On The Problem of Racial Divinities - Part I
California C.R.A.I.D Coalition Workshop in Oakland, Ca
On The Problem of Racial Divinities Part I
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
As- Salaam Alaikum
I'm really happy for this occasion to address you on the concern that we have for the practice of ascribing divinity to images, in religion. This idea, problem has been dealt with pretty effectively by you and your committee heads for the past few years or more. We're very pleased with your determination to stay on this case because this is a serious problem.
My talk is serious, as your work is serious. The work of CRAID is very serious work. I don't know if word has reached all of you, but I regard every person in CRAID as an ambassador. An Imam that's working to advance the truth that will make us free.
I won't quote from the Bible, because most of us are familiar with the Bible. We know that the Bible particularly in its early passages is very strong against imagery in religion. That is, the words are very clear and very sharp and forceful in the denunciation of imagery in religion; the early books of the Bible. But as we read on through the Bible, it seems as though that concern is lost; and in the New Testament it appears to be lost completely. But we have been blessed by Allah to see what most people miss.
How did this imagery get started then? If in the early history it was strictly forbidden. How did it get started? We know that history, the history of the Church gives us imagery with the rise of the Church in the Western World. We know of no imagery in the early Church. The orthodox Church that lived side by side with Jews in Arabia, that lived side by side with Muslims centuries later; they did not go out for imagery like the West*, the European, and Western society did. And for a century or two there was no presence of imagery at all. Later the sign of the cross was introduced, and then later the image of a human being was introduced with that. It wasn't from the very beginning.
The great leader, empire builder by the name Constantine the Great, in about the third century after Jesus' death (peace be upon him) supposedly had a vision to make Christianity triumphant in the world. This man made Sunday the Sabbath and introduced Jesus as an image; and put him on a cross and used that image to strike terror into those his army went against.
When they would see him and his armies coming with a big huge cross with a man dead on it, it would strike terror in them. Man half naked, looking pitiful, thorns piercing into his head, blood running all off of him; so that sign alone would strike terror into his enemies. So it was used as a means for weakening the enemy in battle. The religious message was given to it: but its main purpose was to bring the primitive man under the Empires. The uneducated, un-developed savage hordes; it was designed to strike terror into them; because that's what they used. That was their primitive method. They would have a head on a stick or a dead animal on a pole and they would march in battle with this raised up to say to you, "you're going to be just like this". So the Western Empire responded by raising Jesus up like that. So they could hide behind that; they say "we're not practicing savagery, this is the message of our salvation of our lord on the cross. But the main purpose was to use it to stalk, to strike terror into the hearts of their enemy in battle.
No Christian country in the world has published that image more than this country, America. You'll find it plentiful in Rome, Italy; you'll find it plentiful in Greece; but nowhere has it been so widely published as it has in America. I remember when I was a boy, you couldn't miss it. We were Muslims we weren't Christians; but we couldn't miss it. The crucifix was everywhere; and it was a Caucasian looking image on a cross. You visit somebody and it was on their walls, in the bedroom: living room; crucifix was everywhere. Many of the figures had blonde hair, yellow looking hair and blue eyes, typical Southern Caucasian, redneck; I'm not joking, I'm not trying to put humor in it: I'm telling it to you just like it is, that's how it was. Gradually they started to de-emphasize the typical redneck on the cross and they started to make him look more Semitic.
Just recently that yellow haired, blue eyed Jesus has been taken out of circulation. You can hardly find that any more, but I remember when I was a child, that was the popular one. Light hair, blue eyes, typical what we call; now this is not to criticize the race, "cracker" on the cross, that's what it was. It stuck right in my mind as a child; that man up there, crucified on a cross looking like somebody had done cruel, cruel things to him. You know nails and blood dripping from the nails; spikes, they call them thorns, but they look Tike spikes to me.
A legend was formed, you know legends are very close to myths, in fact legends are myths. The term legend means that it has something unreal in it. Legend, alleged, not necessarily true. So along with the placing of Jesus, supposedly on the cross was the legend of a cloth. There was supposed to have been at the time of the crucifixion an image of Jesus that was transposed or transferred to that cloth. I'm sure you've heard of the Shroud of Turin, look how they played up that shroud On television, in the media, newspapers, magazines, a big thing; Civilized society playing up that shroud. It is said that they had scientists working on it to examine it very closely to see if it was real, how it was formed. But they didn't mention the handkerchief of Veronica that was before the Shroud of Turin.
It is said in the legend the St. Veronica; you want to know where to find this? You have seen this and you can look it up if you want to; look up St. Veronica, in the encyclopedia, maybe in a real good dictionary Or ask any priest. In the handkerchief they have a face and the face is supposed to be 'the face of Jesus. They have a rope around his head and the spikes going into his head; you know how it is you've see this. Spikes going into his head and blood is dripping from the spikes. So this is how it is and St. Veronica; .who for all we know is nothing but a myth too is pictured on this big cloth and within her grip is a big key. The big key is held upside down. There's a large ring and another small ring; the small key hangs from the big key ring and the imprint on the handkerchief is called the true image. Lately they came up with the Shroud of Turin and its figure, the figure on this one looks kind of in between; it can be European and it can be Semitic. He has a long hook nose; the accent is on the nose. So he looks more Semitic like the Jewish people. But this one looks more European; and it's called the true image. What's so important about this one is not his color, but the thorns, St. Veronica and the two keys (the big one and the small one). That's what's important. The human figure is not so important at all; except for the thorns in the head and Veronica and the two keys. This is nothing but symbolism. That's all it is; symbolism. What are the thorns representing?
The thing that grows thorns perhaps more than anything else is what? Cactus, the thorny plant. It survives where there's scarcity of water; and water is the essential for life. Biology and Zoology begins with water and Allah says in the Qur'an, "and everything had its beginning in water". What did He mean? Everything of life has its beginning in water. So water is the first essential that we need in order to have the beginning of life. So now let's understand that in its connection with our mental life. What is the first essential to begin the mental processes of the mind? What about TRUTH? Truth is born of moral excellence, moral purity. Truth is the beginning of life. So here water represents moral emotional makeup, moral tendency in that for clarity, for equality.
The water wants to find its balance; it wants to have the whole thing leveled. The carpenter uses water in his level; and Jesus stood upon the water; and the dove lit upon his shoulders because he was able to stand upon the water. So this cactus, it's in an area that's dead, desert, deserted. Right? Yes; but it's thriving because it's thorns are like little needles and whereas the surface of the plant would have a hard time getting moisture that is existing, it can get the smallest amount of water because it has a needle point. The moisture comes to that needle point and that big thorn soaks it right in. So you go out on the desert and other things are starving, you say, this thing must have some deep roots to get all this water. You look under the thing and there are no roots; the thing is just sitting up on top of the ground and yet full of water. So a tree like this is contrast with the blessed tree in the Qur'an. There's a blessed tree and then there's a "Zaqqum" or thorn tree; representing greed and selfishness. This thing hoards the water, the little bit that's there, it hoards it.
Now where's the desert of the people? The ignorant people that don't know what's happening, they're the desert. The thorn among them is the religious establishment that has very sharp insight into the scripture they can get water out of a scripture that seems to be dry like desert. When you read it, it looks dry to you; you don't see anything in it. You are dry and the book seems to be dry; but those thorny people of the religious establishment, they're able to, with their needle insight, soak up every little bit and hoard it for themselves. So what does that represent then? Thorns pushed into Jesus' head; what is his head? The church, the responsible leadership in the church; take his head off and what's left? Mary. The church under the Priest, or under the Pope. The head represents the Pope or the Bishop, or the Priest; whoever is over the Church. The body of the church is Mary. So Mary represents the church; Jesus represents the whole. The thorns were not in his neck, or in his waist; the horns are in his head. They pierced him in the side, they nailed his hands and feet; so they say. The thorns were in his head; thorns is the key. The blood is dripping from the horns, right? That's to make a sad picture. But what does it mean by translation, interpretation? It means the thorns are getting his blood; they pierced him in the side and the Bible says out came blood and water. But then they show him to us on the cross with thorns piercing his head right through his hair and they say that it represents the crown that they gave as an insult, it says, oh king of Jerusalem, King of the Jews, here's a crown for you; a crown of thorns and they crushed the thorns into his head. So they say. So we get from this that the thorns here are the hoarders, the people who are selfish; they hoard the knowledge. How do we know? You said, "take this in remembrance of me". The flesh, the bread, my flesh, spotless, pure, right? The blood is the wine of the New Testament. So blood is the New Testament. The Old Testament is the old book; the New Testament, the new book.
That's why they put the ink in red in the New Testament, because the Bible says it's the blood; his blood. Take this in remembrance of me. The blood of his testament, yes; so one is flesh, one is blood. Flesh is his example. Prophet Muhammed came to clear up everything. What was his example? Perfect obedience to G'd! What is his blood? His wisdom that he shared for the salvation of the people. The New Testament. But not in the form it's in now.
Nothing is more loved by me than this what I'm doing right now. Because it frees us for the first time; that's right; it frees us in deed.
If you were never a Christian you don't need understanding on Christianity to make you free. If you were never deprived of the use of your own good senses; then you don't need a mental resurrection. But if you have been deprived of the freedom to exercise the use of your own good senses you need a mental freeing; and if you came up in Christianity, you need a Biblical liberation. So that's how come these people love this I love it and they love it; because we both came from Christianity and we both came from indignation and we're looking for understanding and dignity and were going to get it cause Allah is with us. Oh yes!
So thorns represent cheating. What is cheating in the Qur'an? "Batil"; al-batil, cheating. What does the Qur'an say about al-batil? "Ja-al-Haqq" Truth has come and batil has to get on the move, got to vanish. Truth has come and batil must perish. Now its translated falsehood, but actually this word means cheating; cheating people out of that that G'd send for everybody. They hoard it for themselves and cheat the people out of it. The thorn then represents this cheating. Those people who are the thorn, they are the ones who are doing the cheating. Brother Imam, are you saying the church leadership is the one that cheated us? The church leadership is supposed to be the one that preach. The Bible says, "And that old fallen angel, the devil, was transformed as an angel of light". In another place it says, "and he mounted up even up to heaven and was seen sitting in the high place as G'd." Isn't that the book? Doesn't the Pope say that he represents Jesus and Jesus represents G'd on earth? He's gone and left the key with Peter. That's what they say; and he's called "Papa", rep representative of the heavenly father on earth. Didn't they use to require that when you go see him, you must bow; you must make obeisance to him. You bow to the pope and you don't stand up until you leave his sight; you back out bent over. Didn't they request worship of him? They required worship of him. Am I saying the Pope is the devil? No, but that thing that he is in is the devil! It's not true just for him; it's true for the Baptist; they're just smaller devils. They have a little less of a batil.
Oh brother, how can we do that and promote inter-faith? Those people are dead and ignorant. You should love the people of the Christian religion because they don't know what's going on. You should love them. What about the preacher? Love him too; he has no sense. All of them have been mistreated. They have been denied the high knowledge. They give them a little insight; just a little bit. But they don't give them the real thing. They don't get the real thing. If they not the real thing, they'd be trouble in the order of the church. Because there are good people in the order of the church and if they knew the truth, those people, there'd be a rebellion, there would be a war in the establishment of the church. So our sympathy goes out to them. We love them, and we talk like this among each other but we don't go to their churches and talk like this; because we know they don't know and we love them.
In the New Testament, Jesus is supposed to be crucified or the cross or he has been hung up there, he is not yet dead; and at the point wherein he' just about to leave the world, he says to his companions, "behold your mother. "Who was that there for? That's there for the chiefs of the batil. That isn't there for your Bilalian preacher. No indeed. That's not there for the Appalachian preacher. No indeed. That's there for the top people; in fact I doubt if there are many preachers at all who understand that or know it's there. Might be just those top people in this hierarchy of world power that know exactly what's there; and occasionally they elect somebody to head the Church, to preserve it and they share it with that person.
What is it saying? It's saying that the Church is wrong in presenting Jesus as an image. But only they know this. The very few at the very top. He said, "behold your mother." Now what were they doing if we follow that kind of reasoning in the scheme, in the drama of that crucifixion? What do you imagine they were doing when he said that? They were looking at him. Right? Because he was crucified on the cross; and he said, "behold your mother."
In other words don't look at me, look at your mother. Now it's a lot in this; but we're not going into the science of it today, it would take too long. The point that we're making now is that Jesus, when he was supposed to have been on the cross, he said look to Mary; he didn't say look at him. He said look to your mother. So what does that mean? I'm gone away don't look at me. Look at your congregation; Mary is symbolic of the congregation without leadership. Those persons he spoke to were supposed to be leaders; and he told them not to look at him anymore, I'm not your leader, look at your congregation. In other words take your eyes off of me now and get busy to do something about your congregation. Jesus directed their eyes off of him when he was on the cross; and they have directed our eyes on him, on the cross. I'm going by their book, not ours; because our book says this whole thing is a lie. So if he said, "behold your mother" that's an indication that they are not to focus the sights on him; they're to focus the eyes on the congregation. When Jesus passed they should not have exalted him by telling the people to come to G'd, through him. They should have been telling them to come through Mary. How did Jesus come? Didn't he come through Mary? I came through Mary, now I'm gone. Okay companions in this work, look to your mother! Look to your society. G'd will bless your society of righteous people with another leader. The commandment was to watch. Watch what? Watch the righteous to see when there's an indication that one of them might be the new leader.