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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

"Productive Ideas For Us In Religion": Part 5

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editorial Note: The following is Part V of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's lecture as given at the McCormick Place public address in Chicago, IL on Sunday, September 4, 1988 — a serious and studious presentation.)

You are to show your children that you are Muslim. For some of us parents the child will learn from somebody else that you are a Muslim. They have never seen you pray, and they hardly ever hear any religious expression from your mouth. What has our Prophet said, peace be upon him? Those who go in the behavior of the world are not of us." So really if we see you in the image of the world, we don't have to recognize you as one of us, although you call yourself Muslim and took the shahada and everything. Again, we don't have to recognize you as Muslim, when we look at you and don't see the image of us but see the image of the world.

Let me make one more comment on our family concerns and responsibilities. Recently in the news it was given that attempts to give children guardians or parents by the state is a failure. And in many ways it has been a disgrace. There is at least a ten percent greater risk of abuse to those children, when those children are under the state. The better situation, as they have said on the news, is when the child is at home with his or her natural parents.

That speaks well for us, even though this world has done everything to undermine the parent's functional abilities. In spite of all the influences that are coming at our children to make them go away from us and lose respect for our authority, still we have a more civilized situation for our children under our care than they have for them under the state's care.

It is not only these big homes where they have children and foster children, but they are also talking about the "parents or guardians" that they authorize to take children. Many times they pick very abusive guardians. One guardian in the news recently did some things unbelievable to the children that were in her care. They showed the picture of one child tortured and with scars from head to foot. That poor child died from the torture. Now, they say that bad things happen in homes of natural parents. But the greater risk is when the children are not with the natural parent. That speaks well for you, and it supports our belief that God did it best!

God gave us children from our own loins. Now we know sometimes that we can't manage them, but it is better that parents be decent enough and healthy enough, that when they are not able to care for their own children there is someone in that family with that decency to find a suitable person to help, them with the young who are left. The state should not be given that kind of responsibility. So you are saying, "Oh, the Imam is always coming up and suggesting some farfetched thing. How in the world can we do without the state's support for orphans ?''

No, you are not to do without it. But I am saying that it is not a desired condition. We should not be happy with this situation. We should be trying to do all that we can to make those provisions by the state unnecessary, instead of just putting more burdens on the state. And they are not as safe as parents for our children as we are. by their study.

This brings us to the point of another powerful and productive idea for us in religion. And that is "jihad." What is the meaning of jihad? Let us go to the paper here and see what is the meaning of jihad, and then we are going to apply the meaning ourselves. This is from the Minaret, a very nice Muslim magazine, but I won't read this whole article. This is in their Spring Edition, 1988 and is by Dr. Fathi Osman, "The Meaning of Jihad." It reads, "The history of Islam should put to rest gross accusations of an Islamic war against non-Muslims." I am reading you the headline's caption there.

But what we want to give attention to mainly is "jihad is merely a struggle against aggression and is restricted to the aggressors only. The Qur'an indicates clearly against whom the Muslims could fight. They are precisely those who fight against you because of your faith and drive you forth from your homelands or aid others in driving you forth. Cordial relations..."

Do you know what the word 'cordial' means? I know a lot of you don't! Nice words that reflect nice human attributes are not popular anymore. You do know what 'mean1 means. You know what 'ugly' means. But I don't know that you know what cordial means or not. "Cordial' means warm and having nice feelings and good feelings towards someone. It means feeling relaxed with them and wanting them to feel relaxed with you. It is treating them as you would a member of your family or one of your close associations. That is being cordial.

"...Cordial relations based on kindness and fairness should be developed with others who are not involved in such aggressions, whatever their faiths may be." That means that if we have been aggressed upon or attacked by a group of Christians, we are not to turn against at) Christians. We are to take it out only on those who are abusing us. But we should keep cordial relationships with those who are not with them against us.

"The history of Islam shows that an Islamic state, however extensive it might be, had so mam non-Muslims among its subjects with different beliefs and with their religious places." Some of us admire America as the land of democracy for accommodating all the religions and the people of those various religions. We say this is the land of freedom. Don't you know that as Prophet Muhammad established this religion in the land where he established it, in Arabia, that work of his made that land the "land of freedom.'' Official statements from him assuring the rights of Christians to continue practicing their religion as they did before the Islamic state was established and assuring Jews to continue to practice their religion as they did before the Islamic state was established by our Prophet, the peace and the blessings be upon him. And that respect still exists in Saudi Arabia, in Morocco, and in many other places you will find non-Muslims practicing their religion just as they practice their religion anywhere else. We don't want to know this, because a lot of us are completely out of touch with the healthy self interest of God's creature.

"The Qur'an never encouraged permanent conflict with any non-Muslim group. "That means even those who attack you, even those whom you are at war with, our religion does not encourage a continuous and a prolonged conflict or hostility. But it looks for a day when peace and reconciliation can come. Again, the Quran never encouraged permanent conflict with any non-Muslim group. "On the contrary, during the time of bitter hostility and conflict the Qur'an warned the Muslims of any unfair generalizations."

You cannot say, "Don't sell that to him; you can't sell anything to him from this store He is a Christian." That is a generalization, for we may be at war with the Christians, but we are not at war with this one fellow. Let us meet them on the battlefield, not here in the store. So you will say, "How is this a productive idea in religion?" If you accept it, it is going to produce for you! And if you accept these other ideas they are going to produce for you. They are going to make your life better, richer, stronger, more stable, more fit in this terrible world for the challenges in this terrible world. You don't beat this world by getting up and striking out against it with no plan, with no vision, with no light — not even a match light! You get up fussing and striking blindly, and every time you hit, you are punching yourself. It will be said, "Good God, he never reached anybody, and he knocked himself out!"

Dr. Fathi has a quote here from the Holy Book, and I would like to read it: "The People of the Book are not all alike. Among them are upright people, who recite God's Messages throughout the night and prostrate themselves before Him." This is talking about Christians and Jews and other people as identified as people of the Book. It means those people with a legitimate Scripture. And I will continue this reading, "They believe in God and the last day and enjoin the doing of what is right, and forbid the doing of what is wrong and vie with one another in doing good works."

They "...vie with one another in doing good works." That means they have a healthy competition, where this one is trying to show the other one, "See, I have accomplished this! I accomplished two things today! I benefited society in two ways today!" Brother, As-Salaam-Alaikum, what have you achieved today?" And he will say, "Well, I think I have three pluses for me today. But it won't be long brother and I am going to have four. As-Salaam-Alaikum!"

In this you will see one brother going to the sister to help her with her heavy groceries, and the next brother sees him — then that brother will try to beat him to the sisters! "Sister, let me help you." And the first one that gets there is the one who has the honor of helping her with her groceries. Vie with each other in good works!

"...And they are among the righteous." So, that tells us what righteousness is. "And whatever good they do, they shall never be denied the reward thereof." That is comfort to us. Because many times we are helping a sister or brother that will make us feel so bad. But Allah is telling you don't expect reward all the lime from the person that you are helping. Or don't expect the reward to always come from the situation that you are dealing with, but remember Allah never fails to reward. You will get it!

So that is so much for the right idea of jihad. He went to the major focus for jihad first. That jihad is struggle against evil in the world. But jihad does not miss any evil. It starts with the major ones and goes all the way down to the least. And when there is no evil, and that meaning we are coming to now, I am still supposed to conduct jihad. Because it is a struggle. So if I do a kind thing in the privacy of my own room, or a good thing, and if it is difficult for me, than that is jihad.
(To be continued)