How Muslims Are To Manage Spiritual And Material Concerns: Part 2
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave this public address in Detroit, Michigan on December 3, 1989. It is one essential to the fine tuning of the human instrument in accord with what Allah wants for us.)
Allah requires of us in our life as Muslims that we progress spiritually and in every other progressive way. No matter how good I am spiritually, no matter how good I am morally, no matter how good I am intellectually, if I have no material progress in my life, that is a sin on me. You may ask, "How is that, Brother Imam?" Allah says, "By what Allah has made available to you, seek the destiny."
Allah tells me to seek the end, the paradise by utilizing what "Allah" has made available to me. That means to receive the promised reward of the "Hereafter" and to be in good shape with Allah, I have to use my moral nature, my moral force, my spiritual force, my intellect, my physical force, and everything in my possession. I should be marshalling everything in my resources to make progress towards the "Hereafter" (the Destiny).
Therefore, a person in our religion who is working for the "Hereafter" will want to make a good showing in school. That person will want to make a good showing in education, in science, in business, in culture. That person will want to make a good showing in every decent involvement, motivated by what "Allah" has told him: "With the means given you by Allah, seek the destiny, and do not forget your share of the world." Qur'an. Work to keep a good daily account with Allah.
The prayers and the peace be upon him, our Prophet said, "Live today as though today is going to be the end of you." It means that we should not say, "Oh, we have tomorrow, we have next year. We will take care of it later." "Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today." That western expression says quite well what the Prophet said. Our Prophet also said, "Live as though you are never going to die." If I know I have a great many years in the future to go, I most likely will have some long distance plans. This is the way the Prophet has prepared us.
We also know that the Prophet has warned us against the pitfalls of material appetites and that we are to keep "the balance." We are not to let our material appetite hurt our intelligence or any other element of our nature. Nor are we to let our spiritual life deny us or hurt progress for us in the material world, in any avenue of life. We are not hermits. We do not withdraw from the world, no matter how holy we want to be. We never withdraw from the world and leave it to those who want to achieve "by any means necessary," and we take to the hills and levitate.
Our religion is a complete religion; therefore, our way of life is a complete way of life. It is called "Comprehensive," requiring that we devote attention to all important matters for the natural human being in the human society. We have to devote attention to all important matters for the human being and for the human society.
The successful management is simply easy. Give devotion to Allah and regard Allah above everything else. Being obedient to Allah is what will save us from management failures. If in our hearts we love Allah and want to please Him above all else, we are saved from extremism whether it be from materialism or from spiritualism. Most important for us (Muslims) is to see Allah as the God that asks of us obedience to Him. Allah asks that we fulfill all (lawful) obligations.
We are to fulfill our obligations to our parents, to our families, to those who have assisted us, to those to whom we owe a debt, to the society we have life with. This awareness begins in what you owe yourself and goes out to your neighbor next door. If you accept to obey Allah, knowing what Allah asks of you, if you accept to come under His Authority, how can you go into extremism? Our religion is plain and complete in its instructions to us. Therefore, we should not be joining the blind herds for whom the traps of extremism (over reacting) are set.
If you find any Muslim going into extremism, that Muslim has stopped worshipping Allah as He is to be worshipped in Qur'an and as taught us by our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). There are some who have left the idea of their religion and have left the motivation that should be in all Muslims. That motivation is first of all to recognize the Overriding Authority in Muslim life. That Overriding Authority is Allah, the One and Only "Creator of everything."
If we are having trouble with the management of basic concerns in Chicago, in Los Angeles, in New York City, or in Detroit, it is because we are not established in that "Muslim" life. First we have to be established in that life, and to be established in the Muslim life we have to do more than just hear what it is to be a Muslim. We have to make a decision to be what we hear of the life from Qur'an and from our universal (the last) Prophet Muhammed.
To be a Muslim is more than praying together and saying 'As-Salaam-Alaikum'. That is only a weak one-fifth (1/5) of a Muslim life. Being a Muslim is to "obey Allah" and "obey the Messenger."
Begin by choosing to favor reading from our Holy Book. Be sincere and we will come to feel bad when we miss prayers. We will grow inside to feel hurt when we fail to obey religious orders. Whoever feels no weight of Muslim conscience is not successful as a Muslim. But if it bothers you that you missed your Maghrib or Fajr timed prayers, than you have the religious conscience and spirit of the Muslim.
If it bothers you that you are not eating halal meat, that you are eating meats of animals not slaughtered or prepared properly, then most likely you have the mind of a Muslim. If being in such bad situations bothers you, then you are in a good situation spiritually for the Muslim life. But if un-Muslim conditions on you do not even bother you, then we do not expect you to be successful as a Muslim.
Many of us have not gotten acquainted enough yet with the teachings of the Qur'an, the last Revealed Book from Allah. We have not gotten acquainted enough with the Life of the Prophet (peace and the prayers be upon him) to really understand the seriousness of the duties that Allah has asked of Muslims. Allah has asked that Muslims don't take intoxicants. And that means whether it is in the form of alcohol or drugs. We are never to drug our minds. If it takes our senses away or can affect us in that way, we are not to take it and it is a great sin. It is the sin of the works of Satan, himself. It is a very serious matter. Qur'an.
Muslims are not to lie. If you call yourself a Muslim and you go on in the habit of lying and it does not bother you, you are not there yet. Perhaps all of us will lie occasionally, but some of us do have a conscience. We have to acknowledge Allah as the Uppermost Authority in our lives, as the Deciding Authority in our lives.
We need an Authority to manage other authorities. And if there is no Deciding Authority in our lives, then management is poor or not to be found at all. Do you know that the people who have the greatest difficulty in managing their basic life in the modern world is the African American people? Why is this? We are not a stupid people. We are a brilliant people, a very intelligent people. So why do we, have this big failure and such an ugly record of self-abuse and family discord? It is because we do not accept an Overriding Authority in our lives.
I dislike to criticize Christianity, but Christianity is the most risky "Major League" religion I know of. It has its superior points, but it is most risky. Popular Christianity leaves the average person to face too many dangerous moral and mental risks.
One cannot succeed without rational guidance in life. We cannot be successful in our democracy with people who have intelligent disciplines and have respect for the power of reason, who think logically and plan on the basis of what is sound for the intelligence. We cannot be successful in competition with such people. Trusting that the spirit is going to save us and deliver us while we (African Americans) do nothing but just say, "I believe in Christ" is extremism. If people could make it with that, the African American would be in control.
We began by stressing the way we are to look at our life, if we are to be successful. We are to see our life as one corporate whole. Everything works together and everything should be working together. When things basic to life get away from the operational base of accord, are working hazardously in you, you've got serious problems. If your mind is in one kind of discipline mode and going after one thing, while your moral disciplines are in a non-rational mode, you are in serious trouble.
We need something that will address the whole of our lives and give direction to the whole of our lives and bring the whole of our lives under One Authority. That accounts for success.
"How come you Muslims are not doing so well?" And the Muslims may say, "Brother, how come those Muslims in Africa aren't doing well?" It is because we have gotten out of contact with that operational core for Muslims and are faltering, misperceiving the first requirements (imperatives) of a Muslim life. We are not in touch with the Guidance. Those who are in touch with the essentials to Muslim guidance are successful. There is no chance that rightly informed obedient Muslims will come to an end other than success.
Allah says, "And the Believers must triumph." If we are sincere, faithful, and true to what Allah asks of us, we (the believers) must triumph. We have a history of those who were faithful to what Allah asked of them. We have a history of triumphant people (Muslims), people who are now being looked at again after centuries of darkness being over their true picture. This time it is the West that is beginning to take a sober intelligent look.
To be continued