The Muslim Journal
The Career Rooted In Scripture: Part 2
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
So I said to myself how am I going to handle this topic on career. I could tell them about my life and my career, how I have made a career of my life. But that wasn't good enough. And it came to me suddenly, that is what G-d offered the first man He made - a great career.
A career differs from a job. We have said this and have heard youngsters say this: "I want to get me a good job, when I get grown." But when you say, "I want to have a good career," it means a little more than just saying "I want to have a good job," A job is one thing and a career is another. A job suggests that you want something to help you survive, but the term career says more than just that. The term career says that you want to be recognized for achievement and you want to make a contribution.
People who go after a career are expected to give something to the public. While the person who just goes after a job is not expected to give the public anything. So I believe that when G-d made the first man and woman, our first parents, He oriented them upon their own creation that He had designed to seek a career.
A career means fame, too. A career suggests that you are looking for fame, that you want to be known. What is wrong with that, if you want to be known for good works, for works that serve the many and not just the one, yourself.
The person seeking a career, we know, has some professional occupation and not just any occupation. When you look up the word professional, it has in it to vow and service and academic achievement.
It was Islam and Muhammed the Prophet and the Great Book, that its first words from G-d said, "Read!" The first words to Prophet Muhammed were "Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created...." And it goes on to say "... created man from a clot of congealed blood; read and your Lord is Most Generous, Who taught man by the pen - the writing pen."
G-d says, "If all the trees were made into pens and the seven seas doubled or multiplied over, the knowledge of G-d would not be used up." This is pointing to education, to the value of the objective world and an objective pursuit of the knowledge locked up in that objective world.
To connect our interest in career and religion, the focus has to be the community. And I believe that is why in scripture Abraham is a single person, but he is also a community. G-d says to us in our Holy Book, "And Abraham was a community."
If we understand it, Muhammed the Prophet, G-d's peace be upon him, is also a community. But Muhammed is in the image of the family tree of Adam, the first man, and of Jesus Christ, too, peace be on both of them. In the New Testament, we are given the genealogy of Jesus Christ and it traces his genealogy back to the first man, Adam.
It says, "... who was made by G-d." That G-d made the first man, and the first man is the father of all men, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammed. They are of the lineage of Adam, the first man.
I have read mystical books on Adam by learned Saints in Christianity and those writers say that Adam in his creation, before it was spoiled by the seducer, the Satan who tempted him and his wife, his form was beautiful, bright, shinny and pure. This is the description that they give of him, Adam.
So Adam was made perfect by G-d, and if you understand Genesis this is all very much necessary for my presentation. Genesis says that everything that G-d made was faultless. He made the world in six days and in the seventh day, He completed it and everything was faultless. This is according to the Bible.
We know that in the Qur'an, only good is attributed to G-d. And bad or corruption is attributed to the enemy of G-d, the Satan, and to the weakness of human beings who follow the invitation of the Satan.
This is the way it is given in the Qur'an: G-d is a Good G-d. And as Muhammed the Prophet says, "G-d is good and He accepts only good." So G-d is not a god who is good and then hires some bad people to work for him. "G-d is Good, and He accepts only good."
He is not a Good G-d, if He were to say, "Oh, if you will give me some money from those narcotics you are selling there, I'll appreciate it. Since you are making more than you can use, give me some charity, 10 percent of the money you are making on the sell of drugs." No, G-d is not that kind of god. G-d is The Good G-d and accepts only good.
And He obligates us to be like Him, in His Attributes. In the Christian language they say, "We are in the image of G-d." I believe we are saying exactly what they are saying, when we say that we are of G-d's Attributes, and G-d obligates us to grow with His Attributes. G-d says, "Create yourself with the creation blocks that I have provided for you." And those are His wonderful Attributes of Wisdom, but more important for human beings, and of Mercy, of Kindness, of Forgiveness, etc.
In our Holy Book, G-d says, "Oh you who have faith, be not like those who worked to harm the works of Moses. However, G-d strengthened him, meaning Moses, in righteousness against what they uttered, and he was honorable in G-d's Presence." Here G-d is asking all of us to be not like those who worked to harm Moses.
Did they work to harm Moses' flesh? No, they worked to make him not worthy of the high honor G-d had created him for and that he was earning as a Prophet of G-d. It was to take away that honor and to attribute falsehood and sin and weakness to the man, to spoil his beautiful character in the eyes of the people. So that they would be freer as followers of his (Satan) to give themselves also to sin. The ones who do works like that are really very close to Satan, himself; they work very close as supporters of Shaitan, the Satan.
A good man will come and they will praise him and get you to identify them as followers of that great man or good man. Then once you relax your guard, then they start to make hints seemingly to praise him but are meant to take him down. I have heard people refer to me, though I am not a prophet and beside those great giants in my eyes I consider myself nothing. But a person in our following will say, "You know the Imam is human. We love our Imam, but he is human."
The person who was saying that was known to be a morally weak human. So when he says that, the ones who listen to him get the message: "Oh, the Imam is weak, too. The Imam is not all that strong morally. This man is telling us that the Imam is human just like he is, and he is weak too." He will suggest that we hang out together, to bring you down to their level of weaknesses.
I know from experience what they do to people like me. So I can understand what those great prophets must have suffered. Yes, I know what I am supposed to be talking about, and I am on it and going directly to the subject and making a lot of progress, too. It says, "But G-d strengthened him in righteousness against what they uttered against Moses, and he was honorable in G-d's presence."
Now, Prophet Muhammed was established in history, and history says that he was established in the public of his time as the honest and trustworthy one. He was also established as the truthful one. These two attributes of Muhammed the Prophet are found in the Bible; they are in the major theme of the Bible that begins in Genesis and goes to the end of Revelation. These two names are in that great scheme, that great movement of scripture that takes us from the beginning of man's creation to where he should be in the end.
According to our knowledge of Islam and according to my knowledge of the Bible, our world depends on us having leadership that is honest and trustworthy and truthful. And we are given a lot of help. I think you are guessing now where am I going with this "career."
I am suggesting that to be successful in a career, you have to be based in your best creation, in your best nature. You have to carry that best creation of yours forward. You have to develop in yourself the best human qualities, and the best of those human qualities are G-d's Own Gift to us. Really, in those excellent qualities we are a reflection or shadow of G-d, Himself - in the best of those attributes or qualities.
I am also suggesting that if you don't respect that and don't try to be honest and truthful and trustworthy, you fail as a career seeker. A career doesn't suggest that it is always honorable, for a criminal sometimes can have a very impressive career. They are so impressive, that I will go and see the movie two or three times! But with the righteous, they were not successful; they were failures.
Career criminals were successful in gaining notoriety, in enjoying the comforts of the material world for a while and fame for a while. But they were not successful because we know in the scheme of things what G-d desires for human life was left out, and their names will not be remembered. In time, they will be totally forgotten. They will not have fame; they will not have honor; they will lose all of that in time. For G-d's Way will prevail. To be continued