Reprinted from the Muslim Journal (3-18-05 to 4-29-05)
"Researching Our Faith for the Business Life In Our Neighborhoods"
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(The following lecture was given by Imam W. Deen Mohammed as part of his First Sunday Lecture Series, on Jan. 2, 2005, at the Homewood Ramada Inn, in Homewood, III.)
Allahu Akbar. We are saying, "G-d is Greater than anything imaginable. G-d is Greater." For this second day of the New Year and to you all a Blessed New Year. And we greet you with Peace, the greeting in Islam of "As Salaam Alaikum."
We praise G-d, the Lord and Sustainer of all the worlds, the Lord of all that is in the sky and of all that is down here. He is Most Merciful, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer.
He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. We witness that He is One, and He cares about all of His Creation and His special creation, the creation of human beings.
He is Merciful firstly, and He gave us the life we have. He made us human, and He made the world to support our life. He made the earth to give us everything that we need for our life. And all of our aspirations, He says, can be fulfilled on this earth.
And we witness that Muhammed is the Seal of the Prophets, the Last Prophet, and we salute him with the traditional salute of "the Prayers and the Peace be upon him."
We are grateful to Allah for our health and our presence here to address the radio listening audience. We appreciate you caring to tune in for this live broadcast.
We are addressing the individual life and community and how we are to build up our communities, so that our souls will be pleased. The human soul cannot be pleased, unless you do what you were created to do. When you do what you were created to do, then your soul will be pleased.
But as long as you have not fulfilled that, you can't be happy and your soul cannot be happy. You will be empty and sad or in pain and hurting. G-d wants us to care about ourselves and to value ourselves.
Nothing communicated to man or brought to us as education or news has respected our value as G-d has respected our value.
In the world today, there are publics and populations, and their way of thinking is influenced by Judaism and Christianity and Islam. There are other publics influenced by Buddhist, Hinduism and many other religions.
The great majority of the people on this planet are influenced by those major religions. And all of these religions place great value on the human person.
All of these religions invite the human person to wake up to the human value that they have, by virtue of the fact that they were created human.
If you were created human, you have special possibilities for your life. They are possibilities that are not open to any other life, not even to the Angels, according to Revelation or Scripture.
Not even the Angels have the freedom that human beings have. Not even the Angels can alter creation and recreate and get the great satisfaction in their souls and spirit and minds of doing things worthwhile, that are beautiful and helpful to the society and community not only to the society or community of man, but to the community of animals as well.
Man has made history, and if you study history, you see that man has made progress. You can go get a book that is a thousand years old and look at that human environment with its diseases, etc., and look at it now, and you will see that man has made progress.
If you get a history book and read about what was existing for us just two or three hundred years ago, you will see we have made progress.
I have been living as a Chicagoan for most of my life, and I know Chicago from 70 years ago. When I was a baby in Chicago, that Chicago was not the Chicago that I look at now. I saw a backward city, compared to the Chicago that we are living in now.
Traveling in the city was not as convenient as it is now. The smell in the air then was not as nice as it is now. There were horse drawn carriages going down the street, and the horses left their droppings and you could smell that going down the street.
So man is making progress. We are making progress by building upon that that worked for others that they did before us. We are building upon that that was good for human life that others left with us. We are building upon the progress in the material environment that others left with us.
Fathers and mothers are passing on the life .stories of their mothers and fathers, passing it on to their children. They are passing on the wisdom and good advice and passing on the good nature to their children. This is how we have made progress.
If we stop doing that, then we have not made progress and we start to go backwards instead of forward. We will start to go down, instead of up. This is life and this is history, and let us all become aware of these things and think seriously about life.
Don't make a joke about life. Don't make your life a life of play. You are not babies anymore. G-d gave us play to train us for adult life and adult responsibilities. You play and use your muscles and reflexes and endurance that are building you up to have a good job and not get tired so fast.
Play is building you up to have good skills for a life of adult responsibility. So don't even take play in children for fun. It is fun, but it is to teach children to be ready for an adult life and adult responsibility. We should understand these things and wake up.
We should prepare ourselves to live in a world that offers the human being much more than the world in the past offered human beings. We should be thankful to G-d for that. Or be thankful to whatever you imagine to be responsible for that. The point is to be thankful, to be grateful, be appreciative.
When you do that, your soul will like you more. When you don't do that, your soul will not even like you. And your soul will make you destroy yourself, because your soul wants to see you punished. Your own soul hates that you disrespect the wonderful creation that G-d has made you.
No other creature has been made to manage his own life and to manage his or her own nature. The animals can't manage their own nature; they can only live within and under their own nature.
But the human being can manage his own nature and take his own nature into his own hands as his responsibility and improve upon his own nature.
Every child born is crawling around on all fours, like animals. No matter how beautiful the baby, no matter how high the parents were in cultural development, the baby comes here lying around and crawling around like an animal.
The baby does not even know how to speak the language. It learns the language from us. And according to those who study the development of societies, they say that if you leave a child alone and it not be supported by other human beings, and if it is found by animals and lives with animals, it will think of itself as an animal, will try to make the sounds of animals and to think as the animals do, that it survives among. History also has shown us that.
But don't think that G-d wants you to stay on your all fours. G-d wants you to stand up on two feet. There are monkeys and other primates and birds that stand up on two feet, so to stand on two feet is not enough. But that is a start.
You have to elevate yourself. And we learn from the wisdom of the ancients that if you care about yourself and invest in yourself and spend time on making your nature and intelligence better and spend time on making your morals better, if you spend on your own self to increase your own value, you can become the person to bring relief and happiness, cleanliness, civilization and education you can bring the beautiful life that we can image now in this time.
Just a few thousand years ago, human beings could not even image living as human beings live now. They had no education, no science, no evidence that would give them that kind of mind and thinking, to think with the opportunities that we are looking at and being able to foresee or to go forward with our lives.
We are a very special people, in spite of all the bad news you are getting by way of television and other ways. We are blessed to be on this earth at this particular time.
Sometimes, it takes disasters to sober us up. Look how the recent earthquake out in the ocean caused huge waves to do so much damage. That is frightening, and maybe that is what we need to wake us up sometimes.
A great tragedy will wake up the human person in our bodies, because most of us are not respecting the human person in our bodies.
Most of us are not respecting the human person in our own bodies. And we wonder how come we have so much trouble, and we wonder how come we are suffering so much. We wonder why drugs are taken by everybody.
It is because those bodies are only flesh; the human being is gone. If you bring the human being back into those bodies, you will see a difference in the way they behave before the temptations of drugs and before the temptations of violence.
When the human being is in the body, the way that he or she is supposed to be in the human body, we can handle the temptations of drugs. We can handle the temptation to become violent. We can handle the temptation to put our burdens on everybody else, to go out and pour our misery onto the public.
You see this in the public traffic, where one drives so reckless, you get somebody killed. They drive so as to deny someone the opportunity to make a left turn at the corner. This is what is going on. Rudeness and cruelty on the streets, where motorists are out to make another motorist miserable.
This is a sad time for the state of human life in the human body. So come back home. Have the human mind come back into those flesh bodies you have and appreciate that G-d has made you more valuable than any other living thing.
We degrade ourselves and put ourselves down, when we mistreat human life, especially our own. I respect a suicide bomber who has a cause who thinks he will get attention to his cause by killing himself, I respect him more although suicide is not permissible in our religion; we leave that only to G-d.
We should never take our own life; only G-d should decide when to do that not us. We couldn't say when we would be born, and we shouldn't say when we die. That's is G-d's Right. We have taken a Right away from G-d, and we have to be punished for that, if we do that.
We know suicide bombing is terrible. But what is worse than that is those who commit suicide by taking drugs. Those who are committing suicide by just beating up on people or killing people. They are committing suicide, because eventually somebody is going to beat upon them and kill them.
They are dying fast. Millions are dying all over the planet earth, because of insane behavior, suicidal behavior. That type of suicide is more degrading than the suicide bomber. Let us wake up. It is wake up time.
We should want to know something about this fine life that G-d has given only to humans. And every religion that I know of, that is practiced or lived by great numbers of people on this earth, they attend to that need to bring to the conscience of their followers human values.
It is so they will respect human life and the society can make progress. You cannot make progress, if you don't respect human life. If you don't respect human life in your own home in your apartment or in your house if you have members who are sharing that space or that environment to respect human life, that space will be made a hell for all the members occupying that space.
It is no different for the town or city. If the people are not respecting human life, then their behavior is going to make a hell for the rest of us. And that is what life is in most of these big cities, it is a virtual hell. The suffering that goes on in this life today is no more frightening to me than what I have learned that hell has in store for us.
Hell is a place where you burn. And you will bum and won't be burned up. I see families miserable. Mothers are miserable. Grandparents are miserable. They are seeing their sons and daughters on drugs going to the graveyard, violent prone and sick with immorality. They are sick with moral corruption.
They are sick, as they are looking at that and can't do anything about it that is hell fire, a fire that bums all the time and won't stop burning. So we are living in it and are just burning, burning, burning, burning with no end in sight.
We can turn that thing around by putting the human being back in the body. And we will see a great difference. That is what religion is all about. If it is about anything, that is what it is about.
Religion is not about you going and shouting and pretending holiness, fainting and carrying on. Then you go out and leave that place, the church, the temple or the mosque, and go right back to the same old life of self destruction, making others miserable and making yourself miserable. That is not religion.
Religion is beautiful. Religion is intelligent. Religion respects human life so much, that it wants us to have the intelligence to manage human life for ourselves.
This is Islam. This is Christianity. This is Judaism. This is Buddhism. This is Hinduism.
Every religion wants you to have the intelligence to manage your own life and get the satisfaction of seeing and knowing that your actions, your behavior is what made that happen.
I came up in bad circumstances. And I am not the only leader who is doing well who also came up in bad circumstances. I came up in a bad neighborhood. I was a child and could walk out two blocks and run into a prostitute or a wine head.
Sometimes, I didn't have to walk anywhere; as soon as I stepped outside, there they were. Or there would be a drug addict and people who didn't care about themselves.
They were victims of the instruments of the devil drugs, whiskies, etc. But now we are the victims of the instruments of our own selves.
We are not hooked on drugs. We are not so poor that we have to drown our miseries in alcohol. We live in nice apartments and have color television. We are doing very well.
But still the human life is not respected. We are mistreating our own human life and mistreating the lives of other human beings near us, our loved ones and relatives.
Parents are abandoning their responsibilities to their children. And I am not talking about the responsibility to see that they have food on the table or clothes to wear.
The greater responsibility is to see that they have good sense, to see that they have intelligent human behavior. And parents are abandoning that responsibility. They are letting children do their own thing and saying, "Well, what can you do? Everybody is doing it."
Those who think they go to hell with a whole lot of company are wrong. You don't have a whole lot of company when you go to hell; you go to hell alone. If you have company, that company increases your hell so you are still alone.
Hell will surprise you. I think it has surprised most already, because they don't know they are in hell.
Some religions believe that hell and heaven start in this life, while we are physically living on this earth. My religion is one of those. But you don't get the fullness of either, until this life goes away.
Then you will wake up in another reality. And you will get the fullness of your good life or the fullness of your bad life.
This is in two of the major religions that I am aware of and maybe more than that. Not many religions are leading the publics of the world today. The religions that you don't know of, thousands of them, have very few followings.
The big followings belong to the major religions Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. These major religions have the majority of the people in the publics of the world.
Can we then say that the state of the world should be blamed on these religions? No. I read these religions and have studied these religions for 40 years or more and know these religions.
I can read the beauty in these various religions in any of their Books, and I am put in a mind to respect what I am reading, to appreciate what I am reading and to put great value on what I am reading.
I can go to these great religions go to their Holy Books and read them and get this kind of feeling and get this kind of lift in spirit; it lifts my spirit when I see their beauty and their wisdom and their good, pure purpose.
I see this and it makes me feel good; it makes me happy. And I am soothed by what I read.
So it is not the fault of these religions. It is the fault of these publics. The public goes astray from the religions, and we as individuals get weak for the public life and leave the good teachings that our good parents gave us and join the public life. And we go to hell.
The public life, especially in the industrial world, is a life that lets you know right away it is all about money. You step out in the public and you will see people trying to get your money. But in some of our poorest neighborhoods, you will walk out and everything is gone already.
This world is strange. And in order for us to appreciate human life, we have to appreciate community life.
There is no way to appreciate your life, human life, your individual life without you and us appreciating community life. G-d did not make us to live outside of community; He made us to live in a community. G-d did not make us to go with a mind that life is all about me.
G-d made us to go with the mind that life is indebted to my family, life is indebted to my community, life is indebted to my city, my state, my nation. That is how G-d made us, with intelligence to appreciate life in community and to understand that that is the only way you can have life.
If you say, "I just want to be by myself," what about the electricity, the water, the heat, the house, the telephone? Can you do all of that by yourself? Can you bring all of that to yourself? No.
The reality is that you don't ever live alone. You always live the life of community. And if you didn't have community life, you would not be able to survive alone. You would have nothing but bare earth.
I don't think this pampered generation we have today can survive on the bare earth. They would go out and look for something to kill themselves with real quick. Without community, you would have to climb up a tree and go to sleep on a branch.
Some of us are against government and everything, saying everything is corrupt. When we look at persons, we see corruption. If you reject the world and everything, then try living without the world and just by yourself, do you think you can live on seeds from an apple or corn and plant it and have the patience to wait and see it grow?
Will you then get out and gather it and work to bring it in and get it into your yard, where there is no house, no flour? Will you get some grass and make you a fire and cook for yourself? Do you think you can survive like that? No.
You don't have the spirit and endurance to meet the challenge of a natural environment without man's work in it. Wake up! Let us appreciate life more. Let us appreciate living in community more. Let us realize we owe community life for the things we enjoy on this earth.
Whoever is responsible for the community or for the neighborhood, we owe them. The government order that protects the order of the neighborhood or city, we owe that order. We pay taxes for that.
And we are supposed to; it is a service to all of us. Don't be angry because you have to pay taxes. Be angry when your taxes are not directed properly or used in the best manner.
Don't tear down the system. Correct the things that are wrong for the system and help the things that are right for the system. But don't turn against the system that managed to give you an environment where we can live as human beings and feel comfortable.
You can't feel comfortable when you turn yourself loose out there with animals. You can't escape human civilization. You can't escape man's progress. Embrace man's progress, because his progress is really your progress.
Whatever man is able to achieve, it is a proof that G-d made you valuable. You have the same thing that man has. You have brains and hands to work with and a human soul. You have the same things the achiever has.
Some say, "Yea, but I've been held back." Don't you think the first man was held back? He would go out and plant and build a house and a storm would come through and knock his little house down and wash out all of his works. He would go out in the morning and there would be nothing there. The things he worked all of his life for....
Did he give up? No. Even though he might have been old and too weak to work, his children and the young folk related to him and his friends got busy and soon had another house up, another living establishment for themselves.
Are we prepared to do that? We will let something wash us out and sit us down and we are finished. We will be on welfare eternally, with no spirit to change. Wake up! Some of us want the life that respects the value that G-d gave us and put in us.
I don't want a life where I don't have to use my brain. Muhammed the Prophet said that there is no greater thing that G-d has made than the human brain.
We look at the worth of the human brain, and we know the heart makes its contribution. The heart gets the brain started, and the heart makes requisitions to the brain. The heart says, "That's a beautiful house there, but it is a little bit rough. It needs some flowers and trees around it."
And the brain listens to the heart and says, "That makes sense." So the brain sets out to achieve that and make the beautiful and comfortable house that the heart wants.
But what does the work, the heart or the brain? The heart makes the requisition, but the brain does the work.
So you have to respect your brain and know that your brain is above the brains of all other living things. You are favored with your brain to do things they cannot do.
Don't you know a roach still lives like a roach did 3,000 to 4,000 years ago in the Palace of Pharaoh? I have read about the history of Pharaoh, and there are pictures of roaches carved in stone. They were durable creatures.
I am very serious here. The roach has no history to show that their life has advanced. They are still living on the same low level of nature that they were created upon. But man was created upon human nature and on animal nature. And he rose up out of animal nature and saw himself higher than the apes and monkeys.
He then prided himself and said, "I'm human." He meant that he was not meant to act like a dog or to be an ape or a wolf. He was meant to be human. He was not meant to be a buzzard or eagle. He is better than all of that. And in time he has proven that he is better than all of the animals and everything they can do.
The man would watch the ducks dive from the air and go down deep into the water and appear to swim like a fish and then come up and ride the surface and take off and fly in the air. Man finally caught up with the duck and said, "I have more on you than language and freedom of movement. I am going to show you something!"
And man made a vehicle to go down into the water and that could come up and take off from the water just like the duck can do. Whatever man saw anything else doing, eventually he was able to do it.
The eagle would fly above the storms. And man said, "I'm not going to be satisfied, until I make me an airplane to fly above the storm." And now we have those airplanes that fly above the storm and look down on the lightning flashing in the clouds.
That is man, and that is what every one of you are. You are human, so wake up to your human value and stop disrespecting the great value that G-d made in you. If you have a friend or a child and you give that friend or child a precious gift for a birthday or whatever, if you see they don't care about it and leave it on the floor with the trash, it hurts you.
I know G-d does not hurt like we hurt. G-d is protected from these vulnerabilities or weaknesses we have. But at least imagine, whether G-d experiences hurt or not, how do you think G-d is by you, when He sees you take the most precious thing that He has given to anything in the world, never giving any living thing or dead thing the value He gave you and He catches you putting your body in the garbage can?
That is what you are doing by the corruption that you let come into your life. You are putting the gift that G-d gave you, your life, in the garbage can. Then you ask the government to pull it out. Now they have stopped pulling your life out, and it goes on the garbage truck and takes you and your garbage to the garbage dump.
That is sad, but that is the state of many of us right now. Some of us listening to this live broadcast are in that situation, where you are treating your own life as garbage and blaming everybody and everything but your own self.
Wake up to the great value that you have. If you let Satan's temptations and vices get you into a life of corruption and you like it, you have a freak brain not a human brain.
If you aren't happy unless you are jumping up and down like a yoyo, you have a freak brain controlling you. You have turned your human brain off; it's not on for you anymore.
Wake up to your human excellence and come back to human life from that hell that you have made for yourself following the way of the immoral public. Don't go the way of the immoral public.
Wake up and be at the controls yourself. There is no better friend or helper than the true person we were born as when we came from our mothers. When we were delivered from our mothers as babies, we were born as true persons.
If you go back to that innocence, that goodness, the life of the infant, you will be going back to your true life. If you can get back connected with your true life, then you will have a spirit to build upon the goodness and upon the excellence of life and not live a life of recklessness, insane pleasures, violence, drugs, alcohol, stupidity.
Some people give their life to stupidity and look for stupid persons, so they can have some competition. 'This guy thinks he is nuts. Let me show him! He hasn't seen a fool, until he sees me!" That is what happens when we get separated from our human life.