The Practical Application of Al-Islam: Part 5
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(On October 14, 1990, Imam Deen Mohammed made this public address in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Imam Mohammed has now prepared from it this article for Muslim Journal readers.)
Trusteeship: Ownership Responsibility
Our children belong to our Creator first and then to us. When we think like that, we are in a much better situation for surviving in this world. We may have a thriving business and call it "My business!" But if we then lose the business, we may go insane. If we had said, "God gives and God takes a way''— as it is in the Christian language, or "We are trustees; Allah is the Absolute Owner", that would be the better way to live with this reality.
The logic there is that if we believe that Allah is the Highest Reality and we believe that Highest Reality to be our partner in success, aren't we going to be in a more favorable situation to benefit? That Partner (Helper) in business motivates me for bigger, more conscientious, and more diligent work.
The most productive force in our life is the sensible regard for the Creator, the Lord Creator Who has power and authority over all things. With ownership comes authority. A lot of us want authority without ownership responsibility. Ownership should mean whatever we have is "a trust", and our right over things and over persons is a "loan" from Allah. Really, for all practical purposes I am the owner. When I am in court for the conduct of my business, I will not get the judge to excuse me and treat Allah as the owner of my business. We are trusted with ownership and we are responsible for ownership.
Citizenship: An American Resource
The obligation of ownership (when accepted) permits us to have authority. A nation-is a big thing. Citizenship is a big thing, Most people in America have a problem registering the full value of U.S. citizenship. Citizenship is our biggest American resource. Citizenship is to be understood fully to benefit by it fully. When we are not situated emotionally to benefit by our citizenship, we are situated to be hurt by it. United States citizenship should be seen as a resource opening a way to both material and spiritual benefits. The mention of citizenship should strengthen and not trouble our emotions. Many of us do not like to think of ourselves as citizens of the United States. It is because we are still responding to hurt more than we are responding to opportunity. We want not to allow present hurt, past or anticipated hurt, to become a condition to put us out of the race. Some may be turned off by me when I speak in an exciting way about American citizenship. I understand the bad things and the adverse circumstances for many citizens of this country. I am aware. However, I believe the greatest adversity we have to face is the adversity of our spiritual inability to get fully what is ours that this country has.
If we turn down the benefits of citizenship, it is worse on us than if we turn down an opportunity to move up in a commercial establishment of some type. The opportunities opened are only a part of what citizenship encompasses. We are to see opportunity in America U.S. in the full view of the doors opened by citizenship and the United States passport. When I say "building upon your citizenship rights," I am referring to full United States citizenship benefits. If we have U.S. citizenship, we have protection under the law.
If any U.S. citizen can go to Communist China and buy at the market place, then so can we. He can go to Kenya, then so can we. We now do have people going from the Muslim African-American community overseas and are buying from other nations and are returning here to sell. Success in business is burdened however by distrust and petty rivalry between the members of our race. Moreover, most lack the worldly sense to appreciate what big business does for ethnic image and stability. Also, there is the blind emotion based problem of identifying our big achievers with quote, "the establishment."
We are cheated out of our future by those among us who make emotional play on our "blackness". Those who address conditions of our people that deny our achievers the full success that they would have if we supported them, they are addressing us and not cheating us for their needs of the present.
A Psychological Setback
Slavery set us back psychologically. Subtle domination and oppression after emancipation set us back psychologically. Much of our racial sensitivities exist to enslave our mental capacities. When we address this psychological need, we are doing a greater service for the liberation of people than those who are addressing the short term needs. The truth of this is plainly told in group behavior. If a survey is taken of those that are not too racially sensitive to have their racial sensitivities treated against ill formations will appreciate this interest to solve problems of both causes and affects.
The wrong approach to our "rights" can oppress us more. We are too many crying. "We have a right" to do this and that. But under the Republicans we have been hearing more and more the whisper in our ear, "What about your responsibilities?"
The society is supposed to be fair. Are you treating me the way you treat others? Are you singling me out for mistreatment? Some of us think we should have the right to equal benefits. It sounds pretty, and demagogs are quick to take advantage. Demagogs are quick to rise up upon a dumb following with a dumb response to them. (To be continued)