Imam W. Deen Muhammad's Oakland Address: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editor's note: The following is a reprint of Part 1 of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's Oakland address.
Praise be to Allah. As-Salaam-Alaikum, and that is peace be unto you. We give all praise to the One Lord and Creator of the heavens and the earth, Whose Proper Name with the Muslims is Allah — the same God for all the God fearing people on this earth. In fact, He is the same God for people anywhere, if they are existing in some other body and somewhere else other than this earth. It is the same God, the Lord of all creations. We give all praise to Him and we thank Him for the blessing of religion and the blessing of faith that came to us by way of the blessing to all people and to all nations and a mercy to all nations, the one we call Muhammad the Prophet. We pray the peace and blessings of God be upon him, and that we always be guided as Muslims into the excellence that he demonstrated and exemplified for the following.
Last evening we had a wonderful time and enjoyed another very successful fundraiser and evening of excellence for Sister Clara Muhammad School in Oakland, California. You will remember that I said to be prepared for tomorrow and come, for I am going to talk all day. I hope I won't do that, and I am going to try not to do that.
We have been addressing some concerns, and I hope I can continue in that same vein and same line of progression. We focused on the human being as a creature with sacred properties and came from that focus to then focus on the human being as a creature with potential for the management of the environment, whether that environment be small or be the total environment that we live in. That is, the natural environment that we live in, the earth and all of its elements, the wind and water and fire, the sun and moon and stars above, for all of these things according to revelation from God were created to be utilities for man or as utilities for human society. They are to be of use in human service.
Allah Created The Sun & Moon To Benefit Humans
The term in the Holy Book is "saqa," which means that something has been made available by another principle or authority for human benefit. And Allah says that He made the sun and the moon to be of benefit to human beings. These things are not to be worshipped by us. And that is the point, that these things are not to be worshipped by us but they are to render services for us. And we should not become big-headed and think that now we are God, because you know that in the history of man's search for truth he began as a baby, then entered kindergarten, then elementary school and high school, and finally college and the university. And as we trace his movements from that first weak state of his, we see a progression in his worship.
He worshipped the things he feared most, first. Then he worshipped the things he admired the most. And lastly, he worshipped the things that most satisfied his intellectual curiosity. That road of experience brought some men to stop right at themselves and they have gone no further. And for that reason, even in this most modern time in the sense of the advances of sciences, et cetera, there are now civilized nations still worshipping man as God. Let it be understood right here in the beginning of this address that Muslims worship nothing of creation. We don't worship the sun or the moon or man; we worship nothing of creation!
We worship only Allah, Who created everything and according to our Holy Book was existing before anything was created and is unlike anything He created and has no need of the creation for anything in Himself. He does not eat; He does not drink. He does not slumber; He does not sleep. Years and time has no affect on Him. These are the words of the Qur'an and not my words. These are the words of our Scripture. Time of the years has no affect on Him. Again, He cannot be affected by anything. Nothing can even approach Him to affect Him.
That is the Qur'an. And most of you don't speak Arabic and so there is no real need for me to give you the Arabic from the Qur'an. And it takes too much time to say the chapter and verse. The worse preachers will give you chapter and verse for everything they say. So this is the "ayat" or the concept of God for Muslims.
And you say, "What is He, then?" He is beyond the grasp of our human perception, and that is the God that man should worship. If I can perceive him fully and completely with my tool, then he is no bigger than me. Anything that I can perceive completely with my tools, then I am his equal. Whatever man has been able to completely perceive and understand with his mind or his intellect, he has been able to equal it or to master it. So the foolish notion of desiring and wanting to see God as you see your friend — look, you do not even see your friend in total. In fact, we know very little in total, but we can get a lot of knowledge of it.
Going back now to what I was saying doesn't mean that God is non-existing. I can't perceive Him in total, but He is existing! It does not mean that He is not real; He is real. He is more real than the things we acknowledge as being real. Allah is more real in our religion and by our understanding in our religion. In fact, He is "The Real." And everything else is just a reflection of some minute part of His Reality. This is God.
Really, I hate to use the English word, for it carries the message that some people have in their religion that God is no more than the dynamics of the universe that goes up and down. They have said that man can descend to the dog and ascend to God. Therefore we have "G-o-d." What a nice message or saying, but it is dangerous and I mean terribly dangerous. For man is a creature of haste and daringness and is ready to do what he thinks can't be done. And that is the challenge he wants, the challenge that says, "No, you can't do it." He is ready for that one. And the biggest one is "be God!" And he is ready for that one, too. He wants to be God.
I am speaking not only from second hand and third hand, I am speaking from first hand. We used to say we were god, that is the followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We used to believe that we were god, in that the black man was god. And our knowledge wasn't as heavy as the white man's that said he was god. So we did things more foolish than he did.
Perception is a natural urge in the intellect; it is a natural urge in everybody. When the baby is first born, the greatest interest in the baby appears to be the urge to perceive. The baby will look at the mother and look at the father, the brothers and sisters or whoever is in the household. They will look at the objects and study them. The baby wants to see and understand what it is seeing. It will look at itself.
Man: A Creature Of Habit
Science says that man is a creature of habit and it is described in so many ways. Science1 does not have any one definition for man; it has many definitions for man. The one we use most commonly is "human." And what does human mean? You'll say, "man of the soil or man of the earth." And perhaps that is so, but the idea we have now of human means a person with feelings, a person caring, a person that has refined sensitivities that are "human," or that are just natural for him.
Now when he behaves or responds to our kindness, et cetera, in an ugly way, then we may call him an animal. But again, that is a great mistake. Because you will find the same good feelings and concerns among animals that you find among human beings. I haven't seen any human mother any more caring than some of the mothers among the animals that I have observed. So really, that is not our excellence. Kindness, consideration, caring — those are not our "special" excellence.
The special excellence of man is his mental power or intellect and is his superiority as an intellect. He is not superior as flesh; he is not superior as a creature of feelings. He is superior as an intellect. Man is a free creature. So his feelings sometimes will lead him to go beyond what is good. He can become so good that he is too good, and that is bad. Whereas the animals have checks on them. They can't love you to the death; I have never seen animals loving each other to death. But I am sure you have run into somebody, if it wasn't a girlfriend or boyfriend, that will love you to death. So you say, "I don't think I can make it, if you keep loving me. Hold up, slow up just a little bit." So that can't be our excellence. The intellect is our excellence.
There is something else that goes along with that intellect. And it is intelligence as well, and it is something that is typical of the human being. And that is a requirement in us to give for what we receive. 'To give for what we receive." A real human being does not like to receive and receive and receive and not give. A human being likes to receive and give. And this is a requirement in us that leads us to acknowledge God. "How did we get all of this? I want to thank somebody for it. Who am I to thank for all of this?" So he looks for the one to thank, and that is God. He keeps searching until he says, "Yes, God, God. I thank God."
That is the spirit and attitude that makes him a good servant of the Lord. He reaches a point in that realization, where everything he does he wants to do it knowing that God is pleased with it. Whether it is with his family and running the household or working on the job or helping the men in the neighborhood or even playing on a team, he reaches a point in that kind of progression where he wants everything to be first accepted by God. That is a wonderful creature.
That is the creature that excels. That is the creature that really becomes a hero. That is the way of the prophets of God. They are our best heroes. They rose above the confines of their being, time and knowledge, because they served the Lord Most High with that kind of devotion. We believe in this religion that man is a creature created for service. He cannot find happiness, until he accepts himself as such. That he is a creature to find his happiness, his pleasure in rendering service. He has been made the servant of God.