Death And Life
Emam Wallace D. Muhammad
With the Name Allah (in the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate.
Excerpts from a Khutbah delivered by Emam Wallace D. Muhammad at lumah Prayer, March 10, 1978
"Blessed be He in whose control is the Kingdom.
"And He, over all things, has power.
"He who created death and life that He may try which of you is best in conduct.
"And He is exalted in might and oft forgiving."
Allah is telling us here—and look how divinely these verses come. Men don't think this way; it is Allah who corrects our thinking—"Who created the death and the life."
We always think to say, He created "life and death" because when we know anything, we are alive. So we think of "life" first but where does life come from? Dead matter.
Science tells us that life didn't come first. The universe, the inanimate world came first. The Bible and the Quran tell us this, too, but we get confused because we strayed from the knowledge.
God brings forth life out of the inanimate world. "...Who created the death and the life." The verse doesn't say that death comes before life, but there is a hint here. An eye-opening hint here to let us know that death comes first and then life.
All through the Quran, death is treated in such a way as to remove from the Muslims the fear and superstition regarding death.
Some scriptures, not the Quran, were misprinted and misread after they were revealed to the prophets, and given to us as Jewish or Christian scriptures. They present death as though it is the workings of a separate power. As though it is an evil Satan or something that has created death and darkness and the good God has created light and life. This is incorrect!
The Quran makes it very clear that Allah is the Creator of darkness and light. He is the Creator of death and life.
Death is a necessity. Death is a part of our growth. If we don't have death, how can we grow? We grow by death. God has created death to aid our growth.
He says,"...and Who created the death." Death is first, then life.
Allah says in the Quran, "Die, that you may live." Scriptures before bear witness that we must die to our ignorance before we can live in good sense.
He says, "Die that you may live." Die to your corruption! Die to your wicked ways! Die to your lies! Die to your ignorance! That's the only way to come to real life.
Not only does the physical world exist as what we call inanimate or lifeless matter, dead before it becomes animate or living matter, we in our religion, exist as dead people to our religion until God wakes us up and sets us onto the path of life.
Allah puts us onto the path of life. With His prophets, with the guidance, He puts us on the path of life.
"...Who created the death and the life." For what reason? This question bothers the minds of men more than any other question.
Why has God created the extremes of death and life? And all the other extremes that we associate with death and life?
Allah tells us here. To show you or to make you come to know which one is best among you. Which one among you is best in his behavior, best in his works, who performs the best works.
If everything were just one way, there would be no opportunity for the individual to prove his worth by his own efforts or by his works. We would be just a world of robots, automations. There would be no freedom. No opportunity to prove by our own efforts our worth. There would be no reward, no human dignity.
Does God say He's going to reward the angels? Does God promise the angels rewards? No! God promises human beings rewards. Human beings are the only ones that can earn rewards.
The angels can't earn any rewards. Their nature is fixed. Their life is fixed. They cannot earn rewards.
If you earn rewards, you can suffer consequences. So we have to be put into a life of extremes. We have to face the forces of death and life.
These forces wake up in us our intelligence. Living with them constantly, they begin to send messages to our intelligence and we begin to know that God hasn't done all this in vain. This is the way the human being begins to come to God.
No prophet ever came to God by God catching him in his work and saying, "Say! Hey! Moses. What are you doing? Come, let me get you started in something."
No! The man, himself, begins searching. Abraham was searching. Muhammad, the last prophet, was searching.
Prophet Muhammad used to go and visit the Cave Hirah. This cave is at the top of the mountain. He would meditate and think on God, and think on the world condition and plead to God for the guidance so he could solve the problems of his people and the problems of the world.
Prophet Muhammad was searching. It is that kind of person, that kind of searching mind and that kind of searching soul that God rewards with guidance.
Where do we get this push to search?
God has designed our world so that it awakes in us certain senses, certain awareness and we say, "Gee, God hasn't done this for nothing. This is no accident. This is something done on purpose. Yes."
So we begin to see life as it should be seen. We begin to turn our hearts to the Originator, the Maker of all these things and He turns to us. As he says, "If you turn to me I will turn to you."
Peace be to you
Your brother in service to Allah,
Wallace D. Muhammad