"Steps to Success": Part 1
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address in Poughkeepsie, New York on December 29,1991, From it he has now prepared this article for Muslim Journal's readers.)
The Mid Hudson Valley Success
I greet you with As-Salaamu-Alaikum. That is peace be on you, First I want to acknowledge the great leadership we have in this area. From the moment I gained acquaintance with them, the Imams of the Mid Hudson Valley and the community that they represent in this area, I was made to feel very good in my heart and made to feel more faith and more confident that we are on the right road and have the right people.
Since I have been here for this short stay, I have been even much more impressed with the leadership here in the Mid Hudson Valley, I see the management at the hotel, and I have read the press announcement of this activity here today. All of that along with the public servants and the incoming Mayor, all of this has said to me that we should be very happy and thankful to Allah for the leadership we have in this Mid Hudson Valley.
I can't go into my talk without also mentioning the work of Baitul Nasr. We are very proud of it; that Baitul Nasr is a courageous thing you are doing. And we know that you are joined by the fearless Imams and leaders of our community who with others are fighting dope traffic and dope pushers all over this country and especially in the big troubled cities. You are joined by them, and I see a powerful force of real people with physical muscle, mental muscle, and moral muscle rising up as American citizens from the American Muslim public. And that is wonderful.
Lastly, I want to say how wonderful it makes us feel to see the youth awarded. The young man, Demetrick, and the young sister, Shakurah, I was so impressed with their records. That makes us feel great. We as followers of Mohammed the Prophet have to appreciate our young people and our old people. Our Prophet, the prayers and the peace be on him, said, "Those who do not give proper regard to our elderly and to our young ones are not of us." So this youth awards is no small matter.
These are the works that will make us a happy people, a people with respect not only among Muslims but also among non-Muslims. I usually give an address that is focused not to attract only Muslims but to appeal to just human people with human concerns. However, for this occasion my talk will mainly focus to get the attention of Muslims. But I hope to round up my talk to conclude my address by addressing concerns that are not focusing Muslims only, but are focusing people.
The Womb of Development
I will introduce my talk by just giving a brief picture of Muhammed the Prophet, It
will not be from any notes that I have prepared. I have come to know him from reading books and materials by scholars during the early rise of the Muslim ummah, the Muslim community society, and more significantly by persons in my lifetime by reading recent scholars. My brother here mentioned one of them, Maulana Maududi who passed not so long ago. May Allah forgive him his sins, all of his shortcomings and grant him the Paradise.
I met him personally, and one of his books has a lot to do with my development as a Muslim and as a leader, and there are other books by scholars that have had an influence on my life. Don't think that any of us have come to anything worth while without a lot of help, and that is a lot of help from others.
I owe most of my development to the womb that I was given to. And that is to my mother first, for I came to know her first — that is just life. Then it was my father, and then his supporters — his ministers, his captains, his national secretaries, his teachers over the school, Sheikh Shabazz who was my teacher from almost the earliest years of my life who has passed also and we pray God for his soul.
I owe my development to you. I am not saying this to flatter you, and I am not saying this to make you like me. But the truth is what I am is because I was born among you and raised among you, lived with you and shared your burdens and shared your desire for a better life and a better future. What I am is because of being in that environment.
If I had not been born in an environment headed by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I could not exist. This person would not be here in any way. No influence from any scholar outside of the United States or inside the United States could have made me what I am now. It was nothing except the environment headed by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his workers.
I am often meeting the elderly. Allah is blessing them to live a long time. One of our elderly passed a few years ago, Sister Varnada. She was almost 103, and just months before she passed you could see her in meetings where Imam Mohammed was speaking. She would come from Detroit. If she was alive, she would be right here in this audience.
Something has happened bigger than most of us know. Something has happened in America, in the African American or "Black" community bigger than most of us know. It is not me; it is the work. I don't want anybody to get confused. I am not the big thing. The work is the big thing.
Muhammed, The Prophet (PBUH)
So let me quickly address the Prophet's life, the prayers and the peace be on him, as an introduction to my talk. We know that our prophet is the last prophet. And he is the prophet of the Quran and the prophet mentioned in the Old Testament and New Testament or in the Torah and in the Injil (The Gospel). I am speaking now as a Muslim with Muslim knowledge and I am addressing Muslims. We know also that Prophet Muhammed was the complete man. He was the natural mortal human being. Allah says in the Holy Book, "Say, 7 am a mortal just like you." Prophet Muhammed was told to tell the people this.
Why does it have to be said, "... just like you"? It is because many people know that the "divine" person, the one they claim to be divine, is a mortal. They know that he will die when he gets old. They see him aging. But they will still say that he is "God". So to eliminate any chance that we would fall into that kind of thinking. God says to Muhammed, "Say to them, I am a mortal just like you'. "Now, you know you are not "God", at least I hope you know that!
Muhammed, then is seen as the Last Prophet, the complete man. Prophet Muhammed is also seen as a general heading the army of Muslims. He is also seen as the number one statesman for the whole society or nation or government of Muslims in his day. He is also seen as a family man, a family man who went out and did his own shopping. He is also seen as a father taking the time to give special attention to his children, all of them. He is seen as a man doing his best to make all of his wives happy. Yes, he had more than one wife but not nearly as many as "Solomon". And we know that God put a limit on the number of wives the Prophet could have and also put a limit on the number the men, the followers of Muhammed, could have.
God also made it impossible for us to have more than one wife, because the qualifications required we just cannot meet all of those qualifications. The qualifications begin with enough money, and right there most of us are out. We cannot manage one. We have to go to President Bush and ask him to give us some of the American people's money so that we can keep a wife at home.
(To be continued)