The Career Rooted In Scripture
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(This text is from the address given by Imam W. Deen Mohammed at
the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee on Sept. 9, 2000 —
One of the
attributes of Muhammed is also "bashir," and bashir is
a word that points to human sensitivities in their original nature
and form; unadulterated human sensitivities. The importance of these
sensitivities for human beings, I find also in the major scheme
of the movement in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
When we study
the term "bashir" in the Arabic language, it also suggests
the human skin or the outside skin of anything — the human
being or even of fruit. For flesh, the outside skin appears to be
alive, and it is alive. But in the way that we perceive living things,
it is not alive. The very outside skin is dead. You can cut yourself
very shallow' and you will feel nothing, no pain. You have to go
deeper to feel pain.
The outer skin
is a dead skin. So the whole life, the live, living body protected
by dead skin. Yet, it seems to be alive more so than the skin beneath
it, because if you just touch it a little bit, you will feel it.
It is such a great conductor or recipient of communication. The
communication goes to the dead skin and immediately you feel it.
It also protects
the outer part of the body from discomfort. If it were really alive,
a rub or touch would not feel good or comfortable. If you get some
skin knocked off, you don't want anyone rubbing that place. It is
dead and yet alive. It is dead to what is not good for it, dead
to what is bad for the human life in this world influenced by Satan,
but alive to the life that G-d wants.
men, great men of wisdom, saintly men and women saw this human body
and studied it. They saw the human body as a message from G-d, that
the body itself was a communication to the mind of the people from
G-d, who made that body. They began to translate the language that
they saw in the human makeup, and they thought it was wonderful
to be dead and yet alive.
If you want
to be successful in a career, develop your life so that your life
is dead to that which takes you down and alive only to that which
takes you up or helps you to get up. This life is a trial, and no
matter how much academic knowledge you have or how much you have
acquired as a student in college or as a professor, a little small
thing can take you down. Then we will have to give you a dollar
on the street.
A little thing
can take you down, for the brain cannot hold man up. Only his obedience
to G-d; obedience to the best of his own creation—only that
can hold him up. Everything else will let him down, sooner or later.
When I look
at the word career, as I did a little research, in Latin it goes
back to the word spelled "car." Now I'm sure it is not
car, like the automobiles we have. But I was on Hajj once, and the
traffic is very heavy during Hajj Season in Mecca. This was after
they had built those nice roads, and there were fine cars lined
up one behind the other as in a big traffic jam in New York or Chicago
during rush hour.
took his stick and hit the car, and he saw me looking at him. So
I don't speak Arabic, I speak English and he knew I wasn't an Arab.
But the body communication is every human being's language. When
he saw my face, he knew what I was thinking. So he said to me in
English, "The vehicle has skin, too." I understood what
he was saying.
We are talking
about "career." When you look at "car," the
word "carnal" which means flesh may be traced back to
the word "car," life. And I do know that the designers
of the first cars, and those who later followed the first designer
— Henry Ford — made that car to address the life and
makeup of the human person's body.
They were actually
trying to teach us through their invention or their creation. The
old cars had a crank, and you would get outside and take it and
start it up. It had a throttle, and you had to mash on the gas and
pull that throttle to keep it accelerating, until it got up to where
it could hold its own or keep up its velocity or speed.
All of them
had hot water; when you turned on the motor, the water would heat
up. The purpose of the water was to keep the motor from getting
too hot, as a cooling agent. I'm sure they were speaking to us and
telling us that the human being needed a cooling agent. If you want
to go with your life, you need a cooling agent. You also have to
have an exhaust system. You need the exhaust to let out impurities.
There are the
spark plugs to ignite or make the fire to start the engine. Inside,
you have to have a steering wheel. They use to tell us, when we
would go to get our driver's license or take the driver's test —
I don't think they do it anymore: "Both hands on the wheel,
10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, please." You had to have the hands
balanced on the upper part of the wheel — at 10 o'clock and
2 o'clock. This was best for driving, when you steer the car with
both hands on the wheel.
You have a
window that is not called a window pane; it is called a windshield.
You have gas and also the brakes. When you had to change the gears
yourself, you had a clutch. Before you started to change that gear,
you had to push down on the clutch with your left foot and the gas
and brakes with the right foot. But to change gears, you used the
It is all science.
The design of the car is speaking a science to our minds. Not to
the mind of the public, but to the minds of those who have been
blessed to gain deeper scriptural knowledge and higher knowledge
in the world.
What do I mean
by that expression? Deeper scriptural knowledge puts you in the
position to have higher knowledge in the world. That is why Muhammed
became the leader of society, the leader of his time. He could not
have become that just by having spiritual life and spiritual love
and spiritual knowledge.
He had to have
something that the banker appreciated something that the governor
appreciated, something that the general of the army appreciated
— and highly appreciated. They saw him with the ability to
educate them and to put them above the rest of the men of their
time in knowledge.
G-d had given
Muhammed a knowledge that when he imparted it to men who had faith
in him, he put them above the men of their time, not only in spiritual
knowledge but also in worldly knowledge. I'm not using the term
"worldly" in a bad sense; I'm using it in a good sense.
G-d does not
want us to abandon His Gift to us of the world. G-d created the
world and the world, itself, is a gift from G-d to us. G-d says:
"Who has said that the good things of the world are not for
my devotees," meaning those who devote their life in obedience
for G-d. He said, "This is for them and exclusively for them
in the Hereafter." It means that He going to cut the sinners
and the criminals out, the killer dope pushers, who don’t
respect human life or anything else. The crooked banker, the crooked
ruler of the land will all be cut out.
This land is
going to be for us exclusively in the hereafter. I see it coming
right now. My career is to get me a big part of it and to share
it with as many good people as I can.
G-d says to
us: "And seek with the means I have given you the Hereafter."
It means that the spiritual life is the higher and more valued life,
and the Destiny with G-d is better than all this material world.
But He says: "Do not forget your share of this material world."
the Catholic Church have gotten, if they had said that money is
sin and had not gone after some of the material world? It wouldn't
be the great church that it is; it would not be able to finance
its needs. So we want a balanced life, and that is what you should
see as a career.
to G-d first. But don't think that the land that you walk on and
the wealth that comes out of the ground – the earth –
that supports human life is your enemy or an interest that is in
conflict with your better side, with your moral side, your spiritual
It is our perception
of this world that causes us trouble, if we misperceive. The world
is created to assist us; to help us to take our human soul and our
human spirit and the best of our human life –moral life –
to The Destiny. Certainly, it is going to challenge us, but it challenges
us only to be the best that we can be.
You will say,
"I'm hungry, and I had better feed myself." That is the
first thought. But if you want to be more prepared to feed yourself,
say: "I'm hungry and I am going to help to feed the rest of
the members in my family who are hungry." Now, you have a better
force, more energy, more powers working for you to feed yourself.