By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Reprinted by request:
The following article is from excerpts of a Jumu'ah Prayer lecture that was delivered by Emam Wallace D. Muhammad on Feb. 25, 1977
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate.
Some people come into the argumentative mind and start exalting personal discretion above truth: "You have to work it out for yourself. Use your own judgment." My own judgment should submit to a higher judgment. We know we have the freedom of thought, the freedom of judgment. We have the right arid the freedom to an opinion or to our own individual judgment on matters. But does that kind of thinking originate from nothing or from nowhere, or is it the kind of thinking that develops from other things? This kind of independent thinking, this independent judgment, this so-called logic, grew out of a nature, that was submissive to greater powers—to the power of mamma, to the power of daddy, to the power of adult experience and adult experience and adult knowledge. When we get to be men, shouldn't we also submit personal opinion, personal discretion, again to Allah? Shouldn't we follow to truth?
There is universal truth connecting all things. My opinion is formed of outside factors also. How can I have a safe opinion or a safe judgment or a right opinion or a right judgment if I have come about it all by myself? Whatever I used to come about this opinion or to form this kind of judgment has been taken from places outside of myself. I didn't come here with a computer logic in my mind. I came here with a blank mind and from God's creation messages began to enter. My mind was formed after I was born and was formed by the things that God had created. Even when I want to form an independent judgment, that judgment is going to affect somebody else.
No judgment that we form is going to be safe with us alone. It is going to affect us and we are going to affect something else. No man is so free or entitled to freedom that he takes upon himself the right to form an independent judgment separated and isolated from all other judgments. We have to weigh our own individual judgment with other judgments. What did mamma say about this thing? What did daddy say about this thing? What did the ancient leaders say about this thing? What do the present leaders say about this thing? Let's test it with what exists outside of us since we are connected and living with all of these things and since what we are using came as breath from sources outside of ourselves. Isn't this the truth? Isn't this justice? Allah teaches us with Al-Islam to never become that rebellious, self-styled devil that thinks he has some exclusive sense or some sense separate all to himself. You don't have any exclusive sense.
All the sense you have came into your head after you were born and it is all connected with other senses. We come into the life dominated by physical feelings and internal feelings that we call spiritual feelings. We are creatures first of feelings. Then we learn to be creatures of impulse. We test the heat and if it is too hot, we snatch our hand back. If it feels good, we like to hold it there. We become creatures of impulses. We do things impulsively or instinctively and we grow up out of this feeling into a conscious awareness of disciplines, of directions, and of instructions that we have gotten from mom and dad or from an aunt or an uncle or grandmother or grandfather. Somebody has taken us to them and has loved us enough to say, "I am going to give this boy good guidance. I am going to give him what he needs to protect himself in this life." So we come into a mind and we begin to do things with an intent. The little child does something and we say, "Why did he do that?" The knowledge hasn't come yet to make him question what he is doing with an intent.
Judgment On Intention
But when we grow up, we come into a mind, we begin to do things with intent; and what does God say? Ultimately judgment shall be on intention because knowledge may become faulty. I can't judge you always by the rules that were given you. Maybe those rules were not simple or plain enough for you to apply, but there was an intent. We all have Intentions. What was the motive behind this act? Isn't the motive the thing that the courts look for? Prophet Muhammad said before the courts said it, "Matters are judged by intentions."
Let us find the intent. What moved him to eat this pork? Was it the teaching that Jesus made everything that had been poison safe to eat? Was it just a stubborn resistance against God's instruction? If it was an act of negligence or just a willful resistance against God's instruction, you are due punishment for eating that thing. But if you follow it as a Christian thinking it was okay, God is not going to punish you. He is not going to punish a Christian for eating pork if the Christian thinks that pork eating is acceptable in Christianity. Isn't AI-Islam a beautiful religion?
This religion enables us to meet our God again. There are people who are afraid to pray because they don't think they can face that relationship with God: "Oh, God is going to condemn me for this and for that." God is going to condemn you for what you did intentionally. He is going to condemn you, not for your acts alone, but for the motives behind those acts. Maybe the world is responsible for many of those acts. Maybe you did them in ignorance. God is not going to charge you with what you do in absolute ignorance.
Prophet Muhammad taught the people that once they embraced Islam, they should forget their past sins that Allah wiped out all behind them. Once they accept Islam, their judgment starts at that point. What they did as heathens, what they did as idolators, what they did as Jews, what they did as Christians or something else—Allah is not charging them for that because Islam brings you into a new life and gives you a new lease on life. It gives you a clean slate and you start writing on the board for the first time. Be fair with yourself, be fair with Allah, do justice to your God, do justice to His instructions, do justice to Prophet Muhammad and keep your intentions right.
In Islam, we struggle to keep our intentions pure. Purity of intentions is 'most important for Muslims. If the intentions are pure then the life that grows upon that foundation has to be a good one. But if the intentions are bad, whatever we build upon that corrupt foundation is going to eventually fall because the intentions are bad, it may be a morality, a feeling, a moral conscience, or intentions that are not decided by logic hut by feeling. Logic comes into play sometimes before we make a judgment, but an intent moves even the formation of that logic.
Intention is the beginning of the life, the beginning of the activities of the mind. Things begin to structure or to come into some order or into some system upon intent and motivation. We should structure it right, keep it right, and pray to Allah: "Oh Allah, help me form -my intent right. Help me please you with my motives. Let my intentions be acceptable to your"; If we do this, Allah will aid us. He will help us, He will strengthen us, He will give us the strength to want to be right.
Thank you for honoring us with your time to read these few words.
Your brother in service to Allah,
Wallace D. Muhammad