New Africa Radio Logo
W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

"Destiny As It Is Tied To Excellence": Part 1

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editorial note: Imam W. Deen Muhammad was guest speaker at the Sister Clara Muhammad School Banquet of Columbia, S.C. on October 1, 1988. The success of the banquet, and the reception of Imam Muhammad's talk are memorable, and his talk will be presented here in Muslim Journal.)

As-Salaam-Alaikum, and that is the peace be unto you. And we begin everything with respect and reverence to Almighty God, Allah as He is called in the Arabic language, which is the Muslim language, and the language of our religion. And we pray the peace and the blessings be on the last and universal Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, and upon his descendants, and upon his companions, the righteous all, amin.

Distinguished guests at the head table, I am Indeed greatly honored and humble, myself, to be addressing this gathering with you present here. Also, to you honorable Imams, and honor able people who have gathered here from around the area, it is indeed an honor and a great pleasure to address you here again in Columbia, S.C. It is so, especially on this occasion, where we are working for the good and the excellence of the Sister Clara Muhammad School.

I have chosen to speak on "destiny as it is tied to excellence," as understood by the following Quranic references- And the first reference here has already been mentioned by Dr. Alma Byrd, who touched all of us I'm sure, and especially the Muslims of the Clara Muhammad School and of this city, with her very sincere and very important words to us of strength, encouragement, and advise. The Surah, which means "chapter" in the Arabic language I am referring to, is called Suratul-'Asrt and is translated as "By the Time Down Through the Ages" or "By the Token of Time Down Through the Ages." I am just going to mention in this speech, just a word or two, from this Surah or Chapter.

The first word is "faith." In Arabic is "Iman" which is faith. The next word is "ah-min" or work. The next word is taken from "tawasal", or is from a word meaning cooperation, or working together in cooperation. And as we know, and as you have already heard, the mentioning of these verses from this Surah, that man is in a state of loss except for those who have faith, have good works, who cooperate with each other for the advancement of "truth." The word is called in Arabic "Al-Haqq," And this word for truth means that that is established in the real world, or what we call the world of reality that God has made -Al-Haqq.

But this word, Al-Haqq, also suggests something else. Because we know the real "haqq", or the real truth, or reality is God. He is the truth and the reality. Again, God alone is the perfect truth and the reality. Because everything else is changing all the time. Science tells us this, and we understand that also. If we understand the concept of matter in science, then we know that no matter is constant. The only thing constant about matter is that it is constantly changing. And the only permanent, as Allah says to us in His Revelation, The Qur'an. is Allah, Himself.

So in that mystic, and very technical sense, the only reality and the only truth is Allah, God for all of us. But in this context, this word Al-Haqq or truth or reality, has a tied connection with the destiny or with the future. And excellence and destiny for man, as I am seeing it now, are one in the same. For when man reaches his destiny, he has also reached his potential, and he has also reached his excellence.

The whole world of matter, as we understand in science, and certainly as we understand in the study of Qur'an, and of the life of our Prophet, peace be upon him, is moving towards an end and is moving towards a conclusion. And the poets have beautifully pointed to the trees.

Some will bear leaves, some leaves and flowers, and some will bear even leaves, flowers, and fruits, and reproduce themselves. They will also make available to man from their fruits the seeds, so that man can also plant and see the reproduction and get the benefit for himself.

But everything is moving towards an end. Those plants that we don't see having fruit, we don't take them out of that trend, or that direction, or that movement of evolution. Just because one does not produce the fruit, we don't say it is out of that chain of evolution. We say that it is all a part of that chain.

God has told us in our Holy Book that He has created us like the plant, and therefore the plant is metaphorical. A plant is also descriptive of something in us. We are to evolve also in that kind of way. And many of us in our path towards our destiny, or toward our excellence, or our potential, we will stop short of the mark and will only produce leaves. Others will produce flowers. And still others will go all the way and produce fruit.

So, this is the beauty of life, when you understand it from the Quranic view or from the Quranic position, or I would even say from the world scriptures' position, the major scriptures of the world also address this same concept, and the same way of looking at matter and life, and especially life for man.

Now if we look at the steps in this surah, then faith is first. "Il-lal-lathina ah-minus," which means "Except for those who have faith," "Wa ah-minus-salli-had" — "And those who have good deeds." And I am sure the Christians know where to find this in their religion, too.

It is in the Bible, for I have read the Bible, and I am familiar with the Bible, and I have found these same principles in the Bible. So it goes, "ll-lal-lathina ah-minus, wa ah-minus-Balli-had." And next is, "Wata-walsil bil-haqq." This ifl "and they cooperate with each other for the advancement of truth in reality." This is a strong word — "Al-Haqq." It is for truth and reality. It is not your truth, and it is not my truth. It is not the truth in China or in Europe, or Africa. But it is the truth in the scheme of God that is truth everywhere. It does not change.

"Wata-walsil bil-sabr." This comes last. "And they cooperate for the establishment in their life the principle of patience and endurance." They do not give up, and do not get tired, but are looking to the future, and are looking to the purpose. They are looking to the object that is ahead, and is what we want. They are looking to that. And when we look to that, it helps our patience. That is the destiny, the end, the excellence of man.

Now, I have come to another reference from Qur'an, the Holy Book, which begins with, "Surely, great benefits come from thinking, thoughtfulness, mindfulness, remembrance, reflections,'1 and we can go on and on. Those are the things it is talking about. And some western scholar, that I was listening to recently, was addressing the nature of conscious, and he pointed out two activities, or two movements in the conscious that makes it a "conscious. " He said, "reflection and choice."

Now, since I have heard that lecturer say that, I often think hack on what we do in "thikr," for it is thinking with a purpose in mind. It is thinking with a definite purpose in mind. The purpose is to clean the thought, and to organize the thought, to orientate the thought in accordance with the best that God wants of us. And He has given us excellent attributes to reflect Upon as we do our "thikr" or remembrance.

There is "Subhana Allah." It is the expression of "Glory be to God." And it is more than that for Muslims who understand the Arabic language, "Subhana Allah." It also says, without directly saying it, that God is above him. God is perfect and man is limited, God is not limited. Man will make a mistake, but God does not. Man will wear out, but God will not. And on and on and on. So, "Subhana Allah," also means that I am reflecting, thinking, and acknowledging that God is enough for me. I may fall, I may make a mistake, I may go wrong, I may drop out of the race, but God is enough for me. I may even die, but God is still enough for me.

So, what am I saying? I am saying that God can make up for all of my losses, because He doesn't have my limitations. He is the Only Perfect. And we also say, "Alhamdu lillah." For once you recognize God as such, then there is a natural motivaton in you that says, "Thanks be to God." When we say "Alhamdu lillah," it is translated as "Praise be to God," and is also translated as Thanks to God. This is it directly, but we could talk much more on the expression of "Alhamdu lillah."

We also havev"La illaha illal-lah." "There is no other God." And I used to be before Christians and would be comfortable at this point. I would* be saying, "Well, if I say there is no other God, how are they going to take this?" But after studying your religion, I can very comfortably tell you that there is no other God, and you will agree with me. You will also say, there is no other God. Because now I think I understand your belief better, there is but One God. Now I know about the Trinity and all of that, but that is another language. So we say, "La illah illal-lah." "There is but only One God."

And also there is "Allahu Akbar." That God is the greatest. But look at the expression. We really aren't saying that God is greatest, for that is the English and the related languages to English. In English we have good, better, and best. But in this Eastern language, there is no good, better, and best. There is first and second; there is it and more. So if you say, "he is big," or if we say 'Tie is important," we would say he is an important man and a big shot. But if you wanted to say he is the biggest, the only way to say it is just "akbar." That says he is more, and that he is bigger. It just says that he is bigger or more, and that is all. So we have "it" and "more."

And what we are saying is what I hear some of these evangelists saying on the radio. They say the same thing, and that struck me. This evangelist didn't say, "God is greatest." He said, "God is greater," which was in a song that he was singing. So, I said that is the same thing that we say, "Allahu Akbar." This is reflection.

Hut, I said to myself, what is this reflection doing? This reflection is orienting my mind to appreciate God, to know Him and to appreciate Him, and to conform to what God has willed for me. It is doing all of that. It is also conditioning me to appreciate better the limited free will I have to make independent choices. All of this is moving me more and more towards my potential.
(To be continued)