Survival in America
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's publication, "As The Light Shineth From The East. " Bilaiian News takes this opportunity to provide its reading public with brief glimpses of this historical work. We not only recommend that everyone purchase a personal copy, but also additional copies for friends and relatives.)
Dear beloved people, the beginning of the human growth as a human being, the beginning of intelligence, morals, sentiments, everything — the beginning of this really starts when you open your eyes and see the world, see the environment and hear the sounds made in the air. That's when the development starts. If unhealthy, self-destructive things come into the air, enter the eye, then you're going to be destroyed. The human being is fed from the environment. There is no hope for a human being without knowledge or intelligence to deal with the environment problems if the environment itself is not healthy. If it's not conducive to the fine human development that we want, there is no help for the individual because he cannot create himself unless he has the tools. And if he doesn't have the tools for creating himself, the environment is going to create him.
What kind of tools have we been given for the work of creating ourselves? You might say, fine Christian ideals. I agree, But, how come those fine Christian ideals are now hardly of any effect? And others will say, you have been given knowledge and a fine image of the human being. A great image of the human being in the language of the Declaration of Independence, a "creature born with inalienable rights, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." A creature born equal with all others.
This is the language of the precious document that our whole governmental life stands upon. But how effective is that beautiful doctrine to keep that life and to keep the people of America marching toward that beautiful concept of the human being? Look how that beautiful concept has had to struggle in America and suffer defeat in America at the hands and anger of the racists. That tells you that there is something in the American life that is stronger than the fine»language of the Declaration of Independence. There is something in the American life stronger as a poison than, even the fine principles of Christianity. The proof of this is that the ugly influences have won out.
Look, what has happened to government authority. How many American people respect government authority? Where is American patriotism? Now, the reciting or the preaching of American patriotism is just like preaching the fear of God. You start telling people to fear God, and they think you're strange. And if you preach American patriotism, the American citizens look at you and in their minds they're saying, "He's strange." You're not supposed to be a defender of American ideals. You're not supposed to defend the preservation of the powers of government. You're supposed to be an antagonizer. You're supposed to be an accuser. You're not welcomed unless you attack governmental powers, unless you attack government authority.
Where can a people get if they don't have respect for those things that have been requisitioned by human beings by the American citizens? Nobody came from out of space or from another world and imposed this concept of government on us. Nobody came from a different world and imposed this concept of human dignity, of moral strength on us. It was our forefathers who gave their leaders the requisition saying: Give us this form of government, give us a strong leadership; give us strong moral principles, give us a religion that will discipline our spiritual and moral life. It was the people themselves who requisitioned it; and now the people are saying they imposed this on us. They imposed this upon our lives; we don't want it because it was forced on us — it was not forced on you. Your mothers asked for it, your fathers asked for it. And you don't want it because you have lost the good sense of your mothers and your fathers.
Some say, Warith, you don't have anything to do with it, you're a Bilalian. Let America fall, let the world be destroyed, you don't have anything to do with this." Well, that's why the world is falling. Because there are too many people who feel they don't have anything to do with it. We do have something to do with it, You cannot get yourself up by waiting for others to fall. If you want to go up you have to show those falling how to stop falling and they will lift you up.
Our problem as people trying to grow up out of the harmful effect of slavery and gain a comfortable existence — a stable existence in American society and dignity as a people throughout the world — is no new struggle for a people. There have been many people who had to struggle for the same thing, Most of us are acquainted with the Jewish history. We know how the Jews tell us of their centuries of servitude under a cruel taskmaster, Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and how they won their freedom and went on to become a great people.
We want to preserve our ethnic heritage, but we overlook some of the fine principles that have been saving our life until today. We're looking for black dignity, we're looking for black power. What about the fine Christian principles that we've abandoned; that were responsible for us keeping our lives civilized until we lost it a few days ago? "Will Warith pay tribute to fine Christian principles?1' You bet — fine Jewish principles, too.
There is a pure blood that is shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims; I'm talking about a pure spiritual blood and religious blood that we share. So, these Christian principles that I'm paying tribute to today are also Muslim principles, and I'm telling you, we're not only religious groups, we're members of one American community. We have an obligation to protect the good interest of all American people.
I pray that all of us can remain firm in our stand as worshippers of Almighty God, whose proper name is Allah, and as followers of His true and perfect light, the religion of Al-Islam.
This American Muslim Mission is a physical evidence of the great method that God has used by His prophets to evolve human society. If I were a social scientist or a scholar, I couldn't devote my time to anything else other than the study of the World Community of Al-Islam in the West. This is a phenomenon, this is a miracle on the planet Earth.