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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

January 14, 1994

Muslim Journal

Uniting For Economic Empowerment: Part 2

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

To the Muslim Business Association of Chicago, esteemed persons from public service in the government of Chicago and of Olive Harvey College, to all of you we say peace be on you. In our religion it is 'As-Salaam-Alaikum'.

We are much appreciative of you business people. You are doing a great job of seeing that I stay on the radio. We have the broadcast on the radio because of you. And you are doing a great job of promoting the religion of Islam and the Muslim community and my ministry. I am sure you are doing that because you know it not only serves a spiritual need in you, but you know it is also good religious business.



In the Qur'an, God also gives us guidance for our business life. He doesn't just point to the importance of it. He also gives guidance for it. In one place in Qur'an God says, "Conduct the business interest in a way to prevent wealth from being monopolized. See that it circulates. "This is the life of a society.

The society can be oppressed by a strong business minority or a powerful business establishment. Islam must be against that. It might sound like we are socialists. We are not socialists, but we are community people.

This is important for our sisters, and we have some terrific leaders from the business community present here today who are women; Allah says in Qur'an that He does not slight or overlook the worker who invests labor into a thing whether it be a male or female. We understand that to mean that women are entitled to engage in business just like men. They have that right like men, and they have equal rights to their production just like men. Whatever their investment earned they are entitled to it.

The husband has no claim on the woman's wealth. If she becomes a millionaire and you are still on welfare brother, in our religion you are not entitled to any of her money. You have no right to it because you are supposed to be maintaining her from what you have. If God has blessed her with that good fortune, then you better be very humble or very independent.



I am coming to social responsibility and social establishment. I recall reading the book by Ralph Ellison, "The Invisible Man." The most interesting expression I found in that book was this. He said that somewhere along the road he found that he was "severed from his social responsibility. "That made the whole book worth my money and the time I spent reading it.

Allah wants Muslims to be financially responsible, to regard financial responsibility and to be respected for having that accomplishment. I am proud to say to you that some of the finest lending institutions in this country write to me and invite me to invest and to borrow. They tell me that I have one of the most outstanding records for financial responsibility.

I owe a lot of that to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. My start was the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He insisted upon having us to be responsible — responsible for ourselves and for everything in our charge; this was Islamic. He got this from this Qur'an and the life of the Prophet. We were to be responsible for our families, our children, our homes and our property. We were also to be responsible to those people who trusted us with something.

The Hon. Elijah Muhammad said if you worked for a boss even if he were a White man — you know what he called the White man at that time — give him an honest day's work. Don't cheat him. He said if you borrow, pay your debts. Don't have debts that you don't pay. These were things that he insisted upon. He would write a whole column on that sometimes: Muslims Pay Your Debt. Be financially responsible was what he insisted upon.



We Muslims have a heritage as a people that goes all the way back to the continent of Africa that we are proud of. If we want to talk about the roots of our life, we can't just stop here in America. We have to go back to the land of our ancestry and include the continent we call Africa. As Muslims in America we are now interested in establishing ourselves in America — by that I mean we want to leave institutions on this land in our neighborhoods that will stand after we are dead and gone. Those institutions will stand and will be supported by others who come behind us. That is what we are working for now, establishment in America on the continent of North America.

We are working hard for that and we are getting that. We are growing gradually into that. I am seeing it not only here in Illinois, but also in other states. I am seeing the Muslims are really growing. We are sinking our roots deep, and that is what we have to do.

Our Chicago Muslim Business Association have to see our roots in the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's call to financial responsibility, business development and economic planning. Elijah Muhammad was the one who excited not only us but the African American people — the Black people — to have a bigger appetite for not just wealth but also for bigger responsibility that gives bigger respect to a people.