November 12, 1999
Imam W. Deen Mohammed Speaks in Baltimore, Md.: "A Spiritual and Community Vision, Building Upon Faith in G-d, Contributing to the Improvement of our Neighborhoods and the Moral and Financial Strength of our Families" - Part II
WHERE DID WE HAVE TO BEGIN?
Where did we have to begin to come to this place that we are so happy with now? This place in our spiritual travels, this place in our travels as a group, as a race seeking honor and respect, freedom and justice for ourselves?
This great American society, with all of its wonderful structures, was in the vision of the Founding Fathers and in the leaders of this society - the industrious business people, the people who led the cultural life - before it all materialized for it to be where it is now.
America the Beautiful. The America that I could not see when I was following the Nation of Islam. It was an America hard for me to see, even after I started following the Qur'an and the example of Muhammed the Prophet. But now this America the Beautiful is not so difficult for me to see.
And "inclusion" was in my heart; I wanted that and I think my father conditioned me to want that. Not to be separate from Whites, but to be with all good people. Now any time that he would introduce to us a savior - and I am sure many of you saw his picture - he knew it was going to present some difficulty for us when we met or if we met a White person who was kind and human. It would be very difficult to say that that person was not accepted, when our savior was in the same picture or image.
So he was a kind of genius. Sometimes, the most exciting love with a woman is the love with the woman that does not always pull you to her. Sometimes when you really want to be hugged, she pushes you away. So I don't know if that is a good description for what the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was doing. But I know he was telling me things that my nature, the core of my soul was loving. And then he would tell me things that the core of my soul rejected and didn't like.
And here I was using my rational mind to quiet my soul: "Shut up! Sheee, sheee. Ill get put out of the Nation of Islam, if I listen to you! Sheee, sheee." Now that may not be a good description of you all, but it is a good description for me. Here's a woman who you really love and she is pushing you away at the wrong time, when you are really excited about the girl. "Why is she pushing me away?"
We have seen our vision for our future in America. We know where we want to go now. And we want to see it expressed in the material structures of this society, to have us - Christians and Muslims - joined together to see better a material establishment and better material life for us in our poor neighborhoods and poor areas, where we don't have business establishment and regretfully we don't even have business sense.
ECONOMICS: INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS IDENTIFYING AND SUPPLYING THEIR NEEDS
As a student of economics, I have learned from reading the textbooks on economics that say that economics begin with individuals and groups being concerned with identifying their needs and supplying their needs. Now, we know that from the teachings of Marcus Garvey, and it was the teaching of many of our great leaders and that certainly was the teaching of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. It was not to have the burden on government. No.
We should follow the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and Min. Farrakhan - I think I can mention his name. They were asking the poor not to just wait for the rich to serve you and take care of your needs. But that they have the faith and the courage to get up and take the initiative to do something about their condition. And don't hope for others to rescue you, but trust that G-d loves the conscious, good behaving worker.
And G-d says to us in our Holy Book that He will never ignore or disregard or put aside the work of any worker, whether that worker be male or female. The worker is highly valued and respected in Al-Islam, and G-d says to us in the Qur'an: "I am a Worker. So work you in your places."
G-d also has introduced Himself to us as a Creator. That means Creator of all life and all things and all hopes possible. But He says that He is the Best of Creators. That says to us that G-d also wants us to be creators. And we know we are.
Some African (American) inventors complain that they have not gotten credit in America for their inventions, but we know that many of them have - like George. Washington Carver and so many others who have Deen acknowledged for their inventions. Didn't they create something? Our stars in the performing arts, haven't they created something? We have the whole world trying to dance like us. We are born to create, so let us use our imagination.
THINK INTO THE DARK PATH TO THE FUTURE
The Western world has gone so far ahead of others, because the leaders have Deen encouraged to use their imagination. To think into the dark path to the future and to have faith that they can make a better world or better road for us to travel than exists now. We need more leaders from our African American communities and African American Muslim communities and African American Christian communities - we need more leaders not to think that the world and its life and its future is to be left to White people. It is equally our responsibility.
So we have begun to achieve our vision without depending unduly upon government or upon other communities. I would like to see us with wealth, a life in America that does not keep Whites and Blacks separated because of any particular racial aspirations of ours or of theirs. That will not have us separated because of religious differences. But to have a life that will permit all of us to work together in competition.
I love to be competitive. G-d created us to be competitive. G-d says in our Holy Book to be in competition like a race for all that is good. The runner who is catching up with you and passing you, you cheer him if you can't run faster. Because the goal line is for all humanity.
If I just do very well in the race, I will get my credit. And if someone does better than me in the race, they may get more credit. But the full reward will come to all of us, all of the runners in the race will share in the benefits equally - if it is a race for all that is good and not for evil, not for injustice, not for dominance, not a race for something that excludes others.
UNDERSTANDING DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN AGREEMENT
I would like to read what the religious lady recently said, Mary Boys, and it was published in a religious publication that I received: "I would like to see both Christians and Jews so solidly grounded in their own traditions, that they are able to enter openly into dialogue and discussion. Understanding does not always mean agreement."
I met with the Philadelphia Islamic Shura Council, and we met because we had differences. And we had a convention coming and there was some confusion as to how we wanted to introduce that convention to the people of Philadelphia and the East Coast area.
The confusion was: "Are you introducing this convention as an Islamic convention? Then if so, why have you not consulted us? We are Muslim and Islamic leaders, and why have you not consulted us? And how come you don't invite us to work on or include us in the planning of this convention?"
To me, these were all very rational and intelligent questions. So we explained to them that it is an Islamic Convention, but it is a Muslim American Society Islamic Convention. And we still invite them to welcome us; we want their welcome and would like for them to welcome us to the city of Philadelphia. And we want them to be in attendance at the Convention.
Some of the leaders said to me in this peaceful meeting that we had to iron out our differences: "The Tri-State Shura follows Imam W. Deen Mohammed. And they want us to be with them, and you are not the leader of the Muslims. There are other leaders."
So I told them: "We are not seeking people who are leading people who are only from our association. We are seeking people who are leading Muslims from other associations, other groups and other mosques. You don't have to be following me for me to want to meet with you to see if there is opportunity for us to do things together, to contribute more to the good future of Muslims all over America."
They said then: "They say you are the leader. And Muhammed is the leader, peace be upon Muhammed, the Seal of the Prophets." I said to them: "Yes, that is true. Muhammed the Prophet is the leader. He is my leader and the leader of all Muslims. But Imam W. Deen Mohammed is a leader, too. You know, Imam W. Deen Mohammed is my leader. I follow Imam W. Deen Mohammed."
I did not tell them this, but it is true: "Imam W. Deen Mohammed introduced me to Muhammed the Prophet, and now Imam W. Deen Mohammed follows the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon the Prophet. Imam W. Deen Mohammed introduced me to the Qur'an and to Prophet Muhammed. I was in the same boat you were in. The same person that introduced you to the Qur'an and to the Prophet introduced me. I was just as lost as you were."
Now you think I am not going to recognize my leader, who led me to the light and to the path of Islam and to the greatest human being who was ever created -Prophet Muhammed, the model for all people and a mercy to all the world? You think I am not grateful to Imam W. Deen Mohammed for leading me to that? I am speaking just for myself now. I am a witness for what has happened to me.
Yes, I repeat: The salvation of the humanity of the world is near. And a New World of Faith Communities is on the rise. They don't have to be burdened with fear that their interest is not being served by anybody but themselves. Where we can go happily in the road to our great future, knowing that our interest is being served by us and also by all good people of faith.
THE EMERGING SIGNS OF GOODNESS
Recently, the USA Weekend insert appeared in the Detroit News Free Press publication. It carried the caption, "The Emerging Signs of Goodness." Don't you feel goodness is on the march? I didn't have to read that caption to have those thoughts.
I meet with these leaders from different faith communities and I meet with the leaders of the business world, financial institutions, and we are all having the same spirit, all having the same interest in making this world a better world for all people. And I see the welcome in people who I didn't find the welcome in before.
I travel now more than I have ever traveled by plane. You who keep up with my traveling in the Muslim Journal's Calendar of Events, you are seeing just one-half or one-third of my travels. I am traveling in the air sometimes so much, I think I am a creature of the air.
And I have seen in meeting the public on public transportation and in public places, that what I experienced years ago I do not experience anymore. I use to get on the plane and right away the resentment was so strong in the Whites who were on that plane, that I didn't have to look at them. They reached me through my subconscious life, they touched my subconscious life.
And my conscious life said: "Don't look at them! Don't look that way! Just keep on trying to find a seat and hope that you don't have to sit down by a devil!" Sometimes I would have to sit by a devil, and it would be so miserable for me all the way to my destination. It was just knowing what was in his mind.
Experiencing that over the years, after a while you realize that you have made a lot of progress for right thinking. You realize that the majority thinking is against that kind of thing in people. Months and years went by. I started to play with them a little bit. I said, "You might not know it, but I am as uncomfortable as you are."
But thank G-d, goodness is on the rise. Goodness is on the rise! And wickedness has to draw or pull itself back out of sight, because it can't get approval anymore. It can exist, but it is not going to receive public approval anymore. That ugly racism and all of that wickedness can continue to exist, but it will not get public approval anymore, because goodness is on the rise.
There are many convincing signs everywhere. I have given you some of the examples that I have seen that are changing White people. I remember being in Little Rock, Ark., and pulling up to a service station, and I spoke to my Black soul brother. He was right there and I didn't have to yell, because he was so close. So I said, "Good morning." And he acted just like a racist who was White and I was Black, although he was blacker than I was in color. He didn't return my "Good Morning."
I said to myself: "I am in Little Rock. If that had Deen a White man, I would have immediately identified him as a racist. Immediately, I would have identified him as a racist." I said to him, "Good morning sir," and he ignored me and looked at me as if I was something that was stinking.
But G-d rescued me right away. I was hurt and G-d comforted me so quickly. As soon as the hurt came, I saw a White man at about the same distance from me. To him I said, "Good morning, sir." And he said, "Good morning." This was in Little Rock, Arkansas.
There are convincing signs everywhere, if we will just open up our eyes and see them. Believe and have faith. Don't impose upon others your own consciousness supported by something that is not true, just because you have Deen following it for so long. We have Deen in the habit of following a certain thinking for so long, that anything that comes up that says it is wrong, we drown it out, put our fingers in our ears, close our eyes to it. Open up and you will hear sounds everywhere that goodness is on the rise.
WICKED, CRIMINAL DON'T HAVE A RIGHT TO THIS EARTH
Goodness is on the rise. I never feared the wicked. I never feared the criminal, ever since I became your leader. I said that they don't have a right to be on this earth. This is G-d's earth. I have the right to be on this earth. And I told them, "I don't fear you." They were in the Nation of Islam, and they were sitting out there looking at me with their hard black faces saying, "We will kill you."
I looked at them and said, "You don't have any right to be here. The righteous have the right to be here. You are not having any support from Divine Law and Divine Favor for your presence and your way of life. Law and Divine Favors are on my side, and I am not afraid of you. I invite you to transform your life, and I am your friend. I want to see you free of that devil that is in you, Black man.
"And I will work to help you get rid of that Shaitan, that bad jinn that is in you. Because I love you. But don't think I am afraid of you. I know you can break me up with your strong fists and your strong muscles. And you can do away with me quickly. But I trust the G-d Who has power over you and all things to turn your mind around."
That is the way I spoke to them. And you know if I didn't fear them then, should I have fear now? Good is on the rise everywhere.
Why, I have friends who I will go to the rescue for. I will get on a plane and go overseas to fight with them. That is the kind of friends I have made, since I have Deen your leader. And I would not be surprised, if some of them would get on a plane and come to my rescue and fight on my side to save me from a of bad jinn.
WE ARE LIVING IN A TIME OF REVIVAL
We are living in a time of revival, a revival of the true life that G-d put into the human soul, when He created the first person.
Recently, the President of the NAACP, Mr. Mfume, was expressing to a gathering of that organization - that precious organization; we know what it has meant in our life. The good Black church, the NAACP, the Urban League. We appreciate those organizations and those institutions - religious and political.
The President of the NAACP was expressing to the NAACP a need on its part to not just say it represents the African American minority interests or African American complaints against the establishment, pleading for justice, opportunity and a better life. But that the NAACP should broaden its expressions, so that its expressions will be heard not only by African Americans who were suffering and still need help.
But that it will be heard by Whites, Hispanics, women or any minority that need some representation or some organization to help them get their pleas heard and justice. I welcomed that position so strongly. It tells us that this is a new day and that goodness is on the rise.
To be continued.