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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Progressions Magazine

The Muslim Context: Part I

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


We know that the form life takes, whether it is religious, business, cultural or political, there is a context for it. Everything must exist within some context, within some boundaries. We don't live or think any and everywhere. All of our activities are limited to certain boundaries.

God says that He has made for everything a knowledge context to give it a boundary, and to give it an identity. When you leave that knowledge context, you come out of your boundary and out of your identity. Unless we see and understand this, we are in the dark. Knowledge of our own situation, and what is required of us in that situation is the light for us. Without that knowledge, we are in the dark.

A person may call himself a Muslim, and live in a knowledge context that is not Muslim. And though he calls himself a Muslim does not make him one. There must be a knowledge context, because it is within that context the life of a thing we identify with is protected. It is Muslim knowledge that makes a person a Muslim.

We are not supposed to have everybody in one little group under one person. In fact, you can't progress in such a situation. Any leader, Imam or AMCOP representative that will cooperate with people in keeping the Muslims confined to one place, and under one leader are enslavers or infiltrators. They are working with people who are trying to keep the little man from growing. A situation such as that is not of our religion. Al-Islam is not a religion of containment. It is not designed to hold people in a prison.


The Prison House Within

There is a Prophet called Yusuf in the Qur'an, and Joseph in the Bible. As a child he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. Now what is scripture telling us in this story of Joseph? It is saying that there is something that may prevail as a condition which amounts to enslavement or confinement. This condition is a prison. Scripture also talks about the hope that one day the prisoners will be freed.

Scripture doesn't mean that a day is coming when all of the jails will be opened and all of these irresponsible people set free. What about those we know to be guilty of horrible crimes, who are so sick that they cannot be trusted in society without somebody constantly watching over them, or holding them at gunpoint.

Scripture is talking of the prison houses within us as individuals. You carry within you a condition of enslavement and confinement that limits your freedom, that won't allow you to be a free person, because you fear someone or something more than you fear God. You are a free being, free to grow in excellence, to be a better and better person everyday. You are free to go and seek the limits of your ability. But you can't do that when you are a fearful slave, afraid to displease somebody other than God.

God says in the Qur'an, "The believers fear only Allah." This does not mean that we are without mortal fear. You can come up behind a believer in God and frighten him. But if that person is a believer who fears God alone, he will reflect on God, and God will remove the fear from him. No fear dominates the believer except the fear of God. You may make him afraid for an instant, but it won't live with him. The only fear a believer lives with is the fear of God.


The Liberator

In chapter 17, verse 23 of the Qur'an, God says, "Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him." Muslims should know the implication of that verse in their whole life, but most don't. When God says He has decreed or ordered that we worship none but Him, it does not mean that He is a selfish or jealous God. It means He is giving us a declaration of freedom and liberty. When the Muslim says, "La ilaha illallah (There is no but One god, Allah)," his cry is that of a liberator because that is a requirement in the life of a people if they expect to be truly free.

God needs nothing. Whatever He does is not for Him, it is for His creatures. If He says, "Worship none but Him," then that is a very important condition. That is a requirement in the Muslims life if we are to get the good life God has created for us.

Allah warns us in the Qur'an that to worship anything other than Him is oppression. And what is oppression other than a form of slavery. We find in scripture that Pharoah asked to be worshipped. He said, "I am the Lord. I am God." When the slaves were resisting and rebelling against him, trying to break the hold that he had on them, Pharoah said in effect to Moses. "Moses, who is this invisible God that you are talking about?" He made a joke out of the God Moses worshipped. Pharoah commanded his builder Haman, saying, "Haman, build me a building high into the sky so that I can go up there and take a look at this God Moses is talking about."

If we follow God and obey Him to the limits of our ability, we will not grow into slavery. We will grow into freedom. Worshipping God frees us because He created us to be free. He created us to flower into the best, to grow into the greatest dimensions that are possible for us. Worshipping God makes us grow bigger and bigger, to be better and better. On the other hand, worshipping other than Him makes us grow smaller and narrower, more enslaved by whatever we are giving ourselves to. To realize the blossoming of your full potential, you can only obey the One who created you and this universe. If you do not worship God, then you suppress and oppress that potential. You limit your own future, and your own possibilities.

The next verse reads, "and be kind to parents whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, 'My Lord, bestow on them your mercy, even as they cherished me in my childhood.' Your Lord knows best what is in your hearts. If you do deeds of righteousness, verily He is most forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again in true penitence." True penitence means truly feeling sorry and regretting what you have done.

After God calls us to give the proper respect for parents: loving concern for their welfare, when they become old and are at the mercy of society, we are to return the favor they gave to us when we were babies, unable to care for ourselves.


Spendthrifts Are Brothers of Evil

The Qur'an goes on to read, "And render to kindred their due rights as also to those in want, and to the person out of doors (the homeless). But squander not your wealth in the matter of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones, and the evil one is to his Lord ungrateful."

God now tells us to fulfill our obligations to our near of kin, our relatives and then He broadens it to include others, such as the homeless, the poor and the destitute. But He cautions us against carrying this feeling for others to extremes. The human being is an emotional creature. We can carry our feeling too far. Some of us have a feeling for amusement that we carry to extremes. This feeling, such as song and dance won't allow us to establish ourselves as a people if carried to extremes.

God warns us against being a spendthrift because to waste your earning or to spend them with no awareness of obligations is to be disrespectful and ungrateful. God tells us that others have some right to that money even though it is yours. Though it is yours, what made it possible for you to earn it? Could you earn it without those who came before you creating a situation for you to earn it? Can you earn money without the cooperation of other people.

God did not put the property here for you alone. He put it here for society, for His dependent creatures. Though you earn it, there are rights on your own money that dictate in God's presence how you should spend it. If you don't recognize the obligation upon you to spend your money wisely and with just attention to the needs that press upon you as a person in relation to others, then you are showing disrespect and ingratitude, a lack of appreciation to God.

"And even if you have to turn away from them in pursuit of mercy from your Lord as you do expect, speak to them words of easy kindness." This is again referring to respect for the parents. Sometimes your parents may not be the ideal or model parent. They may out of their own weaknesses insist that you do wrong, or bid you to do wrong. They will even bid you to worship God falsely, or to associate false gods with him. In such a case, God tells us to speak to them words of easy kindness, even though they are asking you to do wrong.

You are not to say, "Go to hell momma." God does not like that coming from any child to its parent. That is an ugly attitude. Even if the parent is a winehead or trying to get you to believe in a false god, still God says there is a certain respect you must give to them. This holds regardless of what they do or what state they are in. In fact, the worse their state, the more compassion you should have for them. But you don't follow them in their wrong. You keep your respect, yet be kind to them.


Family Is The First Concern

The next verse reads, "Make not your hand tied to your neck like a stingy person, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach so that you become blameworthy and destitute." In this verse God gives us the rule for charity, for sharing our possessions, our wealth: whatever we have that others need. He tells us not to be a miser, hoarding everything for yourself as though you fear for your life every time you give up something. Don't be afraid to give up anything out of fear that your own security will be at stake. Risk your own security, but not to the point that you become a fool, giving all you have to help others in bad situations until you become poor and someone has to help you.

What is the good in giving if you make yourself a burden on society. God doesn't require that we give our all and make ourselves a poor person or a burden on society. God wants productive and business minded people to establish something strong that can employ others in the society. Look out for your livelihood and for that of your family. Plan for their future in whatever you produce. Your first obligation is to those closest to you. God says that family members have a prior right.

You should first see that your wife and family are secure from poverty, or out of a dangerous situation. You should put your family in a situation of not being worried about a five day notice, about the hot water or electricity or the gas being cut off and the phone being taken out. You must do this before reaching out to help people outside of your family.

The very next verse reads, "Verily your Lord provides sustenance in abundance for whom He pleases, and He provides in a just measure, for He knows and regards all His creatures." Here God is telling us that He regards all of His creatures. The good parent has been supported by the attribute that has its source in God. The good mother cares for all of her children. The source of good is in God, and He put a little of that in the human being so that we would be just and care for all. God reminds us that He is a God who knows all and cares for all. The next verse reads,


False Family Planning

"Kill not your children for fear of want. We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin."

The Arabic words used here to describe the kind of sin is khit'an kabira, which means a sin committed in ignorance. God says it is a great misdeed. Many of us do not intend wrong when we think we are helping our children by not having too many of them. Most people don't really intend hurt to their children, but they are fearful of not having enough, so they eliminate the possibility of others coming into the family for fear of not having enough. Thus by omission they are committing a great sin in ignorance.

Our society makes the person who has a lot of children feel as though they are stupid and ignorant. Some people are ashamed to tell the number of children they have. Some will even lie about it. There are many who think that in not having many children will enable them to provide better for the ones they have. You may hear them say, "I'm not going to have too many children. I'm going to have just two or three. With only two or three, I'll be able to give more to them."