Community And Personal Advancement: Part 6
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: The following is the completion of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's public address given in Cleveland, 'OH, on November20, 1988.)
The subject today is community and personal advancement. The aim in addressing this subject is to show a cause underlying progress. There is something that is hidden form our ready grasp or our view which is responsible for bringing about a situation for progress. The same situation when it is neglected or reversed brings about failure. Then in time all relationships will be spoiled, and no relationship can help us.
Don't you know Allah created us to be helped by relationships? We are to be helped by our family members, by our friends, by our neighbors, by institutions, and by established people in society. We are even to be helped by the physical environment. We should have a helpful relationship and a productive relationship with the physical natural environment. Allah has made all of these relationships to help in advancing us. They are not to hurt us. But when things go seriously wrong within you, then no relationship can help you.
There are people now who have no relationship that will help them. They have no relationship with relatives, friends, institutions, teachers, established people or the government. There is nobody who can be of any good in their lives, and it seems that nothing can help them. Some of them will say the world and government are just no good. But why don't they look at themselves a little more. There is still a lot of good out here in the world.
The bad things are in the sanctuary, and this comes from the Bible. For I have read in the Bible where it says the world would come to a deathly state where there is no hope. People in time were trying to trace the problem and they located it in the sanctuary, itself. Pollution had come into the sanctuary, and for that reason the whole society was messed up. That is the sanctuary of your own good self interest.
When that interest becomes polluted, twisted, corrupt, the whole life is eventually lost. We have to keep our own self interest healthy and in good condition, honest, upright, and respectful of things that should be respected. This applies especially to the value of the human soul that Allah has created. It seems that everything comes into life through the door of self concern.
Because of this matter, our task in recognizing situations of favorable and unfavorable relationships with self becomes very important. We have to examine all the relationships of self with something else. This even applies to your money. The human being is a sensitive creature, and everything that he comes in contact with eventually brings about a relationship. It will either be one that is hostile or one that is acceptable, desired and loved, He may even become seemingly helplessly attached to it.
We are creatures of relationships, and that is what it means when Allah says He has made you mates. The first mates we think of were Adam and his wife, and from them came all other mates or men and women all over the world, so the Scripture says. But we have to understand that Allah is pointing out to us a fact of our nature. That we do not exist or multiply or grow except upon relationships.
Those relationships are abstract as well as concrete. You have a spiritual side, and it has its mate also. You have a moral life, and it has its mate. You have affections, and they have their mate. You have intelligence that operates in abstract, and abstracts have their mates. You, in your whole abstract concept or picture, have a mate with the objective world. We are mated, and everything that touches us and that comes near us in our environment becomes a mate. It either becomes a hostile relationship or a welcomed relationship.
So do not take lightly anything that has touched you. Your money, your children, your property, or your friends. Do not take lightly any of those relationships. You will have to .work at keeping those relationships from going rotten and making you a bad person. We know we have to watch this relationship we have with this world out here.
Let us now speak on the unity of Allah's creation or on the belief that whatever Allah has done is good. We must also know that the Bible has not given the world this idea that the material of the world is bad or that nature is bad and harmful, and that those things are also sin. The Bible does not say that human nature is sin. Those who misread and misinterpreted the Bible are responsible for that.
The Bible says, "And Allah (God) made the heavens and earth and He made everything therein." And each thing that Allah did is followed by this — "And it was good." So what made it bad? Allah made the material world, heaven, and earth, and He made the fish in the sea and all of the animals. So why did the animals become bad? It was not bad; it was good. Our religion says the same thing. That Allah made everything, and He made everything excellent.
However, look what it then says of a man who has become attached to his wealth and riches, where those things keep him from obedience to Allah. He is not the subject of this lecture, but I wanted you to know what preceded this statement here in the Qur'an, Allah says, "When His people said to Him," — to this man who has lost his soul to his attachment to his wealth — ' 'do not boast in a silly humorous kind of pride. Do not be light-minded or take lightly serious things. For Allah does not love the boastful and the trifling. And seek by the means Allah has made possible to you the destiny, the Hereafter. 'However do not forget your share of the World.'"
Here is Allah inspiring people who are subjects of a rich man who has allowed the worldly attachments to take him away from obedience to Allah. They did not tell him, "Look, you have allowed these things to affect your life and take you away from obedience to Allah." "Now, stay away from those things." They just said in effect, "Wake up to the destiny of man. Wake up to the promises of Allah. And at the same time don't neglect the material world." Isn't that wonderful?
How many of us as preachers, or I could just say how many of us as Muslim Imams, will see a rich Muslim attached to his wealth and forgetting Allah, and will then come to him and tell him, "Don't neglect the end or destiny that is coming; take care of that and also don't neglect the material side?" How many of us will do that? No, for you will say, "See Brother, you let your wealth go to your head. Materialism messed up your life and got you corrupt. You have to break aloose from that," That is what we will be telling him.
We will be telling him to break away from his wealth, when we should be telling him to look at wealth again and look at himself again. That he should respect himself and respect his wealth; not to let the wealth damage his soul, and not let himself neglect the wealth. That is Allah's guidance. Now you tell me is that kind of philosophy better than what Karl Marx, Hegel and others like them offered? This philosophy brings about and gives way to a situation for our souls to progress. It gives a condition for inner human life to make real progress in the world. But the spoilers would have you be led up behind men who promise us great things, but their promises fail. They fail because they are not able to serve man's now-and-later life needs. There resources are too limited by themselves.
Man is going to eventually run into a condition of life that is going to make what they offered of no account. What Allah offers will never fail and will never run out. And I am saying nothing new. I have always heard religious people say, "Allah never fails." And what they mean is His Word has not failed. Allah neither, His Word ever fails.
What else was said to this rich man which we discussed before? "And do good as Allah has been good to you" in giving you all of this wealth. When giving ourselves to wrong behavior, our souls are at risk. "Do good as Allah has been good to you" is a nice way of saying, "You didn't have all of this wealth to start with. You came into this world naked as all others did. Now that you have all of this wealth, be kind towards Allah's creatures as Allah has been kind towards you.
"Allah gave you wealth, then share your wealth. Share it with the creatures that are around here parched mouth and ashed face, thin, worn out, ragged, sick, and dying of disease. You have all the money, so hurry up and wake up before you wake up to Judgment Day" And the wrath of Allah will be in response to the pleadings of souls, from the oppressed and from souls of oppressors.
The rich man who taunted the poor was told to do good as Allah had done good to him, and do not seek to corrupt the land. I think if we had that same level headed sense for both sides of reality of which Allah has made man, we could make much more progress in the world. We would get much more from those who have, and from those who have not, in terms of improvement.