“Building the Community and Family"
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Q: What is your vision and concerns for the building of the community?
IWDM: First, building a community is an obligation on all Muslims and believers who live in Muslim lands. I think having excellent models of community life in a predominantly non-Muslim society is a more conscious demand for us than for citizens of Muslim lands. It is imperative.
It is not something we can say "yes" or "maybe" about. It is "yes," period. We must do this, if we are to fulfill our obligations as Muslims under both the Qur'an — the word of G-d, and the leadership of Muhammed (PBUH) — the Messenger of G-d.
I believe that G-d has given us the community to focus our efforts, be they private, family or other. It is in man's nature to live and achieve in the community establishments.
The full picture of that establishment is a community where responsibilities, benefits and opportunities are shared. Man is created for his share of responsibility to G-d for community.
Efforts to have civilized communities started with men going out in the field and facing the rough nature out there in the world, catching the animal, bringing back its meat for the table and its hide, selling what they could not consume to the next community, if they could.
After awhile the income from their industrious labor and spirit would give them enough money (or goods to barter) that they would not need to sleep in a tree, or on the ground, or in a hole in the mountain. They had the time to build a house and make progress. Pretty soon they would have a riverboat, or a horse for transportation.
Man is Plural and Singular at the Same Time
I believe for that reason, man is described by some great teachers of Al-Islam and non-Muslims as being a creature who is plural and singular at the same time. He is singular in himself, but he is plural in the spirit that G-d has given him. He can't live to himself -- alone in his mind or spirit.
In that sense, he is a temple within himself that has not one person's interest in it, but has the interest of many in it. He is plural not in terms of psychology (that means you have a mental problem). Man is plural in terms of his interests and concerns. Therefore, he takes in his family, loved ones and his friends. He takes in the people and his country, and all those interests dear to his heart are now within his mind and spirit.
He lives with them as a plural and complex social organism. He is living the life of one person, and at the same time living the interest of more than one person. This is the way G-d created us. When we can express this in the living environment, we are more content and free.
People who are dull and wondering why they are dull spirited, many times it is because they are not motivated to share the responsibility for more persons than themselves. Muslims want to see their brother's life and his family in a state of excellence. All of that is necessary for the fulfillment of our spirit, and our soul's needs won't be fulfilled unless we have that.
The Community Nucleus
Community is the focus for us, and what I see as the most important thing to start with in building a community is the establishment of a nucleus. A Muslim community is established to accommodate the lives of people who believe and worship G-d. Every community will have a house of worship (or many).
Communities are built to accommodate the needs of the family. The first need outside of the home is to have a school to educate our children. Then the community wants to have a township, ordinances, rules, and regulations. After awhile you will have many jobs and somebody regulating the town, which means government. This is the traditional pattern.
The first step in our plan is to have a place of worship where we can worship and conduct the Friday Jumuah (congregational) service. The next step in our plan is to have the people employed, earning an income to support the other segments of the plan.
Therefore, in this nucleus is worship, education and economic achievement.