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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


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Character Building

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah (In the Name of God) the Gracious, the Compassionate


(Excerpts from a Khutbah delivered by Emam Wallace D. Muhammad at Jumah Prayer, May 26, 1978.)

Allah says that Satan decorates his path with the glittering things of this life: alligator shoes, diamond rings, diamond stickpins, chinchilla coats, long-collar silk shirts with ruffles down the front and on the sleeve, plenty acid rock or Superfly music, and velvety women that you never seem to be able to catch— they are like gas figures in the air; when you think you've got it, it's gone.

So Allah has alerted us, and has told us all these things. We don't have to fall victim to these traps. Why step in the pit with your eyes open? Walk around the pit.

How do we rise socially, morally and financially? Very simple. Worship Allah, Saturate your character with His Divine attributes.

He is Merciful, the Compassionate, the Generous, the Just, the Firm, the Patient, the Wise, the Supreme, the All-Knowing, the Forgiving, the Oft-Forgiving, the Gentle. All we have to do is remember God with due respect.

Remember that the Muslim is not one who just "worships" God. Worship in Al-Islam necessitates respect, the respect that is due that which we worship.

We can't just "worship" God. Many people worship God, and in their worship they shame themselves and disgrace the very worship that they are trying to establish.

But the Muslim is one who respects Allah, and this brings the best out of the human being. It inspires the best in us.

Where does it all begin? In the cradle. The parents, the mother has to raise her child properly. She has to influence the best behavior and mind in her child.

She has to contain herself when she's a pot of boiling water for fear that she may scald her baby. She has to have tremendous self control. If she swears or uses vulgar language in the presence of her child—if she does indecent things in front of her child, she is giving this to her child and her child has little intelligence to deal with it.

The child has been made by Allah to accept guidance and leadership from its parents, so the child is looking for guidance, looking for leadership from its parents.

We have to first build character. A human being without character is nothing. We have to build strong character that reflects human excellence because there is character that reflects human weaknesses.

Allah has guided us to the right path and has told us that this religion of ours is the religion of Al-Fithra. It is the religion after the pattern we find in the whole creation, the pattern on which He has made the human being.

The pattern on which we have been made is a universal pattern. (See Quran 30:30) It's a pattern that stands up east, west, north, south. Any field of knowledge can test it. It will pass the test of any scientist because it is universal and it is natural.

Allah is not asking us to divorce ourselves from our human substance. He's asking us to recognize and respect the great substance that He has put in the human being.

"Surely He has created us of the best stature. He has made us of the most excellent stature. And He has made everyone of us dignified or worthy of respect or dignity." This is Allah's word to us in the Quran.

Where is that worth, that dignity? It is in your human excellence. It is in your love for truth, righteousness and justice. It is in your appreciation for higher, refined things over low vulgar things.

It is in your appreciation of a clean environment over a musty, unkept, neglected environment. It is in your desire to enlarge your mind to increase your knowledge. It is in your desire to raise your moral sense higher and higher. That's what you mean excellence is.

Allah has said, "Build your character with the building blocks given to you by God, with His Divine character, with that character that He has established.

How many of us have the strength to do that? It takes daily work— daily work. You have to work at it daily.

Don't you know many people miss getting the assignment, miss getting the opening that was there? Not because they didn't have the knowledge, or didn't have the training, or didn't have the skills. They didn't have the character.

Do you think Allah is inviting you to a religion that doesn't pay off in your daily life? Allah is inviting you to a religion that pays off on your job, that pays off in your home, that pays off when nobody's with you, that pays off when you're alone by yourself.

He invites us to fulfill our life, and what live person in his mind, in his heart doesn't want to live a full life?

How do we rise above inferiority complexes? How do we rise above conditions of inferiority? Very simple. Allah has answered our problems, Allah has shown us the way, Allah has beat the philosopher. Don't go to them, go to the Quran.

There were philosophers when this Quran was recited from the physical lips of Prophet Muhammad, and Allah inspired him to say that if you can produce a verse like this, do it.

"Conspire you all together, men and Jinns." They were challenged to produce one verse like the Quran. Did they reply? Fourteen hundred years and they haven't replied.

Peace be to you
Your brother in service to Allah
Wallace D. Muhammad