I have written 7 articles detailing different aspects of my faith walk with my spiritual guide, The Hon. Louis Farrakhan. I have been blessed by God during my time of being a student of God's word under his direction to make some amazing changes in my life since my acceptance of Islam on March 20th, 1996. However, I don't want anyone, for one second, to think that my life has been perfect for the past 12 years since walking in the path to become a Muslim. I have made an equally fair share of mistakes and yes "sins" since becoming a Muslim.
Sometimes, many religious people let their supposed new righteous life give them the false arrogance that they are better than others. But, I take the view that I am on a journey in the path of God striving to be qualified to be one of his righteous servants. I don't look down on others, but rather try to encourage others to reach for the best everyday.
I, after 10 years of being a Muslim, during the year 2006 had a major fall in my personal life that tested my faith and made me reflect on my journey deeper.
I will be exploring this sensitive subject of my fall to sin during the 8th part of my article series, My walk with Farrakhan. I won't give the specific instances where I fell, but I will say that I went from the highest of high to the lowest of low in my personal life.
Before we get into exploring this subject let's define a few words to ensure we have the clearest possible understanding of the words used in this article. One of the things both The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad and his student The Hon. Louis Farrakhan teaches us as students is to get definitions of the words we use. Also, Minister Malcolm X began his journey to enlightenment just by reading the dictionary and learning the meaning of words.
The word Righteous, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is defined as,
"1: acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin 2 a: morally right or justifiable righteous decision> b: arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality
The word wicked, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is defined as,
"1: morally very bad : evil 2 a: fierce, vicious wicked dog> b: disposed to or marked by mischief : roguish does wicked impersonations 3 a: disgustingly unpleasant : vile wicked odor> b: causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble wicked storm> 4: going beyond reasonable or predictable limits: of exceptional quality or degree throws a wicked fastball.
The word sin, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is defined as,
"1 a: an offense against religious or moral law b: an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible
Now with a clear definition of the key words used in this article, we will now proceed to explore this subject of righteous people, wicked people and sin.
Understanding Adam, Sin and falling from grace
"And certainly We gave a commandment to Adam before, but he forgot; and We found in him no resolve (to disobey)." Holy Qur'an 20:115
Both the Bible and The Qur'an speak of ALLAH creating a new man, giving that man specific instructions and that man ultimately falling from grace. This is the daily story of the human family of the earth that is striving in the path of God. Whereas both the Bible and Qur'an relate the same story there are differences in understanding of meaning. The Holy Qur'an takes the position that human beings are created in a state of Islam(natural submission to God) and are pure until our parents, environment or our own deeds take us from the path of righteousness.
The story of Adam and Eve has been used to promote the position that it is natural to sin or the "human" thing to do. In one sense yes humans inevitably make mistakes, but we are not created in the image and likeness of Almighty God to act less. Also, the Holy Qur'an doesn't blame the woman for leading man into temptation. We learn from reading Sura(chapter) 20:125 that Adam didn't intend to disobey his Lord, but rather he forgot. We are taught in Islam that all deeds will be judged by our intentions while doing the deed. Some people do good deeds for wicked intentions. Likewise, some people do wicked deeds while feeling the pangs of their conscious.
Yes, Adam fell from his great glory, but did Almighty God give up on him or turn his face from him? The Qur'an teaches that ALLAH turned mercifully towards Adam and "reminded" him of the promise of divine guidance.
I will use the biblical story of the prophets to make the next points in this analysis of righteous people and wicked people. Before I proceed I must make a clarification. The Holy Qur'an accepts all of the prophets mentioned in the Bible as true men of God. However, The Holy Qur'an doesn't accept the stories attributed to them of unrighteousness. The Qur'an teaches that for the prophets to be examples to purify others they must be pure themselves.
The Bible teaches us of man named Noah who was chosen by God to be a fulfiller of his will. The story further teaches us that Noah was a "righteous and "just" man(Gen 6:8-9). He was chosen by God to build the Ark and be a savior of his people. After Noah had fulfilled his mission from God and survived the flood, the Bible teaches that the sons of Noah found him in a drunken state. One of the sons of Noah saw the drunken state of his father and told the other brothers. We then learn that the two brothers refused to look at the nakedness of Noah and covered him.
Later, when Noah awoke he cursed (and God upheld the curse) the son (Ham) who looked and blessed the sons (Shem and Japheth) who covered him. The point to this story (from the biblical perspective) is that Noah was a righteous man who did an unrighteous deed, but that didn't stop God's favor on him. As for the sons, their refusing to look at their father naked could mean: they chose to look at the good of their father instead of the bad or they refused to judge this aspect of his life.
Another biblical story teaches us of a great king named David, who was the father of Solomon and a forerunner of the Messiah. The Bible teaches that David had a heart after God's own heart. Yet, despite these great qualities the book informs us of several misdeeds of David. Some scholars have suggested that David violated about 9 of the 10 commandments. However, David is still held up as an example of a true man of God and his kingdom set a standard for all others.
Travelling (travail) on the path of God
I like to describe my faith walk with God as being a journey. I have been on this journey for 12 years and will be on it for the rest of my life. I want you to think about something related to a journey. Imagine if you lived in Pensacola, Florida and you decided to travel to Chicago one day. You would find yourself travelling up I-65 N for a long period of time. Let's also say this is your first time travelling to the destination, so you are checking your map closely trying to stay on course. Yet, you made a mistake and took a wrong exit, therefore ended up in Kentucky. What fool would sit on the side of the road, give up and never try to make adjustments (checking the map) to get back on the interstate towards your destination. Likewise, in our journey to godliness we may find ourselves making some wrong exist Ex. drugs, alcohol, adultery, lying, stealing etc...
However, we don't have to stay on these wrong exists. As one would get back on the interstate to continue travelling to a city, we should, if a wrong exit was taken, get back of the path to continue our journey to God.
The Bible perfectly illustrates this point in the following words
"For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity." Proverbs 24:16
If you notice that while the above scripture describes a man (or woman) as falling he still has righteous attached to him name. Why is this? Though we are taught that all have fallen short of the glory of God; is there a difference between righteous people who sin and wicked people who sin? As I wrote the last sentence, I thought how it could sound like a major paradox or contradiction. I think people can make unintentional departures from the right way and still be righteous. Yet, other people live a lifestyle of sin and are blatantly ignoring the will of God. This is what I think is the difference between righteous people and wicked people.
The example of The Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan
Brother Farrakhan, to me, is a great example of a Muslim, because of his strong insistence that me must submit totally to ALLAH's will, fear no one but ALLAH and his ability to be honest about his short comings. After the Nation of Islam "fell" in 1975, Brother Farrakhan said that he became "disillusioned" with religion and fell from his former resolve. After reflection on his life, the condition of our people and the teachings of his spiritual father, The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan recovered from his "fall"
Concerning this The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad, ALLAH's messenger to us, reminds us
"So this is the thing that you must remember, that trials, sometimes, are so terrific that they will weaken the most strongest person sometimes." (The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad 1964 Laborer meeting)
His example teaches me that the true strength of a person is not that you wont get knocked down from time to time, but can you get back up from a fall, make adjustment and go on to shine.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I had a major fall in my spiritual life after 10 years of striving to be a good Muslim. Yet, after much reflection and the help of God, I am now returning to the path of God and am seeking to be qualified to be called by his name. The Bible teaches us: "All things works for the good of those who love the Lord." It is important when you are having a down moment to have the "right mental attitude", which will determine your response to a down moment.
I want to encourage you to examine Minister Farrakhan and his example of being a servant of Almighty God.
Thank you for reading these few words!
Mustafaa Muhammad is an "African American" who is a follower of the Islamic faith. Through independent religious studies developed an ecumenical view of the world's religions and the people of God. And while he is devoted to Islam as his faith he is at home in the Church(or other religious institutions) as he is in the Mosque.
He has been featured on the Radio, Newspapers, public speaking events and at Mosques/Churches telling his story and offering his understanding of Almighty God's plan for salvation.
Mustafaa is involved in community activity. He believes that our faith must inspire us to greater service to humanity or we may be making a mockery of the purpose of faith. Contact him @ http://brothermustafaa.comWhy Do We Need Religion