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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Put God First

Imam W. Deen Muhammad

(Editor's note: The following is excerpted from a lecture Imam Muhammad delivered recently at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.) This is the fourth and final part.

I do believe that those who have embraced the faith of Al-Islam in our community since 1975, in spite of the bad economic times here in America, have grown. We have grown. I'm talking about dollarwise. But it's not centralized anymore; we have Islamic democracy and we don't do it for promotion.

I remember when we didn't mind having a show for material success, just as a promotion item, to promote our image in black America. But we don't have that anymore.
I'm not condemning the past or the leader of the past. I understand the circumstances and the evils that that leadership was addressing. I have nothing but respect and congratulations, because I know that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was not a man who knew what was happening in the international world. He only knew what was happening in the circles he had ex­perience in andthose circles were very small, because he didn't have freedom as a black man to get the education to enable him to go into those bigger circles. So given the vision he had in terms of world knowledge, global knowledge even the true knowledge of what America really is, given his limited knowledge on what the facts are on this globe, I have nothing but praise for him. The man was a giant among the men we call black men.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was agiant. He brought more people from among the deprived blacks of this country together, during February, seeking excellence, seeking dignity, seeking self-respect, than anybody else from our race. I don't know of another one from our race in this country who brought thousands and thousands of people together every February to celebrate deliverance from ignorance, indecent, behavior, and laziness. That's what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad did. So when they talk about February as black history month, they should always start off with Elijah Muhammad.

I sometimes ask myself this question, if you were put back there in that time, would you do the same thing? Would you do it the way your father did it? No, because I'm a different man. My father was that man. This man knows the religion, Al-Islam. I would not do it the way he did it. I think I would have been killed. I would not have lasted maybe two years. I would have been killed, because I would have been coming straight from the Qur'an, and I would have taught the African-American man his dignity as stated by God in the Qur'an and that's more powerful than any lie or myth that you can give him.

Lies are like the effects of drugs. They wear off. But the truth that God has given us stays. When I was told about my dignity, in the Temple of Islam, under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, it was like a quick drug, but it's gone now. I was told that I was the original man, the owner, the maker, the cream of the planet Earth, father of civilization and god of the universe. That's what I was told. But that's gone now.

When I read the Qur'an and Allah said, "You were a servant of God, you're the Khalifah," He said everything in this world was created to yield service to you, if you would just worship your God, that made it.

That stayed. 1 would never forget it. Itjust grew and grew on me. It stayed with me and grewas I got older. It made me more and more impatient with mediocre performance on my part. And when you read the Qur'an and understand what God says about you and your worth, you will feel as I feel, if you are a sane per­son.

So I hope that what I've said, in some ways, has helped us to understand our responsibilities.
I began with conscience, and the sensitivities of that cons­cience and the things that offer us directions. Our responsibilities should be to God first. As we awake and hear the Adhan, the first thing we hear is "God is Great." "Allahu­Akbar.- "God Is Greater." We put Him first. He's more impor­tant than anything else. When we set priorities behind that we should continue to set priorities. What's next in line of greatness? If there's a man. he's not more important than Pro­phet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad is greater. If there's a. book, it's not more important than the Qur'an, the Qur'an is greater. As-Salaam.Ataikum.