Growth of a Community
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate. A s-Salaam-Alaikum
(Editor's note: The following are excerpts from Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad's address in Tallahassee, Florida., April 2,1979.)
Our development, our growth as a Muslim community, is itself a revelation, a revelation that offers light, understanding and guidance for modern world society. This is a different kind of revelation — a revelation in the form of knowledge, a revelation in the form of example — a demonstration.
The Nation of Islam, as we have known it, now called the World Community of Al-Islam in the West, is the creation that was formed to say something. It was formed to give identity and a new place in community life for a people who felt they had no place in world society, a people who had been rejected by world society, a people who had no identity they could be comfortable with in world society.
I'm talking about the common, uneducated, mis-educated, lied against people that were in Detroit and Chicago when the Nation of Islam (NOI) was founded back in 1930. The NOI provided a world for those people to live in and at the same time it did something even greater for world society — it provided an example. An example that is the revelation that uncovers so many things we need to see — things that most of us could not see unless such an example was made.
By example, I mean a model, an experimental something created to speak to the past and present, and shine light for the future — a revelation.
We have had many great Prophets come to the world. In our religious thinking most of us don't see those Prophets at all. We only feel the presence or the mission of those Prophets, but most of us never identify them, most of us never know them.
All of the major Prophets came to bring home to the conscious of human beings the reality our minds tend to miss or overlook. The reality we lose while we are seeking narrow, small concerns and missing the broader, universal picture.
I am talking about the reality of what I am, the reality of what you are, the reality of what every human being is. Every major Prophet came to turn the light on in our world of self.
We think of the Prophets' role as being the role of one who comes to turn the light on in the outer world, in the outer community — to show us Pharaoh, to show us the sins of Pharaoh, to show us the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. They do come for that purpose, but there are certain groups of Prophets that come to keep human beings — the human content, human constitution, what constitutes a human being.
That certain line of Prophets came for one expressed purpose: to keep that reality before' the eyes of the people; to keep us in touch with that reality.
They came one after another each doing his specific job. One comes to show us the first thing we must see of our own self, or our nature; the next one comes and shows us the next step.
They have come to graduate us into the knowledge of what our own reality is.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came in his great time because this is a work that has a beginning and has an ending. Prophet Muhammad is the last Prophet. He came to do the ending, to finish the job.
He didn't come to do what Jesus did, he didn't come to do what Moses did. He came to do the finish job, to bring all of it together in one consistent whole so we can see all of the Prophets as God intended us to see them and then complete his particular job. His specific job is that of establishing a society, an environment conducive to the proper development of the particular human essence that Almighty God designed and intended to be a cornerstone of society.
We have much of the language of Al-Islam, in the Bible and church language. My mother, who was a very spiritual woman, used to be a singer in the church choir and she didn't stop singing when she became a Muslim — she kept singing. She sang in the kitchen, in the washroom, everywhere. She was singing spirituals. She would change the names from God and Jesus to Allah, you know, but she sang the same songs.
I heard church people sing of Daniel — little Daniel, the stone that was hewed out of the mountain they would say — tearing down the kingdoms of the world. I wondered what they were talking about, and as a young man raised from a baby in the Nation of Islam under the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I followed everybody else in the Nation of Islam — as it was called, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam. I identified the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as that stone.
Yes, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was the stone that was hewed out of this mountain America. He was tearing down, rolling, tearing down the kingdoms of this world.
I remember another mentioning of a stone — the rejected stone became the cornerstone. Those who don't understand the language of ancient building or architectural structures won't know what it meant by cornerstone.
In ancient times before man had all of the tools that he has now for constructing an edifice, a building, man used to form one stone in the proper dimensions, make it perfectly square or however he wanted it to be shaped and then he would place that stone in a chosen spot and he would cut and line all of the other stones up to fit that stone. That's how they got the perfect square.
What they did was get one stone right and then they were very careful to line each stone up with the other; one stone sets the pattern and the other stones obeyed the pattern.
Almighty God has created the human being. He has made us something very special, something very unique in the creation of life or animals. We are not monkeys, we are not the birds, we are not angels; we are human beings. We are something very, very special.
That particular human constitution that God made is the cornerstone that the Bible is talking about. That is the stone that would tear down the kingdoms of the world. If those kingdoms are not in accord, in agreement with that stone, that stone will tear down the kingdoms of the world. That stone is Christ — not Christ Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago, the Christ that's in you, the Christ that's in me, the Christ that's in every human being — that particular pattern design that God, Himself, makes.
(To be continued)