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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Community Awareness And The Role Of The Individual: Part 2

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editors note: The following article is from a lecture delivered in Gary, Indiana on December 13, 1986.)

I often have given this little poem, it's in Arabic, and it's an Arabic poem, it's not Qur'an. It goes like this: "al-hafsu-laiza-medhabe. Wa- laisa-fe-ta'abe. 'Au-thatu-rabbe-ghay-ya-te, Fe-hayya-khul-li-ve. Wa-lastu-aradhan, kafasan, inya-khumin-dha-habe."

The verse was saying: "Longing for its natural environment, its natural life, or habitat, the bird was singing a song to its master, to let its master know, that it was not happy. And the bird said, 'al-hafsu-laiza medhabe, to be locked up is not my thing.' Wa-laisa, fe-ta'abe, I can't find the goals that my spirit seek in this small confinement. He said: 'the natural environment that my Lord created, that's my habitat, that's my home. And I will never accept to live in a cage, though it be all gold."

I learned that poem when I was a teenager, and I can't forget it. Do you know why? It's because Adam still lives in me. Adam. Father Adam still lives in me, and Allah says in our Holy Book, Tie certainly made noble of dignity and honor, every son of Adam.'

I have a nobility, a sense of inner worth, a precious worth, values that my creation possess by the very nature of that creation, that just won't allow me to submit to just any kind of circumstances. They may have me, but I'd never give myself to them. So in a real sense, I'm free, though I'm locked up. You know what I'm talking about. We are all the same.

Now we should have an aim that receives in the focus the fact that the focus is on the individual as the best circumstance for progress.

The aim, then, should be to further the acceptance of a plan, which promotes progress by promoting individual resourcefulness, and authority.

Now this is what makes people great. Shortsightedness and the fear to grasp this is what makes people small.

We think of the continent of Africa and say, what a great resourceful continent, in terms of minerals that are needed right now, and have been needed for a long time. We think of gold, uranium, diamonds, and other resources found in Africa. But the people of that continent are stagnant.

The people of the continent are not dynamic or moving forward.

Now we know we have some sporadic bursts of energy. Nigeria flexed its muscles, about 10 years ago, and then let them get flabby overnight. Now it's making another go at it, and it's the biggest and most progressive nation in Africa.

Nigeria also has the biggest Muslim population. I met a Nigerian president at a meeting in Washington, B.C. He was a guest of the government and the politicians. Some of the politicians who represent you in Washington, were so ignorant, that they didn't know the Muslims were in the majority in Nigeria. They were trying to make me think the Muslims are a small minority, and that most of the people in Nigeria are Christians.

If the person I was talking with was a man who didn't have access to the library and, couldn't read, had never finished high school, I wouldn't talk about him. But here was a man who finished high school, college and has been representing people in Chicago, then in Washington, for years, trying to make me believe that Nigeria had a Christian majority, and that the Muslims were an insignificant minority.

I said, don't you know that man leads the people and is a Muslim, himself? You might have heard that they had a non-Muslim as president but, that speaks for the goodness of Muslims, that they will let a minority people be president over them, knowing he's not a Muslim.

Wake up time should be every day. The sun wakes up every morning, and sleeps for real long periods in the winter. It seems to be up all day in the summer. And some of us are like that. I like to be better than the sun. Man doesn't have to succumb to his environment. "Hey, it's cold. Ill sleep as long as I can." "Ain't nothing exciting happening." Get up and make something exciting happen.

We make big mistakes, which is common with people who want' to better themselves. We make the mistake of putting too much importance on the immediate. Now, the immediate is important, but don't think of yourself as immediate. You are immediate, and you are also future. And the best way to attend to your immediate needs, is to have a view towards the future.

Progressing with yourself, is like progressing with a motor vehicle. You get inside a motor vehicle, turn on the ignition and start up. The more you look at the vehicle's immediate environment, the more you are going to remain right there. You cannot drive that vehicle at that particular time. You have to look in the line of progress, that you hoped to follow with that vehicle, in order to move it forward.

Have you ever gotten into a vehicle, started it up, and looked nowhere but right where you were, and it started going? You have to put your eyes in the line of progress. Sometimes there are all kings of obstacles in the way. If I go right where I'm going, and don't turn, I've got to be Superman; I've got to drive through the John Hancock building (in Chicago).

Some of us are bad drivers who will run right into the John Hancock building, and then look around at the white man and say, "See! I told you, you won't let us go anywhere." You're supposed to be able to maneuver. Learn something about your great potential, great personal assets and tremendous power for doing things, with nothing. There was a time in the history of civilization when men were outgoing, and adventurous. They sought challenges. They would run away from the town that had everything already done for it. They couldn't stand to live there; it was not a challenge.

They would go somewhere that seemed to have no opportunity whatsoever, and they looked at that place and they got a vision, and before they died they passed it on the responsibility to a student or to a son, or to an employee. So why should we give up today? Why should we look at the circumstances that are not favoring us, and say, "Oh, what can we do?" You can do marvelous things, but you have to be rightly situated within yourself. Yes, we need to further the acceptance of a plan which promotes progress by promoting individual resourcefulness. Individual resourcefulness. Whether you are using your resources or not, know this for sure, your resources are being used. Just because you are not using them there's no reason to think they are not being used brother; your resources are being used.

People are capitalizing on your idleness, capitalizing on your un-initiative, capitalizing on your laziness, capitalizing on your neglect in your personal life, your neglect in your family life, your neglect in your community life; there are people in power, individuals and companies, capitalizing, making money on you. "They ain't making no money on me, I ain't doin' nothing." That's what you think. Do you turn the television on?, well, you're doing something. Do you turn the radio on? You're doing something. Do you get sick? You're doing something. Do you hurt anybody including yourself? You're doing something. People are making money on everything you do. Are you dying? You're doing something. People are making money on your dying. Some of us are stupid because we have given our minds and our sensitivities to the manipulators who want us to sleep until it's all over.

So we say, "let's deal with the immediate", You come here to Gary and say, "How about my rent, my rent has to be paid. You got any help for me, Imam?" You say, "I need a job, I ain't got no job. I can't listen to you, you ain't got no job for me, you can't pay my bills." You need life. And to get life, you need something to believe in. "Is that all you got, Mr. Imam? Is that all you come here with, something for me to believe in?" Yep. But that's just the beginning of it. There are many more things to promise, but none of it will come until you first believe. You need life in you. Belief is life. If you're lying on a bed, sick with a cold and you don't believe you are going to get well, the life you need is belief that you are going to get well. When the belief that you are going to get well comes into you, you will have life working for you, but as long as that belief does not come into you, you don't have life working for you.

If you have a job and you don't believe that job is important to you, then you won't have that job long. I don't care what you have in your life of importance, it involves belief. You have to have a belief, faith, a trust in it; and nothing is guaranteed forever. Some of us make the mistake of being pessimistic instead of living with the reality that is present. We start dying because of the reality that we expect. Yea! Are you following me? Some people can't live with the reality that is visible and present. They say, "Well, I know I'm gonna lose this job." Now the reality is, you've got this job, but you can't do much with it because you're constantly thinking that you are going to lose it. So while you are on the job this negative attitude tells the employer that you really shouldn't be on that job. Your belief cripples you with the employer. If you had believed that job was valuable you would have gone to that job and impressed the employer. You don't go to your job as if you don't believe that job will end soon, or that it's not taking you nowhere. You have to believe in a job, and go to it as if you are really interested in it. Then when the employer looks at you he says, "That boy's got a future with this company."

Some of us don't want to believe in anything. "Oh, 111 never put my faith in a leader again." Why? Why? Did we get Civil Rights without a leader? Did we get out of those chains without a leader? Did we get this so-called freedom to let everything go without a leader? You didn't get anything without a leader! So why are you going to put down a leader now? "Aw, we don't need no leader. I'll never put my hopes in a leader again." You know, you shouldn't put all of your hopes in any leader. But you should always have some faith in a leader. And if you don't have one that you can put faith in you should be looking for one that you can put some faith in.