You Have To Get Prepared To Make It In The Land Of Plenty: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this presentation at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas. Texas on March 19, 1989. It was southern Texas that gave Imam Mohammed proper and due media coverage and recognition. Editing has been done by Imam Mohammed.)
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. And we bear witness that there is none to be worshipped except the One Lord. We witness that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah. To Allah is due the praise, the Lord of the Worlds. He is the Forgiving, the Loving, the Glorious, the Owner of the Throne. He is the doer of whatever He wills or whatever He wants.
For Allah is our obedience; we owe our obedience to Allah. We ask Allah for assistance, and we ask Allah to forgive us for all of our sins and our faults, to correct us and make us fitting, We believe in Allah, and on Allah we depend. We witness that Allah alone is Divine. There is no divine except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The prayers and the peace be upon the noble Messenger and whatever else is appropriate in the excellent salutation or salute to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.
We appreciate the opportunity to be here in Dallas to address you on this topic that we have chosen: "You have to get prepared to make it in the land of plenty." Honorable gathering, Imam Yahya Abdullah, distinguished persons, again we wish you peace and the blessings of Allah. We have to acknowledge the good work and the very effective work of Imam Yahya Abdullah and his assistants and associates. We are very, very pleased to see the great reception and the good attention that the work of the Muslims got in the press and in the media. I had to tell Imam Abdullah that I am amazed, and I am, I am amazed!
Honorable gathering, the world is loaded with goods and delights. There is a saying o the Prophet, the peace and the blessings be upon him, about Allah's creation and the change that took place in that creation, The saying goes that Allah invited the Great Angel Jibril to witness His creation. And when Jibril beheld the creation of Allah, he said, "How can anyone go wrong in this creation ? "Allah then showed the Great Angel Jibril His creation after Satan had altered it. And Jibril said, "Oh my Lord, how can anyone go straight in this creation?"
So we live in a world created by Allah but altered by the enemy. We live in a world of natural creation and artificial creation or artificiality. We live in Allah's creation and also in man's creation. Man's creation is not always good for us, as we know There are issues now about the environment and so many other issues that are very important because of man making mistakes in his works. He has been sometimes careless in his works and in not considering the good environmental future of humanity.
We have to understand, too, of the world that we live in. as I make these common and ordinary observations; the world, it is serious and comical. The world is sensible, and it is foolish. The world in both decent and nasty. The world is kind and cruel. The world is peacemaker and peace-breaker. Though the world must accommodate honesty and work to preserve honesty and cannot live without honesty, the world is both honest and deceitful. The world is not incapable of converting its every utility, charity and blessings into instruments of war: war for superiority and control.
America stands out among the nations in the most peculiar character of all the nations. As I see it. it is the most safe and is also the most dangerous land. Nevertheless, if you can be strong and be decent, the mighty arm of the world will not break you. But understand that you have to be prepared to make it in the land of plenty. There is a need to keep an eye on what you want from yourself and an eye on what you want from the world. And in this case it is what you want from America.
Many of us do not give any serious thought to what we want from ourselves. And that is the big mistake. Muslims or religious people are influenced by the religion to keep an eye on self, to present self at all times in a way that would please our Lord and Maker, Allah. We are believing that we have to always present ourselves in a way that pleases our Lord and permits us to be in a good situation for progress in the land of plenty.
I believe that the great religions influence that same kind of disposition in their following. Since our disposition and attitude have a way of telling what we are prepared for, it makes good sense then to be prepared within, internally. I remember my father and the late leader once saying to the great gathering of his people, "I see how beautiful you are dressed without. But how are you dressed within?" It is in spiritual expression where we can observe the force of sensitivities maximized, concentrated, and directed. Religion wants us to come into the proper spirit, into that spirit which Allah intended for His human creation.
Question a person's morals, passions, or intelligence, and a spirit may take control of that person. It may take control of the matter at hand. As situations grow around us and in us, like the affluent society we call America — especially Dallas, the situations become more serious, more complex or less simple for us to manage. The more complex and serious the situation becomes around us and within us, the more we have to sharpen our senses and sensitivities.
By the expression "sharpen sensitivities" is meant we must have more experienced sensitivities. Many people live long lives but never have mature sensitivities. Those sensitivities do not seem to improve much through the period of their experiences. That is because they are people who are absent-minded or people who have no real cares. As Allah says to us. He has given us signs in the heavens and in the earth as well as in ourselves but most go on heedless and unaware. By sharpened sensitivities is meant disciplined sensitivities. experience permits us to come into disciplines.
I was watching a program on television recently, a teacher or instructor in music was praising her young student who showed exceptional ability at an awards program. This teacher said of that great ability that was demonstrated by this youngster. "All I did was channel the natural instincts that were already there." So that instructor was paying a compliment to the nature created by Allah. What we want to understand, Allah put our treasures in our nature to meet demands from without.
No matter what our present situation is. we are all created with the same excellence. However, that excellence has to have a condition and circumstances for its coming forth. Just as the plant has to have the condition and circumstances for its coming forth from the earth from a dead seed.
It is called a "dead seed, but is the seed really dead? The seed is not dead as a stone is dead. You can put a stone in the earth, the rain will come, the warmth will come, and the circumstances will come, but nothing will happen. But if you put a seed in the earth which appears to be as dead as a stone — many seeds are called stones — something happens when the circumstances come for its coming forth from the earth, the seed swells and grows into a beautiful plant and a useful thing. Likewise, it is for us.
We have to value our own creation to make it in the land of plenty. Many of the failing people in the land of plenty have no real appreciation for what they are naturally in their creation. They are fascinated and distracted so much so that they just follow, as our keynote speaker said last night, shadows that are cast by things that they cannot even identify. They will just follow influences in the confused atmosphere of degenerated cultural life. They follow those influences and will take their minds and personalities and behavior from those influences of the confused culture around them.
So how can they make it in the land of plenty? It is impossible to make it in the land of plenty with that kind of weakness in them. We are especially happy and excited about the fact that we have come into Al-Islam and that we are Muslims. That is, we believe we have a situation for our life that is good.
I remember making a trip to the mainland of China with a group of Americans as Friends of China and America, as friends of both people. When we arrived there we were met by a Chinese host and finally were taken to the one who was to address us. He began his introduction by saying, 'The situation is good in the heavens." Well, I feel as a Muslim that the situations are good now on earth. I don't know if I understood what he meant by saying the situation was good in the heavens, but I used to believe that the situation was always good in the heavens The heavens were set by Allah. My heart was always content in heaven, but now I feel the situation is good on earth.
Now not only do I realize that I have a good religion — not only do I realize that 1 have a religion that pleases me. but I realize now that I have a religion that can please humanity. I have a religion that can answer all of the needs of man of my color or of some other color and wherever color. I have a religion that can accommodate my greatest desires and my greatest aspirations. 1 have a religion that can open doors for me that I see and doors I have not yet seen. That is why I feel so wonderful.
Having faith in religion and faith in my creation, I will say with all of my heart and spirit that the situation is good on earth.
Let us continue with the need for disciplined sensitivities, that is sensitivities that through experience become more fit and better prepared to survive moral, social, financial, and political confusion in the land of plenty. We are going to have plenty of moral confusion, social confusion, financial confusion, and political confusion in the land of plenty.
If we were a small country and were to go to some of the beautiful resort places for tourists in the Caribbean areas or to Morocco, there we do not have the same situation. In less industrialized areas we are not threatened so much by moral confusion, social confusion, financial confusion, and by typical big-city problems and confusion.
In the land of plenty we have to meet a great challenge from moral life as it is influenced by the land of plenty. And this includes social life, financial life. political life, and all efforts to establish ourselves.
Overly played up moral concerns reduce the likelihood of us making it in the land of plenty You will say. "Overly played up moral concerns! We can't be too moral!" In our religion the rule is to guard against extremes, because the extremes are bad The extremes spoil a thing The extremes will take a good thing out of its true nature. When you go to moral extremes to a certain point or degree, where you are overplaying moral life, then you have taken the moral life out of its true nature. Therefore, we have to be careful not to go after moral extremes to the extent that we overplay the importance of morality.
We have perhaps known some self-righteous down here on earth. They are not in heaven, but want us to think they are. Some want to be called holy- They will go to sleep on their feet while soaking it up We can overdo attention to concerns. Some will hold their heads high, because they think they have a moral spirit better than other people. What they have is moral arrogance.
We must be aware of moral exaggerations. Moral excellence cannot be established without a situation for combined functional life of morals and intelligence. You have to have those two things working together. It is a good situation to have moral concern focused in on the sphere or area for your functional life.
When you are positioned fur functional life, you are subject to take your moral tile to an extreme that will take it away from its moral nature. Allah says, if the earth had been populated by angels, then He would have sent an angel as a messenger.
This is not to criticize or to reject angels, no. For we know-that angels are high in the creation of Allah. But Allah has de-emphasized the exaggerated attention that religious societies gave angelic behavior prior to the advent of our Prophet Muhammad (PHUH). In some respects, some religious representatives are saying, "to become angels without human nature is our highest goal." The goal for us is to become human and obedient like the angels.
(To be continued)