“Establishing Allies” — Reflections
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: Following are excerpts from the headline article of Muslim Journal's April 27,1990 Issue— "Real Freedom" prepared by Imam W. Deen Mohammed from his public address given in Phoenix, Arizona on January 21, 1990. As events unfold around us today, we felt it important to keep our readers in touch with what was already established in yesterday)
The Muslim must control his appetites, control his spirit, and control his thoughts. The Muslim is responsible for his whole life. Allah has given us charge of our own life. That is what we are taught as Muslims, to take responsibility for the conduct of our own life. And how can we do that without guidance, without light on the situation?
Muslims, go to the Qur'an, go to the life of the Prophet (on him be the prayers and the peace). Study your religion, so that you will know better how to manage your own personal life. A great sense of dignity comes with knowing that you are doing a good job managing your own life. That is real freedom.
Be aware of the devices of oppression — liquors, drugs, and weekend wasteful fun. All of such are devices of oppression. Such devices are the enemies that are taking us down, beating us and defeating us and denying us establishment. Wasteful fun is an enemy. The tendency to make everything play and fun is an enemy. Artificiality (put-on behavior) is an enemy. Wanting to be something just because it is popular is an enemy.
Another enemy is cowardice. Moral cowardice is an enemy. Intellectual cowardice is an enemy. To see the strength, beauty, excellence, and worth in an idea and yet hold on to something that is very much inferior to that idea is moral cowardice. Because you don't have the discipline or the will to do what is morally or intellectually right for yourself, will false acts to discredit it give relief to you? These are the devices (enemies) we have to overcome.
Al-Islam is the force for a successful revolution in the African-American people. Not only for us here in America but also for our race in Africa. Don't you know that they too have been deceived in Africa? They were dominated by the West and misguided by the West. They were manipulated into the weakness of undermining the true rise of Al-Islam on the continent of Africa. Although they call themselves Muslims, many are false. This is because somewhere in previous times their people failed to respect what was their real salvation, their real dignity and true glory. They failed their religion. So when failing to respect our religion, Allah punishes us.
We read the history in the Qur'an of certain people whom Allah chose. Nevertheless, when they started to disrespect and abuse what Allah trusted them with, then Allah started to deny them the benefits and allowed them to be overcome by other people that He did not choose. This is history given to us by Allah in Revelation.
This rejection of them is punishment given by Allah's command for the purpose of returning them to their senses. Punishment might bring them back to remember Allah and what He had chosen them for. The people Allah had chosen to be the light for others have joined the people who work to bring the world under darkness. When such occurs, Allah lets the forces of darkness overcome both guilty parties and another people become trustees in power.
The same can happen to us and has happened to us. We (the many of us) turned our backs on the mercy and grace of Allah and threw off our moral sense and joined the blindness of the world.
I want to invite you to work at something more; that is, concentrate on identifying not just Muslims but other people who share your basic values. Identify with other people who identify with the same basic values that you want. People who share the same sense of values are strong allies, whether they acknowledge each other or not.
Our Moral Partners
Muslims, we have to appreciate Christians who share our sense of values. If they believe as we believe, that it is wrong to be intoxicated, that liquors and drugs are evil, that to work all the week to party on the weekend is ignorance and wastefulness, then we should identify with them and appreciate them. We must realize that we have powerful allies in those people with whom we identify morally.
If there are Christians or Jews or Buddhists who value property, value family, show respect for father and mother, value their children, we should identify with them at least in that vital and common area. We should appreciate them being our neighbor or being in the same city. Acknowledge them as an ally in the neighborhood, in the city or town, in the country.
To be specific, I am telling you that we need to extend our ties. We need to extend our forces by recognizing other powerful allies that may not be Muslims but share our basic sense of values and are aspiring for the same healthy life of the human being. Realize that they are powerful allies.
At the same time realize also that there is a situation of incompatibility and a situation of compatibility. We have to be alive on their side and fighting them at the same time. Allies fight sometimes. Allies will disagree. Allies will oppose each other. The agreeable ally of the Muslim is the Muslim. But we should have allies beyond the borders of the Muslim community and world. We accept that there are people we need and who need us when we think this way. When we do not think this way, they (other people) only need what we have: support given to others and denied our own.
Moreover, we should live and behave in a way that says to them, "I recognize you as my ally."' We want to spread this message of identifying and recognizing our allies. We are not going to spread it with the mouth, we are going to spread it with our behavior. We are going to present a commendable presence before people with whom we share like principles and values. You have to present yourself with your resources. If you have money, don't you want that known at least for business purposes?
Virtues and principles of civilized decent people are more convincing for building relationships than money and wealth. When people find that you are really true to principles and values held high by them, they value you as a member of their society, of their nation, or just as a person living on their street. We don't want to hide the Islamic wisdom for building bridges. We want to live and let the world know the values and principles we will defend and die for.