The following is excerpts of Imam W. Deen Mohammed speaking on Islamic Heritage, compiled by Michael “Mikal” Saahir, Oct. 1, 2020.
“As The Light Shineth From The East,” pages 135-136:
Once you come out of the sentimental womb and come into a rational womb and start approaching things with the tools of intelligence, then you can use the great reservoirs of beautiful human sentiments to influence the colors that you put into the scales and into the diagrams.
But let mathematics design and structure the thing, not sentiments. By mathematics, I mean, an exact, calculated thing. What do the sentiments calculate? Sentiments can’t calculate. Sentiments can’t fine point; sentiments don’t know degrees, longitude and latitude. Intelligence knows that.
Sentiments don’t know the nature of a disease. They know the effects. Intelligence knows the nature of a disease; a doctor knows the nature of the disease, and a doctor is the one who cures.
You tell me we’re going to have Black Studies, ethnic heritage celebration and we’re going to ignore the great place that this Qur’an has had in the life of Bilalian people? Study the African American history. Trace it back to those roots before they were severed and we were separated from family ancestral life.
Trace the history and you will find more Muslims in your roots than Jews or Christians. Not even the blind forces of the human beings in the Bilalian (African American) community would rise up and show life in the face of the evil attempt of the racist and the prejudiced people against our religion; to challenge them and say, “Why are you saying these things?”
Why are you Bilalians denying Al-Islam the dignity it deserves in the Bilalian community? Is that a history that you don’t want? Is that an identity that you don’t want to be a part of?
“Well, the Arabs, they’re the ones who sold us into slavery.” Is that what you believe? Who told you this? Did Frederick Douglass tell you that? Maybe it was Nat Turner? Did Nat Turner tell you the Arabs enslaved you? Who told you that? It wasn’t Dr. King.
It most certainly wasn’t Minister Malcolm X. It wasn’t David Walker. It wasn’t Marcus Garvey. Who told you that the Arabs enslaved you or sold you into slavery? I think it was the same ones who told us “G-d is dead.”
Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Nov. 2, 1986, Atlanta, Ga.:
We have an Islamic heritage, even though slavery cut us off from all past traditions and heritage. If we as free people now realize that we should have a place for Africa in our hearts because Africa is our heritage, we should have a place for Africans in our hearts because they are from our motherland.
They are our brothers. They’re brothers and sisters of our ancestors. We have one common ethnic ancestry in them, or national ancestry in them, … whatever you want to say. After all, it’s mostly ethnic. It’s really cultural more than anything else.
But if we can find an ethnic origin, we say these people belong to our lineage, and therefore there should be a space in our hearts for them. The white man has worked hard, I mean the oppressive white man – the oppressor – have worked hard to keep the truth of our Islamic past from us.
And now that it has come to us, I don’t see any reasons to hold us back from building mosques, Islamic culture, in America to show not only the American white man but to show ourselves that we are not foolish.
Just as the Irish, just as the Chinese, just as the Italians, just as all these other people who come here from other ethnic backgrounds and other ethnic past, we care too about what we had before you gave us this.
Why, there are African Americans who go back to Africa and they bring bones and primitive rituals to America. Say, “We are going to preserve this. We once had this.”
Kwanzaa, what is Kwanzaa? They got a holiday of Christmas now; it’s called the Kwanzaa. They go back and they bring nothing but really primitive stuff.
What I mean by primitive now is an effort by the African man that did not bring him on the plane of high civilization. They bring that here and they try to encourage Africans to identify with it. I mean American black or African Americans here, to identify with that, to cherish that, to preserve that.
We have a religion that President James Madison recognized. We belong to a religion that the Moroccans identify in, and the Moroccans have been respected by the United States for I don’t know how many generations. They have been a friendly partner with the United States for I don’t know how many generations.
We belong to a religion that many among the white elect, among the white intellectuals, say is responsible for making possible the rebirth of France in Europe and all over the Western world.
If that is our heritage, I can’t understand why there’s not more interest on the part of African American intellectuals in preserving this history by building museums in America to show African American Islamic heritage.
By building mosques in American to show the past religious life, have a sign of the past religious life of many of the African American people here present today. I can’t understand why we don’t move in that direction.
Why, there are Buddhists who will pay and devote money and even start a project to bring a Buddhist temple to America, to Los Angeles or somewhere, and build it up and show you the Buddhist temple. They don’t have to be Buddhist, but they are Chinese, and they identify in the past of their Chinese people.
You don’t have to be a Muslim to have an appreciation for the Islamic past. You know your circumstances since slavery. You know your circumstances in slavery. You don’t have to be a Muslim to appreciate African American Islamic heritage.
You should be spending some of your Christian dollars for preserving Islamic heritage for the African American man.
To be continued…