Imams' Ramadan Session - An Excerpt
Imams' Ramadan Session An Excerpt
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Blessed Ramadan and a Blessed Eid, if I don't see you before then.
We thank you for responding to the invitation and we wanted you to know that it wasn't really a request. Because a request to me is stronger than an invitation. It wasn't a request. It was just an invitation.
Really I wish everybody could be here that has an interest but I knew that some of you would have to do other things that are very important and some of you might not have the financial means at the time to come.
So that's why we wanted to give it as a invitation. Almost an informal invitation, so that there would be no unreasonable burden on any of you, or any of us.
I'm very happy as you know, always very happy to see you all and very thankful to Allah for this occasion in the month of Ramadan, the Blessed Month of Ramadan.
So we'll begin and as the Imam of the masjid here in Atlanta, Imam Plemon El-Amin, has already explained, what we want for this occasion in a very clear and satisfying way to me.
So I don't have to talk about that anymore or make any talk about what I would expect to see happen here for us or what I would like to have in you as persons or Imams attending this Ramadan Imam's session. But I will say I may not even take an hour, I don't know. I may not take an hour to present what I'm going to present here. But after I present what I have to present here, depending on how you respond to it, I may take up more, that's if we don't use a whole hour, you see.
The desire to have more knowledge until the knowledge satisfies the souls of the seekers
The Qur'an is a book of guidance and Allah's mercy to us or to all the worlds. As a book of guidance I am inclined to bring to you or at least remind you of its connection with previous books of guidance or previous scriptures. I'm referring mainly to the Torah and the Gospel that came before.
We find that there is something continuous for scripture, for the Word of G-d, and that is the interest or the desire to have more knowledge until the knowledge satisfies the souls of the seekers.
Taught people to trust inspiration
We have in the Old Testament the pleading of souls to know the face of G-d, to see his face, to know the face of G-d, to see His face. And in the New Testament we have the prophet Jesus, peace be on him, teaching the people in a very, I would say unusual way.
He taught by parables for example. Hints, according to the gospel, as it is written now, which you know is different from what Muslims believe, the original was called the Injeel. However I believe that what I'm about to say to you is original and in the gospel. That is I believe that it did come in the Injeel.
This particular or I should say peculiar method of teaching, where students are told to not use their own reasoning. Not to apply their own mind. Exert the faculties of their intellect. Strain or exert the faculties of their intellect to form what they would say. But to trust G-d upon faith. They were told that when they met the occasion they would be given the words that they should speak. So as I look at that I see it saying that he taught people to trust inspiration. That they would be inspired.
Birth happening in a very unusual way
The same gospel says of him `he shall come upon clouds and another he shall come in clouds or with clouds'. And another is `the lightning shineth from the east even unto the west so shall the coming of the son of man be'.
And in the Qur'an we have his birth happening in a very unusual way to put it lightly. First his mother, peace be upon her, she didn't have to be provided for. Her needs didn't have to be provided for by Zacharias. Peace be upon Zacharias.
Secondly she was assisted by G-d when she was in a desperate situation to provide for her child, her new baby, peace be upon him. And Allah says in the Qur'an that He told her to take a little stick and make grooves in the earth and water would go through the grooves to the tree and the tree would drop to her its dates, its sweet dates.
And when she was asked about him, according to the gospel as it is now, the present Gospel, not the Qur'an, we don't want to mix anything here, be very careful, she said consult the child or she pointed to the child, peace be upon the prophet.
And in the Qur'an Allah says to us that he spoke while he was yet in the cradle. He said, according to the gospel as it is now, I must go away, for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you" Or "be sent to you and he also said that I will send him" meaning the comforter, that he would send the comforter and that the comforter, the spirit of truth would lead the people into all truth.
This is the gospel as it is now. The present gospel, not the Qur'an. We don't want to mix anything here. Be very careful.
Now we know that Muslims believe the comforter or the one to lead into all truth would be Mohammed the Prophet, peace and blessings be on him. But lets look at something here. The bible says, that is, G-d says in the bible, and G'd says in the Qur'an to Mohammed and the world, that Christ Jesus the Prophet is a sign, word, a spirit from his lord, from Allah.
The angel pressed Muhammed the Prophet, peace be on him, three times before he could speak, before he could recite Qur'an.
A Three Day Journey
And we find another figure in the bible who had lost his mission, Jonah.
And G-d's book the Qur'an and the Bible as it is now, seems to be giving us the same report on him in his situation. The bible says that after he went through his ordeal and was cast upon the bank of the river by the whale, he said, "I have a three days journey". This is the Bible. "I have a three days journey".
And in Qur'an he's shown as a figure that had been saved from one predicament but was in another.
He was on the bank with the sun punishing his head and Allah's mercy caused a gourd plant, a vine plant, a gourd plant, like squash and other things, to grow up upon him, to climb upon him and put leaves above his head to protect his head from the sun. He said `I have a three days journey,' meaning he was not yet where he should be. `I have a three day journey.'
Three steps to enter the city, The Promised Land
I'm going to address Qur'anic text now. And I feel pretty sure that the Qur'an, Allah's word to us, in the Qur'an, Teen: fig, Zaytuun: olive, Turi Seeneen: Mt. Sinai, is giving us the steps of a journey.
Three steps to enter the city, Baladil Ameen. 1) Wa teeni : Fig. 2) Wa zaytuun: Olive. 3) Wa Turi Seeneen: Mt Sinai. 4) Wa Haadhal Baladil Ameen: City of Peace.
But before proceeding with this line of reasoning I want to point you to a situation that Jonah found himself with the sun punishing his head and Allah had to show him mercy.
Allah tells us in the Qur'an that there are some who want to get closer and closer, too close, to the light. And so they're blinded by the light. I'll come back to that Inshaa Allah, but now let us continue with the three steps to the city, three steps that bring us to enter the city.
It follows that the sequence or that progression is followed by laqad khalaqnaal insaana fee ahsani taqweem. Laqad , indeed. Its a strong, strong emphasis here. Stronger than enna. Laqad, indeed we created the human in the best of molds. That's how its translated. In the best of molds. Fee ahsani taqweem. Taqweem is from qaum, from qama, stood up, to stand.
Fee ahsani taqweem in the best of molds, best postures. Couldn't we say that? Because it comes from, qama, to stand, postures or in the best of molds.
And of the prophet and his mission Allah says to us in the Qur'an that the purpose is to take us out of the darkness into the light. Minadh dhulumaati ilan nuur. Out of the darkness into the light. And of the light that G-d gives, Divine Light, G-d says of it: `It Is Light Upon Light.'
Man in His Original Place is where the Journey Begins
Most importantly then, we should see the city, the Promised land, as a fulfillment of G-d's promise to lead us into the light. Into the light that will remove all doubts in all the problems, or the need of searching for the light and bring satisfaction to the soul.
Incidentally well, maybe not incidentally, `the City of the Prophet is called the City of the Light. And some seem to be very hesitant in embracing my interpretation of that progression, Wa Teeni, Wa Zaytuun, Wa Turi Seeneen, Wa Hadhaal Baladil Ameen.
Because on many occasions I have said that that Baladil Ameen, is the City of the Prophet. It's not Mecca.
The road to the promised land begins where we originally were. And man in his original place, is told symbolically by the Kaabah and the black stone in sacred venerable Mecca.
So then the journey should be from the Kaabah to the Light. To Medina-Tul Munawwarra. Light upon light.
Before continuing this I want to go back to the caution that G-d gives not to want to get too close to the light with our eyes, because it may blind us.
Darkness upon darkness
The world's light is the dhulumaat, darkness. And the same steps followed by the humble servants of G-d that takes them into the Nur, into the light, takes the world into the darkness. And their darkness is darkness upon darkness arising from the depths of the sea. Darkness upon darkness.
And they too, I repeat, follow the same procedure, 1) Teen, Fig. 2) Zaytuun, Olive. But their 3) Turi Seeneen is not the Turi Seeneen of Moses. It's their faith in their own spirit and intuition. Human intuition. Not divinely sparked intuition.
And the end of their journey is what they call the pure sciences. And the pure sciences bring them to dismiss G-d. G-d causes a problem. So dismiss G-d. Be objective. Obey matter completely as you should obey G-d. Obey matter. Only speak what matter says. Only report what matter says. Only come to the conclusions that matter implies or directs you to. Empiricism, I think they call it that. And that's what has given us the secular world that we have on us right now. That's their Medina. Their Medina of darkness.
Turi See Something, not Turi Seeneen
They say that in education there is teen, Fig. You must use your imagination. You must trust creative thought. You must trust spontaneous bursts of energy in the intellect. They may even play some music for you while you're straining your brain to help that happen. And they also say that they come up with one knowledge.
But out of the Zaytuun, or in the Zaytuun I should say, we read oneness. We read singleness. We read Tauheed. We Read Islamic monotheism for want of a better expression.
But the secular world, for the secular world, the Zaytuun is science. One science. All sciences agreeing in one science. Material science.
And their Turi Seeneen is the intuitive edge. Not the intuition that G-d gave the prophets. But the intuitive edge.
Now where's the support for this kind of Reasoning? Allah say's in our holy book, the Qur'an, He says, there were some who sought a hearing on high. And Allah says you cannot. And you will find that there will be shooting balls of fire. And you cannot get there, illa Bisultanin atheem, except as a big mighty sultan (authority). But He didn't say you couldn't get there.
The jinn, a company of them heard the recital of the Qur'an and they said we bear witness that this is a wonderful recital. None but G-d has done this. They were not inspired or given inspiration. Their intuitive light in the intellect turned on, sparked by divine gift or divine intervention. It's a property that they have. So just like we have in common with the Jinn community, the property of reasoning, we also have with them in common the property of intuitive insight.
So they have their Teen, their Zaytun, and their Turi see something. I can't say it's the Turi Seeneen. It's not Mt. Sinai. It's certainly not Mt. Sinai. But they have their Turi see something.
And they want the Baladil Ameen, the society established upon trust. The society secured upon trust. They want that. And not even America has it. Our society is a society under fear, not secured upon trust. And our society gives its citizens secular knowledge to support them and to guide them. Not Revelation. So even America's Promised Land is a land of darkness.
Our knowledge is Light upon Light
Now going back to the Zaytuun as a symbol, I said the Zaytuun is to be understood as a symbol or signal to signal us to the idea of Tauheed, oneness. But in knowledge. In science. Oneness. That One G-d did it all. Not an accident. Not the big bang, but purpose, divine purpose explains why this earth and this creation, this universe is here bearing one design, the universal system of law or laws.
Before us the Jews claimed the olive didn't they? They still do. They are a people of the olive, the blessed olive. And we know that we are closer to Christians in our spirit, but definitely close to the Jews in the reading of the concept of G-d (oneness). A blessed tree, an olive or an olive. A blessed tree, an olive.
For us science is not separated just like life is not separated. For the western world, for America, western democracy, there's a separation of religion and government or church and state as they put it. And you know for us there is no such separation. For Muslims there is no such separation.
Also for the west there's a separation of knowledge, pure truth, exactness in the perception of knowledge, or pure knowledge of truth. But for us there is no separation. For them there is the world or physical science, the world of secularism, and the world of religious science or spiritual science.
Now we know in Islam we have the branch called spiritual sciences from the "ruh" meaning spirit, but those sciences in our religion are not completely foreign to all the other sciences and that's what Tauheed means. That there is a oneness. There's a oneness of knowledge and all knowledge belongs to that wholeness of knowledge. So there's seventy hundred or seventy thousand or whatever we might say, branches of spiritual science that have to be seen in connection with social science and all other sciences.
And again we look at the bible. Won't go to the Old Testament, but it's there too. What you're more familiar with, that is, the gospel, as it is presently.
The word of G-d personified as Christ Jesus, peace be upon him, comes into the world not of water only but of water and blood. So the water of science or the science formed of water is in the heavens. And the heavens and the earth were separated, and the heavens were confused as churning smoke, and Allah directed Himself to the heavens and He said to the heavens and to the earth "Come ye together willingly or unwillingly". And Allah highly glorified is He, also said, can't you see that this creation was once one continuous whole and it wasn't always just smoky heaven and an earth needing to be reconciled with a heaven that was in a bad shape?
Our knowledge then is one. Creation is one. Knowledge is one. It is expressed in so many different forms but it is one.
It is light upon light, light of a blessed tree, an olive. Its oil appears to be lit before there is fire. It gives off a light before there is fire. And the fire does not touch it.
Doesn't this sound like empiricism, objectivity, where you're not forming anything until the essence tells you to form it and you're not forming it in any way that the essence is not saying form it? You see our discipline is the same isn't it? Our Discipline and our knowledge is the same as the Jinn's discipline and his knowledge.
But our result is different. His result is different. His obedience is to matter. Our obedience is to the Creator of the matter. Thank you very much. We ask Allah to forgive and guide us always. Ameen. Allahu Akbar!