Principles Of Devotion And Faith
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editors note: Following are excerpts from an address delivered by Imam W. Deen Muhammad in Houston, Texas in February, 1983.)
IN MY TALK today. I would like to bring two principles to mind. One is the principle of devotion and the other is the principle of faith.
Allah says in Quran over and over again, it is those who believe and do good works. He supports those who have faith and do good work.
We know that the human being is naturally inclined to fear, and his fear drives him to seek security from what he fears. God has put into us the natural urges that will bring us to faith. The urges of fear and escape from the things that make us afraid lead us into what—? Faith. This is the natural basis for faith.
We find that scripture explains to us just how faith is developed or evolved to improve the state of life for man.
THERE ARE MANY levels of faith. With the movement of civilization, we see the arising of man's concept of faith. Along with that movement we see man triumphing over the things that make him afraid, and as he triumphs over these things he gets a better idea of faith.
Allah, Most High, says in the Quran that He has made subservient, or reduced to your service what is in the sky and what is in the earth.
He says He has reduced the sun and the moon to your service, human service, man's service. Whatever is above and whatever is below, He has brought into our service.
Now these things that Allah mentioned that He has brought into our service are things that men used to worship when they were on that road or that process of improving their faith. They used to worship stones. They used to worship water.
I STUDIED THE history of the Indians in this country. One of their major gods was called the water god. Man has worshiped many things. He even worshiped the sun.
Allah says, in Quran, worship neither the sun nor moon, but worship Him who created them. So it seems that in man's natural struggle, God has put into the man the natural urge to grow. That natural urge, it seems, has brought man to realize that these things he used to worship are beneath him. He also comes to realize that the highest concept of faith is faith in the One who created all of these things with which he has learned to deal. Isn't it wonderful?
THE MUSLIM ARRIVES at belief in God by defiance. He has tried everything— the water, the fire. There is no god out here except One—Allah. He is not like these things that I put into my service. I can't put Him in my service; He brings me into His service.
So man comes to the proper concept. But he struggles—he moves along a natural path growing out of his ignorance into the Truth that Allah has created.
This is the process of faith. Behind faith, what should there be? There should be righteous work. Any time you worship the sun or the moon, or the rivers or waters, you are under the burden of your matter. If you worship anything created, you are under the burden of your own matter.
WHEN MAN COMES out from under the burden of his own matter and realizes there is something outside of him that is independent of him; something that doesn't have the limitations he has; something that is perfect; something that is not born and does not die: when he comes into that idea, he really knows God. He has separated his mind from the burden of his own matter. Praise be to Allah.
Then what happens? He realizes that there is Being, existence—and in the matter, in the Being of a thing, there is a Power, there is a potential, and in that potential there is a direction, an aim.
He learns through the study of matter, through the study of the universe that Allah created. He can't get anything except from Allah. He can't even think without Allah's creation. So he learns from the study of the universe that Allah created, himself included—he's a part of it. And he should never think that he is bigger than the universe.
Allah says, think not that your creation is bigger than the creation of the Heavens and the Earth. Your creation is not bigger. You belong to it. You are an entity in it that should learn its proper relationship in it; you should learn your proper function in it, your proper role in it.
MAN WANTS TO KNOW where to go from here. He's through worshiping his own matter. He accepts that there is something beyond this that is God. He says, now where should I go from here? And God said, return now to your matter and study your matter with sense. Now that you have gotten some sense, return to your matter and study it and you will see My will in it. I have designed My will in your matter.
The creation has evolved to reach a purpose, a destiny. It has moved to work toward its functional purpose.
We study man. We see how he grows up, evolves, and we study his growth movement. We see in his growth an aim. We see his natural growth movement aiming at something.
Allah says, this is the religion of the original pattern that evolved first.
What evolved first, my ideas or my nature—? Nature evolved before my ideas and nature has been the field of study for all of my research, for all of my accomplishments.
Allah says, that Hennas established the human pattern and development. He has established it on the pattern that is in nature — the original nature.
THIS BRINGS MAN back in touch with the creation. And man is creation too. He had to resist creation—the gravity of the creation, the gravity of his own matter— and come into the belief that what rules all of this is "not like" all of this, including himself.
So man returns to his matter after he gets the faith—the devotional faith, the purity of heart, the purity of intentions—to break with his matter. He breaks with selfishness and then says, no—God is not this. God is above all this. Allah-u-Akbar.
He praises God as being bigger than all of this, above all of this, independent of all this. Yes! He comes to know God.
IF HE REMAINS faithful, God will bring him back into the field of his matter with his mind right, with his head on straight, back into the field of his matter head-first, not feet-first.
He comes back into the matter after coming out right and he studies the developmental process of matter, the purpose for the matter.
He decides that the purpose of the matter has been decided before he came here. He finds the purpose of the matter already written in the matter. So, the purpose of the matter must be the will of the Creator. The purpose of the matter must be God's intention.
HE DECIDES to stop dreaming and floating out in space, and speculating. He decides: I'm going to leave my guess-work for the Truth that God reveals; he begins to move naturally along the path of enlightenment as indicated or as implicit in nature. And he comes to more and more understanding.
The world begins to be more and more awakened to the great potential that is in the man—the potential to see and understand his environment. God hasn't made us to wonder. God has made u to measure up to the task, to the challenge of our environment. But we need God to enter into this challenge with our head on straight.