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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 5

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. on July 9, 1988, with that number one importance being Allah and the management of our duties to Allah.)

The highest act of worship is to submit your whole life and your whole self purpose to Allah, the One Lord Who is the Most Important. That is the highest act of worship. But everything else that you do, second to that or on down the line to the one millionth or the one billionth time from that importance, in our religion that also is an act of worship.

When you behave in the right fashion as a parent or as an adult around your own children and other children, you are performing a good act of worship in our religion. Worship in our religion is not just the going to church on Sunday or to the mosque on a Friday only. Worship in our religion is not just the saying of " Allahu-Akbar" and the making of salat only. Worship in our religion is everything that you do that Allah intended for you to do and wants you to do, in order for you to be a presentable person and the presentable creature that He made. This is everything.

If you go to school, then that is a high act of worship. If you go to school to improve your mind and to become more useful to your family and to your loved ones, to your society and to yourself, then you are performing a high act of worship. The act of worship for the people who pursue knowledge brings them into paradise, according to a saying of our Prophet Muhammad. Also, Allah says in our Holy Book that the scholars will be in a location next to the prophets in heaven. This is because they have pursued knowledge, and after that pursuit and acquiring of it, they have imported it to others to make the world more knowledgeable. For that they have earned a rank next to the prophets in heaven.

So to use the tools of your intellect, to put your mind to work, to go to school and to get an education so that you will be better for yourself, your loved ones and for the society is a great act of worship. It is second only to the worship of the prophets, themselves. And this is true especially when you make the most use of that.

Who would not want a religion like that? I agree when Allah says, "Who will reject the religion of Abraham, except a person who just wants to be nothing?" I am giving you the common language for it; I know what the translation says, as well as Yusuf Ali's translation. He did not translate it like that, as I know, but it means the same thing. Who would reject the religion of Abraham, that is this religion of Al-Islam, except a person who just wants to make himself nothing? He does not want to be anything. He wants to be nothing.

"Are you saying that if a Christian doesn't accept this religion, then they are disrespecting themselves and treating themselves as nothing?" No, I am not saying that at all. But if they consciously reject this religion, they are fools. If they reject this religion because they are in love with Christ Jesus, they can be excused. If they reject this religion because they love their way of life and the traditions of Christianity, they love their church and Christian friends, they love their situation in the Christian world, then they can be excused.

But if they reject this religion because they have studied it and saw it and understood it, and now they reject what they see, then they are fools. Anyone who sees this religion for what it is and rejects it, is a fool! Now, I am talking to Muslims, for I don't talk to Christians that way.

After we say "Hayya alal falah," what does the muezzin say in the adhan or in the call to prayer? He says again, "Allahu Akbar." And it is because he is turning you on to the things that are resources for your betterment that will give you comfort, pleasure, happiness, power, and esteem among great people. So he has to tell you "Allahu Akbar," That Allah is more important.

And Allah is more important than what? Allahu-Akbar is said twice. Allah is greater than whatever you can get on this (right) side and than whatever you can get on that (left.) side. And then it is said, "La illaha illallah." There is no God except The God. Why must he tell you this? It is because men have been led to the right ideas, and they got involved in the development of the material things and then lost their life of faith and their vision. Then they gave themselves to those things and then set themselves up as dictators, as gods over the weaker people.

This has happened- Man has in time come into great material power, great might, et cetera, and then has set himself up as the absolute dictator, the lord over the other people and forgot, himself, that he is a frail creature created by his Lord, and that all of his strength belongs to his Lord. He forgot all of that and began to oppress his fellow man. So it is necessary that after opening up the avenues of great development and great wealth and great progress on the part of man and society, that we remind man behind that that Allah is more important.

It is said lastly, "La illaha illallah." That there is no deity except God. This is because men will make deities of many things. And usually it is the thing that satisfies them the most. This is true; whatever satisfies them the most, they want to make a deity out of that and forget that Allah has satisfied them the most and made possible all things.

1 know how people feel and they will say, "All of this talk about God and religion, this is good. But we have to live in this real world." But remember, the baby comes here from momma complete, they say, but the baby cannot live in this real world — not yet. The baby has to be protected by momma, carried by momma, supported by momma and daddy also, I hope, for some years. Then we hope that it is ready to come out here and live in this real world.

Now, I am not saying that you are babies, but many times we are babies because of our own personal neglect in our own personal lives. We neglect to cultivate good attitudes in ourselves. We neglect to cultivate a good way of feeling. Don't you know that you should cultivate a good way of feeling towards yourself and towards loved ones, towards strangers and everybody.

So many times we are suffering the neglect of not cultivating these things that are necessary in us to make us fit to handle the real life. So we go to the employer and miss the job; we sit at home and have no vision. We can't create a way for ourselves. We can't find a way out of the slump that we are in.

The reason for this might be because our creative juices are not turned on. You will come here and hear a lecture like this, and some of you will want to sleep, although I only see about two of you in here sleep today. If you are sitting there saying, "Oh, he's not talking about anything," then just wake up, fool, and go. You should tell yourself, "Hey, I am in the wrong place." Then you should go on out of here. But if you sit here and sleep, it tells me that you are crazy, stupid, or something is wrong with you, for you won't even get up and go.

Once I was speaking and something must have been telling me to look behind yourself. There was this one person sitting there sleeping — there before everybody, with thousands of people in the audience. He was sleep visibly. I called him and said, "So and So is sitting up here sleeping." I then put him on the spot. And why is that? It is because he was putting me on the spot. His sitting up there sleeping was suggesting to the ignorant in the audience that I don't have anything important to say. So I put him on the spot, and I told the audience that if I didn't have anything to say of any interest to him, then why sit up here like that in a chair and sleep? Why didn't he go on and get in a bed with all that money he had? For he could have went and got in a nice bed.

You don't come here for us to pass out money to you. That is not our service to you. Our service to you as Imams is to pass out to you what Allah has blessed us with of the religion. So we don't pass out money. We don't give you a card to go down and see Mr. So and So for a job or a better job. Although some of us are in a position to help you in that way, it still is not our real service. Our real service, again, is to share with you what Allah has blessed us with of our religion.

You are still saying, "Where, then, is the practical benefit? How is that going to help me?" If your life is not turned on, then you cannot perform in the world. If God will bless us to give you the right things of this religion to turn your life on for you, then you will go out there and manage the task of living in the world. And you will be successful.

In concluding this, I am going to bring you this book written some time ago by Jamison B. Hari, who has his Masters Degree in social studies and is also an M.D. or medical doctor. His book is on the circumstances that are associated with poverty directly. In one section of the book he gives us many kinds of circles of poverty. Quickly I just wanted to show you that certain things that are not directly associated with poverty, may be the causes of the poverty.

And I am also saying that this kind of religion will situate you for the big task of living in that which we call the real world. Mr. Hari identifies here that poverty is a condition that will lead one or influence one under certain circumstances to a reckless life, to become wreck-less and wasteful.

So you will say, "How will poverty make one wasteful, when he doesn't have anything to waste?" You must know that the biggest wasters are the poor people. Poor people waste more. If you say, "You ought to see what the rich waste," then still know that the rich have so much more than you. Count your waste and measure it with the waste of the rich, you poor folks, and you will see that you are the biggest wasters.

You will be unemployed and eat a meal wastefully. "What are you raking out? What is going into the garbage?'1 Sometimes the whole plate will go into the garbage. And when you question them on why the plate is going into the garbage, they will tell you, "Oh, that is old." Was it broke; it's not useable anymore? "Yes, you can use it, but it is old!" So we have become the disposable people. Even our love mates are disposable. You now say, "Hey baby, would you like to have a disposable love affair, a quickie, a one-night-stand?" So we are big wasters and throw away everything.

How does poverty affect that? A person who is poor, if he can tolerate poverty becomes ignorant automatically. Poverty leads to ignorance. Again, anyone who can tolerate poverty becomes ignorant automatically. God has created this world to exercise our tools of intelligence and muscles; we are naturally born to want to engage the physical world. An infant will come here wanting to engage the physical world, and pretty soon it will be doing just that.

All the animals will come up and want to engage the physical world; they have a relationship and an interchange with the physical world. They, too, are engaging the physical world even when they are not working or not even eating. They will go out and play, and that is engaging the physical world.

Now when your play becomes idol play and becomes just play for play's sake, then your play has degenerated, Then play for the life of the human had degenerated. Play should not be just for play's sake. Play is to build skills for work, God has put play and excitement and joy in our make-up, so that we will enjoy play as young creatures so that it will be the training for the needs of the work field. If you can out run me or out maneuver me in catching the ball, then you are developing the skills you will need for the work field.

(To be continued)