Equality In Al Islam
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
The Prophet (PBUH) did not make any class distinctions. But if we look and follow closely the life of Prophet Muhammad, his history, we find that even though Prophet Muhammad had the highest station among all of the people, he still walked with the common people, talked with the common people, lived with the common people, lived on the level with the common people and involved the common people, even in his own decisions.
He referred decisions also to the common people, so the common people even shared in his leadership.
If the common people shared in his leadership then that was indeed a democracy, that was a true democracy, wasn't it?
Indeed, it was a true democracy, a democracy that didn't only show the leader involving the people. permitting them to participate in the decision making of the people, but also a leadership that refused to accept to be put in a class above his own people. After all. the prophetic office is not a class.
How do we know that? We know that because Imams DOW function in the office of Prophet Muhammad. We who act as Imams are actually functioning in the role, in the office of Prophet Muhammad.
We are his Imams and we are not in a class separate from you, the general people. You can't call the Imams a class. Why? Because any one of you can take my place if right now I should have a heart attack. Without going through any ritual or anything, any one of you, if you are able to do what I am doing, you can take my place and continue this khuthah.
It is not a class, and Prophet Muhammad demonstrated in his personal life that there was no class. It is reported that some of his people did not like that he would sleep on a little thin mattress with little tree leaves in it. When he got up they saw the print of the sharp objects that he had slept on - - like little pebbles, little rocks — they saw the print of those in his flesh. The men didn't like that, they wanted to give him something softer. He refused it, indicating that when his people as a majority were able to afford better then he would accept better.
So we see that he didn't expect to be put into an aristocratic class. There was no such thing as class distinction or classism under Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
See how far we have to go to be Muslims? If we want to be Muslims as Prophet Muhammad established that concept or established the definition, then we still have to go a long way, don't we? Too many of us are class conscious. Too many of us are status conscious. Too many of us are authoritarian, domineering, dictators. We don't like to involve people into the processes and into the decision making. We like to dominate that ourselves. We want to control that and dominate it ourselves. Don't you see how far we have to go before we become really Muslims tike the followers of Prophet Muhammad were?
So dear beloved Muslims, in this great month of fasting we should really look at ourselves more, and we should take account of our selves, and we should compare ourselves in the light of the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUHK in the light of what he led people to do, and in' the light of the life that he established for Believers. We should look closely at ourselves then bring ourselves to conform more closely to that. That's the step that will bring us success.
This is no easy world, this is a hard world. We live in troubled times, troubling times, confused times. We need to follow what we profess to believe in more closely. We need to work harder to bring ourselves to agree with what we profess -- to live what we preach.
Dear beloved Muslims, Allah has ordered for the Muslims obedient conduct and dutiful lives. We know that the two go hand in hand. "Those who believe and who do good works."
We know that the Prophet has said that those who have no good works have nothing. No matter how much they profess to be holy and good, no matter how appealing they look from without to the righteous people, if they have no good works they have nothing.
We can't pretend virtuous lives and do no work. We have to have virtuous life and work too.
What is work?
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was shown or introduced to some holy man, it seemed, who spent his time in prayer, fasting - - those devotions, but he did no work. How do we know that? From the reply that Prophet Muhammad gave we know he did no work.
Prophet Muhammad asked them, say: "How do you know this man is worth alt of this?"
And they told him. He said, but have you worked with him?
They said, "No."
He said, "Then you don't know him."
So that tells us that he wasn't doing work and it also tells us something else: that if you just have a relationship with people just praying and fasting, you don't know them yet.
But if you have a project to build five dwelling houses and need money to get started, and you all form a group and you get together and you invest some money, then you begin to build those five dwelling houses and you complete those five dwelling houses and you know that this person gave his share of the money and he didn't act deceitfully about that and you know he gave his share of work and didn't act deceitfully about that; so after the
project is completed and you know of no misdeeds on that person's part, you can then represent that person, you then know that person. But if you only prayed with him and fasted with him, that's not enough.
Once you have to do a project together, it tests the person. His loyality is tested. his honesty is tested. His word is tested, his endurance is tested. Work tests many things about us.
Work will bring out the weakness in us and will show us the strengths. So we have to get involved in work if we are to know each other.