With G-d’s name, the Merciful Benefactor, the Merciful Redeemer
“What and Where Is The Promised Land ?”
Rashad Sharif, Imam
Masjid Al Mu’minun, 4412 South Third St., M.E.M.P.H.I.S., TN
Look at the letters L.A.N.D. as standing for Life According to Natural Development. See how that fits into the paradigm of coming out of Egyptian (or American) slavery, then going into a middle period of wandering free in a wilderness, and then coming into a L.A.N.D. of one’s own.
Certainly the beginning point in slavery is not a natural life. It is unnatural to labor under a Pharaoh whereby one does not advance according to the amount and effectiveness of one’s own labor. It is also unnatural to wander around with no land of one’s own, never planting, never building, never establishing a life on this earth. Likewise, it is unnatural for life to remain in a slave state, being master of nothing, and it is also unnatural for life to remain without a sense of direction and progress toward permanent establishment. Life According to Natural Development must grow from the less developed stage to the more developed stage, out of slavery at the bottom and ultimately into mastery at the top.
LAND also refers to more than just territorial acreage on a map. Land also represents solid logic, “grounds” to stand on. A person with a baseless argument is said to have nothing to stand on. Arguments and motions are set forward in court on the “grounds” of this or that. In Pharaoh’s Egypt it was Pharaoh’s logic that prevailed throughout the land. The slave had no grounds on which to assert any ideas in Pharaoh’s territory. Upon making it into the wilderness, the ex-slaves wandered around on the surface of things without getting any solid logic of their own. Only in the Promised L.A.N.D. could they establish a complete life for themselves on their own “grounds”. Put another way, with earth representing “grounds” to stand on, the earth also represents “under – standing”, a basis that one can cultivate, a basis on which to build.
Also since the “human” was made from the highly fertile earth (humus), the Promised L.A.N.D. also represent coming into the human makeup that was destined for the Original Man. The Promised L.A.N.D., therefore includes knowledge of Self, mastery of Self, Self-determination under G’d, etc.
What is the cost of us, as a people, going through life with no commonly-shared enlightened concept of what and where the Promised L.A.N.D. i?
To give a glimpse, I’ll share the results of a survey and ask you to apply this same simple survey in your home town, wherever that may be. Just don’t explain it in advance.
One day I gathered just over a hundred high school students and asked them to fill in the blank space on a little strip of paper. The strip of paper just said “The opposite of slavery is ___________.” That’s all there was to it; no previous or additional instruction.
The result ? Over 90% wrote FREEDOM. Only 1 out of 102 students wrote “MASTER”.
Try it in your city and see what results you get, without giving any prior clues as to what you’re looking for.
Can we grasp the cost of a generation who, after all the previous generations’ sacrifices in the “Freedom Struggle”, don’t automatically envision going onward to Mastery ? Just “Free at Last”?
Could it be that the phenomenon of “sagging” that we see in the youth of today is a simple expression of “Free at Last” without a sense of a greater Legacy and Destiny?
Could it be that we, as a people, continue to direct our hopes into transforming other people more than into transforming ourselves ? While we understandably want law enforcement to appreciate that “Black Lives Matter”, what value does our “own” urban culture place on Black lives ? In Black lives, how many times is a person called the N-word before they get out of the house in the morning, and what is the average count by the end of the day? How did we get the phenomenon of academically dedicated urban kids being accused of “acting white” if we, as a people, see ourselves as having a Promised L.A.N.D. Legacy and Destiny?
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”..]