Productive Ideas For Us In Religion: Part 4
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(The following is a continuation of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's address at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois on September 4, 1988. The ideas and analogies touched on at this point are due serious consideration and front page headline announcement.)
Here comes another powerful and productive idea for us in religion. Allah says that He created everything in pairs, as mates of each other. And that He made honorable mates, "zhow-gin kareem," to everything. Are you prepared to go the extent of the road to see your religion? Your thinking has to come up. Your sensitivity has to come up from a small hole to a broad universe.
The translator, Abdullah Yusuf All, says in his commentary on this particular idea that I have just mentioned from Qur'an that he believes that by "honorable mates," plants are directly referred to. Now let us deal with that, before we go on to the second thing that he says. If it is talking about plants, then what does that tell us directly? It tells us to have a respect for plant life; that if God made them, then they are deserving of respect. And like you have mates, they are mated also as male and female.
But that is the kind of aesthetic appreciation for it. That is something that the flower children will stay on for maybe two hours. But I will just spend two minutes on that, because I have heavier concerns on me. The rent is due tomorrow! Still, we have to appreciate scripture for its aesthetic value and for all of its other values. For the Qur'an is the most beautiful scripture ever revealed — in the ear as a sound, in the mind as a message, on the heart as a feeling, in the spirit as a hope, and also on our senses of beauty. The Qur'an is a beautiful, beautiful revelation.
But God has given more importance on some things than on others. So the speaker goes on to say something else, and I will get to that in just one moment. For now, let us again address this as it relates to plants. God also says that He has created "you" as a plant. Now if God says that He has created me and you as a plant, then I am to understand that maybe this is speaking metaphorically or symbolically. And that maybe the plant is not the plant that I find in the yard, but a similar kind of functioning thing in me. That when I give a poetic picture of it, the symbol there in the plant satisfies the need to communicate what is in me. For example, "Wheat and tare."
I know an Imam who has a Christian name and his Christian name means "tare." And I am watching him to see if he is going to choke out all of the wheat. He isn't here today!
Let us look further into the commentary on this idea in the Qur'an on "zhow-gin kareem" or honorable mates. "Kareem" is a beautiful name. It means honorable. It means noble. And noble means coming from a very high family line, and that somewhere back, there were high-classed people in that family line. Now you may say, "I wonder where my nobility is?" I can tell you. It is in Adam. -Adam is the high noble creature in your family line. You could not get any more noble than Adam. God gave him the greatest nobility. He was the first father of man. And we are going to get there yet.
Abdulla Yusuf All says further in his commentary, that he believes that expression is also addressing people. This is the translation that most of you have, if you have been following my advice. Now Allah has said that He has made everything in noble pairs, in honorable pairs, in generous pairs. For this term "kareem" also means that you can expect kind treatment from that person, if he is Jiving up to his name. He is not going to short-change you. He is not going to abuse you. He is not going to hold back what he knows be has that can help you.
Now, when I look at a brother or sister and have disrespect for them, no matter what situation they put themselves in -maybe he is drinking liquor, that is wrong. I should not disrespect his God-given nobility, his God-given excellence, his God-given esteem. Whether he is blind to it or not, I shouldn't disrespect it. I should not say, "Look at that stupid drunkard. Look at that worth-less dropping." I don't say anything like that!
Pity goes out to that person. I am hurt because the shame is in the refined vessel. The gross is now dulling and hurting the refined vessel. God has made him a precious and valuable instrument for -his own welfare and for the welfare of the many, but he is ignorant to it. He is abusing himself and is putting himself in a shameful state. Pity goes out to him.
But if I am ignorant and moving on the impulses of the world, than I would look at him and maybe say, "Oh, look what a s-h-i-t that is." But I am never to do that, if I am an educated and informed Muslim. I should look at him and never see anything in his person to make me disrespect him. I don't like what he has taken on, but I shouldn't disrespect him. I must respect him.
What did the Prophet say (PBUH)? He said, "Help each other when in the right and in the wrong." Now, if be is in the right and be needs support, then I will come to his side. If he is in the wrong — then the Prophet was asked, how do we help someone when they are in the wrong? The Prophet said, "Help them by pulling them back from the wrong."
So when I see him drinking and disgracing the fine instrument that God created him to be, I am supposed to try to influence him and invite him to come from that abuse. This is the kind of sensitivity that Allah wants us to have. And these are productive ideas. These are the kind of ideas that have brought heathens out of heathenism to become masters of the world. This is a fact.
Before Al-Islam, the Arabs, themselves, were heathens. And the Prophet in his natural excellence was fit to be God's Messenger and was destined to be God's Messenger, and God called him while he was in his human excellence and gave him the mission of prophethood, as the Last Prophet. And he began to appeal to the hidden or what you would call latent good that was in the heathens, and many of them responded and became shining stars for -a new day of excellence for man on earth.
He mainly addressed people of the class and category of the unlearned. He had a few learned people in his following, but the description of his followers were what you call the uneducated. In fact the whole of Arabia, itself, was considered the "dark ages" in that time and uneducated people were following ignorant and savage habits. They were burdening each other with their ignorance and savage life. But look, they were raised up to be the torch bearers of enlightenment for the whole world.
Their intellect touched the sleeping intellect of the West. It excited their appetites again for deep research in the sciences. As a consequence the Age of Enlightenment came for the West, called the Renaissance. This was a consequence from their becoming enlightened under the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, the peace and the blessing be upon him.
The traces of that excellence that went ahead of the Renaissance of the West can be found in so many places now in subjects like astronomy, algebra, geography, and in many others. In medicine and in many other places, they still bear the traces of the excellent works that they did and of the excellence that they held up for civilized society.
So why should you be shy to walk up and declare with a strong and firm voice that, "I am a Muslim! My religion is Al-Islam. My God is the One Lord, Allah. My Messenger and My Prophet is Muhammad, the peace and blessings be on him. My qiblah is in Mecca." You should be proud to declare that and to also say, "I am a Believer and I pray to God to make me ever and ever more worthy! Be proud to say that! Say it with the confidence and with the joy and sense of security that was heard in the ringing voice of Judge Harris who got up and gave you the message and news of his being converted to this religion. He said he was a new convert to this religion and declared his Islamic name. He gave us such a beneficial message, something we can take home with us and apply and get benefits. They are thoughts that are fighting the germs in us, when we are asleep and when we are awake.
Now I want to get in one other note in introducing the last two messages or thoughts I would like to bring to you. The first note I want to bring to you is from last year's Jet Magazine of August, 1987. There is an article here that says with a caption, "Study Reveals Why Shotgun Weddings Last Longer. " Now I would think that they would last longer than the average wedding. Because in this world's situation that we are in, this cultural laxity or looseness, most people are tying up just to tire out. "Tire out! "I hope you understand what I am saying; they then say "I am through, baby, I have had enough of you. I am going and tie up somebody else!"
One girl had the nerve to tell me, "I've been your girlfriend for a long time. I don't dislike you or anything. I still love you, Wallace. Maybe one day we will get back together. But I have been with you for a long time; I want to find out what is happening with somebody else." So I said to myself, "Oh Lord, have mercy! What can I do in this situation?" And especially when she can't even tell me who the someone else was. She said, "Nobody yet." So when people like that are getting married, we know their marriage isn't going to last longer than a shotgun marriage.
I would like to read some from this article, "With babies born out of wedlock accounting for ninety percent of births among today's black teens" — now this was in 1987 — "the once popular 'shotgun wedding" might be one way to solve the problem. As a recent study suggests, researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found forced trips to the altar often resulted in unions that lasted longer, a family unit that was more economically stable and offsprings that fared better on social development and intellectual test." Isn't that something?
Why is this? It is because those parents who cared enough about their daughter to not have her left as a single parent to care for the child are most likely in a mental situation to care more about the general essentials for a family. You have to have some money, so they will say, "Hey boy, you don't have a job? You had better get one fast, or you don't touch Mary!".
All of these things are tied together. And all of these essential concerns are registered strongest in the sanctuary that we call the soul of self-interest. Your mind will not register it, not when the society has rigged the thoughts that go out in the society, so that you don't even think in a productive way. You think as again the Judge mentioned last night, in immediate results and in immediate pleasures. "How is this going to help me right now?"
You will say, "Hey, son, come back. I know you have to run out with the boys, but come back. I want to tell you something. There has been something on my mind. I love you man, so come back here and let me talk to you a little bit." His response will be, "Not now, sorry, I have to go. I will talk to you tomorrow or next week, daddy." And he is gone! There is nothing you can do to get him to come back in that house and talk to you. He is gone, and what can you do? There is nothing.
Now not disagreeing with what the speaker said last night, but adding to it, in that the whole atmosphere of thoughts out there in the world and in your house — for the world has now taken over your house! How did the world take over your house? Through the television! Radio was not good enough. There wasn't a visible person to look at; you were just hearing a voice. So when daddy comes up there with his muscles, what ever you heard on that radio is not going to be stronger than what daddy looks like. He would say, "What in the hell are you listening to? Turn that radio off!" And you would turn it off. But after looking at television for a while and daddy comes in and says, “What are you looking at? Turn that television off." Then the response is, "Oh, go shake it! Go blow it out your nose! Oh, daddy, stop being gripy!" So now there is a new boy there. And already the daddy is weakened. He has heard that somewhere else and has forgotten where he heard it. He heard it off the media, the movies, or in the shopping center.
You have heard it said, "I don't try to oppress these children. You can't make slaves out of these children, you know. And when my child has an opinion, you have to respect it. My child came up and his father was telling him something and trying to impose his idea on that little child's mind. And I told him, 'Honey, don't do that. Let him have a mind of his own." Yes, let him have a mind of his own but not "on" his own, until he is mature and at least out of my house! He isn't on his own, when it comes to paying the bills. So how is it he is supposed to be on his own when it comes to talking to me? Now I am supposed to help him with that mind of his own, because be is still developing. And I am going to be held responsible before the courts of God for not doing my best to help him develop a good mind that will protect him in society.
(To be continued)