Human Rights in Al-Islam: Part 3
Lecture by Imam W. Deen Muhammad at 4th Annual Seerah Conference in
(Editor's note: This is part three of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's speech at the 4th Annual National Seerah Conference.)
I don't want to unite with just anybody calling himself a Muslim. Now if he is ignorantly following the religion, it is my duty to accept him and embrace him and love him. But it is also my duty to help find him find the sensible way to live the Muslim life and to bring him to the true religion. That is my obligation, too.
I am not saying that I reject people who wear the name of Al-Islam and are disgracing that name without some consideration. No, I have considered that. If I Find that he is sincere and ignorant, then my heart goes out to him. But if I find that he is aware of what he is doing, and he continues to disgrace the name of the religion and the name of Muslim, then I don't have any sympathy for that kind of person, and I don't care to unite with him.
I have had people come to me and say, "Let us unite on this." I said, "No, I can't unite on that." They said, "What can you unite on?" I said, "I can unite on 'la illaha illallah, Muhamma-dan rasulullah.' I can unite on taqwa; you fear God and God is the dominant influence in your life. If taqwa is what you have, then I can unite on that. If you have that, I can unite with you. The call for unity for Muslims is "La illaha illallah — one God and one Messenger."
We understand also that Allah says, Highly Glorified is He, in our Holy Book, The Qur'an, that the Masjid Al-Haram is a place built for all people. Originally that House was raised for all people. Now Muslims know that that is our qihlah: it is the qiblah of the Muslims and not the qiblah of the Jews or the qihlah of the Christians. But I understand that God says in His Holy Book that, that House was raised for all people and for the good of all people. Therefore, I say the condition for unity should be that we have the concern of all people. That we don't have concern just for blacks, for whites, or Arabs or Indians or Pakistanians — that we have concern for all people.
I believe we are returning, and this is a revival. We are returning to conscience, attentive Muslim life. I believe that is happening. And I am saying that I would love to see us include in the conditions for our unity these points that I am raising here tonight.
Importance Of Character
In my conclusion, I will say we know the importance of character, so we must not leave that out of our major concern. Prophet Muhammad has said that he has been sent to promote good character. That God sent him to promote good character. Also we must understand the importance of the human brain in Al-Islam. That we cannot neglect the nourishment, the education, the good development of the human brain. We must work on the human brain or the human intellect, the "caql" of man. We must spend more for education, not only through the channels of schools and institutions but do more of what I see happening now in a good way, work to do more to help educate the general population — Muslims first, but for all people.
It is because the world has been made so small, that we cannot have a concern to educate ourselves or to improve upon ourselves without also recognizing the need and the demand to give other people the same information you are giving your own. Why? It is because we are too close together. We have to live with each other, and we are in too close a proximity to ignore that. In America, can we educate Muslims concerning Al-Islam and not make that same information available to the American public, without causing problems for ourselves? We cannot do it, because we live too closely with the American public and they have an image of us that needs correcting. So this living separate but in closed quarters and behind closed doors will not work anymore. The earth has become too small and we are forced to live too closely together.
We must preach our religion openly and must tell the American public the same things we are telling ourselves. It will also put the infiltrator on the spot. When the American public knows what we are telling our members, then the infiltrators job is killed. His job is to come among us and learn what we are doing and how we are doing and our methods of progressing ourselves and then go out and twist, distort, change and misrepresent our purpose. That is his job. So if you give the public the same thing that you are giving yourselves, you kill that person and he is out of a job.
You can't imagine how many infiltrators I have put out of a job over the last ten years that I have been working. I put a lot of them out of a job. It is because I say, "No, I rather speak to the public. And when I speak to the public, then the public knows. And the public is my best protection. We are a minority in America, so the public in America is our best protection." It is not the few behind the doors. So I emphasize the need for us to educate our general public, as well as the people close to us.
Now we don't have the same program then, there will be a different program. You don't have a program for Clara Muhammad School the same that you would have for the general public. But we need a program also for the general public. And if you present the religion in the right way to the general public, you will present the religion in the right way to people you would like to convert. The best da'wah will be to clean up the image of Muslims in the public's eye. That will be the best da'wah.
We have been given a great encouragement. If I had the money, I would have bought the whole package from the Honorable Mr. Sullivan. If I had the money, the package would have been bought right on the spot. We have to do that and be aware that the best way to serve our private interest, if we can call it a private interest, is to serve the public good by giving the public the right image of Muslims, so that the public will not fear our intentions and will not fear our presence in this country. And I am not speaking of only America now. In the countries all over the world, we need to have the same attitude and the same kind of program. It is needed all over the world, so that governments and nations will know our true intent and won't suspect us unnecessarily.
Commitment To Humanity
I will conclude now by saying that I hope you understand that I include our commitment to humanity, itself, that is to the whole of mankind, but I certainly am not neglecting or forgetting our obligation to take into our concerns and into our hearts and also into our plans the interest of Muslims all over the earth. There is not a day pass that I don't think about the Afghanistan Freedom Fighters. And I can't forget the Palestinians, the Muslims of Palestine who have been dealt a great injustice, who have been greatly mistreated. And the super powers have been instigators and behind it; not only were they backers, they were also instigators of it.
We as Americans are obligated along with all other Americans to make an appeal to our President and to our Senators and Congressmen in the interest of fairness and humane treatment of the Palestinian people.
Also I can't leave you without bringing to your attention the heavy burden that is on our hearts, the difficulty that is put in our way as American Muslims trying to promote the da'wah in the right way in this country by the conflict that is going on between the two Muslim countries, Iraq and Iran. Efforts are being made by government and non-government persons and committees to appeal to the governments of Iraq and Iran, but I feel that there is more that we can do here in America. I think we need to come together as leaders, put our heads together and see if there is some kind of demonstration or some kind of appeal that we can make as American Muslims to our brothers of Iran and Iraq, to let them know that they bring great difficulty to us in America by continuing this unreligious and inhuman war against each other. It is sickening.
Again, I must blame the super powers that are the instigators and have forced our brothers into a situation where they have to fight each other. If Muslims come back to the conscience practice of their religion, then they will not invite people to attack them so quickly. Believe me, if Muslims live their religion with the conscience awareness and the attentiveness of mind and heart that is required of Muslims in this religion, then you won't be inviting people to invade your land and to attack you, to fight you, to take your resources. They will be very careful. If we become better Muslims in content, the enemies will be very careful. They will be slow to attack, bothers and to make trouble for Muslims.
The best jihad now is not the jihad with the sticks and the stones or even the best weapons that the super powers have. The best jihad today is the jihad to bring the Islamic life back to conscience life and attentive life. We cannot begin the practice of our religion without conscience, attentive involvement. It requires conscience and attentive involvement. I can't make my wudu without making an intention. It must be a conscience thing. I can't make my prayers without concentration. I can't even reflect on God without a discipline of some kind. There is a conscience and attentive Muslim life. If we come back to that, believe me, the super powers will not have the power that we will have.