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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

(Reprinted from the Muslim Journal 6-8-01)

Revelation and Its Influence on Culture (Part 4)

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

The following address by Imam W. Deen Mohammed was given in Norfolk, Va., at Booker T. Washington High School, on June 23, 2000.

G-d says that He wants to fulfill all of our wholesome appetites. He wants you to have a life that is rich, a life of abundance. We can only have this, if we respect each other as shareholders in the life that our Creator gave for all of us to have, knowing that really the True Owner of everything is The G-d that made it in the beginning.

G-d made it to yield, to give its fruits, its products and its services to us. G-d did that, and we should never as a race or as a religious group claim all of this for ourselves. We must claim it for the whole human family.

Then G-d will love us and help our efforts and will send His Angels to work with us. We will have great help, supernatural help for human efforts on this earth, if we will accept that all of us belong to G-d and the whole world belongs to G-d.

We are only temporary shareholders. We are going to die and leave it and others will have it. This is the message of Al-Islam, of the religion. This is the message for mankind. Religion is not something that comes just to make us feel good in our souls. Religion is not a narcotic, like the Communists charged. The Marxists charged that religion was the opium of the people.

Religion is more than that. It is not something just to make me feel good. Religion wants me to look good in my family, in my home life, in my neighborhood life, in my city life, in the human family life. And that desire is burning inside the soul of every individual — to look good in the picture of mankind. Not to just look good in my own picture as a Black man or as a White man or as a Yellow man, but to look good in the picture of mankind.

That is a need in the soul, and in my own experience as a seeker of G-d, to know what is my life and how I should live my life — seeking G-d to know what is my worth in this great plan, in this great scheme of matter, in this universe, this earth and sky. Why am I here? What is my place here? What am I to do? What is my value in this big picture? I sought G-d to find that out.

My personal experience was to know my worth, my place and my value in the picture of mankind, not in the picture of one race. The world now has become one. We can't escape that. The powerful television as a media brings us together all around the world as one human family, having essentially the same needs, the same aspirations.

All of us want good families and for our families to be protected. All of us want opportunities for our children to have a good future, a good education. We want them to have the opportunity, if they can qualify, to have a good income and to one day be the owner of the bank, the mayor, the governor or the president of our Nation. We don't want them to be cut off.

We don't want anyone telling us: "No. You can go far but not that far." We want to know that we have the right to go as far as any other citizen can go. We all want that, and this is what G-d wants for us. If we understand our religion, this is exactly what G-d wants for us.

G-d wants us to recognize each other and to respect each other and to promote each other's good interest here on this earth, with G-d and His Angels — the Super Powers — working with us for that good life. This is what my message is to you today.

G-d has created us as a plant. Even if you are not a gardener or farmer, you don't want to bring your wife a bouquet of weeds. Dandelions are pretty, but you don't want to bring her a bouquet of dandelions. You want to bring her richer flowers that don't say: "This carries the message of torment, too."

Dandelions can torment someone who wants a nice lawn. A bouquet of dandelions brings up bad thoughts. So you want to bring her a bouquet of roses or other beautiful flowers. And life should be the same. We should want our cultural environment to be beautiful and not bring up bad thoughts, but good thoughts.

We have an effort here in this beautiful city to join others working on the business district to renovate buildings that will bring fresh business and commercial life there again. We must understand that cultural beauty cannot be had in the measure that enlightened and advanced societies like ours wanted without a respect and appreciation for higher education and the right of every citizen to education.

Education is very important, if we want to have that choice environment, that cultural environment of richness in terms of a desire for a virtuous life and richness in terms of a desire for an enlightened life and productivity — wealth.

So when I see an effort like this in Norfolk, Va., to bring business life back to the strip, I can't help but also see developing along with that effort a desire to provide that strip with wholesome entertainment. Culture and work should go together. Culture and community development have to go together.

We work better when we have a perception of beauty, an appreciation for the beautiful things of life. You have a better spirit with which to work. The so-called primitive people of undeveloped societies, of no industry or science, etc., many of them we see in history going to work with a song. They wake up in the morning and go out to work singing, continuing the song as they worked.

One of our entertainers was known for writing and making popular a work song. Many of you are aware of how working people would sing to make the burden of work lighter. My mother would cook in the kitchen and clean the house, when she got up in the morning. She would be singing beautiful spiritual songs. She came from a Christian family.

An appreciation for the beauty of language and the beauty of sound all make up the culture and it manifests a beautiful environment of art and cultural richness. But this culture should not just say "beauty" to us; it also should say there is help for our life.

In my conclusion, I want to say to you that I know the Muslim community here in Norfolk under the leadership of Imam Vernon Fareed can take charge of that building and do for that building what Christians and others have already done for other buildings on that strip — to bring it to life again.

G-d wants that for us. The greatest resurrection or the greatest gift of life is the human soul, the human spirit. But G-d also wants us to look at our material environment. In our Holy Book, G-d says observe a town abandoned, neglected, how its roofs are caving in. And then how it is developed again, and it has a new life. These Muslims want to give the 35th Street Strip another life, another chance.

We have support in our scripture for that. We are to look in our environment and come up with a plan to make the dead environment live again and to make the ugly environment beautiful again. And we are to even increase that beauty and richness and growth.

We have a time on this earth that men and women and families and life have never seen before in the history of man on this earth. We have a time now to really live almost in a virtual paradise on this earth, on this planet. We have that chance now.

For the first time in the history of religion, leaders of Islam are meeting with leaders of Christianity in the holy city around Mecca, in Jeddah, to discuss how we can get to know each other and to work better with each other to support a world that each of us want and the best of the life that we want.

They are getting together for the first time with Jews, Buddhists and others coming together to see how we can have dialogue in a friendly atmosphere, so that we can get to know each other better with the purpose of working together.

You can't work together, if you don't know each other. I'll be running into you and your purposes and your aims. But when I know your life and your aspirations, I then can work with you better. Then I can steer my life on the highway with your life in a way that won't cause accidents for our lives. This is what Islam wants for us, and this is the time for it.