“The Birth of the American Spirit”: Part 1
Imam W.D. Muhammad
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; peace and blessings upon His Servant and His Messenger, Muhammad, forever. Amen.
There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In the history of the modern world, America stands out because she came into existence as a world power so rapidly. The original thirteen colonies who rebelled against the mother state (England), were successful in winning their independence. They went on to build up a great industrial nation in a relatively short period of time, and America became the leading nation of the world in power and in wealth. America was started by people who saw an opportunity in the newly discovered land to grow with a great amount of freedom. The Protestant pioneers came in great numbers to cut paths through the wide expanse of natural wilderness. They managed to push back the barriers of the frontier because they had a divine vision.
The Divine Destiny
Whenever a people start out to do a great thing in the world, they involve "God." Whether they intend to obey God or not, they like to put God's name on the new struggle that they are about to undertake. They know that the majority of human beings are more responsive to God than they are to anything else. The world powers (rulers) want people who will serve them with spirit and with enthusiasm. Religion has the power to inspire people, to fire up their enthusiasm, and to give them the spirit for conquering "in the name of God." The early history of the American people was inspired by a belief in a "divine destiny" that was similar to the "divine destiny" of Jews that is preached in the Bible. The interpreted and interpolated Bible teaches that the Jews would inherit the gentile nations and become a messiah for the world. When Judaism passed on into Europe in the form of "Christianity," the European nations went on the march for leadership and power in the world. The so-called Christian armies fought to establish "God's kingdom" because many of them sincerely felt that the world would be a better world if the "uncivilized heathens" were tamed and brought into the religion of Jesus Christ.
Great America ?
It is true that America is beautiful and America is great, but America is also greatly confused. We want to clear up the 'confusion so that we all can live peacefully in America. It is alright to have a great America, but a great America does not mean very much if we cannot live in it. Everyday America is dying morally, mentally, and spiritually. A terrible problem with American people is that they like to close their eyes to things, especially when keeping their eyes open requires a little strength. The whole nature and personality of American life is not reflected in a vision that sees reality, it is reflected in a vision that is superficial (emotional). The history of America is a history of a people who sought and who gave themselves to "freedom." The country quickly rose to great heights because of new discoveries and new inventions. In a short time the people had developed a technology that was advanced enough to provide them with the tool they needed to overcome the world. American people have been deceiving themselves by thinking that Christianity and democracy put America and the West on top of the world. Although Christianity and democracy were used, the West was put on top by superior weapons, by better and faster transportation, and by other significant developments in technology and warfare.
The "Guarantee" Of Life
The divine destiny of America has not yet been realized. The great destiny envisioned by the early settlers who had their hearts and their minds on God has not been fulfilled. The divine destiny of America is still awaited by those human beings who love freedom and who love to see the human spirit free to develop along natural lines until it reaches its fulfillment. The only divine destiny that America has fulfilled has been her material victory. America has been like a child that suddenly came into great riches. If the child has the freedom to use the riches as he sees fit to use them, he will mess up the world. Because be has the mentality of a child, he will buy too much of the wrong things, he will spend too much money in the wrong place, and he will turn the whole world into a playpen.
In the Constitution, the founding fathers left every individual a guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What is life? Why does anyone have to guarantee life to us? Before there was any government to guarantee life, life was here and it was existing more abundantly than it exists now. The authors of this guarantee of life must have been people who read the Bible. It was Jesus who said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." When Jesus talked about "life," he was talking about something more serious than just so-called freedom in the physical life. If freedom in the physical life is all that the world can guarantee you, you might as well live in the jungles. All of the beasts in the wilderness have life and they have freedom to fly, freedom to roam, freedom to protect themselves, and freedom to destroy themselves. The human being strives for a higher form of freedom than just freedom for his animal form.
The Importance of Environment
When any life starts to form, it needs a suitable environment in which to form and to grow. The environment is a major factor in determining the kind of life we will have in the future. Although this is the knowledge that has been revealed in religion, the doctors of social science in the Western world would like to take credit for it. Man is a product of his physical parents and he is also a product of his environment.
The great concern in religion is to protect us from our forefathers as well as from our environment. When people go astray from the truth and from the natural path towards God, God reveals the truth to one of His chosen ones (messenger or prophet). Then the messenger or prophet begins to direct the society back in the right path and eventually he reforms (remakes) the society. Before we can correct the problem of society, we must first correct the problems in ourselves. If we are not careful, the problems that we have inherited from our forefathers will influence our environment. They will shape the environment in the wrong form and we will be forever caught in the mistakes of the past. America was born with the mind from the land of Europe. It took on a new freedom, but it took on the same old desire that its forefathers had. The English forefathers of America went into the lands of the dark races and brought back human beings to Europe and America for use as beasts of burden. These strange and ugly things that we see in the history of the West are the things that work to give birth to the American spirit. We are first looking at the strong influences in the Western environment that have worked to form the American spirit. Later, we are going to identify the American spirit. To identify a person, you must relate him to a certain environment or to a certain relationship. If you put everything together and see all of the elements as one, there is no identity. But when you separate things and see them in their relationship to each other, you can see their individual identity.
The Child in Darkness
Because America quickly rose to power as a "child," it emerged on the world scene with a kind of innocence that made it more powerful. A reflection of its childlike behavior is that it never consider itself "guilty" of any wrong it commits. A child must be taught to say that he is wrong, that he is at fault, or that he made a mistake. Because the child wants to measure up to the "perfection" of his parents, he never says that he is at fault. America has considered itself to be the nation without spot or blemish. Although, as individuals, America will admit that they are wrong at times, there seems to be an invisible law more powerful than human life itself telling us not to openly criticize America. Americans have been raised as children to think that their parents, as a nation, are the only good parents on the face of the earth and that all other nations are bad parents. The learned people and the so -called leaders will not admit that freedom is really absent in America. We do not have freedom, we have darkness. Even though you might be physically free, you cannot benefit from that freedom if you cannot see. America has been the darkest country in the world: people have a lot of money but they cannot enjoy it; people have all kinds of college degrees but they cannot produce.
America is a nation with a history for piling up wealth, power, and knowledge until it reaches the height of Mount Everest, but it is a nation that does not have the strength to keep the husband and wife together. It does not have the strength to raise its children properly; it does not have the strength to control vandalism; it does not have the strength to keep the college students of the leadership from walking away from the "citadel of civilization" into the jungles of hell. In the history of America we see a fast growing child who grew much faster physically than be grew mentally. Do not think that knowledge simply means mental advancement. You can have all of the knowledge in the Congressional Library and still not have the sense to lace up your shoes or to straighten your tie. The American mentality has been a mentality of a child that just wanted to wear the badge of material achievement as something to show off. America's test has come; the social fabric of the society is rocking and the threads have begun to break apart. Its college trained leaders do not know bow to thread the needle and how to sew the fabric back together again. This tells you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the mind of America is the mind of a child.
The teachings of all revealed religion tells us that heaven must start in this life. In the Nation of Islam in the West, we do not try to appeal to your emotions or to excite you to believe things that are not realistic. We are here to appeal to your senses and to wake up your mind so that you will be able to see what we are doing. When you understand what we are doing, you can then make a choice in broad daylight to take the straight way of truth or to take the way that leads you astray to the wrath of God.
Islam does not seek to impose itself on an} one. Prophet Muhammad and all of the prophets before him (may Allah be pleased with them) said that the way is an open way: let him come who has the will to come. He who has no will to come, let him take his own way. People are not to be compelled to make decision against their will. The divine aspect of religion is that you are totally free to make your own decisions. Without being free to make your own decisions, you are not ready to travel the path of God. You have to be free. God does not want you to be a slave who has his hands and feet tied and who has his eyes closed. God wants you to be completely free because being free is the only way you are going to arrive at truth. Freedom is a long path with many struggles. You must face obstacles in the path and overcome them, one by one, until you reach the final goal. Freedom is not something that is suddenly put into your hands all at one time. Freedom is something that is realized step by step, stage by stage. The big problem with the Western way of life is the wrong idea about freedom. You say, "freedom, freedom, freedom," but how much do you know about real freedom?
Your brother, W.D. Muhammad