"Religion Is Sincerity": Part 1
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: The following is a continuation of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's address at the Tribute to Leadership Dinner in Atlanta, GA on December 10, 1988. Proceeding parts to this lecture appeared in Muslim Journal's December 30, 1988 and January 6, 1989 issues.)
We have lived in these United States calling ourselves Muslims and defying the whole world, preaching something contrary to what the whole world believed and preached it in the name of religion.
The Communist desired the camp of the Honorable Elijah Mohammed; they desired his followers and thought that these people were following him because they were uneducated and ignorant. They thought that soon they will become more educated and then will be their followers.
The Communist had their eyes on the followers of the Honorable Elijah Mohammed and felt that they could get that great following of thousands all over the United States. They wanted those great militant men who would die for the Cause. They wanted those men whom they saw working hard and giving their families pennies, while they gave their family earnings to a Cause. They felt that they could get that disciplined F.O.I, army.
This was true for not only the Communist, for when Malcolm split, even Christian militants thought they were going to get us. But none of them have gotten us, and that is not talking about the two persons they have here tonight, for those two are different. I am talking about the great majority of us.
Also, our good Muslim brothers from overseas looked at us and said, "Now, it is time for us get them!" But they cannot get us. I am their Muslim brother, certainly, just as I am your Muslim brother. But I am closer to you than I am to them. And they know that, if you don't.
Here, I am not talking in terms of "blood." I am talking in terms of history and "dedication." What I will say is this — don't think that Allah is any less with you now than He was then. And don't think that Allah was not with you then but is just beginning to be with you now. Allah was with you then, and He is with you now.
Some of you worry so much about the Honorable Elijah Mohammed. I know how you loved him, for I loved him too. Some of you may have loved him more fanatically than I did, but I won't say more sincerely than I did. I know you wanted him to live another twenty years, and now you are lonely. That is natural for you to become so endeared to a man, that when he goes it is hard to separate from him.
You should be like me - I never tried to separate from him. I tried to separate from that which he would have separated from himself, if he could have seen better. That is all. But to separate from him, there was no desire in me to do that.
Some of us think that in order to be with each other, we have to all be alike one hundred percent. That is wrong. We only have to be alike one hundred percent in our devotional spirit and in our intent. Some of us will have different feelings about each other. Some of us will have different feelings about our leaders. We are going to have different feelings, different opinions, different estimations, and see value on matters differently.
I can come out into this audience tonight and select the real sincere ones from my father's followers and bring you up front here. I can then question you on certain things regarding your allegiance and loyalty to my father. When you answer, you all will not answer the same. You all will not reflect the same kind of attachment to my father. You will have different kinds of attachment to him, but all of you are equally his followers, and every one of these I am referring to gave their all to him.
I'm saying that we should realize the significance in Allah protecting the Holy Kaa 'ba in Mecca, as a symbol of something great and something that Allah wanted built up and established. Being that it was a symbol for something very special, Allah was not going to allow that symbol to be destroyed. It had to wait the coming of the Universal Prophet (PBVH), who would really establish the proper respect for that House. The Prophet had to bring about the proper kind of behavior in the people towards that House. It had to survive.
Just as that House was protected, though it was in the possession or custodial care of people who did not yet have the Quran, likewise Allah has protected my life and the life of this people for Al-lslam. Now that the light of the Qur'an is here, we are also here and represent a religious strength unmatched on this earth. I am referring to a state of natural Muslim before and the informed Muslim today.
I think I have made the point very clear. That there are two states of the Muslim - the natural state and then the state after revelation or the conscious state in the light of Allah's revelation. Allah protects the natural state as long as we remain sincere. I have told you on a previous occasion that if the Honorable Elijah Mohammed could come back alive and be here, I would tell him this:
''Daddy, you told me not to smoke, and I did not smoke. You told me not to drink, and I didn't drink. You told me not to eat pork, and I didn't eat pork. You told me not to be vulgar or lewd, and I have not been. You told me not to go out looking for whores, and I have not. You told me not to gamble, and I have not. You told me not to be a liar, and I am not. You told me not to steal, and I don'(." I could go on reciting things he told me not to do, and how I have not done them.
Wasn't that a Muslim? Can anyone tell me that I wasn't a natural Muslim? I will be telling my daddy that I have been an honorable and natural Muslim because of his advice. I was born under his influence, when I could have been born under different influences. Under different influences I may have come up a drunkard or a gambler or a liar or a thief or a whoremonger or an indecent person. I do not know what I would have become, depending on what kind of environment I was put in.
But because I was put under the environmental influences of Elijah and Clara, I came up with my natural Muslim state intact and survived to see the Revelation in Allah's Book (Qur'an) that came to Prophet Muhammad. Now, here I am a conscious Muslim intact. There has been some instructions regarding the proper behavior towards a building that was in our nature before. The natural basis that was there is still intact and is good in the light of Revelation.
What I brought with me from the Honorable Elijah Mohammed's influences and teachings has been kept good. And now that Revelation has come into it and purged it of the things that were incorrect but leaving it intact, when I look at the foundation in the new light I see all of it being in agreeing harmony. Part of that which I now see in the light is the gift of the past.
Do you think that we are not special? I don't want it to go to your head, but we are special. And all Muslims should see themselves as special. That Allah has preferred you for His Favor. His Favor was upon the Jew, and it was upon the Christian. Then when the Revelation came to Muhammad (PBUH), Allah said that He has preferred you, the followers of Prophet Muhammad. Therefore Muslims believe that they are the favored people in the religion.
Let me also say that in looking at the whole body of international Muslims standing out among them is our peculiar circumstances as a people and our great and special kind of sincerity, our strong innocence, pure intentions, and the willingness to sacrifice all and have no fear. Don't you know that it was something for us not to fear the "white man" in the 1930's and '40's? It was something to tell the white authority of America, "Do what you have to. I am not going to obey you."
Congressman John Lewis has told us here tonight how he and others of the civil rights giants paid a great price for the disciplines of high morality and for the great works of improving the state of the “black" people in America. I want you to know that these with me paid a great price also. They have been in jail; they have been beaten up. Some of them are dead in their graves; some of them have been mutilated, shot up, and left lame.
This does not go into the press, because they don't want attention on a people who want to be their own persons. Press attention would just attract more people to look at them, And if they look at us long enough, they may join us. So they didn't publish the abuses that we suffered. They kept that quiet. But given our small numbers, we have suffered greatly.
It was not only those things, but the worse suffering you can give a people is to announce publicly that the time of hostilities and abuses are over, and then operate covertly and secretly to undermine their life and their life efforts.
That is what they have done since I came into the leadership. There was a small element but of great forces all over the United States from the highest to the low, that has been pretending to be congratulating me as if they were a people who were with me, while at the same time doing everything in their power to kill what we are all about.
They work to present me in an unacceptable way to the public as well as to those who know me slightly but have not gotten to know me well. They will present me in magazines and in other articles in a way to discredit what I really am. They will make you think that I am a person who just wants to pray. Certainly, I love prayer, but I don't have to give up work. I pray even when I work. Thus working is the best devotional
(To be continued)