Al-Islam's Promotion Of Business And Its Development: Part 2
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed in this public address in Bridgeport, Connecticut on June 10, 1989 inspired in many the desire to strive for excellence in our business lives and to have those strivings benefit society in the best way.)
(Note to Readers from Imam W.D. Mohammed: My somewhat random and unwritten speeches often require not only editing but also the rewriting of rough parts. I like to improve.)
We have to understand, Allah tells us that He will not give the "Home of the Destiny'' anyone who desires a dominance. How is that going to apply to your small business? You may feel that you are not in a position or never will be in a position to even think of yourself dominating Chicago or Bridgeport or the United States or the world.
However, the same attitude and the same disposition in those people who are in positions of power, in positions to have a dominance, may also be in you. You are not in touch with the whole world or, for that matter, the whole United States. At any rate, you are in touch with your life and with your world and with your immediate friends and customers. If you want a dominance, you are not going to be successful.
Being a Muslim, you believe that. And you believe it because Allah said it. If you have an attitude where you have to be above others all of the time and have to have the controlling power all the time, and your desire to grow in business ia for you to have more power over people and be the dominant one, if you have an attitude requiring you to have others come look you up and you look no one up, then you are in this particular unfavorable picture.
There are many of us who are not even aware that we want to be more important so we can help the spread of corruption. Many of us want to be richer so we can help the spread of corruption and be in a situation to corrupt more people. We just want a whole lot of company in our corner of hell. Hell seems less a hell when there is company.
Just remember, "bare and alone" is how the guilty will stand. If we are Muslims and we have gotten into that greedy habit blindly, then we should think on what Allah is saying to our attitudes. In this state of mind we should make an inspection of ourselves and be ready to reject what is not Muslim. "This is not becoming of me. I am going to have to change this way of mine. I will check myself." I am giving these verses so that we can check ourselves.
I believe two things generally account for success in business. The first is regard for something bigger and more important than self. The second is the ability to manage self. Big businesses and corporations are giving seminars on their products and services and are concentrating more on personal management than they are on other needs. The emphasis is on self, family, personal management.
Know that the wife can make the husband a failure in business. Know that the husband can make the wife a factor for his failure. The husband can be responsible for making the wife a factor for his own failure. This happens because of him not having clear direction and a clear sense of what is demanded of him in the area of personal management. If you are going to have a business, then you had better be able to manage your own appetites, your own passions. You cannot love a thing too much for your business. When you see yourself loving something too much for your business needs, discipline your passions. Don't let passions destroy your business.
You cannot hate too much for your business. A successful business person cannot be a bigot. How many bigots are successful in business? How many bigots do you think are running the material world? Most of the bigots are poor as we are, and they are angry because they are poor. Maybe they are bigots because they are poor.
This verse that I want to come back to now for comment is the verse that most Muslim Imams (Ministers) and scholars refer to when they are bringing home the message that Muslims have no split or double life. That is, we have no life that is in moral conflict with itself. We do not have a life that is on one side open to religion and on the other side closed to religion. Our religion makes success in this world a range of merits for greater life in the next.
We do not believe the material world to be the domain of Satan. We do not believe that material is evil of itself. We do not believe that raw (uneducated) nature is evil of itself. And I have studied some works of our anthropologists and sociologists, those who have studied primitive societies as Margaret Mead. Some have come to the conclusion that human excellence can best be observed in primitive society. One writer writes about the Pigmies. This is not digressing from our purpose. It is right in line with our concern tonight.
A study of the Pigmies found a high moral sense and a high moral code. It was found that those Pigmies did not steal from each other. They did not abuse each other. There was no physical abuse cases among them. There was great respect for their children and great respect from children for parents. They had strong morally bonded families. But they just did not have modern civilization, technology, asphalt and concrete, or a modern jungle. This is not to invite us to turn our back on civilization, for we cannot do that. But this is to say, go back in the road and pick up the humanity that we have been separated from and bring it up with our advances.
Allah says, "And seek with whatever means He has availed you the Home of the Destiny, but do not forget your share of this world." 1 hear it! Allah is saying, "Wallace, do not forget your share of Chicago, And if you move to Bridgeport, don't forget your share of Bridgeport. You have a citizenship in the United States, do not forget your share of the United States. Wallace, you can go outside of the boundaries of the United States, and you will not be outside of your share. Do not forget your share of Planet Earth."
Some of you now may think that I am being a little materialistic. While others of you thought that I couldn't do anything but go upstairs and float or swim alone. Neither is the case. For I keep hearing what Allah has said. It rings clearer and clearer, and I am tired of not having my share. I have a couple of associates around me now who have business minds as well as spiritual minds. We are really working on getting our share. Moreover, when we get our share, we are not going to forget that Allah says "the Home of the Destiny is best and more gratifying.”
We have a plan in our business plan for charity, free and low-cost service to business persons wanting business life and strong establishment. We are not in a position to do that yet, but we hope to be in a position one day to help business people who qualify. We know the system and the law is pretty straight, but the people are still pretty crooked. I am referring to all races of American people. It can be the African American attorney, the European American, or the Asian American businessman. It may also be the financial institution given to unethical practices of such persons. The law will be good, but the person of no good will be strategically placed in the business for the purpose of stopping us.
Then there are some of us who think we should have a campaign to just keep on preaching love for others. "Love your white brother, black man. Love your black brother, white-man. This world has too much hate." But the best way to get someone that hates you to love is to ignore him. If you really know they hate you, then you should not even care for their love. Even if 80 percent of the American people hate me, I do not want their love. I will be satisfied with the 20 percent that will feel about me like I feel about them. That 80 percent I will ignore. That is, I will not be out trying to win their love. I will have no plans to win their love by appealing to their capacity to give love or to their capacity to receive love.
I will not ignore them completely. I will be conscious of the danger or the threat to me from them. The best way to win their love is to show them that I do not give a damn for love with race haters. The best thing you can do is do all you can to keep comfortable distance between them and you. That is the way to win their love, if there is any to be won.
Brother and Sister business persons, understand that the most important day in the life of a Muslim is Friday, the Day of Jumuah. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has said, "It is the day on which Adam was created and the day on which he ascended." The Prophet also said that no one is resurrected on any other day but Friday. That is the day for our resurrection. It is the only day of the week that a lecture is given along with midday congregational prayer. Otherwise, this is done only for our Muslim holidays.
Allah says for that day, '' When you have responded to the call to come to Jumuah, and you have done the Jumuah, then disperse back into the avenues of business and profit.'' Allah did not say, "Remember this is Friday, the day of rest. Go home and have dinner and listen to hymns or do thikrs." Allah said "then disperse” (back into the avenues of the industrious people).
"Disperse" means that all of us should not have hamburger joints, all of us should not have fried fish houses. Allah said "disperse" which means the people who are leaving have to have varied kinds of business interests and involvements. They are to be different for them to disperse. Disperse means to go out in all directions. One will be going back to building a house. The other will be going back to farming the land. Another will be going back to work in the hospital. There will be the shoemaker, the transportation serviceman. Our Muslim business directory should be a good reflection of the business life of our city or town.
Allah wants us to be aware of the many needs and services that men have, to be conscious of that and try to fill the order of needs. We are in America, the land of opportunity. We should be alive and happy, brother and sister business person.
(To be continued)