Human Security: Reverence For God More Important - "The Identity Of Our Concerns”: Part 2
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editorial Note: How to manage "importance" was the focal point of this lecture by Imam W.D. Muhammad in Newark, N.J., with that number one importance being Allah and the management of our duties to Allah.)
When we say "Allahu Akbar," the one who is making the adhan is directing himself towards a particular orientation point for his adhan and his prayer. He turns towards the qiblah, the Kaa'ba, in Saudi Arabia in the holy city of Mecca. He turns towards that house saying, "God is Greater. God is more important."
That house and the precincts there have a name; the territory, itself, has a name. It is "Al-Haram.'' Al-Haram means the territory or the area where there are restrictions and these are sacred restrictions. It cannot be violated. Also, it is called adhan prays and directs him-place of safety and security.
The one who makes the adhan prays and directs himself to that house, and the area around it is called a place of security or a place of safety. If anyone goes there to pray and also wants to sleep there in the open with no house and no doors shutting him in, he feels free and at ease to sleep there. He should not be anticipating any danger nor any trouble in that place.
When we wake up in the morning saying, "Allahu Akbar," we direct ourselves in prayer following the muezzin, the one who calls us to make our ablution and to get ready, to prepare and dress properly for prayer. The direction that he turns himself in, then we will turn in that direction. We will line up behind the Imam or whoever is leading the prayer. We do all of this ourselves.
Then we begin the prayer the same way we began the adhan. The adhan begins with "God is Greater," or "God is more important." Then we raise our hands and say, "Allahu-Akbar," beginning the discipline of prayer, facing that place. We are acknowledging God and directing ourselves or facing a place of security or a place of safety. A place where sin is not to happen, a place where injury to another brother or to another person is not to happen there. You are not even to harm an animal there. It is a place of safety or a place of security.
So these terms must be very important in our lives, the term "Allahu-Akbar." "Importance" must be very important for us in our lives. Importance, itself, for the adhan is saying that Allah is more important. Therefore, importance, itself, must be very serious for us in our lives. So understand that in Allah calling us to recognize Him to be more important, that He is influencing us and sensitizing us, conditioning our minds to place importance properly, to place it where it should be.
So I begin with the most important in my life, and that is my Lord or my God. I cannot stop there. Allah is important. I owe Him prayer and I owe Him worship. I pray to Him. In praying to Him I am facing the area or territory that is called the place of security or safety, et cetera. So that should tell me also that more important for me in my life is a place that is safe from sin, from violence, from hatred, from anger, from ugliness.
Dear People, everyone of us in our own hearts and in our souls are a "Kaa'ba." Inside yourself is the need there, for there to be inside of you, to be internally a place where there will be no sins committed, no hatred, no anger, or no ugliness. All of us have that need. When we have a place like that, we feel peace, we feel safe, and we feel secure. We don't feel threatened.
Sinners feel threatened! Criminals feel threatened! The innocent person never feels threatened. Why should he feel threatened? It is wrongdoings that make us worry about what is going to happen. We are not angels nor perfect beings, and we are going to commit sins and are going to do wrong. Also, even the sacred land overseas, Al-Haram, if it could be spoken to and asked, "Has there ever been a sin committed here?" It would say, "Yes." If asked, "Has there ever been any violence here?" It would say, "Yes." If asked, "Has anyone behaved ugly here?" It would say, "Yes. But it is not allowed here. It is not condoned here. It is not approved here."
You should have a place in you like that. Where you don't approve of wrong, although it may come in given that we are human. But you don't approve of it. You will say, "Get out of here. You are not in the place for that behavior." Satan, himself, was cast out, because his behavior was unfitting or unsuitable for the high place he was in. So God said, "Get you down from here." He is "rajim," the one cast out, the one rejected. So we should reject things from our sanctuary. All of us should have a sanctuary in here. We should reject things and keep it holy and safe. We should keep it secure. Then we would have a sense of health, a sense of soundness, a sense of well being, and a sense of safety. We would not be fearing everything. We will fear no other but God.
It doesn't mean that when I walk in a dark room that I have never been in before without some sense of danger, that I won't be afraid. That is natural and human to be afraid. But that fear won't become so big for me, that it will take me over. There, I will immediately call my Lord to mind. And then I will trust myself even in that new, strange and dark place, until I manage to get a light on.
Dear beloved people, we have to acknowledge God as being more important, and we have to become aware that we need to trust Him, Who is most worthy of our trust. How can I trust you, if I don't trust God? Why should I trust you? I have many more reasons to trust God than I have to trust you. So anyone who says they don't believe in God and would say they don't trust God, then they are not worthy to be trusted. They are going to disappoint you in a big way sooner or later. They are going to disappoint themselves sooner or later.
So we should have progress in our growth, a growth of awareness, an awareness of God being the Benefactor and responsible for everything. There should be progress in the awareness that I place my duty and my worship to Him above all things and realize that I am a creature of limitations. Because of these limitations, I will feel threatened in certain situations or conditions.
However, I will need a sense of security for my well being. So I should work to improve the environment within myself. And 1 should work to improve the environment immediately in my charge. That includes my room that I occupy or the apartment that I occupy; my home should be al-haram. I will not approve sin in this room. I will not approve the forbidden things in this room. If I have a home, it should be for the whole home. If I have land, it should be for all my land. This sense of awareness is our progress.
I should come to a point now, where I am rationally aware of certain evidences. Although I have faith, and I will .always need faith. For no one can grab Allah and say, 'This is Allah! All of you look here at Allah." No one can do that. No one can go into the future and find Paradise and return saying, "Yes, I found Paradise. I went into the future and found the Paradise that the righteous are going into. Here it is; look at it!" No one can do that. So there is always going to be room for faith.
Still we should have some knowledge if we are to give that kind of attention to something. When a man starts to search for importance in his life, he is eventually going to search for a Cause and will soon identify it as God. Some will say it is not necessarily so, for they may believe that creation has no cause and that it brought its own self into being. We know of such men, but I am speaking to Muslims, 1 am not supposed to be addressing any atheist concerns or any atheist ideas. I am speaking to Muslims, and when you have found the Cause you have found God. The Ultimate Cause behind all of this is God. That is the One I want to serve.
Isn't that what Abrahim did, peace be upon the Prophet Ibrahim? He searched through the creation and decided that nothing he saw in creation was the I cause. That there was, though, a Cause behind it all, for everything else followed a plan. That everything else rose and set. Everything else went out and came back. Everything else lit up and then went out. So Abrahim came to the conclusion that none of this was God. For God is the Designer and Creator of this he was looking at. God is the Cause behind this. There is a God.
Abrahim is called the man of faith by the Jews, the Christians, and then by the Muslims. He was no fool; he was a very wise man. He didn't follow faith in any spooky way. His intelligence led him to faith. Let's think about that. "His intelligence led him to faith."
What I am saying here is that once we have given this kind of attention to "importance" in our lives, we should then have some intelligent support for what we are giving ourselves to. So now upon giving God this kind of intelligent attention, I am in a position to say I am a "witness " A witness has to know something. You cannot be a witness without knowledge. What kind of witness are you, if you have no knowledge? There is no such thing.
Now that I have become a witness, I say, "Ashadu la illah illallah." I witness that there is but One Allah or but One God. That there is no deity except Allah — The God. Didn't Abrahim go through the rational process of examining with the tools of his intellect the thing that he looked at and the thing his father had told him was God? He rejected those things. Then he even looked at the creation, itself, and witnessed the stars and the sun in their movement. Then he came to the conclusion that not a single one of those things was God. Didn't he use his intelligent tools to look for answers?
Prophet Ibrahim arrived at the answer and said, "There is no God but The God, The One Who is responsible and Caused by all of this." And he said none of these things are his God. Then he became the first of the Muslims. So Muslims, important for you is this: That you should not be believing in something without some knowledge.
(To be continued)