The Individual's Role In Community
Responsibility: Part 4
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editorial note: This is Part IV of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's road's address at the United Taleem Banquet, Los Angeles, Ca., May 22,1968).
Muslims should be utilizing all the resources they have in their life and putting them to work in this life, in order to get the big prize at the end. That is what our concern should be. Without talking about how many teenagers are getting pregnant, without talking about how big the dope problem is now in the city or neighborhood, without talking about the moral burden of poverty and jobless-ness. the discrimination against women, et cetera, but if we will just stick with what we have been hearing so far and let our minds keep going in that direction, we will know where to put our emphasis.
I should not come here and read you off a lot of data or statistics of how many babies are dying and what the rate of life is for the old people now, or how many men are out of work. All of that is good, but it is a waste of time, if you don't have your sights fixed right as Muslims. Once you get your mind and sights fixed as Muslims, you know what to do about all these things. These things have come about without us giving any special attention to them. We have not given any special attention to making more girls pregnant earlier in their lives. We haven't given special attention to making people want to depend on narcotics.
But if we give special attention to the requirements in our religion, all of these other things will disappear just as they appeared. They appeared without us giving any special attention to them, and they will disappear in the same way, if we give special attention to our life and to our purpose as Muslims.
I hear you say, "How come the Imam doesn't talk on the issues anymore? How come he is not talking about discrimination and pressure on black man and pressures on our women? It is because I have learned it is a waste of time. Satan, the devil, has his own business. If you get mixed up in his business, then you are out of business. So let us strive harder as Muslims.
You will discover that the heaviest thing you have to carry is your own self. And believe me, the management of your mind is much better than the management of the United States of America. Because if you can't manage your own mind, and you are put in a position to manage the United States of America, then you will carry the whole United States of America down the road of pettiness.
A man that can't manage his own mind is a man that is given to foolishness. He is given to irregularity and is not consistent. But once a man is able to manage his own mind, he then lives a consistent life. That is the trouble with the West. The West has sensitized the people, the subjects or citizens, to do everything but manage their own minds. In fact, the thing that is feared most in the West is the individual taking upon himself the responsibility of his own mind. What does Allah say to us? "O you who believe, upon you is the responsibility for your own self."
You will say, "That means I have to get out and get a job, when I get twenty-one." No, it means to do it before then. "It means I should work and have a family." Yes, it means all of that. I agree with those Muslims, and it is not from the Imams but from the Muslims of the general community, that say, "Muslims should ignore the fear of the population explosion. Muslims should not be concerned with that." And if you really read Allah's Words and follow the teachings of His Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, you will understand that really we are not respecting the faith in us, if we start saying, "I am going to have two children, and that is all." If you are thinking that way and really know the Word of God in the life of the Prophet, you will know that you are not thinking right.
Muslims should not be counting children! Why should it be only two children? Where did you get this idea from? When you were in the south, you did not think that way. Now up north where the Caucasian sees there are too many on welfare and that too many are knocking at their door asking for a job, he says that he can't stand anymore. Now, since he has exercised great discipline as a business man, and we haven't, then let him also exercise great discipline as a procreator or baby maker. Since it is a dollar problem and you have forty dollars, then you discipline your own sex. I haven't been able to match you in the discipline of business, and I am not going to try to match you in the disciplines of sex. You go on and limit yourself to two, if you like. But every time I get one, I am going to say, "God, there is another hissing."
That was the way of the southern people, of our mothers and fathers in the south. They didn't look at a child and say, "Ob God, now you are pregnant with another one." They didn't have anything, but the more children they had, the more they were able to manage. It didn't make life more difficult for them. The big families in the south managed better than the small families.
Don't you know it is the nature of the economic man to want more and more sons? More and more sons mean more and more workers. So you say, "We don't have jobs now. We will just have more and more people with jobs." But maybe if we get enough of you all without jobs, then something will be done about it. I am serious, for maybe when we have more of our men without jobs, then something real will be done about it.
You must trust God. Allah says, He provides for all, for you and them. "Do not kill your children for fear of want. For Allah provides for you and them." This is the teachings that God has revealed. Dear people, if we follow the ways of America and the West and even for some of the Islamic world now and say, "No, we can't have more, because we can't afford it," then whose influence are we following? Are we following the influence of the world or the influence of the revelation? We are following the influence of the world. But if we say to ourselves that we are not following the influence of the world, then we will have children.
Now, as I have said, everything has its corresponding part. So that concern for having children should be coupled with a concern for being able to provide for them. We are not here saying that we should have children and keep the same old mind that many of you have. We should have children, but we should look for that corresponding concern. And the concern that is naturally mated to that concern, is the concern as a father to be a cause for opportunity in their lives. If you don't have any establishment or anything to your credit as a job or as a business or some kind of profitable involvement, then you are not fulfilling the obligation. Then you are just bringing people in the world to be a burden on somebody else.
Don't worry! They will be taken care of. Allah provides for all. But what will be your situation before Allah? It will be very bad! While I ask you to forget about this planned parenthood, and to leave that to them — let them have that, for it is their invention — I am also asking you to qualify for more responsibility. If you are going to have big families, then qualify for that responsibility.
You say that you don't have jobs, for these are bad times. No! What have we heard? That necessity is the mother of invention. I believe it! Again, "Necessity is the mother of invention." If you get more needs, you are going to find an answer. As the need grows, the pressure grows on you to find the answer. We are not going to solve our problem and become more dignified as African-Americans by reducing the numbers we have in our families, and cutting our families down to two children or to stay at a family of three or four or five. That is not the way to solve the problem. We are going to solve the problem by accepting the responsibility to take care of our own children. Reducing them is not going to make it any better for us. Increasing them will increase the burden. And as the burden increases, it will alarm someone.
Maybe a certain brother will continue to be lazy and neglect his family, but as the burden increases it is going to become a heavier burden on the whole community and on the welfare and on the nation. Now the nation is saying, "Well, we just cannot do anything about it. We told you all to use some of this protection. You won't use protection, so it is your problem." And that is where it should be put. It is our problem.
Handling the African-American family is an African-American problem. It is an African-American responsibility and shouldn't be called a problem. Having children and having a wife is the African-American responsibility in the African-American family, home, and community. So we should accept it as that.
I am telling you, let us have more children. Multiply them! And don't forget that when the new baby comes, to whisper in the ear the Adhan and whisper in the ear Al-Fatiha. Don't you worry about them understanding it; Allah has guided us to the tradition of our Prophet and the learned people of the religion to do this. So let us do it! And again, don't worry about the baby understanding it.
Someone will say, "Oh the baby cannot understand that." But psychologists say the baby is most impressionable during the first months of the life — not the first years, but during the first months. What happens during the first six months of the life is most critical for the child. So if you drink, act crazy and curse each other out during the first six months of that child's life, you have terrible damage to follow down the next six years or the next sixty years or however long the child lives.
But if we whisper into the child's ear what Allah has instructed us and inspired us to do through the teachings of the Prophet and the learned leaders of the religion, we will have given that child something that is impossible to be erased from the mind. The child won't understand the connection, but the behavior down the road will be tied to what was whispered in the ear of the child. Have faith and believe in what we are all about as Muslims. Believe in the Muslim way of life. Some things we must do purely upon faith.
(To be continued)
Be a good Muslim.