Our Global Responsibility
Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Sunday address [ WJPC live radio broadcast] at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, III, Aug. 24,1980—Continued from last week.)
So dear people, we know something about black capitalism. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad — a great leader in our community, especially with respect to the need to bring about moral and social reform, personal and economic dignity for the individual in our community — he was a great leader, a very effective leader, and he never talked about any black capitalism. But before he passed, he was credited with having great capital.
But he didn't preach black capitalism! Something that stands out in his performance is his concern for a community and not so much for himself personally.
I know he has been charged by outsiders with just desiring wealth for himself, personally. But the record will show that the wealth that they associated with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad has been publicized by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in a brochure on the economic development of his community, under him, as community wealth and not as his personal wealth. So for me, that is enough.
People with the mind just to accumulate a lot of money and make a change in their own condition are not people who will bring us out of our poor condition.
We know of a certain person who received a great sum of money under President Nixon to develop black capitalism. This person didn't receive $22 million, this person received better than $100 million for a project called "Soul City." I haven't been there to investigate it -I've wanted to go there but the news is so discouraging; I’ve been told that what you find there represents nothing in comparison with what he received for that project.
We know how monies have been filtered into our communities through federal funding channels to help revive life, to help revive the intellect, to help better conditions in our communities. And we know how much of that money has been siphoned off because of material greed in our communities — so we have some knowledge of black capitalism. I think the image of black capitalism is Superfly in the "Superfly" movie. And if we want that, then we want community destruction.
Now in addressing our principal weakness, I want to bring your attention also to the concept of freedom — freedom as we seem to understand it now, generally in the public's mind, and freedom as it was originally conceived, or the earliest meaning that we have of this term "freedom" in the English language or in the Western civilization.
I believe that freedom today in the public's mind — I'm not talking about each and every one of you; there is always the exception to the rule — generally speaking, freedom means privilege. Freedom means privilege! Freedom means independent action! Freedom means letting my own hair down; freedom means doing my own thing. Freedom means not having to submit to anything. That's not the freedom that this world was built upon.
"Freedom" — Let us look at-the term itself in trying to arrive at our principal weakness. And as I go on. you are going to see that our principal weakness has become the principal weakness of the masses of America today. It used to be restricted to just us, but now it incorporates or it involves Caucasians and Hispanics — many people. However, we are the ones still to show the greatest effect, or the greatest degree of harm because of this problem in our lives.
"Free-dom" — this word suggests several things. To some people words suggest nothing; they just go to the dictionary and read the* definition. But to other people words suggest more than just what the dictionary says. They have a prying, sensitive mind; they pry into a thing because they sense that there is something that hasn't been said about it.
So, when we look at "free-dom," we see the word "free"; we see the syllables "free" and "dom." "Free" means having movability or maneuverability. And "dom" refers to something that has movement or maneuverability.
What is the "dom"? Now we know the correct pronunciation of this word "freedom" that's the short way of saying it. As language endures in time, language is affected by change or by time, by the circumstances in which the language lives. So we know that there is a tendency in us to shorten words. "Freed'm" — we can't even hear the last syllable sometimes — "freed'm."
But actually, if you take the word and pronounce it very slowly the way it should be pronounced to get an understanding — "free-dome" — not "d'm"; "dome" is something that crowns something: the dome of the Capitol Building; the dome of the rock — the dome of my body is my head. So if freedom then is the movement and maneuverability of the dome on my body, then freedom should be correctly understood as the movement and movability of my mind or intellect.
Why do we need the freedom of this dome? Because this body's movement and maneuverability is terribly limited. The body cannot go to the moon until the mind goes there. The body can't go across the ocean until the mind goes there. The body can't get into many very involved situations until the mind goes there. The mind, the intellect, has greater movement and maneuverability than the body. Therefore, the thing that should be given that role of movement and maneuverability should be my mind, my intellect.
If we understood freedom in that sense, don't you know we would have a more intelligent grasp of our life?
Now that we have somewhat looked at that word freedom, it doesn't mean freedom of my own opinion, because dome suggests something that has been placed upon a structure — dome has a structured base. So it doesn't suggest freedom of opinion. That's not the freedom of intellect or the maneuverability of intellect or mind that we want — just the right to personal opinion — because my personal or individual opinion might not have a structured base for the dome.
(To be continued)