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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

"An Islamic Formula for a Successful Life" Cleveland: Part 2

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: This article is the second installment in printing Imam W. Deen Muhammad's speech in Cleveland, Ohio).

That was unheard of, that an angry group of emotional black people can get together and become sober in an instant. That was unheard of. That was power. That's power.

We should be able to see our lives as a life open to influences. The great philosophers, the great men of imagination, insight, into the nature and workings of things, they have imaged the human being, depicted him in their words and whatever, as a creature of influences.

I believe that if we can see ourselves in the light of what God has revealed, we can be successful in any time, no matter how difficult the time, in any place, no matter how difficult the place.

I am saying simply what religious people are always saying: God is saviour — His solution is salvation; faith in Him is the life. I can't say anymore than what they are saying already; I am just saying exactly what has been said already. But perhaps the way it's presented today, will be the answer for some of us here today.

Human beings are creatures of influences, and Allah, God that is, the One Lord, He says, of the man that He formed, 'when I have breathed into him of My Spirit, when I accept him, make obeisance to him.' This is what He said to the angels, He ordered the angels, to yield, to submit to Adam, as the appointed guardian on earth; God's appointed guardian on earth. Not only for men, but also for the good care of the environment that man occupies or lives in and we know civilized man has accepted that responsibility — not only responsibility to his race, to his species, but also responsibility to the environment he occupies. God charged the man with that, God qualified the man for that, and as I said quoting what is in the Scripture, that God ordered the angels to accept and submit to that role that it be given to Adam, and to recognize Adam in that role given him by God.

The point we want to make with this, is that God says, 'when I have breathed into him of My Spirit,' when he is following the influence that I intend for him, when he is under the influence I intend, for him. God intended that we be influenced by certain influences. If we are influenced by contrary spirits, as they say in religion, if we are influenced by contrary spirits, we are going to be taken into a hell of a life; a hellish life.

Now, how is man, if he is plagued by contrary spirits, he wants to accomplish something, but every time he makes an effort, soon something is always coming in his way, something is taking ,his mind off of it, something is weakening his will, something is weakening his efforts, something is confusing his efforts on what he's supposed to be about, influences coming from all kinds of directions, contrary spirits. So how can that man get a hold of himself? How can that person get a hold of themselves?

Sometimes there is no quick answers, that's why I say, I don't like to come with any quick answers — 'here's the ABC of success.'

No, the first step in being successful in getting the life that you will be happy with, and we are going to touch upon this again too, because after all, we have our own needs as human beings. And to be happy is one of them — at least to be pleased, is one of these needs in our life, which is respected, regarded not only by man in society, but it has been given a great place in scripture. That need has a place in scripture.

Now, the best way is to bring as I said, a solution from scripture, a solution from God. I am going to go as far as to say today, knowing that I don't have time to make it very clear, or to prove it to many of you who may not agree with it, or might not take it seriously, but whatever man has, whatever we have, as real strengths, real guidance in our lives, real solutions for our lives, came from God by way of Revelation. And if it didn't and you were in heaven, you didn't need it yet.

Before going on, to put the focus on man that I think makes possible the successful life, I want to bring to our attention the role of nature, the importance of nature, the respect that is given nature, in our Holy Book.

Not to say that other books don't give respect to the nature, but they give respect to a nature and then they say that that nature is not human nature.

We know that other scriptures say the wonderful things about man's excellence, that is essentially, the same thing, that is said about man's excellence in our Holy Book, in the Qur'an, the Holy Book for Muslims. But I repeat, the compliments they pay, you can't really feel them; you can't really feel good about them, not in your human awareness, because the compliments are not paid to human nature, they are paid to another nature — they say that in man's nature of divine and the nature of the human, the human side of man is the dark side, the divine side of man is the bright side. The human side of man is always threatening him, always tempting him, always putting him in bad situations — the divine side of man is there to rescue him. And that man has to exercise the divine will in himself; he has to exercise the divine will in himself to become strong enough in his divine nature to overcome the weaknesses, etc, etc., of his human nature. For Muslims, that's not the case. There is no exercising of divine nature; the human being has no divine nature.

That philosopher who said to forgive is divine was wrong. To forgive is human. That's not a separate quality of man, separate from his human nature, that is his human nature, that bids him to be good, that bids him to forgive injuries, to forgive insults. That's not God in man, that's man in man. God made us that way.

We believe that God, in His perfection, has shared with us attributes of His perfection, and those attributes in us are not God's they are ours, they are our property. And they are only God's in the sense that we belong to God — we are all His property. But my identity is human, my identity is me, and my attributes of my humanity, good or bad, of my nature, good or bad, are my attributes! And if you could total all the wonderful attributes of human beings, all of his qualities, etcetera, and then total up his defeats, you would find all of his defects are nothing but an error in. pursuit of his perfection. In other words, what I am saying, is the human being is not a creature of defects; the human being has been made perfect by God. He has been made perfect by God, and if we are perfectly human, you won't have problems.


Strive For Perfection

Contrary to what they say in the Western philosophy, that the human being is weak, and all of that stuff — no, if you strive to be perfect in your humanity, perfect as a human being, you will not get in trouble. You won't get in trouble because you are trying to be human, you'll get in trouble because you are trying to be otherwise, or because you are slipping into an inhuman kind of thinking and inhuman kind of behavior.

We have to get away from these influences.-1 don't care if they come from the pulpit, I don't care if they come from what is labeled as sacred scripture, I don't care if they come from words 'they say were spoken by God, if they are wrong in our life, if they prove to be of no logic, of no soundness in our life, we have to reject it even with God's name on it; throw God's name on the page and all into the fire. Then we can free ourselves from the influences.

Let me tell you something: it makes all the sense to me, that if my life is subject to influences, influences can overpower me, for after all, Mary was overpowered by influences, the Blessed Mary, peace be upon her. She was overpowered by the influences of the Holy Ghost. It was an influence; no mortal touched her, nothing physical, it was an influence. They said it appeared as a man in every respect. But it was not a man, it was an influence.


Take Care Of Influence Problems

Well, the good sense tells me that I should take care of the most serious problems of influence first. And if influences are coming at me to harm me, from a dog, that's not as serious, in my opinion, as influences coming at me to harm me from a man. And, by the same logic, the influence that is coming at me, from television, soap operas, movie screens, Walt Disney stories, funny books, comic strips, or your dreams and imaginations, whatever, these influences are not as serious for me, as the influence that is coming from a book labeled 'God's word.'

And if someone hands me something with God's name on it, that says, this is God's, this is sacred, God ordered this, and I discover that there are influences there that are not good for me, I'm not going to go and look at the influences and the politics of America, and look at the influences and the crime society of America. I'm not going to go to those places first, I'm going to go to the most serious spot first; I'm going to look at the influences in the book that's labeled God's book, because I am more susceptible to influences that are coming from God than I am susceptible to influences that are coming from the world.

That's the way I look at it. So the first thing we should do is to be sure that you are not following a religious idea, be sure that you are not under influences of a religious idea, that threatens your well being, that threatens your possibility for excellence. And this is no new talk of mine; I've been doing this talk for 30 years.

I am convinced that most of the religions that is preached for the poor and common people, are more harmful to them than alcohol and dope, because these things come from man. There are many good Believers who'll say, 'I don't want you dope pushers, I'm not going to buy what you are selling me; get away dope pusher.' Many will say to the bartender, 'no, don't pour me a drink'; many, innocent, uneducated people can handle that. But those same innocent, uneducated people, cannot handle the subtleties of scripture, that claim to be from God, armed and loaded with all kinds of detriments to the life of man, and the first crush is a crush upon the esteem of man. Man should hold himself in some kind of estimation, that he is of some value, and the first blow is to his own person, to his own image, as being a thing of value. Although we know there is the great flattery too, and God made man in His own image and likeness.


The 'God Made Man In His Image' Concept

'And God made man in his own image and likeness.' That's there too. But how is that interpreted? Man in the image and likeness of God, well, you know they said the angels; God and the angels. God said to the angels, according to the Christian idea (which is the Western idea), let us make man in our own image and likeness. So they were going to make man in the image and likeness of God and angel. That's why when the concept of man as a human being is addressed, they say, oh, this is the problem for the man, his human nature. That's the problem for him. His God-nature, his angel-nature, his heavenly nature; that's the good thing. That's what will save him.

I'm not saying that there's not a way to clean that thing up. Those who make the confusion, they also have a defense for it. So they can do a clean-up job, I know that. But what account is the clean-up job, if it's not cleaned up in the minds of the public? What good is the cleanup job if a few so-called elects know how to do the clean-up job but the multitudes are without any knowledge of the clean-up jobs, all they have is the picture of how it was presented. So the multitudes of the people have to live with the idea that their human nature, their human qualifications, their human worth is rejected, and that only the divine, if they can be transformed, reborn, if they can be redeemed out of the mortal and into the divine, then they will be saved. Isn't that the idea? I'm going to have to be redeemed, reborn, transformed, out of the mortal, out of the human being, into the divine, if I am to be saved.

Dear beloved people, the return to God doesn't mean that. The return to God for you is the same as the return to God for a dog. The same as the return to God for a tree, for a flower. Now, since a dog cannot even conceive the idea, that has no meaning in the dog's family. That only has meaning in the human family. So when we human beings cause the reality of dogs to be misplaced, then God will one day bring the reality of dog back to where He intended it to be. That will be the return of the dog to God.

When we confuse reality in any of the environment, and also in ourselves, and take it out of the place God intended for it, the return of that reality to the place God intended for it, is the return to the reality to God.


When We Conform To God, We Return To Him

Oh, I know there are other explanations too. When the world conforms to God, it returns to God. When the world conforms to what God wants, it returns to God. We know that too. And when your life is no longer under your control, under your power, and you die, only under God, you return to God. But do you have to die like that, to return to God? No. You can return to God while living, and according to both' scriptures, not just the Muslim scripture, according to both scriptures. If you don't return while you are living, your return is of no good.


Everything Goes The Way Of Allah

In other words, you are not given credit for your return. Eventually, everything has to go the way of God, the way that is, that God intended for it. But if you don't do it while you have a conscience and a free will to make the decision yourself, and you wait until death comes, it's too late. Death closes the door against repentance, closes the door against any possibility for you that wasn't already for you before you died. That's according to both scriptures. And many of us hear these things, but they don't register on us.

We think things are going to start happening with death. Things start happening with life, and they stop happening with death. And if you don't get it straight now, too late. And I know what some of you have said — 'well, I don't care when I'm dead and gone, I don't care anyway. That'll be the end of it.' Have you found some proof for that?

See, that's the simple way God presents it to us in the Qur'an. So have you found some proof for that? Well, if you have proof, then maybe you can go on comfortably—at your own risk.


Must Place Value On Nature

So it is important to know the value placed on nature. Nature is redeemed in our religion, because other religions go off the track that God and His Prophets put them on, they raise nature up for ridicule, and believe me, the thing that is ridiculed by this civilized society more than any other thing, is nature. Isn't that a fact? Nature is the most ridiculed thing, in this so-called civilized, enlightened society.

If you look at the movies, watch the conversation of the so-called learned, listen to what they are saying in their discussions, you will see that the most ridiculed thing, is nature.
It is accepted among the educated of the professions, that there is no such thing as deviant behavior. Now, I don't take for granted that everybody knows what deviant means, which I believe most of you do. Deviant means to deviate; deviate means to go off from the norm, off from the natural or normal way. And they are saying that there is no such thing as deviant behavior.

So nothing you could imagine, no matter how far away from the norm, no matter how far away from the natural, cannot be called by their classification, by their strict language, in their disciplines of science, can be called deviant behavior. What are they saying? They are saying nothing new. They are just extending the same old idea, that man is conceived in iniquity, born in sin. That's all they are saying; they are saying the same thing, they don't have anything new, and they are using their own language thinking that they have something new.