The Muslim Journal
The Night of Power with Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(The following are excerpts of the address given by Imam W. Deen Mohammed at the observance of the Night of Power, Laitui Qadr, at the Taqwa Islamic Center, 4545 S. Western Blvd., Chicago, 111., on the eve of Dec. 1, 2002.)
We praise G-d. Praise is for G-d, the Lord, Cherisher and Keeper of all the Worlds. We witness that He is One. And we witness that Muhammed is His Servant and His Messenger. The prayers be upon him and the peace, and upon his descendants and the believers all be peace. Amin.
This is the Blessed Month of Ramadan, the month in which descended the Qur'an as guidance for all people and as clear evidence of the criteria of what is guidance and what is not guidance. We know that much of what people have that they believe is pure guidance as it was given by G-d has been changed over a period of time.
Their inspired ones have added to it and taken away from it. And even Satan has seduced them to change it. Allah says of Satan: "Never did He give His Messenger anything, without the Satan conspiring to produce the likes of it."
I am a student of the Bible and of many beliefs of the world through the study of world myths. My studies have convinced me that Satan has changed the religion for most people. Islam came to bring us back to the religion.
And when Islam was given, it was revealed in the verse from G-d announcing its completion. It said: "I have perfected for you your religion and completed My Favor on you and have preferred for you Islam."
This tells us that G-d did not want us to ignore the people of faith of other religions. He did not want us to dismiss them, as though He had not revealed anything to prophets and messengers who came to them. They are acknowledged in the Qur'an over and over again.
Even when He gives to us the announcement that now the Qur'an is complete, that now your religion is right for you and perfected for you for all times, he uses the language: "And I have preferred for you Al Islam as the religion." This language is saying to us that there are other choices. You don't "prefer" something, unless there are other choices to it, that are also appealing or at least worth consideration.
G-d is saying, yes there are other religions worth consideration, other religions that other people have. He was not ignoring them or counting them to be of no value. But He is saying that now He has come to Muhammed, the Last Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, and has given him the religion in its perfect and complete form.
So as Muslims, we can never accept that the religion of the Jews or of the Christians is perfect and complete. And they don't accept that it is either. They are always making changes on their religion. They are always breaking up into different denominations and bringing in a new idea and a new way of looking at their religion.
Their religion has given birth to so many other religions that say, "No, this is not the way." They are not clear themselves on what is the religion or how it is to be presented.
So we shouldn't be uncomfortable at all; we should be at ease when we say to our Muslim brothers and sisters that G-d has only said that our religion is perfect and complete and He prefers our religion, the religion that He gave to Muhammed and that He gave to us.
He didn't give it to us for Muslims only; we were not Muslims before the Qur'an came to Muhammed. We were only Muslims in nature but not in practicing the religion of Islam before Muhammed the Prophet. It was only in his time that people began to know the Qur'an and know the guidance of Islam and began practicing it.
And you cannot find the whole practice of Islam in the Qur'an, as many of the scholars and teachers say. Hence, G-d gave us a Messenger to teach us. He is also called a teacher; he is called a guide. In teaching us the Qur'an, Prophet Muhammed also taught us how we are to make salat (prayer).
The Qur'an only tells us about salat, that we are to make salat. It doesn't give us the steps for the salat or the exact times for salat. It only says in the Qur'an that G-d has established salat for specific times. So without Muhammed the Prophet, we wouldn't know how to make salat. Without him, the Qur'an would not have been revealed.
Allah revealed the Qur'an to Muhammed, because he was perfectly suitable for the Last Revelation. He gave it to Muhammed, who spoke a language that was perfectly suitable for communicating G-d's Message to all people.
I was in dialogue with Jews and said that I had learned as a student that the Arabic of the Qur'an is the best Arabic for speaking. I said I had learned also that Jews, when they want to study points in their own religion and the terminology in their Jewish religion is not sufficient to help them, they know about the Qur'an in Arabic and go to Arabic to see if they can find help in their studies.
This Jewish Rabbi told me, "You are correct." He said: "Arabic is the Semitic language that we go back to searching for the history of meanings." It has preserved the more original and pure meanings, more so than any other Semitic languages. These Semitic languages are of the land of the Prophets. And Arabic is the best of them.
Qur'anic Arabic is the Arabic that made improvements upon Arabic as a language, making it a more classical language after the Qur'an came. The standard was set by the Qur'an. And here is a man, not educated in the world. He is not a son of a priest in Christianity or a rabbi in Judaism, not a student of any of their religions or of their scriptures, and G-d gave him guidance.
He is called the "unlettered one," the ummi. But from this Prophet, from his mouth, comes the beautiful words of G-d as revelation that set the standard for raising the value and beauty and logic of even the Arabic language.
It is said the Arabs were fond of meeting at the Holy House, the Kaa'bah, and there they would recite beautiful lines of poetry. They would have contests there. Arabs would come to the Holy House to discuss things of higher values and interest and concerns. They would also attach their poetry to the Kaa'bah and places nearby, so the readers could evaluate it for the contest.
It is also said that a very short surah from the Qur'an was put up by someone. It was the short surah that says: "Surely, we have given you an abundance. Therefore, pray to your Lord and make efforts and sacrifice...'' The people saw it and marveled over it and included it in the contest. And it is said that they did not find any poetry to match it.
The Arabs were like the Native American Indians when they were discovered. They had no central government for the whole area that we call now South and North America. But they were occupying all of this land South and North America.
They had separate governments, and the White man came and called them nations.
The White man knew he was going to have his own nation, and he used a psychology on the Native Americans. They were divided and didn't come under one central government, but had many tribes. And each tribe had its own order under its chief.
This is how Arabia was also, and it was Muhammed the Prophet who united them. The Arabs were divided along tribal lines, although all of them spoke Arabic. That was their strongest bond for the tribes, that they spoke the same Arabic. The Native American Indian tribes spoke different languages, so their languages did not unite them.
Even in Africa, there was never a single government for the Africans not in modern times or in medieval times. Maybe it was so in Ancient Times. But because of that, it is still difficult to unite the Africans. They too, do not have a single language for all of them. The Arabs do.
This made it easier for Muhammed the Prophet to speak to them; they all understood the same language. They could see the beauty of language and were lovers of language. I think they were lovers of language because Arabic was so beautiful. If you love a language, you will give it your best, and you will want to add to its beauty.
Over the many generations of the Arabs living and speaking Arabic, they had this appreciation for language and beautified it. When the Qur'an came, Allah mentioned in the Qur'an that this language was chosen, too. Not only was Muhammed chosen, also the language itself was chosen by G-d because it is powerful in conveying expressions. It conveys it message clearly and with brevity not using a lot of words. This is the Qur'an
The Qur'an is in the Arabic language, but it is for all people, all mankind. And Islam continues to build on fulfilling the needs in man to have a religion to serve not a tribe but mankind. Islam serves not one nation but all nations.
G-d promised Abraham that He would make him an Imam, a leader, for all nations. This restates what was said to Abraham before the Qur'an was revealed; in the Bible, it says: "Your name shall no longer be Abram but Abraham, a father of all the nations."
Muslims, especially as students of Islam, should understand that Abraham, called the Father of Man behind Adam, who is called the First Father of Man, is telling us that man was growing upon his natural needs. He had real needs that he was growing upon. He wanted to fulfill those needs. These were things that his own nature was asking for.
And who was responsible for that? The G-d Who created him. G-d made him like that, to want to have religion for the whole human family. This was in the nature of the people. It was their politics keeping them from that, their tribalism keeping them from that. It was their culture or their ethnicity or their local languages standing in the way of that.
But in time, they would have to overcome all of those obstacles, those interferences in the way of what their nature was calling for. That is, that we are one human family. What distinguishes us from other creatures is not our local names, but our common names human. That stayed in them and moved them.
That is what moved me, as son of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and as a member of the Nation of Islam. That moved me more than anything else, that kind of thought and wanting to see that happen and wanting to be the human being G-d made me to be.
They say I am a Black man, a Negro. Yes, I am a Negro, but what is that? That isn't enough. I feel I am something in here, in my own makeup, in my own constitution. I want to know more about that. So telling me I am a Negro doesn't tell me too much about that. Telling me that I am an African doesn't tell me too much about that.
Whatever you call me in the language of man other than human doesn't tell me enough about myself. I want to know more about myself that is more than African, that is more than Black. There is a hunger in the life of the people going back thousands and thousands of years, before we even knew history.
So Allah gave us what He made our human essence to ask for. It's important for you to see it this way, the way Imam W. Deen Mohammed has guided you to see it. Because this has freed me and made me a man who can talk to anybody on any level. I can understand scripture so much better now.
It is all clear to me; there are no dark areas anymore. And I want you all to see this the same way. I believe this is the Guidance of G-d that G-d intended for us to be guided to, this perception that He has blessed me with.
Obviously, Abraham had this perception. Obviously, Moses had this perception. Obviously, Jesus had this perception. Obviously, Muhammed had this perception, this way of seeing. Obviously, because they weren't narrow minded, they weren't narrowly focused. They weren't trying to care for some nation or some race. They were trying to care for the Family of Man. So obviously, they had that perception.
We are living in a time now, when if we don't see it this way, we are going to just fall off the tree and die in the dirt. We will just fall by the wayside, as the old preacher used to say, and become of no account, of no importance.
You who came to the Hon Elijah Muhammad, some of you came to him because you wanted to be with G-d. You wanted to be with the right way. And you knew that the White man had been so bad, that you shouldn't trust him. So you weren't trusting him all the way.
And you heard the Hon. Elijah Muhammad say it, and then you said it: "Well, maybe this is it." You weren't comfortable with the White man, and as soon as I told you the White man was good, you wanted to go back to the White man. But you are not going to be comfortable with him. You are not going to be comfortable with anything except with what your nature calls for, and Islam is what your nature calls for.
It's not spookism; it's not guesswork. It is building on the best that Allah made you with, like a house that was put up and it was put up very well. It was a beautiful and perfect house at one time, but it was neglected. So the roof got problems; the plumbing system got problems; other areas of the house got problems.
But the master builder will come there and say, "This house still has a great foundation. Let us take everything down but the foundation, and let's see can we build it up again." And he will build it up again, and maybe he will be the master builder to complete the dream of the original builder who built that house. Maybe that house didn't quite fulfill the dreams of that builder.
Now the master builder comes in and restores the house, and maybe he can fulfill the dream of the man who first built that house a long, long time ago before it became dilapidated. Think of yourself in just that way.
Men will come with guidance from G-d and will build a house, and they will work on the house and finally G-d has to help the builder, Himself. G-d will come with the Final Revelation that says: "Now I am going to show you how to perfect the structure of this house and complete this building for all times, and it will be for all people."
Thank you very much. Peace be unto you, As-Salaam-Alaikum. Have a blessed month, a blessed night and a blessed and happy Eid.