The Muslim Journal
Justice In Islam: How Close Are We Muslims To Western Democracy?: Part 7
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the following address on June 16, 2001, in Detroit, Mich., at Orchestra Hall.)
G-d is closer to your heart than you are, and He is closer to your mortal flesh and blood body than you are. He is inside you, just waiting on you to wake up and respond properly- This is the idea that Christianity has, Judaism has and Islam has in common. Perhaps some other religions have it, too.
I've mentioned before that Master Fard was an "outsider," a man of another race from outside of America, But that man introduced to the poorest of this city and to the most uneducated of this city a belief that Islam is "freedom, justice and equality."
In the early 1930s, the work to have us promote and advocate freedom, justice and equality in the name of Islam came to this place, Detroit, and began to grow in the African American people of this city.
Muhammed bin Abdullah, the Prophet of Islam and world leader of 1.25 billion Muslims now on this earth, was asked what is Islam. He said: Islam is to witness for One G-d, to pray, to give charity, to fast the month of Ramadan and to visit the Sacred House in the Sacred City of Mecca. That was his answer.
If you were to ask almost any Muslim in any part of the world today what is Islam. The answer you will get most likely is: Islam is a religion of peace; Islam is a religion of unity; Islam is a surrender of the human will to the Will of G-d. But when Muhammed was asked what is Islam, he didn't give those answers.
Muhammed says that Islam is to witness for One G-d. If you witness for One G-d, you are going to be free. He said that Islam is to pray; you seek help from that G-d that you witness or recognize. He said that Islam is to be charitable. If you give in charity, you are going to help your fellow man. He said Islam is to fast during the month of Ramadan, and that is not just denying yourself food and water.
It is also making yourself more aware that there are people hurting like you are hurting and hungering like you are hungering and thirsting like you are thirsting. And they can't help it. You are fasting voluntarily or as a believer practicing your religion. But there are some people out there so poor and don't have the means or a way to get food. They are going to bed hungry at night. And this makes you aware of them and more sympathetic and to empathize with them.
Then this whole society is going to get benefit because of many in the society fasting and feeling the hunger pains of the poor. Now you can see the wisdom in the logic.
The Prophet said it is to make visits to the Sacred House. If you visit the Sacred House, you will see that there is a common house for all people. You are going to see the black man, the brown man, the yellow man, the red man and all kinds of men and women from all kinds of cultures and ways of life. You are going to see them there at that one place. That is going to say to you: We all belong to one human family. You are going to be aware of the unity of mankind, the one family of man under G-d.
I can tell you in one statement what is the effect of Muhammed's definition of Islam. It is "freedom, justice and equality." So don't tell me how to go into some kind of spiritual training to get my spirit with G-d, so that 111 have peace with G-d -before you tell me how to feed my baby and take care of my wife.
First help me with my life and then help me with The Hereafter. So I am here to tell you that Master Fard was on the job, and he knew how to speak to us. He told us what we were ignoring or had lost. That is, that Islam is freedom, justice and equality. Islam was given to mankind in the world to free us from every form of slavery and oppression, to free us to have our life for our G-d Who created us. Tb have the honorable life and the good life that G-d created us for. That is why Islam came.
Islam did not only come to liberate Muslims or those who would be called Muslims, it came to liberate all people who were denied religious freedom. Muhammed said to protect the places of worship of other people from those who would profane those places. There were savages and ignorant people who did not care about the sanctity of those places.
Muhammed obligated his followers that if they saw such savages or ungodly people threatening or profaning the sacred places of worship of other people, the Muslims were supposed to defend those places.
Now we have gone crazy and want to hurt churches and want to see them die and crumble up. Some of us have a thing with Jews and can't live our own religion without wanting to see all Jews dead. If G-d gave me the power to start killing those who are wrong in religion, I would have to start right where I am and then with Jews and Christians after I got through with the Muslims. And I am speaking about the whole Muslim world.
Mr. Fard Muhammad gave us a language for a program and it had profound influence in our lives. It shaped us and our growth, and I couldn't be where I am today without it. It shaped the growth of Muslims in these poor areas of America — in the slums of Detroit, Chicago and in other places. We grew from calling our places of worship temples; he didn't tell us they were mosques, he called them temples.
We grew to call them mosques. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad in the 1950s had us change from calling them temples to calling them mosques. We grew from calling ourselves "Xs" - like Malcolm X and grew to call ourselves Malcolm Shabazz and Muhammad Ali.
Our Islam was freedom, justice and equality. We couldn't recite Qur'an. We couldn't give the articles of faith with the logic and aqeedah. We weren't educated in Islamic Studies. Most of us could not go through the prayer rituals to do prayer as it is done by Muslims all over the world. But we knew that Islam was good for our lives, because we were told that Islam is freedom, justice and equality.
We came to believe that the self we were displeased with was the self that the world made of us — the White world, the bad world. And we came to believe that we didn't always have this ugly inferior self. We came to believe that we were in our own nature and creation the original man — the first man that G-d made. And it is true that every person is the original man, even though you may be living as an artificial man or as a false man.
You are still the original man; it is there and will stay there. Maybe you will be buried and it will never be reconciled or brought to peace again with your original self, but your original self will be there when you are dead and your original self will survive your grave. And we were taught that the original man was a righteous Muslim, born by nature as G-d created you — a righteous Muslim. These are good teachings.
These are the teachings that hold the essence of so-called orthodox Islam — world Islam. We were told that we should be upright because Allah made us to be upright and born by nature to be upright. That we were to be sincere and on the path that takes us to Allah.
Today, learned Muslim authors of Islamic publications are discussing Islam as a universal message for promoting human progress, social and economic justice, etc. One such publication is titled the Minaret of Freedom.
To be continued