Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day



Quote by Imam W. Deen Mohammed


"This is the Memorial Day Weekend, and memorial means that this day honors somebody or persons who should be remembered. They are the people who fought and lost their lives, so we could have this peace and security that we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. We honor them and pay tribute to them on this day.


Also we must take full advantage at every occasion, when there is a holiday that gives us time off from work, to meet together for every important interest that we have as a community, to study and strengthen the situation for our schools and masajid, for our business people, for our financial needs.


The sick have to be taken care of. The little ones without parents have to be taken care of. These are all obligations spelled out for us very clearly in the Holy Qur'an. The weak have to be taken care of, not to mention that our investments have to be protected. As much as possible, we want to qualify to finance our own investments. So we have to work at that.


It is not going to happen, unless we work for it. Allah says that there is nothing for the human person, except that he strives for it, that you make a real hard effort - you have to strive for it. It is very difficult, and you are going and going but it is not with ease. It is with difficulty. That is our history."

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother

Imam W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles - 1978-April-7

As-Salaam-Alaikum

A woman's identity is in her basic nature—motherhood. A woman's unique nature creates her motherhood. She does not have to birth a child to come into motherhood. "Mother" as a social role, a leadership role for which physical motherhood is a symbol. Motherhood does not mean ability or capacity of only giving birth; it also means in addition, having the responsibility and authority of a mother (to look after and care for life as the mother does. Therefore, all women are by their nature and qualities mothers. Little girls are mother-like. The reproductive function in a woman naturally gives her distinct physical and social desires and a strong motherly interest in life and society.

Women need to take a new look at the role of motherhood in (the world and they need to re-assess, re-evaluate and re-establish the importance of the role of motherhood in the world. Motherhood is the most valuable attribute to society. Woman does not have to have a baby, or even be fertile to be a mother. To be a mother is to be a mother-like leader. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), called women who served the community well—mothers. In the Catholic Church system where clergy or officials are arranged in order of grade, rank, or class, the highest rank of female is called mother, usually Mother Superior. These cloistered females certainly do not have babies or children of their own. They are called mothers because they fulfill the beneficial leadership role that Almighty God has assigned to the female.

Women are mothers first and always. They are mothers for their families inside their homes, but they should also be mothers for the block that they live on, for the nation they live in and for the world that we all live in. In short, mother means leadership in society. Mother leadership is essential. The loss or absence of this very important role has caused many of the problems in the world today.

Women need to repossess the lost leadership role of motherhood. They should be active leaders in the community. We need motherhood leadership at every level of national life. Women, because of their natural stamina and keen interest, should push for the creation of a better life that would benefit and cover the whole world. Women should work for things that will be completed by them rather than start and stop in the first stage and leave them as many men often do.

Apathy is the absence of feeling for each other as we should feel, It is the lack of concern about the terrible things that are happening around us. In other words, apathy means lack of interest and indifference. Mothers cannot afford to be apathetic, because all of the worthwhile, desirable and excellent qualities which the world needs rest in a very significant part and depend on the leadership of motherhood. That leadership is naturally concerned about the health and welfare of all human life—the home, the community and the nation.

If, through changing times and attitudes, a conspiracy has formed to diminish the role of women or cause women to become apathetic, it is our duty to disarm the conspiracy and re-establish and restore women to their rightful and deserved role of leadership in our society. And we should lend our whole and sincere support to their efforts in assuming their leadership role as mothers of the nation. When we have done this, we will have reached the core, the central or innermost heart of society. That is motherhood.

We must have motherhood in the home and in the nation. We need those sentiments serving the best interest of the nation which are by nature female generated. We need the keen eye of motherhood watching over the land. Intelligent men know world leadership is best when it is combined with the wisdom which originates from fatherhood and with the wisdom which originates from motherhood. Female interest coming from the lungs of motherhood reaches us as solutions to problems and not merely as attacks upon conditions. The leadership role of motherhood over the nation requires that women meet the present challenge to eliminate the corruption and cruelties which modern society has imposed upon the woman. Because of the imposition of cruelty and corruption which surround us, the motherhood forces of heart and intellect are needed to save human life for America and the world.

Peace be to you
Your brother in service to Allah,
Wallace D. Muhammad

Thursday, April 14, 2016

QUOTES by Imam W. Deen Mohammed


“G-d gives us a picture that he is drawing. G-d is painting a picture with words and is making a big screen before our eyes with beautiful things, with men and challenges for the men, to get us to see the life that He wants us in.”

_____________________

 

"It's important to know ourselves to see the picture clearly: Muslims are not just a people of faith, Muslims are not just a people belonging to a religion, Muslims are people obligated to live a model community life. G-d says He made us a witness for mankind, a witness for all people. Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) is a witness for us. He's a witness for us, if we are following his way, and a witness against us, if we are not following."

__________________________

 

"Whatever excellence Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) achieved in life, it was possible for the mortal human being, because he is a mortal human being just like us. And the point is made; it is emphasized in the Qur’an so that we would know that. That Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) excellence is not something that’s up in the sky, beyond human reach. Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) excellence is on earth with mortal human beings. And we are obligated to grow into that excellence that is exemplified in Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), peace and blessings be on him. That’s the human being women, men; all of us.  We are to grow into the excellence of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), because he is the example for all of us."

__________________________

 

“G-d created people to be a community and it is only in community where you get your full freedom to live out your capacity or your ability as a human being.”

__________________________

 

"The human family has human family solidarity. As our destiny, we have to accept the unity of the human family. Man has progressed socially and materially on this earth with a position now, globally speaking, that we cannot accept to ignore other nations and other people."

__________________________

 

"This is Independence Day, and I am inviting you to come to my meaning of Patriotism and walk these streets and know that they belong to you as much as they belong to any man.  And see your future in this country and believe that the world is open to you as much as it is open to any man.  Go on and build a great life for yourself, as much as any man in the United States of America."

__________________________

 

"All we have the power to do is respect our good nature, respect the good life that G-d created us with. And as long as we respect the good life that G-d created us with, we have a sure defense against Satan.  Something that seems small with no power has the power to defeat Satan, and that is your goodness inside you.  Just stay with your goodness and Satan can't touch you. If you practice staying with that goodness long enough and faithful enough - you are not letting sex tempt you away from it; you are not letting greed for money tempt you away from it; you are not letting fear of wrongdoers or bullies take it away from you if you stick with that long enough, you will win guaranteed protection from Satan.  He won't be able to come at you in any way. You will be in Paradise, and he can never come into Paradise. He hates Paradise, just like he hates the righteous servant."

__________________________

 

"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!"

__________________________

 

"Education is the greatest tool for advancing the society"

__________________________

 

“We are disciplining our whole life for the Sake of G-d, and G-d says in the Qur'an: "Fasting is for Me."

__________________________

 

"We have to understand that Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), when he was leading his people with others with him like Abu Bakr, he said to them: "See that you don't uproot or destroy the culture of the people. But give them Islam so that it will modify their culture and beautify the culture of the people and make it strong for G-d."

__________________________

 

That tells us that all Muslims are free to have their own cultural life expressed by them and that it should come out of them. We shouldn't impose culture on another people. We are talking about culture now in the sense of dress, not education. But education, too, is culture and it has to come out of them too, and it has to be influenced by Qur'an and Prophet Muhammed's (PBUH) life."

______________________

 

"We should understand this as our Prophet (PBUH) told us, that Allah created the world to bring us together, to draw all people together. Now we see the answer to that. We don't have to guess at what that means any more. The material interests have brought us together to be seen as one world; mainly in transportation, communication and economics.  We have to live with one another and live side by side as nations and work together as members of a One World Order. The Prophet (PBUH) said Be careful how you treat your neighbor."

______________________

 

"If you want to really do something about your condition, learn to respect money. In your religion everything deserves respect. If you get $10 in your hands, then know that is $10. Look at what you need today and spend that $10 very carefully. If you can manage today without touching that $10, then do not touch it.  I don't care how poor you are, you are supposed to save something for tomorrow."

_____________________

 

"Muhammed the Prophet (PBUH) said that G-d has inscribed excellence on or for everything. And another saying of his (PBUH) is, whenever the believer endeavors to do something, the believer seeks to perfect it, to make it excellent."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Qur’an Is A book Of Guidance

Ramadan Session
Imam W. Deen Mohanmed

As-Salaam Alaikum.  Blessed Ramadan and a Blessed Eid, if I don’t see you before then.  We thank you for responding to the invitation and we wanted you to know that it wasn’t really a request. Because a request to me is stronger than an invitation. It wasn’t a request. It was just an invitation.  Really I wish everybody could be here that has an interest but I knew that some of you would have to do other things that are very important and some of you might not have the financial means at the time to come.  So that’s why we wanted to give it as a invitation. Almost an informal invitation, so that there would be no unreasonable burden on any of you, or any of us.  I’m very happy as you know, always very happy to see you all and very thankful to Allah for this occasion in the month of Ramadan, the Blessed Month of Ramadan.

The Qur’an is a book of guidance and Allah’s mercy to us or to all the worlds. As a book of guidance I am inclined to bring to you or at least remind you of it’s connection with previous books of guidance or previous scriptures. I’m referring mainly to the Torah and the Gospel that came before.  We find that there is something continuous for scripture, for the Word of G-d, and that is the interest or the desire to have more knowledge until the knowledge satisfies the souls of the seekers.  We have in the Old Testament the pleading of souls to know the face of G-d, to see his face, to know the face of G-d, to see His face. And in the New Testament we have the prophet Jesus, peace be on him, teaching the people in a very, I would say unusual way. He taught by parables for example. Hints, according to the gospel, as it is written now, which you know is different from what Muslims believe, the original was called the Injeel. However I believe that what I’m about to say to you is original and in the gospel. That is I believe that it did come in the Injeel.
This particular or I should say peculiar method of teaching, where students are told to not use their own reasoning. Not to apply their own mind. Exert the faculties of their intellect. Strain or exert the faculties of their intellect to form what they would say. But to trust G-d upon faith. They were told that when they met the occasion they would be given the words that they should speak. So as I look at that I see it saying that he taught people to trust inspiration. That they would be inspired.

The same gospel says of him ‘he shall come upon clouds and another he shall come in clouds or with clouds’. And another is ‘ the lightning shineth from the east even unto the west so shall the coming of the son of man be’.  And in the Qur’an we have his birth happening in a very unusual way to put it lightly. First his mother, peace be upon her, she didn’t have to be provided for. Her needs didn’t have to be provided for by Zacharias. Peace be upon Zacharias.  Secondly she was assisted by G-d when she was in a desperate situation to provide for her child, her new baby, peace be upon him. And Allah says in the Qur’an that He told her to take a little stick and make grooves in the earth and water would go through the grooves to the tree and the tree would drop to her its dates, its sweet dates.  And when she was asked about him, according to the gospel as it is now, the present Gospel, not the Qur’an, we don’t want to mix anything here, be very careful, she said consult the child or she pointed to the child, peace be upon the prophet.

And in the Qur’an Allah says to us that he spoke while he was yet in the cradle. He said, according to the gospel as it is now, I must go away, for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you” Or “be sent to you and he also said that I will send him” meaning the comforter, that he would send the comforter and that the comforter, the spirit of truth would lead the people into all truth.  This is the gospel as it is now. The present gospel, not the Qur’an. We don’t want to mix anything here. Be very careful.  Now we know that Muslims believe the comforter or the one to lead into all truth would be Mohammed the Prophet, peace and blessings be on him. But lets look at something here. The bible says, that is, G-d says in the bible, and G’d says in the Qur’an to Mohammed and the world, that Christ Jesus the Prophet is a sign, word, a spirit from his lord, from Allah. The angel pressed Mohammed the Prophet, peace be on him, three times before he could speak, before he could recite Qur’an.

And we find another figure in the bible who had lost his mission, Jonah.  And G-d’s book the Qur’an and the Bible as it is now, seems to be giving us the same report on him in his situation. The bible says that after he went through his ordeal and was cast upon the bank of the river by the whale, he said, “I have a three days journey”. This is the Bible. “I have a three days journey”.  And in Qur’an he’s shown as a figure that had been saved from one predicament but was in another.  He was on the bank with the sun punishing his head and Allah’s mercy caused a gourd plant, a vine plant, a gourd plant, like squash and other things, to grow up upon him, to climb upon him and put leaves above his head to protect his head from the sun. He said ‘I have a three days journey,’ meaning he was not yet where he should be. ‘I have a three day journey.’

I’m going to address Qur’anic text now. And I feel pretty sure that the Qur’an, Allah’s word to us, in the Qur’an, Teen: fig, Zaytuun: olive, Turi Seeneen: Mt. Sinai, is giving us the steps of a journey.  Three steps to enter the city, Baladil Ameen. 1) Wa teeni : Fig. 2) Wa zaytuun: Olive. 3) Wa Turi Seeneen: Mt Sinai. 4) Wa Haadhal Baladil Ameen: City of Peace.  But before proceeding with this line of reasoning I want to point you to a situation that Jonah found himself with the sun punishing his head and Allah had to show him mercy.  Allah tells us in the Qur’an that there are some who want to get closer and closer, too close, to the light. And so they’re blinded by the light. I’ll come back to that Inshaa Allah, but now let us continue with the three steps to the city, three steps that bring us to enter the city.

It follows that the sequence or that progression is followed by laqad khalaqnaal insaana fee ahsani taqweem. Laqad , indeed. Its a strong, strong emphasis here. Stronger than enna. Laqad, indeed we created the human in the best of molds. That’s how its translated. In the best of molds. Fee ahsani taqweem. Taqweem is from qaum, from qama, stood up, to stand.  Fee ahsani taqweem in the best of molds, best postures. Couldn’t we say that? Because it comes from, qama, to stand, postures or in the best of molds.  And of the prophet and his mission Allah says to us in the Qur’an that the purpose is to take us out of the darkness into the light. Minadh dhulumaati ilan nuur. Out of the darkness into the light. And of the light that G-d gives, Divine Light, G-d says of it: ‘It Is Light Upon Light.’
Most importantly then, we should see the city, the Promised land, as a fulfillment of G-d’s promise to lead us into the light. Into the light that will remove all doubts in all the problems, or the need of searching for the light and bring satisfaction to the soul.  Incidentally well, maybe not incidentally, ‘the City of the Prophet is called the City of the Light. And some seem to be very hesitant in embracing my interpretation of that progression, Wa Teeni, Wa Zaytuun, Wa Turi Seeneen, Wa Hadhaal Baladil Ameen.  Because on many occasions I have said that that Baladil Ameen, is the City of the Prophet. It’s not Mecca.  The road to the promised land begins where we originally were. And man in his original place, is told symbolically by the Kaabah and the black stone in sacred venerable Mecca.  So then the journey should be from the Kaabah to the Light. To Medina-Tul Munawwarra. Light upon light.  Before continuing this I want to go Back to the caution that G-d gives not to want to get too close to the light with our eyes, because it may blind us.

The world’s light is the dhulumaat, darkness. And the same steps followed by the humble servants of G-d that takes them into the Nur, into the light, takes the world into the darkness. And their darkness is darkness upon darkness arising from the depths of the sea. Darkness upon darkness.  And they too, I repeat, follow the same procedure, 1) Teen , Fig. 2) Zaytuun, Olive. But their 3) Turi Seeneen is not the Turi Seeneen of Moses. It’s their faith in their own spirit and intuition. Human intuition. Not divinely sparked intuition.  And the end of their journey is what they call the pure sciences. And the pure sciences bring them to dismiss G-d. G-d causes a problem. So dismiss G-d. Be objective . Obey matter completely as you should obey G-d. Obey matter. Only speak what matter says. Only report what matter says. Only come to the conclusions that matter implies or directs you to. Empiricism, I think they call it that. And that’s what has given us the secular world that we have on us right now. That’s their Medina. Their Medina of darkness.

They say that in education there is teen, Fig . You must use your imagination. You must trust creative thought. You must trust spontaneous bursts of energy in the intellect. They may even play some music for you while you’re straining your brain to help that happen. And they also say that they come up with one knowledge.  But out of the Zaytuun, or in the Zaytuun I should say, we read oneness. We read singleness. We read Tauheed. We Read Islamic monotheism for want of a better expression.  But the secular world, for the secular world, the Zaytuun is science. One science. All sciences agreeing in one science. Material science.  And their Turi Seeneen is the intuitive edge. Not the intuition that G-d gave the prophets. But the intuitive edge.

Now where’s the support for this kind of Reasoning? Allah say’s in our holy book, the Qur’an, He says, there were some who sought a hearing on high. And Allah says you cannot. And you will find that there will be shooting balls of fire. And you cannot get there, illa Bisultanin atheem, except as a big mighty sultan (authority). But He didn’t say you couldn’t get there.  The jinn, a company of them heard the recital of the Qur’an and they said we bear witness that this is a wonderful recital. None but G-d Has done this. They were not inspired or given inspiration. Their intuitive light in the intellect turned on, sparked by divine gift or divine intervention. It’s a property that they have. So just like we have in common with the Jinn community, the property of reasoning, we also have with them in common the property of intuitive insight.

So they have their Teen, their Zaytun, and their Turi see something. I can’t say it’s the Turi Seeneen. It’s not Mt. Sinai. It’s certainly not Mt. Sinai. But they have their Turi see something.  And they want the Baladil Ameen, the society established upon trust. The society secured upon trust. They want that. And not even America has it. Our society is a society under fear, not secured upon trust. And our society gives its citizens secular knowledge to support them and to guide them. Not Revelation. So even America’s promised land is a land of darkness.

Now going back to the Zaytuun as a symbol, I said the Zaytuun is to be understood as a symbol or signal to signal us to the idea of Tauheed, oneness. But in knowledge. In science. Oneness. That One G-d did it all. Not an accident. Not the big bang, but purpose, divine purpose explains why this earth and this creation, this universe is here bearing one design, the universal system of law or laws.  Before us the Jews claimed the olive didn’t they? They still do. They are a people of the olive, the blessed olive. And we know that we are closer to Christians in our spirit, but definitely close to the Jews in the reading of the concept of G-d (oneness). A blessed tree, an olive or an olive. A blessed tree, an olive.  For us science is not separated just like life is not separated. For the western world, for America, western democracy, there’s a separation of religion and government or church and state as they put it. And you know for us there is no such separation. For Muslims there is no such separation.

Also for the west there’s a separation of knowledge, pure truth, exactness in the perception of knowledge, or pure knowledge of truth. But for us there is no separation. For them there is the world or physical science, the world of secularism, and the world of religious science or spiritual science.  Now we know in Islam we have the branch called spiritual sciences from the “ruh” meaning spirit, but those sciences in our religion are not completely foreign to all the other sciences and that’s what Tauheed means. That there is a oneness. There’s a oneness of knowledge and all knowledge belongs to that wholeness of knowledge. So there’s seventy hundred or seventy thousand or whatever we might say, branches of spiritual science that have to be seen in connection with social science and all other sciences.  And again we look at the bible. Won’t go to the Old Testament, but it’s there too. What you’re more familiar with, that is, the gospel, as it is presently.

The word of G-d personified as Christ Jesus, peace be upon him, comes into the world not of water only but of water and blood. So the water of science or the science formed of water is in the heavens. And the heavens and the earth were separated, and the heavens were confused as churning smoke, and Allah directed Himself to the heavens and He said to the heavens and to the earth “Come ye together willingly or unwillingly”. And Allah highly glorified is He, also said, can’t you see that this creation was once one continuous whole and it wasn’t always just smoky heaven and an earth needing to be reconciled with a heaven that was in a bad shape?  Our knowledge then is one. Creation is one. Knowledge is one. It is expressed in so many different forms but it is one.

It is light upon light, light of a blessed tree, an olive. Its oil appears to be lit before there is fire. It gives off a light before there is fire. And the fire does not touch it.  Doesn’t this sound like empiricism, objectivity, where you’re not forming anything until the essence tells you to form it and you’re not forming it in any way that the essence is not saying form it ? You see our discipline is the same isn’t it? Our Discipline and our knowledge is the same as the Jinn’s discipline and his knowledge.

But our result is different, His result is different.  His obedience is to matter.  Our obedience is to the Creator of the matter.  Thank you very much.  We ask Allah to forgive and guide us always.

Ameen. Allahu Akbar!

Monday, April 13, 2015

America's Beauty

09/06/1992 
Imam W. Deen Mohammed

America is not a place that promises to give you religion or to give you culture. No. You are supposed to have cultural influences of your religion or from your past traditions. You are supposed to have your own taste for food, your own taste for clothing, your own taste for entertainment, your own taste for your intellect. You are supposed to make your own life in this land of opportunity and freedom. If you don't do it, then Satan and his hosts have everything ready and prepared for you. They (the corruptors) will dress you, will give you entertainment, will give you taste, smell, hearing, and vision.
So let us not exaggerate that melting pot thing. America is a melting pot only for those who leave the responsibility for self to the world. But if you take up responsibility into your own hands for your own life, America is no melting pot. The beauty and precious thing for American society is its pluralistic life we call plurality. That is America's beauty. The melting pot is not its beauty. Have you ever seen a painter pour all of the paint into one bucket? That is the ugliest stuff you ever wanted to look at — especially once he integrates it all thoroughly.

Our beauty is in uniting upon what is inherent in our life and nature, while keeping our distinctions that have evolved upon what is inherent. We are to keep the distinctions. Excellence and progress for Muslims is what we want for our religious life in America. We want progress in the world. Allah invites us to attend to the needs for progress in the world. We know the Destiny is bigger and more important than the world, but Allah tells us to also progress ourselves in the world.

We are to have income from legal sources, halal sources. We are to have Islamicly approved work and investment and opportunity. We are to invest our income for financial growth and economic growth. We are to be competitive in all that G'd has approved. If G'd has approved for us to establish ourselves in the world, that is what we should do. There is a prayer of the Prophet (the prayers and the peace be on him) where he prays to G'd for worldly progress. He prays for it in connection with the prayer for the Hereafter. He does not separate the two. He made one prayer but prayed for the Hereafter and for worldly progress.

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) described his life as being a religious life and also being a worldly life. This is the balance in Islam that most religions ignore. Don't think that you have a right in Islam to progress in the world; no, you have an obligation. It is not only a right; it is an obligation. We are obligated to follow the sunnah of the Prophet. We are obligated to obey the Qur'an; to follow its dictates and also the influence and advice of Qur'an. Some things are law and some things are advice. You are obligated to follow the sunnah of the Prophet and his advice and Qur'an, the Sunnah of G'd and His advice.

Imam Warith Deen Mohammed: “If we become independent thinkers, we can make a contribution”

Irreplaceable
As Imam Warith Deen Mohammed waslaid to rest yesterday, many people are learning more about what he was able to achieve during his lifetime of leadership. Too many outside the Muslim community still conflate his leadership among mainstream African-American Muslims with the smaller (yet more visible) Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan. And many Muslims are still unaware of the efforts he made to bridge the gap between disparate Muslim communities, as well as between Muslims and those of other faiths. As Muslim American leaders who worked closely with Imam Mohammed flew to Villa Park, IL for the burial, and mourners reflected on his vision for a united and engaged Muslim community, many are also wondering what legacy “Brother Imam” will leave for Muslim Americans to follow. In this, his last known interview, he speaks to our colleagues at Islamica Magazine about Black American culture, his struggles with the Nation of Islam, and his vision for the future of Islam in America.
You’ve been teaching Islam in the United States for over 40 years. What challenges have you faced and what have you learned from these challenges?
The main challenge we faced was from ourselves. We are newly converted to Islam. And the way we came to Islam was different from other communities. It was intentionally an indirect movement. Teaching Islam at the time of my father, Elijah Muhammad, was a strategy of protest – to protest the condition of black people in America. And I was hoping that, in time, things would get better and that the conditions of black people would be better for blacks in the US.
You were quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying: “I have tried over the last 10 to 12 years to encourage [American Muslims] to get more religious education, but I have made no progress… American Society of Muslim (ASM) leaders don’t support me, but the followers do.” Can you elaborate on this?
Yes. Yes. Well first let me first speak of the problem inside our association: the mosques, the schools. The problem is that they were not educated in the teaching of Islam: Qur’an, Arabic, its meanings. They were not given that. So when we go to prisons to accept our imams as chaplains, they tell us that they need to be educated more in the religion.
The imams amongst us don’t want that understanding. They stand in the way. They are really working against what I am trying to do. So all organizations that work for reform suffer that. The Prophet, who sought reform, look how he suffered – back biting and all that. So if he suffered that, how can we expect not to?
What, in your view, distinguishes the experience of Black American Muslims from that of other Muslims in the United States? Has this produced an indigenous Islam amongst Black Americans?
Mainly it’s the history: how we became Muslims, the strange routes that we took, the feeling we have in our hearts and minds, our outlook on everything. I am not saying it is negative. It is positive. It encouraged us to become independent thinkers. And if we can become independent thinkers, then we can make a contribution to Islam in America.
Black Americans have a rich cultural tradition including jazz, poetry and other artistic expressions. Is there a relationship between these cultural expressions and Islam?
Yes. Yes. I think our entertainment culture has really influenced America’s entertainment culture more than anything else. And we can use this positively to raise the moral life rather than putting it down. I think that nothing has raised the moral life more than that in black American culture. I can name many males and females that have lifted the life in American culture. But nothing compares to the rappers and the musicians.
What is your relationship with African Muslims and scholars? Has this relationship influenced your role in America amongst the Muslim community? Is your outlook Afro-centric?
There is no direct connection. We don’t have any direct connection with them. They are doing their work given their circumstance in the world and we are doing ours. We are separate. We are trying to advance our lives.
But we really appreciate each other. For example, [Howard University professor] Sulayman Nyang. We have contact with him at least 3 or 4 times a year, at least. We meet with him and he shares his views with us and we share our views with him. But as a work effort, we are not connected to him.
As a Sunni Muslim, you’ve never positioned yourself within any particular madhab. Do you follow any particular school and how, if at all, do you instruct your pupils about the madhab system?
It’s because, as I understand, the madhabs are geographically influenced. We are in a totally different geography in America. And I don’t think we should adhere to any madhabs because those were influenced by their location and they are different based on their location. The Shafi school and the Maliki school in North Africa and the Wahhabi one in Saudi Arabia. Regions are supposed to develop these madhabs.
I think we are gradually getting a sense of madhabs in America, especially those like me. We are getting a sense of madhabs. And with the coming generation I think that we will be getting a much stronger sense of it. It is coming more and more.
Does the rise of Barack Obama suggest that the US has progressed in terms of race?
He put an end to the black baby crying and whining all the time (Laughs). And we welcome him. We thank God for him. Alhamdulilah. Even if he doesn’t become the president – but I strongly believe that he will become the President – his success has already sent signals to our spirits, our sentiments. That will make for a new spirit in black America.
Less attention has been given to Keith Ellison, yet he’s both Black and Muslim. Does his election suggest anything about the future of Muslims in American politics?
I met with him in his mother’s house in Maryland. I am impressed with him. Like all elected officials, when they become elected, they have to recognize reality and the issues they have to deal with. They have to serve the country and they can’t jeopardize that interest by being too inclined to address Muslim problems.
I think that a lot of financial backers that supported him are disappointed because they expected him to do more. But he can’t do more. I don’t think that his meaning for us is anywhere near Obama’s meaning for us, even though Obama is not on record for being a Muslim. He’s on record for being a Christian: he goes to church on Sundays, etc. But just his image as a person helps all of us whether or not we’re Muslim or not.
You were the first Muslim to deliver the invocation opening the US Senate; you met the pope in 1996 and in 1999 addressed a gathering of 100,000 at the Vatican. You’ve met with presidents, the Dalai Lama, and Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious and political leaders worldwide. Is interfaith a cornerstone of your mission? What’s unique about your approach?
There are efforts here and there. We know there are African Americans working hard in the community to revive things. But on the whole we are sleeping. So we believe, unlike other people, other ethnic groups in America, we need to be brought to our true human values. And to do that we need to be taught humanity – appreciation for human values – and we need to join humanity. That is more important than racial identity – identification with humanity. Some individuals, educators, have tried to get our people to wake up to that.
I recall a book in which the author wrote, “It seems that somewhere behind me I got separated from my social contract.” And that is just what he was talking about, the original life with all people. If you don’t have that you can’t succeed with your family, you can’t succeed with other people. And the Nation of Islam was trying to do that for us – give us a strong sense of identity.
I don’t know if you are going to appreciate this language, but African Americans, when we were brought to this land, and were made slaves, the slaves were intensely deprived of going back to their culture or their religions. So we’re raised with an intense void inside. So I believe that is why black people lag behind when it comes to community life.
We have giants when it comes to Barack Obama or Colin Powell, and many others. Even females. We have giants, but those are individuals. And they are oppressed. They are depressed. Why? Because they know that the community life of black people is very slow to come around, if it’s coming around at all.
Can you talk about your role in the Focolare movement?
I started to come into the FLO (Focolare movement) when I was invited by Victor Hamdani. They learned about me, paid me a visit, and said that they wanted to introduce me to people that will welcome me. So we went to Pennsylvania and we went to the university there and we met with the Secretary General, with the World Congress of Peace. You see, it was WCP back then. There was a slight change in the name.
They told me at one time they wanted me to become the president in the United States (branch) of the organization. At one point, there was an evangelical (who) tried to block me. He would stare at me hard. He didn’t want me there. But they took a vote. And the guy came back, and said, “Imam Muhammad, now you are the International president.” So we have to work together. We have common goals and beliefs. So we have to work together.
What lessons can the new generation of immigrant Muslims learn from the experience of Black Muslims in the US?
Well, I think they are learning it. And I think they are doing very well. We have to work our way up by working in the system and by being elected into positions of consequence. And I think that is happening – immigrant Muslims are working in politics. But not only politics, but working in the community and serving the needs of the community. And I think that they are doing an excellent job by working in America and defending their civil rights. So there is a growing, real deeply-rooted Muslim life right now in America.
Do you think racism has a role in the relationship between immigrant communities of Muslims and Black Americans?
Yes. But I think it started a long time ago. I’m not comfortable with you writing everything I say (Laughs). We find that immigrant Muslims show more racism than the white man sometimes because the majority of them (whites) have left it out of shame. They are really ashamed of it, what they did to black people.
I find that in the Bible, people find a way, if they want something [racist], they find a way of putting it into Scripture. They got something they can use in the Bible. But the Bible as a whole is against it as we know.
The shaitan has done his work all over the world. And we are all victims. All of us. So we should work together to work against Satan.
Some say that the future of Islam in the US will be led by the African American community. Others predict that the new generations of immigrants will be leading. In 50 years, where do you see Islam in the US?
Islam is a religion that directs us to community, to develop community – under God of course. And to be productive. The same message is in Jesus’ teachings. The Muslims that come here, some of them are very intelligent, and they know their religion. They are already doing things. So in 50 years from now, there’s a big hope.
Michael Vicente Perez is Senior Editor and Fatima Bahloul is Managing Editor ofIslamica Magazine. While the magazine is editorially based in Amman, Jordan, both live in Michigan and are pursuing post-graduate degrees and research in the fields of anthropology and media studies.

Monday, January 19, 2015

You Have To Get Prepared To Make It (except)

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

I listen to those who are talking about problems of race. They are saying, "Yes, racism is rising again." I don't worry; let it rise. If racists want to occupy themselves .with racism, then that gives us good opportunity. While they are occupying themselves with such, I am going to see if I can be a little better in the competition to get wealth. If they want to tie their hands up with racism, let them do it. There is enough good sense out here in the society now for no one to have an excuse for being racist.

I know what racism will do. It will tie your brains up so tight that you will not be able to see your way into your own house. So why is anyone frightened by the saying, "Racism and racial sentiments are growing and rising again! You know they can turn the clock back?" I know they cannot. The clock is not in the hands of one race anymore. There are other powers influencing the time of day. This is a different world and a different time globally. America has to watch the global hour hands to know what time it is on the national time piece.

There have to be circumstances within for managing those outside of us. Our religion sensitizes us to want to know what is our own condition. And that is another point of interest for the "have-nots" who are trying to make it in the land of plenty. We should take a look at our own condition out of a desire to be better situated internally. Do more and complain less. "I have a toothache," But "how often do you brush your teeth" never comes to mind. What is heard is, "I have to get me a dentist, and he had better be qualified like the dentists in their neighborhood."

We do deserve the same good treatment that is given to any others. But what are we doing ourselves about our own condition? Are we questioning it? Are we trying to look for causes? That is the kind of sensitivity we need for making it in the land of plenty.

When viewing external factors it is wise to examine the way Christianity is presented. It can be presented in such a way that it will condition us to think very few African American Christians have studied the logic or the wisdom of Christianity. The great majority haven't studied the natural basis for many important things in Christianity.

There are natural basis requiring that there be in believers an appreciation for nature's role in religious matters. Also, it is important to know how religion views history. Many have not done any study, and for them Christianity is superficial and superstition, shallow and too much like voodoo deceits. Those without insight and without a spirit to meet the challenge of heavier concerns will tend to do the lazy thing: spook you and not educate.

I am a student of psychology. We have to be aware that we are a people who came from slavery in disrepair and not equipped to make informed choices. The only religion we could have was the religion of the people who enslaved us.

I can read something to you and pass on to you my emphasis and my way of reading it. It may be okay if I am your friend, for my influences of the reading then will be most likely good for you. But if I am not your friend or if I am the guy who is opposite everything you represent, then it is not good. You may not like this, but the church influence on the whole has weakened the African-American people. The emphasis passed on to us has made little dependent children out of most of the African Americans. I will go so far to say that it has in a strong but smaller degree made the European white man a community of childish thinkers.

I know that I say some things that some people do not like and you may want to get up and leave. But I accept your reaction. I have done this for a long time. I know I have to try and break unholy spells.

In many ways the African American people have a "white father." The "white father" is the European white man. I am not talking in the sense of "boss man," for you have gotten away from that. Now you will talk sassy to the boss, threaten the boss, and you might lynch the boss. You have gotten real bold and reckless and notorious lately. The note I wish to make is a religion that gives you to worship the image of a man which is an European looking man — although they say Jewish — is seriously problematic psychologically. It must be damaging the African American self-esteem.

The worship of the image was the first trip off the plantation. Fresh (suddenly) from under the slave master to worship an image that could be him (in resemblance). Well, that is some heavy Voodoo, It is heavy Voodoo to take a slave right out of slavery to one master and have him give himself in slavish worship under a image likeness of his former enslaver.

I do believe that a lot of "Uncle Tomism" was at work in us to make us accept the man-god image of Christianity as we did right out of slavery. I do believe that that was a lot of "hate71 conversion. I believe a lot of those blacks were just Toming" and lying. And in time it became acceptable and normal for us to be in such a mold. I believe a lot of the first ones were just outright lying. They did not believe that. How could they? The man-god image looks just like the man that just got through whipping me to break my human spirit. That acceptance was not normal for the intelligence.

Perhaps you can see it better this way. Suppose the black man had done that to England. Or maybe you could even say to someone other than the white man. It could have been to China or to Japan. Let us suppose that we had dominated Asia and treated Asia like Africa and we were treated. After we degraded Asians we would say, "Okay, we are going to free you now. That was wrong, and that will no longer be allowed in our nation or government. Now here you accept the Lord Jomo Kenyatta as your personal Savior, as your Lord and Savior. You confess all of your sins to him. And if you lean on him, you will be saved." Only "Toming" and lying could be in Asians accepting Lord Jomo. They will accept maybe because they want to be saved from getting any more punishment.

Qur'an and Hadith teach me to be intelligent and to assess the situation. To look at it and study it, to measure it and weigh it, and to let my intelligence and also my good virtues decide what I am to do, I am following Qur'an and Hadith. I am not going to be any wound up toy.

It is not racism to talk about race problems. It is not racism to be concerned for my own. It is not racism to tell you to wait two thousand years to walk down Broadway with a "white" woman. That is not racism. That is the concern for the dignity of my own.

Again in showing the beauty of our religion, the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, says "Allah is good and does not accept what is not good." What is said is that Allah does not have any double standards, when it comes to ordering the Prophets, His Messengers, and ordering the people. He says, "What Allah has ordered for the Prophets or the Messengers, He has also ordered for the believers." There are no double standards.

Allah didn't send the Prophets to live up to one standard of virtuous life, and then allow the people to live on a much lower standard. He didn't send Prophets and allow them to violate laws, to do wrong, and then obligate the people to do right. There is no moral conflict there. There is moral consistency and unity all the way. Whatever Allah has ordered for His Prophets, He has ordered also for the people and the followers.

"Eat of the things good and pure," was ordered to the Prophets, the Messengers and also to us, the people. Allah says he is going to put in the earth a khalifah. What is this khalifah? It is someone with responsibility for himself and for the good state of society. Someone trusted with authority, rule, and responsibility.

Allah also says that He has given everyone something of His Inspiration or something of His Spirit. We need to come into the spirit that Allah wants for us. What does it mean to have something of Allah's Spirit or of His Inspiration? It simply means that you have to be disposed internally to serve the Will and Plan of Allah. You have to be disposed in your heart and soul and spirit to want to serve the Will and Plan of your Creator.

That is what Allah created in creating a khalifah. He created one who was disposed and moved by spirit and nature to serve the Will and Plan of the Creator. If you have that, I can guarantee that you will be successful in the land of plenty.

The Lord Who created us is the Lord Who gave us our nature, the Lord Who gave us our nature shouldn't give us an inspiration that would be in conflict with our nature that He wants for us. But that inspiration should be compatible and should assist and support the nature that Allah made and wants for us. 

We are not talking about something unnatural. There is no reason to get spooky and float up into the zone that no one can find. Something of His Spirit is an orientation to obey the best in your human nature. When you want to obey in your spirit, in your soul the best that Allah has created you to be, then you have something of the Spirit of Allah. You have something of Allah's Ruh and His Own Inspiration has come down into you.

You will definitely be successful if you come into that. No one can give you that state, you have to have the make up in yourself to come into it. But once you have it, you are sate and sound and you will make it in the land of plenty.