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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

How Your Religion Views Extremism: The Lesson For Daily Life: Part I

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address on June ll, 1989 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Imam Mohammed has stated the fallowing regarding his editing process: "My somewhat random and unwritten speeches often require not only editing, but also the rewriting of rough parts. I like to improve.")

Praise he to Allah. AS' Salaam-Alaikum. which is peace be unto you. WP begin with Allah's Name, recognizing Him as being responsible for all the good that is in our life and for all the good results that come to us. We pray and seek Him that good be produced with all our endeavors, and we pray His blessings and peace upon the last and universal prophet, Muhammed.

We witness that there is but one Allah (God), the Lord and Creator for all. And we witness that Muhammed is His Servant and His Messenger, the last universal prophet and messenger.

I thank Allah for the opportunity to be in this area of the New England states and to be in this city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and also to be the guest of some of the finest people and finest Muslims that I have ever met. These are the people who hosted us here in the New England area. Imam Abdul Majied Karim Hasan of New Haven and Imam Nasif Muhammad of Bridgeport along with all the good Imams and good people of this area. We really thank you for being better human beings than the average we've met.

There are some comments I would like to make before going into the concerns that I have prepared for this address on extremism and how our religion regards and views extremism. Let me first say that while I am very much pleased with the results we have been getting over the last four or five years now, I still see that we are under tapping our resources. We are not yet reasonably using what we have. We have plenty that we are not using. I am not talking about the national effort or an administrative effort. I am referring to the resources that are in all of us and the responsibility that is all of ours to use what we have to the best of our ability. Not many are doing that.

I remember, too, while I feel very good over the response that we are getting in this area, if we would measure the response here to the responses we have gotten in other places like Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia, and other large cities, then the results and support to our call here in Bridgeport are far better. I don't know what it is about the small towns, but they seem to be bigger than the big towns in ways that are dear to us.

1 don't want to embarrass anyone, but if I were to ask how many people took Highway 95 or the inexpensive train and traveled one hour to get to this meeting from New York, it would be shameful to see how many hands would go up. There are those who did not want the Muslims to hear me. The most disgraceful ones are in New York City. Their attitude is "that if he (Imam W. Deen Mohammed) speaks to you, it will be on our turf."

1 remember under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I am qualifying my referring to the Honorable Elijah Mohammed and what he did by what the Prophet, himself, said, peace and the blessings be upon him, and also by what Allah says in comparing those who were doing things before the Prophet (PBUH) and his mission with those who were called to act and respond to Allah and to produce after the advent of our Prophet (PBUH). Allah says in the Holy Book that you should respond to this with the same enthusiasm that was expressed before for idol gods, but (in support of At-Islam) you should be even more enthusiastic and even more sincere.

That is not to say that we had idol gods of that jahiliyyah time (dark age) when we were following the Honorable Elijah Mohammed. However, in a modern way we had idol gods, some more impressive than the shirk (false worship) of jahiliyyah (dark age), ignorant age Arabia. We wanted to believe the "black man" was God and the white man" was the devil.

The Lord (Allah) I worship tells me that He is constantly in some great work of producing and that He is never idle. There is never a split second that Allah is idle. He is at all times producing a marvelous work. Thanks to Allah, we gave up that shirk.

While I am happy on the outside, I am still disappointed. It is because I know that many of us are not responding as we should, especially in those big misguided cities. We are not even responding to our duty to be truthful and honest regarding the person that we say we support W. Deen Mohammed.

My purpose for coming to these small cities is to have a better environment at a much reduced cost. Big cities are too expensive for our meetings. It takes too much money to rent suitable facilities and have suitable hotel accommodations and meals. The big cities are greatly overburdened and unsuitable for the striving poor.

Some of your leaders are too desperate financially to be of good help. I don't warn lo blame them. I want to blame their situations. We are using our intelligence and coming into smaller towns that will not tax us too much and will offer a better environment. In these smaller towns the people are more human, the media is more human, the atmosphere is more human, and therefore we can expect better results from the small cities. We hope to find desirable facilities near big cities within an hour distance by car.

I have sent that message out and I have been accused of boycotting them, while they are boycotting me and my supporters. I am not here in the spirit of a complaining person, but I think some things should now be said. It would even be stupid on my part, if I didn't make you aware of what is being done on this side and of what is being done by those pouting because things are not going their way.

I recall being under the Honorable Elijah Mohammed while I was Minister in Philadelphia, there I was able to get support to bring over seventeen buses to one of his lectures that he made in Washington, D.C. How many buses came from New York City to Bridgeport today? How many buses came from Philadelphia today? That is to say, we are not treating our interest of today as we treated our interest of yesterday.

Of course, there are many reasons for this. We know that going lo hear someone tell you about the "original black man being the father of civilization and god of the universe and that the sisters are the mothers of civilization" — I can understand you being more enthusiastic to go and hear that. But when the dust settles, then we would think that you would be more rational and appreciate this straight religion more today than you appreciated that flattering talk of yesterday in "temples of Islam."

One more comment on this particular concern: Would you believe that after all of these years of working and preaching to bring respect to all of us individually and collectively and to bring a situation where all of us will feel free to work, produce, and campaign for positions, that today we still have sneaky people around us trying to stir up the feeling that "we have to overthrow the leadership that we have now?”

They will say, "Yes. we pray Allah that all of us can rally around 'La tllaha illallah, Muhammadan rasullullah and insha-Allah." You know, the term "insha-Allah" on the tongue of most Muslims — not only American Muslims, but it is the same throughout the world — "Insha-Allah" for them is an expression of "doubt." For what they doubt, they will say, "Insha-Allah, brother, insha-Allah." For this occasion they will say, "We pray Allah there be great results out there in Bridgeport. All of us support 'La-illaha illallah, Muhammadan rasullullah.' And insha-Allah we support Imam W. Deen Mohammed."

Now what is the reasoning behind that? What is the cause for that? Am I blocking your way? Am I competing with you? Am I stopping you from getting where you want to go? Where is it you want to go? Do you want lo be the leader in the New England area? Then my prayers are with you. And if you are really a good person and qualified and if I think that you are the one who should be supported^ if you will let me know, then I will join you and help you. I will give you my support. Do you want to be the national leader? Come and let me know. Show me your qualifications and I will do whatever [ can to help you, even if you take my place. If you are better, then I want you to succeed me right now in my lifetime. What is it you want?

The Imams have their right to send their articles to the Muslim Journal. The Journal is not my private paper, it is our Muslim paper. It is the business of the people running it from the offices of the Muslim Journal. I do not dictate to any of them. So what is it? Do you want to be visible in the Muslim Journal newspaper? Then you have the same right that I have. There are Imams with beautiful articles in this newspaper. Some of them give beautiful khutbahs (lectures). I read them. 1 read the Muslim Journal every week from first page to the last page — front and back. That is for me an obligation. It is our pleasure and also our obligation to know what is in our Muslim newspaper. In the Muslim Journal, I see the Imam's words and speeches, and I see some of them with wisdom.

So what is it you want? You have access to the same media T have access to? Do you want to be on television? Go ahead and work for it. I have failed and cannot get on major television. Do you want something that Allah has given to somebody else, and Allah has not given it to you? That was not my decision. I cannot do anything about that, and you should not have a problem with me over that.

What is it I am talking about. If people admire me, love me, and want to help me with their money, then I accept that Allah has blessed me with that support from them. If Allah has not blessed you with that support from them, then I cannot do anything about that. I have no power to manage that at all. If I were to tell them, "Stop sending your money to me and send it to Brother So and So who wants it," they would not do it. It is shameful that we have such silly and petty problems. However, these petty things ignored can trouble us and deny us the situation we want and need for our Muslim life.

Some of these people I am speaking of are so shrewd, and one of them I know even looks like an angel. He has the appearance of an angel and looks almost like he is not there. You feel as though you want to touch him to see if he is real!

"Insha-Allah," is his favorite saying. You can say, "We will have prayer now." His response is "Insha-Allah."

We know nothing can happen without the Will of Allah, but was that the habit of the Prophet? Did Prophet Muhammed say, "Oh Muslims, come to prayer—insha-Allah?" Never did any language like that come from Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him. "Oh Muslims, may our prayers be heard by Allah, in-sha-AlIah!" "Oh Muslims, let us go and support zakat, in-sha-AIIah!" So they do not know that they are mocking themselves and putting the brand of the rebel on themselves for all of us to see.

Here is another concern as I have come to conclude my preliminary concerns. This address is on "extremism," and I am now beginning to address the topic. We have to understand that if something strikes our true human sensitivities in a way that offends us or makes us uncomfortable, then that is not Qur'an and that is not Muhammed the Prophet and that is not this religion of Al-Islam. If anything, I repeat, is said by me or by anyone addressing you or if you read something, if that thing touches your true human sensitivities and makes you feel offended or uncomfortable, then that thing has been presented to you in the wrong way. It is not Qur'an. It is not Muhammed the Prophet (PBUH). It is not this religion of Al-Islam.

As I look behind me and see what we have done together, for 1 have made some mistakes — but I have tried my best that whenever I have seen a mistake I have made, 1 have tried my best to come back and correct it. Whenever I see anything that I have presented wrongly, if I become aware of it, then right away I begin working on H to present it in the right way and do away with that bad impression or bad presentation.

Don't think that I make no preparations. From the moment I knew I had to come here to Bridgeport, I began working on my talk. If you were to ask. "How much time does the Imam spend in the office?" The answer is "all of my awake hours." My office is wherever I am. I do not waste my time. If I am sitting up here waiting to be called to speak, while sitting there I am thinking on how I can better present what I have prepared. My thoughts are on how can I better improve the things that I am doing? I am thinking and trying to do better all the lime. If the hands are not at work, at least the mind is — all the time.

My constant concern, my constant duty, my constant responsibility, and my constant activity is to try and do better. I begin thinking on what I have to do and on how I have to present a matter from the first time I know that I have to do it. As the days wind down, I begin to formulate something on paper. It is easy then to formulate something on paper, for I have been thinking about it all along. I then formulate something on paper and come and present it to you and pray to Allah — I pray to Allah before I begin and 1 pray to Allah behind my work, that I present something acceptable. Most of all I pray that it is something that Allah accepts. I pray that I conform to the requirements of Qur'an and of the Prophet's life on me as a Muslim. That is my concern.

When we speak, we have to be very careful that we are saying what is right and that we are saying it in the right way. Don't you sometimes feel that you have not said the right thing? Even if it sounds good, if it is wrong, you should be able to feel that you have said the wrong thing.

Understand that we are not here as a religion on this earth to remove other religious people and other religious communities. We are not here to get rid of Christians. We are not here to get rid of Jews. That is not our purpose. We are here to propagate, to testify, and to witness to what Allah has given us in Qur'an and in Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be on him. And we are to acknowledge that Allah also guided others. We are to establish ourselves as a people of faith and also we are to acknowledge that others are established as people of faith.

We are here to establish ourselves as people serving the good of society and humanity, and we are at the same time to acknowledge that there are other people, too, working for the good of society and for the good of humanity. That is our religion.
(To be continued)