On Sunday, March 22nd, Daud Abdur-Rahman was our guest speaker in Meeting for Worship. Daud is one of many Imams of Nur Allah Islamic Center and an attender of First Friends is speaking in Meeting for Worship today, sharing with us about the Muslim faith.
Below is the main body of the message, given by Daud Abdur-Rahman on March 22nd:
Assalamu'alaikum! For those of you who don't understand that term, Jesus, peace be upon him, used to greet the people with Assalamu’alaikum. So, if you would, just to make my heart glad, repeat after me, “Assalamu’alaikum!” I love that, it sounds good.
I’m going to speak from my heart. I’ve been here, in the community that has demonstrated to me a love from other people. I was raised in a community where we were confused as to who God really is. Nobody came to knock at 636 Blake Street and introduced me to who God really is. I really want to be very open about that. It wasn’t until 1975 in Indianapolis, Indiana, a man came and challenged his father’s teachings. Those of you who don’t understand the nation of Islam, back in the 1930 through the 1960s, they believed that the white man was the devil. Period. There wasn’t any in-between, none of that. Of course, me and Duffy, we know better. We were in Vietnam and if it wasn’t for the white man and the black man, we would have been in big trouble. Duffy can bear witness to that.
Right now, this is a very historical moment for Indianapolis, Indiana, when my children and grandchildren are here and I want them to get comfortable being here. Take a look around, see who is here and notice that there are no pictures, no objects of worship in here. It is unbelievable. The experience that I have had for the last year and two months has been unbelievable. Ruthie came to my side when I was getting ready to have surgery. She prayed with my wife and daughter. And this really blew my mind: she asked God to bless me and them and the surgeon’s hand. I was messed up then, when she asked God to bless the surgeon’s hand. So I see something that is very miraculous about being with people that have demonstrated to me that there is only one God. There is only one, and I want to recite something from the Qur’an that depicts that.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: With the name God, most gracious, most merciful, all praise is due to God, the Lord of all the worlds, most gracious, most merciful. Master of the day of judgement, you do we serve, and you do we ask for help. Guide us on a straight path, the path of those upon whom you have blessed, not the path upon those who have encouraged your anger, nor those who have gone astray. Amen.
As we look around the room, we fall in that category. No Muslim, or at least I hope that no Muslim, would claim that they are perfect and that they make no mistakes. Not when Allah tells us to pray five times a day. So we can get re-oriented about where we are going, what we are supposed to be doing, and we should be begging God for forgiveness because we slip, we make mistakes, some of us just flat-out sin. So we have five times a day when we can straighten our lives out. We can’t wait. Trust me, the trouble I’ve been in, we can’t wait for one day a week to do that, I’ve got to have it five times a day. Must have it. I find, each time I stop to pray, that I’ve made some mistakes. Each time. Sometimes I say things to my children that hurts them, but I’ve got to stop five times a day for prayer and I recognize that I hurt that baby’s feelings. Not only do I ask God to forgive me, but I also have to go to that baby and say that I was wrong.
Now, if someone taught you that the white man was the devil, for thirty-some odd years, and we have people here today from different Muslim communities, so it’s not like I’m representing only myself, it’s not about me, but a message that is very important for all of us. Allah says in the Qur’an, and now this is not a different perspective. I’m going to show you that some people think what we talk about is a different perspective. What I Allah said was, ‘Read with the name of your Lord.’ Some people think that means reading printed matter. But Muhammed, peace be upon him, couldn’t read and write, so it certainly couldn’t have been printed matter. If we took a look around this room, and read, if we read each one of us in the room, we are reading. We’re reading. Some of us think that we have to read all of these books and get real top heavy, and that’s going to solve our problems. That’s not going to solve our problems. We have to learn how to read. My year and two months here in this community has taught me how to read genuine people who believe in God, who fear God, and have demonstrated, beyond friendship… I hear the word friend, but I’m going to tell you the truth, it says read with the name of your Lord who created. Created mankind. From a clot of congealed blood. Now if anybody wasn’t created like that, come and take my place, because I don’t have any business up here, at all. Every one of us, we came the same way. I want my children to see you all so they’ll know that we all came the same way. We don’t have any ups and downs, we all came the same way.
I hear in the teachings that I hear every week about this idea of Christ. I understand Christ. The Christ in you is the Christ in me. Now Jesus is a different person. But the Christ who was in Jesus, peace be upon him, that’s the Christ that’s in us. I want to share that a person in my upbringing told me that they believe in Christ, but they committed adultery. Where did Christ go then? While they were committing adultery, where did Christ go then? So you see how confused I was as a young man growing up, trying to understand the teachings given to me about equality, and about religion. It had me totally confused. To the point that when I got out of my Mother’s house, I didn’t want to hear anything about religion at all. I mean, completely, not at all. I went further and further from what was right and then God brought me back through a teacher, and I have to share this with you, his name was W.D. Muhammed. He was the one that came on the scene and introduced us to the Qur’an. Two million people accepted Islam in one day, right here in these United States. Two million people accepted Islam in one day. Right here. Now there were other Muslims here, they were already Muslims, so we don’t want to discredit them for being followers of the prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, but we want you also realize that the young people right here in this room today, we taught them. No school in America gets credit for us teaching our children math, science, history, and social skills, because we did that, with the help of Almighty God. And we’re giants. We have some giants in here, we have some doctors sitting in here amongst us now. They need to be aware of that. That you all have made progress with our society that you have a history of working with oppressed people in the society, but we don’t see that connection when we were introduced to Allah, to the people that were fighting for us, fighting for our liberation. We don’t see that connection, where my Mother was introduced to God properly.
It wasn’t until 1975 that we got a good hold on getting rid of lies and falsehoods, to where we could actually take a breath of fresh air and join the rest of the community of human beings that really want to move forward. We want to move forward. I’ve heard Ruthie constantly talk about doing some positive things to move forward. So my dear respected people, let’s move forward. Let’s unite and move forward. You know, Muslims, they don’t believe in titles. They don’t believe in big I, little you. They are highly sophisticated and organized, but their name is Ruthie. Their name is Ed. Their name is David, but now if you get behind these names, you are going to really see something. They don’t push that. They just take care of business. I’ve had an invitation to work with members in this group to mentor some young people in the African American community to try to get them progressively moving forward with a helping hand from the Quaker community.
My dear respected people, God created us the same way and Almighty God taught us how to read. Just because I’m not using the King’s English the way you would use it, that don’t mean that I don’t know anything. Trust me, that don’t mean I don’t know what’s happening. So we were all created the same way. God taught us how to read, and God has decreed that we do something special before we return back to Almighty God. This is an opportunity for us to embrace each other today. Today. Embrace each other and agree to do some positive things because we met each other finally, and we want to move forward.
Now the crimes that are in the community, you know we have to answer to that. Right here in this room, we have to answer to the crimes in the community. You know what’s wrong with these wild-acting kids out here? You have any idea what’s really wrong with them? We haven’t united in love to introduce them to love. I’ve been trying to do this for thirty years, been trying to get all the Christians and the Muslims together and let’s go in the prison at the same time and worship on the same day, in the same way. You know they can’t do that. For whatever reason, they haven’t been able to do it. This is our opportunity today to embrace each other, in love, and agree to do something for mankind in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the pleasure of Almighty God, with the skills that God has blessed us with, and share it with each other. We have an opportunity.
So my dear respected people, Imam Siddeeq, who is back in the back of the room and is one of our giants in the community, he gave a talk Friday. He talked about the problem in Israel or Palestine, whichever way you want to call it. Now listen to this carefully, because I had to go home and think on it. I heard him, I heard him loud and clear, but I had to go home and think about it, had to pray on it. He said that if the Palestinians turn all their weapons in. The little pea-shooters they have and Israeli has all those nuclear bombs… he said that if they would just turn in all of their weapons, all of them, just turn them in, he said that some of us will lose our lives, but if Israel would attack those people without arms, the whole society would turn against them.
That is profound. That’s a message that all of us should be appealing for them to just lay their weapons down. Like what Quakers used to do back in the 1600s, where you had the Underground Railroad to get our people through and keep them from being slaughtered by ignorant people. That would really send a message across this planet. Thank you, Imam Siddeeq for that, because I really caught it. It was easy for me to hear but hard to digest. I see it. I’m sharing it with everyone here and asking us to pray for each other.
Now I’m going to conclude on this, and I do this every night before I go to bed. I ask Almighty God to help me, before I close my eyes, to forgive everybody. I do that every night, to forgive everybody. My Muslim brothers and sisters, if you have not done that, start doing that. I like the idea of friend, but with Allah creating us the same way, you are all really my brothers and sisters. You know, Adam didn’t wear no diapers. He didn’t have diapers on. Adam wasn’t breastfed, neither was Eve. They were different than us, cause we had to be breastfed, some of us. I found that most criminals that I used to interview, most of the criminals, they weren’t breastfed. Trust me I tell you, I did ten years of research on that. Most of the criminals that I had to deal with, they were not breastfed. The good people that I’ve dealt with in the community, they were breastfed. That’s something to think about, anyway. In the meantime, we are brothers and sisters. Adam had two sets of children, now which one do we belong to? You know the story, better than me. Which family do we belong to of Adam’s children? You know the Cain and Abel story….which family do we belong to?