"An Islamic Formula for a Successful Life" Cleveland: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: This article is the first installment in printing Imam W. Deen Muhammad's speech in Cleveland, Ohio November 8, 1987 ).
Dear Muslims, people, brothers and sisters, As-Salaam-Alaikum.
Praise be to Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the worlds; we bear witness that He is One Alone, He has no partner, no equal, no shareholders in the rule of the heavens and the earth, and that He has missioned Muhammad the Prophet, to be the last Messenger and Prophet of God; we acknowledge the Oneness of God, and we acknowledge the Prophethood, and the great universal mission of the last Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), and upon his descendants, his Companions, the righteous, and we pray peace and blessings be on us, today, and always. We ask Allah's approval for our meeting here, and His blessings on it, because as Muslims we know, that without Allah's approval, and without His blessings, we have nothing but rejection and hell.
I feel very pleased to be in this facility, that has been secured for this occasion, and we have nothing but fine compliments to say to the hosts, that have worked so hard to make this day a success in this facility, that is, Imam Clyde Rahman and all of his helpers. We also appreciate all of you for taking the time out and having an interest in this occasion, coming here to witness this day. We hope that all of you will benefit in a good way, in a positive way.
Our topic for this address today, as you most likely know, is "Islamic Formula for a Successful Life."
I choose not to go to simple answers in addressing the Muslims here in America. In fact knowing the condition in the world today, for all people, Muslims included, I wouldn't go directly to simple answers if I were addressing an audience in the Muslim lands or in any part of the world. Not in these days. The answer we need is not a simple answer. It's a simple answer if we can step outside of our own circumstances. We have to rely upon the method of scripture, which is the method of God. We have to rely upon scripture, in order to have solutions to our situation, in these days and times. The only time we don't have to rely on scripture is when life is in the state that God intended it to be in, and I don't think that's been so for most people since Adam, and that's a long time.
People Need Revelation
I think since Adam, most people have had a need to receive revelation from God; guidance from God. As we know, even God revealed to Adam for his own guidance; He created him and made him in His nature and in His function in His total life, a perfect human creature, without defects, without flaws or shortcomings.
Adam was created a perfect human creature. Unlike the belief in some religions, that the first man had a defect in himself, which necessitated another man or a second Adam to save humanity from the defects of their first father. Muslims don't have that belief. Our belief is that Allah made Adam as He wanted man to be, and Adam was a human being, therefore, he could make mistakes. And the human limitations on our life, does not mean that we are imperfect. A perfect one is a perfect one. A perfect two is a perfect two. Etcetera.
A perfect one is not a perfect ten; it's a perfect one. So we can be perfect human beings, without being God. Some people are influenced to believe that to be perfect, you have to be God, or an angel. You have to be God or an angel; to be perfect is to be God or angel, and if you are not God and you are not an angel, you are imperfect. Quoting a philosopher of the Western world, he said: "To err is human; to forgive is divine," which reflects the same kind of fundamental idea in Western minds and in most of the Eastern minds, that human beings are imperfect creatures. Yes, to err is human. But it is not as descriptive, as accurate as a description of humanness or human being, as some other fine compliments we can make, that are more accurate in describing what is a human being. A human being is not inclined to err; the human being is not attracted to error, to make errors. The attraction in the human being's life or the pull on the human being is not towards error, it's toward perfection.
The little baby that comes today, we can watch the little baby, watch the life of that little baby, the behavior of that little baby, and almost from the moment the baby comes, we can see a curiosity working inside of the child. We can see interest; the child is filled with an interest and nothing about the child or the child's behavior says to us that this child just came from hell, this child just came from sin, or this child is prone to do wrong, or to make confusion or mess. To the contrary, we see in the child, a spirit, an interest, and an effort to do its best — to display humanness and human goodness and to invite humanness and human goodness.
None of us have gone to the nursery in the hospital and viewed the babies that were born today or yesterday or last night or whenever, and got the feeling that these babies just arrived from hell. To the contrary, we get the feeling that they just arrived from heaven.
Many will not agree with my method of accomplishing the task of giving the subject that we have chosen; many will be disappointed, because when you say, we're going to hear a speaker, and naturally, if they like the speaker, they are going to sell him off to be a great speaker, and you expect him to follow the form of the speakers you've heard, and when he doesn't follow that form or come across, in the way that you expect the speaker to come across, you're disappointed and maybe you lose interest, and maybe he won't even get your interest. I am aware of all of this; I know how to get your interest. I know how to satisfy your expectations. If I can't do it, I could have somebody write it, and I could read it. So that's not a big job. That's what most speakers do anyway, they have somebody write their speeches and they read them, or get familiar with them well enough so that they can give it as though it is coming straight from their own thoughts and mind and imagination, and everything. I could work on that and I am sure I could do a good job of it.
But this is serious business. This is very serious business. And I risk being rejected, I risk being insulted, I risk anything, to bring what I feel should be brought in the best manner that I feel it should be brought. And that's the only thing I can be satisfied with.
Well, dear people, we wish you peace and the blessings of God, and we continue by again saying, we seek Allah's approval and His blessings for this occasion, and on our efforts; we pray the choicest blessings upon His Servant, the last and universal Messenger, Muhammad (PBUH).
Power Influences People's Lives
Some of us will think of power and perhaps then think of government, wealth, knowledge, or a number of things that come to our minds. But few of us think of power as an influence in the life of people coming to mind. We know that power has been identified by people in business, in politics, and in other fields of interest, influence, and they say the extent to which you have influence, in or over the lives of other people, is your power. And people who have great influence over the lives of other people have power.
I recall reading the Reader's Digest, in reference to the influence of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, our late leader, and my father. They referred to him (the Hon. Elijah Muhammad), as "the most powerful Black man in America," in the magazine. This was back in the early 60's.
I also recall the media being excited over the influence demonstrated by Malcolm; he also had great influence, and they recognized that he had great influence over the lives of the followers of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. And they reported that the late Malcolm Shabazz, (Malcolm X as he i& also known), came to the police department, and the police department was surrounded by the militant followers of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, and they were protesting very angrily, the killing of one of their brothers, by the New York police. The situation was very dangerous for all concerned, and they were amazed at the power that Malcolm demonstrated, when he came and he spoke to some of the officials, and he got information that he felt he needed, for the situation, and then he went outside and addressed the brothers that were all around the police department. And with his -hands, they said, he just said, 'go home. Everything will be taken care of.' And they just left. Now that's black power!
(To be continued)