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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Advice To Sister Clara Muhammad School
Students: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: The following is excerpted from an address Imam Muhammad delivered August 16 to the elementary and eighth grade graduates of Sister Clara Muhammad School in Chicago.)

Prophet Muhammad, the peace and blessings be upon him, was asked by someone who should he reply to or answer if both his father and mother were calling him. When the question was asked the first time, the Prophet replied. "Your mother." and when the question was asked a second time, the Prophet again, said, "Your mother." When asked a third time he said, "Your mother." He was asked a fourth time and the Prophet said, "Your father." This shows the importance given to the mother.

In the heart of the child, and in this religion, Al-Islam, the child must keep the mother very close to him or her. As we get older, we can't forget our parents because Allah says also in Qur'an: "And never even so much as turn away from your parents rudely or in disgust," saying something like. 'ah, mother, ah father." "Uffan" is the Arabic word used, which means, "I'm busy now, don't bother me." Don't even do something that small to your mother or your father.

Now what we are saying would have reached the ears and the hearts of everybody in the audience right away 30 years ago. But today, there's a great disregard, for not only parents, but for all sacred things. And in our religion, family ties are a sacred matter. God says, "And reverence the family ties, that bore you."

We want to understand that though the most important relations are those of near relatives, parents brothers and sisters, etc., there are relations that extend outwardly, to include friends, associates and members of your religion.

You have to understand, students, because you are a member of ' the Muslim community, that you have Muslim relatives. In Africa, there are people who are also your relatives, by tribal descent. In fact, half of Africa is populated by your Muslim relatives. You have Muslim relatives in the Philippines. A great number of your Muslim relatives are in the islands of the Philippines.
Many times, religion, rather than blood, will be a stronger bond holding two people together, because sometimes we have a blood relative with whom we have nothing in common. Their personali­ties, sentiments, and aspirations are strange to us. Their styles are a pain just for us to see. We can't communicate with them at all. But you will find a person related to you by religion, in whom you will find much in common: the way you think, feel and what you hope for in this world and in the Hereafter. And because you will have so much in common with that religious relative, you will have a more supporting person in that religious relative, than in some of your blood relatives.
So don't dismiss the vast world of your religious relatives.

You have religious relatives even in Europe, the land of the Caucasians. You have religious relatives in England and the Mus­lim population is growing fast. You also have religious relatives in Germany, France, and Japan where the Muslim population is grow­ing fast. So don't forget the great sphere of your relations.

We came to this country from Africa, not of our own choice but as slaves. Maybe out of the millions who were brought here, maybe 100 came over here, as free people. I have read where a few did come here as free people. Not every African-American who came here during the slave trade period came in chains. But they are a very few; the great majority came ....

You must understand how these two different movements work to bring us a sense of dignity and belonging.
You must also understand that the past before Al-Islam offered the African-American a very small world. We had a very small world. But now if you identify as a Muslim, you are no longer part of a small world. If an Asian belongs to the Buddhist state, there is a bond in Buddhism, which holds them together.

Hindus have a bond in Hinduism, which holds them together. They will do more for a Hindu brother than they will do for a non-Hindu.
Jews have a bond and will do more for their Jewish brother than they will do for a non-Jew.
Muslims should have such a bond. We should do more for our Muslim brother and sister than we would do for a non-Muslim.
Christians should have a bond and should do more for their Christian brother and sister than they would do for a non-Christian brother or sister. This is the normal way for people to be.

You have an Asian among you. Dr. Mumtaz (the school principal) is an Asian. He's from the far off continent of Asia. It is the biggest continent on this earth. The greatest number of people on earth are on the Asian continent. And he comes from a race that number into the hundreds of millions. So if you have a brother with him, you have a brother with his brothers. All of his Muslim religious brothers are also yours because you share the same religion.

I have met Palestinians, Egyptians, Iranians and Iraqis, who might be fighting each other politically, but who are religiously brothers. They have a religious bond, and they are all of my brothers because I am of their religion.

I've met Sudanese, Nigerians, and Ghanaians. I've also met people — Muslims — from Sierra Leone and Kenya, and right away we recognize a special bond. I am also sensitive to a tribal bond. I don't know what tribe I'm from, but once we were all together on that continent, Africa. So I recognize the tribal bond with them, but when I see a Muslim from Africa, and meet him or meet her, I also recognize the Muslim bond.

Be aware of that Muslim bond. The late leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, understood the importance of the Islamic bond for us. In his paper, Muhammad Speaks, he used to show the hands of a black man in America reaching across the world all the way into Africa shaking the hand of a black person in Africa. He wanted to reconnect. Marcus Garvey wanted to reconnect. But more than that, you should understand, that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted us to identify religiously with all the Muslims on this earth. He used to tell us that whenever he spoke although we now see the religion quite different from the way we saw it under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Still, we cherish the Honorable Elijah Muham­mad's wisdom, and what we have inherited from his great wisdom, and his great psychology as a black man. He had great psychology. We cherish what he told us.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad used to speak in the Temple, and he said, "How many of you would like to join us today?" Some­times the newcomers would be slow to respond, and then sometimes they would be quick to respond, and they would respond in impress­ive numbers. They would raise their hands sometimes, and almost every newcomer or visitor would raise his or her hand and say he or she wanted to join the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's movement or mission. He didn't like to call it a movement.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad would follow up that invitation with these words: "Now mind you, when you become a member here, you are a member in every Muslim nation on this earth." So even though he was inviting us to a kind of self-created brand of Islam or religion, he was preparing us to identify down the road with all Muslims on this globe.

I can't go too far in emphasizing that concern today. You have to understand that your Muslim brothers and sisters are not limited to this building or to African-American Muslims; your Muslim brothers and sisters number one billion in Africa, Asia, Europe, the islands of the Pacific, and also America. Everywhere you have Muslim brothers and sisters.

You should learn more about your religion so you will know how to appreciate your Muslim brothers and sisters more. You should not be satisfied to just learn how Muslims live in Chicago. You should make it your business to also learn how Muslims live in Nigeria, the Sudan, Kenya, Egypt and other parts of Africa. You should learn how Muslims live in Asia and elsewhere. That will give you a much richer Islamic life. If a person travels from America to London, England, Paris, France, Madrid, Spain, and other parts of Europe and then return to America, that person returns enriched, in terms of understanding and knowing what America is.

When you see .the Motherland for the European-Americans, it enriches your knowledge of European-Americans, because the European-American here came from there and tried to establish their lives here. Their lives took on different colors depending on the experiences and the environment in America. But if you want to know where their lives started, what fathered or mothered them, you have to go to Europe.

Likewise, if you were to go to Africa and return here, you would have a better understanding of yourself and your people because you would see the past and where you came from. That is very important.

We hope to bring in films, on the culture of Muslims living around the globe. We haven't been able to start it yet, but, we've been working on the idea now for two or three years. I hope it will soon materialize. We will have films of what is happening in the Islamic world and on the cultural life of Muslims around the globe, which will help us considerably. It will help us to feel the closeness, the bond with our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Some of you perhaps still eat rice that you brown in a pan before you boil it. Well, cooking rice like that came from your Muslim brothers and sisters abroad. Pakistanis, some Indians and even some Egyptians do it. Some Turkish people also do it. A lot of Muslims brown their rice although they eat white rice too. So much for the sphere of relations.

Muslims, you have winning qualities. Our students have winning qualities. If you learn the qualities of Muslims as given in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our Prophet, seek to build upon those qualities, or include them into your own life, then you have qualities that will mean success for you, at home and in the family. You'll be a better wife and better husband. You'll be a better worker on the job and will impress your employer and your supervisor, if you express and live out Muslim sentiments, interest in emotional. moral and physical situations.

Let that Muslim interest come forward. You don't have to say 'I'm a Muslim,"Bismillah," or Allahu-Akbar! You don't have to say 'As-Salaam-Alaikum' or anything like that. But let the Muslim interest come out, in all the situations that you find yourself in, whether it's at home or on the job, working for a Muslim or a non-Muslim, and you will find that the Muslim interest will be a winner for you.
How do I know? It has won for me, and people who number in the hundreds of thousands who identify with what used to be the Temple of Islam, and now the Masjid of Islam. Don't say you are a Muslim and let non-Muslim interests take over situations for you. No. Let Muslim - interests take over the situations for you. Whether it is at home, on the job, or in college. No matter where you are, let Muslim interests take over that situation for you.

Muslim interests mean you don't tell lies, act like a fool, drink whiskey, gamble, use vulgar words and relax in a vulgar situation. You don't go along with trash and filth. You stand above it. That's Muslim interest.

You say, 'Oh, I got some Christian friends who are like that.' You're damn right (excuse me). There are many Christians and Jews like that. The best of the religious people are like that. Our religion doesn't claim a monopoly, on good morals and good be­havior. In fact, Allah says in the Qur'an, that you will find among Jews and Christians people with the best behavior, who conform to the best standards. We have that in common with them. But you didn't go to a church to learn that, you went to the Masjid and Clara Muhammad School to learn that. So rely on your experience, learn­ing to bring forward the best interest no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Thirdly, I want to bring to your attention the importance of knowledge in our religion. Allah in the Qur'an says that He has encompassed all things, upon the principle of knowledge. Know­ledge is the principle in the universe that holds everything in a context. You know what sentence context is, you took grammar —well, you know what the context of a book is. The context is similar to content, but content is a little different in meaning, from context.

If you could see the whole universe — you can't see it all because God made it too big for us to see it all — even with the most powerful telescope, we cannot see it all, but we can look out on clear nights, especially if you go out into the fields, open plains or suburbs on a very dark night, without a lot of city lights to interfere with your vision, and look up at the sky, you'll see the stars. That's the world God made for us. And the geometrical designs; how did God put a triangle up there and hold it there in loose space.

I looked into the sky recently, and I saw a perfect triangle: I asked, how in the world did He hold a perfect triangle like that in loose space? Then I saw a square, a rectangle, and all kinds of geometrical designs, formed by the stars in the heavens. And you can't see the end of it.
But we are looking at the universe in its material or physical context. God says in this Holy Book, that He has held all that together; we know that universal gravity holds it together, but God says He holds it all together, upon a principle of knowledge.

Everything out there has a knowledge context. If you understand science, that's what science tells us. The biggest thing to the smal­lest, according to science, has its knowledge reference. If we study the science of the amoeba, that's the knowledge reference for us. I'm looking at the human being's form, the limbs and how they connect. There's a knowledge context for it. We study all of that under human anatomy. We look at the stars and the heavens and there's a know­ledge context for it. It's called astronomy. Each body has its own separate knowledge. So God says He encompasses and holds every­thing together in the context of knowledge.