Progress & the Burden of Misconceptions: Part I
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(On July 22, 1990, Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address in Newark, NJ and now has prepared from it this article for Muslim Journal.)
As-Salaam-Alaikum. That is peace be on you. The praise is for Allah, the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe, "the Lord of all the worlds". We pray the Prayers and the Peace be on Muhammed the last Prophet, the Universal Messenger of Allah to all people. We witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, The Lord Creator, One God. And we witness that Muhammed is not God: Muhammed is Allah's Messenger.
We are followers in a figure of One-Billion Muslims accepting responsibility to live and to lead as Muhammed did and to follow the example of the best followers of the Prophet, those first followers, his Companions.
We ask Allah that He accept our efforts and we pray to Allah for forgiveness for whatever faults or shortcomings or defects or sins we have. We pray to Allah for forgiveness and mercy. And we seek Allah for guidance that we may be guided aright.
We accept the Qur'an as the Supreme Guidance, the Authority in our life, the Revealed Book the Last Revelation. And we accept as the leader for us during all times and in every place on earth that Prophet to whom the Last Revelation (the Qur'an) was revealed, Muhammed, the Prayers and the Peace be upon him.
BROTHER AKBAR SALAAM'S HALAL BUSINESS
Before beginning the address I feel compelled to acknowledge the impressive gains achieved by the Muslims in Newark. We really were encouraged by what we saw last night at the Awards Banquet given by the Appreciation Dinner Committee. On the way here from the radio station with Brother Hakim Ali we passed by a Halal business owned by Brother Akbar Salaam. I was aware of his business, but I was not aware of all the important achievements. He is processing the meats and Akbar Salaam is also slaughtering by the rules of "Halal".
That leaves us now to hope for only one more step in the Halal Business. We have only to wait now for Muslim Iamb, goat, beef, and poultry farmers. I believe there are some family efforts scattered about throughout the United States. However, to my knowledge as of yet we do not have Muslims responsible for raising the animals for markets known by us and accessible to us.
Mr. Akbar Salaam is not only serving Muslims, he is also providing excellent service and products to non-Muslims. If Americans like Kosher weiners, cornbeef, etc., I am sure Americans will like Halal products.
This brother has made us feel so good. I am anxious to stay acquainted with what he is doing. If in any way I can give Muslim support, I am desirous and willing. My office is built with you in mind. When you are weak, my office is weak. I hope to be in communication with our self-respecting business people. We have our heart in the betterment of our people and especially for improved business life. Akbar Salaam is a leader among other Muslim leaders—progressive Muslims.
I understand there is a room above us which is packed full just like this area and it does not have a sound system connection. They are working on getting sound in that room. There is an over-capacity gathering for this address here in Newark, New Jersey. I hope that every person not reached by sound (this address) will receive cassette tapes made available to them free of charge.
OUR THINKING OBEYS...
This address today will speak to how Muslims are to promote progress and will be focusing on religion, race, and business. We ask Allah's Help. The main concern for us in our religion is for us to hold to what Allah has revealed and to not allow our own thinking to rule in such matters. There is no room in our religion for any alteration on what Allah has established in Qur'an and on what the Prophet has established as the demonstrated life for Muslims.
Our thinking serves us best when our thinking obeys and conforms to what is established for Muslims—the Qur'an and the Messenger's life.
...DOES NOT WASTE WORDS
I have been among other guests on radio programs. We represented "Islam", Judaism and Christianity. The moderator was a Jewish woman. I was asked "Is there room in your religion for progress?" They wanted to know how can "Islam" stay relevant and keep up with the times if Muslims can't make any changes. I explained that we believe Allah sees ahead and knows what's ahead. There's no need for change. Do people think Allah can't prepare for anytime in the future and He is understood to be the All-Knowing? Allah knows the beginning and the end of all things. We really do a discredit to our Concept of Allah (God) when we think to put revelation from Allah down for our editorial needs. No alterations are necessary.
Another unique feature of Al-Islam we want to be aware of is that with the Qur'an interjections or changes on the text is a thing strictly outlawed or forbidden. Our religion has done away with patching and stripping to make scripture serve man's weakness.
Our religion does not tell you how to hold the spoon when you eat. Our religion does not tell the mother to heed the baby's crying. Our religion does not tell you how to set up a halal poultry market. Our religion does not waste words.
Our religion deals with our historical developments, purpose and destiny. Our religion is the way of peace and unity for human existence. Our religion establishes how we should live to earn Allah's favors. Our religion is the religion of permanence not change.
Secondly, our religion deals with how man is to see himself. It deals with what man is and what his role should be in life. What should man's role be on this earth and how to recognize emphases and priorities.
We do need Allah's Guidance in the whole of our life. We need Allah's Help. Certainly we need Allah's Help for everything and we understand and accept that Allah has helped us already. He helped us already by making us the excellence we are. This human creation is a powerful and productive gift from Allah. We believe Allah has helped us already and we should make the best use of what He has given us already, The additional help we need beyond our means and limitations as human beings is the theme of Allah's Help (Mercy) to man.
Those limitations depend upon the circumstances we are in. Circumstances will make us ill prepared or well prepared for the life that our Lord created for us and intended for us. In terrible circumstances Allah comes and give us help that would be found in common sense if those circumstances were not so severe. That is to say, man at certain turns of events is helplessly lost from his common sense behavior and directional life.
Hence, the Prophet dealt with a lot of issues that were not necessary to be in the Qur'an. They were issues that the common man could address with common sense with the support of scripture. The Prophet addressed common sense issues upon his ability as the most excellent common sense man Allah made. He was the most excellent behaving man before called to carry the word of Allah. Muhammed the Messenger of Allah was complete as concerns the whole range of possibilities opened to man by Allah.
The range would include life in the home and life in the public, life in business and life in government, life in the military and life as the chief executive. As a private citizen, as a private man in the home with wife and children Muhammed proved and demonstrated that excellence. Muhammed taught and demonstrated the total life and how to live it to benefit by our full potential.
To be continued...