Building The Community And Family: Part 2
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Q: Will you give comments on "Revelation: Divine Help to Establish
IWDM: Muslims are very fortunate to have the assistance of Al-Islam to guide us with its great logic. Survival is so important with G'd that G'd may excuse a person from very serious religious obligations if the justification is that their survival is threatened.
The person may say: "G'd, that is why I ate some pork. There was nothing else I could do. My enemy would not let me have anything halal (permitted by G'd); he would only tempt me with pork. I was afraid that if I did not eat something, I would die." And G'd excuses him as if he had eaten halal lamb or chicken.
As a people, our past circumstances took away from us the freedom and opportunity to be responsible for community life. Slavery, segregation, prejudiced America kept "Blacks" out of the freedom to carry responsibility in our country as full citizens. The Nation of Islam was not in a situation to have that responsibility.
That time behind us robbed us of the opportunity and freedom to succeed in the work of community establishment. Now, equal opportunity has come. It is not legal anymore to single a people out for scorn, denial, exclusion, abuses and worthless citizenship. The law is on our side to have "Blacks" qualify and build neighborhoods.
For the first time we are free to work and have the responsibility for the control of the community. Al-Islam is a special blessing in our lives. It obligates its followers or adherents to focus on responsibility and not be satisfied until it is established in full honor upon inherent worth.
G'd says in the Holy Qur'an: "You are the best community evolved for the good of all people"; and, "Let there arise out of you a group calling (people) to all that is useful and good, and preventing all that is corrupt, and believing in G'd..." (The Qur'an) The Qur'an is the Word of G'd and the supreme authority in our lives.
We are fortunate to have religion come to a "lost" people. We lost history. We lost the freedom to be responsible for community life. We "Blacks" or "Negroes" were lost in history.
Now, we have freedom in America. The same country that kept me out will today protect equal citizenship and my right to be a competitive community developer.
We have the Message of Qur'an saying: "God obligates you to have community life" and be responsible for it.
Q: You spoke recently on how your works represent the "real" Progressive Land Developers; please describe this conceptually.
IWDM: I believe that my father's (Elijah Muhammad) economic program was really a disguised reference to this time. Given those circumstances of his time, Elijah Muhammad's idea could not be realized in his time. I believe my father had all of these concerns in him and he wanted to see it in his time. It was not to last in its separatist form and mold. Today, we can support openly the government, the business community, the Christian America (people) and all civilize interests.
In my opinion, we can invest now and not worry about people poisoning our cattle as they did on farms in Alabama.
They did that to people ("Black Muslims") they thought did not belong in America. They knew they would have public support on their side, if it were reported. They had, in some instances, people quietly supporting them against "Black Muslims" who were not true Americans and were trying to put down the United States government and "Whites."
Today, we are in a position to look at the reality in the vision of "Progressive Land Developers." Society has come from the attitude of fear and dislike for people who are different.
We have positive attitudes in America today and are beginning to accept all who want to build a home in America. This is a greatly changed time for all Americans. Now we can be Progressive Land Developers. Whereas in the Sixties, it was just a hope at great risk of losing everything invested to deceivers, vandals and court costs.
Now, we can invest with great hope. We can plan for us to be inherited by our generations to come.
Even if Americans decide to change the Constitution of the United States and draw up another one, if we hold on to Al-Islam and the excellence of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), the community will be in a position to last for as long as G'd keeps the earth.
The plan of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad to bring us into financial establishment with the company he formed (Progressive Land Developers) is really a message to us. That we should not be satisfied being less than the creators of the productive environment. Not just those who are looking for a place or opportunities in an environment someone else is responsible for keeping and advancing.
The expression "Progressive Land Developers" suggests to me that we should accept the responsibility to create environments and develop housing and community plans, to build small towns and accept to work with people who feel the same burden of obligation for community life.
Q: We have the Medinah "model" of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH); what should we study of that model and what should be the priority?
IWDM: We should study it as a "model," but not as people who are so excited over the work of that time that we can't stay normal and rational to observe what he truly did and build upon it.
The first thing Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) did when he arrived in Medinah was build a Mosque. That is because homes and work were already a reality there, and the people of G'd were already industrious. They invited Muhammed the Messenger of G'd to lead them (the people of Madinah).
Q: What should be the community's and society's efforts concerning the orphans?
IWDM: G'd revealed to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), who was himself an orphan, the way to establish the protection for the rights of orphans. We find in the Qur'an guidance which says that the rights of the orphans are not to be violated. While the orphan may not have parents for protection, an orphan has all of the rights of any other child.
Whatever is missing because parents are missing, society is obligated to step in and make sure that that child is not denied. We can't give the child another genetic father, but we can give that child the support a good father would give.
We are to see that orphans get all of the opportunities available to children with responsible parents. We are to see that their home situation is a good one. We are to see that they have a guardian serving as a parent and answering the needs.
We are to see that the orphans have the same access to education, employment and other opportunities to advance in society as all others. We are to give them respect, that is why Islam says "the orphan's rights."
We give assistance respecting their rights. It should not be looked upon as charity. It is "their right." We are to give the child what he or she is rightfully entitled to as a full member of the society and a human creation of G'd.
Muslims are to be seen in society as persons who are conscious of the needs of orphans, single mothers, disadvantaged persons, and doing whatever is in their power to provide. An orphanage is not a home. The Muslim society should look for parents for orphaned children. They should not be housed in a dormitory like they are strays in society. They should be given a natural customary home situation.
We are obligated to support adoption and reject the idea of orphanage homes, grouping non-related children together in large numbers. It denies them the family environment that G'd intended for them.
I'm not intentionally being critical of orphanage homes. I'm saying we can do better. Generally, children will fair better with parents who have children.
I understand the needs of a childless couple who desires to adopt a child. While I feel for them and recognize their needs are great, however their needs are not more important than the child's needs. A young child needs to have a home where he or she can experience relationships with other children. It is desirable to have them somewhere near the same age. They should grow up in a home as members of one family. That would be a very good situation for the children in a humane society.
(To be continued)