Community And Personal Advancement: Part 5
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: The following is a continuation of Imam W. Dee/i Mohammed's lecture given in Cleveland, OH on November 20, 1988. Here is that which man and woman can live by.)
Most of us do not understand science. Therefore you don't know that I am establishing scientific support for what I am telling you. Perhaps I'm not bringing enough information to you to make the argument really solid scientifically, but I am on the scientific method. The scientific method is to quote history, to quote facts, and then to bring a living witness from a living example. So that is what I am doing.
These things are saying that the inner human condition is what makes the big difference. So don't play Revelation cheap; Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds is the best thing man could ever have. Our Prophet also gives us a report on a man saying, ''Once a man was passing along a road and found a branch with thorns obstructing the way. This man removed the thorns from the way. Allah thanked him and forgave him his sins."
Now why am I bringing you this? It is because we need a climate for community and personal growth and advancement. I know the things that have been said to us in this worldly environment, and for those things I am not blaming the American environment. The American environment has just been the leader in this and the most visible of the nations, but the whole world has had a share in feeding of our minds this ignorance and of influencing our minds to accent ignorance. Therefore we need a climate.
Our attitude towards Allah and our attitude towards revealed knowledge has been influenced by the secular world and by an erring, faulty religious world. This problem has come from both worlds. From the religious world the wrong kind of information has come to us about Allah and has come to us about human identity and human worth. All of this wrong information has a lot to do with our attitude now towards Allah, the Lord and Creator, towards Revelation, towards the Prophets, and towards religion. The secular world has been successful in separating the majority of the citizens from every real help that Allah has offered. In that way, without putting us in any chains, they have us as their slaves.
I am not talking about any particular person or any particular corporation or any particular religious group. This is really the work of Satan, the Devil, himself. But Satan cannot make any advancement in man's life without man inviting him in. Our religion says that. So who is to say that "Satan is the Catholics." No, Satan is not the Catholics. Although I have read that someone has said that Catholicism was the house of the devil; this was written by a confused Christian.
As we have said, we know this influence is the influence of Satan or Shaitan, as he is called in the Quranic language, and that it was man that invited that evil influence and evil thoughts because he saw a profit in following that evil. Then men took up that evil and executed it. So as we know man as the man of "sin," we know the devil. The Honorable Elijah Mohammed was not all wrong. If you are doing the work of the devil, then I will point over where you are to where the devil is.
At a time in the life of America, different people from different religions have made themselves willing subjects and willing tools of Shaitan, the devil. They have influenced the life of people to come away from everything that Allah gave them as real support and as real strength in their lives. They have influenced the people away from a respect for Allah (God), away from respect for the unity of Allah's world and creation, and have broken up and caused alienation upon the unity of Allah's creation. They have made everything into two conflicting worlds — the world of Satan and the world of Allah.
These experimenters have also broken up the unity of Allah's human creation and made it white and racialistic black. This has caused us to see the world as a system of contradictions. All of this has conditioned us to be without strong faith.
In time educational and scientific progress will bring us to see the fallacies, flaws, and blunders that men have made for us. We have said, "The religion did this to us." It is hardly ever said, ''The secular world did this." Although the secular world is usually the main culprit, and it has influenced the church. Can't you see how the church has been influenced over the last twenty years by the secular world, how many preachers have stopped trying to obey scripture and have now started to he politicians? They have become politician preachers, demagogues catering to your weaknesses to enlarge their memberships and profit worldly.
Where is the culprit? It is the secular world that has influenced the religious world to come away from Allah. Allah, the religion, the church, and everything sacred have been so discredited by the secular world, that the people no longer have the strength, the faith, and the knowledge to stand up to the great advances of the secular world as it moves against the shrines and monuments of faith.
Our Prophet says, "A man picked up the thorns from the road, and Allah thanked him." So don't you know that is very, very powerful? It is a simple truth that Allah appreciates any goodness we do and especially a goodness that we have done — not out of a self-serving interest, but an interest in our fellow man. who is a part of ourselves. He is a part of our own life and existence. In his interest we pick up the thorny branch from the road, so that be won't have to experience the same difficulty.
"Allah thanked him and forgave him his sins." Now how does that help a climate for community and personal advancement? It will counteract or work against the cheap and old inferior concept of Allah that the secular world has influenced in man. ( causes me to see a Lord that does not have to come and do a great thing in the heavens and also do it where all the nations can see it. He can come to me quietly and no one will see it but me, He will do a wonderful thing in my life, an all the miracles that 1 have read about are not as strong for me as that is. I appreciate Allah and love Him even more for this simple thing He did for me, which no one saw but me.
Allah blessed my life and made me feel "sinless" for a little thing I did like taking the thorny branch from the road. And He causes that man to walk away feeling sinless and feeling that Allah is smiling on him and saying, "A wonderful creature you are. I love you! Go on, you have no more sins at this moment." It is at this moment, for we have no idea what he will do in the next day or in the next year. Because all of us are human creatures and will sin.
However a consistent spirit of repentance makes us decent in the eyes of Allah and decent in the eyes of each other. But is the over-worked human being who expects another human being to be perfect. If you say you are good, then he is going to ask, ' 'Are you perfect?" They have it established that you can't be good without being perfect, and that is terrible. That is another error in our thinking given to us by this world. A good human being does not mean that he is an angel. An angel never sins, but a "good human being" is a human being who never wants to sin!
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, has said as he was praying, "Oh Lord, grant me Your love. Grant me that I love those who love You. Grant me that I might do deeds that win Your love. Make Your love dearer to me than the love of myself, my family, and wealth." This is the prayer of the Prophet and listen to that prayer. Also know that however he prayed is in the capacity of all human beings. Allah says of him in our Holy Book, "Say, 0 you Prophet, that you are a mortal human being just like them."
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, does not represent another creature or a growth out of the reach of all other human beings. He is our example and our leader. We are to follow him in his excellence. This tells us that Allah wants all of us to be like the Prophet. There are many of us, perhaps, who have that same spirit to pray exactly as the Prophet prayed. Look at what he said in this prayer. "Make Your love dearer to me than the love of myself."
This world has come to the point in this "attention for self where it wants us to think that anything for self is okay and has to be accepted and approved. We are told that you should not even love anything more than you love yourself; that the greatest thing going for you is yourself; that there is nothing more wonderful for you than yourself But how is that? Am I Allah? There must be something more wonderful than me. I did not create myself; I didn't decide my own entry into this world. There is much that is greater than me.
Allah says of man, "Oman, think not that your creation is a greater thing than the creation of the heavens and earth." This secular world inflates our ego and gets us into foolish and drunkard's love for ourselves to make us think we have to rise in authority above things we were once taught to respect. This secular world would have us to "trip off 'in our own minds into thinking that we are the most important thing there is. For if I think I am the most important thing there is, how am I going to have respect for Allah?
Although I may not be consciously rejecting Allah, by habit in my spirit and in the recesses of my soul something is saying, You don't move to respect that! You are the most important thing there is." That is the work of Satan through the secular world forces. The Prophet (PBUH) did not have any kind of ugly sin in him. He said to his Creator and Lord, Allah, "Make Your love dearer to me than the love of myself."
There are some who say, "I'm not going to let my children stand between me and Allah. When it comes to Allah, I will see them all go to hell." But we never think, "When it comes to myself, I will see myself go to hell. Even if I have to go through fire and suffer, I am going to be a decent person for Allah." We hardly see that, but we will see that everybody else be sacrificed. The first thing you should do is sacrifice your bad self interest and make yourself fit to live with other people. When you get the strength to face your own shortcomings, you are going to be in a better situation as someone good for other people and good for yourself.
The Prophet (PBUH) went on to say, "And make Your love dearer than my family and wealth." It is those three things that cause man most of his problems — self influence, influence coming from his family, or influence coming from his possessions.
TO BE CONTINUED...