The Death Influence
Emam W.D. Muhammad
The following article is from excerpts of a Jumah Prayer lecture that was delivered by Emam W.D. Muhammad on May 27, 1977.
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), The Gracious, The Compassionate.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord and Sustainer of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon His universal prophet, upon his companions, his descendants, and upon the righteous servants, all of them, and upon us, oh, Muslims, be peace. I pray that Allah forever increase this community in righteousness, purity of intention, honesty, and truthfulness. I pray that He continue to raise our moral standards and give us the strength to free ourselves from all the filth of this troubled, confused modern society. I pray that He continue to raise us as moral lights and as religious lights in the dark, I would say darkest, part of the world.
I want to talk about the death influence. In the religion, Al-Islam, the importance of life and the meaning of life is brought home in full view. The old scriptures tell us much of truth and life. As you know, the Christian people preach that Jesus is the eternal life. The New Testament says of Jesus, "I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly." The Old Testament shows Moses pointing his people to their salvation. Moses said to his people, using the words of God, "Before you are two ways — the way of life and the way of death." So religion has always meant life for the people.
The Duty To Educate
Today, as Muslims, we must understand that religion means life. Revealed religion, the religion that comes from the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the Author and Architect of this creation we call the universe, is the religion of life. Allah wants us to live. He wants us to grow without having undue or unnatural burdens on our life or in our life. Allah wants our children to grow. He wants them to grow and to be educated. He wants them to grow healthy morals and to be disciplined in a healthy way. He wants them to grow to be leaders to replace the leadership of the world when that leadership is too old or too weak to maintain the world. There has to be leaders in all the fields of science, industry, politics, and government. Allah wants us to raise our children so that our children grow to fit that need and so that when the need is there our children have already been groomed, trained and educated. They should be ready to go in with their training and skills and do the job.
If we don't accept this responsibility and raise our children with that kind of mind, we are failing our religion because Al -Islam teaches us this. It makes it a duty on us to raise our children properly and to educate them. Not only does it make a duty on me to raise my children properly and to educate my children, but if I have the wealth (the means) over the needs of my children, it obligates me to give something in charity so that the poor child will have the same opportunities as my child. Not only that, my religion Al-Islam teaches me that if I have the means over my needs, I am supposed to give in charity so that an orphan child, so that a child of a stranger, so that a child in captivity will have the same opportunity as my child. This is Al -Islam.
The Saving Force Of Good Intentions
Al-Islam is a full religion, a complete religion, for the whole life of the human being. The Quran leads us to life and it explains the death processes to us so that we don't fear the death process. Death is not a curse on the world. Death is s process that helps life. It's a process that serves life. Night is a phenomenon that serves day and day is a phenomenon that serves night. This is the teachings of the Quran. God has not created anything evil. God has not created anything bad. The Quran says that He has made everything, and that He has made it most excellent. The night is excellent. The day is excellent. The spirit is excellent. The flesh is excellent. Ignorance is pitiful! That's the only shameful thing — ignorance.
But a society that confuses the reality that is before the eye goes off the track. Because we are not blessed to be able to go back to our primitive form and come under the shelter and protection of animal instinct when we go off the track, we become more and more prone to error instead of following through the track of trial and error. The animal is saved by the track of trial and error. He hits and he misses, but his nature tells him to keep hitting and missing until he hits. But when the human being falls off the way, the more he misses the more he is inclined to miss.
We don't have an instinct. We don't have a built-in knowledge that saves us. God says that He has made us in the most excellent form and in the most excellent de sign. But the scripture says by the consequence of our ignorance or wrongdoing, however, we may fall to the lowest of the low. There is no animal that can fall as low as a human being can fall because the animal has a built -in instinct to save him. You have nothing built in to save you but your good heart. If your heart dies or if it becomes corrupt or if it becomes so wicked and sinful that it doesn't question what's happening in the mind, you are finished.
A man is only saved by his heart when his brain falls to corruption or to darkness. You don't have any built-in scientific apparatus that will save you like animal instinct when your head tumbles down and is not able to lead you any more. You have nothing to save you but good intentions. If you don't mean well, you are going to the bottom. But a man's goodness can save him and give him the strength to pick his head back up out of the gutter and to set it back evenly and uprightly on his shoulders. He can do it if he will keep a heart that's pure and well meaning.
The Habit Of Suicide
Lastly, on this subject of death, Muslims are never to take up the habit of suicide. You don't have to commit suicide to have taken up the habits of suicide. When you get so that you don't want to take a bath, don't you know you are taking up the habit of suicide? When you get so that you don't feel like brushing your teeth, don't you know you are taking up the habit of suicide? When you stop caring how your children go out in the
street, the habit of suicide has already taken over in your life.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, if we don't fight the forces of ignorance and the forces of filth, we are giving in to the forces of suicide. Those forces are going to transform us. They are going to break us into the elements of the universe. They are going to bring us back to the base and we are going to have to come up all over again from dirt, water, wind and sunshine. Why give your life back to where it came from when you can keep it going up where God intended it to go? Don't give in to these forces. When you pass by the dark tavern and see the people in there sitting on the stools and the vague, shady image of lustful looking women and you feel a temptation to go in again — remember, those are the forces of suicide. Let's not get into those things. We are Muslims. We don't have any death syndrome ruling in our lives. We have a light of life that shines in our life. So let us always move to life and resist the forces of death.
The Holy Quran says of suicide, "No one of the Muslims should ever wish for death." No matter how sick you get and no matter how miserable your social life or your family life gets, don't ever wish for death. The terrible crime in suicide and in wishing for death is this: One who takes his life takes the authority that belongs to God only. The Quran says that God gives the life; God takes the life. He makes living and He makes dead.
Did you have the power to birth yourself? Did you have the power to give the germ and bring yourself to life? Even with your wife, you can't tell us when you are going to produce another life. You can't say, "At this second, man, it's germinating." Nobody knows but God. So since you don't produce it, you don't have the right to kill it.
The Scales Of God
You may say, "Well, in Islam we kill the criminals." Yes, if their crime deserves death by the law of Islam, we kill criminals. But that is not taking my life, that's defending my life. The Holy Quran brings this clear teaching home so beautifully. It says that in killing is the saving of life, if you but understood. When you are killing the thing that is destroying the life of the whole, you save the life of the whole. So we kill that which is threatening the life of the whole to save the whole life of our community or society. The act then is not an act of killing. It is an act of saving life. When you kill to save life, the act is not an act of killing. It is not killing that has motivated you to kill. It is not the instinct that has motivated you to kill. It is the love for life that has motivated you to kill; so the act is not one of killing but the act of saving life.
Now we can't come into this high understanding and into this well-balanced life with our limited knowledge and with our faulty, corroded scales. We have to have the perfect, shining scales of God to balance our life. None of us are to wish for death. When life becomes unbearable, pray to Allah like Prophet Muhammad prayed to Allah. Say, "Oh, Allah, give me what you deem..." I don't know how to judge. I can't see the future. I don't know what is around the corner for me if I just hang on. Only you know. Oh Allah, give me what you deem right and best for me in my life and bless me with faith and bless me with endurance. Bless me with understanding that I may tolerate and bear whatever you have chosen for me until you deem it the right time. I can't choose the time to live and I can't choose the time to die."
Let us pray for understanding. Let as pray for guidance and protection. Pray for Allah's mercy. Pray for strength to accept His will in our life and, believe me, we have the comforting words of the Quran that God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear. Allah-u Akbar.
Thank you for honoring us with your time to read these few words.
Your brother in service to Allah,