Issues And Concerns Facing Muslims — Our Position And Direction: Part 6
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Some of us think the best expression of religion is spontaneous expression. "Oh, I am just waiting for the Lord to touch me. Touch me Lord, and I will speak!" What did Paul say? He said that most of that holy ghost testifying is nothing but nonsense. He also said that you must learn how to edify truth.
Once you become responsible for your behavior, you don't depend on spontaneity. You go and try to get a job with the government or with the private world by telling them, "I'm qualified. I depend on spontaneity." And if you stay there long enough trying to convince them, you might have someone put a white jacket on you. But if you go there saying, "I depend on rational perception and my rational tools, and I am also benefited by spontaneity," then they will accept you. It is because in that case your disposition is logic and reasoning and intelligent rational behavior. But you are telling them that you are benefited in your mechanism by the creative power of spontaneity also. And they will accept that.
So we never leave the baby life or the baby form of spontaneity in this kind of focus that we are having right now. That is always with us. In some religions it is said that if we lose our life, we have to come back into it by the way of the baby. But understand this, that the first gear and second gear is up here in the head. The third gear is out there. You have to be conscience of purpose. We could go on talking all day and all night, but for now understand that this religion stresses purpose. God said, "I..." He did not say "We." You will say, "God says 'We’ created man." No, for Allah says, "I..." He says "I" because there is a misconception on this matter in the world.
God will say "We," because it gives authority for everything as in Absolute Power of Authority. But in this instance, He does not say "We," He says "I." And it is because there is a great error in the world regarding this concern or this matter. Man thinks in many religions that God with the angels created man and did all of these things. It comes from Greek and other mythologies, where Zeus with the help of his children populates the world and everything. It says they populated the heavens and the earth as the family of gods. So that idea is there.
But Allah clears it up where they will say, "We created man in our own image and likeness." Allah says, "No, no, no. I created man for the purpose of My Worship." So what does all that tell us? What scholarly perception should we have regarding that saying of God's? It is this. That man must be guided mostly in his life by purpose. Again, that he be guided by purpose. That wisdom can be used in every kind of situation and circumstance.
When you go to get a job, brother and sister, be guided by purpose. If you are not guided by purpose, your emotions are going to come into play and will come into the picture. Eventually you will have done something stupid and will have lost your good job.
I have to make my own corrections now, because I see that people just like to publish my grammatical errors more than they publish my correct sayings. I'm not blaming this on the editor; it is somebody in your paper. And they have been in there all the time. They love to present me in a poor way and to embarrass me before my admirers. So if they didn't love to do this, they would never put a simple error of grammar in the paper in my name. They know it doesn't help me, and it doesn't help the spirit or the morale of the following to read that their leader who they respect as an intelligent and able leader is using bad language and grammar that really a good grade school student could correct. So if they had good intent, they would change that.
Now if they had any fear of changing it from me, they would at least feel obligated to reach me and say, "Brother Imam, this is an error in grammar. I know you don't want that to go like that. We are going to change it." And they know that I would say, 'Thank you." So the fact that it is done tells me something. Even as eloquent as the Congressman is on this program tonight, sometimes he makes an error. Now I am sure he wouldn't like it if his secretary published his error. I think she would be in a little trouble. Not only him, but the President of the United States and the best one will occasionally make an error.
So what about a man whose circumstances behind him trained him to make errors? I came up in a house where when I was a boy the common expression was "You is." So I had to overcome all of that. Also I haven't had enough time in any formal college situation to correct this. I have only taken about two or three courses and don't have a year in college. But now I want to explain something for my enemies that I am trying to win over to be my friends, because they are ignorant. Nobody would do these things to me, unless they are ignorant. And they don't know that I'm not going to be blamed more than them. The real chronic and comatose fools will take the bait and will be affected, like they want them to be by this. But the great majority of the common people will read the error and pass over it and will blame who? They will blame the paper!
These ones will say, "They don't care enough about our leader to even make proper and simple grammatical corrections." You can bet the wise are going to blame you. The intelligent and learned will never look at me. They will say, "A man with that much importance to those people, how can that paper print these simple grammatical errors in his name?" Now I consider myself a good C + student in the English language. And in most of the general junior colleges, I think I would get a B +. But I have to concentrate on it, and as I have said the experiences behind me have forced certain habits that are very strong. So when I get my spirit and everything worked up and after reaching a certain point, I am not giving that much concern to grammar. And since I haven't formed the habit of good grammar on a high enough level because of past experience, I will make simple grammatical mistakes.
However I do believe that someone adds to it, because you hear me here. You heard me last year. But what you read is not quite what you hear. It is not all the time, but it happens sometimes. They do a caricature of me that is false; a caricature is supposed to be true. If I have a big mouth, the caricature should make it big and exaggerated. That would be true and a true caricature. But if 1 don't have a big mouth at all, and they give me a big mouth, then it is a false caricature. And they do a false caricature on me most of the time. They have been doing it ever since I came into office.
So I have love for God and a love for religion, and they tried to project me in the early years of my leadership as some kind of spiritualist. A spiritualist who had no concern other than to get people to live under the influences of church hymns and angel singing. They tried to say to the old following that "this man has nothing to offer you. You wanted money and good homes. This man is all about heavenly interest. He has nothing to do with this earth." That is what they tried to do and were successful in projecting me in that way to many people. But we are still here, and we are going in the direction that Allah wants Muslims to go. We are going in the direction that Allah wants human beings to go.
Let me again speak about these laws that are operating as we find the context for our life. Also we have to understand that man's potential is the greatest determinant in his life. What is a determinant? It is the only thing operating to decide your development over the period of your life. And that is what I mean by that statement on the potential. When God says He created man, it is important to understand that as it is referring to this physical or biological body, it refers more to the potential. Because the potential is operating in the life to eventually overcome all the influences and all the interferences and make you wise to the form that God intends for you. He brings you to your destiny by the power of your potential. "He created and then He gave balance." He created first and then brought about equality and balance and settlement. "Then He excited the potential and brought about the disciplines."
So we have two stages for the potential. The potential first comes by spontaneity. And as it concerns spontaneity in the life of man, we are all equal. The white man is not capable of any I more spontaneity than the black man. In fact, when you are talking about race, no man is superior in any way more than the other. Circumstances will decide who is superior and who is not. But I am talking about this potential and spontaneity now in man. If you are learned or stupid, of the poor class or of the rich class, for it does not make any difference, you have been given a potential that is equal to everybody else’s. Everybody is given the same potential, that is the same potential for righteousness and the same potential for sin. It is the same potential for industry; all of us have the same potential.
Now we hear this, but how many of us really give serious thought to it and say, "I believe that." If you give serious thought to it and come to believe in it strongly, your life is going to be better, if you just would believe in that. That Allah gave me a productive nucleus in my atom that makes me equal in potential. Do you know what potential is?
Potential is power! Potential is a situation for future productivity. The future productivity is in the potential. The power to be expressed is in the potential. That is what potential is.
Allah says that He gave to all of us the same potential. If you will believe that and accept that, how can you be intimidated by any society? Be it white, black, yellow or any society, how can you get intimidated? When I have the same muscles you have and the same ability that you have, how can you intimidate me? If you accept that you have the same potential that everybody else has, then how can you be intimidated? You may be setback because of circumstance's, but you should not be intimidated. Tomorrow should be better than today. The next day should be better than that day. That is if you really believe in that.
The second life is possible for man, because Allah has created your potential and nothing can destroy it. That potential is the potential for the whole of your life and not just for intellectual accomplishments. It is for moral strength and moral accomplishments and everything is in the potential. It is a devotional potential. It is talking about the devotional nucleus and fuel for life. The potential is in that for your devotional life. Man's life by definition is more a devotional life than it is any other kind of life. That is why Allah says the purpose of his life is His worship.
Worship is a devotion. Obedience to Allah is a devotion. And as we said earlier, worship and devotion includes every act of man. When you go and operate a good business, and you operate a good business that is intelligent and respects your customers and shows ingenuity and foresight and you are advancing and your business is growing and is not offensive nor hurting anyone but is helping people, then you are serving Allah. That is a great service to Allah. I am speaking pure religion and pure Al-Islam.
We are not all about business. Prophet Muhammad says the believer is one that what ever he does, he seeks to perfect it. He did not say that if he prays, he seeks to make a perfect prayer. He said what ever he does, he seeks to perfect it. So how are we going to be serving this religion properly as Imams or as preachers, if we don't bring that knowledge and understanding to our audience. That Allah intends for us to devote ourselves to what ever is needed in the life of the individual and the society.
The Prophet said, peace be upon him, the best of you is the one who best benefits man, that is the people, the society and everyone. That is one of his sayings. So we have to aim for utility, and not just utility in prayer. That is a devotion to save the life. It saves us from indecency and bad deeds and bad behavior. It saves us from leaving the path of God. That is prayer. We have to stay constantly in prayer and turn to Allah daily in prayer for five times a day. And if we miss a prayer, we should feel that we neglected something. Don't say, "Oh, it is not practical for me to pray five times a day in America and in this west." Allah did not give us that kind of excuse. If it is not easy to do it now, then we pray for the day that it will be easy to do. And we are not satisfied with circumstances that make it difficult for us to do.
We will work to bring about a situation in the city and in the neighborhood and in the town and in the house where it will be easy to do it. That should be the spirit. Don't excuse yourself from it. If you are not doing it, don't think that I'm going to be the one to say, That isn't a good Muslim. He doesn't pray five times a day." I will never be the one to do that. But I don't like it if any of us excuse ourselves from the obligation by saying it is not practical to do that in America. What ever Allah has ordered for us, we will work forward towards it. If we can't do it today, we look forward to tomorrow or some day in the future. And we will change circumstances, so that we will be able to do it. "In-na ma'aal-'usre yus-raa." Surely with difficulty comes ease.
So the emphasis is on "future" in the time progression. Our emphasis in the time progression relative to our responsibility in life, there the emphasis is on future. And regarding our potential the emphasis is on youthful productive work. It is on service. Be active in a youthful and productive way. That is the life that best dignifies the human person. And if you do it with good intent, you are worshipping Allah. Prayer is formal and prayer is the whole life of the believer. When you do that well, that is prayer also. And your prayers go up to God.
I will conclude here, since we have brought it right back to where we started. That worship is for God and the total life is for him. Our religion is comprehensive. It includes everything required or desired in the life of man and society. And it has its emphasis, and I hope we have said something about those emphasis today that will be useful.