The Striving Poor
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: The following is excerpted from an address Imam Muhammad delivered August 17, 1986, at the American Muslims' Second National Political Awareness Convention, held in Cleveland, Ohio.)
Muhammad, our prophet, the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, lived as one of the striving poor. and he is the established model of excellence for any who believe in God, and in the destiny, the Final Day.
It should be the responsibility of both those represented in affluent America. and those who are not represented, but who have the strength, to get going when the going gets tough.
Just because we don't have established wealth and power in this country, is no reason for us not to aspire for great roles and great responsibilities as citizens in this country. The beginning of the great nation that brought enlightenment and sane direction back upon this earth for great nations and empires in the days of Muhammad, was upon the support of the poor and uneducated.
MUHAMMAD THE PROPHET, PEACE AND blessings be upon him, said, ''my nation began with poor, and it shall return with the poor," meaning that it would be lost to the greed of those who forget the visionfor temporary enjoyment.
The striving poor. I like to be called that. It makes me feel good just to say it. The striving poor. That was my momma. She was the striving poor. The best of our people that I have known were the striving poor. How honorable you are, the striving poor. How respectable the striving poor. How beautiful the striving poor. How excellent as creatures of God, the striving poor.
God says in the Qur'an "And we have certainly given dignity and honor to every son or child of Adam." What is that dignity in...? It is in following the best impulse to good reasoning. It is in accepting to suffer, and preserve that excellence, rather than give up that excellence for temporary conveniences. That is the striving poor.
WE WANT TO BE RECOGNIZED BY THE INTER-national community. We want to be a credit to the religion of that global community, that is, to AI-Islam. We want to be a credit member nation, that is to the Islamic nations on this earth. And that we be honorable, and that weenter and contribute to the history, that is, the Islamic history.