The Muslim Context
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
When America was a country with faith in the future, it was a strong and leading country in spite of the evils it committed. As it grew more protective of its resources and its power, it started shrinking as a nation in terms of excellence, productivity, and its acceptance in the international world. Likewise you will start shrinking at home when you fear for your future, fear to invest something, fear to take a dollar and spend it on your child.
The Prophets of God say, "We have no knowledge of the future except what God tells us. And we have no power to control the future." Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "If I had foreknowledge of the future, I would have wealth and everything that I need."
The Qur'an says nobody has knowledge of the future but God. And if you understand the Bible, it says the same thing. In reference to this subject in last months article, without knowledge of the future, you don't know what kind of circumstances may befall you or your two or three children. Things can happen to burden the two or three much greater than the burden of ten.
I am not telling you to throw away your birth control pills and contraceptives. I am only telling you what God says. He says that we are not to kill our children for fear of want. There is no justification, and God will not accept that. This is not only referring to physical killing. God identifies that as a savage evil practice.
"Killing" in the above verse means denying them, holding them back. For example, your bright intelligent child says, "I want to go to college." And you say, "No, we cannot afford to send you because we don't have enough money." Why don't you have the big heart, the big faith to believe in God. If you had that kind of faith, you would say, "Son, if you want to go to college, we are going to find a way."
A good parent will bring the whole family into the work of sending that one child who has the ability to college. That is the right thing to do. There are some parents who say they can't afford to send a child to college, but they can afford to throw away twenty-five dollars worth of food in the garbage can every week.
God calls us to good sense when He says, "Do not kill your children out of fear of poverty." Those who use contraceptives or practice birth control say, "We are not going to have but two children", call it family planning. But how is that family planning? Those whom they are eliminating would have been members of the family. God intended that they be in the family, so how could eliminating them be family planning?
Family planning is when you let all of the members come in. This so-called family planning is the plan of a country facing hard economic times, and since they will be affected by what you do, they bring in these social programs. They give you food stamps and welfare, and in return they insist that you do something that God warns you not to do.
The same people, the same country, the same nation, the same institutions that used to preach against birth control not too many years ago are now supporting it. But today it is economic expedience or financial expedience for the national budget.
Devils in Government
What I am saying is that we should not look to those who support such things. Allah says that the devil has no power over you but to call and you come. You don't have to go to these people or institutions. Some of you might say, "Oh, is he saying that the State Department, the National Government is a devil?" No! I am not saying that, but influences are devils. And many people are devils who support those influences.
If you don't think there are devils in the government, you are crazy, silly or naive. Surely we have devils in the government. Devils are everywhere. The Bible says that devils will even be in the pulpit of the Church. It says that Satan will be exalted in the House of the Lord, pretending to be an angel, and ruling in the House of the Lord.
If the Bible says that Satan will exalt and establish himself in the religion, shouldn't we expect that he will establish himself in the secular quarters of the government? It is the goodness of the people in this democratic society that keeps devils from really getting a strong hold on the Presidency of the United States. But many blacks think that President Reagan is close to being Satan.
I think this President is a man God placed in office to help us get back our good senses. If God wanted him to die, he would be dead. The man was shot in his old age, and just hearing the gunshot should have killed a man of his age, but he took a bullet and lived. God didn't want that man to die. He wanted him to stay around here and whip us into shape with reality.
What is God telling us in the Qur'an where it says, "Kill not your children for fear of want. We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin." He is telling us not to take the responsibility as individuals to secure the needs for His creatures upon ourselves. Trust God, for He has created an amplitude of more than enough for all of our needs. Have faith in the possibilities for growth and for the multiplying of goods.
God goes on to say, "Nor come near to adultery." In this verse God mentions adultery. Keep in mind the sequence. First He says to worship none but Him. He then mentions respect for the parent, respect for your near relative, respect for your earnings, respect for your children, respect for the wayfarer or child of the road, in that order. Now after you have done all of those things, what is there that can break up a family? Adultery! I hope the Muslims will be able to relate to this as I do to the masjid, to the community and others. Aren't these units of people working together, acting as a family with heads over them, with responsibility to each other, and with authority they should respect.
We have associated this act of adultery with many kinds of disloyalties, but it actually means unfaithfulness, especially to your spouse. But, God with His Wisdom points to a concern greater than our private concern in the home; the concern for the loyal bonds upon which society must depend if it is to stay in tact and progress.
When God says, "Do not commit adultery," it means do not be unfaithful. Do not be disloyal. When you say you are committed to something, be committed to it. Adultery here is not limited to just sexual intercourse. You can intercourse sexually and you can intercourse verbally with words. For verbal communication we use the words "discourse" and also "intercourse."
The next verse reads, "For it is a shameful deed, and an evil, opening the road to other evils." Unfaithfulness! Disloyalty! When you break the link of loyalty, you open the way for many other evils. That is what the devil wants. He wants us to be disloyal to each other. Let us take for example the community of Muslims following my leadership. The devil fears your loyalty to Imam W. Deen Muhammad. He fears that most because if you are truly loyal to my leadership, his forces will not be able to manipulate and steer our lives as they would like. They won't be able to infiltrate our movements, get their dupes into positions to contain our growth, confuse our minds and break up our unity. They won't be able to cause our energies to be spent in time wasting things, leaving our real needs unattended.
Human Life Is Sacred
The next verse reads, "Nor take life which Allah has made sacred, except for just cause." God has made human life sacred. We are not to kill people. We do it only as obedient servants of God. And that is only when the law is in our hands, or only in self-defense, when our own life is at stake. In connection with the last verse, God says, "And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority to demand retribution." This means that something is to be done to make up for the wrong that has been done, that the evil must be paid for.
It goes on to say, "But let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped by the law." If we exceed the bounds given to us by God, and we exercise our rage on people, God reminds and cautions us that He has given us a just law, a law of equality. When we transgress that law, we fall into the behavior of savages. God's law helps us to be decent people.
The Muslim's Property
God then tells us, "Come not near to the orphans property except to improve it." A lot can be said about this. What does it mean when it says property? If al-Islam is my religion, then the Qur'an is my property, the Prophet's sunnah is my property, the great wealth of
knowledge that has been accumulated by the wise men in Islamic history is my property, And anytime a small minded leader requires that people do nothing but listen to his limited voice, and he does not encourage them to meet with others and embrace others who are more knowledgeable for the sake of expanding their minds, he is stealing the properties of the orphan.
An orphan is a child without its parents. And a people without knowledge are without their parents. What is a people without the ability to look out after their own future and to protect it with knowledge? What is a people without anyone responsible over them to take that concern to heart, to look after their interest, and to give them knowledge to grow. These are people in an orphan situation. Therefore God says, "And do not take the orphans property except to improve it."
All Acts Must Be Answered For
The next verse reads, "And fulfill every engagement, for every engagement will be inquired into on the Day of Reckoning." God is saying that there is coming a time when you will have to answer for everything that you do It goes on to say, "Give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight."
We know that the term "weigh" literally means weighing on scales. But the scale in this instance is a symbol of your just actions. The dealer in merchandise or goods to whom you go to purchase something puts it on a scale. If he cheats you in the balance, this verse is against him. But the application goes beyond that to every situation in our life. If we are relating to people and cheating them in our dealings, then we are not keeping the just balance. God uses the same Arabic term, mustaqim," for the just balance that is used for the Path of God.
God says, "Siratul mustaqim," for this Path of ours. He gives the name of the balance in this verse as "bilqistasil mustaqim," which means with a balance that is straight. You may get by doing wrong for a time, but the just law of God will eventually catch up with you. To live as God has prescribed is the most excellent and advantageous way in the final determination.
To conclude this article, I quote the following verses, "And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge, for every act of hearing or seeing or feeling in the heart will be inquired into on the Day of Reckoning. Nor walk on the earth with insolence, for you cannot rend the earth into pieces with your walk, and you can't reach up to the heavens with your tall outstretched neck. Of all such things, evil is hateful in the presence of God."
The above quote should be clear enough, not needing an explanation.