On Moral Consciousness: Part 2
Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Feb. 17, 1980 Sunday address at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Chicago, III—Continued from last week.)
Now, dear beloved Muslims, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, himself, during the late years of his mission, began to talk to us of Allah, so that we would understand that he wasn't talking about Allah that comes as a human being, and goes and comes. He began to talk about Allah, so that we would know he was talking about the Almighty, Eternal God. In fact, he started using the word "God" a lot, because he knew we were in the habit of seeing "Allah" as a man.
So he would use the word "God" a lot in the late years, the last five years of his leadership. He would say, "God promised me this, God this, God that." This was his late practice. In fact, at one time the word "God" was almost taboo. You had to say "Allah." But during the last year of his life, he began to use the term God to let his community know, now, something is for a purpose, but here is the reality.
And I'm thankful to Allah, because I was always close to my father and close to my mother. And that was because they made me feel special, and they held me close to them. So I always felt very close to them, and it hurt me to see myself differ with them.
I guess any child would hate to differ with his parents. But I believe if it wasn't for them putting so much, investing so much promise in me, maybe I wouldn't have felt so terrible.
You know, you can be a son to your father and mother and you don't have to have their faith. Families don't have the same faith all the time; they have different faiths. One member will be a member of one faith, and another member a member of another faith — they still can go along together.
Even if you're told not to come around' anymore, like the Nation of Islam used to do under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And like some of the holiness people do — when you break with them, you're broke, man! You are out of it, you know — no more contact, no more socializing, don't come around the house anymore. You don't belong to this family — don't want to see you. Well that happens. But it doesn't necesarily have to happen. You can go on being intelligent and showing appreciation and love each other as family members.
But with us, we were one of those very strict groups of people. Once you differed, that was it; wiped their hands—go! You go your way; we go our way! That's the way it was.
And I hated those circumstances that brought me to differ with my father. I don't say with my mother, because my mother wasn't the leader. I differed with my father— my mother was a follower, just like everybody else. So when I say that my father was beginning to approve the direction that I was going in, that was the happiest day in my life. That was the happiest thing that ever happened to me in my life, because there was just a great burden lifted from me.
I said to myself, "Well, I don't have to worry about anybody now!" And I worried about people, because I knew people didn't know me and I knew them. I was one of them. I recited English Lesson No. 1, the 14 questions and answers, everything, you know. I knew everything and I came up just like them; I marched—left-face, right-face, about-face, and everything just like they did. I knew them, but they didn't know me. And it hurt me, because they didn't know me.
They would say, "Oh, he's going against us." I would say to myself, "I'm going for them, and they think I'm going against them."
My father said to me one day, "Son" — I don't know if you like to hear this kind of talk or not, but it's good to hear. Sometimes he would call me "Son." That was when he was really feeling very personal.
He said, "Son, I don't think my Savior would betray me." So I didn't say anything. He said, "What is this you're talking about? That He is talking to you. I don't think my Savior would betray me."
"I said, "No, He's not, Daddy. He's not betraying you."
He said, "He wouldn't go behind my back and talk to you."
So I said, "He's not betraying you, Daddy; I 'm going to work for you.''
His head went down, he said, "What can you do for me, Son?"
I said, "Well, Daddy, I can help you. I'd just like to help take some of the burden off of you."
He said, "Well, thank you, Son. This job is a job that only I can do." That's what he said— "This job is a job that only I can do."
So that worried me, you know. So I said, "Well, Daddy doesn't see what I want to do." And I didn't want to come out and tell him what I wanted to do. All I wanted to do was to help soften things up. Because I saw that I had an understanding, even then, and that I could help soften things up. But he was talking about something else that I didn't see at that time.
So that day at the house when they were discussing an interview that I had had on the radio, he came out and expressed complete support for what I was saying and doing. When he did that all the burden went away, and I said to myself, "Well, thanks be to Allah. Allah has blessed me to see my father accept my direction."
That was indeed a great blessing—indeed a great blessing. My father could have passed from this Earth and never had agreed with me. He could have kept me in the same state of mind worrying and wondering if he would accept me, and that would have been a burden for me to carry for the rest of my life—wondering if my father were here, would he approve of what I'm doing? Would he hate it or would he like it?
After all, what we have here as a physical structure and much of what we have as a community was built by him. It was his work, his leadership, his followers that bought this place, that raised me and kept me until I was big enough to go for myself. They did the same for other members in my family—other brothers and sisters.
(To be continued)