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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

“Be True To Your Label”: Part 1

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


Editors note: This is an excerpt from a speech given by W. Deen Muhammad in Dallas Texas on June 7,1987. This is a continuation of Imam Muhammad's 'Sacred Life Connection' tour of the U.S.A.

As-Salaam-Alaikum. Praise be to Allah, the Lord, the Sustainer of all the Worlds. We pray His choicest blessings and peace upon the last Messenger of God, Muhammad, upon his descendants, his Companions, the righteous all, and upon us be peace. We give thanks and praise to the one Lord and Creator for blessing us again to gather for His Cause, here in Dallas, Texas, and we also thank Him for blessing us with people in Dallas, like Imam Yahya Abdullah, and his colleagues, who cooperate in the work with him and" his friends in the outer community, for this opportunity to address you today in Dallas, Texas.

I have been, as you know, addressing you on the subject of "Sacred Life Connections." The theme that has been chosen for the workshops and for this address here today fits perfectly within that general topic, that I have been addressing. Community family life is a sacred life connection; to keep that life constituted, as our Lord Creator intended for us to be constituted, is a sacred duty. To hold to the identity that God intended for us, as individuals, and as groups, is a sacred duty. When we lose that identity that Allah intended for us, we begin to lose the way that God intended for us to be constituted, the way He intended for us to be made up, inside as well as outside.

Our religion, Al-Islam, focuses on family, and Allah Most High, that is, God Almighty, the Lord Creator says in our Holy Book, the Qur'an, "family obligations have a priority." Family obligations are given priority. My obligation to my wife, to my children, to my father, to my mother, to my grandparents, to the aging people in my family and the young in my family, is a duty that God has focused the revelation on, and has told us that before Him, family ties have a priority, family ties are given priority. We have obligations to family

I have a right as an individual, to benefit from good family circumstances, a good family situation, and I have an obligation as an individual, to support good family life, to be a contributor, to contribute to the well-being and excellence of family life, and society; in our religion, everyone has an obligation to work for the same, and to respect the same. We understand that in America, this is the land of freedom and opportunity, and of the great experiments, the great experiments with freedom. So here in this country, not only are the good people free, but the bad people are also free, and sometimes it seems that the bad people have more freedom than the good people. More freedom to progress, more freedom to advance their aims, their ends, more freedom to pursue their goals, that are criminal, than the good people have to pursue their goals that are legal, and that are honorable, that are approved by God.

It appears to be that way, and I used to feel very bad about the situation in American when I thought about this special kind of freedom that Americans have here, and for years, I was burdened with a great burden, and I said, well, what is this; is this the devil, is this hell or is this an opportunity for humanity to survive? And I couldn't say there was no opportunity for humanity here, because I have survived as an American and as a human being here. But it was confusing to me. And the more I thought about it, the more I had to rely upon the Qur'an, the teachings of my religion for an answer. And I came to the conclusion that this is just an opportunity; America gives you an opportunity, and all of us have an opportunity, and the problem for us is not to be blamed on America or on this special kind of freedom that we have here the problem is to be blamed on ourselves.


America, The 'Seasonal' Helper

America gives us a special situation for competition, and never think that you are going to be helped; in America, you are helped in seasons, and the season will come when you are not helped anymore. You are left on your own. So don't depend on anybody in America; nobody in America is going to help you always, except those who obey God over the word of man, and obey the Will of God, over the will of man. If you don't have anybody like that with you, then don't expect to be helped. Help here in America is always seasonal.

Now you can just hang around, spring will come again, but winter will come too, again. Muslims' hope in God's word.

We must put our hope in something bigger than America. Muslims' hope is in Allah, in what He reveals the Qur'an. Our hope is in the life that was demonstrated to us by His Prophet, His Messenger, Muhammad, the Last Messenger of God. That's where our hope is. Muslims, don't forget where your hope is, and work on keeping your identity. Muslims must work on keeping the Muslim identity. You know, things may be created or produced, and a label put on them, that truly identifies what has been made or produced, or created. But if those things are perishable, in time, the contents won't be true to the label, unless you find a way to preserve it.

In our life as human beings, we have this freedom, to conform or to not conform, to obey, or to disobey, and in the society that we live in sometimes encourages too much freedom, immoral freedom, and we find ourselves without knowing it, losing the original content of our lives. However, we continue to identify as we identified when the contents were correct. Muslims may call themselves Muslims, long after they have lost their Muslim lives. They still call themselves Muslims, and we are happy to say we are Muslims. But often, the Muslim life is left behind, long time ago. So we have to live true to our identity, true to our contents. If we don't, we are going to lose the life.

Keep identity before you, and keep the true meaning of identity before you, not just as a name, because names are just in the air, unless you can just grasp the full meaning of what that name represents. The name "Muslim" connects us with a meaning. Islam, or Al-Islam as it is called in the Qur'an, or in the Arabic language, connects us with a meaning. It's not guaranteed that we are going to keep the meaning, unless we make an effort. The Muslim name is known also to Christians; they know it, they say, "oh yes, a Muslim, sure, we know what a Muslim is."