Natural Inclination Of Mankind Is Towards Allah (S.W.T.)
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editorial Note: The following composition is from the text of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's address to the Dinner Guests at Atlanta's 1st Tribute to Leadership dinner on Saturday eve, December 10, 1988. The weekend theme of "A Sense of Self Makes Living Better" will be reported on in Muslim Journal's next week's issue by Mrs. Qur'an Sabir of Atlanta. Here in Imam Mohammed's comments is help not only for Americans but for all striving people, even those in the devastating state as in the Sudan.)
I want to bring to your attention something that I feel is of great importance to us as followers of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be on him, who has followers all over this earth and has had followers in the major parts of the world such as in the Middle East, in Arabia, in Asia, in Africa, and even in parts of Europe for much better than a thousand years. And now we identify ourselves with that great body of Muslims that follow the Universal Messenger Prophet, the last of them, Muhammad, peace and blessings be on him.
It is very important for us to understand something that I have come to realize and perhaps many of you had come to realize it before me. And that is the recognition of two states of the Muslim. The proper recognition of the state of a Muslim is a conscious Muslim following the religion as revealed to Prophet Muhammad and as established by his leadership. That is the "proper" state of the Muslim.
However, there is another state of the Muslim that was proper before this state came about, and that state is the natural inclination in Allah's creatures to obey Him. Let us repeat, "...the natural inclination in Allah's creatures to obey Him." Therefore, the Prophet, the peace and blessings be on him, said, "Everyone is born Muslim, and he becomes Christian, Jew or something else because of the situation he is put in." That is, if the baby is born in a Christian environment then most likely the baby will come up Christian. If a baby is born in a Jewish environment, then most likely the baby will come up to be a Jew. And on, and on.
Thus we believe that the natural state of the human being is Muslim. And to make it very clear as to what I am saying, there is the "natural man" that Allah made, and this natural man has to be brought into an awareness of where Allah wants him to go with his nature. Revelation comes to bring that about, but there is always the urge in him and the striving in him internally to find that, even before a condition develops requiring Allah's revelation.
Man has lived on this earth before revelation and has lived honorable and upright lives and has been a fine Muslim in the eyes of the Lord and Creator before revelation came. The proof of it is what Prophet Muhammad said, himself, of every baby and every child being born Muslim. However, there is another proof of that in Muhammad, himself, in his own life. Allah says of Muhammad, that he was already established on the best plane of excellence before the revelation came.
It also says to the people through revelation regarding Prophet Muhammad that, "I have lived a lifetime among you." It means that before the revelation came, he had lived a lifetime of human moral excellence among the people. Revelation had not come to him. So was he a Muslim before revelation or not? He was a Muslim in the excellence of nature before revelation, and he was a Muslim after revelation in the proper sense as we understand it now. Then he became the leader of proper Muslims throughout the world. They became his followers, and he is the leader of all of them. But understand that he was a Muslim before then.
Now I am sure that Christians and Jews will not agree with us that the first man was a Muslim. But you know the first man in our religion and in our Holy Book is Adam, a Muslim. Now I could go on talking on this natural state of the Muslim. Prophet Muhammad said, in order to bring home my point, of his own followers who had survived the days that we call "jahaliyyah," or the days of ignorance and idolatry in what is called Arabia now. The Prophet said, that the "best of you now" — meaning his followers who had converted to the religion that was revealed by Allah in the Qur'an — The best of you now were also the best then."
Prophet Muhammad was saying this. That Allah gave him revelation and leadership to build on the best of what was in the world then. And I will say this. That I represent people from my father's leadership, and they are the best that was there then. We were natural Muslims, and that is why we had a curiosity to come and see what this man, Elijah, was saying about God. Moving in many of you was a thought, "I know what I have heard in the world has not satisfied me. So I am going to listen to this man.
This world has been wicked, abusive, unconscious, without any human conscious in their treatment of my people. So I am going to listen to what this man has to say about God."
The strong curiosity made you stay with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad because of two things — the urge in you to come to the proper state of the Muslim upon your natural Muslim state, and also the belief that Elijah Mohammed was sincere. And I am his son; I have been one of those natural Muslims and now a proper Muslim combined together for over 55 years.
(To be continued)