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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 2

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Editorial Note: The following is a continuation of (Imam W. Deen Mohammed's public address in Bridgeport, CT, on Sunday, June 11, 1989.)

We have to call the shots as they are. We have to see the facts as they exist. We have to be able to see facts and identify facts as they are and not as we want them to be. I believe that is what the Imam before me was saying. Some of us want to mate the facts like we want them to be. Bat we have to loot at the facts, see them as they are, then address them as they are and present them as they are. Do not change the facts to satisfy your problem.

We have to be very conscious in this religion to obey always the best motivation in ourselves. We have all kinds of motivations in as. Don't follow the bad motivation or the selfish motivation or the weak motivation over the better motivation. Always follow the best motivation in yourself. That is an obligation on us as conscious human beings in this religion. It is an obligation us as conscious human beings.

Be very careful of what you say, especially when you are talking to other people. I am careful of what I am saying when I talk to my wife, when I talk to my children, and others. I am careful of what I am saying when I am talking to an associate worker or to my friend. I am afraid to say too much. I would rather hear what they have to say and see what it is they want, and then I will come in on that. Maybe it will be something good, something straight, and something strong that I can join them in. I don't like to take the lead. I would be afraid that I would be giving them something that is bad for them, or something that they don't want.

First of all our religion came to Muhammed as Revelation in the form of the Qur'an, the last revealed Book from the Lord of the worlds. Muhammed is the Prophet and Messenger from the Lord of the worlds. This Book (Qur'an) addresses the universal order and gives us a sense, a picture, or an idea of how extremes are dealt with in the universal order of things.

When Allah created the worlds that we know as the universe, He said that the creation was in a state of confusion or disorder. In other words this world was not given to us in the order that it is in now. Its creation began from disorder, and after disorder Allah brought order about in the creation. That process of order continued until there was a universal order established. Orderly movements in the heavens and the high realm of order were established.

When we look at the heavens, that great and peaceful order, we may feel at peace in our hearts. It influences us on the inside and makes us feel peaceful. Perhaps it doesn't do that for all of you. But still for many of us on a clear night, we can look at the sky in its beauty and in its order and it affects us inside and will make us fee) peaceful. It makes us feel more in order within ourselves. It touches us with its orderliness and it touches us with its peacefulness and beauty.

Allah says that He addressed Himself to the heavens while they were in a state of confusion or disorder, and He ordered them seven strong heavens. Allah brought about that order of that mystical seven. Allah brought about the seven strong heavens. Then Allah recites to us or gives us by way of Revelation the many beautiful signs of this orderly creation.

It brings us to see that things are just not happening haphazardly, but things in the universal system are happening in a very orderly fashion. There is the timing for certain events, and things are not coming out of their boundaries haphazardly. They follow a course and keep to their disciplines in the heavens, These escaping their boundaries are ordered into new boundaries, or they are brought to an end.

Then Allah points our attention to the earth as well, so that we can see the signs showing that Allah wants the same respect and same obedience on earth that is in the heavens. Some translators of Qur'an give the translation of the condition of the universe before it was made orderly as the universe of "matter in violent motion or commotion.'* This is the translation that has come from some of the traditional scholars. At any rate, we have to say that Allah brought about the order and peacefulness that we witness in the heavens today.

That former condition was a condition of extremes; disorder and chaotic condition represent an extreme. Allah then ordered the heavens and did away with that state of extremes and brought about a condition of orderliness, peace, and harmony. However, Allah did not tell the universe to be "dead." He did not say, "Now, you have been too active. So now be dead!" He did not take the creation from one extreme to another. Allah brought in something between the extremes. It is not over active and it is not dead. It is still phenomenally active but orderly and peaceful.

Now shouldn't that be a sign for us down here on earth? Some of us in our moods and attitudes and dispositions are saying without articulating that we prefer chaos, violent commotion, and confusion rather than order and peace. If we are guilty of having that kind of disposition, if we are really serious about wanting to be Muslim, start right now rejecting that disposition to favor discord and extremisms. To give up destructive dispositions for constructive dispositions is a sign of an intelligent person. An intelligent person will reject a troublesome state for a productive state. Some of us do not have the ability to reject our self-abusing dispositions. You have to have the ability to reject yourself in an unwanted disposition.

You must say, "This is the self that I do not approve of." Look at that person you say you are and criticize that person you say you are in the light of the person you claim yourself to be — a Muslim following and obeying Allah and His Messenger. Question yourself in the light of what you claim, then look at what you are presenting as yourself and see if that is the person you want as yourself. If it is not, then say, This is the person I want to get rid of I do not want to be this person anymore. I want to be the person that Allah wants me to be. I want to be the person that I claim to be as a Muslim." Let all of us work on that.

I don't think I am wasting my time. I have seen many people that were given to confusion and extremism come around, and some of them are my best friends and best supporters today. I am not wasting my time. I think some of us are ignorant of our own actions. We are ignorant of our own behavior. We are ignorant of our own poor sightedness, that we are not seeing straight.

But if someone can approach us to build on our good, we can see it and change and will throw off ugly attitudes and rid ourselves of the ugly persons we were. We will do this to become the persons that we claim to be, the Muslim Believers who are obedient to Allah and to His Messenger (the peace and blessing be upon Prophet Muhammed).

We don't have any excuses from Qur'an and from Prophet Muhammed for this ugliness in us. Some of us will pick up an-thing, just any excuse, any lie to avoid exercising strength required to separate ourselves from wrong. We will lie about the religion just to get another person out of the position that we want.

They, the weaklings, will say, "This isn't Al-lslam. This isn't the way we should be, brother. We are supposed to have extremism. In the face of extreme, you are supposed to be extreme, brother! You need an extreme to deal with an extreme." And I am sure some of you have already been saying that while I have been talking.

Some are working on how they are going to handle what they disagree with when I am gone. They are working on what they are going to do behind me. "You have to fight fire with fire," some may say. But I say, in most cases, that is a stupid statement: "You have to fight fire with fire!"

Except to contain brush fires with a ring of fire, have you ever seen anyone fight fire with fire? The only fire I know you fight with fire is the "fire of anger."

There will be one person angry and all fired up and will be fighting another person who is angry. That appears to be fire against fire.

Opposing the fiery state in each other can end fires. If I start attacking the logic of your fire, and you start attacking the logic of my fire, we may come to some kind of understanding. But you can-not attack fire with fire — that will not work. That will only make my fire blaze up more, and pretty soon the people will not be able to distinguish your fire from my fire. They will say, "Yes, there are two people in one big fire."

I am aware of what is in the Qur'an as much as the average person or perhaps even more so than the average educated person. Certainly Allah says that if He had not caused one people to check another people, then the disorder and destruction would have spread all over the world. Tell me, wasn't He checking one people with another people through Prophet Muhammed and through those who supported him?

Allah was checking the idolaters and the persecutors of faith. He was checking them and their corruption that they had established and wanted to perpetuate on earth. But were Muhammed and his followers extremists? If they represented the extreme, they were the sober extreme of good in the race of the drunkened extreme of bad.

That is the only kind of extreme we Muslims are to accept. As Muslims we can come with the extreme of sober good to deal with the extreme of bad. But we cannot come with
the extreme of violence to deal with the extreme of violence. We cannot do that! We cannot come with the extreme of hurtful hatred to deal with hatred. We cannot do that! That, we are not allowed. Our Islamic life, our Islamic teaching, our Islamic principles will not allow us to step into the character of the condemned to achieve our goals.

That would mean that we would come out of the Muslim form and out of the Muslim light. We would lose the Muslim light and the right to be identified as Muslims, if we were to step into the behavior of the condemned. So we cannot do that! Prophet Muhammed, the peace and the blessings be upon him, when he was warring with crazy and violent enemies, look what they did.

Look at how they mutilated the beloved followers and even relatives of Prophet Muhammed. Those who followed Prophet Muhammed were opposed, killed, and sometimes mutilated. We pray the peace be upon them that they will always have the highest place in the heavens and also in the earth.

Did Prophet Muhammed ever tell his followers: "Mutilate them likewise?" No! He never even hinted that the followers should mutilate. Do you read where the followers say, "This savage tore the heart out of a Muslim, so tear his heart out?" No, you do not. We have to have sober civilized behavior, Muslim behavior at all times, We are not to allow into ourselves the extremes that are in the wicked, the ungodly, the ignorant, to influence us to take on their images. We cannot do that.
(To be continued)