With G-d’s name, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer
“THE WAY OF MASTERY”
Rashad Sharif, Imam
Masjid Al Mu’minun, 4412 South Third St., M.E.M.P.H.I.S., TN
Praise Be To G-d, The Lord of All the Worlds, The Lord of All the Systems of Real Knowledge !
And we know that He, G-d, is ONE (Qur’an – Surah or Chapter 112: Ayah or Verse 1) . There is no G’d but G-d (Surah 3:Ayah 18). He is THE ONE who created the heavens and the earth (Surah 64: Ayah 3) and THE ONE who planned for man to be khalifah (masterful deputy) in the earth (Surah 2:Ayah 30 and Bible Genesis Ch 1: Verses 1-28). He is THE ONE who created Adam (Surah 3: Ayah 59), instructed Noah to make the ark (Surah 11:Ayah 37), gave children to Abraham in his old age (Surah 3, Ayah 40), brought Moses and the tribes out from under Pharaoh (Surah 10: Ayah 90), sent Jesus as His servant and messenger and a spirit proceeding from Him (Surah 4: Ayaat 171-172) , and brought Muhammad and his ummah (community) out from amongst the common people and made them uncommonly successful (Surah 3: Ayah 110).
We, as a people, are living today in a language environment of artificial knowledge which fails to give us insight into our true nature, potential and destiny. A return to Scripture’s Eternal Wisdom is in order so that our “world” can be remade and we can thereby come into proper order. When we are in proper alignment with our nature, potential, and destiny, only then can our “movement” transition from mere wandering in the wilderness into actual progress as divinely destined.
The Way of progress divinely intended for human beings is not supposed to be a mystery for people of the Bible and Qur’an. Both scriptures tell us stories about those who followed The Way that brought them blessings and about those who followed ways that took them astray.
The Qur’an’s first Surah (chapter) has only 7 Ayaat (verses) and the last two verses are roughly translated as follows: “Show us The Way that is STRAIGHT, The Way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, not The Way of those with wrath upon them nor of those who STRAAAAAYED.”
These words of prayer call on us to look back and learn from those who lived before us. Their histories have already demonstrated how the outcomes for people (grace vs. wrath and straaaaying) have varied according to which Way they went.
We African-Americans today, for example, having come up from slavery and finding ourselves “free at last” are now parallel to the people who escaped Pharaoh’s Egypt and found themselves on the safe side of the Red Sea. Like them in their day and time, we now are no longer slaves but we are not yet masters. We have freedom without mastery – which means we are in the wilderness and there is wilderness in us. Now that we are free, there are no “Masters”, other than ourselves, whom we can expect to shoulder the responsibilities of making our freedom work for us.
The unaddressed issue for us as a people today is no longer the pursuit of mere freedom; it is the necessity to cultivate in ourselves the character and characteristics of free people whose Way of Straight living takes them forward into the Promised Land. The Promised Land is a “no wandering zone”. It’s a “no flex zone”, a stage of high development designed for us by our Creator, a destiny for “Masters” only.
Think for a moment about these Masters: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Them All). Although living in societies centuries apart, their lives model that there has always been one never-changing Way. The Mastery, the Way, the Truth, the Life they all reflect is their common never-changing duty to be true to the original human nature, purpose and destiny.
We want THE WAY chosen for Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Them All) and we see in each of them, Adam included, a destiny of straightness, strength, and manifestation of humanity at the highest (i.e. most masterful) levels. None of them modeled a destiny of slavery. None of them modeled a destiny of just being free. Each modeled some form of destined MASTERY: dominion, construction, leadership, spiritual strength and elevation, management of self internally and management of community life, etc. Mastery reflects straight alignment of our lives with our divinely determined destiny as human beings. “Less-than-mastery” reflects not the straight but the straaaaayed.
Adam, for example, represents the Original Man. He was created from the earth. Scholars of language have noted that the original words “human” and “humus” (dark, funky, highly potent earth) are related. According to the Bible, Adam was made to have “dominion”, which is mastery. According to the Qur’an, his Creator taught Adam the nature (names) of all things and he learned his lessons masterfully. According to both scriptures, Adam was given straight guidance from his Creator, but he allowed himself to be “slick-talked” into a lower loqic until he straaayed from his best destiny. So we are grateful to Allah for sending to humanity a series of Masters to MAN-ifest for us our true nature, potential, and destiny so that we can be brought back up to right-mindedness after having fallen for various attempts to get us to see ourselves as less-than-master material.
We, as a people, have a lot of work to do for the improvement of our own selves, families, communities, and the world. Let us “Blaccept” our responsibilities and get about the business of living up to what we were created for. [The suggestion of Black in the term “Blaccept” is a reference to the dignity symbolized in presidential limousines, judge’s robes, and the most dignified tuxedos- all in the color recognized world-wide as symbolic of the highest level of dignity.}
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”. ]