By The Honorable W.D. Muhammad Chief Minister of The Nation Of Islam
In introducing this column, "Capitalistic Communism," we first want to make it very clear that this is an Islamic column. The language that will appear in the articles will be the language of scripture. It is necessary to give a clear description of religion since this column will be a religious column.
Religion means to compensate or to give what is due, to reform, to realign and to get back in line. It seeks to develop proper or sound morals and the human spirit. Religion points the way to the Creator, Allah (God), and to heaven (the hereafter), which is to the divinely ordained life.
It has been said that the aim or the object in the religion of the human being is no different from the aim of the human being in the worldly life. It has also been said that happiness is the aim or the object in life and that we all are seeking and struggling for happiness. The physical body and the mind may indeed be seeking happiness, but who can give a definition for "happiness?" One man's happiness may not necessarily be another man's happiness, a child's happiness may not necessarily be an adult's happiness, and a man in one field may not have the same happiness as the man in another field. Therefore, if we see religion as a path that takes us to happiness and stop there, we will all remain confused.
Religion is definitely a path that moves toward an object (proper worship of God), but it is a path that leads us to more than one object. Religion is a path of development that evolves from one state to another stage. The object of that path is God and the ideal life that is naturally ordained by the Creator for the human being. But this path towards the proper worship of Almighty God is more a path of growth than it is a path of happiness. This growth, which involves self - awareness, self - knowledge, self -cultivation, sacrifice and struggle, seeks fulfillment at every point in the path. In religion, we are mainly interested in birth, growth and fulfillment.
To introduce this column and the articles that will follow, we have decided to speak from a part of the Bible that is called "The Tower of Babel." (See also, "The Tower of Babel," by W.D. Muhammad, Bilalian News, Volume 15, Number 9, November 7, 1975.) "Babel" means the gate or the door of God. The Bible tells us that, in ancient time, men perceived building a great tower of Babel. They wanted to reach the very heavens and they wanted to climb up to God. The age to which the Bible seems to refer is the age of ancient Babylon. In the history of ancient Babylon, we find that the Babylonians did build physical towers that reaches high into the sky. The knowledge of the physical tower (skyscrapers) of ancient times is accepted to be the subject matter in the Bible.
The truth is that the Bible is using the building of high physical towers by the proud men of ancient civilizations to get religious people to see that there is another kind of building up of towers. It was not a tower of bricks or stones, but it was a tower of philosophies or ideologies. The Bible is telling us that man would discover one philosophy, and then he would develop another philosophy upon the first philosophy. After that, he would develop another philosophy upon the newly built philosophy, and so forth until he had built a tower of philosophies. Man, in his philosophical studies, is always trying to arrive at the ultimate truth. For the many people who follow this path selfishly, the "ultimate truth" is legal approval for the kind of life that they want to enforce on the society. Proper religion, distinguishing itself from that kind of path, criticizes and condemns the building of philosophies and ideologies to arrive at the ultimate truth. It tells the consequences of this kind of development of building block upon block, philosophy upon philosophy, and ideology upon ideology. The Bible tells us that the doom of this kind of building is confusion: "Their tongues were confused."
Today we live in a world that is a "Tower of Babel." The world has become so congested that, not only are tribes pushed together in one place, but nations are pushed together in one place and many tongues, many philosophies, many ideologies, and many religious concepts are pushed together in one place. The Western world has become one place in which everybody has been pushed together and everything has been confused. The mind (the mentality) and the human spirit of the West are struggling like a child caught in the rush of heavy traffic, but the West is struggling in the heavy traffic of philosophies, ideologies and religious concepts. On the surface, these philosophies appear to be conflicting ideas or enemy religious concepts. All of these things are part of the atmosphere in the West, especially in America, which is the traffic of confusion. It is the "Tower of Babel" that has caused the religious man to pick up the language and the delivery of the politician to reach spiritual people, or to keep himself in the pulpit.
Religion certainly has a special knowledge to offer, but it is just that - a special knowledge, a certain knowledge. There is no need for divine revelation for the development of ordinary knowledge. Religion is certainly natural knowledge, which is knowledge that is naturally developed. It is knowledge that naturally comes to the individual when he reaches a certain point in the path of divine evolution. But this religion is not just any kind of knowledge, it is a certain knowledge that has its own special language. The special language makes it a peculiar language among the many languages of the world. Because of this special or certain kind of knowledge, the people that identify with and live by that knowledge are called, in the Bible, "a peculiar people." God says that He has made His people a peculiar people, a people that stand out among other people.
We have misunderstood the religious development, or the path to God. We have taken it to be something separate from the natural path of human development, when, in fact, it is the purest path of human development in the sense of natural development or natural design.
Finally, in introducing this new column, "Capitalistic Communism," we refer to the outstanding heroes in the history of religion - Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Prophet Muhammad of Arabia (peace be upon all of them). When we look at these heroic religious figures called prophets, messengers and messiahs, we see something that is more important than the individual. We see something that is more important than the description of a particular service to which we give the name "prophet," "messenger" or "messiah." We see an unfolding (a natural, historical development) of the human spirit, the human will or whatever we may call that real human substance, which is the core of the person himself.
When we see Abraham being born out of his father's society and beginning his life in the open world, we see him moving towards the true God, moving towards righteousness and moving en the power of faith. Then we see Moses, the civilizer, ordering and cleaning the society. We see him enabling the people to distinguish between the pure and the impure, between right and wrong, between filth and cleanliness and between right and wrong, between life and death. We see the building up of civilization under Moses and we see the establishment of the basic things that civilization requires. In Jesus, we see the building up of something that is within — the spirit of humanity, the spirit of charity and togetherness. Then, in Prophet Muhammad, we see the organizing of the two aspects of human life because we see the proper development of civilization and we see the proper development of human spirit.
In this column, we hope to shine the light of truth on the real questions for human beings in the struggle for survival and in the struggle for the proper and the ideal life.