The Muslim Journal
Inspiration And Hope For Humanity: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the following public address at the commencement of Ramadan, 1989 at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, Illinois on April 9, 1989.)
As-Salaam-Alaikum. With Allah's Name, the Beneficent, the Merciful, we witness that Allah alone is God, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. We pray peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, the last and Universal Prophet, the noble and best creation of Allah.
We hope that everyone will be as comfortable as possible. I know how it is to stand when you are not doing something other than listening. I don't know why it is, but it is easier to stand when you are speaking. Even sitting you can get very tired. We want you to be comfortable.
We have a lot of servants of Allah as workers in the communities here with us from around the country. It is really a pleasure to see the Imams here coming from the East Coast and all the way from the West Coast. I see Oakland, California represented here and also Boston, Massachusetts. We also have other distinguished persons here. We have a distinguished gentleman from Nigeria. He has spent a lot of his time in Ghana, as I understand he studied there and lived there for a good while He is our brother, Misbahou Ahmad Rafai. There are other distinguished persons here from other communities.
We welcome all and pray to Allah that He guides us and grants us the reward of pleasing Him. That is our main objective as Muslims. We are to always seek to please our Lord and Creator (Allah).
I am very pleased and feel very good to know that many of the members of my family are here today. I see many of them in the audience. My oldest sister who is like a second mother to me, Sister Ethel Sharrieff is here. Her husband, Raymond Sharrieff, is here, whom we all know. I still want to salute him when I see him. My son-in-law, as you know, is Imam Edmond Abdul Hafeez. He is also my assistant in not only religious matters but also in business matters. His wife, my daughter Bakerah Mohammed-Hafeez is with him.
I will continue as I work my way to the "star" in the family. We have Taahirah and her mother, my daughter Laila Muhammad Abdullah. Next to her is Dorian, her son. Where is Taahir? We were blessed in that the first grandchildren were twins — Taahirah and Taahir. Now we will get to the star in the family, his mother and father, Kevin Walker and Ngina Muhammad Walker, my daughter and son-in-law are here. The star is the one they are holding. Lift him up. That is Kevin P. Walker, Jr. He is really a star, our youngest grandchild.
We have other members in the family here also. Another one that I have to hesitate sometimes before I say "As-Salaam-Alaikum," because the hand goes up to salute him. He is Elijah Muhammad II, my brother who is also here. I saw my oldest brother Emanuel Muhammad in the Jumu'ah congregation on this past Friday, and he is here today.
Isn't it wonderful that families can disagree lover estate matters) but can still come together? I never want everybody to say "yes" to everything I say. Even if it is right, if you say "yes" to everything I say that makes me feel uneasy. Don't say "yes" every time I say something.
It is a blessing for us to be together. We all share one history and one great experience! Many people are not blessed to share in the kind of unique experience we had. Our minds were influenced in so many different ways. Our minds were influenced to excite the tools of intelligence. We had to work with our situation and were put in situations where the mind had to be used to deal with unusual beliefs. The brain cells were excited, and I hope they are still excited. We should be excited by the Qur'an and the life of Prophet Muhammad, and by my position in matters of the past and regarding the Islamic life and direction for success.
We are speaking on our religion called "Islam" or "Al-Islam" as it is properly given in the Qur'an. We are speaking on a religion that inspires hope in the whole of humanity. It inspires hope in all people. It is my understanding that the thing that is most needed in the person or in the household or in society is faith. However, many of us only see faith in a religious light or religious context. Today I hope that before I finish this address we will see connected religious faith and faith in each other.
This is a public address (although we know our public is always the best Muslims). The invitation will always be open to all the good citizens of any city, small town or big town, whether they are Muslim or not. We invite you whether you are African-Americans or not. We are very happy when we see all citizens responding to our invitation and joining our meetings.
We hope that by the time we finish with this address today that all of us will see faith in a bigger circle or in a bigger picture or in a bigger context. / will begin by saying faith is a condition that makes possible positive and good things in our lives. The absence of faith is "distrust." If I don't have faith, I have distrust.
Distrust is good, when it is called for. There are many things that I should distrust. Some may feel they can jump off a building and not be harmed. Well, I distrust that. Distrust is good but only when it is justly called for. In our religion we are permitted to be suspicious", although Allah tells us that "some suspicion is sin." Nevertheless we are permitted to be suspicious, because some situations justify us being suspicious.
For example, when you go into an all European American neighborhood and you have never been in that neighborhood before, you are going to be cautious if you are intelligent. You will be suspicious of the possibilities. There in that situation will be a justification to justify your being a little cautious and a little suspicious and having a less sense of security. You will be a little less trustful of the circumstances you have suddenly found yourself in. That caution is natural.
In fact, we cannot think of any true nature for us that is not approved of in our Holy Book. If obedient to the Creator, whatever is natural for the human being is approved in our Holy Book. I have heard some people say, "If you are really a sincere servant of Allah, how can you hate anybody?" It is human nature to hate certain people. I see hate as a strong dislike. There are certain people who should be hated because of their behavior. And you will hate them until you see some change in them to make you believe that now there is no reason anymore for you t j hate them. If you are the kind of person who can forgive, you will start to hate them less and less as they change into better persons.
I used to have a problem with the Christian religion because I heard some Christians say that you are not supposed to hate anyone. I was young and still in my teens when I had a problem with that. I also heard my father once say that in the Bible two brothers, one loved, the other God hated. I said to myself, how can they (Christians) say we are not supposed to hate anybody? How can they say that when God Himself hated one brother and loved the other? I could not manage that (loving all and everything).
As much as the religion has caused me to grow in a virtuous way and in a peaceful and humble way (and I pray to Allah that I not take on any angelic form), still there are things I hate and some people. I don't hate them as persons. I hate what is in them. Maybe that is what the Christians mean: "We should not hate the person but only hate whatever is in them that is causing the problem." That is right, for I hate the way some persons think, I hate the way they reason and the way they feel and the way they express their feelings. I can go on and on telling you what I hate in, of, and about them.
Now getting back to the best situation for us. First of all the best situation for people is one protected by creation-supported faith. Without faith you cannot accomplish. If you don't have faith in yourself, you cannot accomplish. If you don't have faith in something outside of yourself, you can't accomplish. If you don't have faith in your family, you can't have a good situated family. You have to have faith in something.
Even when the family appears to be just a total loss, you will still find certain people loving their family and doing for their family. They will know that the family in its appearance is a total loss. Why do they continue? It is because they have faith in the family or they have faith in the principle of love and respected value. They have faith that if they continue to present a decent way and continue to keep a decent life, maybe that will one day bring their family around. .Not to have faith is no way to survive.
Now / am going to the idea that in our true nature, true make up and true character, we are in a good situation and in a situation of faith. When Allah created everything in the creation, it is said in the traditional sayings of our Prophet, the peace and blessings be on Muhammed, that He showed the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) His Creation. Then the Angel Jibril said. "Oh my Lord, how can anyone go wrong or go astray in such a wonderful creation?" Then Allah showed him the creation after the creation had been altered, influenced by the Satan, the devil. Then the response from the Angel Jibril was. "Oh my Lord, how can anyone go straight in such a creation?" That tells us something.
Our Prophet I P.B.U.H.) said, "Everyone is born a Muslim, and it is the circumstances that they are put in that make them Jew, Christian, or other." Science, as you know, points to two factors (conditions) as being responsible for forming us. One is our genetic makeup or what we have inherited genetically from our parents and from those behind us. The other is the environment. This is Western science, and I would say it is universal. Again there are basically two circumstances accounting for what we are and the conditions that we have internally. They are the genes and the environment that we so happen to be of or in.
I don't know how many of us will be concerned to work for the better genetic outcome of our life. However, according to science it would make good sense to work for the better genetic outcome of your lives. It would make for good sense to seek mates of good nature, of good behavior, of good reputation, and of good mind to get involved with. The likelihood the child will be raised properly and influenced rightly will be improved.
I think it would not only be scientifically backwards but it would just be ignorant and a lack of common sense to readily go and pick some trash or some junk or some filth or a wreck from the society and mate with them. It would only make sense if trash was mating trash or reform was a sure thing.
I know there are some religious people who are so tender hearted that even this hurts them. You may be here weeping for trash. In that case you are the ones who should be left with these wrecks of society. I think the sensible man and the sensible woman should be looking for someone with a genetic makeup, with a natural makeup that will better the view into tomorrow for your life and for its future. Do not just go picking up somebody.
Our religion tells us to not pick a mate out of lust or out of sexual desire. Mere sex is no grounds, no justification for taking a person into marriage. If sex is the main motivation, then that marriage is not due respect. What should be the main motivation ? It should be decency for intimate relations, male/ female companionship. One should be looking for decent company and decent involvements. One should look for the qualities there that will support the life in the home being good and better.
Each generation should seek to improve on the generation behind. I should want my family to be more accomplished than my father's family. The next generation should strive for more in terms of virtuous life, education, material success and whatever. That is how we should be motivated.
(To be continued)