the Hajj. So with her permission, we all sacrificed and saved money from other things. It was me, my wife and only my daughter Laila at that time.

We made the sacrifice from our home needs and I saved the $500 in time to make the Hajj. They were very kind and generous and were handing me food and offering to pay for my ihram, and the brothers were just so loving. But I managed out of my own pocket.

I knew something about the Hajj from reading, and I felt that G-d obligated us individually to do that. And I didn't want anybody carrying my cross. So I carried my own cross and accepted my responsibility to myself under G-d. I paid for everything, and I would offer dates to others.

At that time, I realized that the Hajj is a connection for us to all people. This is the most important thing we need to know. Abraham is called the Father of the Many and in Islam, he is called the Imam or the Leader for the Nations. That means that his Sign was bringing all people into the one community of man under G-d.

And Prophet Muhammed was ordered or commissioned to order that again. In fact, it was never established. It was a hope, and that is why it is called the "millah" of Abraham. They translate "millah" to mean order, but it also comes from the word that also has a play on the "Hope of Abraham, the Upright in Faith."

We know we also have during the ritual of the Hajj to pray two rakats standing very near the Kaa'ba, after making our seven circles around it. We stand in a place called "Maqaam Ibrahim." It means where Abraham stood and it is understood that it is meaning where he stood in prayer. We follow him making two rakat of prayer.

Now did Abraham make exactly two rakat of prayer? The way we do prayer was only established in the time of our leader, Muhammed the Prophet. We know they made sajdah, for that is in the scripture that came before the Qur'an. But it is not in those scriptures that he performed salat like we do.

Although I know he didn't make two rakat like we do, in a sense by interpretation he did. The first two rakat in our Jumuah Prayer, which is just like the Eid prayers except for the takbirs, represents salat. And what happened to the other two rakat of the midday prayer? The education we give, when we give the khutbah, is the other two rakat.

Our prayer is the prayer of nature and nature prays not only for discipline, nature prays for growth increase. And nothing increases us more than knowledge. "Our Lord, increase me in knowledge" is the prayer of the righteous.

Abraham should connect us with education that was established by Prophet Muhammed, who was fulfilling the obligation of Abraham, the covenant of Abraham with his G-d. Education should be made available to all equally. If you are poor, you should have a way to get education as much as you want. If you are in the community of Muhammed, the Ummah of AlIslam, you should be able to get education as much as you want.

"This sounds like the socialist program," you may say. Well, a lot of good that you find not only in the socialist program but also in the capitalist program was in the Qur'an and Muhammed's teachings before it was in the world and in the West. So Islam wants liberal education and public education for all citizens in the Ummah of Al-Islam, that is for all members in the global community of Muslims.

We don't have that yet, but that is what we should be after. That's what our leaders should be helping us get. They should help us to get closer and closer to that goal of having education available to all members who are Muslims and have it available to them equally.

No one should be held back because they don't have enough money to get the education. No one should be held back because he is ignorant or dumb. He should be not only encouraged but also inspired. People need to be inspired sometimes and have someone to turn on their interest.

Islam is not only here to tell you where to go. Islam is here to prepare you to want to go there, to turn your interest on, so that you will want more knowledge and better education. This has happened to many in our association, since I have been the leader. And it happened to many before I was the leader.

I have had many to tell me, "It was your father who inspired me to go back to school, and I went back and got my degree." Isn't that wonderful? And many have told me, "Brother Imam, it was you...." I know what they mean; it is not me personally. They mean what I teach, and what I teach i? from Qur'an and from the guidance of Muhammed the Prophet and that which agrees with the Qur'an and with the guidance of our Prophet.

Many, males and females, and some 80 years old have gone back to school and got a degree, after being out of school for a long time with only a high school education. This is marvelous. This is wonderful. Islam doesn't war as much and as meaningfully with physical weapons as it wars with truth.

And truth is not just a moral issue; truth is a community issue. Truth has to be whole, and the Whole Truth cannot leave out any truth that we need to support our life in the community or in the society or in the world of mankind. We need leaders who are firstly leaders for good moral life, but also who are leaders for social life for man's life in "community."

Islam is the religion of brotherhood and sisterhood. Islam is the religion that makes all of us one family. This was the purpose of Adam, the first father. And it was advanced by those who followed after Adam: Noah, Moses, Abraham before him, Jesus and finally Muhammed. There are many who are not named and some of lesser importance than those I've named.

They came to advance the good life of mankind and to make knowledge accessible or available to all members of society, to bring mankind into one public the public of humanity. They came to bring mankind to see himself as one family the family of humanity. That is why we have two fathers Adam representing the natural man and Abraham representing the enlightened or educated man.

Praise be to Allah and let us accept this religion. It is clear and plain and easily understood. Let us also get benefits from G-d's Signs to us. In the Qur'an, G-d says that this Qur'an is not only guidance, but it is also medicine. It is healing for that that is in the heart or in the breast of mankind. It is a healing.

We glorify G-d. We praise Him with our whole being mind, body and spirit. And we worship none with Him and associate nothing with Him as G-d, for He is G-d Alone, the Creator of everything in existence, including His Prophets and Messengers. Praise be to G-d, and they cannot be equal; the created and the Creator are not equal.

Christ Jesus said in The Gospel, "The sent is not equal to The Sender." It is still written there in the New Testament as plain as day. I don't know how anyone misses it, for it is there as plain as day. It is saying that Jesus Christ is not equal to G-d Who created everything.

Praises be to Allah. G-d gives us Signs. And the signs are the sun and the moon. And G-d says, "The sun and the moon make sajdah, prostrate, in obedience." As I said I don't think Abraham actually did two rakat as we do them, following the tradition of Muhammed the Prophet. But nevertheless I believe he did two rakat.

Abraham's stand in prayer was for the nature, for the human life in its moral excellence. And his stand in prayer was also for education to come to the ignorant, liberal education to come to all the children of Adam.

His prayer was two rakat, and our prayer is two rakat, on the most sacred days and happiest of days. On Friday our prayer is two rakat. And on the two great Eids, our prayer is two rakat giving time for education.

Our training under the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was a big help for our understanding the great, big, wide field of Islam, which we came into with my leadership. His teaching was a big help. He taught us that we should be educated, and he taught us that religion is knowledge not just shouting and singing.

He turned us on to being students of religion. Nothing turned me on to that before my father. My father was the one who turned me on to being mentally curious, rationally curious to understand religion. I am a product of his influence, the influence of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. In spite all the erroneous things about G-d and religion and man that
were in his package, the intent was good. And if you were sincere, the result was good.

I read in the Bible where it says that one of the great prophets gave the people an invitation where they could go in two directions they could go left or they could go right. But if you read carefully what he said, their best choice was not to go left or right, but to go straight in the center keeping a healthy balance away from the extreme right and extreme left.

He said, "I give you two ways." And then he said something else to them that made it clear that you have to guard yourself from going to the extreme in these two ways and keep straight down the middle. What he was saying is that "righteousness is your salvation, though I give you these two paths."

Is this in the Qur'an? Yes. And we are called "The Midway Community" not going to the extreme right and not going to the extreme left, keeping the correct balance. This is the Ummah of Muhammed the Prophet.

Other signs are the sun and the moon. These signs are not just in the religion of the recent people in history or of the Medieval Age. These signs go back to ancient times; Ancient Egypt had these signs, the sun and the moon. Ancient Egypt had the sun as a god and the moon as goddess or daughter of the sun.

The sun was called Osiris in Ancient Egyptian religious myth, and his daughter was Isis in the Ancient Egyptian religious myth. And Allah says the sun and the moon "sajudan." So don't follow the dumb and the blind who will lead you to more ignorance, where you will never discover the inheritance that G-d created you for.

G-d created you for your rights and inheritance, and we know that man will rob man of his rights and inheritance. And the Bible says, although we don't accept it that it is charged to a prophet of G-d, that a certain one who became a prophet of G-d robbed his own brother of his birthright and also of his inheritance.

So we know that man will rob man of his birthright and inheritance. Your birthright is the right to be a full human being with a complete mind and a complete soul, with an appetite not only for spiritual things but with an appetite also for material things.

We have in the Qur'an, "And the family of Quraish, G-d has secured them against hunger and fear, referring to the material and spiritual. It is a sign for us to not accept this world of spirituality or spiritual leaders who invite you to spiritual existence and don't encourage you to have material establishment and social strength and stability.

You can't have it without the whole life. You have to have it with some of this good earth, as the Hon. Elijah Muhammad said. That was his language. And you have to have knowledge of the earth that G-d created and knowledge of yourself.

This is what put suns in the heavens and hung moons for the night. Not the moon that you look at to see when the Eid or the next month starts. It is the moon of your own intelligence and the sun of your own intelligence. They are only signs that G-d put out there in the physical world to direct you to your own makeup.

That, "Just as I have hung a great light up in the sky to light the world, so you can find your way around and work and grow in knowledge and in mass, I have given you an intelligence that if you let it come on, it will light up your human world and will make you productive in the world, just as the sun makes the world productive from the things that grow in the earth."

You will be a source of energy, enlightenment, light and warmth. The light does not only shine, it also warms up. The light is not just guidance alone, it is also healing. Man discovered that a long time ago, that if you don't let the sun shine into your house, you will have more diseases. Have good windows and open the windows and let the sun shine in; it kills bacteria and harmful germs.

When you make sajdah, you reconcile your intelligence with the creation of G-d. Put your head on G-d's creation and let your head agree with G-d's Laws in creation. Then you can stand up again as a man. Allahu Akbar. And for G-d is the Praise.

We celebrate and observe the Greater Eid of Eidul Adha, and we wanted to be right with the Hajjis, to do it.

When the pilgrims are celebrating on the tenth day of the Hajj, we want to join them here in our Eid celebrations. Also I want to bring to your notice this. The Hajj starts with the New Moon just as the Fasting. But the celebration of the Fast comes at the end of the month, when the New Moon of the next month is sighted.

It is different for the Hajj, in that the Hajj starts on the first sighting of the New Moon and ends on the tenth day of the month. So the great celebration is on the tenth day of the month.

This is the day that animals are slaughtered and cooked and prepared deliciously. It can be beef or lamb or camel, which they eat in Saudi Arabia and is a good "workout" for the jaws!

They have delicious milk and plenty of food. And I knew that no matter how poor you are, you can't get over there and tell anybody you can't eat. You will have to turn down food. Although I have some criticism for him, let me tell you this about the Custodian of the Kaalaa, the King of Saudi Arabia. On a certain day of the week, anyone from the public can come to his table and eat.

During Hajj, if they know you don't have food, almost anybody who has food will share it with you. But also the administrators of the Hajj Saudi Arabians are in charge will see that you have food and are fed.

But so much food is bought and slaughtered by the Hajjis, that at the end they have a lot of waste. They try to give it away, but there still ends up to be a lot of waste. And it is very difficult to avoid waste, because they want to have more than enough. They don't want anybody to say, "I wish I had some more of this or that." But don't ever worry, you will be fed.

Going back to Abraham his sacrifice was the sacrifice of his son, "Isma'il." He was ready, prepared for that sacrifice. But it really tried him; it tried his soul and his mind. He, was convinced-and his son was too, that "if this is what G-d wants of you, then do what He wants of you." So his son Isma'il agreed to be sacrificed.

When Abraham had him on the alter or chopping block, G-d spoke to him and said, "Abraham, you have already fulfilled your obligation. You have done your sacrifice."

So the sacrifice that Allah wants from mankind male and female is that we be prepared and ready to give up anything, including our own life wife, mother, father, son, daughter and our own life even if we think this is what G-d wants of us.

We have to be prepared to do this. Some ask, "Why would G-d want me to give up my mother?" Maybe your mother is the enemy of G-d who is helping the Shaitan. G-d does not ask that you take her away to kill her, but G-d does ask that you be prepared to accept that she be killed. It could be a child who is a threat to the way of G-d.

G-d does not ask that you do it, personally. And how do we know that? Because Muhammed came to make everything more compassionate and softer for us. He would not permit a relative to go in the battlefield and kill another relative. He would tell the relative to let the non-relative do battle with that person.

It is beautiful how he prepared the way for the healing and the future solidarity of the Muslims. If I had to stand in prayer next to a brother who killed my father, I don't care if my father was a disbeliever, that is not a comfortable place to be in. Rather, it is simply that he lost his life in the war, not like a family member killed him.

This is a very sensitive religion and at the same time a very strong religion. That is the best. What did Abraham sacrifice in actuality? It was a lamb. What is this saying? It is saying his son, Isma'il, was a lamb, a lamb in his passions.

A lamb has very peaceful and loving passions. Isma'il represented the peaceful and loving passions in Abraham's following, which he was ready to sacrifice. This was spiritually based, because Isma'il was in the wilderness and his mother did not have food for him.

Isma'il, the son of Abraham, represented the peaceful and loving passions in Abraham's following, which he was ready to sacrifice.

This was spiritually based, because Isma'il was in the wilderness and his mother did not have food for him. She was panicking and running in desperation. She left her child, because she did not want to see him die in that state, without water in the desert.

After she came back to him, after panicking and running around, she saw that a well had sprung up at his heels. This tells us that Isma'il's essential nature and character were spiritual, but not educated.

Water coming down represents education, but this wasn't water coming down it was water coming up out of the ground. So this was his natural spirituality that G-d gave to him, before his spirituality was educated being rain.

Abraham built wells, as the Bible or old scriptures said before the Qur'an was revealed. He, the father of Isma'il, also had natural spirituality. We call him Abraham, the Upright in his nature; he had the natural, pure spirituality.

Water doesn't just come pure from the sky; water comes pure from the earth. The earth and sand beneath the ground filter water and purify it.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice this natural spirituality for social advancement. He was ready to sacrifice that child or nature of the society for the social.

G-d told him, "Don't actually kill the boy, but kill this nature in him, this nature to follow naturally the urges of his soul or his spirituality, and educate him. You don't kill him and throw him away; you kill him and feed him to the poor."

Don't sacrifice that nature. Feed that nature to the people. In other words, educate the people regarding the natural makeup of mankind. Teach the people their natural life and natural makeup, how G-d has given them wonderful urges for their establishment in their own nature. Teach them, so they will be enlightened regarding that that is in them as a created being.

Is there any support for this in scripture? Jesus Christ is the biggest support I have to offer to you right now. Jesus Christ is called the body that is to be eaten on the table. It says, "Take this wine representing my blood and drink it.

Take this bread representing my flesh and eat it." It is a sign that we are not actually to eat his flesh, but we are eating the body of his knowledge that has its basis in his flesh in his natural body.

Educate the people and teach them the natural makeup of mankind, so that they will have the many sciences the sciences of the blood, of the skin, of the bones, of the muscles, of the nervous system. There are a lot of sciences in this body.

So here is religion coming and inspired in common people. Muhammed was a common man, not educated and did not know anything about religion. Jesus Christ was a common man; he came from the people who were looked down on.

The Bible said, "Could any good thing come from the place where he comes from?" The people from whom Jesus came from were disregarded; it was thought that they didn't have anything to offer others. But out of that place came the leader for them, Jesus Christ, peace be upon the Prophet. He was a Sign to the world.

When G-d says, "the sun and the moon make sajdah," He is saying: "You, man, with your sun and moon should make sajdah. With your social light and with your spiritual light, you should put your head on My Earth I created, because I brought you out of the earth, like I did your first father Adam.

"Your origin goes back to the earth, My Creation. Whatever you are, you owe your existence to Me and My Creation. So make your obeisance, your submission, your sajdah to the Lord of the heavens and the earth."

Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. La ilaha illallah. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa ilahilhamd. And for G-d is the praise. We thank G-d. We glorify Him. And we hope to enjoy the Eid today, and if there is any celebration for us for three days, we hope that all of us enjoy our Eid.

Know that Muslims are bonded together as one family. We are to love one another, and we are to put that love into practice.

The best proof of our love is that we want for our brother and sister what we want for ourselves. That we seek advancement and seek growth and progress, not to be selfish with it, but to share it with our brothers and sisters.

Peace be unto you, As-Salaamu-Alaikum and Eid Mubarak.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Story of Joseph

By Imam W. Deen Mohammed (raa)

Joseph said," Set me now, over the storehouses of the land. I will indeed guard them." Now, this is the story of Joseph. What you must understand that in the Story of Joseph, G-d says," In the story of Joseph is a great sign to all the seekers." So Joseph said, "now set me over the store houses." So who should we put in, over the distribution of goods, over the regulation of affairs, the regulation of the distribution of wealth. All governments must have some regulations. Who should we entrust to be over that? To be fair and just by all people. Someone who's integrity has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Someone who has been tested, and passed the test. Who came under the great pressure, who came under the great test, and passed the test. Not only as an individual, it as a people.

For G-d tests persons, and He tests people. And we were on the way to come into the position of Joseph, but we let the turbulent sixties, and all of its deceits, (the invitation to get the green dollar), the high emphasis on black beauty, and black power. We let all those deceits, and the invitation to smoke reefers, and burn incense, and go backwards in the path of civilization, rather than forward. To go to crime, and oppress your own weak people. Black on black crime. All of that mess that developed, knocked us out of the great opportunity to become the Joseph of the Western Hemisphere. Why, if we had been loyal to our profession, to our professions, to our claims, if we had been loyal to our better aspirations as we published all over this land, and throughout the world. If we had remained loyal as a people to those high aspirations, today, we would be the most beloved people in the Western Hemisphere. And people that's before us, in position of risks of high end to the other people.

Because we were people, and our forefathers, and our ancestors, following the spirit of freedom, the spirit of high moral conscious, high moral minds, the spirit of obedience to G-d that was all together with us. And we were warning the racist, warning the white man, that if he didn't hurry up and do what G-d wants, that G-d would bring terrible consequences on him. And if he is a conscious Christian, he should see his sins and repent. Wasn't that the voice of the African American (Indigenous African American) until he got freedom. Then when he got freedom, he forgot. And as a consequence, he knocked himself out of the opportunity to become Joseph of the land. Who Knows, maybe we succeeded? Maybe Joseph is right here? Who knows? Yes, who knows? Maybe in this small community of Muslims, maybe we are the Joseph? Now, I know we got a lot of bull out there too, but I'm talking about the good ones. I didn't invite the bull. I am not responsible for their presence here. But those who are truly and sincerely behind what I represent as a Muslim, maybe we are the Joseph. I think we have passed the test.

He say's "set me over the storehouse. I will indeed guard them as one that knows their importance." Isn't that wonderful. He would guard them as one that knows their importance. So Joseph was a morally oriented or a disciplined man before G-d established him. Because of him being a morally disciplined man, G-d chose him to establish him. But G-d said that He was going to teach him the interpretation of things that had been recorded or reported, and try him in situations in order to establish him in the land. He had the moral quality, and the moral tenacity, the obedience to his moral excellence. He had that, but G-d wanted to make him fit for the position over the man. To make him fit, G-d had to put him through trials so the world, looking on, would know that He has been qualified. Yes. They put him in all kinds of situations under the most powerful, and under the most wicked, and brought him through. Proved his excellence in all of those trying situations, G-d proved His excellence. And He taught him the Secret of things. The mystery of things to be interpreted. And He said, "in that wise, we establish Joseph in the land". The Bible says, "thus did we give established power to Joseph in the land to take possession therein." Didn't G-d say in the scripture, "My righteous servant shall inherit the land. The wicked shall not rule continually." G-d said, "He shall lead them on by their deceit to their doom." And He said, "my righteous servant shall inherit the land."

We have forgotten that. I'm not talking about we, the Public. I'm talking about we, the religious establishment. We have forgotten that G-d has required righteousness of us, in order for us to be put over the wicked, for if we don't have righteousness and only have the claim of being religious people, that doesn't give G-d the justice to put us over them. Only when we're righteous, and they're wicked. We're obedient to the moral code, to the moral law, and they're disobedient. They disrespect it. Then G-d will choose the righteous over the wicked. Is that clear as day?

So don't think that G-d calls us to be clean and saintly, and holy for an inferior role on this earth. He calls us to be excellent in every respect and it begins with moral obedience. Not for an inferior role on this earth, but for the choicest role on this earth. And there will come to past, over and over again, and still the people fail to see that it is the righteous that G-d gives the power too, and give the land too, if they will only stand up, and be what they're professing to be, therein for to take possession of the land therein.

We bestow of our Mercy on whom We please, and We suffer not to be lost any reward of those who do good. So if we remain constantly obedient to G-d it may be some time coming, but know for certain, that eventually, you will be put over your oppressors, your persecutors. Those who throw spiritual corruption in the path of your moral struggle. You will be put over them, and G-d will remove that headache from your life. It came with Mohammed, (pbuh). It came with righteous servants of G-d, before Mohammed (pbuh). It can come again if you all would only be strong. But G-d wants us to know that this great station on earth, that we can have, is not better than the hereafter. So, the next verse says, "But verily the reward of the hereafter is the best, for those who believe, and are constant in their righteousness." Praise be to Allah.

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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.