The Religious Evolution of the Human Society
Imam W. D. Muhammad
The following article is from excerpts of a Jumah Prayer that was delivered by Emam W.D. Muhammad on April 15,1977.
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), The Gracious, The Compassionate.
Dear beloved people, Muslims, Brothers and Sisters— As -Salaam -Alaikum. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord, the Sustainer, of all the worlds. May His peace and His blessings forever be upon His slave servant and His messenger, Muhammad, forever. Peace and blessings upon his descendants, upon his companions, upon the followers and the righteous -all of them.
For this khutbah I would like to speak on the spiritual or religious evolution of the human society. I begin with the verse from the Quran which says that Allah, Most High, has created us from a weak, weak state. Looking back at our beginning in the wombs of our mothers and in the homes of our parents, we know that we have come from a weak state. We come here physically weak, we come here mentally weak, and we come here without moral direction. Out of the physical weakness Allah grows us up into strength and from no moral direction Allah blesses us with moral direction. The Quran continues by saying that Allah, the Most High, brings you after strength to weakness, the old age.
The Greatest Machinery
We think of ourselves as human beings. But without the revelation of Almighty
God to keep our minds alert to our development (to the stages from which we have been raised), we forget the true picture and nature of ourselves. The real problem in society today is that we as human beings do not really give as much thought to exactly what we are as much as to who we are. I say that I am Wallace D. Muhammad and you say that you are Bro. John, Bro. Yahya, or Sister Maryum, but we are much more than just names. We are human beings. Allah tells us in the Quran and also the Bible tells us that He has created the human intelligence, the human being.
If we forget our creation, then we forget ourselves. We are created intelligent human beings. That's what separates us from the rest of the creation. If we don't remember ourselves as intelligent human beings, then we forget our creation. We forget to know exactly what we are and how we should be cared for. A man who drives a 1977 Cadillac car, but in his mind he thinks he is driving a 1967 Chevrolet, how is he going to care for that 1977 Cadillac? So we have to keep in our minds exactly what we are driving. We have in our possession a fine, wonderful machinery. In fact, it is the greatest machinery that Allah has created. He has created us in the best of form and in the best of mold and has guided us to the highest way of life.
In The Best Of Molds
The animals have no way of life that comes near to the higher plane of life that human beings live on. But at the same time, Allah says that He also reduces us 'to the level" of the lowest of the low. If we forget exactly what we are, what we are made of, exactly what this material is, and what this machinery is — then our care for it begins to be lacking. It begins to deteriorate our appreciation for ourselves. But we should realize all the time what Allah has said. No one has said anything about us to come near to equaling what Allah has said about us.
Science calls us "homo-sapien," the thinking creature or thinking man. Science tells us many wonderful things about the human body. It tells us that it is the most marvelous of all machines in nature, that it cannot be duplicated, and that nothing is like it. But they have not told us what Almighty God has told us. God has said that we are made in the best of molds and that He has raised us above the other creation. He has charged us with not only the care of ourselves, but with the care of the creation all about us.
Respect For Everything
Long before the modern world took an interest in preserving animal life and respecting vegetation, trees, etc., Allah guided Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to teach respect to the people. He taught them to not only respect themselves, but to respect Allah's creation and Allah's creatures. Allah told Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to not conduct wars without a concern for trees, for domestic animals. Allah also told him to mistreat no domestic animal, not to slaughter the domestic animals of the people when he was warring with the people, and not to damage the trees.
Look how man is now concerned about the bald-headed eagle, about the deer, about the trees, etc. Long ago, better than 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was guided to teach this respect. Before Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and the righteous servants of God), God had guided others to teach people respect, not only for themselves, but respect for God's creatures, respect for the human life, respect for the animal life, respect for the trees, respect for the earth. In Islam, a Muslim must have respect for everything. It is the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the teachings of Islam that a Muslim must have respect for everything because everything has been created by Allah. He has not created anything that we should not respect.
The Power Is In Our Hands
We are not necessarily better than the things that are in our environment. We are only better than the things in our environment when we live on the high level that God created us for. God has said that we are capable and He has made us in such a form that we have the power in our hands to live on any level we want. If we choose to, we can live on the level of a vulture, a hyena, a dog, a rat, a snake, anything. We can live on the level of plain filth. We do not even have to live on an animal level. We can live beneath an animal. We can live on the level of just plain dirt, filth.
Believe me, we can be alive as a flesh germ, but we can be dead as a human being and dead as an animal. Do yon know animals show concern for each other? Animals don't attack their own species to kill them. They attack them only to defend themselves. They have no other nature to attack their own species to kill their own species. When they fight each other, they are not fighting each other to kill each other. They are fighting each other just to defend themselves from each other. Sometimes they get killed, but there is never the intention of the animal to kill a member of his own species. His nature is to just walk away. Gorillas and many animals fight and when they see one get the better of another, they turn and walk away. The other one won't pursue him and kill him. He forgets because that's the end of it.
But the human being kills. If that's not enough, he kills his own species. Not chicken and beef, but he kills his own flesh, a member of his own human family. We are not saying that the human being should be a passive creature, never shedding blood, but be should not let this nature take over his intelligence. He should not let the aggressive instincts and aggressive emotions take over his intelligence and make him just a senseless creature moving just by the forces of emotionalism and violent aggressions.
We Are Going To Be Tested
We as human beings have a conscience, an intelligence. We can choose the right way or we can take up the wrong way. We can follow light or we can fall in love with darkness. Whatever we want to do, we can do it. We have that freedom. Isn't that a very serious thing to think about? I have the freedom to give myself to the forces of destruction or to give myself to the forces of intelligence. I have that freedom. That's a heavy responsibility. We are going to be tested. If not today, tomorrow. We are going to be tested.
Some disorder or misery is going to come into your life and you are going to be tested. Your strength to hold yourself up in the dignified way that God wants you to hold yourself up is going to be tested. If you are not careful, if you don't remember that Allah made you on a high plane to live on a nigh plane, and if you don't remember that Allah is the source of strength for you when you can't even manage your own affairs — you are going to be overcome by a test.
Remember The Source Of Your Strength
See how wonderful it is that God makes us and He makes us weak. What can that baby boast about when he comes from his mother? Nothing! Who can he disobey? It's not in his nature or in his power to disobey anybody. Who can he challenge? He cannot challenge anyone. What can he say new to us? Nothing! His cry is the same cry that we heard from the baby before. It sounds the same. He has to learn something from us. God has to grow him up. When he gets up big and thinks be knows everything, he is ready for argument—"Prove that to me. Why do I have to believe that?"
We never think to ask ourselves all of these questions. When we say, "Why do I have to believe that?" we are asking for an answer from the person we are talking to. Why do we ask ourselves, "Why do I have to believe that? Why do I have to listen to somebody else?" We are made weak, and then God gives us strength and we grow on strength. Remember where you got that strength from because you are going to be weak again.
The Higher Life
The Holy Quran says that Allah brings us from a weak state into strength and then again from strength into weakness and old age. If we are lucky to live around here, we are not going to be able to push people around. We are going to get so old and weak that we are not going to be able to push ourselves around. We will have to have somebody else to push around. We will have to say, "Oh, give me a push, son. Give me a pull, daughter." We have to think about these things. As much as we boast of our strength, all of it is going to dwindle. Likewise, our intelligence.
If we stay around here long enough, we are going to begin to think slow. We are going to begin to be absent -minded. Some people stay bright and alert for a long time, but let them stay around here long enough and they begin to slow down. So Allah slows us down. He is telling us in the Quran that here is a sign for us. He does not want you to stay in the flesh. He makes you strong in the flesh and then He pulls you down in the flesh so that you can't boast of your fleshly strength.
A young man who has mighty muscles walks out in the street in the tight t -shirt showing his muscles. After a while he begins to get old and he tries to hide. He has a cap on and he is afraid to take it off because he does not want anybody to see that his head is bald. Or if it is not that, his teeth are rotten out and he cannot smile. He is afraid to smile like he used to. He used to smile real big to charm the ladies and everybody. After awhile Allah decays his mouth and he can't even smile real big. He has to let go of this.
Allah is telling us to let go of this man. I want you to go on up higher to something better than this. So He weakens as in the physical form to make us strong in the higher form. The Quran tells us not to hold on to this physical form, but to step into something better and a higher life. It is a life that offers you more in the future. This physical life is temporary life.
The Strength That Commands Respect
Allah creates whatever He wishes to create. He creates what He wants, not what you want. Suppose we could order what we want. We would have ordered temporary things for ourselves. But it is not us who designed this creation. It is not us who makes the order. Allah has designed and Allah has ordered. He has created what He wants and what He wants is the best for all of His creatures. If we had created what we wanted for ourselves, we would have created just the flesh — fleshly appetites and maybe intelligence. But the intelligence would have been a selfish kind of intelligence — boastful and proud. But look bow Allah creates in the best way. He brings us from stage to stage. He doesn't want us regressing.
We'll get weak again, but we are not to go back into a baby life. We don't have to go back into a baby life. Your weakness doesn't have to be really your weakness. You may say, "When I get old, my body is going to be weak. I am not going to be able to impress the ladies. I am not going to be as alert mentally. You tell me that I don't have to be weak." You don't have to be weak. Certainly, your body is going to go down eventually if you stay around here long enough. Your intelligence won't be as quick and your mind won't be as quick and as sharp. But if you come from flesh into intelligence, even though your body is physically weak and your mind is not as sharp any more, you will be strong. You will be a man who is strong in his belief in Almighty Clod, Allah. Praise be to Him above all things. He is perfect.
If a man is devoted to his God, if a man .s devoted to doing good and to obeying his God, no matter how old he gets, no matter how weak he gets physically, no matter how slow his mind gets — he will have strength and he will command respect. I've seen some men who walked trembling because they were so old and weak. When they step their legs would tremble a bit. They had to make their steps with a shaking, jerky movement like a little baby trying to learn how to walk. I've seen them respond slowly to what you ask them. But I have seen those men having a moral strength, a spiritual strength, and devotion to Allah and truth that commanded my respect. Though he was trembling and shaking physically and responding slowly mentally, he commanded my respect and I saw strength and not weakness. Allah-u Akbar.
From Flesh To Spirit
Dear beloved people, when we look at the scripture, especially the Bible, we are offered a picture of the step by step evolution or progress of religious society. We see the development of the human life from flesh to spirit. That flesh, when it comes, is looking for a higher life. It wants to search its parents and the grownups in the society because it knows that its life is not in itself, but in the 'elders, in the parents. That little young baby is searching his parents and searching the big people in the society looking for the life that he knows that is his. He knows that baby life is not his. He knows that flesh life is not his. He is looking for the life that is his. So he follows the big ones and he follows the old ones until he gets his life. When he gets his life, then he is still under the flesh and now he has to find something else.
Finally he realizes that there is a spirit that moves in him — a spirit of fear, a spirit of love, a spirit of sentiments. He becomes dominated by spiritual forces after being born and raised up as a flesh being. After he becomes a creature dominated by spiritual forces (strong love, strong fear, strong hatred) he is eventually brought to question himself and the things that are affecting his life. He begins to suspect that there is something even above this, so he searches and searches looking for something above this.
He gets an education from school and becomes bright, but still the spiritual forces are dominating him. He wants to be the brightest boy in school or he wants to be the most learned man in the society, but he has to fight these spiritual forces. One is pulling him one way and another is pulling him the other way. So he is being pulled and pushed by the spiritual forces. He needs to come into a higher life. If he takes on a reverence and respect for Allah above all things, another force comes into his life and begins to dominate him. It is not the force of love for the teenage girl, not the force of love to be
rich, or the force of love to be the smartest man on earth. A new force comes into him, the force of love for Allah and for pleasing Allah. He loves Allah and he loves to please Allah. This force comes into him and a new spirit begins to dominate his life, not the old spirit.
The old spirit was the forces of flesh, the forces of darkness, the forces of his elementary life. Even intelligence, even academic strength and academic knowledge, could not save him from the forces of his elementary life. His girlfriend could make him forget every degree that he ever achieved in college. His girl friend could make him walk away from his business that made him millions of dollars and he will become a wine head on Skid Row. Nothing he found on the elementary level, even with education or even with high science, gave him the power and the strength to stand up against the forces of the elementary life until Allah entered his life and he gave himself to Allah. Then a new spirit came into him, a spirit of love and obedience and a desire to please his Maker. He began to season and mature and he finally realized that all these things that he used to admire and look up to are really beneath him. Allah-u-Akbar.
Thank you for honoring us with your time to read these few words.
Your brother in service to Allah,