Inspiration And Hope For Humanity: Part 5
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.)
We need a healthy, sensible, and real appreciation for our Creator Whom we call Allah. We need to trust what made the universe and our life possible for us. We call thai Allah. You who are not Muslims use another name. However, we all need to trust that. Faith, trust, belief, such is the condition for other supports. Trusting Allah prepares one to be sensitive to the need to trust other relations that are deserving of trust: like a wife or husband, or mother or father, or guardian or neighbor.
This is why the principles of faith begin with faith in Allah. But the Arabic word for faith, "iman," also means trust. These two meanings are together in the Qur'anic language. From the same word we get faith and trust. From the same word we get faith, trust, and belief. From the same word we also get safety. From the same word in its root meaning we get security. Now you begin to see the bigger context. There is a bigger circle or picture coming.
Faith in Allah is the condition for the whole of the circle. Society should have trust and faith between its necessary members, between its necessary units. It is also the same for the orderly working of your own individual self. For the necessary workings of the parts in you there must be faith in Allah to make the whole work well.
Sure, some of you will say, "We don't have to have that. Look at what the communist world did without faith in God." Yes, and look at what they are doing now because of the failures of that system. They are doing a lot of soul-searching now, and it didn't take a thousand years. Their philosophical language is changing. Soon they might sound like the Founding Fathers of the West. So let's not be caught napping. We pay for disrespecting Allah. Allah says in the Holy Book (Qur'an), "As long as they stay with Me, I stay with them. But when they break from Me and turn away, I turn away from them."
I understand Allah is saying that loss of faith in Allah is something caused by us. Once a man of African origin but who was actually from Saudi Arabia told me, "For everything we lose, there is something to compensate it..." And that is good to know. When I was a young man, I could have done better had someone told me that over and over again. I lost a pretty girl and thought it was over for me. I thought I might die. I needed someone to tell me, "for everything you lose, there is something to compensate for it." This old man talking to me said, "...except when you lose Allah. There is nothing to compensate that loss."
I would like to give examples that would explain the consequences of turning our backs, losing our faith and trust in Allah. The turn of events in our individual life and in the history of societies can serve to prove that no other factor stands out as an answer for the loss of faith in the vital units of life and society more than the factor seen in the loss of faith in Allah.
Churches have been turned into little places to support pimps and demagogues who will just say whatever a weak congregation wants them to say so that they will keep getting money. They will say whatever is necessary to stay popular. Now 1 am not saying that we don't have fine churches in America. Chicago still has some very fine churches and some very fine preachers. But this is true for the lot of the" churches in America or in Chicago. To preach for money is unrighteous. To preach to tear down another preacher in the interest of personal profit (gain) is unrighteous.
You can tell the state of people just by turning on the radio and listening to the passions and emotions of religious broadcasts. If you want to see what the state of a people is in their town, turn on the radio and note the highs and lows. When I turn on typical radio and listen to its popular music and to its popular preachers, I have to say, "We are still on State Street next to taverns and junkyards in 1989."
Out of respect for our intelligence I have invited you over and over again to come to AI-Islam. I have associated with Christian leaders and Jewish leaders. I felt a strong common bond with them, the common bond of real faith in Allah. And I felt a common bond of human decency. We share the bond of faith in our Creator and the bond of faith in human decency.
We have to identify our own values. We are putting too much value on things that are very cheap. We are taking all the value off of those things that are very dear and precious to human life. And I repeat, the most important thing is faith. Faith in Allah is what accounts for a society having an immune system. When society loses true faith, it loses also its immune system and becomes a failure and a subject open to all diseases.
Thank you very much. We hope to talk to you again very soon at another occasion. We pray to Allah that He forgives us all our faults and sins and that Allah guides us to the right way. Amin. As-Salaam-Alaikum.