New Africa Radio Logo
W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Bilalian News

Man's Proper Role: Part 5

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, III. Continued from the last four weeks.)

Lastly, I want to speak on dignity -- the term "dignity" for Muslims, because actually the word "dignity" is a charged word. By "charged," I mean it just turns you on. "That's beneath my dignity." "Oh, I've got too much pride for that." "That insults my dignity." You see?

So when you talk about dignity, you perk people up. We have to respect each other's dignity. Yes! His shoulders were down — like this. So you have to respect each other's dignity. So dignity is a charged word.

As Muslims, we have to know what is the essence of Muslims' dignity, then we won't be all charged up and have no substance.
Our dignity is first dependent upon our total obedience to God. That's what makes us dignified; that's number one! Then the will should manifest behind faith. Faith should generate will, shouldn't it? Faith should generate the will to respect that to which you have given your faith.

We should have the will to pray. I hear some of you just talk lightly about prayer.
Prayer is one of the Five Pillars of our faith. You can't read the Quran without getting instructions about prayer. Don't pass off our own failures and shortcomings and say, it's not important. Just say, "I'm not doing it." say, "It is a duty, Brothers and Sisters, but I'm failing. I hope one day to have time or to find time or to work out a program for myself, where I can respect this duty in Al-Islam to pray."

Never pass off your shortcomings and turn them into some somebody else's shortcomings. You pass on your shortcomings to them.
"Oh, Brother — praying doesn't work; you've got to work, we can't be praying." Rather, we've got to say, "Muslims are obligated to pray at given times." That's what Allah says in Quran. The proper respect for Allah will eventually make us pray five times a day. It takes time; we have to grow into it. We have to grow out of the habit of this life and get into the habit of the Muslim life.

Sometimes the job, the condition of life won't let us. Allah knows that, but if your heart wants it, you will pray. Allah will reward you for that. But if you are your own boss, then you shouldn't ignore your heart. If your heart is dead, then you shouldn't ignore what you have committed yourself to. You should help your heart get back to life by respecting that to which your have committed yourself.

Proper submission is total submission. You don't submit in part; you accept everything Allah asks of you. That's number one for our dignity. Number two is knowledge. Proper faith and proper knowledge make up the dignity of the Muslim in Al-Islam. We could have all the faith, but if the knowledge is lacking, sometimes we embarrass and hurt our dignity. Right—? After we get a little sense, we remember it— "Oh, I'll never do that again." Faith and knowledge, faith and good.

As your faith grows, Allah promises your knowledge will grow. But your faith has to expand. Personal faith has to become universal. Church society and religious societies promoted personal faith. Personal faith will not expand your intellectual vision like universal faith will. Allah demands of us faith. He will also reward you with the knowledge, if only your breast opens to faith. Knowledge is important — knowledge and faith.

For a Muslim, knowledge begins at the point of faith. The pagans are called "Jahiliyyah" ignorant-age people, because their faith is not right faith. Wrong faith makes for ignorance. Right faith makes for knowledge. Look how devoted they were to the blood-ties—"my brother, my cousin, my grandson — a member of Quarish." Look how much they were devoted to their blood-ties. They had strong faith in that.
Look how they prayed to their idol gods. They had faith, didn't they? But their faith was ignorance so their life was ignorant. Then-deeds were ignorant; their standards were ignorant. With us as Muslims, faith and knowledge are really one and the same.

(To be continued)