Removal Of Images In Religion
MESSAGE OF CONCERN
(Removal Of Images In Religion)
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
As Salaam Alaikum Bismillah Ir-Rahman - Ir- Rahim
Praise be to Allah. Muslims, People, Friends. Peace be unto you. As we say in our Language. As - Salaam - Alaikum.
I am before you to address the need for the removal of images in religion that invite the members of the religions to worship, or to address those images as Deities, or as G-d's.
First, let me express a belief that is in scripture, and it is a kind of general principal, but it says something that I think will help us understand our problems, and it may be a good start for this address. We read in the Bible these words, "A tree is known by the fruit it bears." Regarding these images in religion, especially the Crucifix, I believe that what I am about to mention to you, is a product of that tree.
There's now a movement, headed by a man who was once a member in the Nation of Islam, officially called in those days (the lost found Nation of Islam in the Wilderness of North America). There's is a man who now heads a religious organization, or religion, (in fact he heads the religion), he has formed his own religion, and he has also formed his own bible. His bible is called (the black bible). It's not a cheap effort. He spent some money to put it together, and to have it printed. The pictures you will find in that bible, are mostly pictures of black people, and Satan in that bible is pictured, or depicted as a white man. The scene of Adam and Eve in the garden shows Adam and Eve, Black, and the serpent, (presenting the picture of the Devil), is the white man. This is, without any question, Black reaction in religion, to White Man's Image, in religion. If that's one of the fruits of the Crucifix, then we have to acknowledge as right minded sensible people, that that is a bad Fruit.
We hope to establish our reasons for insisting upon the removal of all images in religion, and that is our first reason. That it produces reactions in the conscience of people, that don't identify racially with the image, that are bad for society, and that represents only the furtherance of that kind of confusion and corruption. We're not attacking Christianity. We respect Christianity with sacred respect. We're not attacking Jesus, (peace be upon him). We respect Jesus Christ with Sacred respect. Let us continue.
And now, I would like to go to the positive side of the Crucifix. That is to say, that it has its good influence as well. And we as intelligent people should be able to weigh its good influence, or its good utility, with its bad influences, (if you agree with us), and its harmful utility, and make a decision, as to whether it is acceptable to leave the Image in society, or to remove it.
Another reason we have for insisting upon the removal of all Images in religion is that, the Crucifix, while it is true, that it does have some benefit, in terms of the kind of catharsis, or the kind of purging of wrong mindedness, on the part of people, that it offers, or that it holds. It has some benefits. When we look at a human being, or a human form, pitifully nailed to a cross, and we're told that person was a good person; that person had no malice, no ill will; that person was well-natured, and meant well to everybody, it does draw our sympathies toward him. And when our sympathies are drawn toward a good thing, it does have the effect of awakening our good nature, and our good conscience. So that's a good side of it. But in spite of it having that kind of influence, to provoke the movement or stir of good sentiments, moral sentiments, compassion etc., in the one who looks upon it. For Races that cannot identify with it racially, it has a reverse effect. It has a very negative effect. And not only for races that can't identify with it. Even for those who identify with it simply because it's in their Image, it has a reverse effect, it has a negative effect.
Now people. There is an understanding in Psychology, that the Human Conscious can be transported, and detached, and lose all identity with the concern that it previously belonged to, if you can transfer that particular consciousness, and its concerns to an Image.
In very early times of man's cultural growth or evolution, the psychologist, or the psychiatrist, and the priest were all in one person. He was the magic worker, or the witch doctor as we call him now, (he took on a bad name when the sciences evolved). And the witch doctor, he would form an Image, and He would use that Image to drum up emotions, sentiments and emotions, and draw those sentiments and emotions to the Image, until the person became almost spellbound. In fact many of the people He was treating, would fall out. They would lose consciousness and they would fall out. Some would go into fits. But after the experience was over, most of His patients felt better, because He had detached their own consciousness from the subject of that consciousness, from the owner of that consciousness. He had detached their own concerns, from the owner of those concerns, and he had made it possible for them to experience their own existence in the Image, rather than in themselves.
And I tell you with scientific proof. I tell you that's what has happened to many non-Caucasian people all over the world, where that Image has been established, where that Image has been accepted, of a white man or of a European looking man, or of a European Jewish looking man, on a cross. They have been successful. Who am I talking about? I'm talking about people who saw this utility in the Crucifix.
People who didn't mean well. People who wanted to capture the productive forces of other people for their own selfish purposes. People who wanted to empty out the concerns for the individual's life, and attach it to an Image, so that they could drive those individuals to inhuman extremes, to inhuman conditions. Suppress them with inhuman circumstances, inhuman burdens, and they would find it possible to survive, and be happy all the time, everyday, because their reality was no longer in themselves, Their reality was in the Image.
Now, let me see if I can explain this in a different way. You know you can experience a thing factually, and you can experience a thing through the medium of fantasy. You can experience a thing factually, and you can experience a thing vicariously, By vicariously we mean that you have become so absorbed in the thing that you're beholding, that you experience now what that thing is experiencing. So I can be enjoying music, and you can become so absorbed in watching me enjoy music that you become me. And now, you're enjoying music, just as I'm enjoying music. And you're enjoying the music through me. And your situation is not my situation. I'm free to enjoy the music. They have you handcuffed. They have your feet shackled. They have your mouth muzzled, but you see me, and you're doing the same thing I'm doing, with your hands shackled, your feet shackled, your mouth muzzled, but you're doing the same thing I'm doing. In your soul inside, you're bouncing with me. You're doing everything I'm doing, But you're not doing it factually, you're doing it vicariously.
Now, let us go on to explain what we're talking about. So in psychology, this is called transference, where the persons own reality has been transferred to something else. Now, suffering people will identify with a suffering image, or with an Image that represents the sufferer. It's easy to get them, suffering, to identify with the Image that represents the sufferer. So, no matter what color he is, no matter what ethnic image he has, if you see suffering, the human being is more a spiritual creature than he is a physical creature.
So, if they can show you, that spiritually, you are the same. He is a spiritual sufferer. You are a spiritual sufferer. His free spirit is oppressed, yours too. He has been wronged in the world, You too. He has been denied the freedom of movement - His hands are nailed, yours too. He has been denied the freedom of progress - His feet are nailed, yours too. He has had his heart injured, his heart is bleeding, but he can't do anything about it. Yours too.
If they can make a picture that identifies very closely with your own reality, then it's easy to transfer your reality to that image, and then you can stay in the dung house, you can stay in the dungeon, you can stay in ignorance, and you can find satisfaction through the image. Now, excuse my language. Occasionally I will say, dung; excuse my language. Now, if we have been able to come that far, and see what we are talking about, and understand what we're talking about, I say we're on the way to removing these images.
Because once any intelligent minded, free thinking person sees this reality, He has to commit himself for life, to get rid of that image. We're still on the second reason.
The second reason is a psychological reason. The second reason is, this thing that it does to our psychology, that robs us of attachment with our own reality. Now if I'm correct, won't this explain the lack of motivation in the black man. The lack of community aggressiveness on the part of the black community. Won't this explain the lack of stability on the part of the black community, and won't this also explain the divisions, and the lack of unity on the part of the black community, and not only on the part of the black community, but on the part of the Hispanic community, and on the part of every other community that hasn't been able to identify with the image, in its ethnicity, in its physical reality.
Now, let's look at what kinds of messages come from that image to the white man. To the white man, he sees a sufferer too, and if he's suffering, he identifies with the suffering Jesus also, but he has something that you don't have.
He knows that that Jesus is also called lord, and you know that you aren't a lord. And he knows that in the worlds situation that he lives in, the white man is boss, and that white image on the cross is called lord, so in his subconscious, or through his conscience, he is satisfied with that identity in a way that you could never be satisfied.
You're satisfied with it because he was a good man, and he suffered too, but G-d redeemed him and took him up into heaven, so you find satisfaction in that hope, that 'I too', because I now have become like that image on the cross. I too have hope. The lord that redeemed the image, will redeem me one day, and I too will have a place of glory and dignity in the after-world.
The Muslim challenged that idea. Because our Holy Book says, "Get with all the means that you have at your fingertips. Work for the afterlife, the afterworld, But don't forget your share in this world." That's what our Holy Book says.
So it's not enough for a Muslim. If a Muslim who knows his religion, he won't be able to accept the message of the cross, because he can't wait for the here-after to get his due respect, his due recognition, his due share in the possessions and in the authority of this one, and that he knows that G-d has obligated him to earn his ticket into the next, on the strength of what He has done.
And if he hasn't done much for a share in the controls of material things on this earth, then he hasn't earned much as a ticket into the next world. In our religion, mind you. Now I'm not saying that in Christianity this idea doesn't exist, but for the majority of Christians, this idea doesn't exist. There are only a very few Christians who also put that heavy emphasis on getting a descent share in this world, that's required too. But, we'll come to that point later.
The Constitution of these United States respect that as a sacred concern, and a sacred need in man. We'll come to that later. We're still on the second point. Now dear people, that Caucasian, or white person, or person that sees a close and striking resemblance between them, and the image on the cross, has an advantage that those who can't identify with it that way, are lacking; don't have. And again, I repeat, that advantage is the identity with the Lord. The identity with the Superior Being. The identity with the Judge. Jesus will also sit in judgment. Is that right? So they have identity with the owner.
Say! 'O yes, G-d gave Jesus Christ everything, and the white man says yes, we have got everything. And G-d gave Jesus Christ authority. And the white man says yes, we have got authority. And G-d made Jesus Boss, or Jesus Lord. And the white man will say, Yes, we are boss.
But when you look at it, no such ideas can come in your mind, because your reality does not agree with that part of the image. So, isn't this an injustice.
If this image is going to be an image for all the people. If this is an image for all races, isn't that an injustice? So here and now, we establish the second reason for the removal for that image.
Now, let us go on to the third one. The third reason that we will establish today for the removal of that Image is the conflict that Image hold for the Life of the American people, and I'm talking about the national life, the political life of the American people, as that life is understood, or interpreted by the Constitution of these United States.
The Constitution of these United States established that man has one nature. And that all men have same potential for growth and that all men are entitled to ownership, freedom, or the ownership of material possessions, political freedom, the right to aspire to the highest office of these United States, along with every other man, or every other citizen.
This is the concept in the Constitution of These United States of America. The Constitution of the United States recognize the sacred dignity of the human person. It does not give priority to ethnicity over what is essentially, the human being.
And as a consequence of that particular recognition being in the Constitution of the United States, and in the life of the American People, we have found that the movement of freedom and justice have trampled down ethnic concerns to establish the human concerns and to do justice by it.
We have no problem with the Constitution of the United States, but - The Crucifix itself, is in direct conflict with the spirit of that Constitution, when it holds up the picture of one race and calls Lord! In the face of the fact that white man, pretending to be a Scientist within the last one hundred years, falsely established that Black people are racially inferior to white. That the white man and the black man are not of the same substance.
They are not on the same level in the social evolution, the Cultural Evolution of Man. That the black man has been fixed by divine decree, into a lower level of social and cultural evolution, and that the white man has to always be the guardian of the black man. This is what they established in their so called Sciences, not too long ago. This is History.
In the face of that now, how can they dare tolerate the lifting of a white image, or a Caucasian image, as a deity, as a G-d, as an Image of G-d's son, in whom G-d manifests. No wonder all the faith we have in religion is spiritual faith. No wonder we get no place in religion, other than an emotional bang bang. It's because, that Image say's that G-d chose a white man as a medium for His expression. Not a black man, a white man, for the medium of His expression.
Some of you will say, "well man, it could have been anybody. It could have been a black one". And if it would have been a black one, the white man would have been in our situation after a few centuries. So we don't accept that. And some will say, "well, what about your Prophet Mohammed?". Was He a Negro? Yes! "Was He an African? No! By the white man's classification, a Negro is anybody with any amount of African Blood in his veins. And according to the history of our Prophet (PBUH), he had African Blood, and Caucasian Blood in His Veins, and the two of them met and made Arab. Now, that's not admissible. I only said that for emotional effect. That's not even admissible in this discussion. The point is this. Here is the point. Mohammed was not a G-d. He established that He was not a god.
He established that he was a human being, just like us. In fact, the Sacred Scripture that he delivered, It says in The Sacred words of G-d in the Qur,an, "Tell them Mohammed. I am a mortal just like you". Now it didn't leave any doubt, didn't leave any question. It didn't say, I'm a mortal and stop there, because some would say, "yes he was a mortal with the Divine Life in him". It says, "tell them O-Mohammed, I am a mortal just like you."
In answer to what was corrupted in the New Testament, where Jesus said, "I in you, and you in me". Saying that we are One Nature. We are of the same Essence. Whatever has sparked in me, the possibility exists also for you.
Now, let me say again. The Qur'an is not a white picture book, in fact it has no pictures at all. Not even our Prophet. We don't have a picture of our Prophet. There is no picture of him existing. G-d directed him to outlaw any imagery of that kind.
Now, let me proceed. And understand now, that He himself, came in the movement of truth that was before Him. He came into it by G-d's will to complete it. So whatever He established, it has its justification in the Prophets that were behind Him. Now, let me proceed a little further with this. Another point is that the Qur'an, (Our Holy Book), says, there never existed any race on this earth that G-d did not raise up from among them a Prophet. So, our book doesn't make Prophet-hood a white concern, or a white dignity.
Our Book makes Prophet-hood, the dignity of all people. And our Book goes on to say that there are Prophets named in this scripture, and others that are not named, and it says also, and I repeat it again, that never was there a community of people that did not have a Prophet. All the communities behind Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) had Prophet's.
All the nations, all the races had their Prophet's. It is generally believed among Muslims presently on this earth, and it has been believed for a long time that the Prophet called Luqman, (The Wise, in the Qur'an), was a Black African. So we think we can go on now that we have pointed to that kind of wrong, and injustice, we can go on now and finish that point, and go on to our final point, the final point, in this address.
The Science Of The Crucifix
We see in the science of the Crucifix; and it's a Science because it touches the human psychology in an effort to preserve human morality, so it's a Science. We see in this science, a step in the long progression of society's effort to preserve morality for the individual, and for society. We know that when the moral concern leaves society, the society is thrown into confusion, chaos, and pretty soon there's social turmoil, destruction, and abuses of human rights. Tyrant's come into being. Tyrant's come into position, and dominate the good life of the people.
One great philosopher, western philosopher too, (I can't recall his name just now). He says that political leaders don't determine the future of society, or the future of a people.
It's the moral content of that society that determines it's future, because, once the moral content of that society is muffled or corrupted, or destroyed, the people will be open for the tyrant to fish in the waters of their sensitivities, and throw bait out to them that will enslave them.
And how many of us have grabbed the promise of more money, and gave our allegiance to a tyrant. How many of us have grabbed the promise of more life and more sex, and more freedom for our lust, and accepted the tyrant. In fact, many of us who go to the polls, we go there for moral reasons.
We choose a man because he will license our weaknesses, and not bear down on our weaknesses to bring strength. So we choose him. We choose the weak leader that will allow us to keep on going with our weaknesses. Is that right? Yes! We know this to be a fact. So, when the moral content leaves the society, the fate of that society is in the hand of the biggest criminal that can come up, or the biggest beast, that can rise on the land. Whoever can wield the biggest stick of authority will take over the life of that people. But people will die. They will lose their life. They will even sacrifice their wife and their husbands. They will even sacrifice their children for a moral principal that they have been converted upon, or a moral principal that they think is crucial to the whole life of the people. Yes! They will die.
So moral concerns make men martyrs, and a tyrant can't deal with people like that. And what we are saying here that the Crucifix that is purposely designed to stimulate consciousness in people that look on it and in that kind of activity, preserve the moral life for them or for society, has so many other negative, kinds of influences coming from it, that it doesn't justify us even keeping it for that utility.
Before going to the final concern, I want to talk to you more on this one, because it needs much more talk, and we don't have time, because we put ourselves on time today and I'm going to have to complete it. But, let us look at the symbolism now... symbolism... symbolism. Isn't the Cross a symbol.
Now, if Jesus Christ went up in heaven whole soul and body, then I know, (maybe you don't), but I know that his Body, too, was a symbol. How come I know that? I know that because the Bible says "flesh cannot enter the kingdom". All right! That's how I know it. I know that the Bible say's flesh cannot enter the kingdom. So I have to look for an interpretation now.
They say "Jesus (pbuh) went to heaven whole soul and body". Now I have to look for an interpretation, because the Bible say's, (and doesn't apologize for it), flesh cannot enter the kingdom. So then, Jesus' body must also be a symbol. So we have one symbol Crucified upon another symbol. Is that right (if you follow me)? If you follow me, then one symbol has been Crucified upon another symbol. And you know, if you take one symbol that's a Cross, and then you take another symbol, and you make it a Cross, and you Crucify it on that Cross, 'That's a Double Cross'. Now, let's see what has been Double Crossed. For Jesus is a symbol now in his flesh and a symbol in the Cross, so let's see now what is the Double Cross.
In the Beginning, there was the word, and the word took on flesh, and dwelled with men. So the word has been Double Crossed. The word of truth has been Double Crossed, and Jesus (pbuh) is only a symbol of that word that has been Double Crossed. I mean Jesus (pbuh) in his Crucifix presentation, in the Crucifix form. It's only a symbol of the word, 'Double Cross.
How can we ever come to the understanding of the word, if they're going to keep in our eyes, keep us spellbound, enchanted and spellbound while we behold the white man on a Cross (in flesh). We have reduced this down now to manageable reality. We're no more in the mystery now, we can deal with this reality. We're talking about the word of truth.
Now, we're going to kind of digress a bit, and look at the growth of imagery outside of that limited context. We find that imagery has occupied man since time. Immemorial, we cannot recall exactly when this kind of thing came into being, that man, for as far as we can trace back, have grasped symbols that held the meanings for them because they identified in that symbol their idea, or concept, or whatever, so man has had to struggle for expression. He gets an idea. He gets a feeling. He gets an emotion. He has an experience, an internal experience, and He wants to communicate it. He finds himself without the ability to communicate what he's experiencing. And Allah has taught him through what medium? Allah has taught him to communicate through the medium of the external reality. And the oldest living example we have of this kind of progression, or evolution of man's effort to communicate, is in the Ancient Egyptian language they call Hieroglyphics.