On Moral Consciousness: Part 3
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.
(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Feb. 17, 1980 Sunday address at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Chicago, Ill.—Continued from the last two weeks.)
They built the schools and temples, as they were called in those days; they built businesses and brought great fame to this community as a solid, united, well-organized community —progressive economically, a dignified group of people, clean and upright. That was a -reputation established over many, many years with the hard, fearless leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
You know, we appreciate that; we feel grateful to Allah that we didn't have to come and work from scratch. We had nice facilities to accommodate us; we had many strong people ready to support us, we had a great staff of ministers, captains, lieutenants and secretaries. We had a good paper going —Muhammad Speaks.
We had much, and the fame of the Nation of Islam had reached all the way into Africa, Pakistan, Arabia and China.
The reputation of the Nation of Islam had gone around the world almost. So I didn't come here to an empty house; I came into a house well-established, with many people and considerable wealth in terms of the physical properties that we had and a few million dollars in the bank.
Yes, about $4 million in the bank, when I became leader. So it wasn't "nothing," but it was "something" that I took the leadership over. So we should feel grateful to Allah for that. "Oh, but what about the bad times we had?"
There were bad times; we had good times, too. Yes, I agree with you — what about the bad times — but let's not stop there. What about the good times? There were bad times and good times, so we should count our blessings. We should look at both sides of the picture, not just one.
If the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had not accepted me, Allah knows this would have been a much harder job for me even if you had accepted me, because in my heart I would know that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad didn't accept me. Really, I'll tell you what I would do; I know myself — I know what I would do. I would leave you — I would go out to completely new people and that's where I would establish my leadership.
But because the Honorable Elijah Muhammad accepted me, I work with his own people. Yes — but if he didn't approve of it, I wouldn't be in his house. I would build my own house. But he approved of it, and he fulfilled his promise. His promise was to give his house to me. Yes, he promised that as early as 1947. In fact, it was promised from the very first day he started his mission. I know — I don't care if you believe it or not.
Some of you just like to argue — just like to differ. It doesn't make a difference with me at all. We have still some good friends around here. I'm talking to my good friends, and I'm not talking to you people. In fact, before I was born — when I was in the womb of my mother — my father promised that he would give the leadership to me when the time came.
Do you think you can stop something like this? Do you think your not liking it is going to change anything? It wasn't able to change anything-for these past 50 years. I could go on out now and forget about it; that much of it is already done. If it were not for the other part of it that's ahead of me, I could forget about it.
As far as me being established here, that's done! Nothing can change that. No, No! But I have some more work to do, that's why I'm still here. So all praise is due to Allah. Thank Allah.
I want to talk to you until about 2:00, since that's the time we usually start. My mother told me once — well, back in those days, she said, "My Allah." She said, "Son, I promised my Allah that I would take good care of you." Now how do you think that made me feel? I mean being then a child, a little bitty thing like that?
I didn't know what it was all about, telling a little child such things. The child should just follow hints, but the child has no imagination — I had no imagination. I couldn't even imagine what she was talking about; I only knew what she was saying. What she said made me feel that I was obligated. If I'm special, then I'm obligated. I'm obligated to live up to what they expect of me. It made me very conscious, very conscientious, strongly moral, feeling that I was obligated to live up to a certain standard that was expected of me. You see, I'm showing you what made me the leader I am. I'm showing you the germs that were working before even my mind understood, the germs that were working to make me the leader I am.
It's very important to know what moral influences, what sentimental influences were working to mold the mind in a certain form and fashion. It's very important to know how a man could pass a promise on to a child and that promise decide that child's future.
The child can't get away from it; it decides his future. This is really something. If it weren't for that, I believe I would have been a schoolteacher or worker in some of the mechanical fields. Because I liked to work with metals, I liked to work with wood. I liked to repair things. I probably would have been into electronics. In fact, I asked my father to let me go into electronics. He said, "Well, most likely they are going to send you to jail." He said, "And if we spend this money for you to go to this school, electronics school, and then they take you out and put you in jail, that's just a waste of time and money."
Well, at that time, I was almost 18. At 18, you had to go register for the draft. He had a point, you know — I didn't argue with him, I accepted it. Anyway, I didn't go to the school for electronics. I wanted to do many things. I welded for different companies and I enjoyed it. But fate decided that I should be here. People would come up to me and remind me, too. They'd say, "You have to help your father."