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


Muslim Journal

Justice in Islam: How Close are we Muslims to Western Democracy?: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the following address on June 16, 2001, in Detroit, Mich., at Orchestra Hall.

Many of us don't understand the Nativity Scene for Jesus Christ. He was born in a manger with animals, they say, because the fine hotels would not receive them. The inns that cared for people would not receive them. This is in the Bible. So Jesus had to be born with animals.

What does that mean? That Jesus had no help from the establishment. He was born without their help. But look how he rose from that to become the leader of the Christian world — a New World Order.

The late reform teacher of Pakistan, of the Indian people, Maulana Maududi — I met him personally at the Hajj on Mount Arafat in 1967, I believe was the year. He said that Islam is an idea or ideology for the reform of the world.

It is an ideology that G-d has given to man to reform the world, and it did it. Islam came not only to free man or human life, it also came to free religion that had lost its good guardians and had fallen into the hands of oppressors. The oppressors were reinterpreting religion, restating religion all over again to satisfy their desires or their design to have man under their control.

Religion was used to oppress and enslave. It fell into the hands of the wrong leaders or wrong powers. Islam came and addressed that and Muhammed was told by G-d: "Fight them (the oppressors), until there is no more persecution of the sincere, true believer."

And it didn't say Islam, though we know it means Islam. But it said "... and religion." It was also for the church and Christianity. It was also for Judaism and the synagogue. That Muhammed was fighting the oppressors, the persecutors of the faith.

It said: "Fight them, until there is no more persecution and religion is free for G-d." Do you hear that? These words are from our holy book, the Qur'an. Now tell me, if' you understand the simple English that I just gave you: Did Islam come to promote freedom of religion or not?

That statement for me is very clear. You need no explanation or interpretation of that. It says: "Fight them, until there is no more persecution..." of the religious people, the faithful people who insist that "I must follow G-d the way G-d intends for me to follow. You government people will have to kill me, but I will not give up my faith or my obedience to my G-d." And they would kill you.

Many of the faithful died, and we know that. They were Christians, Jews and Muslims. Many of the faithful died and are still dying in many parts of the world for their religion.

Islam came to promote freedom of religion. And Freedom of Religion is the first of our freedoms. This is true for the United States government's political ideas. When you study it, you will find in the history of our political ideas for democracy that it begins with the Freedom of Religion.

First, there was the fight for the Freedom of Religion. Then there was the fight for all the other freedoms. The Pilgrims came over here, because they were persecuted and could not practice their religion in Europe like they wanted to. They found that there was a new land over here, and they came here to see could they start their lives again.

They wanted to have the opportunity to live their Christianity or their church life as they wanted to live it, without having that denied to them by the powers or government in the old land. This is the beginning of freedom.

This democracy begins with the first freedom – the Freedom of Religion. And Islam begins with the first freedom – the Freedom of Religion. When Muhammed gave the Creed, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah," he was making a statement in the defense of the Freedom of Religion.

In our religion, we are told: "Surely, the idea that there is more than One G-d is the worst form of oppression." The people in Mecca of Arabia at the time of our Prophet believed in 369 different gods or deities. They were an ignorant and oppressed people in the darkness. What darkness? The darkness of the absence of light of where G-d wants man to go with society.

So G-d created not only an individual for a higher life, G-d created communities of human beings for a higher life. The greatest ideas for advancing society or government are those ideas that have the support of revelation – Scripture, Bible, Qur'an.

It is so when the leaders become enlightened in that particular knowledge, they then can take the society forward to where G-d wants it to go. Where is it that G-d wants it to go? "I am what I shall be. I shall be what I am." What does that mean? I recognize that G-d created me with that that shall place me where I should be in the future. But I have to discover it.

When I discover what G-d has endowed me with, enriched me with as a special creation of His, I will discover what will put me where I am to go. I may be a lost savage eating with animals and living like an animal, but when I wake up to what G-d has made me I will separate myself from the animals and from the savage. I will pursue the course that G-d designed for me when He designed me.

I will be what I am, and I am already what I shall be. But it has to be discovered, and G-d sees man struggling to find himself. G-d looks at him and says: "Oh. My creation is wonderful. My creation is beautiful. I gave him nothing more than I gave the animals, but on his own, on the power of what I created him to be he is struggling and making his way Home to Me." G-d then says: "It is time for Me now to go out and meet My creation."

G-d then gives him revelation from Himself, and G-d says: "Yes, I am the One Who created you from a clot of adhering blood." Then G-d reveals to him his destination, where he is to take his life and the life of his fellow man. He then becomes a prophet, a leader, a liberator, a builder of a great society. Moses did it. Muhammed did it. And others did it.

I can't, myself, discuss Islam without also discussing the African American people's life and struggle, to put ourselves back in that place of honor that G-d created us for. Slavery separated us from that life pattern, from that spirit and lifeline that G-d created us with and for. But our souls were created by G-d, and the world could not deceive our souls.