"Worst Oppression False Worship"
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Reprint in part from Muslim Journal's October 12.1990 issue.
(This Address was delivered by Imam W, Deen Mohammed at the Culminating and Farewell Luncheon on Sunday, September 23, 1990 at the 2nd General Assembly of the Continental Council of Masajid of North America, held in Chicago, IL).
We all have to improve. As it has been made very clear that we all (East and West) have shortcomings, although some of our shortcomings are not as serious a matter as misrepresenting the religion. But understand this, and I am sure that most of you here are well informed people. You are my highly esteemed brothers and highly valued. I know that you are educated, and many of you are scholars. So I am sure that you understand that the misrepresentation of the Deen in the United States by the African American people was a mistake. It was done in ignorance. We did not invent that. We were sold that by someone else who came from overseas (the satirist W. Fard).
Thank Allah that our (African American ) good faith has saved us. We have survived that (misrepresentation). And Insha Allah we are going to work even more with Muslims all over the world and share the burden of the problems of Muslims with Muslims all over the world. That is what we see now as the most urgent need for us as American Muslims. It is the need to identify with the international body of Muslims or the international community of Muslims more conscientiously and work for Al-Islam while carrying upon our shoulders, upon our hearts, and upon our backs the concerns for Muslims throughout the international community, throughout the Ummah of the Prophet, sallallabu alaihi wa sallam.
For these few minutes I would like to emphasize what I know we all accept to be the main emphasis for Muslims in our religion, and that emphasis is Tauheed. "La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu." There is nothing but One to be worshipped, One God (Allah). There is no partner or associate with Him in the Run or in the Rule of the heavens and the earth. He (Allah) has no sharers in that. He is God Alone. And as Allah's Book (the Qur'an) says, "For Him is the creation and also the command." He creates and He also commands. That means that the One Who created us, we must also accept commands from Him. He is to command our life. He is to order our life. He is our Creator and the One to order our life.
We don't have someone else giving us orders. Although it is agreed He is the Creator but for some it is as if He (the Creator) has become mute and someone else will be giving us the orders. No. The same One (Creator) Who created us gives us orders. And it is clear in the Qur'an that the Commands, the Orders of God are the Orders of (God) the Creator (Allah). It is clear in the Qur'an. And we have to accept the Kalimah or the Shahadah.
Actually it (the testimony) is Shahadatain, although we say Shahadah. That Shahadatain (witnessing twice) of La ilaha illallahu, Muhammedan Rasulullah (There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah) (it) is saying clearly that Muhammed is not God; Muhammed is the Messenger of God. And although it does not say (in subject form) Muhammed is not God, it does say it (in effect) "Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah, Muhammedan Rasulullah. "I bear witness there is no God but Allah and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah. Keep it clear, and it is very clear.
Why this strong emphasis? It is because we know of the Trinity and of all these other things that have created so many problems (for tauheed). What has Allah said in the Qur'an, in the Holy Book? He (SWT) says, ' 'The worst form of oppression is false worship."
We see in America, in Western society, so many humanists, so many sociologists, so many decent minded human beings who have been turned off from religion. They care less for religion. And what do they say, many of them? They say that religion is responsible for most of the misdeeds in the life of man on this earth. Now I have to agree with that. I don't think the biggest enemy to man is communism or secularism. The biggest enemy to man is false religion. And Allah says, the worst oppression is "shirk" in the Deen. That (religious falsehoods) is the shirk that is worse (of all).
I believe that secularism in Western society and perhaps in the East too (But I am here and I know more about this secularism) is the child of "shirk". The corruption of the idea of God (Shirk) has produced all of these other evil possibilities (results). So that is the main evil and it has not changed. Whatever Allah established with Prophet Muhammed is the same now. The same strong emphasis was established then: "La ilaha illallah, Muhammedan rasulullah". (But) we have to do more than just say this or just recite this. We must know the implications, we must know the ramifications, we must know the impact of "la ilaha illallah, Muhammedan Rasulullah". We must become more educated in the practical benefits and in the knowledge of the force the powerful influence) of that Kalimah, that Shahadatain (two-principled testimony).
Dear Muslims, dear brothers, my esteemed brothers, we know also that this Oneness is all encompassing. We see the universe and all of creation as one. It is one functioning system. The whole thing is one functioning system. Now, I have made discussion or talked on this subject of Tauheed and have said that for us the emphasis is not on diversity and differences. It is on oneness and unity. Although we know that the role of diversity has to be recognized because it is by the principle of differences that we have come into existence. One (Allah) created us but we multiply by differences (by co-functioning opposites). The male and the female are not alike. Allah says in the Qur'an that "the male is not like the female." Therefore, it is more important for us to stress the oneness and the unity than it is for us to dwell on differences or on variations.
1 am on (addressing) the concern now of how this oneness or this tauheed is all encompassing. We are to see ourselves first and most importantly as Muslim, as it has already been said by the Imam from Los Angeles, Imam Abdul Karinv Hasan. But I have also to say it in this address. We have to see as the most important identity for us the Muslim identity. That is the identity of us (belonging to) Tauheed.
We are one community. We are all bretheren. We are "brothers" in this one community. That is the oneness (the single community) in which we are all brothers. And what makes us all brothers is that we are Muslim. And what is this Muslim? Is this a label like Christian? Is this a label like Buddhist or Jew? No! This Muslim names something that we are by the very fact of our existence. We are this in our creation and Allah has made us to understand that He created us to be this. And then He gives us the conscious (awareness) in the Muslim body.
That conscious (awareness) comes into the Muslim body and that conscious (awareness) can only come from the Qur'an and the Life of Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Then you (we) become the conscious Muslim—a Muslim body with light in it. The light, the conscious (awareness) of the Muslim is in it because he has the Qur'an in his mind and the Qur'an in his life. And his life is being disciplined by the Qur'an and the Life of Muhammed, the prayers and the peace be upon him (upon Muhammed, Allah's Messenger).
I am not trying to tell you anything. I am trying to point to something that we all know already. Dear Muslims, to me, if we understand this concept of the Muslim man, then we have a force for a successful revolution on this earth. No communist idea is better than that (Tauheed). No socialist idea, no Baa'th idea, no idea is better (than Tauheed). And believe me, I pay attention to all of them. Even if it (an ideology) is not so impressive, if I hear about it, then I look at it. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid something is going to change my mind. So (therefore) I look at it and try to see the worth of it (of the idea).
(And I think) that is important for us when we are dealing with American people too. When we are dealing with the American Government, when we are dealing with the evils of the American people as a government and as a nation, we have to have the courage to look at that which we have serious trouble with. Look at that which we have real deep problems with and serious trouble with. We have to have the courage to look at it and not be afraid that it is going to shake our faith. Look at it and say, "Here are the evils." But also look and recognize the good.
If we recognize the good, we will build upon the good and stress the good (found in others, even in enemies) and make this a feature of our propaganda for America, in our propaganda for winning the West, Let us find good in the life of America. Let us find good in the Nation and in the government of America. Let us find good in the Constitution of the United States. I also have read that Constitution. And I heard someone say the Constitution wrote us off as "subhuman". Certainly it did. But understand that was just something interjected. That was something put into the Constitution. That by itself is not the Constitution.
If we say what a man is, you (we) have to look at a whole man. You (we) don't look at his finger and say that's a man. You (we) don't look at a toe and say that's a man. Look at the whole man and say that's a man. What is in his essential life? What is the nature of his intellect? What is the nature of his heart? Then you (we) say that is a man.
Let us look at everything like that, and we will be powerful for propaganda for spreading Al-Islam. So (therefore) let us beat them (enemies) at their own game. Tauheed will do it. Let us become more educated in this Tauheed. The necessity for us in our dawah (inviting to "Islam ") is to stress tauheed and to build upon tauheed and become more informed ourselves of the meaning of tauheed in its broadest applications and implications.