With G-d’s name, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer
Message from The Promised Land #4
“The Way to the Promised Land Has NOT Been Done Away With”
Masjid Al Mu’minun 4412 South Third St. M.E.M.P.H.I.S., TN
Imam Rashad Sharif
We have a parallel in the Hebrew slaves who traveled from Pharaoh’s Egypt to the Promised Land. When they first came out from being Pharaoh’s slaves and they made it into the wilderness, they were free from Pharaoh, but they were not yet in the Promised Land. They were lost in a wilderness They were in-between slavery and mastery. Just free. Free without a sense of direction. Lost. Wandering.
Freedom without mastery is a wilderness. The wilderness is the perfect picture of just being free, undirected, WILD-ER-NESS. That’s the way mere freedom was; that’s the way mere freedom is; and that’s the way mere freedom always will be. Freedom without mastery is WILD-ER-NESS.
The discipline of the 10 Commandments was a prescription for their condition. The people had to accept commandments, structure, discipline, submission of their impulses to the will of G-d in order for them, as a people, to enter the Promised Land. It was true for the Hebrew slaves recovering from the damage done to them by Egyptian slavery and it is true for today’s African-Americans recovering from the damage done by American slavery. Although one may be tempted to think that we have no damages that are carried over from slavery, we must admit what slavery is…… “the extreme opposite of mastery”. The damage done by living as a slave is that the slave does not live as a master, can’t know for sure what it’s like to be a master, and definitely cannot model mastery for the next generation.
The person or the people coming up from slavery may reach freedom, but lacking experience at a mastery level, there is nothing to go by but a “wild” guess, a hunch, a hurt, a hope, a feeling, a spirit in the dark. Although a very few of the people may have tasted some mastery (such as Moses and Aaron in the case of the Hebrew slaves) the mass of the people are out of touch with any such experience. The resulting attempt at self-direction, as a people, manifests itself in what scripture calls “wandering.”
Allah required that the former slaves of Pharaoh recover, rid themselves of their vices, develop exceptional strength and MAN-ifest an unwavering dedication to serve Him alone. That’s what they, the former slaves of Pharaoh had to do, as a people, before they were fit to enter the Promised Land. You can read in Exodus how wild they were when the 10 Commandments first came to them, how the wildness had to die out of them, and how utterly transformed they became by the time the qualified ones among them demonstrated their readiness to enter the Promised Land as detailed in the book of Jonah.
Likewise, we, as a people that have traveled from slavery into freedom in America, must take the prescribed medicine (i.e. discipline and re-dedication) because, actually, Allah’s (G-d’s) way HAS NOT BEEN DONE AWAY WITH. It has been strayed away from but not done away with. It is a bitter fact that those who proclaim that the old (discipline) has been done away with are the very ones who have failed to lead the people to the Promised Land. There will be no entry into the Promised Land for people who remain in a Wilderness condition. That’s the way it was; that’s the way it is; and that’s the way it always will be.
The Holy Qur’an tells us in three places that you will not find any change in Allah’s way.
WALAN TAJIDA LISUNNATI-LLAHI TABDEELA (33:62) (35:43) (48:23)
When Allah told in the Qur’an about how the Children of Israel were 3500 years ago, it was informative for the people of Prophet Muhammad’s time 1400 years ago, and it’s informative for us today because human nature is human nature. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that there is no change in the nature that Allah gave creation.
LAA TABDEELA LIKHALQI-LLAH (30:30)
What Allah has already revealed in the Torah given to Moses is confirmed in the Qur’an and it is still guidance today. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that there is no change in the words of Allah.
LAA TABDEELA LIKALIMAATI-LLAH (10:64)
We are confident that the Creator of our nature has issued the words that form the best prescription for the restoration of our nature to its full, masterful, destined state. And these prescriptive words HAVE NOT BEEN DONE AWAY WITH.
It was in Memphis, TN that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King proclaimed that we, as a people, would make it to the Promised Land. We have accepted the fact that more than 40 years have come and gone since that night in 1968, and yet the leading clergy have issued no proclamation of entry into the Promised Land, no announcement of the sighting of a Promised Land, and no offer to explain, train, or otherwise prepare the people for entering the Promised Land.
By contrast, and in all modesty, we who have appreciated and acknowledged the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his downline in the Nation of Islam – we ceased wandering in the wilderness long ago.
We close this installment of MESSAGE from M.E.M.P.H.I.S. with the reminder LAA TABDEELA LIKHALQI-LLAH “There is no change in the nature that Allah gave creation.” Holy Qur’an Surah 30: Ayah 30. People of Africa and African descent had a normal share of mastery in their nature before the eruption of slavery. People worked like the devil to remove mastery from us and condition us for slavery. It is natural for a normal share of mastery to return to our lives, and we, as a people, must accept the rehab, because NORMAL HAS NOT BEEN DONE AWAY WITH.
Please be on the lookout for the next Message from The Promised Land at www.masjidalmuminun.com. We thank you for your time and attention, and always remember: Every human being is M.E.M.P.H.I.S. – Missioned and Empowered to Monitor and Perfect His/her Industrious Soul.
[ Expanded from Jumu’ah presentation at Muslim Journal’s 11th Annual “A Time To Be Grateful”.]