You Have To Get Prepared To Make It In The Land Of Plenty: Part 3
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this presentation in Dallas, Texas on March 19, 1989. It was Southern Texas that gave Imam Mohammed proper and due media coverage and recognition.)
Why has "Islam," with that balance and that kind of regard for the parent-child bonding and family tie sensitivities made people afraid? Muslims are not to be fanatics. Muslims are to be peacemakers. "Be not aggressors." And "if those who fight you incline towards peace, incline yourselves also." Qur'an.
People attacked our religion. People attacked Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon the prophet, and what he believed in. People attacked his credibility, and the rational answers came back. They attacked and called Jesus a fool, the peace and blessings be upon Jesus. They called Jesus a mad man. The same was said of Prophet Muhammad. But the Prophets did not come out and say, "Kill them!"
Meccans persecuted, boycotted, and caused him to leave his hometown. When Prophet Muhammad, the peace and blessings be upon him, was able to really kill his enemies, what did he do? He announced a period of forgiveness and mercy and said, "All offenses of the past are forgiven."
There were people before him when he made that address upon coming into Mecca victoriously, who had done cruel and horrible things to him, to his family, to his friends, and to others of his followers. In this same town, upon achieving victory, the Prophet said: "All past offenses are forgiven. Let there be no more bloodletting. " Praise be to Allah. Firmness, but also forgiveness is the way of our Prophet.
When we one-sidedly follow his virtues, we present a one-sided view of the Prophet and a one-sided view of the Religion. I believe many of us do this in ignorance. Many of us have lived so long in an atmosphere of crusading, where the "sword" and the "crescent" are in conflict. We have lived so long in that kind of atmosphere that there has developed a kind of "cross and crescent" fixation and phobia. We readily want to jump up and say, The infidel should be killed."
I have been told if one renounces his religion after saying he is a believer, that person is to be killed. Agreed, if it is referring to wartime and to turncoats. I read the Qur'an. Civilized armies will court martial and kill turncoats in these modern times. If at war and you turn and support the other side, you risk being killed. Peace times are different.
What about a situation where a person just came to a meeting, heard a talk on the religion and got excited and said, "Yes, I believe you, and I would like to be a Muslim today." And that person recites the shahada or oath of faith without knowing the religion? Then tomorrow, he runs into a preacher of another religion that says to him, "Come to God. He is going to give you money and all the great things of life. You will be rich and won't ever want for anything. Just say you believe." That person says, "Yes, I believe." Now you want to go out and kill him?
Most are not qualified to make such heavy judgments. Such heavy judgments cannot come from most of us. We need people with good clean minds and spirits and great intelligence and with love and purity to see what Allah is saying in His Holy Book and then give us the right understanding. We need to go back to examining those who interpret scripture for us. We need to be a bit skeptical and cautious when offered something from those who claim to be knowledgeable. Because today most of the so-called knowledgeable people are products of the world and not products of the scripture and the Prophet's teachings, even though they may think they are.
Today, traditional (referring to events, not to the Prophet) authors think they are products of the Qur'an and products of the life of the Prophet. But they must come to see their wounds and sensitivities. They are victims of the influences of centuries of foreign occupation. They are victims of foreigners who came to their lands and changed their institutions, changed their way of looking at the Qur'an, changed their way of looking at Muhammad the Prophet. They are victims of centuries of occupation, and they are not qualified to tell us what Allah says when it comes to highly serious matters. I do not listen to them.
You don't have to accept me, but I am telling you that I don't always listen to them. When I hear something coming out that does not sound decent for the eyes and hearts of good human beings, I reject it. If I don't find any support for it in the Qur'an, for I read it in both languages — Arabic and English, I reject it. I don't care how serious the "authors" say it is.
I have read where a man has said that the Jews and the Christians are k a firs (infidels) and they are to be killed. This man has rank and title in the Islamic world. I read it myself. We also sent our complaints to the country where he was and to the organization that he belonged to. We told the authorities there, whom he was answerable to, that this is an outrage. We are working hard here to bring sense and respect to our religion as viewed by Americans. We want to appeal to their good senses and show them the true picture of our religion. After they have seen the ugly picture of our religion, we want to show them the good picture of our religion after they themselves have made ugly the picture of our religion.
We have worked and accomplished a lot. We have people now looking at this religion and appreciating it. We are living in a new time and new circumstances. Now this man from overseas brings this kind of careless leadership into the United States. It makes us angry! That man is a worse enemy on the Muslims than the Christian or the Jew that he says should be killed.
Peace and blessings be upon him, our Prophet Muhammad is the most excellent creature that Allah created. Muhammad the Prophet, did he kill the Christian or did he kill the Jew? No! He fought only those who fought against him. And Allah says in the Qur'an, "We have no contention with you people of the Book. "Our contention is with the "heathens" (or idol worshippers). That is the teaching of the Qur'an and it is the way of the Prophet to follow that.
When the government was established in Medina, the proclamation came that guaranteed the freedoms and the rights of the Jews to go on practicing their religion the way they had before. The same was granted to the Christians. Since then civilized Muslim leaders, followers, and nations have carried on that excellent tradition. Christians live in Muslim lands. Jews live in Muslim lands. There are long periods of great civilizations and great periods of productive life that the Muslims are credited with during the history of Muslim Spain. Look what happened there. There were Jews, Christians, and Muslims all living together and working together and prospering together under Muslim rule in Spain.
I don't know just how the idea of the new destiny came about, and how it got so messed up. America's vision of the great world which she would create and the opportunity to do that here on this continent has been called divine destiny. They came here with that desire and spirit to realize the "manifest destiny." I don't know what inspired it. I believe it was passages of their Christian scripture and the wisdom of their great philosophers and teachers. And I also strongly suspect that they bad studied the great life and the prosperous life of Muslim Spain. For that was manifest destiny.
It is a pity that it was lost. It was lost because of the unwillingness on the part of the still savage European nations who were jealous of that high Muslim civilization and jealous of credit going to Muslims. They were jealous to the extent they fired up ignorant prejudices of Christian populations, and they, not Muslims, started the Crusades. The Crusades were started by half civilized Christians. And what I say is not any criticism of Christianity. They were not living their Christianity. They were still in the grip of their ancestral ignorance and savagery.
One learned western gentleman has said in a discussion that "man's psychology is a frightening thing." And that is true. If we do not remain in the human disposition that Allah created for us, we can get ideas that will just form us into monsters of all kinds. America has been influenced recently to see certain Muslim leaders and Muslim figures as monsters of a strange psychological make-up. But the vocal Americans are willing to overlook American monsters. I don't see the Palestinian terrorists as monsters. I see them as victims. In my opinion all monsters that were human before driven mad by inhuman subjugation are victims.
A human being does not take on a monstrous image until he is forced by circumstances and pressures beyond his control. I have said a lot of things that I know you will not like, but I accept to take the risk. I have grown even to look at the southern white European-American man of the past who did inhuman and beast-like things to our mothers and fathers before us. I have grown to look at him differently! and to see him not as his own creator, but to see him as a victim. I have grown to be more bitter towards the northern man than towards the southern man.
Let me explain, for I know you are saying, "What has this to do with making it in the land of plenty?" It has a lot to do with making it in the land of plenty. As long as you have the explosive sensitivities that most of us have, you are not going to make it in the land of plenty. The reason why we have those troubling and crippling sensitivities is that we are emotional victims of circumstances in our hurtful plight.
On the other hand we are to know that the rejects of Europe established themselves in the south. Most of those who were let out of prisons, if they would agree to work for landowners and the rich in the new world (America), they were freed to go. This abused and often criminal lot of the Europeans settled in the south. Though there were rare exceptions, most were losers.
The better educated, the high minded, the cultured and the wealthy settled in the New England area. Those were the first states. America grew from the New England area and the southern states. The better minded, better educated, and less victimized were settled in the New England areas. The victims and the ones who abused us themselves settled in the South. When we study history, we see they were abused in the way they abused us. The same cruelty they inflicted upon us was experienced by them in their European lands from their masters. They came here scarred and unprepared to treat human beings as human beings. They were most often themselves criminals and social rejects.
There were a few great minds among the southerners, but the majority of them, their masses were of that character and of that condition. In the light of Southern European American circumstances, I can look at them now and have a different attitude. Now I see them, too, as victims. In fact, it is amazing that they did as well as they did. That we both are survivors retaining folk-goodness is amazing. No people of that kind of human deficiency should have been given charge over the existence of a foreign people. Worse than that is to give babies born to slavery into the custody of such victims of Europe’s social and political cruelties. The cruel South (its masses) was at the mercy of a few who obviously thought it profitable to leave the early European Southern American masses to their rawness.
(To be continued)