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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


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Man's Proper Role: Part 4

Imam Warith Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate

 (Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's address to the Regional C.R.A.I.D. conference held March 15, 1980 in Chicago, Illinois. Continued from  the last three weeks.)

Dear beloved Brothers and Sisters, what I'm I getting to is a number of things. But most of them are behind me now. The thing I want to bring out at this point is that I will never aid or support any division in this community. We have to be united. We never create a schism or a division in our community: "The workers and the preachers!" "The Sisters    and the Brothers!" "The young and the old!" "The Pioneers and the masjid!"

We cannot have any divisions, we are one community. We are all united under Allah as  Muslims. We have Allah as our God; we have Quran as our instruction; we have Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as our example. We have Imam Warith Deen Muhammad as the leader. And we have those with him who are charged with authority. We are one community; we will die before we will be divided.

Does that mean that I have to sacrifice my dignity as a person? No. I keep my dignity as a  person, but I pay the price for unity as well as  the price for dignity. Sometimes I have to bend a little bit for unity's sake — all of us bend a  little bit for unity's sake. And none of you bend  as much as I do, because I should be as far from you as the sun is from Pluto!
But I'm staying with you, not because you  are the kind of folks that I love so much right  now, but I see you growing into the kind of folks that I love. I just can't find on Earth any better than you right now. I have to bend and just stay here with you until this thing is as pleasant as I can make it. Well — we all bend, don't we?

We can't survive without bending. That's why Allah didn't make just one bone. If he had made up one bone, we'd be in trouble. The bones don't bend — unless they are ribs. Most bones don't bend. The ribs only bend a little bit. He made us up of several bones. We have joints; we have places to bend. We have bending points. If you don't bend here, bend somewhere else.

When we bend for Allah, everything else is easy. Actually you are not supposed to bend for anything except Allah — you know that. But you are not supposed to do it with an arrogance, you do it with the heart. "All praise is due to Allah, I submit to you Allah." That means the burden to submit to Prophet Muhammad has been taken off. The burden to submit.

The burden to submit to those who have been charged with authority has been taken off. You submit to Allah so willingly, so peacefully, so freely. All praise is due to Allah, you're submitting to Allah only. But you also have accepted the complete obligation — your obligation to your Brothers and Sisters, to your society, to those in authority. You have accepted it so completely that the submission now is not a problem. That's what we want.

We want Muslims who obey Allah to that point, wherein they enjoy supporting even a person that he wouldn't take home for dinner. This is the kind of sophistication we need to keep our heads above water in America, the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, the most academically rich nation on Earth, I don't care what you've heard about Russia.

Dear beloved people, to keep our heads above water in this complex society, we have to become sophisticated individuals. Bats are supposed to hang it up at noonday. This is noonday in the world — running around here with bat vision. Oh yes, this is a serious business, believe me.

Where is the authority that we call Allah in our lives? It's not in my personal imagination. It's not in my personal dreams or thoughts. It's in the Quran. The Quran is not just a book of faith, the Quran is a book of wisdom. It takes faith and wisdom to be an authority on the Quran. You have to have strong faith, pure faith, and you have to be intelligent to understand the Quran. Maybe if you're not intelligent, if you have the faith, in time Allah will guide you to the intelligence. But before you become an authority, you have to have both.

You can't get men of wisdom to respect you just on your faith. They'll respect your innocence and your sincerity, but they want to see wisdom. That's what they stand upon; they stand upon faith and wisdom. We need authority to preach the word of the Quran because that word is not only a Word of faith, it's a word of wisdom.

We have to obey the Divine word, because we are Muslims. The Quran established for us the correct worship of God; it established for us the correct concept of man — humanity, society. It established for us our proper roles in life or in society — the role of the husband at home, the role of the wife. All of this is already established very clearly for us in the book, Quran. We go to the word of God for the authority. But in doing that we have to respect that some have more wisdom than others.

This brings us to another term, two terms in fact — one is (Arabic) which means "the majority" or "group decision." Though Prophet Muhammad had absolute authority over all of his people, he would turn to the general body of Muslims and ask them what they thought about a situation. That's democracy. Prophet Muhammad had to show us how to live the Muslim life. Allah made him an example for everything. He's an example to us as Imams, that we shouldn't think we know all the time. We should respect the will in the people, because Allah has also bound us, made us, committed us to respect the will in the people.

The masjid membership is steadily dwindling away, but the Imam's pride is at stake -he ain't going to give in. But if he would just stop and say, "Let's see what is the will of the majority, here. Let's have some free and open exchange."

This problem is not a problem for most of us; most of us in the Imamship of this community don't have that problem. But some of us do, and I said that for the benefit of those who do. I don't want the Imams to be working against themselves.

(To be continued)