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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

The Individual's Role In Community
Responsibility: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editorial note: This is Part III of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's address at the United Taleem Banquet, Los Angeles, Ca., May 22, 1988).

If Friday comes and there is no one to lead the Jumah, you don't have to have an Imam. If there is a brother there who knows the religion, who knows how to recite the Qur'an and make the prayers and make the Jumah khutbah, then be is just as good and just as qualified in his delivery as any Imam. In fact, be is the Imam.

It is not the certificate, and it is not formality. It is not some kind of ceremony that makes a man qualified in this religion. It is what he has in his heart and what he has achieved by faithful study. We know "Imam" will mean different things to different people. In Iran, Imam will mean much more than I am able to understand.

Dear Beloved Muslims, I hope you understand what I am saying. These are the concerns that we have to address. These are the most difficult things for us in America. We cannot pattern ourselves after the order of religious America. They have their church and clergy and ministerial order and priest order. They have their heavy psychology. And that is theirs, for it is not ours. We have to define what is ours, and ours is not a heavy drama.

Any time an Imam preaches so hard that he leaves you dizzy headed or tipsy as though you have been drinking, he is wrong. He is copying somebody else. He is not copying the Prophet. The Prophet did not make people dizzy and did not leave people tipsy. He was the one who cleared up heads and made people able to stand more solidly and to walk without wavering. So if we are not doing this, then something is wrong.

I remember a time as I was oriented, and all I ever knew was preaching. My grandfather and I'm almost sure his father also were preachers. My father was also a preacher. And here I am the son of a long chain of preachers. And if I am in this religion without complete understanding and then be told to look for the needle in the haystack and to put the pants on the elephant without being given any guidance or instructions, for they say, "Just do it." Can you imagine how hard that is? Here I stand before you preaching and putting the pants on the elephant and finding the needle in the haystack! And I just work so hard at it, until when I finish, I am a little dizzy.

Then here a brother comes to me and says, "Praises due to Allah for you, Brother Imam." He walks away, and his eyes are red and shaky. I could only say, "It does make you feel good." But that is a great burden on us. It felt good, but still it was a great burden. And you don't know it, until you have the hang-over. Then it is just in your make up to say, "I am tired of drinking, and I am going to cut this out. I hate these hangovers. One day, I am going to dry out."

Now returning to my point. If we can avoid these extremisms, then we can accomplish much. Allah requires of us that we love our relatives and respect our relatives. He requires that we value the family and take it upon ourselves to work for the good destiny of our families. Allah says, "Save yourself and your family from hell fire." Allah requires that of us.

Isn't this a wonderful religion? Now I am not blaming the Christians, but a lot of things have happened in the name of Jesus that are bad. They tell us that you have to be willing to separate from momma and separate from father and your brothers and sisters. Then you see families broken up. But that is not the way in our religion.

First of all you should be concerned to see your family in a good condition. You should want your family to be in a good condition. And this religion doesn't ask anything of us that Allah hasn't already created in us and for us. This religion, I find when I study it, emphasizes relationships. For everything is a relationship. I am not here by myself, for I have relatives. If I have a concern, then that concern has a relative. There is no concern that is without a relative.

Perhaps I tend to philosophy, but I also call it just plain straight talk. No concern and no person is without a relative. This religion strengthens for us "respect for our relationships." If I have my concern, then there should be a corresponding concern with this concern. We have concerns for many things, and Allah wants us to have concern for our family.

If you want that concern to be served in the best way, then you ha ve to put your concern for Allah and His Messenger before your family. We should love Allah the most, Who has told us to reverence the family ties. Look at the language He uses: "Reverence the family ties." We give reverence to a special preacher and call him "Reverend So and So." We give him special treatment and will tell the children, "You have to wait until the Reverend eats. Maybe he will leave a wing." But Allah says reverence the family ties.

I will go so far as to say, when Allah, Most High, says He created everything "zaljin." Nothing has been created singularly. Allah is the only single. He exists eternally and singularly, but he has created everything "zaljain." It means "in pairs or in couples." The science of biology and of physics will all give us the principle of' 'zaljain. "The biologist and physicist will tell us, "Yes, there are pairs operating in the physical matter." They have born that out in their study. That everything in this physical universe lives with a relationship.

We must live with a respect for pairs -- the male and female, the husband and wife. But more than that, it means two or twin forces. I call them twin forces. Maybe you can't understand the twin-ness of these forces, but there is the spiritual force and the physical force. And I call them twin forces. They are forces that should be married. They are forces that should operate together as pairs. So if you have a spiritual life, a spiritual interest, and a spiritual relationship, and it is not also corresponding to a material life, then something is divorced that should be married.

I will even go so far as to say that the only chance of going to heaven is to go there with a relative. Now we know that Allah is going to raise us up bare and alone in the Judgment. But if you don't have any relatives, then you are going to be in bad condition there. I am looking at the broad vision of relatives. I don't mean that you have to have father, brother, mother, or sister in that sense. But if you go there in all spiritualism and no worldly achievements, you are going to be in bad shape. If you go there with your left hand and nothing corresponding in the right hand, you are going to be in bad shape there. The left hand will not keep you from falling to hell. You will also need something in the right hand.

What I am saying is that you will need achievements in this life. And everyone of us, no matter how ignorant we are or culturally deprived or backwards we are, if we will plain and simply approach it correctly will say, "I want achievement in this life." Everyone wants achievement in this life. That is the nature in us, to have achievement in this life. And our religion has come to us to encourage us to go after achievement in this life.

Although He know that we are not to put emphasis on this life that are more than the emphasis that we put on the Hereafter, and we know that the end is better than all of the between and even than the beginning. The end victory is better. But how will you get the end victory? Hasn't Cod given us this particular chance in the world as an opportunity to earn the end victory? So where am I to prove myself? Am I to prove myself out of the world or in the world?

If you understand what the prophets have been teaching the people all down through the history, you will understand this. That the prophets have been calling the people to two interests, to two concerns, to the spiritual concern in their life and to the concern for the material urge in their life. And that they should not expect to earn the end by looking only to the end. They should look to the end and be expecting the end upon what they achieve in this world. If they achieve nothing in this life, then they have nothing to look for in the end. This has been the preaching not of just one prophet, but of all the prophets down through the history.

They have preached that you should work for the end life. That is what you should be working for — working for reconciliation with your purpose that God intended for you. Work for a chance to be in heaven, in paradise, and to be before God in His Presence, to be approved and accepted by Him. This is the end that we want to get to. But God has given us something as a test; He has given us the opportunity to earn it. You don't just get it; you have to earn it.

Every prophet has stressed that. That you must have deeds, and not just faith. But faith is very essential, also. Faith is important and is a precondition or prior condition needed for the exercise of good deeds. It is because without faith, you are not going to be able to consistently follow good deeds. You can try forever, but you will never be consistent in your good behavior without faith. Faith is a prior condition and a necessity. We know that faith is the real life.

The Hereafter is the real life. It is not this life; we know that. God has told us that. But you must get there by the exercise of the muscles that God has given you for this side of life. He has given you physical muscles and moral muscles and intellectual muscles and spiritual muscles. He has given you many kinds of muscles, and you must exercise those in a real life situation — at home, by yourself, or with your wife or husband, or with your family members. You must exercise all of these tools and instruments and put them to good use in this life. If you do that, you will not have to worry about the end anymore.

Allah has given us this opportunity here for the chance at the end. This is the only chance for the end. Isn't this the teachings of the prophets? Some of us think that we can go to religion and live on blind faith and get the holy ghost and just feel good and go on back in the world, with no continuous conscious effort to be made. No! You have to use your brain, your intelligence and keep them at work. You have to set these instruments to work for the end goal.

(To be continued)