"Destiny As It Is Tied To Excellence": Part 2
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
Editorial Note: This is Part II on Imam W. Deen Muhammad's address at the Sister Clara Muhammad School Banquet in Columbia, S. C. on Oct. 1, 1988.
We also have "la illah illal-lah." There is no other God." And I used to be before Christians and would be uncomfortable at this point. I would be saying, "Well as I say there is no other God, how are they going to take this? But after studying your religion, I can very comfortably fell you that there is no other God and you will agree with me. You will say also, there is no other God. Because now I think I understand your belief better. There is but One God. Now I know about the Trinity and all of that, but that is another language. So we say, “La illah illallah." There is but only One God.
And also there is "Allahu Akbar." That God is the greatest. But look at the expression. We really aren't saying that God is greatest, for that is the English and the related languages to English. In English we have good, better, and best. But in this Eastern language, there is no good, better, and best. There is first and second; there is it and more. So if you say "he is big" or if we say "He is important," we would say he is an important man and a big shot. But if you wanted to slay he is the biggest, the only way to say it is just "akbar." That says he is more, and that he is bigger. It just says that he is bigger or more and that is all. So we have "it" and "more."
I And what we are saying is what I hear some of these evangelist saying on the radio. They say the same thing, and that struck me. This evangelist didn't say "God is greatest." He said "God is greater which was in a song that he was singing. So I said that is the same thing that we say, Allahu Akbar. This is reflection.
But I said to my self, what is this reflection doing? This reflection is orienting my mind to appreciate God, to know Him and to appreciate Him and to conform to what God has willed for me. It is doing all of that. It is also conditioning me to appreciate better the limited free will I have to make independent choices. All of this is moving me more and more towards my potential.
And it will be asked, how are you going to bring out man's potential? There are many ways to bring out man's potential. You can put him in hell is one way, and you can put him in heaven which is another way. There are many ways to bring out that potential. But believe me these simple exercises of the mind in reflecting on God motivates us into our potential. And; that potential, as I have said, is excellent. The destiny of man is excellent.
The question can also be' asked, what is that heaven is destiny. And it is destiny for those who believe in it. And it is either heaven or hell. And I don't want to think of hell in my destiny. I don't care how many mistakes I have made at home or abroad, I still think heaven is my destiny. So to me heaven is destiny us. Again, heaven is destiny. I don't think hell is permanent. Hell is permanent only for sin, but it is not permanent because God has given us something that can't be erased or destroyed. And that is our purpose in life; that is our true destiny.
If hell gets us, and no matter how much sin we have on us, then one day sin is going to die in hell and the soul is going to come up again. That is what I believe. I don't care who I disturb with this kind of belief. I feel so good about it that I don't mind disturbing anyone with it. And I believe that with what I have heard from the Prophet, peace be upon him, and in his sayings that have been preserved by our learned leaders down through the years.
It is better than 1400 years now that we have had this great message in the Qur'an and in the life of Muhammad. So I just believe for myself that hell is not permanent. Hell is a place for sin and is only permanent for sin. So when God says you are going to be there eternally, God is not talking about you as you are thinking of yourself. God is talking about you, as you made yourself fit for hell. And when the sin is gone, then there is no more hell for you. Also believe me that hell is consuming, and it burns up sin eventually. For God says, "Nothing will live there forever." I just hope that someone will be relaxed. Aren't you tired of worrying about the planes and fire and all of that stuff.
Get on the job of moving towards your excellence, your potential, and think everyday of getting a little closer to the great excellence or that great resource that God has put into you as a human creature. And He says it in this expression, "the best of His creatures. " The Arabic saying is, "in the best of form or stature. " That is what He created us in, and we know that I wouldn't choose to be in any other form. And if you would, then you are just a different fellow.
I have heard people saying, "I would like to come back as a dog!" Well, they are dogs already; that isn't a human being talking. I don't want to come back as anything but me.
Lastly, I want to bring this expression from Qur'an—-and I expressions directly or indirectly address the destiny and the excellence of man, the potential that God wants to bring out in us. "The creation and also the command belongs to God." So we think of a creation being made by God and then it comes to rest. For we believe also that things come to rest, but our belief is a little different. We believe that God is never at rest. This is from the teachings of the Qur'an. And I am coming from the Qur'an and I am making it very easy and very quick for you.
Now God does not rest" and never will rest; we do not believe in a God like the physical sun that rises in the morning and sets at night, that eclipses and dies. Man was mystified by the phenomena of the Universe, and he applied thoughts, concepts, and ideas to religion that were big mistakes in our opinion, after being guided by Allah through the revelation of the Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet. And it is not only our opinion. When I speak, I am speaking for the major religions and the great wisdom in those religions. Because I think they all have the same; some are purer than others but they all have the same.
Now what is wrong with being consistent in our life?. What is wrong with being consistent regarding truth, regarding morality, regarding intelligence? If we would just be consistent whereas intelligence is concerned, oh we would have so much of a better world. I see people who abuse their authority. I am' seeing them all the time. And if I wasn't a man who thinks of himself as a reborn man, now I won't say reborn Muslim - I was born for the first time as a Muslim, but now I am a reborn man. I have been born twice. Now it used to be I was the kind of man who would not take the kind of stuff that I am taking now. And every now and then, even now, I say, "Hey, wait! What is this?"
They abuse their authorities; they let personal prejudices and racial prejudices—that I think are nothing but class prejudices. I don't think America has any race prejudices. We are confused. We are miss naming what the thing is. It is class prejudices.. And it so happens that the "blacks" came from slavery, and it is easy to see an inferior class. .That is quick to see, so the blacks get picked on the most. But don't think others aren't being picked on. Because I have been flying on these planes, and I know they get picked on. They get up there with the first class, and the people begin to look at them. And they will be looking at you as though, "Hey you aren't first class." Now they won't say that, but they will begin to pick on them. They will ask, "what is your seat number? Are you sure you are in the right place?" So I, am experiencing this all of the time.
And also I am wondering and saying, "Boy, this is a marvelous thing. Wallace D Muhammad is taking all of this stuff and saying "God bless you!" Well, I didn't quite put it like that, but I did say, "God will love you more, if you get that out of you." What is wrong with being consistent?
We all agree in the major religions that one God created all of this. It was The God, no matter what you call it—the manifestation of Jesus or whatever you may call it. It was The God, Who created all of this; it was The God, The Creator. Now our Holy Book puts the question to us. Is not the creation and also the command not for God? I have always heard that God gave commandments. That is how the religion starts, that God Who created things is giving the commandments. And then we come up with some idea, "No, the Creator God did create it, and then He left it for man to command." They ;are saying that "God created, and we are to command." But no, we are to discover what is God's direction and what is God's purpose. We aren't to do it in any spooky way; we are to do it by examining His Will in creation.
That is why God has tied these two things together, the creation and also the command. His command can be seen in study of His creation. And believe me the better way to come into excellence is to have a better respect for creation. Love mother nature with a reverence. Respect mother nature with a sacred reverence. Love mother nature, if you are not a scientist. Love it with the devotion that the devoted scientist has, when he is in the laboratory and is studying this leaf or is studying this species or whatever - it can be a rock. Have that kind of appreciation. Walk outside and say, "God did all of this. God did the ground. God did what is on the ground. God did what is in the sky, and I must respect all of it."
Look how we respect the painting of Michelangelo or the music of the great Chopin or someone. We respect that with that kind of high respect because the person is high in our estimation. Then who is higher than God? And that kind of conditioning of the person and the mind will help us to get into our excellence. Thank you. As-Salaam-Alaikum.