Concepts In Religion - part 2
Imam Mohammed speaks from Harlem - Book 1
Concepts In Religion - part 2
So the grass throws its seeds into the earth, and in giving up its seeds into the earth and dying, the grass lives again. It lives again. There is a saying in the Bible, "What is the Son of Man but grass?" Now, what does this mean, "What is the Son of Man but grass?" In another place it says that the Son of Man is a worm. What does all of this mean? Let us look at the grass. It means that the Son of Man is only the desire in man for rational growth. Rational growth, enlightenment. His mind wants to know. He has been created to know, he wants to know.
The Son of Man is nothing but grass knowledge. And they call us the grass roots, don't they? He has nothing but grass knowledge. If he had palm tree knowledge, or if he had oak tree knowledge, or if he had some other big knowledge, he would not be called the Son of Man, he would be called Man.
Now, what does God say about emotionality? Does he say, "No, we've got to do away with this emotionality, it is no good"? No. Allah says in Qur'an, "By the fig, and by the olive, and by Mount Sinai, and by this town made safe (that is, the Muslim community, the Muslim government made safe), surely the human being We have created him or fashioned him in the best of molds."
What does that tell us? The olive ("teeni" in Arabic) is also excellence. Allah would not have named it if it were
not excellent. He says, "wa teeni" (and by the fig), "wa zaytuun" (and by the olive), and by Mount Sinai, and b> the community concept, surely We have made the human being, fashioned him, in the most excellent of molds. So the excellence of man is his "teeni" (fig); the excellence of man is his "zaytuun" (olive); the excellence of man is his "tuuri seeneen" (Mount Sinai); the excellence of man is his "baladil ameen" (city/community of security).
We are going to make this understandable even for those of you who do not speak the language. What do we mean when we say, "by the fig" and "the fig is the excellence of man"? Figs refer to the emotional stimulation in the rational mind. Emotional stimulation in the rational mind. Now, how can we understand that? Right now you are using your "teen." Some of you might be using your "zaytuun", maybe, I doubt it. Some might be using your "tuur seeneen", I doubt it. And it is possible that some of you are using the principle that is "baladil ameen", that is possible. But I know for sure that most of you are using your "teen", your fig. You do not have the scientific guidelines for what I am talking about, you do not have the Scriptural interpretation for what I am talking about. If you do, it is not complete, it is not satisfying you, that is why you are here. Those who thirst come to the water.
A lot of us think that every time the Devil wants to fool us he gives us a foreign meaning for what we are attached to. He creates a new meaning for what we have been attached to. So, some of you think water is nonsense, or water is just guess work, etc. But water has another meaning. When water is right, it is the beginning of life. If it is not polluted, if it is not poisonous, if it is rested, it is the beginning for life. If it is not polluted, if it is clean, it is the beginning of moral life. If it is clean and rested, it is the beginning of all life.
Do you think they could send the moon rocket to the moon without water? Impossible. Do you think they can manufacture automobiles, or any other materials without water? Impossible. Do you think that you can have culture, or clothes, or food without water? Impossible. Water is necessary in all areas of life. So do not ever underestimate what water means. When you hear people say, "The Imam sure came with a lot of water, he rained today, we needed our sponges today to soak it up," do not take that lightly.
So, I am talking about the teen principle in the human development, the fig. We know what the Scripture says about the fig, and we know what Al-Qur'an says about the fig. Allah has dignified the fig, Allah has given excellence to that fig. Why? Because it is a necessary stage in our development. It is an antecedent stage in our development. We cannot dismiss it, we cannot do without it.
The philosopher preceded the scientist. The scientist got his foundation in the philosopher. This is history. The brainy people, they know what this is. They can say, -"ameen" because they know, they have been educated, they have read, they have studied, they know. The philosopher is the antecedent for the scientist. In fact, the philosopher is called a scientist too. It represents a movement of the sciences. Philosophy is the movement of the sciences. But much of what the philosophers brought us is considered now not to be true science. It is not true science, but it was a necessary development or stage for the advent of the true sciences. Ask any scientist this, he will say "yes." Only those who do not know amongst us, they do what the donkey does, they will never say yes.
But, there is something wonderful in Scripture, there is hope. The donkey finally had a change of mind, something in him changed his mind. He saw a sword that he never saw before. Now, he had seen all kinds of swords, but once he saw that sword afire, he got a change of mind. Now, he had seen all kinds of swords, but once he saw that sword he said, "Hey, Baal," addressing his own mentality, "Hey, Baal, how come you rode on my back and struck me these three times? You have struck me out! Don't you know that three is a strike out? How come you have struck me out three times?" And the donkey would not do the biddings of Baal any more. He stopped doing the biddings of Baal.
Now, this has other applications. I know of at least one more application. But what it is talking about when we are dealing with individuals, is the individual giving up his own stubborn mentality. He had been fighting and resisting the guidance of God, fighting and resisting divine guidance. But he comes to the point where he sees the SWORD. He sees the sword of truth, the sword of consistency, the sword of endurance, the sword that does not break, does not dull. And he says, "I have to acknowledge what I am seeing. I am nothing but a donkey, I have no BS degree, no MA degree, I have no PhD, no LL's or anything, but I have to acknowledge what my common senses have seen." And he says, "Okay, I am through now. You have to get off my back, you stubborn, crazy mentality following the world. Get off my back, don't ride me any more. You struck me out. I want to get back into the ball game, I want another chance at the plate. Get off my back you stubborn, donkey-headed, mule-headed mentalityget the hell off my back!" Yes, Praise be to Allah.
So, dear people, we are talking about the teen principle. I said, the philosopher preceded what we call now the "true sciences." Different philosophers' words have been put into their (scientists) mouthswhether they said it or not, and I believe some of them said itwords have been put into their mouths where they were expressing their own experience. They were expressing their own life, their own experiment: what was happening in their reality to make them what they were, and what was bringing them to come to be what they wanted to be. One of them said this: "I think, so I am." He said, "I think, so I am." Meaning that until I started thinking, I was not even existing. He said, "I think, so I am."
Now, he did not say how he thinks, just "think." That is the beginning of life, beginning of some stirrings of life in us, when we start to think. Now, most of us cannot discern between thinking and feeling, and we think a process in the mind is "thinking" when it is nothing but "feeling." When you say, "That sounds like it may be right" or "I don't think it is right, I think it is wrong" and you do not have clear guidelines for that kind of thinking, you are not "thinking", you are "feeling." Your rational faculty is dominated by emotionality, and it is just feeling. The rational faculty is feeling inside you. That is not thinking. Thinking is when you get direction for your thought.
Thinking is direction of thought. Thought is being, and thought needs place. You cannot even begin to think, you cannot get the thought until there is place. Thought needs place. When you have place, then you have thought. So, what are you thinking about, paper? Where is the place? Paper is the place. Now, when you begin to think about something else about that paper, that is the progression from place. So thought must first have place. And just to think, it means you just have place. Now, if you think in a rational direction, if you think in a developmental line, then you are thinking. It is not just "thought", it is "thinking".
Have you ever heard people say, "I was thinking about you"? And then have you heard people say, "Oh, I had some thoughts about you." Those two expressions are in our language. We do not understand the difference, but there is a difference. "I was thinking about you" means that there was an object in my mind. 1 wasn't just having thoughts, my thoughts were directed toward something. And if I say, "1 had some thoughts about you, man" that means I had some notions or some feelings about you.
So we are talking about feelingthe rational impulse under feelings, and the rational impulse moved by some direction, having directionunder feeling and having direction.
The scientist sees thinking as "thought that has direction." Now, it does not have to be objectivity in the sense that we understand objectivity in science, or in college. But it nevertheless is objectivity. What I mean is that it is goal oriented. It has a goal that it is trying to reach, so it is goal-oriented. It is directional thought. So this is the kind of thought that brings life into the person. It brings life into the rational mind. That kind of thought brings life not only to the rational mind, but to the whole being.
Long before we got what we call now the "true sciences," man had this kind of thinking operating in him. And this brought us to the stage of development we call the "philosophies", or the "philosophers." And they in turn ushered in on the basis of their discipline, on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of their discipline, the true sciences.
Can you understand now that when Allah says, "teen is excellence" we must not dismiss that? Let me show you how the good name "teen" had been adulturated, and how it has degenerated into meanings that are regarded as not having any real relevance or any real worth in the higher order of man's thinking or mind. We say, "That is a figment of your imagination." Or, "Oh, man, talk plainly, I can't understand your "figurative" speech." Or, "Don't be so "figurative", man, tell me what you are talking about." So we look down on that now, don't we? But in some circles of intellectual interests it is not looked down upon, it is admired.
There was a time in the recent development of the Western mind when they came into a form of art that is still with us. It is called "expressionism." What is "expressionism"? Expressionism is not expressing what you see in an object from the object viewpoint, but expressing what you see in the object from your own viewpoint. Behind the movement of expressionism came jazz, and what they call "improvisation." At first, the jazz musician is playing jazz, he is reading his notes and he sounds good. Then the second Principle takes over: he begins playing from his own viewpoint (something like the "scat" singing made famous by Ella Fitzgerald). They call that "improvisation." Now, that is the fig working. And if the fig had not worked, we would not have had that kind of jazz, we would not have that music.
We also find expressionism in art, in paintings. They say, "Look, you have to learn expression in your painting" and they teach expressionism. "Don't let your brush be guided by what the object says; we want your brush to be guided by what yourself says as you relate to that object." So, maybe he is painting a dog and it turns into a fish. Maybe he is painting a dog and his mind suddenly became a fish, because he connected certain impulses or certain impulse tendencies in the dog with the reflexive tendencies in the fish. So, now he sees a fish. So he paints a dog and in the figure of the dog there comes out a kind of spirit, or an aura of a fish. And the teacher says, "Oh, Johnny, you did it! Oooh, you did it, Johnny! That's what I meant by expressionism! Oooh, Johnny, let us take this and put it on exhibit!"
So we have used this principle in many ways. And it has reached out for reality, but missed and missed. But Allah knows. He did not create you to hit on the first try. You are not perfect. But every time you miss, you create a new interest. You create a new thing for man to look at. And that new thing also has its information. And it fosters something else. So actually, even your misses in the whole scheme of your development are not misses, because they indicated something that pointed you on to another stage of your development. Is that right? So why dismiss that? In our religion, we do not dismiss the teen principle. It is the excellence of man. It is the sensitivity that man needs in order to come into the rational disciplines. Allahu Akbar.
Now, we know that the fig, when it ripens, it is sweet. Oh, it is so delicious, it is so nice, and it is easy on the teeth. It does not require a lot of teeth, or a lot of teeth caution. When you start biting down on an olive and things like thatdates and olivesyou have to have some "teeth caution," or you might be in the dentist's office before you know it-But the fig, you do not have to worry about chipping your teeth. Nice, ripe figs, you eat one after the other. You like them because they are sweet and juicy. Their water content is more when you compare the fig with the olive. They have more water, nice and sweet.
What is this saying? It is saying that the individual is entitled to his own mind; he is entitled to his own independent thinking. We have to leave that in our society. That freedom of thought, the right of the individual to think for himself, is the fig.
Many societies supress the freedom of thought. They suppress the right of the individual to think for himself. As we think of this society as a democratic society, when you consider that most of us had our life dominated and orientated in the Church, and the Church was telling us what real is, telling us how we should think, telling us to believe this idea and do not question it, they were suppressing the freedom of thought. They were doing just what we were talking about in regards to this fig. But, where we find people encouraging people to examine things rationally, they are representing the freedom of thought, they are representing the development of the fig.
The fig will bring us to what? The fig principle in us, the fig operation in us, will bring us to that particular idea that is expressed in what we just said of the fig: figment. What do we mean when we say, "That is a figment of your imagination"? We mean that the concept is your own thinking, the concept is of your own personal thinking. That is what we mean.
But tell me. did not man have to form concepts on the basis of what he sensed through feeling, through spiritual impulse? Did not he have to form concepts on the basis of that before he formed any scientific interpretation or explanation? Again, we see what it meant in Al-Islam, in Qur'an, when it says, "Wa teeni wa zaytuun (by the fig and the olive), wa tuuri seeneen (and Mount Sinai), wa haathaal baladil ameen (and this city of security)" all of them are worthy! All of them are worthy and they represent necessary steps in the progression of man to social environmental reality. So we do not kill any of them. Praise be to Allah.
Let us go back now to an idea or concept that we mentioned earlier: that was Satan. We mentioned Iblis, Satan. Let us look again at the word of Allah, the word of the Almighty in Qur'an. Allah says to the angels, "Obey and make gestures of obedience to Adam." And they all made their gestures of obedience. How did they make it? They made sajda, which is prostration. It is putting the forehead, the nose, the hands (the palms of the hands, open hands), the knees, and toes (the tip of the toes), on the ground. That is sajda. Putting the end of the feet, which is the extremity of the toes, on the ground; the knees on the ground; the nose on the ground; forehead on the ground; the open palms on the ground. Let us count those points.
So Allah says to the angels, "Make obeisance, gestures of respect and obedience to Adam." And all of them did that except Iblis, the one who is called the Satan, or the Devil, the Chief Devil. At that time he was not operating or functioning as the Devil, he was functioning as the Chief above the Angels. But the moment he thought that Allah was going to create a higher being than him, he became jealous. He became jealous of the new leader and he refused to make this gesture of obedience. So Allah says to him, "What is the matter with you?" Meaning, what is causing you to behave as you behave? And he (Iblis) said, "You made me of fire, and him of mud fashioned into shape."