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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

"Liberation Of The Human Mind For Muslims"

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editorial note: This lecture was given by Imam W. Deen Muhammad in San Diego, California, at the Sister Clara Muhammad School Banquet on Oct. 8, 1988.)

As-Salaam-Alaikum, and that is peace be unto you. First, we praise God, the one and only Lord and Creator, and we pray the peace and blessings be upon the last and universal Prophet Muhammad.

I was in a small crowd, and someone came over who had recognized me, and they were so excited. They knew me and had heard me speak somewhere. So this person says to the others, "Do you know who this is?" They said, "No." So 1 told them, "I'm the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's son. Do you remember the late leader?" They replied, "Yes, we know him. Yes." So that is the way it goes.

But the friends and supporters that I do have, I believe are the best. And with Muhammad Ali doing his great dawah work after a while I will not have to tell them I'm the son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. They will be saying. "You are the one who wrote the book, "Prayer and Al-Islam!" He is doing so much more than we can do and can reach so many more people. And understand this, too. Some of you might have missed it. Muhammad Ali used his own money to purchase the books. So it is his sacrifice all the way. And I am sure Allah will reward him greatly for that here and also in the Hereafter.

Now, I am a dynamic speaker! But I have to be speaking on something that excites me. If I get on race problems, then I will really be dynamic. It is because really I am fed up with race problems and race consciousness. There are bad blacks and bad whites. But that is not what I'm talking about tonight. So I am very low key, when it comes to talking about other things. Then I am not exciting at all.

The topic I have been asked to speak on is liberation of the human mind in Al-Islam. First of all, the Qur'an, the scripture of the Muslims revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be on him, of Arabia about 1400 and some few years ago, was a scripture more so than any other scripture that I am acquainted with — and I am well acquainted with the Jewish and Christian scriptures as well as with some of the others. But more so than any of the scriptures I am acquainted with, that scripture of the Holy Qur'an addresses the human being as a thinking being. It addresses the intelligence, the intellect, and rational faculties of man. It addresses man as an intellect.

Because of this the Book has obvious appeal, influence and strength for awakening the human being mentally. By mental liberation I understand that it means the liberation of the human mind in terms of its ability or inability to think in a rational way.

I have here some references from Qur'an. We begin always putting our complete trust in Allah; "Bismillah, Hir-Rahman, Nir-Rahim. With Allah's Name, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Glory be to Allah and the praise is for Allah. The One who created the heavens and the earth. The One who created everything." Now I am quoting from Qur'an. "The One who created everything and thereafter guided." That is He gave guidance for those things.

And the Most High says in the same Holy Book that I am quoting from very briefly in order to save time, to Muhammad and through him as messenger to all of us, "Iqraa, bis-mirabik kallathii khalaq. Kha-laqal insanna min'a-laqi. Iqraa wa rabbukal aakram. Allathii 'a-llama-bila-qalam. 'Allamal insaana malaam yaalam."

These are the first verses of revelation that came to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be on him. In English it says, "Read in the name of your Lord, who created. Created the human being from a clot. Read, and your Lord is most generous, who taught man the use of the pen. Taught man what he was not before knowing."

A quick reflection on these words will right away bring us to see this religion as a religion addressing the intellect of man. Again, glory be to the One Lord Most High, who says of Muhammad, "Muhammad rasul-lullah." "Muhammad is the Messenger of God." This is from Qur'an also. The tongue or language of Muhammad was "Arabiatan, Lugatan Arabiatan" -the Arabic language. He is called, himself, an Arab. Nowhere in the Qur'an is he addressed as an Arab, but we know that.

And the Most High also says of Muhammad, the Prophet, in this Holy Book, "You have not been sent by us, except to be a mercy for all the worlds." That means not only for Muslims, but also for non-Muslims not only for the people of the Middle East and the peninsula of Arabia, but for people all over the globe. And we know today that Muslims, as are Christians, are an international people. We are all over the world. There are great populations of Muslims in Africa, Asia, and recently Europe and now in America. They are all over the world.

Continuing now with these references from Qur'an, "And you certainly have in the messenger of God," that is in Muhammad, "a most excellent model of conduct." Again, I am not reading all of it, but I'm just trying to be very brief. Allah also says, "We have certainly found him to be on a powerful foundation of character." The prophet was of great character. And look at the word for character, "qulaqul azim" — of mighty and strong character. God says to Muhammad, "Say, I am a mortal person like you." This Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was missioned by God to clearly establish that the prophet or the messenger is no divine being. He is a human being just like other human beings.

Prophet Muhammad has all of the human nature that other human beings have. Therefore, he has all of the human desires that other human beings have. He has all of the human limitations that all other human beings have. And he was able to keep his good nature in its excellence as a human being, even before the first revelation came to him. Because God says of him, that he was certainly found to be on the strongest foundation of human character. Prophet. Muhammad was of great character. His people and his nation recognized him as such. And they called him, before he was missioned to be prophet, El-Amin — The Trust-worthy One. They knew of no wrong in him.

Prophet Muhammad also refused to worship the idol gods, and he was just lonely, because he had no religion that he could follow. He was such an excellent and pure man. And when the revelation came, the revelation guided him and made him happy.

So you will say, "What does this have to do with the liberation of the mind?" Well, I'm a strange kind of fellow sometimes. It has everything to do with it in the eyes of the Muslims that are looking in the direction that I am looking in. Praise be to Allah, Alhamdul-lillah. And the peace and the blessings be upon his generous Messenger, Muhammad.

The most important notation for addressing the liberation of the human mind in Al-Islam, I will get to. First, our religion is commonly known as "Islam," but in our Holy Book, the Qur'an, it is given as "Al-Islam." Some people think that we as "blacks" — and I choose to call myself African-American. And I like that term which was first used, I believe, by Marcus Garvey. He used "African-American. " And if other people are the Irish-Americans, and the Italian-Americans, etc., then how come we can't be the African-Americans? Why do we have to just be "black" Americans?

There is nothing wrong with being black, but that divides us. For I have a daughter that is as white-skinned as many white folks, but she has nappy hair. So black is no more of a term to identify us all and to give us a sense of belonging with each other than "nappy head." We could call ourselves the "nappy heads." But that is the influence of racism in the world. To 'make people call themselves black and for others to call themselves white. So then you are divided on the basis of color. It makes you more color conscious.

And of the human being, God speaking says, "I have not created the human or the jinn..." And the jinn here is speaking to the belief that we have that there are beings with intelligence and conscience like the human being, and they are not angels. They are called jinn. And they take different forms. They can come in the form of human beings or in other forms. And God says He has not created either of these except for his worship.

So here God gives a purpose for our being in existence, a purpose for our creation. It is to worship him. And our form, God says, "And He has made excellent your forms." He is now speaking to the people that He created. He is not leaving out any race, any tribe, or any social group. He says He has made excellent your forms. And this word for "form" means the whole — the features and all you would see, if you would just take a picture. If you take a picture of an ape, then that is the ape. And that is how science distinguishes between the different forms. They distinguish between the different creatures by showing the different forms. The forms are different, and the life in the different forms also differs from one form to another. So God says He gave all of us our forms or our description.

That tells me that the African feature is excellent from North Africa to South Africa, from the Watusi to the pygmy,- from the Bushman to the plainsman, on the continent of Africa. All of their features are excellent, if I accept what God says to us in our Holy Book. That He made excellent their forms and their descriptions and their features. And it is likewise for the European, for the English and all the people of Europe. It is the same for the Japanese, the Chinese, and all the people of Asia.

We have to accept that. That all of these forms God has made them excellent and beautiful. This word is "ah-sala," which is from "hah-sal," meaning beautiful, handsome, excellent, and having a high degree of excellence in terms of that beauty and other values.

A conclusion can be drawn at this point: 1) all men have the same origin in matter. And I have quoted many obvious references in Qur'an to the oneness and unity of man. I purposely chose these dealing with creation or having reference directly to creation And 2) all are of the same human type or image. None are divine and none are monkeys.

(To be continued)