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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Historical Milwaukee Speech: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: This is a further continuation  of Imam Muhammad's 9/13/87 address in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,)

And the angels refused, and the only one who accepted was man; and Allah says, "surely man is foolhardy, given to be hasty, and ignorant." You know, I thought about this, and when I have glanced over Greek mythology, etc., and seeing these pictures of man holding up the world, I said, I guess that's the fool that God is talking about, Charles Atlas, who's got the world on his back.

Sometimes I think the church makes a mistake in believing that Jesus is supposed to carry the world, and the government shall be on his shoulder. That's speaking of Jesus as a sign, a sign of responsibility that everybody's supposed to accept, if they are alive and awake, because he said, "I in you and you in me." So what he was talking about was a common thing, and in many of his preachings he was speaking of himself, he was speaking of a common thing, a common property, that not only he had, but all men had. And when he asked that your shoulder take up his burden, he was asking you to do something that you had the capacity to do, and don't be looking for a superhuman being, no god to come here and carry human burdens on their shoulders for us. God is not raised up among men; God is before men and He raises men.

And none of us should be 'so foolhardy as to try to carry the whole burden of society on our one back, or one shoulder. We have to work in conjunction, in association, in cooperation with other men and women, and it should start right in your immediate association, with your friends, your family. You should work in cooperation with those closest to you, to relieve burdens upon the ones who share the situation. When you share a home situation, people share the burdens. When you share a job situation, workers share the burden. If you share a friendship, friends should share the burdens of that friendship, and no one should be presenting themselves as a savior of that crazy fantasy, that one man can carry the burdens of everybody else.

In our religion, we don't even have a priest; we don't even need an Imam to get married. Prophet Muhammad established this religion under God. We do not need an Imam to get married, and any Muslim who knows the Qur'an knows the requirement, knows he's supposed to have witnesses from both sides of the family. He can come and read the verses from the Qur'an, speaking to the concerns of marriage, he reads those verses, selects his own; he doesn't have to select the ones I use, he selects his own verses, according to his own thinking and his own sensitivities. He selects those verses that speak to his need as a man, to marriage, and perhaps to have children soon. He reads those verses, he has witnesses, he's married.

If you don't know that I'm right, ask the Supreme Council in Saudi Arabia.
We have no priest to go and confess to. I don't have to tell any religious leader about my problems with my wife, my problems with my children, I don't have to go to anybody in my religion — I can go to somebody that works with me in General Motors. If I think that person in General Motors is a sensitive Muslim, is aware of family problems and everything, I will go to him and talk to him. If the Imam says, 'well, how come you didn't talk to me?' I don't have to talk to you; God didn't obligate me to talk to you, just because you are an Imam. That worker with me in General Motors perhaps has got more sense than you on this subject. Now isn't that a beautiful religion?

I have no problems with the Pope; I respect him and honor him. We have great respect for the Catholics, great respect for Pope John Paul II, so much respect and admiration, that I've been thinking of how I can meet him; go to the Vatican and ask for an invitation one day, and I still might do it. And we have to respect anybody in positions like that, and even in smaller, less important positions, we have to respect them when they carry the heavy responsibility for many, many people, especially when they serve goodness, serve justice and serve excellence in the life of man, Muslims are obligated upon our Muslim principles, whether we differ with them concerning the content of faith, or the content of the religion, we are obligated to show them the greatest respect, and to identify with them, in their commitment to those principles that we share or that we have in common — to the extent that if they should call us, we are obligated to come.

Now how much more important is it to join your Muslim brothers in common interests, in the support of excellence that you both want for each other or want for yourselves; business or whatever it is, how much more important is it to join your fellow Muslim brother — and many of us go along and we don't even consider that there are other Muslim brothers and sisters who have our same business concerns. We should find them because though operating separately, together you can do much more. Isn't that a fact? That's why many other nationalities have such a greater advantage over us, because they trust each other and seek out each other. They find each other and they are more selective than we are. We would let a man come into an important club, just because, "hey my black brother! Yeah man, you look like a brother, you talk like a brother, man, come on in, man, let me show you what we're doing!".

The white man is more selective; the red man is more selective; the yellow man is more selective. He wants to know his family, he wants to talk with them a long time; he wants to see them in different situations, and then one day he says, hey. we like you, we want to introduce to you what we are doing here, we think you would be interested in it. They already know his life; they have enough indication from his life over a period of time how he behaves with his family, how he behaves in situations where he was charged with responsibility, and trusted with valuables; they know him. Prophet Muhammad says you don't know a person unless you have had dealings with them.

So you don't bring anybody into your confidence to share your business plans, to share your ideas and etc., to invest in your company, without thoroughly searching them out, searching their record, establishing that they can be trusted. "But we ain't supposed to be suspicious of each other." Buddy, all of us are not authorities, on the subject of logic and jurisprudence, etcetera, so don't take something and run away with it. Suspicion is of two kinds; there is suspicion without grounds, that's the kind of suspicion that's condemned. But when you have a suspicion upon grounds, there are basis for your suspicion, and you act cautiously out of respect for what you see. and what you know, and you have strong ideas that this is the case, man, you aren't doing anything but practicing intelligence; you're respecting intelligence.

They don't call that suspicious, but you know how we are, we stretch everything; we take one word, and give it every meaning in the dictionary. Yes we do! We say 'hey, wait a minute, what are your qualifications for this teaching job?' Well, you've seen me, you know me, I've been around here a long time, I'm just as intelligent as you are in a conversation, why do I have to bring some credentials or proof of something? Are you questioning me? You're suspicious of my qualifications? The Qur'an says you're not supposed to be suspicious, brother. I'm sure the Lord, in some kind of way - we don't see how He does it - but I know He lets the strap down; He says, 'well, here's one I got to give a lashing.' And they get it; we don't recognize it, but I'm sure they get a lashing from Upstairs, or from a distance, you know. From a long place away, I'm sure, they get a lashing.

Again, we should understand that Muslims have been motivated by the Word of God, and the life of the Prophet (PBUH), to have high regards for family life.

(To be continued)