July 26, 1991
The Practical Application of Al-Islam: Part 8
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(On October 14,1990, Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Imam Mohammed has now prepared from it this article for Muslim Journal's readers.)
We men should be trusted by our wives to do what Allah has commanded. Allah commands that we respect the mother in her authority in the house, that we do not take over the rearing of the child from the mother. In western society the family has been all but destroyed. We tend to want to take responsibility from the mother. We will tell the mother, "Don't do that. Don't give that child that." Even if she is not as well informed as the husband she is better prepared to raise the children. I have told you this before brothers, and if you accept this you will have a much better situation at home. Even if we think we are more intelligent than the wife, we should not overrule her except in privacy, away from the ears of the children.
Brothers, let us not order our wives around. That is not our job. She is to give us the requisition for what she wants. Let her even tell us what she wants in our office rooms. If we don't quite like it, let us ask her can we have something else. If she says no, then wait and ask again a week later. Have patience! After a while we will get some loving that we though would never come from that direction. There are a lot of simple things we can do to make our lives much better for ourselves. The wise sharing of prayer and judgment over matters is the most important. However, when it conies to sinful acts, either of the mates, if not both, has to be firm.
If she says, 'This little pig bacon isn't going to hurt anybody. I know it is pork." Now, we have to be firm, for Allah is over both wife and husband. Then we have to say, "The bacon isn't going to hurt anybody, but I will!" I believe in threats, and I have never been arrested for brutalizing or mistreating a woman or anybody. But I will make one think that I'm turning into a monster. I even had my little child say, "Momma, monster man!"
Although they usually know that I am bluffing, they still don't know when it is safe to not take me serious.
We may say, "The Qur'an gives me the authority to beat her 'a little.' So I am going to obey the Qur'an." Some will delight in giving it to the wife in Arabic. That judge will go on and send you away with the Qur'an in your hand still reciting it. The prison gates will be locking on you.
We have to regard realities. This religion doesn't invite us to be stupid. It invites us to be considerate, sensible and intelligent. Really, I am not sure that that Qur'anic verse is in reference to physical beatings. The same expression in Qur'an refers to non-physical lashing. So to "beat them lightly" may allow as an option to use light physical striking with perhaps the known thought that no man wants ever to beat on his wife. It may be given with the expectation that the man will restrain himself and not brutalize women.
I feel the higher application of this Qur'anic verse to mean that even when arguing, we are to lash our wives lightly. If we are whipping her with the tongue, we are not to do it cruelly. The worse whipping can be a tongue whipping. We can be more cruel with our mouth than with our hands.
There are some women who will make freaks of men. If he threatens, her regardful "response is, "Beat me, baby, beat me! Oh, I love you!" The regardful man has to wonder what has he gotten himself into. In this ("free") kind of society we have a lot of that. Don't be surprised by a freak in a darkroom of a holy society.
Our families' best help is Islamic studies and obedience. We do not know of the Prophet brutalizing anyone. If you do not think he had problems with wives, then read the Qur'an. Muhammed (A.S.) never brutalized any of them. We are to follow his example. Allah says "obey" the Messenger and follow the Messenger's (A.S.) "life example." Don't say, "The Imam said we can't 'beat' up wives 'a little'; the Qur'an says we can." Tell the whole story and be truthful.
We have a concern for "our race." We know we have racial tension and race problems and it appears we will have it until Judgment Day. Don't think that we are ever going to get rid of all the race problems. Can we get rid of difficulty caused by differences in our family at home? Then why would we expect to get rid of racial differences in the society? We can only establish for the society what is right behavior. The society has to be depended on to respect that right behavior. You will always have people who will disrespect what is established as right behavior.
I am not working for a day when I can just go among any people and get "Welcome!", and they don't know me from "Adam." I am expecting to live my life out with the possibility of walking into some neighborhood and getting some stares and cold treatment. That is what I expect and that is what we had better expect.
What bothers me is that we don't look at them for a little while when they come among us. Now, I am not saying we should be ugly toward any people. We should not ignore good sense and accept any and every person of another people without giving it some thought. We should respond to them with caution also. Let us know when wisdom is to order caution on our part. We are dealing with someone we have not seen before. Do as they do, and start moving our women and young girls away from his or her area. A bit of caution is intelligent.
It is an evil to legislate the separation of the races. It is an evil that should never be accepted. But it is good human sense and it shows a people and their respect for bonds with each other, when they prefer that intimacy and closeness be with members of their race first and preferably as regards intimacy. It is natural, and believe me I like it. I do not want to be lost in an ocean of people of another race. You can call it racism, but I call it "sound race awareness."
We have concerns for financial requirements in our life. We are not established economically. Though we have increased numbers of successful individuals, we are still a people who are economically un-established. We have to be aware of that problem and address it, and we must start having a better attitude towards our own people in business. We must start demanding more of them as regards the responsibility on the business person in the community. At the same time we are expected to have hopes that we compete and grow a financial base to end our (African American) excessive dependency on other people.
As Americans and also as Muslims we have to carry the burden of the crisis in the Middle East. Don't think that we can escape this and be healthy in our souls. We are not going to be pleased in our souls no matter how much we fool our hearts with our rationalizing and fabricating and pretending that behavior is right. If Muslims suffer anywhere in this world, it is supposed to burden Muslims everywhere in this world. The Palestinian situation is a burden and a pain on us. And we cannot accept it and never will. If we can find any way to make a contribution to their relief, we should want to do it. We have to support our Palestinian Muslim brothers. If they were not Muslims, we would be obligated. We should support any people against those who would mistreat them.
We belong to the same religion. What happens to the Palestinians must affect us sooner or later, one way or the other. We are together in this, and that is what we have to understand. Allah says, "You are one community, and I am your Lord. Therefore, worship Me (obey Me)."
If we have brothers or nations that are not obeying Allah, let us deal with that problem separately! Don't wait until the brother gets in trouble and simply dismiss our obligation by saying to him. "You are not obeying Allah.': You knew he wasn't obeying Allah before the trouble, so how come you did not go and help him gain obedience to Allah? Now that he is in trouble, go and help your brother. After you have helped him, then talk to him about his shortcomings in the religion.
We have to help him first. Prophet Muhammed said to "help him by pulling him back from the wrong." We are not to wait until his oppressor stops killing him. It is too late to help him when he is dead. We are to help him get the oppressor off of him. If the Muslim brother is the one at fault, then we are to condemn our Muslim brother.
We also are to be in sympathy with the developing world, for I hate to use the term "third world." We have to have sympathy with the developing world people. How can we be Muslims upholding the justice of the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet (the prayer and the peace be on him) and not be sympathetic with oppressed and mistreated people in what we call the poor and developing nations? Some will say, "Oh, that is getting political." A Muslim has to be political.
This religion is a comprehensive religion. It requires of us that we answer every legitimate human and society concern. We can't stop and say, "Oh, this is economics." Allah wants us involved in economics and in politics. It does not mean that we must stand by any particular nations just because we sympathize with them in their suffering. We may not like their behavior either. However, if they are being mistreated, we are supposed to come to their side and be against all oppressors on both sides of the conflict.
Most of the "third world" or what we call the developing nations are not like they used to be during the colonial days and immediately after. Now most of what we call the developing nations today are oppressed by their own people. Their own people are following the ways of the oppressors who oppressed them during the colonial days.
Let us look at South Africa. We were given applications to vote against apartheid in South Africa. I have signed it and have tried to get applications for all of my family. First go to your family. I want all of my family of age and good sound mind to sign that protest application against apartheid. I am asking others to sign it and vote against apartheid. If you don't have it, then inquire and obtain it.
Also, you must know that we are supposed to be prepared to go to physical war and die on the side of the oppressed against the oppressors if we have to. I hope to always be prepared to do that. Allah, our Lord, Lord of all worlds, forgive us, grant us the Merciful Guidance.
Thank you very much. As-Salaam-Alaikum.