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Social Resurrection: Abraham and the Four Birds

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photo by Giuseppe TarantinoIn the Holy Qur'an, Sura 2, Ayat 260, the story is told of how Abraham questioned Allah as to how he would give life to the dead. Allah told Abraham to take four birds, tame (train) them to turn to him (Abraham), set a portion of them on each hill, then call them and they would come flying to him with speed.

The first question that should come to our mind is what does taming birds and calling them have to do with resurrecting the dead? Islamic scholars do not provide a very good explanation of the meaning of this ayat and how it relates to resurrection.

However, Imam Mohammed has given us the keys to derive a compelling explanation of this ayat. Not only does the explanation make sense, it is formulaic guidance for his co-workers that are charged with the task of resurrecting the dead communities of America and elevating them to a high, lofty station.

There are four components to this ayat; birds, taming (training), hills, and calling. The community of people that support Imam WD Mohammed must understand the wisdom of his teaching on this subject and all other subjects, and as importantly, we must learn and develop real world applications of his wisdom.

A bird represents a creation endowed with the potential and the ability to rise high above the common, animalistic, level of material existence to soar in the skies on the heavenly plane, attaining great vision. A bird has the ability to fly high above the material world and it can see far and wide, from its lofty position, what is happening on the earth.

The human being has the potential to rise up above the gravity of materialism and to function on a high plane, above the pull of the base or basic desires of human nature. The human being that rises mentally and spiritually to a high level in the heavens will have great foresight and great vision. Isn’t it interesting that our graves are buried underneath the earth? This is a sign that if you allow yourself to be buried in materialism, you are dead.

A bird has the potential and the nature to spread its wings and rise high into the heavens, but what does it need to make this flight? It needs the wind or air. Imam Mohammed has taught us that wind represents the emotional aspect of the human being’s nature. It is the purified emotion of Allah’s inspiration that allows the human being to rise up into the heavens of understanding like the bird lifts itself up on the currents of the wind.

The connection that the Imam makes for us is that Allah shaped the human out of clay, breathed (wind) into the human of his own spirit (Ruh), and the human became a living soul (inspired). Similarly, in Sura 5, ayat 110, Allah instructs Jesus to take clay and fashion it into the figure or shape of a bird. Then breathe (wind) into it and the bird comes to life. Do you see the parallel or pattern? Jesus does the same thing with a bird that Allah does with Adam. Imam Mohammed has explained that Adam is the original nature that Allah created and when He breathed into it, it is to rise to a height higher than the angels.  Similarly, the bird represents that same original nature that upon receiving the wind of inspiration can fly to the highest of heights.

Abraham was instructed to take four birds. Why four birds? Imam Mohammed has taught that there are four major influences that pervade and dominate every aspect of human life; education, government, business, and culture. It is my belief that these four birds represent the enlightened individuals (groups) that are working to establish enlightenment in each of these four major areas of society. As you shall see, Abraham is being shown not how to resurrect an individual. He is being shown how to resurrect society. This is one of the reasons he is called the father of the nations.

A clue to this connection is the previous ayat, 259. Abraham saw how Allah had resurrected a town (society) that was beyond all ruin. Abraham is quite impressed with this and he is thoroughly convinced now that Allah is G-d. But, Abraham, the rational thinking man doesn’t stop there. Abraham wants to know how to do this himself. We know this, because in ayat 260 Allah tells Abraham how to perform resurrection. Abraham follows Allah’s instructions precisely and resurrection occurs. Adam is still alive in Abraham. Adam knew the nature of all things and attained mastery over them. Abraham wanted to know the nature of the resurrection process and he attained mastery over it.

Allah told Abraham to tame or train the four birds to turn towards him. How do you train an animal or human? Training involves the use of reward and punishment to induce repeated acts that become habits, as Imam Mohammed has taught. Our Imam goes on to say that habits form your nature and your nature determines your destiny. So Abraham had to put the birds of education, business, government, and culture through a training program or process that fashioned them into a shape or form that is based upon the pattern or nature of Abraham and directs them towards his way (this is what is meant by taming them to turn towards him).

The Qur’anic translator, Yusuf Ali, uses the English term tame, which implies that Abraham was taking four birds that were a bit wild or rebellious, not quite civilized or organized, not quite cultivated. He had to take these creatures and tame them through teaching and training before he could expect to see the dead brought to life.

This process of training and taming is the same process that Allah used and Jesus used when fashioning a creation out of clay. The molding and shaping of the clay is the same process used by Abraham to tame the birds that he was fashioning. The primary reason that our community is not coming to life and soaring high into the heavens is that we (our clay) has not been fashioned or molded into a shape that can fly even though the wisdom of inspiration has been breathed into us (for example, we want to fly, but we are missing our wings or we have not been trained to flap them correctly).

The four birds are divided into portions and placed on four hills (a portion is 1 bird per hill). What is a hill? A hill is a small mountain. Imam Mohammed has taught us that mountain, in scripture, represents authority. It also represents stability and structure. Allah says in Sura 16, ayat 15 that he established mountains, standing firm on the earth, otherwise it would shake you.

This is a clue for the association of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed that we need governmental structure in our community. Without it our world will continuously rock and shake, causing the loss of life, homes, stable communities, the loss of our ability to plan and implement, and the loss of our ability to fulfill our mission.

The term Hill means that before resurrection can take place, there must be some degree of authority, structure, stability and organization established, upon which, the birds can stand and use as a foundation to begin their flight, ascension, resurrection.

Notice also that the birds are placed on top of the hills. This means that the people Abraham has trained must be placed in the leadership of the governmental structures upon which they stand. In other words, Abraham-trained leadership must be put in charge of existing educational, business, governmental, and cultural organizational structures. When these things are in place, the clay mold is complete and is ready to use the breath of inspiration.

Thus, Allah tells Abraham to call the birds and they will fly to him with great speed. Abraham’s call represents the breath (wind) of inspiration that Allah used when creating Adam and Jesus used when creating a bird. When Abraham breathed inspiration into those four birds, education rose to a high plane, business took off and ascended to a high level, culture soared to new heights, and government (leadership) elevated to a lofty altitude.

Therefore, to apply the wisdom of Imam Mohammed and execute the formula we see in the parable of Abraham and the four birds to bring about social resurrection, we must implement the following tasks: 1) Teach, train, shape and mold leaders on the pattern of Abraham; the Deen Al-Fitra, the natural order of human creation. 2) Put them in stations of leadership and governmental authority over organizations in the areas of education, business, government (politics) and culture. 3) Inspire them with the call of wisdom to rise up and elevate to the plane of the prophets and the practice of the Khalifah. Do these things and you will see that dead town, that dead society and its people, being resurrected, coming to life with great speed and thriving as if death had never touched it. It is as Allah says in 2:259, after returning to life it will show no signs of age.

Mubaashir is an author and writes commentaries for the Muslim Journal Newspaper.

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