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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Progressions Magazine

The Religion of Al-Islam

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


And  remember! Your Lord caused to be declared  (publicly,  'If you  are  grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you. But if you show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed.’

Quran 14:7


Allah says in the Qur'an, "God does not wish to put you into difficulty, but that you be made pure, that He may complete His favor on you in order that you will be thankful."

Just reading the above without reflecting and thinking very seriously into the matters of life, we may miss the gravity of this particular revelation. It says that God wants to purify so that He may complete His favor on us in order that we may be thankful.

There are many people who live with a burdened heart, a troubled mind, a troubled soul. They carry a bad spirit, a bad attitude, and don't have thanks or gratefulness anywhere in them. Such people find nothing to be thankful for. The Qur'an describes the worst of people as being ungrateful, unappreciative, not thankful. Until you have gratitude in your heart, you will be unable to establish yourself. You must have a spirit to give thanks.

Those who do not feel thankful for anything are miserable people. But, those who live with a sense of indebtedness that someone has done good by them, that they have a friend, and that God has helped them, are never miserable, even though they may be burdened. No matter how poor you are or how bad your health may be, there is something you need to say "thank you" for. If not to a friend or a member of your family, then to God. Most people in our big cities are miserable. Even their pleasure or their appearance of being pleased, is artificial.

We are living in bad times for the human soul and the human spirit. We need something to appreciate. We need to find something that we consider to be a gift, a blessing, a help, a mercy, or a favor to us that we can be appreciative for. If we come into a spirit of appreciation, God will turn our sad life around.

God says that He wants to complete His favor on "you," referring to the believers who follow Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is God's wish to purify and complete His favor on the believer in order that the believer may be thankful. The average person reading or hearing this verse will say, "Oh, God wants us to be thankful after He does that." No! After God completes His favor on you, it will make you feel thankful. Furthermore, feeling thankful is a necessary condition for the human being if he is not to be in misery. The human being has to feel grateful, has to feel appreciative for something.


A New Spirit

Once God favors us, we come into a new spirit. We feel thankful. To sing the praise of God is to have life. Crying the blues and brooding over what happened last night, or last year or even twenty years ago is death. But to anticipate a greater tomorrow is life. To have the spirit is almost everything. Without the spirit of life, there is hardly any hope for anything.

It may be necessary for us to improve our personal life, to get our family in order. It might become necessary for us to make improvements in our community, but we can't do anything if our spirit is not there. If God favors us with guidance, with religion that satisfies our total life's needs, and we accept that guidance from Him, it is going to give us a sense of improvement and a sense of indebtedness in our life, and the spirit to say, "Thank You, God." When you feel grateful for something, you can smile at each other. But the person who has nobody to thank, and nothing to give credit to, find it hard to smile at another human being unless they have a trick up their sleeve.


Finding The Answers

We need a sense of appreciation, and if we really give serious thought to the blessing of faith, and to what we are accepting, which is Al-Islam, we must go to the Qur'an to find the answer. The answer is in Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), belief in God, in His Messenger, in Revelation, and in all of the other things that make up the religion of Al-Islam.

If we give serious thought to our religion by going first to the Qur'an to see what God says about the religion and our own life needs, and then looking at the life of Prophet Muhammad to see the excellence of his life example for us, how he served God so perfectly, we can settle any argument or disagreement among ourselves.

Even the most uneducated person in this religion can settle most arguments among Muslims once they learn the simple life of Prophet Muhammad. In questioning the behavior of another Muslim, you need only to say, "Would Prophet Muhammad do that? Let's stop arguing over your opinion or my opinion. Do you think Prophet Muhammad would ever do that?" Thus the argument would be settled if we are believers, because Allah says, "Whatever He ordered the messengers, He ordered the believers." And surely, as Muslims, we know that Prophet Muhammad is the example, the model for us.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was no superman, no superhuman upstairs being. He did not live a life that is unattainable. His purpose was to live a life that we can attain, a life that we can live ourselves. He lived perfect within the Law of God as an example to us. He said, "I am a human being just like you." Therefore, if he could do a thing, so can you.

God has sent the message of Al-Islam for all of us to live. We cannot say, "Well, I just can't do that." What do you mean you can't do it? Are you sub-human? This religion is prescribed for the human being. Now if you can't do it, you must be sub-human. Are you half ape and half man? What is it? What is the problem.

Allah tells us in the Qur'an, "This day have I perfected for you your religion, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Al-Islam as your religion." Now if you are a whole human being, you should be able to live this religion, because it is prescribed for you.


Do Not Make Excuses

We should never make excuses regarding our religion. You should never excuse yourself for your own shortcomings. Whenever you say, "I can't do it," you are trying to excuse yourself. That is making yourself the exception. You should never say, "I can't do it." If you feel that you are not able to do a thing, say to yourself, "I don't have the strength now. I pray Allah will give me the strength. I pray that Allah will one day bless me to do my duty."

You should always have hope in the future. You should always have faith that a better day will come. Never try to justify wrong. Once you justify wrong, you weaken the little strength you had. But if you will accept that it is wrong and pray that tomorrow will be a little better than today, you strengthen what you already have, and you become stronger for tomorrow. To excuse yourself makes you weaker for the next challenge, the next situation.

Let each of us take out the time to think about our religion. We should think about what it offers us. When we do that, we will be more appreciative, and we will thank God for giving this religion to us.