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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Sacred Life Connection: Part 1

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: The following article is adapted from an address delivered March 22, 1987 at the McCormick Inn in Chicago, Illinois.)

As-Salaam-Alaikum. Dear gathering, Muslims, and distinguished guests here today from Chicago and around the country and, I may say, around the world, as we have distinguished Muslim guests here, whose home is in the Middle East. We appreciate very much your response to the tribute and also your response to this Sunday's Ta'aleem, here at McCormick Inn (in Chicago). We pray Allah's blessings upon this occasion, and trust Him for the results.

Our theme, as most of you might know, is "Sacred Life Connections." I believe this is the second time that this theme has been addressed, in the regions; the first time was in Los Angeles.


A Passion For Excellence

First, we would like to remind you that in the Los Angeles address, some of the points emphasized for this theme was a belief that Muslims are to have not just an awareness of excellence, but a passion for excellence.

And also, we mentioned in the Qur'an in this connection, and also the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet had said, peace and blessings be upon him, that God, Allah, has prescribed excellence in everything. If you perform the simple task of slaughtering the animal to make it proper for consumption, according to the rules of Halal, the rules of Al-Islam, the Prophet said, do it with the object of making it a perfect job. Make sure that your knife is very sharp, so you don't do a sloppy or messy job, so that the least pain comes to the animal; that's excellence in slaughtering. And he said that Allah has prescribed excellence for everything. And we mentioned in that address in Los Angeles (on March 8) that that's not to be left in that category then we are to seek excellence in whatever we do.


Brushing Our Teeth

We even mentioned a simple routine thing of brushing our teeth; we should take that seriously, and brush our teeth with an object of doing an excellent job.
The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him also said — and we mentioned this also, we're just kind of bringing you up to where we are — "(The) believer, when he takes up an endeavor, he seeks to perfect it;" whatever he enters, as an endeavor, as a task, as a job, as something to do, he seeks to perfect it.


The Implications

What implications does this have for Muslim life?
It assures us that if we follow this principle, we will have a good strong progressive life admired by all people. We will have a life that will be qualified for competition in anytime of man's history, and in this day and time in the United States.
We mentioned also that God has given us that awareness and responsibility and the resources available to Muslims. And those resources begin with ourselves. We have great resources.



At this point, we would like to make some observations, not observations, we'd just like to make some acknowledgment and give recognition to some things that are very important, if we are to really understand what is being presented here today, under this theme.


The Best Artist

The first of those recognitions is that we be a people passionately motivated towards excellence. The best artist is the enthusiastic artist; the artist that is seeking excellence with every stroke of his brush, that's the best artist.
And if we look at any field or path that man or woman may accept, and apply the same principle, we will come up with the best.
The best musician is not the musician that plays for his own ear, without an awareness of competition with other musicians of his field, and of his likings. More, than that, he is in competition with his potential. His potential is challenging him to measure up to what God has put in him. The great musician will perform with that awareness and will please us and win our admiration. We will applaud him, and be thrilled at the end of his performance.


When Imams Lecture

When we as Imams decide we are going to come before our congregation and make a khutbah, lecture or sermon, if you want to call it a sermon. A khutbah just means a nice intelligent lecture or presentation. We should also be aware of that obligation on us. We should take our time and give serious thought to what we are going to present before we come before the people. We should go to the best sources for the material that we are going to use, and we should try to keep in mind all the time the object of what Allah wants before us, while we are preparing, when we come before you, and we conclude it.

This is the principle that will make the difference for Muslims in the world. We believe that Muslims have the best situation of any creatures in this universe. Now, I'm aware that there are non-Muslims out here today; every time I speak, there are non-Muslims present, and I'm aware of that. We welcome all the non-Muslims, even the non-Muslims who say they are Muslims, we welcome all of you.


Other Religions

We are aware that the believers of Christianity and Judaism believe their religion puts them in the best situation. I'm sure the Buddhists and the Hindus believe the same. The person who believes in his religion, believes that it puts him in the best situation; if he didn't believe that, he'd get out of that religion, to get in a better situation, if he's got sense. So we believe that.


What Puts Us In The Best Situation?

Now, if that is true for us, if we are really the people in the best situation, what puts us in the best situation? It's our connection with sacred life. That's what puts us in the best situation. Now, Muslims are aware that we are not the only ones in that best situation. We recognize that God also put the People of the Book, the Christians and the Jews, in that best situation. And for that reason, God, Allah, says to us in our Book, the Qur'an, through the Prophet: "Say, we have no contention with you," meaning with the People of the Book. Our contention is not, Christians, Jews, and people who have a legitimate religion from God. Our contention is with the ungodly who want to un-establish the godly, who work against the good life of the godly.

Our contention is with the idol worshippers, the corrupted people and the oppressors of the good life that God created for all of us, the believers in God.

More than once Allah says in the Qur'an, our contention is not with you, meaning the God-fearing people. Now we know that we are going to have clashes, and conflict; history has recorded centuries of conflict involving Christians and Muslims.


The Crusades

The Crusades, as you who are familiar with history, know, lasted for centuries. Muslims also fight each other and Christians. And Christians fight Muslims. But that wasn't something that was called for by Muslim teaching in the Qur'an or even the Prophet. No indeed. If Muslims are to understand the centuries of war called the Crusades, and Muslims involvement in it, Muslims are to understand this: that, that war was politically motivated, and the only thing that was sacred or holy about it was the innocent involvement of people who were brought into it, by the great political forces of the West, of the Church, to curb, strangle and wipe out a religion, if they could, that they were fanatically and politically opposed to.


Moral Responsibility

And it is a pity (and we mentioned this in our last address), that Muslims didn't retain that original purity and sense of excellence in terms of what we are obligated to do morally in any situation.
It is a pity that the Muslims didn't remain with that great high sense of moral responsibility in all situations, and come out and meet that challenge from the West, not sharp swords and great weapons, but first of all, with the right moral response.
It's a pity that they didn't carry the message of Al-Islam first, in the war against those people. They should have brought first, the best that Allah wants the Muslims to carry forward. They should have brought it in an argument, against those people who were seeking global dominance at the expense of discrediting and stamping out and oppressing a great religion, that came to make their lives better as well as to make our lives better.


Did The West Win?

It appears, maybe to some, that they won. But did they really win? "Oh well, the West is in power, not the Muslims. The Christians are in power, all over the world, not the Muslims, so obviously the West has won."
Well let's see if that's really true. Now if the battle was for material dominance, the West won. But the battle was for humanity, and the West lost, because the Muslim world today retains much more of its true humanity than the West does.
In Muslim countries, people don't have to put bars all over their windows; they don't have a dope or cocaine culture. Children in Muslim countries don't curse out parents. We don't have a decline of human qualities in the Muslim world.


The Muslim World Has Grown

Since it came into the light of Al-Islam, the Muslim world has steadily grown in human qualities. In-spite of the setbacks for them materially, politically and in many ways, Muslims have grown in human qualities.
Understand that Al-Islam came to the Muslims and found them in a state of heathenism. Those people weren't Muslims, they were converted to that religion. They were converted from paganism, heathenism and no belief in God, except the idols they made.
They had no respect for women, each other, or their national life. They were divided as warring street gangs against each other, doing things that would shame any normal human being, then and now.
They would have sex right out on a public road. They would also bury their daughter alive as ritual, because they didn't want to have many girls. They felt their manhood disgraced when they would produce many girls. They didn't want to share their food and resources with girls who couldn't fight in the wars and couldn't work the land. So they would kill their own girls. It's mentioned in the Qur'an, in a very wonderful, beautiful verse that says "for what was she killed?"