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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

March 12, 1993

Muslim Journal

The Shared Heavyweight Champion: Human Equality Of Essence: Part 1

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

Under a tent with peace pipes in hand, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Democracy will look like a strange company of bed fellows. However strange it may be, Muslims, Christians, Jews and Democracy are growing and moving slowly and, in some instances, fastly into an agreement under one focus.

That focus is cooperation for advancing the good life of man on this earth. It is for peace. Even though global economic demands and human rights are pressing for this meeting of the minds, something very special shared in common is standing up to support the steps we are forced to take. This company of strange participants in democracy are fans or enthusiastic supporters of one and the same heavyweight champion.

This heavyweight champion is a shared belief in the human equality of essence. We believe these great religions and political democracy got started upon that: Democracy, be it American, European, or any perceived in the eyes of the modern world and in the eyes of our ancient "fathers" of this idea. God is the Creator of it. Our equality resides in our common essence, though we are of different color, different race, different nationality, different abilities, and therefore different levels of achievement.

Circumstances for our essence are favored or disfavored by situations we find ourselves in. We all were brought to life and given to circumstances. This is not something to be debated. It would be ignorant to start a debate over this as Muslims or as Christians. People of the two faiths believe in the great concept of democracy that Americans have in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. That concept is the life of the U.S. Constitution, and it is its permanent life.

We all believe in this common essence and in this shared quality of man. We could not have this government if we did not believe in that idea. Studious people know and persons working in government know that. Common essence and its inherent rights is the foundation of our idea of government. We cannot have the democratic process or equal opportunity without that basic fundamental sound support. It all began with the idea that all of us are created by God with the same human essence and with the same human potential. Allah and our original contents situate us justly for progress on this earth.

If you see me patriotic or loving America, it is mainly because I see the likeness of that idea in the Quran and in the form of government that Prophet Muhammed, the prayers and peace be on him, introduced and established. I do not think Americans could have come into this as they have without AJ-Islam having come first, without the "Shuraa" of Muhammed having come first, without Prophet Muhammed being inspired and guided by God to establish the Muslims and bring back that movement that was once in Greece and in other places. It was the followers of Prophet Muhammed who revived the Greek political aspiration. The Muslims improved upon the Greek wisdom and were able to shock the West out of its sleep and bring it back on the path of civilization.

This idea of democracy is a shared belief in our inherent excellence, a shared belief in the inevitable and unescapable destiny of that shared essence. This is not just coming from my mouth. This is in the Qur'an, and it is in the treatment of political theory. So, it is not just in the Qur'an.

We believe that God, the Force of God, the Will of God, the Law of God can best be understood when we observe the order and direction in the material system of matter. This material system includes the human system of life and activity. After all, "God was unknown and He created the world so that He would be known." To know God, we cannot be looking back to a void or a time when there was nothing We only know God by looking at the "something" that He created to make Himself known to us.

Necessity is kicking us in the rear and telling us to "move on." We are going too slow. We believe that the excellence in us must find the right climate and fertile soil for it to burst forth and grow into a beautiful structured life form. We are to grow and multiply and fill the earth with the excellence of "man." We believe that it is inevitable. We can't stop it. Those who come to hear me do so not only because they selected to; they come because that potential drove them to. the common essence drove them to come. And I come out to speak to them also propelled by the same essence.

I am speaking philosophically, but I am also speaking plainly. We cannot escape this destiny of our excellence. Our excellence must be established. And if I have to, I will put down the identity of a minister or of an Imam and will put on warrior's clothes. Then I will actually declare a physical war on our people who refuse to accept that we go into our excellence. Even if it requires becoming a violent man in America, I will declare a physical war on some of these people if I see that what they are doing will keep us back from our excellence.

But I don't think it will come to that. I think you all will accept to continue meeting as I have been doing and you all will go back and share what you have heard, and defend what you strongly believe in without listening to those who have gone off the course of true "blackness" into "blackism". We will establish our excellence. When you hear "blackism," speak up and say, "Look, you are sending us back into slavery. You are taking us back into the unknown. You are crucifying us on the 'X.'" Stand up and we won't have to have that physical war.

There is no person more serious on the battlefield than a person who is convinced totally that God is with him. To the African-American family, we say, we are urged to identify the focus of our unity as being our common essence and history. Our struggle began in the original protoplasm of a struggling society up from slavery.

We should not come up with a different interpretation and a different method for advancing ourselves that can't be found anywhere else in the history of moral societies. We must use the same method that God has revealed for all people. If we have become an 'X', then we have to come into the light of our identity the same way as did all other people. And that is to recognize first the truest and purest of our aspirations. Our identity will be formed in our common human excellence.

I don't know how we are going to continue to view the great able spokesman for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, Malcom X, who later chose to be called El Hajj Malik Shabazz. But I was happy to read an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Malcolm, X, The Conservative Hero" by Kevin Prichard in their Nov. 10, 1992 issue. In this issue they tell about the radical man and speak of the angry man and the man who confronted White America. But the article also speaks of the substance of that man and speaks of the force behind his anger, and the thing that he affirmed.

We have become like those who give themselves to the habit of only registering what is hurting and not registering what is good. It is to only condemn what we don't like and not affirm or give credit to or acknowledge or hold up what we like. We were advanced as a people because Frederick Douglass not only condemned the White man for his abuses on Black people, but he came also to assert the positive and to assert the excellence of man that he insisted upon claiming for African Americans, for Black slaves.

Frederick Douglass came to insist that the White world recognize whatever excellence God put in them was also in the Black slave. That if they had any respect for the purity and real intent in their Christianity and for what Christ Jesus the Prophet advocated and for what the Founders of the Constitution recognized, then they should come out of their shameful behavior and accept to treat their slave as equal humans. Accept to free slaves and change the whole America so that slaves will have freedom.

Thank God that our great leaders like Frederick Douglass and women among them — Sojourner Truth, Mary McCleod Bethune — are all stirring in the back of my mind. Some were too radical for their times, but they all were moved. There was David Walker with his "David Walker Appeals". They wanted change to come too quickly and too drastically for that time. But they all have something in common: They were saying to America:

"You say you believe in God and that the Creator is One. And the same thing He put in you, He put into all people. And your Christianity, your Gospel, and your great thinkers who conceived and wrote this idea of this great democracy had a respect for that. You are out of form. You are out of order. Your society is influenced by greed and money and power. Come back to your true essence. Take the fangs out of your mouth and become a human man again."

It was those great Black leaders who were responsible for getting moral support. Their message eventually reached the heart and the mind of many Whites who were trying to do something by themselves. Now they too felt encouraged and said, "Look at the great example in the orator Frederick Douglass." That man was impressive enough to convince leaders in America and in England. They came to tell and acknowledge that they should not hold a brilliant intellect in bondage.

After all he was born a slave, and so was Booker T. Washington. Such men formed as great intellects even while they were still slaves. Their circumstances were different from the circumstances of the majority of the slaves. Frederick Douglass first "had a good master," who encouraged him to read and study and learn and to improve his mind, while he was yet a slave.

(To be continued)