Protecting The Future Through Sound Economics: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address on February 23, 1992 in Birmingham, Alabama. He has now prepared from it this article for Muslim Journal's readers.)
As-Salaam-Alaikum. That is peace be on you. We seek our Lord Creator, Whose most popular name among Muslims throughout the world is Allah - Highly Glorified is He. We seek Allah for the good outcome of everything that we put our minds to do. We thank Him for the results of our work, and we trust that we will always receive good results from our good works. We witness that He Alone is God; there is no partner with him, no sonship, no children who inherit His Power or His Throne. And we witness that Muhammed to whom the Qur'an was revealed is the Last Prophet, and His Servant, His Messenger. We pray the prayers of peace be on him, that is on Muhammed to whom the Qur'an was revealed, and what follows of the most excellent salute to the last Prophet.
I wanted to speak within the theme of these two exciting days for me and for you. I want to speak on how Islam or we as Muslims should benefit economically or should approach economic concerns. I am not an economist, although I have read volumes on economics. And if I had the time I would go to school and get a degree in economics. I love economics. I am not an authority in the area of economics or in the area of business to be addressing such topics from that interest — from a pure interest in economics. But to address this concern as a common person, as a consumer, and most of all as a Muslim who has knowledge of his religion — I do claim that — is something I can do and something I think you expected me to do. I don't think you expected me to come out here with a lot of figures and data.
My talk will be mainly on disciplines. Most failures in anything are failures of disciplines. If you fail a life of disciplines, then you fail. And there are some basic disciplines that make for success in almost anything that you may endeavor to do or take up as an interest. Those essential disciplines are not addressed in any specific focus other than regard for what should be regarded.
Muslims always say, "Regard for Allah". That is the number one regard for Muslims and other God-fearing people, whether Muslims, Christians, Jews or whatever. Regard for the Lord Creator. This term "regard" in our religion is not only for Allah, it is for Allah first but for other things as well. Our religion is in the Qur'an itself, the universal Book of all Muslims, whether they are black, brown, yellow, red, or some other color, or whether they belong to this nation or that nation of the Continent of Europe or of the Continent of Africa or some other continent. It is called "Koran" by most English speaking people and it is called Qur'an in the proper Arabic pronunciation.
In that Book Allah says we should regard Allah. That we should regard the family ties and it is translated in a very literal way by some as "regard the wombs that bore you." It means regard close family ties. And we should regard "a day in which there will be no one "to come to our aid. Every person will be alone, no friend to help. We should regard "the fire of hell." We regard the literal fires, don't we? I don't care how drunk someone may get, we know better than to stick our hands to warm up in the flames.
We are a people who are told to regard certain matters, and that term used is "i-taq-qi" and is derived from "taqwa". Most of us know what "taqwa" is. I would like to see the hands of the Muslims here who know what "taqwa" means. Now you who are Muslims and didn't know and after I explained it, you still don't know; then you go home and beat yourself with a strap. Just whip your legs just like you are a little baby. Taqwa means being conscious of God and what God wants of me. This taqwa is a very personal thing. It is what God wants of me and being aware of it (the obligation), and being disciplined in my whole life, my mind, my thoughts, my spirit, my behavior and everything, so that I do not do anything that would bring God to be displeased with me.
None of us is perfect. No one of us is an angel. We all are human with limited abilities, so we are going to make mistakes and commit (some) sin. But we should always be a person with taqwa; that is, desiring never to do anything outside of what God has approved. That is taqwa (regard) for God. But does God (Allah) need that from us? In our religion, Allah is bigger than creation. And we know we have not measured creation yet. Man has become superman. Today man is flying without a cape and going to the moon and on to objects much farther away from us than the moon. Man may try to fool us sometimes, but really he has no idea of where is the end of space. He has not been able to measure all space. All he knows is that when he goes into another area, he is still looking and there is still more to see. Man never sees the end of it. Allah is bigger than the material universe, the creation itself, and He does not need anything from us. That is the way it is in the Qur'an.
Allah (as given in the Qur'an) is independent of all that He created. All that He created depends on Him and He depends on nothing. He exists alone without food, without drink, without clothing, without flesh, without protection, without anything that is made for the sustenance of His mortal creatures.
Once I was talking to my little daughter about Allah, and she was just ignoring me. This (the reality of Allah's nafsin) is heavy even on our minds. So, you can imagine how heavy it was on her. She was somewhat trying to imagine what I was talking about, but she kept ignoring me. I have a lot of patience, and for many years I would not even bring things like this to little children. Now I feel that I am qualified to do it, and I know it requires a lot of patience.
I said to her, "When you came into the house hollering that the mosquitoes were eating you up, you know where those mosquitoes came from?" I had gotten her attention. I said, "Allah created the mosquitoes. The next time they bite you, tell Allah to stop them from biting you." So I got her attention, and from there I went to other things. I said, "You see all of those birds flying across the sky?" Now, I couldn't see that (on as big a scale) in Chicago, I'm in Little Rock now. You never (hardly) see anything flying across the sky in Chicago. A squadron of jet planes could come across and you might not even know it. I had her attention, and she said, "Yes." I finally told her about Allah, and she heard the description of Who Allah is and What Allah is. She had no (indicated to me no) problem, and I was surprised. She appeared to have had no problem understanding that Allah was not flesh and blood. I said to myself, "I'm glad I told her early."
The disciplines that we are given for our own life so that we live a life acceptable before our Creator are the disciplines that we need for success. That is, no matter what the thing is we are discussing or thinking about. I am going to give you my position and my conclusion of my whole talk in about two or three minutes, but I will afterwards give it in full length.
If we strive to please our Lord Creator, then we are assured success. I don't care what you want to go into, you are assured success. If you want to go into business, if you want to go into religious work or dawah (propagation work), if you want to be in education, if you want to be in medicine; if you really make up your mind and you are very serious, you are assured success. Now this does not mean that you are going to be rich if you want money and business, but you are assured success.
It is not always the rich person who is successful. Sometimes his wealth destroys his family. Sometimes his wealth destroys him. Sometimes his wealth lands him in jail. Sometimes his wealth gets him killed. So it is not always success the way we are apt to see success. The real success is "to be pleased". If I get all the money in the world and I am in hell mentally, I (in my soul) am not successful. So there is no way to guarantee that you are going to be rich. The guarantee is that you are going to be pleased. Most likely, and in fact I can guarantee this, you can take the same number of those people and match them with the other people who care nothing about that kind of respect for God, and let the two groups go (racing) at business. There will be more from the God-fearing group succeeding in business than there will be from the none God-fearing group succeeding in business.
Just look at our associates. I call them (our gathering) associates, because I don't want anybody calling me their leader unless they are calling me that without any heavy burden. Please, don't over burden yourself and don't over burden me. / am not going to answer for your behavior and you are not going to answer for mine.
I know we have to have leaders and leadership. I know we all have to follow something and I follow a lot, believe me. If you are successful at leading you are following a lot. What really matters is that we be good Muslims, and that is the point.
(To be continued)