An Indirect Approach (to Family Problems) to Getting a Better Situation at Home: Part 6
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address in Dayton, OH, on September 29, 1991. From it he has now prepared this article for Muslim Journal's readers.)
Democracy is catching on now like a wild fire in Europe. In Russia there is Glasnost, openness. Democracy is sweeping the world.
As Muslims, we must understand that the West was oppressing itself. The Christian West was oppressing itself and denying women the respect they are due by nature and from God. Western powers were refusing to give females the opportunity to be educated. Some Christian sects were .saying women did not have souls, that only the male had a soul.
The West was oppressing not only us. They were enslaving ..'their own people before they enslaved us. Their workers were treated like a slave market. Some of you scholars, if you have not done it, make it your business to study the history of 'the progress of labor in the history of the West. Laborers used to be treated like beasts. Don't -think that they brought the " Africans over here from Africa and that began their mistreatment of human beings.
History "records the treatment of the English towards Irish, whom the English dominated. The English disrespected the Irish male. They (the English) thought themselves to be a superior breed over their Irish brother of the same color.
We are hearing all the talk now about freedom and democracy. Muslims, we have to stay separate from this wave in western democracy. We do not want the democracy that the West is all excited about. We want a better democracy. The better is in the Qur'an. It is demonstrated in the life, of Muhammed, the Prophet, the prayers and the 'peace be upon
While we are excited, let us go to the Qur'an. From there let us get the knowledge and insight to come up with the right idea for freedom and democracy. Because it was the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet that lit the torch of freedom for the West and revived them to accept civilization and democracy. Now what they have is their brand of it, which does not conform exactly to what Allah wants.
In connection with those statements, I also want to say in my conclusion: Be aware of the hypocrisy, too. I love this country and its freedom, but also be aware of the hypocrisy in the West, especially in America. We will not find the same hardly anywhere in the Western world. America is the place for this "experimental freedom, experimental democracy."
This is an experimental democracy and experimental freedom, and that is saying America has a very unique and strange form of freedom and democracy. On the one side it is beautiful, great and most attractive. But on the other side it is frightening because this idea of freedom we have in America allows freedom to everything.
There is freedom to the person who wants to indulge in an experience of immorality or perversion. If a person wants to explore the possibilities for perverted sex. he has the freedom to explore those possibilities and to come up with something so strange and so way out that all conscious people will feel like jumping off the world. It will have all of us saying, "Stop the world and let us jump off."
We also have to understand that, although our religion promotes freedom and insists upon freedom, "there's no compulsory in religion, no forcing people to be Muslim, no forcing people to pray." We must, however, respect all that is due respect. Islam respects the privacy of the home. It respects the privacy of a society. Do you think the Prophet would send his disciples or his followers to Rome to convert the Pope? He didn't do that.
Allah (God) says, "If He had wanted you all to be one community, He would have made you one community." Some people will be Christian and some people will be Jew and some . will be something else. As long as they were sincere in their civilized religion, the Prophet did not disturb them.
You mast understand that right next door to Arabia is Ethiopia. Ethiopia is so close that the Prophet's followers went to Ethiopia during their persecution. They went to Ethiopia to seek political asylum, protection. That country is still Christian. The Prophet's army was mighty enough to go and dominate Ethiopia, but he did not do that.
There are Coptic Christians still in Egypt. They have traditionally been there. They were there before the Prophet and they are still there. They are not only in Egypt, they are in other Muslim lands. Why didn't Prophet Muhammed force those people to become Muslim? It is because he respected those people for being sincere in their religion. And Christianity is a recognized religion. Although we do not recognize the deviations in Christianity, we do recognize the purity of origin for Christianity and for Judaism.
The Prophet was not about stamping out or dominating other religions. Instead of doing that, he did something that makes him stand out and above all conquerors. He established and mandated in Medinah that the freedom of religion would be granted to the Jews and they would be able to practice their religion just as they had done before the rule of Muslims came.
Where is the hypocrisy in the West? Here, I have right before me something about the Pope. And this is not new, for it is something that is a month old or so. It reads, "Pope urges a convert drive even where Muslims band it."
This might sound good to some of us who are sentimentally involved with the concept of freedom and democracy and the beauty of it and everything. We might be overly romantic to say, "Well, they allow us to propagate in America which is a Christian country. So, oh yes, they should be allowed to propagate in bur Muslim countries."
America is a special kind of democracy. This is an experimental democracy. Certainly they can afford to let Muslims preach freely. Certainly they can afford that, because the devil is also free here in America.
This country is not established to preserve any particular idea, any particular religion, or any particular moral persuasion. It is established to give freedom to everybody to compete with each other in a wilderness called civilization.
Maybe some of you don't like this language, but it is truthful. We have to cut out our civilization in this wilderness. We have to battle Satan and battle the influences of the wild to preserve and keep our life in this experimental democracy.
Why should we invite that in Mecca? For any Muslim to have such an idea is crazy. Everyone is invited to America. Atheists are here and we invite them here. We don't invite atheists to Mecca. We don't invite disbelievers to Mecca. Why would the Pope want to go there and preach to believers, Muslims with disciplined lives?
The Vatican was a solid place with no idolaters; it had religious people under qualified religious authority. They were entitled to have their own freedom and choice of religion. The Prophet left them alone.
We have a solid Muslim nation in Saudi Arabia. I hope to visit the Pope one day and have great respect for him. I hope that he will give me an audience one day. I have made contacts for reaching the Vatican with a request. I think I can help him understand Muslim sensitivities, if nothing else. Also, I have a desire to see the Vatican.
The West is thinking now that America is the model of democracy for the whole world, even for Muslims. No nation, no people will be a model for us. Allah says, "You are the best people raised up and evolved for the good of all mankind."
We pray for Allah's Guidance always and for forgiveness. Amin.