The Muslim Journal
Justice In Islam: How Close Are We Muslims To Western Democracy? Part 8
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the following address on June 16, 2001, in Detroit, Mich., at Orchestra Hall.)
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. I became acquainted with them about 10 years ago. I was so happy to see educated Muslims in America embracing the idea of freedom and calling Muslims' attention to that great idea of freedom.
Leaders in Islam fear to use the language that the West uses, but sometimes that language is really their own language. They fear to use it because they are afraid that using it will cause them to be seen as friends of the West, That is a bad situation to be in, when you can't speak your own language for fear of someone thinking you are the friend of your enemy. That is ridiculous.
Why don't you be a friend to those who think like you? Why don't you be a friend to those who want what you want? When you join them, they will help you fight your own people who are against that. Allah, G-d, the Creator of all of us, will never help us if we are selfish and not standing upon truth and justice.
If we are standing upon hurt and bitterness, Allah is not going to help us. You have to be standing on truth and justice at the same time. You are supposed to register hurt and dislike hurt, but you are not supposed to stand upon hurt. "My position is that you did me wrong!" No, your position should be that wrong is wrong, whether it was done to me or anybody else.
I am standing on the principle, not on the pain, not on the hurt done to me. A man can fight much longer when he is fighting for principle, than he can fighting for hurt. After a while, you will not be hurting so much and will stop fighting. But there is need to continue to fight for a principle, because there are others still hurting.
Here is the difference between what Islam wants for society and what America wants for society. In principle, America and Islam want the same thing for man. That's in principle. But in practice, they are different. America seems to put the emphasis and light on freedom, more so than on justice. The result is that the society is turned on to freedom, but not necessarily turned on to justice.
My freedom then will disrespect your freedom, and my freedom may clash with your freedom. Then the society suffers, because we are going after freedom but have lost the connection of freedom with justice. Freedom and justice are born together and are to live together always. You can never separate justice from freedom.
In Islam, justice is willing to sacrifice some freedom for a more genuine freedom down the road. But freedom in Islam is never willing to sacrifice any part of justice. It is not justice that you punish the victims to recover from the wrong or the injuries of the guilty.
In Islam, we say: No bearer of a burden should bear the burden of another. I am not going to be your scapegoat, and I don't care if it is in the Bible. You have to take the right goat out there and whip and slay the goat that is guilty. I am not the goat that did the wrong, so don't use me. If you want a lamb for sacrifice, get one that did you some wrong. Find the guilty lamb and sacrifice that one.
The other side of the story is to make the innocent pay the price for the guilty. If this were a true Islamic society of justice, freedom and equality, we would not have so many jails. Islam would not tolerate this big population of convicts. Something is wrong with a democracy that has such a large population of convicts.
Don't think that our democracies are the same. Don't think that because we believe in the same things in principle that we are the same. We - Islam and the West — are not the same. Islamic justice is not the same as American democracy. This democracy will slay many innocent people and souls, will lose many families to destruction, in the name of freedom and democracy.
This society tells Satan that he has as much freedom as the Pope of Rome. And if the Pope can't handle Satan, then later for the Pope. This is wrong, and I'm not sure where they borrow that from; maybe it was from hell. I read in the language of the Western Christians that they received the key to hell and heaven. I know what a righteous man can do with the key to heaven; he can help more souls get in.
But why does he need a key to hell? We don't want to open the doors of hell to get anybody; you have to break that door down for yourself, I'm not going to open the door of hell for the demons to come out and up here where we are. No righteous man would open the door of hell to let demons come out to mess up our lives. There is something wrong with a democracy that permits such an idea.
We have many, many comrades in arms in the church and in the synagogue. Don't think that I'm speaking on my own or just as a Muslim. We have many brothers and sisters who stand on what I am telling you right now in the churches and in the synagogues.
We are free, too, as citizens of this country to shape the future of this country. And we are not going to be satisfied with Satan getting the same respect that the righteous people get. In Islam we are told to fight the schemes of Satan. And if this is one of his schemes, and it is, we are obligated as Muslims to fight that scheme.
All Christians don't believe in this way of life that has Satan on the loose to do whatever he wants or pleases to do or to take as many down as he wants to. The strong have an obligation to protect the weak from things that are harmful, and Satan is harmful. We are to protect the wise and the foolish. The strong are to protect the weak. The healthy are to protect the sick. This is true religion. This is Islam. This is an obligation on us.
Some will say that a certain people are dumb and their misery is their own problem. They'll say that they know what could be done to turn them around but won't do that, They feel they will be going against their commitment to let Satan have his way. These are people who are not ready to Fight those who greed for power.
They don't want to be drug addicts and alcoholics and are not going to be that. But if they see a chance to make big money on alcohol and drugs, they will not turn down that big money to uphold a principle. They then will justify it by saying: "Well, they have all the help they need. They know it is wrong. They go and buy drugs, so they should suffer their own deeds."
To be continued