Public Address at the International League of Muslim Women Annual Conference
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal 5-26-06 to 6-9-06
Imam Mohammed's Public Address at the International League of Muslim Women Annual Conference.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Listen to Imam W Deen Mohammed @ www.newafricaradio.com
(The following address was given at the ILMW Conference of 2005, hosted by its New England Chapter in Springfield, Mass.)
Thank you, Sis. Sahirah, International President of this great women's international organization. We are very proud of them. They dignify all of us with their service to humanity, especially to the women who need their services, who need their help. And we know that if you help a woman, you help many.
Prayers and the peace be on our Prophet Muhammed. That is the traditional salute to him. He said to one who was asking him how to share himself with this mother and father, who had become of old age and both of them needed his help. He was asking the Prophet how was he to share himself with his mother and father.
The Prophet said to him, "Help your mother." The man was still waiting for more from the Prophet. The Prophet again said, "Help your mother." And then he said, "And help your father." So the emphasis is on the mother, and the mother is symbolic of the collective group, the family, the community, the congregation.
We have a sign in the House that we turn to when we worship in prayer, in congregation and prayer. The House is called Ka'bah, and Ka'bah means "connection." And G-d says to us in our Holy Book of the House that we call Ka'bah, that in it are blessings for many people. For Muslims all over the world, it is a sign.
It is a sign that scholars in Islam say is the Fifth Pillar, a sign of the unity of all mankind. It is the Fifth Pillar or fifth essential in the practices of Muslims. And there are five of those essentials.
The First of them is to witness that there is One G-d, Who is responsible for everything, bringing into existence everything that exists. That is The Creator, and we witness that He is One. And we witness that Muhammed (PBUH) is His Messenger.
Second is Prayer, to worship that One. Once we acknowledge that He is G-d, we should worship that G-d.
Third is to give in Charity. Fourth is to Fast, to restrain ourselves for G-d. G-d says in an inspired Hadith (saying of the Prophet), "Fasting is for Me." He says, "Let the fasting person know who sincerely fasts in the month of Ramadan" - that's the Fast month for us - that "the breath of the fasting person with G-d is like the best perfume in the nose of the people."
That is how much G-d loves one who fasts for the sake of obeying G-d, having a disciplined life and obedience to G-d.
And the Fifth and last of those fundamental practices is to make Pilgrimage to visit the House.
Life is all about making connections. To have life, you have to make the first connection. That's what the President in the New England area has just done about two weeks ago. She made the connection, she and her husband who is an Imam I have known for some time.
Although I have never had any personal dealings with him, I feel as though he is my personal friend, Imam Dawud. May Allah bless this union with all the joys that you all want and expect. Ameen.
So life is all about connections. And then G-d wants us to know that even the forming of life in the body of our mother and her body, the forming of life is connections. He gives us the water and the thickening of water adhering, water trying to hold firmly together.
Blood is forming together, adhering, and then the fetus lump; the flesh now has formed and is holding. And it goes on to bone forming in the flesh. Then Allah says He covers the body with flesh, and after that there is another creation.
So G-d wants us to know our two creations. We have one creation that's flesh, special flesh, human flesh. It belongs to the animal world, but once the human spirit comes into it, it shouldn't be animal anymore. It should be human.
He wants us to know we have two creations. Then we are created all over again,
and that's the human person inside the body. Religion, not just Islam - but the great religions, are all about acquainting us with the life inside the body, that second creation.
It is the true life and G-d says of that life, He formed you in your mother and He formed your picture and made it most excellent in your mother. When the baby is delivered, you see a beautiful baby girl or a beautiful baby boy. And we see a picture and want that picture, that new baby. We've got to have that picture.
G-d said he formed all our pictures in our mothers. He made your picture most beautiful, most excellent, the most handsome one. That's the human spirit and the human personality that G-d wants us to have in common with each other.
We should have one human spirit accepting all people in the family of man or human family. We should have one basic spiritual nature.
It's all about respect. It's all about giving, struggling, striving. Muhammed the Prophet (PBUH), when he was concluding his mission, he said many things. But one thing he said because he was persecuted and had to fight to free religion. He said G-d ordered him to fight until the religion is no more persecuted, and the people are free to worship under G-d.
This is Qur'an. This is the Word of G-d through Muhammed, the Prophet (PBUH). He said to the people - he didn't say "no more wars," but that's what I think he meant. "After this is only Taqwa and Jihad." Taqwa is a word we use for sacred respect. It is translated as fear sometimes, but it means sacred respect.
The fear is the fear to break that respect, to lose that respect. And G-d says, "And fear G-d." But it also means give G-d the respect that G-d is due. And, "All of your close family ties begin with mom and dad." Muslims, like Christians, are supposed to hold the life of family sacred. And anyone who violates the family commits a very bad sin.
Whether it be an outsider, an enemy of the family or a member of the family, when you violate the respect we should have for family, it is a major sin. G-d has placed nothing before family, except Him.
He also says, "Close family members who have close family ties have first rights in the Book of G-d,"
In America, I learned when I was a child that charity starts at home and spreads abroad. Take care of family first. This is both Christianity and Islam.
Life begins for human beings in Heaven. The person who loves G-d doesn't worry; if G-d says their life begins in Heaven, that's good enough for them.
They are not going to get pencil and paper and try to figure out things. We can see that life starts in Heaven every time we look at the little baby that mama delivered; that's that heavenly life. The baby comes here with a spirit that has not been changed.
The world can change. Mom and dad can change. But that baby comes here with a spirit, the same spirit that G-d gave the first baby that was put on this earth, that existed on earth or in Heaven.
G-d wants us to know that He is going to guide us. He is going to put us in circumstances that are going to be too much for us. He says the creation of Heaven and earth is a bigger creation than that of man.
Why does He say that? He says that, to tell all of us that the human being is not able to manage this material world, that we have to be supported upon, without the Help and Guidance from G-d.
We know that in the story of the beginning of mankind, a kind of a Genesis in Qur'an, G-d said there was a rebel in the Heavens that we call Iblis. The Christian language would call him Satan; the Arabic word or Qur'anic word is Shaitan.
There was a rebel among the Angels. His name was Iblis, and he did not accept that man should be made a khalifah in the earth. Khalifah in the earth means one responsible for rule or authority that human life should have in the earth. Iblis did not accept that; he didn't like that and was not a true Angel but one of the Jinns.
Angels are made of Pure Light. Jinns are made of fire. Jinns are made as passionate creatures. When Iblis did not accept G-d's Will, G-d said to him, "Get you down from here, all of you." Because of what this Jinn did, man also was sent down for human life, sent down from Heaven to the earth.
"Get down into the earth, into life. There, you will find all of your needs, and there you will die, and from there you will be raised up again." G-d is saying that man's life is to be lived on earth in the community of people, human
Man is not an Angel. He has angelic qualities; he can serve in the role of an Angel; he can even behave as an Angel, which is rare. Man's description is human, not Angel.
G-d said, "If the earth had been populated with Angels, He would have sent you an Angel as a Messenger." He didn't. He sent you a human person, Muhammed the human mortal, as he is called in the Qur'an.
G-d is telling us that we have to accept to live in circumstances that we have on earth. We have to have G-d's Help to manage, because without G-d's Help, it is too much for us.
We don't have to tell too many mothers in the ghettos that. She knows it's too much for her. Her children turn to the street, and she can't call them back. There is nothing she can do about it but just see her children go the way of the streets.
She can call everybody and not get any help. Everybody comes, but hardly ever anybody can help. Her children are gone.
That's because the world is a bigger influence than human influence. If we let the world and the circum-stances in the environment that we have in the world, if we let those circumstances and that environment go against human life, then we lose our children to that life, that Pope John Paul II, who has passed - may G-d have him in Paradise and Peace, Ameen - "the Culture of Death."
He called that cultural influence we have in the street that is negative and against human decency, and these are his exact words, "the Culture of Death." So G-d wants us to have leaders who have the faith and spirit that they can manage circumstances in their environment and influence the environment, so the environment supports the human life that G-d wants for us.
Muslims are not only obligated to take care of their souls - yes, we are - but those of their families as well. G-d says take care of your families. "Save yourselves and your families from the Fires of Hell." Those fires are not just burning below the surface of the ground. They are burning wherever we are, and many of us are better than six feet below the surface of the ground.
We think we are walking on the ground, but we are not. We are more than six feet under, and the Hell Fires are leaping all over us.
We want to be able to manage circumstances. We can't do this alone; that's why G-d wants us to be a community. G-d says, "You are a community."
He doesn't want us to be anything but a community. The congregation is supposed to be the congregation of the community. The Muslims are a congregation.
Congregation means coming together, holding together. He could have used another word, which would make you want to think of comparing yourself to some other community. But He said, "... And you are the Best Community evolved for the good of all people...."
We want to strive for community life, and we want to have our community life in the way that G-d guides us to have it and to have that community life welcome all people.
We are family. Humans are family. So we have to welcome all people who belong to the family of human beings. Welcome them and see no differences.
When you come to lie point where , ou meet them and you become friends with them as good persons and you come to the point that you've forgotten that this person belongs to another race, you've forgotten that person belongs to another religion, you become friends, you welcome each other, you live with each other and go places with each other, greeting each other "hi" and "how is your family," asking about each other's relatives - when you reach that point, you have joined and have successfully come back into the family of mankind as created by G-d. And you will be in heaven.
Muhammed, the Prophet (PBUH), our Prophet, the Prophet of the Qur'an, made faith a condition of love and made faith also a condition of getting into Paradise. He said, and I am quoting him word for word, "Never will you enter Paradise, until you have faith. And never will you have Faith, until you practice loving one another."
In the beginning of the Nation of Islam around 1931, we have the records saying that the teacher of the Nation of Islam came from overseas and began teaching in Detroit, Michigan, where the first Temple was established. And the first chapter of this great International League of Muslim Women organization was established too in Detroit.
The Nation of Islam, as I knew it - I was born in 1933 and remember 1943 and 1953; that's 20 years. All of those years, if you met a member of the Nation of Islam and you told them you were a member, they automatically accepted you as their brother and sister and you could feel that love.
We had love for one another. That's what was strong among us, that we had love for one another. We lost that during the change, when we stopped thinking about G-d so much and started thinking about ourselves - getting money, Black Power. All that took it away. We lost that genuine love we had for one another.
Over recent years, the past 10 years at least, I see that love growing again. And the International League of Muslim Women is really a great haven of love for one another. That, we feel. And you are helping us grow that love back. You are helping the community grow that love back that we lost. We are getting it back.
We have to understand, too, that we need special efforts like the International League of Muslim Women, special organized efforts. People should look for coming together. People should look for those of similar minds, when you want to do things, when you have a need that is not being fulfilled, it's strong in you and you want to do something about the situation.
Look for those who have your kind of thinking, your mind. Look for those in whose mind is the same fire burning, burning for something special. Then you group with those of like minds. You should group together and have your leader. When people come together, the leader manifests. The one who is best qualified will be known, and you'll have a leader.
This is how we want to multiply productive work. We want it to multiply. Let's not stop the work of the International League of Muslim Women. Let's find out what's the need in our community. Let us say, "Hey, I'm not going to wait for Imam W. Deen Mohammed to say 'shazaam' and create this.
"He is not superstitious; he doesn't believe in that kind of magic. I'm going to do something like these women have done, like Sis. Sahirah Muhammad." Praise be to Allah. We thank Allah for her and all these great sisters.
Don't forget to identify with the "striving for," and today we are still the "striving for." If I remain the leader, I'm going to be the leader of the "striving for." When you get rich, I'm going to retire and will ask you for money. But I will always be the leader of the "striving for."
I think that is what Muhammed the Prophet (PBUH) meant, when he said he was offered two ways to go. He was offered to travel through the mountains, and he was offered to travel through the plains. He said he chose to travel through the plains. So identify with the "striving for" firstly, right at home in your community.
Identify with the "striving for," and let us test our leaders, when they come before us to lead us. Let us see if they have love and compassion for the "striving for," not the "lazy for." See if they love and care to serve the needs of the "striving for." If they do, then they are the leaders who we want and they must show us by their actions that they love human beings, that they love people.
That they are not just working for the dollar or working to pay their bills. That they are working because they love people and want to see the whole life better, not just one life or some better - but all the life better. Then we should support them.
I'm saying this because we live in a time when most of us have lost our human life. We are in human form, but we have lost our human life and are subject to have show-off leaders and people who are promoting self-interest, first and last. Those people will deceive us and themselves. All of us lose, when we accept such persons as our leaders.
So in my conclusion, we want to keep Taqwa and Jihad. Keep the Sacred Respect that G-d wants us to have, for G-d first, but also for human relationships, especially those family ties and all things that He, G-d, has made sacred. Then we want to always identify with people who are striving for a better life.
Thank you, and Peace be unto you. As-Salaam-Alaikum.