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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

A Sense Of Self Makes Living Better: Part 2

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(Editorial Note: the following public address by Imam W. Deen Mohammed from Atlanta, GA, December 11, 1988 is here starting with Part II.)

This address today, which we insist upon calling a public address, while we are realizing that the great number in this Atlanta Civic Center today are Muslims. We have few here today, as on most occasions that represent the public make-up. However, we will never be discouraged to give up hope that the public is going to respond to our invitation. We will never give up hope and will keep on saying, "this is a public address." The public is always invited and we will keep inviting the public as long as we are here.

We will keep our respect for the public and for the concerns of the public and for the needs in the general public for as long as we are here. For that is our Islamic obligation. Our obligation is not only to ourselves as Muslims; our obligation is to the whole of mankind. That is why Allah says, "You are the best of communities brought out for the good of all people."

Now we will turn the focus from the collective body of man and Muslims to the individual person. A sense of self makes living better. 1 want to speak now on the major process in the native progressional sense or self. By "native" we mean inherent, that which comes with our creation — that which is from our Creator. We did not get it from others. We got it from the Creator. There is a progression in that nature towards more improvement and towards greater meaning, towards higher performance and greater vision. It is a progression towards greater importance and greater responsibility. There is a natural progression written into the very design of our creation by Allah our Creator.

We are not the only ones who have realized that or who have been informed regarding that. The great nations of the West and nations before these great nations of the West were blessed to see that and believed that man is destined to come to bigger and better days. Destined! He must come, and he cannot help but to come. It is a must. It is inevitable. It is unavoidable for society. God has established it in man's natural design that he must come to bigger and better days.

This involves the kinds of influences we need to be aware of. For what you say in an expression comes in two major parts. It comes in the form of communication, and it comes in the form of influence. Every word comes in those two parts. And the worldly interest is talking to us constantly and does not respect our best interest. Allah and his servants promote our best interest. When the word comes from Allah, it comes to us with a communication and with an influence for our best interest.

Some of you will sit and look as if you want to go to sleep. You might say, "W. Deen, why did you come so late?" You need a whole lot of time to think over my concern in coming before you. And you make me think you want to say, "Hurry it up. Let's go." That is okay. But I am not going to let go. If you must, you are going to have to leave. I am trying to hold you for about forty minutes.

Not only the words of language proper, but also everything you see, everything that you come in contact with through your senses is reaching you with these two bodies or parts — the body of information or communication and the body of influence. You do not even have to be able to hear. You can be deaf and you are still being communicated to. What you touch, what you feel, what stirs in your soul are signaled by things in the environment which you cannot hear with your ears. Yes, you are deaf, but you can touch and feel. You have other senses that are operating and are making possible the receiving of communication and influence.

Allah has made us to know this. However, science also says that if you take the human being who is born today and put it away from its species into a situation or into circumstances away from humans, it will not develop as a human being. Then we need human communication. We need to come into the form that is inherent in us, that is there to come out and be expressed. In order to realize human form, aim, and destiny, we need human circumstances or natural circumstances for the human being. If we don't have those natural circumstances, then there is no telling what kind of form we will fall to.

It has been documented that a certain boy, whom the sociologist studied and named, was found among the animals in the wild, while yet he was a young child, separated from his family, and never had human life communicated to him. When they found him. he was running like an animal and making sounds like an animal and had no evidence in him whatsoever that he was human. Fortunately, they rescued him from that situation and brought him in contact with other human beings and gradually he grew into self to be what Allah intended — a human being with human expressions, human feelings, human language.

Why am I saying all of this? It is to bring us back in better touch with ourselves. That is the answer. We have lost ourselves. Isn't that what the Prophet Abraham said, when he realized he was barred from his needs? "Surely, I have been wronging my own self." "1 have been neglecting my own self," "I have been oppressing my own self." "I confess my faults." Then Abraham asks of Allah, "So forgive me my faults all of them, oh Lord. For no one can forgive faults but Thou! Only You!"

This means that if you have done something wrong, your friend may say, "Oh, I don't hold anything against you. It is in the past as far as I am concerned, man!" But if you have not made up with your Lord, then you are not yet forgiven. You will not yet feel free or relieved. You will be burdened still with that sin, because you have not yet asked forgiveness from your Lord.

This is from nature. This is not something that is above your head. This religion has preserved for us the common life and common excellence of natural people. It is the common excellence of natural man that has made possible the rise of great nations and great civilizations. For without this man would have never realized that ascent. This is what we should know, and this is the Great News.

Allah gave the Great News to the Prophets. And He gave the Great News in the greatest measure to Muhammad the Prophet, peace be on them. It was given to Muhammad in the clearest form to bring man into his universal vision and its dimensions of life and excellence.

This progressional sense in man that Allah created him with and created him for—it is a ' 'sense.'' In order for him to come into it, he is going to meet with and have difficulties. Most of the time it is not going to be easy for him. He is going to have difficulties and will have to fight his own undisciplined appetites and the confusion that he makes for himself.

Allah has revealed that we are brought through three veils of darkness. And the Prophet has told us that in the womb that there are three periods of forty days each in succession. And in the first forty-days a complete phase of our life is formed. That will decide for us our possibilities in the years to come.

Man is created with a potential that has to be realized. We should be careful of what circumstances we give our young children to. For those circumstances are like the mothers. They are like the wombs and will shape them for establishment or for destruction. Allah says that He creates you in the wombs of your mothers. Allah also says that He has patterned you on the pattern of creation itself, Prophet Muhammad has said in support of this point that I am trying to drive home, peace and blessings be on him, ''Everyone is a Muslim at birth and is made other than that because of the circumstances that the baby is put into."

How pitiful it is that we surrender to burdens of our own doings and give up the controls and blame Allah rather than face our shortcomings. Yes, even a believer in certain trying situations can come to that abysmal darkness and doom and throw insults at Allah. The broken-hearted believer says, "He is not helping me! I'm not sure I believe anymore." How many of us have come to that pitiful state? All we have to do is remain sensible and don't let drunkardness of mind drown out our good senses. Mature faith will not break up like that.

We must keep striving for intelligent answers, for just and truthful conclusions.

A progressional sense in man is given to him by his Creator. If he does not realize it, he dies a bad death. Allah tells us, "Do not die, unless you die as Muslims.'' That means do not die out of the nature created for you. Do not die out of or a stranger to human excellence.

We have the human edifice, the structure that Allah created and wants established for the good of self and the whole of human society. That is what we have in focus right now. Addressing the classic issue, that is we are addressing what particular urge is in our development that announces the beginning and the rise of the human species, human beings as a community, a family.

Allah says, highly glorified is He, to Adam, "Inform them of their names."

Here in revelation (Qur an) is the scene of Adam and his role in creation. Allah shows him as being a little above angels in estimation. That is another distinction of our religion. That Allah tells us that we have been created in our original nature a little above angels in value. That should bring in a renewal of spirit to you in the West. You have been made to believe that man is "born in sin." That man is doomed by his own nature to be a sinner, and that something must happen out of the rules and laws of nature to redeem him. And on and on and on it goes.

However I will stop, for I realize that some of you who greet me with As-Salaam-Alaikum are of another religion disguised. And I want you to be as comfortable as possible. I should say you are "bad Christians." For a good Christian would not be in disguise. Peace be on him, Jesus said according to their church Gospel, "Why have you come to arrest me in the night?" This is saying, "I have done everything in the open and do not go in disguise." So why have you come here in disguise? The same Gospel holds that Peter was one who would go into disguise, It holds that he even pretended that he was not a follower. Peter said, "I do not even know the man, Jesus." But this same Peter said, "Jesus left the key to me, the key of heaven and hell." We will speak on that another day. But for now, it is good not to forget.

(To be continued)