Imam W. Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad's address delivered at Houston, Texas, Sept. 3,1979.)
Bilal, who happens to be of African ancestry, like we are, was appointed to the position of Muezzin -- the one to call the people to prayer. Many of us don't know that everything that happened in the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was really an answer to what was predicted in former scriptures.
Jesus the Christ (PBUH) and the Christian society are signs of what would come later in Prophet Muhammad and the Ummah of Al-Islam. Since we, ourselves, are just recently from a Christian background, from Christian ancestry, we should appreciate the connection between Al-Islam and the Gospel movement.
We are told in the Bible not to put our light under a bushel. If you have a light, lift it up and let ii shine so the world can see it.
Bilal was an answer to that. Prophet Muhammad was an answer, and Bilal demonstrated that.
When Prophet Muhammad told Bilal to go on top of the Kaabah, and call the people to prayer, that was the fulfillment of the prophecy that they would go on top of the house with their light.
He went on top of the Holy House at Mecca and said "God is greater, God is greater, God is greater, God is greater. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except one God, I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except on God. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of that God. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of that God."
Then he finished the Adthan and told the people: "Liven up to worship. Liven up to your responsibility in society, to develop the society."
So we see that we are really completing the works of the prophets. Prophet Muhammad established the Ummah of Al-Islam, the community of Al-Islam, so Muslims will be a witness, an example to the societies of the world that God has fulfilled His promise. He has completed His favor on us and has perfected for us our religion and chosen for us Al-Islam (Deenah) — that's religion.
This particular house here should bring to mind the need for community togetherness — unity of spirit, unity of effort, and family sentiments.
When people are brought together within walls it gives them a stronger sense of relationship or bonds — family bonds, community bonds — and it brings, the people a sense of security, too. When people come together in one accord it gives them the feeling of security.
When a sheep is away from the fold he feels insecure. He feels the wolf might catch him out there by himself and take him. But when the sheep is in the fold, he feels the strength of the fold. So these walls should mean much to us.
In Mecca, we have the original house. It's called the First House of God. In Arabic it is called Kaabah. And there the people perform the worship under the sky. The sky is the roof. Later, when the mosque was built, that idea or need was preserved. The inner circle is open so the sky is still the roof. Again this is an answer to prophecy. It's predicted in the Bible that such a house would be the design of God's house.
Also we notice that the Kaabah is a very simple house; there is no fabulous mansion there. It is the simplest house, like a four corner room; and there about it is the big circle, where Ibrahim prayed, the big circle where we make Tawaf — go around the Kaabah seven times. That house holds a great meaning for the world. It's a universal concept, not a nationalistic concept or cult concept, but a universal concept.
In the corner of that house is the precious Black Stone. That stone is very much loved because Prophet Muhammad, himself, placed it there with his own hands, and because of the religious significance it holds.
As Muslims, we believe that human life is strong enough to bear the weight God has placed upon it. We don't believe that it's necessary for a human being to become a mystic or an ascetic or an angel to uphold his responsibility in society.
We believe that man is certainly created weak, but he has a potential to be very, very strong if he will only give his inner-life to Divine guidance and allow his life to be nourished by Divine guidance.
The human being can grow to become the Khalifah — the custodian, the caretaker — not only for himself and his family or his small property, but for the world. Not only for the world of men and women but also for the world of animals and for the inanimate world.
God has blessed the human being with the potential to preserve the right order of his human environment and also the physical environment.