The Best of Benefits: A Virtuous Woman
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Note: The following are excerpts from lectures given by Imam W. Deen Mohammed on two occasions. The major part of these excerpts are from-his Public Address in Dayton, Ohio on September 29, 1991. A smaller part is from his Public Address in Birmingham, Alabama on February 23, 1992.)
A Virtuous Woman
This is a report of what the Prophet said, the prayers and the peace be on him: "The world is a reward (a grant). And the best of its benefits is a virtuous woman."
Now of all that we can see as benefits in this world — cars and the business, power of wealth, dining on the dish of one's choice do not equal a gift of a virtuous woman.
That tells us that we should value a believing sister who wants to be decent. We should value her over everything else that we have in the world of the worldly things. We are talking about enjoying her as a companion (wife). Whatever this religion says, the excellence of nature will support.
Also, the Prophet says, the prayers and the peace be on him, "Paradise lies at the feet of the mother." Here, the Prophet has made Paradise something that we can get through the mothers. If he had said Paradise lies at Route 65. wouldn't we start looking for it?
"Paradise lies at the foot of the mother," and so a way for men to reach Paradise is a "virtuous woman." Support her, respect her, love her, value her, and invest in her. This is not me; this the religion.
We need a better appreciation for our women - for women, period. Mother is more special than just woman. Wife is more special than just woman. We need a better appreciation for woman, period. We must understand, brothers "woman" is highly regarded, highly respected in this religion. She is respected for having the same or equal intellect. She has equal intellectual potential, equal brains. In this religion she has equal spirit, equal soul, equal morality.
That does not mean it will always turn out that way. That is because God has assigned to us different roles in society. Because of the different role he will become superior to her in certain respects. She will become superior to him in other respects. But that inequality we see in the order of society docs not mean men and women are not equal.
Home Is The First Business
Sisters, when you run your house, don't you know you are running a business? If it is an apartment, you are running a business. If you have children and a husband, you are running a business. If you have no one but yourself, you arc running a business. A home is a business. Of everything in the world, the home is the first.
You have health care and hospitals, but the first health care center was home. The first store was home. The first lab or science department was home. Everything came out of the home. The first government was home. The first governmental order was man's and woman's home. Home was the first government. The first school was home. The first bank was home. The first transportation center was home. The cabs and buses started out from home. Sisters, if you can run a home well, then the society does not have to worry. If we get enough mothers running homes well, we do not have to worry about the state of society. The homes get the human beings first.
We Can Save Society
If you sisters can get control of the home, we can save society. We have to have business sense. Sisters, together it is your husband's money or your personal money or both your moneys or the children's money or the welfare money; don't take that money lightly. Make yourself a good business person for your moneys and for your family. Don't go shopping with your tongue or with your nose or with your eyes. Shop with your knowledge of what your home budget can stand.
I see another reason why the Prophet said "Paradise lies at the foot of the mother." If our women manage home properly, man, I am telling you only God would stop me from making sajda at their feet. 1 know Allah ordered us not to make sajda for any but Him. Sister, I would be happy to make sajda at your feet if God would allow it, if you managed your home. It (our success at home) means salvation for streets and the whole of society.
Our nature to obey nature — supported authority is connected with faith. We cannot have that kind of obedience unless we have strong faith.
Allah created us and put a prior condition in us. Trust is a destiny-directed condition. Everything is supported by faith and trust. No matter how much we learn in this religion, we have to remain Muslims because of faith — not because of knowledge or some kind of revelation that we got. We remain Muslim because of faith. The greatest scholar in this religion has to remain Muslim because of faith, not because of his knowledge. It is a prior condition that must stay with us —faith.
The society must encourage trust between the members of the society. Faith in the Islamic language also means "trust". The same world (term) that we get faith from, we also get the word trust. It is not a different word; it is the same word. Faith and trust in our religion are the same, it only depends on how the term appears in context or in a group of words. We cannot fair well at home without trust in that house, without faith in that house.
Allah wants us to have faith in Him. Such faith is natural for us. Allah has created us, and it is natural for His creation to trust Him. Just as it is natural for a mother's child or infant to trust her.
The infant will come into the world from its mother trusting its mother. Right away, ii clings to its mother and right away learns. "This is my mother, this is my security." Now. I don't think it says, "This is momma", even in its heart. It has to learn that language from us.
But it knows that momma is its security. It clings to momma. It learns or it comes to know that it will be fed by momma. It knows that it will be protected and cleaned when needed by momma. Allah has put it in the child to trust the momma by nature.
We need a climate for healthy homes, for healthy Muslim homes. Qur'an sets model for Muslims: The Muslims in the world are not in the best shape. That is because as Allah says, "He rotates the Rule." (Qur'an) Although Muslims are Allah's (God's) people, we are not always going to be the rulers. Allah "rotates the rule" to try people, to have other people prove their merits.
How do we know how other people will treat Muslims, if they never get the chance to be in the superior position? How do we know how we will treat other people, if we never rise to the superior position? There is a lot of wisdom in this: "Allah rotates the rule as He pleases." See the Qur'an.
The Christian West colonized Africa and dominated \most of the Muslim world. And they left their influences over the Muslims and altered the life of the Muslims. Over zealous and greedy for glory and power, our enemies among the Christians hoped that the Muslims would never find true Islamic life again. They (oppressive Christian West) dominated Muslim lands for centuries. Therefore, it is small wonder that Muslim lands are weak.
We have been oppressed. The West oppressed Muslim lands in Africa, in the Middle East, in Europe, in Asia. Blame yourself for not wanting to find the truth, for not searching the Qur'an. for not searching the history of our Prophet. Let us blame only ourselves. Don't blame our failures on the state of the Muslims in the world.
Democracy is catching on now like a wild fire in Europe. In Russia there is Glasnost, openness. Democracy is sweeping the world.
As Muslims, we must understand that the West was oppressing itself. The Christian West was oppressing itself and denying women the respect they are due by nature and from God. Western powers were refusing to give females the opportunity to be educated. Some Christian sects were saying women did not have souls, that only the male had a soul.
The West was oppressing not only us, they were enslaving their own people before they enslaved us. Their workers were treated like a slave market. Some of you scholars, if you have not done it, make it your business to study the history of the progress of labor in the history of the West. Laborers used to be treated like beasts. Don't think that they brought the Africans over here from Africa and that began their mistreatment of human beings.
History records the treatment of the English towards Irish, whom the English dominated. The English disrespected the Irish male. They (the English) thought themselves to be a superior breed over their Irish brother of the same color.
We are hearing all the talk now about freedom and democracy. Muslims, we have to stay separate from this wave in Western democracy that the West is all excited about. We want a better democracy. The better is in the Qur'an. It is demonstrated in the life of Muhammed, the Prophet, the prayers and the peace be upon him.
While we are excited, let us go the Qur'an. From there let us get the knowledge and insight to come up with the right idea for freedom and democracy. Because it was the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet that lit the torch of freedom for the West and revived them to accept civilization and democracy. Now what they have is their brand of it, which does not conform exactly to what Allah wants.
In connection with those statements, I also want to say in my conclusion: Be aware of the hypocrisy, too. I love this country and its freedom, but also be aware of the hypocrisy in the West, especially in America. We will not find the same hardly anywhere in the Western world. America is the place for this "experimental freedom, experimental democracy."
This is an experimental democracy and experimental freedom, and that is saying America has a very unique and strange form of freedom and democracy. On the one side it is beautiful, great and most attractive. But on the other side it is frightening because this idea of freedom we have in America allows freedom to everything.
There is freedom to the person who wants to indulge in an experience of immorality or perversion. If a person wants to explore the possibilities for perverted sex, he has the freedom to explore those possibilities and to come up with something so strange and so way out that all conscious people will feel like jumping off the world.
It will have all of us saying, "Stop the world and let us jump off." We have to understand that, although our religion promotes freedom and insists upon freedom.
"There's no compulsory in religion, no forcing people to be Muslim, no forcing people to pray." We must, however, respect all that is due respect.
Islam respects the privacy of the home. It respects the privacy of a society. Do you think the Prophet would send his disciples or his followers to Rome to convert the Pope? He didn't do that.
Allah (God) says, "If He had wanted you all to be one community. He would have made you one community." Some people will be Christian and some people will be Jew and some will be something else. As long as they were sincere in their civilized religion, the Prophet did not disturb them.
You must understand that right next door to Arabia is Ethiopia. Ethiopia is so close that the Prophet's followers went to Ethiopia during their persecution. They went to Ethiopia to seek political asylum, protection. That country is still Christian. The Prophet's army was mighty enough to go and dominate Ethiopia, but he did not do that.
The West is thinking now that America is the model of democracy for the whole world, even for Muslims. No nation, no people will be a model for us. Allah says, "You are the best people raised up and evolved for the good of all mankind."