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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

"Productive Ideas For Us In Religion'': Part 3

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editorial note: The following is a continuation of Imam W, Deen Muhammad's address at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois on September 4, 1988 in the presentation of a studious and serious talk.)

Why have I mentioned hell as being a selfish belief? It is because most people who are preoccupied with hell are not really good servants of Allah. And when I say Allah, I mean everybody's Allah — the Christians' Allah, the Jews' Allah, and everybody's Allah. Again, these persons are not really good people for Allah. Why? It is because they have a "selfish self-interest." Their concern with hell is a selfish self-interest.

When your concern with hell is just of self-interest but not of a selfish self-interest, then you have the right concern with hell. If you have that kind of concern, you are not always fearing the fire that is coming later. You will be fearing the difficulties that are coming now. You want to have the situation good for yourself and for your children and family, for your wife and husband and your household. You want to have a good situation now. And you only think of hell when all of that becomes so darn confused and so miserably confused for you, that you can't make heads or tail of anything.

There will be the baby diving off of the ceiling. The dog will be drinking out of the glass. Everything then has become so crazy, then you will start thinking of "Oh hell! What is this Lord? Please save us from hell! Children, you are all going to die and go to hell, if you don't stop this kind of behavior. And that dog, too!" So we have to have a proper self-interest.

We think of the pharaoh and his selfishness. There are stories that the ancient have left, that the pharaoh, when it came time for him to die, had them to prepare all of his chief supporters, ministers, propheciers, and medicine men to go with him. Their time was when his time came! Not only that, but it is recorded that many of them took the slaves with them also.

Now I know they had trouble with that kind of idea. Because the next pharaoh was going to say, "Hey, where are my slaves? Killing slaves? I need them when he is gone." Surely, he needed the professional people also, but it is recorded that the pharaohs actually did that. They would take their people with them.

But it is not only that. As I have said earlier, his mummified body was to be kept looking natural and fresh for thousands of years. And they were successful with science to preserve the body; I have been over there and have seen these bodies from 4000 years ago. They are still over there and look better than a lot of these people I see coming out of taverns.

Now these pharaohs did not just want that casing preserved, they wanted the vital organs preserved also. So there are special jars with his bowels, his stomach, his heart, his liver, his eyes floating; all of the vital internal organs and eyes are all kept in jars.

His food was there also; these things I have seen with my own eyes. There was a lemon that looks just like you ought to pick it from the Jewels produce display right now and eat it. That is how well they preserved the lemons. There was food grain also preserved. Why? It is because he believed in an After Life that was physical. He believed that his soul could come back, if his body was preserved, His soul would have a chance to come back in his body through the cycles of the soul. That in time his soul would have another life, and if the body was kept, it would come back in that same body. Then, that he would be able to wake up in himself, get his lemon and lemonade. They even mummified the squab; that he would be able to cook it, and it would be fresh. He would have his dinner. His slaves would be there and come to him. His ministers and doctors would be there available to him.

You may be saying, "Oh, how ridiculous." Well, I have just read in the last month's, August 31st West Coast paper called The Sun an article on an AIDS' victim who was protesting his being denied the right to have his body frozen and preserved for a time when a cure for AIDS would be found. Now that is really self-interest, isn't it? I don't know the age of that AIDS victim. Maybe he was in the prime of his life, mentally and sexually. It was hard for him to accept that he was not coming back, going out and won't be back. Now he gets the "pharaoh idea" of heaven, and he wants his body preserved physically by being frozen.

What is wrong with that? It is nothing wrong with that, if they are going to freeze sperm for a guy wants to see his sperm preserved so that he can continue to produce on earth. So he goes and puts his sperm in a sperm bank to have it saved for a time when they are able to use it or someone wants it.

Then another one has his body frozen — there is no AIDS, then there is no problem. This one wants it, because he believes that maybe one day they will find a way to overcome death. This is actually happening now, if you are reading the papers. They actually believe that there will be a time, when they can overcome death. He feels that they will be able to bring his body back to life, and that he will live again. He says, "Freeze me." They ask, "How about cremation." He says, '"No! Freeze me!"

Now, I say there is nothing wrong with an AIDS patient protesting, if they are going to let these other people who are asking to be preserved do this. He has a right, also. Who knows, maybe if he gets life back again, he will not put himself in a situation to catch AIDS again. We don't know, and so we can't condemn him. He should have a right to have his body preserved, too. And they will come up with a way to cure his AIDS much quicker than they will come up with a way to bring that body back. Freezing will just put off for a few hundred years or so, but that body is going back to the earth where it came from.

Maybe they will be as successful as the Egyptians and put if off for a few thousand years. But go over there like I did, and I saw that guy with sunken jaws laying there. I said to myself, everything is gone but the skin; he is a paper pharaoh now! They were expecting him back mysteriously, but you can't see anything coming from him or going out of him. He is constantly becoming lighter and lighter in body weight.

Now we want to continue to look at self-interest. The best. way to search the soul is to look at your own self-interest. I'm not going to go into the details of every person's self-interest. I don't know it. I only know mine, and I know that of some of the people in close association with me. I know their self-interest. But I don't know yours. You know it, and you should examine your self-interest and make sure that it is not a "selfish" self-interest.
Because that is what is plaguing the society and making life miserable for us now in Chicago and all over this United States and all over the world — people having the wrong self-interest and being encouraged to serve that self-interest without anyone distinguishing for them the difference between an "unhealthy" self-interest and a "healthy" self-interest. The society is destroyed because of a "diseased" self-interest. And society is promoted, advanced and made prosperous and strong because of a "healthy" self-interest.

I used to wonder and be sensitized like most people and would say, "I know what I want to talk to these people about. But if I come from this way, they are going to think that I am not coming from the religion. They will say that he is putting too much importance on the self. He is supposed to be putting importance on God." God does not need us to put importance on Him! God needs us to put importance on ourselves.

If someone would challenge me and say, "Where are you coming from in the Qur'an with that, Brother Imam, to say that God wants us to be interested on ourselves?" I'm coming from the whole Book, from page to page. Before I read the Qur'an, I have to say, "Ah-u-thu/billahi mine-shaitain-ir-rajim." "I seek Allah's protection against the rejected enemy Satan." That is
self-interest, buddy!

It burned me up and made me so angry that I started to get down with a few Imams that were sharing the platform with me one day. Someone on the program said and calling himself to be quoting the Prophet, peace be upon him, "Religion is good advice." Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never said that. He said. "Id-deenu as-si-ah-ha." "Religion is sincerity." It does not say "good advice." How do we know this? You
must finish reading the quote from the Prophet. The question there is asked, To whom?" Now if it had supposed to be good advice, then let us see, will it fit the rest of the quote. The quote continues " Allah..."Are you going to give good advice to Allah? How in the world can you fix in your mind to think that you can give good advice to Allah? The quote says, " Allah," and in the final of it, it says, " the common people."

So what do I owe Allah, what do I owe the religion and His Messenger? What do I owe the Imams, the leaders that the people elect into office? What do I owe their common public? Sincerity! I advise all but Allah. I can't advise Allah. And that is the first name, Allah, that is mentioned in this quote. Now how in the world are you going to give "good advice to Allah?" You have to be crazy in your head. So don't pick up translations and feel so safe with them that we don't use our intelligence. My intelligence tells me that the translation is wrong! I can't give Allah advice!

You must get the Arabic dictionary and check again. I have .seen that translation also using "good advice." But I have always thought of it as "sincerity." I got it from a book translated by Dr. Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies called the "Forty Hadith." These two worked on the translation. The English person, Denys Johnson-Davies worked on it for the strength of the English and Dr. Ezzeddin Ibrahim worked on it for the strength ol the Arabic and for the purity of the translation. He is the Islamic scholar and also a scholar in the Arabic language.

In their translation, it does not say, "good advice." It says, "Religion is sincerity." But I have picked up other translations that did say "religion is good advice." And I said, that is where those Imams got that from. Most likely that translator came from a tyrannical Islamic state, where the government didn't want the common people to feel that they owe ''sincerity" to Allah, or that they owe "sincerity" to their leaders and to their common public.

That translator wants the common public to think that they are supposed to give "advice." Now, if you give advice. I don't have to accept it. And if all of us are entitled to give advice, then that means that we are guaranteed confusion. And that is what tyrants and despotic rule wants. H wants a confused public that can't unify on anything, because they fear the unity of the masses or the unity of the public. They should trust the unity of the public. They should be the ones to head up the campaign for bringing a sense of unity to their public, and their public will love them for it. Then they would be in the best situation.

We have mentioned directly and indirectly some very productive ideas for us in religion. The most productive idea of them all is this. "Think!" T-H-I-N-K. "Think, for surely thoughtfulness is resourceful." H has great benefits. And the most powerful in resourcefulness, to produce for you is the thinking on Allah. How is the thinking on Allah going to be resourceful for me and productive for me? If the human being doesn't know how to form a proper relationship with Allah, then the human being cannot benefit from anything! A human being cannot benefit from anything, until he first forms a proper relationship with it.