June 28, 1991
The Practical Application of Al-Islam: Part 7
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Note: This article is reprinted from last week's Muslim Journal with some corrections and extended text for clarity and smoothness of reading.
On October 14, 1990 Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Imam Mohammed has now prepared from it this article for Muslim Journal's readers.)
The Retreat From Danger
Some people will call you a coward if you run from danger. But do you think Prophet Muhammed, the prayers and peace be on him, did not run from some dangers? According to the Qur'an and Muhammed's life example, we are to always do our best, trust Allah our Lord, and behave intelligently. Many times you will be alone in doing this. Those who will not go with you and will not help you will also be the first to point to your failures.
Don't think that it makes us look like cowards if we retreat from some dangers. If we are in this town and see that we are going to run into a lot of danger if we pursue a certain end and direction, it is Muslim intelligence that tells us to look for other directions that may take more time but reflect good judgment. The virtue of patience is also a principle and a dictate of wisdom in certain instances.
Now, this does not mean that we accept injustices and the wrongs of people mistreating us. True Muslims never will approve of surrendering to injustices. But when we are faced with circumstances that we cannot over come, we are to consult the Qur'an and the life example of Allah's Messenger, have patience and wait for Allah to open a way. If we cannot arrive at the destination because of strong opposition and great danger, we are to look for alternative routes. Again, this is Muslim intelligence.
When the Prophet could not succeed in Mecca, be went to Medinah. The Last Prophet did not say, "Mecca is my home and I'm not leaving this city. I'm the Messenger of God and there's no authority over God. You Meccans aren't going to make me leave my home town." The Prophet lived so that we may inherit the wisdom of the strategist. The jahiliyah Meccans persecuted and boycotted Muhammed and his followers. At the time of Hajj (Pilgrimage) season some men of Medinah invited him to a cordial city.
This Earth is Spacious
Allah tells us "this earth is spacious". When Judgment comes and we tell Allah, "I could not succeed as a Muslim because people persecuted me." We will be told "Were not you told My earth is spacious?" We have within our options the Muslim option to flee from persecution and to seek a better situation. You leaders, we have to study this and find areas of the United States that will not persecute good citizens for being Muslims. Why should we stay in an area that persecutes us and hates us while there are other areas with a cordial welcome for all good citizens without unjust prejudices and hostilities against us because of race?
We (Muslims) are migrants in Islamic history. We African-Americans are racial migrants. We migrated from the South because it would not tolerate justice for us. What is wrong with Muslim "Blacks" migrating for a better situation for us in the United States? Muslims believe too in honest work and are good citizens. Most of us Muslims will contribute to the excellence and stability of society. We will carry our part of the burden. So why should Muslims contribute to the tax base of a town that is persecuting Muslims? If a town must persecute Muslims, we should tell that town, "Hell, we are glad to leave you! Good-bye. God-speed and this is a friendly 'exodus.'"
The Private Jihad
So it is asked, "What about our obligation to make a jihad?" Yes, we are obligated to jihad. However, jihad is important to be seen in two particular aspects. One aspect of jihad is our private life jihad. Your private life jihad is to work to get rid of adversities inside that are in the way of your being a good Muslim. This jihad is made against oppression of sins inside our own minds, our own hearts, and inside our own spirits. That is a big jihad, and we have that responsibility. We fight the bad influences that are in ourselves. If we do that, the public jihad will not be so difficult.
The reason we have to make jihad in so many parts of the world as Muslims is because we are failing our private jihads. If we work on the private jihad in the individual, the outer world, the broader society will not be so adverse. The bastions of citizenry excellence will appreciate Muslims. The Muslim is the natural good relative of every good human person. The Muslim is the model of human excellence. If he lives up to his religion, the Muslim delights in being rationally sober. The Muslim is disciplined against being irrational and fanatic. The Muslim is a rational, sober, healthy contribution to any society, if he lives by what is required of him in the Qur'an. We should concentrate on the true perception of jihad to conquer our own inward adversities in order to bring our Muslims' spirit to be compatible with our religion. Stop wanting to be vandals vandalizing our precious Muslim life.
Liberating Muslim Societies
I do believe we are in a season for liberating the Muslim society in the whole world. The answer is to make the individual jihad to conquer adversity of conflicting interests in our ownselves. Concentrate on achieving true Muslim excellence so that others will be at a loss to find any decent excuse for making a case against the followers of Muhammed (A.S.).
I do not see myself as any coward. I fear Allah, and since knowing the fear of Allah I do not accept to be under the fear of anything else. Who would think I could make it to where I am accepting to live under any other rule of fear? A lot of us are concerned for self in the shirk fashion. We should be concerned for self to make self right and presentable before Allah and as joyful representatives (followers) of Allah's Messenger (A.S.).
There is also the duty and concern for our collective investments. We have mosques (masajid) in some of these big cities, and we have Sister Clara Muhammad Schools. We are praying to live to see Sister Clara Muhammad Schools become a strong school system where any student from any part of the United States can easily transfer without being hurt or cheated by that transfer. That will come, because we are working seriously and very earnestly to accomplish that and Allah is with such efforts.
I and you leaders should not accept to make decisions (one-man decisions) for others we should be representing. I have my own private ministry which I am responsible for. My position of office, if I have one, is the Office of my Ministry and my authority is over that office. What I do outside of that office is offer advice according to Islamic rules. That is really the role of a leader in our religion. The role of the leader is to care for the Muslim life and to give advice and to help people in matters of religion, in matters of judgment respecting what their religion obligates them to do.
Obligation of Shuraa
I think we can accomplish more with that kind of leadership than we can with leaders sitting in a masjid office arbitrarily exercising authority as establishment volunteer agents. Such leaders are qualified to accomplish one thing: the sad and mournful abortion of our efforts to establish the Muslim life. The enemies will send or influence the entry of such aspirants among us. They have done that over the fifty odd years already in order to defeat our effort. But if we respect the charge of authority in the local people, we will be successful. That is an obligation of shuraa and also the American Way. Our most urgent instrument is Muslim Democracy. That is what I like and the type of situation that I am comfortable with.
Whenever I am having such thoughts I want to thank you all for going along with me in jihad for freedom for Muslims wanting the genuine administration of mosques, schools and all establishments.
We have collective investments. Don't think that because we do not have a central office we do not have collective investments. I think of the mosque in any town as being every Muslim's mosque. Any place there is a mosque, I call it "our mosque." After all the mosque is a place of worship, a masjid of Allah, and so it is to welcome all of us individually. We should not look at the mosque in Tulsa or in Birmingham as their mosque without seeing them as our mosques as well.
If we are in any town, we have as much right to pray in the mosque as does anybody in that town. The very fact that it was one of our poor members, our poor African-American people, who was able to achieve its construction or its opening, should make each of us feel a strong bond to it. We are the same people, we are African-Americans. We are Muslims and in the same material circumstances, even if you are a businessman and I a paper boy or a shoe shine boy or a dishwasher. The point is, being Muslim obligates us to honor the Muslim rule of equality.
Muslims Share Achievements
When we go to Atlanta and see Muslims with an impressive growth in business, and see how well they are recognized in Atlanta as people who want something of industry and decency, we should not say "That's theirs." Yes, it is theirs, but it is also ours. The achievement of Muslims is for all of us. Whenever we achieve in one city, it is an achievement to the honor of all of us. Therefore, we have a responsibility to all. I have a responsibility to the business people among Muslims. I also have a responsibility to Muslims of the immigrants and other ethnic groups. Once you say you are Muslim, you have an obligation to all Muslims.
If there is a Muslim doing business here and a non-Muslim doing business there and you need something that the Muslim can give you, do you think you are supposed to go to the non-Muslim for it? That would be wrong. It is likewise for the Christians, but they are in a much better situation than we are, for they have all of the stores. They don't need Christian support from Christian establishments. However, we do need African American support for African American Christian establishments.
With the many Japanese coming into the competition, things have changed a bit here lately. We do need to. buy American. I will put it this way: If we had the choice of buying from a newcomer from a thriving part of the world (like Japan or any other place) or from any born American, we should buy from the traditional American, unless it is somehow justified to do otherwise. If the American is selling me cheese that is molded and the newcomer has cheese that is not molded, then I have a justification for buying from the newcomer. Allah does not obligate me to buy molded cheese from anybody.
Another thing we have to accept is that we don't just buy from a brother Muslim because he is a brother! That brother selling you inferior products, tell him, "Look my Muslim brother! You have to do better than this, if you want my patronage." This will bring us up as a people with business sense. If we insist that we who are in business respect each other and respect all customers, that will add respect to our image in business. Yes, we want that kind of discrimination to favor our shopping with each other. Equally important it is that our business people be pressured a bit to constantly strive for overall improvement in business.
We are not to pass by the Muslim shop and give business to a non-Muslim shop. Your Muslim brother is deserving of your patronage. Your Muslim brother is a minority in this country and suffers a disadvantage because he is a minority. If he doesn't get the support of his own Muslim brother, then who is going to support him? Once he breaks into the market and is supported by the general market, we don't have to give him special treatment. But until that happens we are to treat that Muslim brother as a needy brother, and Muslims are to support their own needy brothers.
I am asking you as your Spokesman to support the Muslim in business and to support the African American in business, whether he is Muslim or not, and to support the immigrant Muslim in business just as you do your own ethnic Muslim brother. We are all the same (Muslims). If you do that, then I can negotiate with them. They are in a better business situation than we are. They have more money. They have a longer business history. While weighing and respecting concerns, I will negotiate for you to make sure we get our fair share for our business we give them. We will give them respect and accept no less than the respect we give. Let us not disobey our Prophet who taught us to be brothers loving each other.
(To be continued)