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


Muslim Journal

Human Security: Reverence For God More Important - "The Identity Of Our Concerns”: Part 1

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editorial Note: How to manage "importance" was the focal point of this lecture by Imam W.D. Muhammad in Newark, N.J., with that number one importance being Allah and the management of our duties to Allah.)

I would like to speak on the need to identify our concerns and to manage those concerns. I will be speaking from a very familiar language of the Muslims, as I will first begin in Arabic. The English translation is "With Allah's Name, the Gracious, the Merciful."

The term "importance" is, as I believe, the first term or first word that we should give our attention to. Again, that is the term "importance." Our religion shows us where we should place importance. Understand, first, that we may have many points of concern in mind that we are addressing or that we want to bring to you, but the most important of all is that we know where to place importance. I believe that people succeed or fail because of the management of importance, or even more so because of the failure on their part to recognize where to place importance or its mismanagement.

There are many ways to say this. Perhaps you have said exactly what I am saying now, but you may have put it into different words. And Muslims should understand that our religion is a religion of conscious behavior. Our religion is ordered for us to urge us into conscious behavior.

Let me apply that to myself right now for this occasion. If I come out here to speak to you today and I have not given serious thought before hand to what I am going to say and to you in your makeup as Muslims, or to your needs as Muslims, if I just come out here in the spirit without any conscious preparation, then I have failed that requirement in our religion. That requirement in the religion that urges us or makes us or affects us in wanting us to be conscious in our behavior. Whatever we do, we have to be conscious of it.

I began with the word, "importance." And we know our religion is a religion of prayer; that our day begins with a conscious awareness of the obligation to pray the morning prayer, the prayer before sunrise or the Fajr Prayer, which means dawn prayer. We are awakened in the morning. We hear certain words coming into our ears and our sleeping minds are awakened by certain words: "Allah," which is "God" and "Akbar," which means "is greatest." It is "Allahu-Akbar," which means Allah is the greatest or He is greater. There are different translations; and all of them are still correct.

"Greatest" is a description; it is a modifier. "Greatest" tells us something about God. So the first words we hear in the morning that awakes us is not the bell nor the alarm clock, for it is the "Adhan" or the Call to Prayer. It says something of Allah or God, and it says that He is greatest or greater. Isn't "Greater" more important? If I say this is greater, then too that means that it is more important. That which is greater in my estimation is more important, or it should be anyway.

So we hear in the morning that "God is more important." That is what it is saying. If you want to say "a man has airs or a man thinks too much of himself or is proud chested," you use the same word or a form of the same word. You will say he is "big headed." The Arabic word for these is the same. In English we say he is "big headed or a bigotic person," and it means the same. He thinks himself more important.

One word that you hear coming from Muslims all the time is "God is greater or greatest," "Allahu-Akbar." So we understand that there are meanings in these terms. You can talk about these terms and bring out so many meanings that are expressed in them with one word. And in this case the word is "greatest or greater," which is "Akbar." The Muslim says, "Allahu-Akbar."

So we awaken and someone is calling the Adhan and telling us in the morning that "God is more important." He awakes us with this. If we want to manage importance in our life, then the first concern should be concern for God. "How is my relationship with my Lord? How is my relationship with God? How am I managing that importance?" And that is a job, isn't it? Because some of us can't get up in the morning and make that prayer. We will push it aside as something that is not for this time, or that is not for "me." You may say it is not for the United States of America or that it is not for Newark and New York City. So you push it aside.

Then we carry the burden on our hearts, .whether we are aware of it or not. It is affecting us subconsciously, and then our spirit is not good. We don't have a good spirit because we are playing down the importance of the most important thing in the life of the believer, and that is that God is more important than whatever else you can think of.

You will say, "Well, I would pray, but I need some sleep. I went to bed late. I will need some sleep, if I am going to be able to function on the job like I should. If not, I can't go out there and do these eight hours. I can't give up an hour to wash up and make prayer." So we begin to make all of these excuses. You will say, "I have arthritis anyway, and I'm sure Allah knows it."

So we make all of these excuses, and still Allah has provided for this. He says, if you have arthritis and can't bend the leg then pray sitting. If you can't sit, then pray lying down. This is all about managing importance and managing the concerns that Muslims ought to look at. If we can manage importance with intelligence, then we will be successful. Again, anyone who manages importance in an intelligent way must be successful.

First of all Allah is the most important thing in the life of the Believer. It is Allah, the Believer's Lord, his God, his Maker, his Creator, the One that has made everything possible for him, the One that he owes for everything. Everything is possible because of Allah. Then be should also have faith. He should realize that Allah is more important, and then he should have faith in Allah.

Still, before faith there should be an awareness that there is a cause for all of these things. The meal you love comes from somewhere, and we should want to know the Source of this food. Where did it come from? Sure, it came from the farm. What is the farm? It is a piece of land. Where did the land come from? Well, it is part of the earth. No man has made it! Where did the seeds come from that grew the food? No man made them. The animals that we eat, no man made them. There is the water that we drink, no man made it.

And whatever man has made, we call it "artificial." They even use the term "un-natural," meaning it is not natural. But really, it is not artificial, it is just a mixture of what Allah made. Man just takes it and mixes it up, throws other stuff into it and put a lot of things together that Allah had made, and he comes up with something that he made. Whether it is original or natural, artificial or man-made, it has a Source. And you trace its Source back to Allah's creation.

Whether you say, "Allah," "God," or the "Cause," or "Natural Cause," no matter what you call it, you should feel that you owe thanks to something. But still, we are talking about Muslims. And there is no question about the God that Muslims acknowledge. That is Allah, the One Lord and Creator that made all of these things. That is the Lord that we acknowledge. So we should give thanks to Allah. We should realize that our own selves, our food, our clothing, our intelligence, and all that you know came from what Allah created. You don't know anything that didn't come from creation.

Even the "lie" you told came from creation; you twisted the truth and made it a lie. The truth was there before. You cannot make a lie from nothing. You have to make a lie from something that Allah has provided. So you take something that God has provided, you twist it and make a lie. Then even your lie if you are proud of it, you should still say, "Thank God for making it possible for me to lie." Now I hope you know how to take me serious.

I'm sure someone is going to say, "Did you hear what he today? He said we ought to thank Allah for making it possible for us to lie." But I repeat, I said if you are proud of yourself as a liar, and you don't have it in your heart to be thankful for the right things, -then maybe you should be thankful for the wrong things that you are so proud of. For even that would not be possible for you without Allah.

So we should be people of faith. We should believe in Allah and not just acknowledge Him. Intelligence will help us to find out there is a Cause. And once we find that there is a Cause, then the heart should feel gratitude and appreciative for the good things and for all the things that we enjoy. If there is the Cause, then we should be thankful. Once one feels thankfulness to the One that is responsible for the things that have -helped them and made it possible for their existence and survival and all in their lives, then there should begin "a spirit to trust that Source. That Cause, that Source, which is Allah that made possible my existence and made possible all that I enjoy, then I can have faith in it.

I have no problem in having faith in the One that made possible this being of mine. My being, itself, is something that I can look at and appreciate. This is no cheap creation here. This is a marvelous creation. So I can look at this and say, whatever did this is worthy of my trust.

If you need a vehicle to go to a certain place, and you ask of some associate or some friend that you need some type of transport. That you have to go to such and such a place, which is too far to walk. One will say, "I can get you a transport." You agree that they get you one. Then they bring you a transport; you get on it, and before you put all of your weight on it, it collapses. Now here is another one who says, "I can get you a transport." They bring you one, that when you get in it, it doesn't collapse. You ride it all the way to the destination with no trouble at all, and you even come back with no trouble at all. It only took a little care; you wiped the windshield and put a little water in every now and then. Perhaps you had to get gas once or twice. But there was no trouble at all. So one of these friends you should trust, and one of them you should not trust. The one who gave you the transport that collapsed as soon as you put a little weight on it, you should not trust that one.

And look, this body has been carrying you for how long? Thirty, forty, fifty or maybe eighty years. It has carried you all of that long time and has not collapsed on you yet. And still you have not been taking care of it very well, so shouldn't you have faith in the One Who created you like this? And that is not to mention all of the other wonderful things in creation that let us know that the Creator is worthy of our trust.

And trust is faith. And what is belief? It is faith. For where there is no need for belief there is no need for trust. If there is no need to believe in anything, then there is no need to trust, and there is no need for faith. But where there is a need to believe, there is a need to have faith, and there is a need to have trust.

The human being is not a creature without problems and weaknesses and frailties, defects and limitations. We can perform very well with certain situations and with certain tasks. But when the task is above or more than our ability, then we can be made to look very ridiculous trying to accomplish that task. So there is the human being that performs so well and looks so great and has the admiration of everybody, for example they said, "Go on Tyson; man you are the greatest." But if you put him in another situation, he will look so bad that you will turn your head from him. You will not want him to see you looking at him messing up as he is doing.

So the human being has its serious limitations as human creatures. We have to turn to God. And many times we will not feel secure; we will fear for our own safety and for our own well being. Then the believers turn to God. And mind you, I am not speaking to atheists; I came to address Muslims. So we turn to God and want God to support us in our situation. So along with belief, trust, and faith, we need security, don't we? Yes, we want a sense of security.

The sense of security does not mean that we are never going to have a cold and we will never have a headache and will never get tired or never run out of money. No one can give us that sense of security. We would like to have it, but no one can give it to us. But there is a sense of security that Allah can give us that makes us feel secure, even though the money ran out. It makes us feel secure even though the doctor says you have a bad disease and that he can't help you with it; that it is going to get you one day soon, for it is terminal. The believer in Allah, if his faith is good enough, can face that terrible kind of situation and still remain with a sense of security.

(To be continued)