Issues And Concerns Facing Muslims — Our Position And Direction: Part 4
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editor's note: This is the third in a series of articles that will carry the historical address Imam W. Deen Muhammad presented to an overflowing audience in Detroit's Cobo Hall.)
Sometimes I feel a great pressure on me and I'll say, "Wallace!" You are saying, Brother Imam, you have forgotten that it is "Warithuddin." No, I didn't forget. "Wallace! They are growing tired of just hearing you appeal to their good nature. They want you to give them a step-by-step logical plan for them to exercise and to execute, so they can have a better home life and better schools and better mosques and better occupations and better access to the blessings of liberty — money, good homes, friendships; et cetera." I feel that burden on me.
So I will go and write a logic and come up with it on paper. See here, I am loaded with paper. I am working, and I don't take these matters lightly. See all of these papers? Those are just notes. Every time, I do this, when I feel that great pressure on me. And as I near the time for the occasion, I cannot help it. The spirit to bring about the climate for life and prosperity just overcomes all of my interest in giving you a step-by-step plan. And that is the responsibility of religion. That is the responsibility of propagation and dawah. Our responsibility is to fight the bad influences in the world by addressing the needs for the climate in man's heart and in his life that God wants. And when the climate comes into your life that God wants, you will be prepared to deal with that out there.
Some of you are more suited for political logic than I am, and some are more suited for financial or economic logic or for business logic than I am. You are more suited for social logic, even, than I am. That is not my responsibility. In time I will write on these subjects and make a small or a great contribution to the fields of logic. But I know that that is not the answer. It will be a contribution, but it is not the answer! There is a logic for that endeavor and for that concern. And that is what I have been addressing in these last occasions or gatherings that I've been blessed and fortunate to share with you. I have been addressing the need to see a logic in that.
God wants for us a climate in which we are to live. That climate is spiritual more than anything else. It is spiritual and it is also moral. It is human. It is moral, spiritual, and human. It is the core of the life in the individual and in the society. It is the nucleus in the atom of life for the individual and the society. It is the sanctuary for man singularly or in many numbers. That is his sanctuary. And you need something in you — a disposition, a spirit, an attitude in you. You need a disposition for your spirit.
Man's spirit is free and tends to just go everywhere just like air. If you don't have it contained in something, it is going to go everywhere. You can't tell air to walk down that line or to walk down that street. If you let air go, it is going to go everywhere. Man's spirit is similar, or really it is the same. If it isn't contained, it is going to go everywhere. So what we need is a logic for our spirit. And the logic for our spirit is given to us also by God.
If we are faithful, if we are sincere, if we are curious, if we are devoted to the Qur'an and to the life-style of Muhammad The Prophet, peace be upon him, then we will eventually find it. What we want is to improve our ability for the business of life, itself. And as I have just stated, I don't think anything puts us in a better situation than the Word of Allah, the Word of God to create a climate for us, if we believe it. If we believe in the Word, if we love the Word, if we take the Word into us in a sincere way, then the Word is going to be the most potent nutrient in our system. It is going to influence the forming and shaping of our whole life. It is going to give new climate to our existence within, that will enable us to deal with the matters outside.
After we have done what we sooner or later will have to do, if we are to escape the burdens of the world, by addressing that need in us as individuals, next we will have to address that need in the society, that is, life in the community. I can't live by myself, although we have to focus first on the individual. And that is the mistake that Nation and nation-mindedness created for us. We came to a point under the forces and influences of Nation that made us give all energy and all attention and all priority to Nation over person or Nation over the individual. That was a great mistake:
We have to give attention to the needs of the person first And though we come from the person to address the community's needs, we have to take the person along with us for our focus. That is what all wise philosophers have come up with, the philosophers on the nature of society and how man evolves into a true democracy. They have all come to see that. That you have to begin with the personal individual, himself. And though you go from the individual to the concern of the many, you have to still keep the individual in focus. Not the Nation, not the many, it is the individual that has to be kept in focus.
Allah says, "Your death and resurrection is as the death and resurrection of a single person." I will now bring the Islamic support to this. This is my scholarly ability. Although I am not a scholar; I do not think of myself as a scholar. I think of myself as Adam, and Adam was created to have good common sense. That is what we need to advance in the masses, the health and good utility of common sense. That is an Islamic responsibility. I don't have enough time to talk on that subject, but we will one day. In fact, that is the duty of the mission; that is the duty of propagation. It is to attend the needs for advancement in the common senses of the people.
This is because the world is constantly growing more complex. And never can we expect the common man to understand this complex industrial world in all of its complexities that crowds and overburdens life, that makes trouble for the soul and moral nature of man. He is not equipped to handle these things without God. So you will never be able to educate people formally on the basis of what is science or secular world knowledge to deal with that. Our mission is not that. Our mission also respects the need to establish higher learning and good schools and all of that, certainly that is a sacred value for us. But as preachers, brothers, our mission is to sow the need for common sense in the masses of the people. And as the world steps up its pace, we have to step up the peace of common sense in the masses of the people.
The devil is working hard to defeat the common sense in the masses of the people. He can never get a hold on neighborhoods and homes and in cities, until he first defeats the dynamic operation of common sense in the life of the individual and in the life of society.
Lastly and of greater consequence, we have to address life in our vision. That is, our projection of the treatment of our future vision, our vision that goes from present and out to tomorrow. It is the focus that goes from here and where things are happening now out into the road ahead, into tomorrow and into next year or the ten to twenty years to come. We have to attend the needs of that projection. Also we have to attend the needs to meet our concerns for the future and how are we going to treat those concerns.
Man neglects his concerns for the future, and that also destroys him. Now as a minister or as an Imam or as a preacher, again I don't have to come up with any secular world disclosure or ideology or methodology on paper and then put it into your hands. I don't have to be saying, "Hey, take this. This is the future. This is the book. This is the blueprint. This is the plan for the future to keep us on our concerns." No!
All we need to do is bring about the climate. And in order to bring about the climate, just bring about the truth. Bring truth into the minds and hearts of the people, and the truth will do the rest. It is a potent seed. It will feed all of your needs. But we need to understand that the context of religion requires also that we be aware of emphasis in that context. Many people live religion and live it without any idea of what are the emphasis in the context of religious life. So they go on happy with a simple inconsequential life.
None of us should be small-minded. Allah has given us the message of a comprehensive religion to make us wiser as we live. To make us have bigger aspirations as we live. To make our vision grow as we live, and to make our appetite grow as we live. No Muslim is supposed to still be wanting today what he wanted ten years ago. His appetite should have grown at least two years, ten years or twenty years bigger. And if we are small like that, it is because the climate has not yet been created. The truth as it should be given has not yet come into your minds and into your hearts.
(To be continued)