The Garden Now
With Allah's Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer
"The Garden Now"
Imam W. D. Mohammad Live at Norview Middle School
Sewells Garden - Norfolk , Virginia - May 10, 2008
Special to the Muslim Journal Newspaper
By Imam Bilal Yasin El-Amin
Chesapeake, Virginia . Imam W. Deen Mohammed accepted an invitation from the Dawah Team of Hampton Roads to visit the Hampton Roads area on May 10, 2008 . The Imam gave a public address at the Norview Middle School in Sewells Garden area of Norfolk , Virginia . The event was broadcast live on public radio and TV to an estimated audience of over 250,000 households. Approximately 250 people were in attendance from Virginia , West Virginia , North and South Carolina , Washington DC and Maryland .
The world started long before the history of man started. Life for man began in the garden. It is the same in Christianity and Al-Islam. The garden is a picture of innocence. The life comes as a baby, innocent. The baby comes here trusting, trusting mother and others. The baby does not come here rebelling or as a criminal. The baby comes here trusting us. Animals are also trusting, up to a point. All life is one, and life evolves. Jesus is a great sign of this innocence the picture of the animals in the Nativity scene comes to mind, depicting this innocence and trust in the human world and the animal world.
Life evolves and progresses. Life is one, but all of us do not progress the same. Some will not come out of the first nature, which is the flesh. Some will be eliminated, not being able to come out of the first nature, the flesh. We humans have the ability to think outside of our reality and we are able even to change our reality. Human life is the superior on this planet earth. All people are not in humanity; they are in human form, but not in the best behavior or the most excellent manner of performing as humans. G-d identifies humans as the thinkers. Philosophy and philosophers are indications of man the thinker. W.E.B. Dubois said, " we will progress to the measure that we are willing to teach our children to think." Not just any thinking. He means to think progress. The most important identity that G-d gives humans is the thinker.
The garden represents a virtuous place, where there is no sin or corruption. The Hajj is also a picture of the garden. No fighting, arguing or killing is allowed in the Hajj. You can't even hunt or kill an animal in the precincts of the Holy House. Also, in the Hajj, you do not lead your wife in prayer; she leads herself in prayer in the Hajj. This is an indication of equality in the garden. There is respect for intelligence of male and female.
We are living in a time of great change. As Obama says it is time for change. But Obama did not bring this change. It started long before Obama. To survive in this time now, we have to work together; we have to be connected under our best leaders, males and female. It has to be a world that does not exclude anyone who can make a contribution to the progress of humanity. We must meet with the best minds, including women, and conduct ourselves by shura baynahum, commonly known as mutual consultation. We cannot act arbitrarily. Qur'an says: "Our Lord, You are marshalling (moving) the whole of humanity to a day in which there will be no doubting." It is a day of the conclusion of things. This a day in which the issues are clear. The darkness is moving away. This is the natural urge in humans. Humans don't stop growing like grass or animals. Humans want to move beyond limited growth to seek more and more clarity and to move toward a more satisfying existence on this planet. As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end. The world started in peace, innocence, and progress.
Now, I'll tell you something that most preachers will not tell you: The serpent was a part of the constitution of Adam. It was that part of Adam that was not really typical of the human heart. It was that part of Adam that can divorce himself from human concerns and put himself in a more favorable position to benefit himself from the human environment. It was his selfish nature. Adam did not consult scripture, but listened to the serpent, and that is how he fell into trouble. He listened to his selfish or animal nature. The serpent is cold blooded. It does not walk on its legs, it moves on its skin skin having no hair; that is, having no feelers for sensitivity. Hair is sensitive. If a knat lights on your hair, you can feel it. It represents intuitive sense. Animals operate primarily from their intuitive senses or instincts. Man can develop his intuitive sense by continuously using his rational sense. Man who continues to use his rational sense will eventually spark his intuitive senses and his mind will light up. We do not understand this completely. We will never understand it completely. It is one of the mysteries.
Human beings are a very special creation. To say you are human is a big thing, and we should appreciate that. We are superior to the grass, or the big elephant that eats the grass. We are the caretakers for all other creatures. Man was put in the garden and charged with taking care of everything, including things in the heavens. Science has progressed to utilize power of the things in the heavens. We are looking at sunlight now as a big help for our energy needs. We are evolving to a much higher and more productive life than we've ever had before. It is not seen in the many, but in the few. The many do not manage to shape up and take advantage of the progress.
I often say look at the elephant and the size of his head in comparison to his body. Elephant has a small head in comparison to his body. Then look at the donkey and the size of his head in comparison to his body. The donkey's head is big, compared to the rest of his body. The donkey can have 50 doctorate degrees, and it doesn't matter, he is still a donkey because his head is too big in comparison to his body. You have heard of the big headed scientist, Yacub. That's a Nation of Islam myth. Look at the human being and the size of our head in comparison to the body. It is small in comparison to the rest of our body. The more evolved life is, the less attention we give our own intelligence and the more attention we give the need that our intelligence was created to serve. And we have to make shura, shura baynahum meeting with the best minds, including females, to make decisions. We are moving to a time when we cannot move arbitrarily. That was Adam's downfall. He moved arbitrarily and acted without respecting consequences.
Man started in the garden and he is moving toward the garden, after dispelling the darkness. We (all people) are being marshaled to a day (or time) in which there will be no doubt. We are moving to more understanding of what G-d has revealed. We are moving to more cooperation between the different faith traditions, when the issues will be seen clearly. We are moving toward our greatest destiny. We are moving toward the maximum virtue, maximum productivity for life and the satisfaction of maximum curiosity. The questions of why we are here, where are we moving to, what is the destiny. We are moving to the conclusion of things and clarity being established. We are moving to a more satisfying existence on this planet earth.
The World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) invited me to a meeting. They asked me to come up and express myself, and I did. I told them that I would like to take the best that I get from this organization back to my community, and to do this on the level of the average person in my community. After I spoke, they made me one of the International Vice Presidents of that organization. And I thank all of you for that because I accepted the organization's invitation on behalf of you and on the strength of your accepting me as your leader. This organization would not have accepted me without your lifting me up. So thank you. And the Honorable Elijah Muhammad started it all. Thank you all very much.