form the Muslim Journal 11-17-00)
Be A People Standing For Justice, Witnesses For G-d
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Continued from Imam W. Deen Mohammed's address in Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 15, 2000
In the Bible, the book of the Jews and the Christians, there is a saying that has captured my attention since I was a young student studying. I was not even a Minister yet, and I read in the Bible: "Let's go and break all of their bonds." The word the Bible uses is "bands." "Break all of their bands and cast them asunder, so that they be a people no more."
Here according to the Bible is another condition in order for us to be a people in the meaning that the Bible gives. That is, that you be tied together as one. G-d says: "This community of yours is one united community, and I am your Lord. Therefore, worship Me."
With Allah's Name, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer. I believe that what I am going to say to you in my language is really my expression of what is the most important thing that is said to us in scripture. Man's job on this earth is the job of serving family, and man began as one family, according to the sacred scriptures. He began in these kindred scriptures, the scriptures given to the People of the Book and of the Qur'an, as a family.
The first parents were Adam, who was created by G-d, and his mate, and they formed the first family. So by just common reasoning, all people are one family, because they all came from one and the same father and mother, parents. G-d gives us in scripture that He caused us to be scattered all over the earth, and we became different.
Not only in our cultures, but also in our natures; we came from one original nature. But our living apart from each other and being fed mentally and spiritually by the environment that we chose eventually even changed our nature. So don't think that people are just different in color, people are different by nature. And their nature is expressed as their culture.
That is why you feel more comfortable in your culture, than you do in somebody else's culture, like the Chinese culture, or Indian culture, or even Arab culture. You feel more comfortable in your own culture. Now I am not speaking for that person who has had so much difficulty trying to live their own life, that they surrendered to the life of somebody else.
What is our foundation? As Muslims, what establishes us? A certain belief establishes us, and that belief is simply - and believe me, it is different from the belief of Christians and Jews; even Jews don't have the belief foundation that we have. Though in its expression, it seems like it is the same.
I will say, "I believe in G-d." Yes, Jews and Christians do, too. "I believe in prayer." Yes, they do, too. "I believe in the Angels, etc." They do, too. We can go on and complete all the articles of faith, and we will see that we believe in the same things they believe in.
But there is a khalimah. In English, it is a creed. And that creed distinguishes us from them. What is that creed? "La illaha illallah, Muhammedar rasullullah." There is but One G-d only, and Muhammed is the Messenger of G-d. That is our creed.
The Christians will say, "There is but One G-d, and Jesus is His Son." May G-d grant peace to His Servants. The Jews will say, "There is but One G-d, and we are His only begotten." That is what they will say. So we are different, aren't we? So shouldn't we try to know ourselves?
Did the teacher of my father come here to just have us celebrate blackness and just go after the material things of this world? I don't think so, That is not what he did to me; it didn't work on me that way. I think he came here to tell us what I just told you.
Let me give you his words. He taught us to know ourselves and to be ourselves. But he also asked a question for us to answer, and then he answered it: And who is my own self? Answer; My own self is a righteous Muslim. Isn't it good! And he was echoing the teachings of our Prophet Muhammed, who came a thousand and few hundred years before the teacher of my father.
And that one said: Every child born is born a Muslim. What is he saying? That it is the original nature of every human being to want to obey G-d and love G-d and be thankful to G-d for its creation and all the beautiful and wonderful things that G-d created for us to use and benefit from. It is the nature of the human being to want to do that.
So if you have that desire and you have that in your heart, then you are a conscious Muslim. But if that is not in your heart and you are just going after the things in the right way, you are an unconscious Muslim. The work of the Qur'an, the Word of G-d, is to awaken your consciousness, so that you become alive in your mind and be a conscious Muslim.
It takes time to do that, when people have lost everything, even their own identity. So the teacher of my father had a plan to gradually bring us to consciousness, and he said: "We have to raise the dead." He was talking about us. "Get back the Lost-Found. Connect him back to his own." And we thought it meant to our own color. It meant back to his original nature, to his own rightful inheritance. To have the life of a Muslim is your rightful inheritance.
So we have the creed: "La illaha illallah." No G-d but The G-d, that is what it says. It means "No G-d but One G-d." "Muhammedar rasullullah." Muhammed, the man. G-d says in our Holy Book, talking to Muhammed: "Say to them, I am a common mortal flesh and blood person like you."
Not an angel, not a spook. A man that cats and shops in the market, marries and have children and loves his relationship with his wife. He is not a monk, not a hermit. He is the Messenger of G-d, Not to Arabs, but to the whole of humanity. I can back this up with Qur'an and sunnah.
Oh Muslim believers. G-d addresses us in the Holy Book as believers and He addresses us very few times as Muslims. Mostly, He addresses us as believers. What does that tell us? That to be a Muslim doesn't necessarily mean that you are alive. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are conscious. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are a believer, because you say you are a Muslim or because we accept to even address you as a Muslim. If you have that graduation for your mind or not, we know that in you is the original Muslim. Peace be unto you.
G-d says that He promises us life and a good life. I am giving you Qur'an. But I can also give you Bible, for the Bible says the same thing although the words are just slightly different. G-d says He promises us life and He wants for us a good life. When He says "good," He is not talking only about moral concerns, He is talking about the full life. He makes it clear, He says: "And good establishments."
We use the same words or the same meanings to refer ourselves to or to identify the precious quality of life. The precious quality of life is advancement, growth into better and better. So the word for people, which means to be standing up, has a reference to establishment. Because once you are established standing up, not in your body alone, you are standing up in your good morals, in your good spirit, in your good principles, etc., etc.
When you are standing up like that, you can sit on the throne and still be seen by those on lookers as a man standing, though physically he is sitting down. He is standing up in his principles. He is standing up in his spirit. He is standing up in his moral excellence, etc.