Community as the focus for life - Part I
Community as the focus for life - Part I
Selected Talks I
by: Imam W Deen Mohammed
QURAN 71.17; Allah made man as a growth
"And Allah has produced you from the earth growing (gradually)"
We want to address community as the focus for life, the life that Allah (swt) wants for His people, for human beings, that is, a focus for production or growth. Allah (swt) says in Qur'an and it's in the Bible, too, but being a Muslim, Imam, leader, my references should be from Qur'an and not from Bible. But if I were a Christian addressing you 1 know the Bible well enough to give the same lecture, same speech, and come from the Bible.
G-d says He created us to grow and He says He has created us like a plant. So a parable of human life in Qur'an is a parable of plant life. And when you look at a plant it is rooted in the earth, the ground, the land, and it really gets its first growth or start beneath the surface, under the land, covered and hid under the ground, under the surface of the earth. Covered and hid from view, the seed gets its moisture, responds to the moisture, and it swells because of the need to grow inside of it.
The need to grow pushes outward and breaks the covering, like the egg. The chick comes, breaks the egg, and comes out. And like a human being swells up the mother's stomach out of view, we don't see what's happening. And then in the 9th month it comes to deliverance and then the baby comes out from the mother.
The material world is the First womb of life
The material world is the first womb of life. The material world for animals and human beings is the ground, the earth, the land, soil, dirt. Returning to what we were saying, the parable of our human life is the plant life. The seed breaks open and the life wants to free itself from encasement, from imprisonment. It wants to free itself from restrictions. It's restricted. And if it stays inside the womb, the first womb, the material womb that gave it, its first life, it will die. It has to come out of there to live. So it's struggling for freedom so it can have its life and have its growth.
The plant is first white then it turns green
It breaks free and a shoot comes up from the ground. If you dig under, you'll see that the beginning of life for it was white. But as it comes out into the air it turns or becomes green. And if it's more than grass, if it's more than just a simple structure like a tree, a bush or something, it may bear fruit or flowers of a variety of colors.
But the leaves will be green most likely. Sometimes, they're of another color, too, but most likely the leaves will be green. And the life seeks beauty. It wants to be beautiful. Grass that grows together, it's beautiful and pleasant to the eyes, although it's the simplest form of things that grow out of the earth. The plant life is perhaps the simplest form except the life that grows in the water.
That blade of grass is beautiful and it seeks to stand up straight. It seeks balance. It wants to be balanced. It doesn't want to be limp over here or limp that way. It wants to be balanced straight up. And the more complex plants branch off and have branches branching out and they branch out in such a way to give that plant balance, strength and stability. If one limb comes off on this side and it doesn't balance with another one on this side, it will pull to this side. It will lose its beauty, its symmetry it its beauty..
Plants protect the soil from erosion
G-d says He made us like a plant. Most plants, even the simple blade of grass, preserves the composition of the earth, the soil, the land that they come out of. It gives the land a covering that preserves it against tag erosion, drying out, wearing away, becoming sand etc. So it's a protection. It's a covering for the mother ground, mother that it grew out of. It's a protection for it. And as 1 said, as the Qur'an said, "See how He has created growth and spread it over the earth like carpets." That's what they do. Grass looks like a nice beautiful & carpet, especially when its mown nice. It looks like a beautiful carpet.
Now that grass, we don't know it, but it's also giving support to small life. Where there's grass you'll find earthworms and the earth worms they also work the earth to keep the earth nice. And they give it food. They also eat, but what they give is nourishment to the earth that they live upon. So G-d created us like a plant. He created us for beautiful growth.
Man created free from restriction
G-d created us firstly for freedom, freedom from restriction. Our growth should not be restricted and if you restrict the growth and don't permit it to come out of the womb from where it was put for life to form, you will kill it. It will die without that freedom. It has to have that freedom to have its life, to grow and have its life in the free air under the free sunshine created by G-d.
The grass gives a cover. The covering invites little creatures to grow beneath, to live beneath. The little creatures there are of many kinds, but the earthworm is perhaps the best example for this particular picture I'm trying to paint for you now. The Earthworm feeds on the rich earth made rich by the living plants, grass or whatever is growing in it. It feeds on that rich earth, but what it gives out, what it gives back, is nourishment, richness for the earth and it works the earth like a plow. It works the earth and keeps it manageable, but also loose, to breath air and to support other life.
Now that blade of grass, it can't hold birds. Birds can't come and make a nest in it like they can in a tree. It can't give that much support, but that blade of grass is giving great support. For its size, it's giving great support.
Son of man but grass
Isaiah 51.12; Son of man as grass
"I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;"
In the Qur'an grass is mentioned, I think, mainly for the beauty. It gets us to see the beauty in it, how it makes a blanket or carpet like over the earth. But in the Bible even man is described as a blade of grass.
Tree gives support for animals
The tree gives support for birds. Birds can have their nests there. For squirrels and other small animals, it even gives support or rescue. It's a hiding place for some larger animals in some areas of the earth or world. For example, in the hot belt, jungle environment, it gives support to even bigger animals and protection for them and hiding places for them.
So here this big tree grows up out of the earth and supports life. Its leaves are not just there for it to breathe. Science tells us it breathes by the leaves. But it's not only so we can have its breath of life, but those leaves are also to serve as small shelters, umbrellas for birds when it rains. The birds can take rescue. They go to the tree and they get up under the leaves to protect themselves from the beating down of the rain.
Now we should not just want life and growth selfishly for ourselves. If we're going to be like a plant our growth is also going to be a contribution to other life.
Living from dead
QURAN 10.31; Living from the dead, dead from living
"Say: "Who is it that sustains you (in life) from the sky and from the earth? Or who is it that has power over hearing and sight? And who is it that brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? And who is it that rules and regulates all affairs?" They will soon say "Allah." Say, "Will ye not then show piety (to Him)?"
The earth is material. The land, the living things that grow out of it have responded to it. They were dead. The earth without water is dead. Land without water is dead. So these living things were once dead. They were dead matter and they became living things. But it came from the life of something living. It came from life though it's dead. So it is put back into the earth at the right time and the conditions are good for it, not harmful to it,. It will survive for a time and when the weather, climate gets good and moisture hits it, it swells, as we already said. It responds to the moisture, it swells and opens up and releases the life that was in it.
Water is very sensitive. The least little touch on the surface of the water makes ripples all through the surface. We touch you and nothing happens. You're dead. But that which came from life, though it be dead, when the right sensitivities come and touch it, it opens up and releases the life potential that was in it.
It releases the life potential so it can have its freedom, become self, and enjoy the world that G-d created for it, the world of air and sunshine. Praise be to Allah (swt).
G-d created man to bring out detail of signs
QURAN 45:3-4; Signs in heaven, earth and yourselves
3. Verily in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe.
4. And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth) are Signs for those of assured Faith.
QURAN 87.9; Think it profits man
"Therefore give admonition (think) in case the admonition profits (the hearer).
G-d is telling us a beautiful thing when He says to us the parable of our life is the life of a plant. He doesn't go into discussing the details. G-d knows that He has created us with the intelligence to take the idea and think on it and draw out all the beauty that G-d gave us in that idea. He created us to do that and are we to do that? Yes.
Allah (swt) says in His Book that these are signs but most of the people go along unmindful, not giving these signs any attention and then G-d tells us don't be like that. G-d says in Quranic Arabic , "Fa dhak ker en nafa'atidh dhikraa," translated, "Think, ponder over these things for surely thinking on these things gives you profit, you'll profit from that." Now who wants to take earth and eat it? Who wants dirt at the table for dinner this evening? Saying, "Give me a plate of dirt. Give me a plate of land, brother. That's what I love. None of us wants to do that, that's death.
But what you do not want to consume within is the environment for you to have your first life. The world without life is the environment for you to have life and its role is only to support life.
Money's purpose is to support life
Look at this land as money, I mean big money, not little money. Little money is probably like corn kernels, grains. That's little money. Land is like big money. The purpose of big money then, is to support life, not to be taken into your body and to become part of your life system. It's not to feed your heart. It's not to feed your brain with life. No, it is to give support to growth and then the growth feeds your body. It is to give support to growth and the growth feeds your body.
Beauty feeds the soul
The things that grow from the earth feed us. We eat them and they taste good. They are meant to go into our body. G-d made them to taste good to us to tell us, "This is good for your body to take this in." We love those things, greens, or whatever grows out of the earth, the many fruits, but also we enjoy their beauty. They feed our spirit and they feed our soul, because they're beautiful. The beauty feeds our soul, our sensitivities. The sensitivities for beauty are fed by these growing things.
And it's said that He created the man and put him in a garden and charged the man and held the man responsible for attending the garden. The garden needs help. If you want to see it in its best beauty, then work the garden. Although it's beautiful just as a natural creation it is beautiful, but if you use your intelligence, you can even realize a more beautiful garden.
So you tend the garden, dress the garden. This is both Bible and Qur'an, dress the garden. What am I talking about? Some of you might be asking that question, "What's he talking about?" I'm talking about the biggest matter that will come into your life, what you're here for and how you're to live, so you will have growth and prosperity. That's what I'm talking about.
If that's not interesting to you, then you are dead and water won't help you because I'm pouring the water down right now.