Imam W. D. Muhammad
Today, I want to speak on the proper development of the individual in society. Not as an educator, not as a doctor of any field of study, but a s a student of scripture. The Holy Quran is the Holy Book, or Bible in the Christian language for the Muslim, and the Holy Bible is the Book for the Christians and Jews. In fact, in our Book, the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims are all identified in one scriptural teaching. We have our own individual community, but we are all children of the revealed knowledge, of the scriptures that the Holy Prophets brought. And we all recognize Prophet Abraham as the ideal leadership. Prophet Abraham represents the ideal leadership for all religious people, and we call him Father Abraham, meaning leader or founding father, a true leader for the religious community. Arid Abraham is regarded as the ideal leader or the ideal leadership because of his unselfish work. Abraham had faith in God and was willing to sacrifice, and he sacrificed. He was willing to sacrifice even the flesh—the life of his own son.
So we have in the religion the belief in doing good, obeying God, but also the belief in serving the society. So Abraham, instead of slaying or sacrificing his son to God sacrificed a lamb and fed it to the poor. And this is the beginning of the true idea of charity for us in religion. That instead of living a pious life and convincing God of our holiness let that holiness or that righteousness express itself in the society in the form of help for those who need that help.
The Quran says: "Never will God remove what is bothering a people, until they remove what is bothering their hearts or their souls." Now, there are some people who don't seem to ever be bothered in their hearts or in their souls. They are people who have lost consciousness. They have no consciousness; they have no feeling in their conscience for what is happening in the world: the misery, the suffering, the denial of opportunity, the neglect to give proper attention to human life and to the development of that life. To those persons who have no conscience, God in the language of the Bible says, "I'm not the God of the dead, I'm the God of the living," meaning that He's not to help people who have no conscience. But if you have a bit of life in your conscience, if you still fee! something in your conscience and in your heart, then no matter how sinful you are, corrupt you are or how far you've strayed from truth and righteousness, God says He's the God of the living. And as long as you have an atom of life in your conscience, God is the God of the living.
So I speak from scripture in an effort to help us save our society. The society is trying to survive. The leadership is trying to keep the society alive, moving, and progressing. And there are many community leaders, religious leaders, government leaders, leaders of the workers, the working people—they are all in their own way trying to keep the human life that we have known and appreciated that we call the excellence of the human being. Some call it civilization; some call it one thing, some call it another. But that excellence of the human being, we would like to keep it. We don't want to lose it. And we see that it is threatened.
It's seriously threatened. Moral excellence is something that we don't regard now with intelligence. It's something we take for granted. We put too much importance on freedom and we forget that everything needs intelligent direction. Even our freedom needs intelligent direction.
We want to get the benefits or the blessings from Almighty God that are in the world, in the creation. God has put them here for us. They are in the creation, they are out in the outer world and also in ourselves. If we want to benefit from these great blessings that God has created for us without and within us, then we have to make up our minds to take a stand. To take a stand doesn't mean that you are going to be prepared for everything. It doesn't mean that you are going to be in perfect condition, that you are going to be without faults, without flaws, without problems, without inclinations to evil, without inclinations to sin. God has never asked any human being to be perfect before coming to Him. God says, "just take the position." Take the position on truth and righteousness. Take the position that you're going to follow the good conscience and fight the bad conscience. That's all the Almighty God asks of us—lake the position that we are going to follow the good conscience and fight the bad conscience. And as long as we hold that position, we have hope. There is a chance for us. We are going to make improvements in our lives day by day.
We may be tripped up, we may fall and may be out of it for hours, maybe even days or for weeks. Bui when we wake up, that life will still be there. It will begin to feed us and we'll get started again, as long as we hold the position that we are going to fight for the good conscience and fight against the bad conscience.
I don't believe that what we have to say can be said in simple terms and in a few minutes, and get the respect that it deserves. Prophet Muhummad in the Quran was told by God to say, "Tell them I am only a mortal messenger, a flesh and blood human being like yourselves." Prophet Muhammad was not an angel, he was no spirit. He actually existed. He had a father, he had a mother, he had problems. He wept, he laughed, he fought; he assisted the old, the children. He swept the floors for his wife, something that a lot of us don't want to do nowadays. He was a human being—an ordinary mortal human being.
And God says in the Quran that "if the earth had been populated with angels or by angels, I would have sent you an angel as a messenger. But since the earth was populated with human beings, I sent you a mortal human being as a messenger." For us here now who represent this leadership, we are human beings. We are not angels, we suffer the same things that you suffer, we are open to the same weaknesses that you are open to. But thanks to Almighty God, we have that saving substance that God has put into every human being, and that is moral nature. And if we can develop that moral nature, we can save ourselves. We have a content and that content is the same for all of us. We have a moral life and that is the life of the human being.
Human beings grow up into rational life, become men who live rational truth and who follow just pure rational guidance. But that's not the life of the human being. The real life of the human being is a moral life. And when we lose that moral life, we lose the human life. You can love, you can feel; you can give and enjoy giving as long as you keep your life, which is the moral life.
-Your brother in Service to Allah, Wallace D. Muhammad