Prophets of G-d, Muhammed and Christ-Jesus
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(The following interview of Imam W. Deen Mohammed was conducted on the campus of Martin University in Indianapolis, Ind., on Feb., 11, 1999. Imam Mohammed was the main speaker at an interfaith workshop, "Uniting As Faith-Based Leaders." The interview is conducted by Imam Michael "Mikal" Saahir.)
MJ: Welcome Imam Mohammed to Indianapolis, As-Salaam Alaikum.
Imam Mohammed: Wa Alaikum As-Salaam, thank you.
MJ: "I think it's important to clarify information. I think that is one of our biggest challenges as faith-based people of different religions. Christians have a strong love for Christ Jesus, and Muslims have a strong love for Prophet Muhammed and also we have a strong respect for Christ Jesus...
Imam Mohammed: And a strong love for him (Christ Jesus) too.
MJ: ...and a strong love for him too, yes sir. So what accounts for this great love and this great respect for these two great individuals?
Imam Mohammed: I was asked a question recently on another campus on the East coast, where we were speaking and having some discussions similar to what we had today. Someone from the audience asked me: "Well, you spoke of Jesus Christ and you said that as a child you saw Jesus Christ in the form that he was presented in your neighborhood. And that was a White man with blond hair. If you saw the person Jesus Christ, would you still reject him?"
Obviously, she didn't understand the full statement that I had made. She only had understood where I said we rejected the blond-haired blue eyed typical Caucasian image that was presented to us in our neighborhoods of Jesus Christ. So I told her I have already known the person Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, and I accept him and I love him very much. No one who is decent minded and a sane human being would not love Jesus Christ, if they knew the person Jesus Christ.
MJ: The personality of Prophet Muhammed, is it similar?
Imam Mohammed: Prophet Muhammed himself, peace be upon him, said there will come a time, and we think of this in the conclusion of things in this world, and I believe that we are living in the day of conclusion of things right now. He said that you, speaking to his followers, "will see me and Christ Jesus together."
All the Prophets of G-d represent one family of prophets. They are a brotherhood separate to themselves as Prophets. They all are very much like each other.
They all qualify to be servants of G-d in the big, big picture. G-d wouldn't have them in that big, big picture if they weren't models for human beings on this earth. They are human models for human beings on this earth.
Also on the meaning of "that we will see them together," the Prophet Jesus is a sign of what will come in the end of time. Prophet Muhammed was actually living what Jesus was pointing to.
MJ: "You mentioned in your address today that in the model of Prophet
Muhammed, even before he received revelation from G-d, that he was seen as good or whole. And you have been introducing to our (Arabic) vocabulary the Islamic term "ooswatan hassanan" for quite some time.
Imam Mohammed: We see in both Prophet Muhammed's life and Jesus Christ's life a likeness. According to our religion and according to also the Christian's teachings, Jesus Christ had no father. That G-d created him. That is how we understand it as Muslims. G-d created Jesus Christ and his mother was Mary, peace be upon him and his mother.
He (Jesus) was of the nature that G-d wants us to be in from birth and through out his life. He died still in that perfect nature. According to the history of Muhammed - the reports on his life before he was called by G-d - he had lived that upright life, and had never gone astray from that upright life that G-d wants all of us to be in.
It is his model that is called as you just said, ooswatan hassanan, which means an excellent model.
G-d says; "And for any who believe in G-d, he (Muhammed) is a model person for any who believe in G-d and believe in the last day." Which means that they believe that they have to be accountable to that G-d.
So it is for Christians and Jews; he is a model for not only the Muslims, he is a human model for Christians, Jews, any other people who believe in the G-d and believe that you have to be accountable to that G-d.
And that is Jesus Christ, his model was the same, excellent model. Abraham's
model is mentioned in the Qur'an: "The sunnah (way of) Abraham is an excellent sunnah for anyone."
MJ: As far as Al-Islam being seen or perceived (properly) in America, particularly the average American seeing Prophet Muhammed as we believe many of the learned in society did, such as President Thomas Jefferson and other presidents; the leaders have seen Prophet Muhammed, the indicators seem to say. How do you think the common American sees Prophet Muhammed? Is there room for improvement?
Imam Mohammed: The Prophet's in books written prior to, what I would say ,"this new turn" in the attitudes of the three faith communities toward each other. When I was a boy this attitude, this nice atmosphere that we are enjoying now was non-existent. It did not exist. Christians looked at us as the anti-Christ. The history of the Crusades, the wars, had caused them to see Prophet Muhammed and Muslims as war-mongers, people who love war.
What they should know is that the Prophet didn't want war. He suffered. He was even stoned.
He walked out of one town (Ta'eef) where they rejected him. It was said that they could hear the blood in his shoes, in his sandals as he was walking. They could hear the blood squishing in his sandals.
He refused to fight. He was a man of peace. He didn't want to fight, but only at the point when G-d revealed to him that you should now retaliate and fight these people who are fighting you. But in the Qur'an, in the same book, G-d says: "But be not aggressors, And when they put down the war, put down their arms, you do likewise. You put down your arms."
Islam is a religion of peace and they should know that. To know Prophet Muhammed, they should know that Islam is a religion of peace. Muhammed was always a person of peace even before G-d called him, He lived 40 years before G-d made him a messenger, or called him to be the last Prophet.
That's what they should know. That he is a man of peace and he suffered. He took abuses from his enemies.
(To be continued)