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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Inspiration And Hope For Humanity: Part 2

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the following public address at the commencement of Ramadan, 1989 at the South Shore Country Club in Chicago, Illinois on April 9t 1989. Parts of this lecture have been presented in Muslim Journal as "An African American Summit Requires the Bonds of Trust" and last week as Part I. Any disruption presented here a way from the flow of the original lecture is due to these previous presentations in Muslim Journal.)

Although we have very excellent conditions today, we also have the worst of conditions right along with those very excellent conditions.

There is a professor who was also the principal of our Sister Clara Mohammed School here in Chicago named Yusuf Saleem. He is now teaching in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Sister Maryam, are teachers. Brother Yusuf spoke in my absence at an educational meeting in Richmond, Virginia recently. One of the things he said in his talk caught my attention for my address today.

Yusuf Saleem said, "Right in the midst of advancement is stagnation." We know that "stagnation" means nothing is happening and that nothing is going forward. It means that nothing is improving and that everything is held in an unfavorable situation. When things cannot go forward, that is stagnation. Again, be said right in the midst of advancement, in the midst of progress, and I will say in the midst of astounding advancement and amazing progress we will find stagnation.

If we look at this time we are living in of 1989 and look at the achievements of man in terms of education, science, technology, and modernization of towns and of transportation, we will see that we live in an amazingly progressed time. His surprising how much progress we have in our lives today and in our environment today. But right in this environment that is so advanced in scientific terms and in material terms and in technological terms and in terms of individual achievement, we have this absence of enthusiasm. There is no enthusiastic movement by our African American people to make tomorrow better for the lot of us. As a race, we must refuse to culture a taste for pessimism.

I have looked at this and have brought it down to its smallest factor. I find at the bottom of all of this is a loss of faith. I can also see how this came about. First, religion was treated in a way to make the public play down its sacredness. I will go back 25 years or more ago when a head-line appeared in one of the popular magazines. I was so shocked by it.

At that time I was believing in the Honorable Elijah Mohammed's way of presenting the religion, and I was believing in his genealogical idea of God — that there was the flesh manifestation of God in his teacher called "Fard" or "W.F. Mohammed" or "Wali Fard Mohammed" or "W.D. Fard," who was said to have been the son of God, and God in that godhead was given to Fard from his father "Alphonso."

Yet, when I saw that headline, it angered me that anyone would let a thing like that be published in civilized religious society. America is a Christian country, though having minority religions under its protection. Therefore, it bothered me that a magazine could come out here with that with a big caption on it saying, "God is dead."

We know that magazine was not actually saying, "God is dead." The article was not actually saying, "God is dead." The writer was not actually saying, "God is dead." What the writer was saying was that he sensed a growing disinterest in the American society and in Western society for the kind of respect people of faith give or should give to the concept of God. That, I believe, is the message he was trying to have come through. I also believe that maybe the writer had good intentions in that he was trying to shock the American people to open their eyes by saying, "Look, we are a Christian country, but in our country God is dead!"

However, many times we can be motivated and our intentions will be good, but if the rational tools are not working properly we can make a big goof or mess of what we desire. As a young child believing in what the Honorable Elijah Mohammed taught as religion, still I had the rational alertness to see right away that that caption was doing more harm than it could possibly justify in the name of good intentions.

We must also understand this: Allah points to the good people in religion, those whom we can trust to carry responsibility, as not being a majority. Our religious and moral condition today perhaps is worse than at any other time in the history of America. Right now, the condition of people, in terms of being trustworthy, is worse perhaps than at any time in the history of America. I do believe that.

We have to have motivation. We have to be moved to want something and to do something. If you don't have that motivation, then that tells me the problem is the absence of faith. Behind that magazine caption I began to see more and more disrespect for the sacred things. The movie, "Oh God'' came out with a little unsteady man in it. I admit I like George Burns as an artist, but not in the role of "God." Behind that movie came another movie with him called "Oh God, You Devil I" Can't you see steps made to increase the dosage of disrespect?

Disrespect for Catholics on movie screens and TV commercials serves the diabolic desire to remove "taqwa" from people. Why pick on (make a joke of) Catholic priests and nuns? They are dramatically identified with faith and sacred duties. We don't say with our dress that we are religious. But the Catholics (priests and nuns) have a dress that readily identifies them with the religion. So the psychology is to get you laughing. In time religion will not be a serious influence on the life of consumers.

What I am getting at here is the fact that there has been an intentional thing going on to break down or weaken the foundation of faith. A consumptive public must first be detached from religious ties and influences on its behavior. Even the none church-goer, the person who did not frequent the synagogue was most likely a person who took Allah (God) serious. At least that is true for persons in the American public back forty (40) years ago.

When I was a boy, it was almost impossible to find a person who would not acknowledge Allah (God) in America. If there were Communists or atheists, they were hard to find. Whereas, now behind those light-hearted steps in disrespect for religious influence on public behavior, it is hard to find a member in the American public with religiously guarded behavior. "Do you believe in the numbers?" "Oh yes, I believe in the numbers." "Do you believe in God?" "Oh yes, I believe in God. But let's not talk about that right now. That makes me uncomfortable."

See Qur'an, Chapter 113, verse4. The translation I give for this verse is. "From the spitting out of the venom of influences to weaken firm ties (resolutions)." You should also read this verse in the translations of Qur'an by A. YusufAli and Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall along with their commentaries.

If I am correct in saying that the big problem in society at this time is the absence of enthusiasm, the absence of motivation under faith and the actual loss of a foundation of faith, how are we going to go about bringing that back? To do that, we have to reject the invitation from Satan to make amusement and toys of everything, of even our most sacred ideas. We ask Allah's forgiveness and mercy that we may be established by faith and by good works and that we grow trustful of each other and trustful of our righteous resolves.

(Editorial Note: The continuation at this point of Imam Mohammed's lecture has been presented in Muslim Journal's May 26,1989 issue starting on Page l under the heading of "An African-American Summit Requires the Bonds of Trust. "Next week's Muslim Journal will commence with this public address where the May 26th article leaves off.)