On Moral Consciousness
Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.
Dear beloved Muslims, As-Salaam-Alaikum. With the Name Allah, Most Gracious, Most Compassionate. Giving all praise to Him and bearing witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah alone; there is nothing like Him. And bearing witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
EARLY MORAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Dear beloved Muslims, I'm only here before you for a few minutes. Our speaker today is your Resident Imam Matthew Bilal Hamidullah, and he should be out shortly. I enjoyed the words that I was able to hear from Imam Abdul Haqq, appealing to us to use our good senses, to be rational, to be sensible.
I would like to bring to your attention a feature in our traditional meetings as they were established and led by the late leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And this feature of which I'm referring to is the manner in which every meeting was opened. I'm about 45 and some years old now, and when I was a little child I noticed how the meetings were opened. I was smaller than my youngest child.
I remember them back that far, and as I began to wrestle with the situation that faces us today — as the leader after my father — I began to reflect back on the prayer that was said at every meeting. Nothing was done until that prayer was said. That prayer began the meeting.
We didn't say Al-Fatiha, and you know AlFatiha is the standard prayer of Muslims all over the world. We didn't say Al-Fatiha, what we call "The Opening." That was introduced later by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and it was introduced at the end of the meeting. At the end of the meeting he would say Al-Fatiha and Abraham's Prayer for blessings to Abraham.
But in the early days — and it continued; it was a tradition we didn't break until very recently — we said the prayer called the "Prayer of Abraham." But it was the complete prayer, a very long prayer. It begins: "Surely I have turned myself to Thee, oh Allah, who originated the heavens and the Earth." And we would say, "trying to be upright."
But that's not the actual translation. The actual translation is "being upright." But we would say, "trying to be upright — trying to be upright to Him who originated the heavens and the Earth. And I am not of the polytheists. Surely my prayers and my sacrifices, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. No associates has He, and this am I commanded. And I am of those who submit.
"Oh Allah, Thou art the King, Thou art my Lord, and I am Thy servant. I have wronged myself and I confess my faults. So grant me protection against all my faults, and forgive me all my faults, for none grants protection against faults but Thou. Guide me to the best of morals, for none can guide to the best of morals but Thou. And turn away from me the evil and indecent morals, for none can turn away the evil and indecent morals but Thou."
We used to say that prayer at every meeting — every meeting without fail. And the meetings on Sundays were opened up at 2:00 p.m. sharp! Nobody was allowed to open up at 2:15. 2:10, 2:05 — NO! You had to open up at 2:00 p.m. sharp! It was a serious atmosphere in those days. It wasn't a "go as you please" kind of attitude. It was a strict obedience. We obeyed the rules and regulations.
If the meeting was to open at 2:00, it opened at 2:00. If the minister wasn't there, someone was there to open. If there was no minister there, the next one in line of authority would open. A captain would open. If the captain wasn't there, the next one in line of authority would open, but it was opened on time!
If we give a little thought to that prayer, we'll see that that prayer is a prayer that we can say now. In fact, it has more place now than it had then. Then it was kind of out of place. But now it is perfectly in place. Think about it: "Surely I have turned myself to Thee, oh Allah, who originated the heavens and the Earth.'
It didn't say, "Surely I have turned myself to Thee, oh Allah, who came in the person of W.D. Fard." It didn't say that! I know most of you don't have a problem with that. But even if you don't have a problem, it's good to know wisdom that has been operating in our community now for 50 years.
Say, "Why would that man teach people that man was God, that he was God and then tell them to pray to the One that created everything?" Well, we still have a lot to understand, don't we? We still have a lot to understand, but insha-Allah, we will understand it all one day. If Allah pleases.
Reprinted from June 27, 1980 by special request.