Public Address at the 1999 Annual Islamic Convention Philadelphia, Penn. - Part 6
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
We have a plan for our future. The future must respect the demand on life for peace and the demand on life for brotherhood. We are one family. Get out of that talking about blood is thicker than water.
If blood is thicker than water, find me a people who's got water for blood. Where are they? All of us have blood in our veins - not water. So if blood is thicker than water, then that means that all of us ought to be together like blood brothers because we all have blood.
"Oh, that's my family blood!" Oh yes, but if you get hit out there by a car or if something happens to you in a fight, you aren't going to say "oh, where are my relatives; I don't want blood unless it's my relatives." You will let a pigmy give you some blood, even if you are a White man. If you are Black, you will let a Ku Klux Klansman come and give you some blood, brother.
Peace is a requirement in our lives. Our souls have been created for peace. The conclusion of things must be a respect for peace. All of us have to have peace in our souls, if not outside. You don't have to have peace outside.
They ask me, "How are you doing?" First, I hesitate because I first have to overcome what I know. Then I say, "Oh, I am doing fine. I’ve got plenty of troubles, but it doesn't disturb my peace, peace in my soul."
We have to respect the demand of life that wants us all to work for peace: Peace for every nation, for every people and for every individual. If we want to be included in the world that G-d is forming for us, a much better world than the one we know about in the past, we have to be willing to embrace peace as a need in the life of every nation and in the life of every people and individual.
Do not promote your happiness against the other's happiness; we don't want to do that. Promote your peace with a respect for the other's peace.
We are not going to impose our way upon everybody else. We cannot do that and be Muslim, G-d created us different and made us to have different choices and persuasions. G-d says that if He had wanted to make you one people or one community, He would have done so. So He wanted diversity. He wanted us to have freedom of choice.
G-d knows the conclusion of things before we know it. So what is the great benefit now that the sons and daughters of one set of parents have now populated the whole earth? They have become different, speaking different languages, having different cultural sources or tastes. What is the great beauty in that?
If we were one family, one people and had stayed one people, We would have just worked for one national order for one cultural desire-Now that we have become many nations with many different cultural tastes, we now benefit from the many millions of ideas of cultural design where the market, table of mankind, is now filled with so many varieties of wonderful things created by the children of Adam.
See how G-d multiplies our blessings! See how He multiplied our reward by making us different! The rewards are multiplied! He did not send a Chinese in the way of Chinese life for Chinese to have his life all to himself. I eat Egg Fu Yung, Shrimp Fried Rice, and I love it. I eat Vegetable Chow Mein. I eat Pakistani Red Chicken and I love it. I eat the Turkish Dona Kebab and the Roti too, my Pakistani brother.
But at home I have my Georgia tastes - my greens, beans, rice, southern fried chicken smothered with gravy. I have my sweet potatoes. They are good and they are tasty and I love them. They have more roughage than white potatoes, so they are better for my colon.
So you want some brown rice, bean soup, bean pie, black coffee, whole wheat bread, that's good. If you want that, I will tell you with wisdom of the Revealed Word that was given to the Prophet (prayers and the peace be upon him), who was faced with a people putting emphasis on those small things: You don't have to be with us to get that; go to any place and you will find it.
Some of us thought it was more important to eat like we were told than to live like we were told. Some of us came out of the good moral life that we were told to stay in, but we still wouldn't eat pork. You preferred brown rice and bean soup but came in with whiskey on your breath to a Muslim restaurant. We don't want to do that. Come back home, please.
Again, G-d says to us: "For them will be a home of peace in the Presence of their Lord." He will be their Friend, because they practiced righteousness. Righteousness is not the possession of any particular religion. Righteousness is a possession of the various religions we call the heavenly religions.
We also pray: "G-d, grant that I be entered among the righteous." That one day, when all of this is concluded and You gather the people together, G-d please don't put me with the wicked.
Grant that I be entered among the righteous. That is our prayer.
So what is this Al-Islam? Righteousness. And righteousness is more than just a show of faith or a show of holiness. Righteousness is living with G-d in your soul, in the sacred core that G-d created for you.
But it is also living with your brothers and sisters next door, living with the stranger down the street, with the nation that speaks a different language or with the people who have a different religion. It is living with all people that respect a Higher Reality.
We are going to have these differences. Al-Islam has prepared us to live with these differences - to live with differences of opinion and to value the right to my own opinion. Muhammed the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said: "Everyone of you is a Raa'en." And it is translated as shepherd.
But what is the literal meaning of shepherd in Arabic? It means one who exercises the power of thought and arrives at his own opinion in a choice - the freedom to think for yourself. So everyone of you has that and it is sacred. That is your sacred property. So don't be a slave to anybody. Don't listen to me and not use your own mind.
Use your freedom of choice, the freedom to think for yourself. I'd rather see you do that, than to kill that in yourself and just sit there and listen to me - like you are a dead dummy or something - and go out and do everything I say without a mind of your own.
G-d loves us, and He wouldn't give us limbs to use and then fix it so we can't use them. Or give me a right arm and I can only use a left arm. He wants me to use everything He gave me and what's more precious than these arms is my thinking, my mind, my right to think and make decisions on my own. You do the same.
We are in the world and this world has become literally your home, the home of all people - the earth, that is. So let us go after our lives. Let us strive and strain to perceive our life in its best order, as G-d intended it to be. And let us go after our life together and separately, because I want a dress that maybe you don't want. Let all of us go after the dress we want; let us all go after our life that G-d created for us.
But let us know the life of a drunkard is not the life G-d created for us. Nor the life of a dope addict or a person who loves violence or who loves self-destruction. That is not the life G-d created for us.
Nor the life of bigotry, hating another people because they don't speak your language and don't walk your walk or don't talk your talk or don't look like you look. That is not the life G-d created for us.
To be continued