A Foolish Heart
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
We live in a time when human affections are confused. Many people do not know where to place their concerns. This is not an individual problem; it is a societal problem. Our political scientists have said that a nation's welfare or its prosperity is not in the hands of its leaders, rather it depends upon the state of the heart of the masses. Actually, they are but quoting or echoing what is said in the Qur'an. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that He never brings about a change in the life of a people until they change what is in their hearts.
This society has become insane because of the heart going astray. We are
also told in the Qur'an, "Surely to our Lord we are directed." We are fated to go to God, and we cannot resist it. What is carrying us to Him? It is our heart. If you have a wrong attitude, your heart will cause you to miss the right way, the right path of God. And if you have a right attitude, your heart will put you on the right path. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Matters in this religion are judged by intention." The seat of intent is the heart. Many people fail to realize that they cannot have a human response before it first registers on their heart. No matter what it is, man's first response is spiritual. Regarding any matter, you first ask yourself, "Is this safe for me?" It doesn't matter how unrelated the question may be to your mortal safety, that response registers to some degree.
The majority of learned scholars in Al-Islam say that the intelligent response to something with your senses is first a matter of the heart and soul. The heart responds first and then the brain. The heart represents the emotional nature or essence. When we speak of the heart, we are referring to the spiritual concern. We are saying that before you begin to deal with matters rationally, they first register on you spiritually. This happens no matter how quickly you respond to the situation.
A Problem of the African-America
What we are pointing to is the fact that it is your heart over which you must watch. You must watch over it because it is the factor that puts you on course, and it is the factor that takes you off course. Eventually you will have to deal with it one way or the other, so why not watch over your heart from the beginning? Perhaps you have heard the expression, "My foolish heart?" Nat King Cole sang a song in which he repeated the words, "my foolish heart." This is the problem with the African-American. He has a foolish heart. For example, he would rather try to prove a point than save his life. If you want to stop him from achieving something at any time, get him in an argument or s[ contest, and just to prove a point he will forget what he was trying to achieve. He will let his business, his family, and everything else go down while trying to prove a point.
Some African-Americans want to become rich just so they can play and have fun. Many will get two or three jobs. Furthermore, if the white man could add another eight hours to the day, many of them would work another eight hours. You would think that they were trying to achieve something very important, very substantial. If you ask the average one who works like this what he is striving for, he will tell you something like, "Got me a Rolls Royce. Got my wife a Mercedes. Got plenty women, plenty spending money. Man, I'm in heaven." But truthfully, he is just another foolish heart.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "No one of you can become believers until your desires go after what I have come to you with." Now what are desires? Desires are expressions of the heart. The Bible says, "As a man think-eth in his heart, so is he." There is also another saying, "Where a man's heart is, there will he be also." If your heart is in showing off with those things that cause you to lose the stable — the basic — life, then that is where you are.
When we say we love our families, and yet we spend most of our time chasing the show of this world, we are fooling ourselves. If you love your family, you will be building up your family. That is if the above sayings of scripture are correct, and I believe they are. If you truly love your family, you are deceiving yourself when you do such things. A foolish heart will deceive you. Actually, you don't really love your family. If you did, you would spend your resources on building up your family life, and not on making a show.
Importance of Family Life
Allah tells us in the Qur'an that family ties have a first right before God in the Book of Ordinance — in the book of His Command. He has established that family right and family relationships come before other matters. This is where the African-American has gone wrong. The cohesiveness and unity of the African family was destroyed when we were brought to America and put into slavery. When we were freed after centuries of enslavement, our objective should have been to restore healthy family life, healthy relationships between family members — respect for momma, for pappa, for the grandparents, for the elderly, for the young — and healthy respect by the parents for their children. We should have set our eyes on the future with the family's welfare in mind, because that is what was destroyed. But the devil defeated us. He went to work, and we never got around to rebuilding our broken family life. He dangled before our hungry eyes the attractive things of the world. He raised in us the desire for better clothes, more money, better transportation, the want for another pretty wife, etcetera.
Neglect of the family is a shortcoming in the African-American community. 55% of our children are born to teenagers. 50% of homes without fathers, and 42% of households are headed by a female. There are more single parent families among the African-Americans proportionally than among any other group. There are also more deserted wives, deserted children and mistreated husbands. Often, the husband has few, if any rights, Now we know that there are a few African-Americans who have beautiful model families. They are not spending all of their money on outside, superficial and glamorous things just to show off. They live a modest life, putting money up for the future so the young generation will have a better start than they had. Though there are some families doing that, they are very hard to find. But many of those I have met who are doing this are very selfish. They wouldn't give another man's child a peanut.
We need to re-establish healthy family concerns. We must also understand that families make up races and nations. In other words, the family effort must be extended so that it complements and strengthens the entire race. You must take into account the needs of your race when you educate your children. Right now we have people who want to follow the trend. They want to train all of our children for computers. Some want to train all of them for government jobs. We could have all of them into government jobs and computers and the life of the race would still be neglected.
Financial Resources Needed
We should let the needs of our race decide what fields we should pursue. We don't have to look all over the United States to decide what we need to be doing. Look around you and you will probably find a good sample of what we need all over this earth. We don't have financial forces and this we need. All we have are welfare and a card to be punched by a clock. What we need are the same things the man has who is dictating our life to us. We need money, some financial forces that we can go to ourselves just like the ones he can go to.
He has more than the welfare and a card to be punched. I don't have to pray all day to see what we need to do. It is very clear.
We must use common sense and get the things other people have who are in strong positions. If we don't then we are accepting weak positions. Some people claim that all we need are more jobs, that we need to get more openings in the government. Today many believe that all we need is to get into computers. Getting into computers is nothing but another clock to punch, another promise. It is only going to last as long as that interest is hot. As soon as that interest cools, we will have to find a new field of work, and we will still be without what the other man has who is dictating our life to us.
There are people who are now trying to establish the socialist concept here in America. In fact, they started many years ago encouraging everybody to go on fixed wages. But who is fixing the wages? It is not the African-American. He is the one accepting fixed wages. Those who want to push this kind of life on us will say of me, "Oh, he's not a comrade. He's not one of us. He's not on a fixed salary." No, I am not their comrade if that is what they are talking about. My soul is against that. My soul still burns because of the fixed salary during the days of slavery. During those days we couldn't make any more than the master would allow us to make. The master fixed our wages then, and today he still wants us to punch a clock so he can decide how much we can earn. Why is this so? It is because he wants to tell the government how much every nigger is going to make for the rest of his life.
If these people can get us to accept a regimented life, they will be able to predict what the strength of our race will be for the rest of our lives. But when we step forward and exercise our rights as Americans just as they are doing, they cannot tell anybody where we are going to be in the future. They could no longer predict where we are going. I admire the Muslims who look for good investments, who want to be businessmen. They are the true Americans. True Americans are not looking for a red band. This country was not built for socialists or communists. Socialists want to regiment the life of the masses.
Why should we be the first ones to buy slavery? We just came out of slavery. If some others want to buy their social programs with fixed salaries, holding everybody down to some specific limit, let them do it. We still have not had our chance to enjoy wealth. We have not had a chance to dignify our people economically. We have not had a chance to prove ourselves in this economic system we call free enterprise.
Why should we buy socialism or communism, and we have not had the freedom to prove that we can compete with the Irishman, the Italian, the Chinese or Koreans. We have not had the chance to prove that we can compete with them in a free society. Today we have the same opportunity as others, and we should not let anyone deny us the opportunity to do as they have done in this society. <>
Only he (will prosper) that brings to God a sound heart.