Al-Islam is The Life and The Peace
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(This is the first part of the Jumuah Khutbah given by Imam W. Deen Mohammed on June 30, 2000, at the Ephraim Bahar Cultural Center in Chicago, III. The second part was "Saving Our Children, Saving Ourselves," previously printed in the Muslim Journal.)
With the Name of Allah, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer. There is only One G-d, there is no other G-d but Him. We witness that He is One, and there is nothing to be worshipped along with Him as G-d. And we witness that Muhammed, to whom the Qur'an was revealed, is His Servant and His Messenger.
G-d says of Muhammed in the Qur'an that he is a "Mercy to all the Worlds." And G-d says of him that he is a "Model Human Person for any who believes in G-d and believes in the Last Day." That is to say, they believe in G-d and also believe that they owe their obedience to G-d, and they will have to face G-d one day. And G-d is going to conclude everything, this life, this world and our situation in it.
Whether we have been treated fairly or unfairly in our own conduct or whether you behave with a conscience or had any respect for anything, then G-d is going to judge the world and us. So we, along with other believers, believe in G-d and we believe that we should have a behavior that conforms to His instructions, to the Way of G-d, a way of life, G-d's commandments.
THE CALL TO ISLAM IS THE CALL TO LIFE
In Al-Islam, this religion is the life. And when you violate this life, you invite death in the Hereafter and death here and now. The Call to Islam is the Call to Life. G-d says in our Holy Book to those who hear the invitation to come to Islam and also those who already profess with their tongues that they are Muslims, the question is asked by G-d:
"What is the matter with you that you don't respond when you are invited to or called to that which gives you life, life here and life hereafter?"
So G-d wants the best life for us. He wants the life He created every human person for, and that life will please us. It will please our souls, it will bring our hearts happiness and peace. It will put our minds at rest, where our minds won't be tormented all of the time. He created us for a life, a pleasant state of mind and a pleasant human condition. It is The Life and it is The Peace.
Muslims in Muslim countries or in a Muslim neighborhood or Muslim environment begin their day awakening to the Adhan (Call to Prayer), and you just heard the Adhan.The Adhan begins with G-d is Greater; that is to say to us "G-d is more important than anything else." When we wake up, this is what you hear before you get out of bed at Fajr time, before the sunrise. The Muezzin, the one responsible for making the Adhan, says: "G-d is Greater, G-d is Greater."
So we are to wake up, whether there is an Adhan being called or not in the morning. And the first thing we should be aware of is "G-d is Greater." So when you open your eyes and you are aware that you are awake, you should say: "Allahu Akbar." This is Islam.
CALL TO THE WAY OF G-D WITH WISDOM AND LOGIC, BEAUTY AND
Islam is the call to life; it is called Dawah. G-d says: "Call to the Way of G-d with wisdom and logic," not guess work. Use logic and a preaching voice that is "hasana." Hasana means beautiful and excellent. Many things are excellent but might not be beautiful to my taste; it may be only to your taste. But "hasana" is beautiful and excellent to any person's taste. Any person who sees it or hears it will ask: "Wasn't that beautiful? When he sees an intelligent person, he will ask: "Wasn't that excellent?" And he will answer: "Yes."
Some of us just can only see the beauty; we can't see the excellence. But this word is both; it combines beauty and excellence. And G-d tells us to argue with the people who are not stating the matter correctly, and debate with them or argue with them, but with that which is most beautiful and excellent.
Islam is the call to the life and Christianity is suppose to be a call to the life. I can't speak for them, but I know what they believe and what is indicated in their teachings; it is a call to life. Al-Islam comes after Jesus Christ, because really there was no Christianity until after Jesus died. Then there was Christianity. But while he lived, he didn't call any religion Christianity; Jesus never did that, nor did his Disciples while he lived. This is the Bible and Christian history recorded.
So we are to debate them or argue with them, but from our good spirit, sentiments and good feelings. If you are already angry with them, then you can't argue with them. You can't fulfill that, because you are not in the state of mind, you don't have the spirit, and you are not in the condition to fulfill that requirement of your speech being beautiful and excellent.
This religion is a religion of peace, a religion of love, and it is a religion that wants to see that human beings are all living in one big beautiful family. This is Islam. Now, many of us have come by strange routes to this religion, but now we can't escape the truth anymore. Time is out for falsehood; time is out for gambling and throwing the dice to see what the answer is to the scriptural question.
The clear truth has come. It is here and the world knows it. Even CAW puts it everywhere. So if we don't say what is Al-Islam, the media will tell the world public what is Islam. The time is out for hiding and pretending.
We have to come to the truth, see the light and live the light. Live the truth and beauty of this religion. Not just its truth, but its truth and beauty. Al-Islam has a beauty and a truth and it is revealed to appeal to those who have an appetite for beauty and truth — not just for truth but for beauty and truth.
HUMAN BEINGS CREATURES OF BEAUTY AND REALITY
The human being is a creature of beauty and reality -not just reality, but beauty and reality. Beauty is real for us; it is part of our great reality. We have a sense of beauty and correctness; G-d created you that way. Then He gives you a religion that helps you to come into more of an appreciation, a greater and divine beauty and truth, the Call to Life.
It is no accident that Muhammed the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), in the call of the Adhan, comes before the real call to prayer, worship and success. We say: "Ashhadu anna Muhammedar Rasullullah, Ashhahdu anna Muhammedar Rasullullah." We say it twice. Then we say: "Hayya ala Salah." And G-d says that every creature He created, all know their mode of prayer. G-d says it in the Qur'an.
And here is Muhammed (prayers and peace be upon him), a man who kept the excellence that G-d created him for; every baby is born with that excellence. There are no criminals born from their mother today. All of them are innocent and all of them are Muslims, according to the teachings of our Prophet Muhammed (prayers and peace be upon him).
He says every child is born a Muslim and becomes something else because of the circumstance that child is put into — a Christian, Buddhist, a Jew — because of the circumstances.
But the correct life for every human being is Muslim; that's what his original nature is. His original nature is Muslim. Yet, whenever we find any baby just born, we find the Muslim just born, ready to obey G-d, ready to follow good instructions, until we get older. Then the mind changes.
So in the Call to Life, Muhammed is the life; the Qur'an is the life; the Qur'an is the food for the life that makes the life anew, that increases the life.
A baby is born and it takes the milk from its mother. Later, it takes the food that we all eat and as it takes food, its life builds up. The frail or weak creature becomes strong, and the creature that has no mind develops into a great mind in time, if the situation is good for it internally and externally.
So Islam is the breath of life; Islam is the water of life; Islam is the food of life — but not from you, not from me, not even through Muhammed (prayers and the peace be upon him), it is from Qur'an, from G-d Himself, the Word of G-d in the Qur'an.
THE CALL TO PRAYER AND SUCCESS FOR THE LIVING
If we are not called to the Qur'an and the Qur'an is the light, why do we say "hayya ala Salah, hayya ala Salah," and we begin reading Qur'an? So that must be what I was called to, because this is what we begin to hear and to give our attention to the Qur'an, the World of G-d.
So when Allah says "come to prayer, come to success," G-d is saying to us, "come to Qur'an, come to My Word." Come to the Qur'an and come there to have life, because the word that says "come," the Arabist didn't use that word before. That is an Islamic term. It comes from misery, which means hayyun. "Hayya ala salah" is the order, the imperative. It is "hayya ala falah," come to success. This prayer invites you to life, and this success is the success in the life. This is why "hayya" is used — "living."
It is not a call to the dead, it is a call to come to life, not the dead to rise up from the grave.
To be continued