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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

How Muslims Are To Manage Spiritual And Material Concerns

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(On Sunday, December 3, 1989, Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this public address in Detroit, Michigan.)

As-Salaam-Alaikum and that is peace be unto you, The praise and thanks are for Allah, the Lord, the Sustainer of all the worlds. And the prayers and the peace he upon His noble and generous Messenger.

We are very happy to see this support here in Detroit for this occasion. This is the second visit here of this nature, and we look forward to having many more visits in the future. We are grateful to Allah and to the Believers and to our friends for this support. We also appreciate the Imams who come from different and distant places to support this effort. We appreciate their presence here very much.

Distinguished persons in the community and in public service here in Detroit, we also appreciate your support for our Awards Banquet last night and your presence here with us today.

We pray always that Allah guides us to do what is best and to do what is acceptable by Allah, our Lord and Creator, We pray also that what we do benefits those who are present here in this audience.

It is not my pleasure at all to waste anybody's time. I have been with people where I have desired to do one thing and they have desired to do another. And I have gone along with them or remained silent rather than do something that I know would displease them.

Before matters of importance, we can't afford to be silent or spare feelings as we please. Be sincere. If we say we are Muslims, we should be Muslims. We should not lie. This address today is going directly to Muslims. However, we are aware of the fact that what Allah has revealed to Muslims is also for the whole world. The topic we have chosen is, "The Management of Spiritual and Material Concerns." By put-ting these two concerns together, a lot is said already.

The big problem for most of us is that we separate these two concerns and think that the spiritual concern is left for the preacher and the material concern is left for others. It is both of these concerns that burden everybody without exception. Every person is brought to success or to doom because of the mismanagement of these two concerns, the spiritual concern and the material concern.

I am not speaking of the spiritual concern in the sense that it is commonly understood- I am not talking about religious rituals and spiritual values. I am talking about the tendency in us to favor certain involvements over other involvements. For example, some of us have a tendency to favor weekend good times. And a good time for those is going to a dance, a party, listening to music and going out of their minds. Many just live to go out on the weekend.

The tendency towards a thing is spiritual. Attitudes are spiritual. And understand that we do not have this idea in our religion of spiritual life separate from material life. Dispositions are spiritual most of the time. For Muslims the life is whole. It is one life. I have a physical body, but I do not function just as a physical body. The spiritual disposition precedes and comes behind other dispositions. Feeling, thought, and spirit work together in us. The whole has to be spoken of in terms of all three: in terms of my physical body, my mind, and my spirit. To manage impulse or impulsive tendencies is a muscle builder.

Most of us are trying to use our minds, but often our spirit gets in our way. That is the main thing that 1 hope to bring to our attention. People who try to manage their spirits develop powerful muscles. The best muscles for survival in the world are not the physical muscles. The best muscles for survival in the world are the spiritual muscles.

"None of you will believe until his tendencies follow what I came with." The Last Prophet Muhammad. I am talking about the tendency to be pulled by force of habit in one direction and then in another direction. If you can discipline yourself so that you don't allow influences to take you to the things that you know will bring you down, you will be successful in life. But if you cannot discipline yourself in that way, you are sure to fail. Al-Islam promotes and fosters thoughtful disciplines.

We can go and look at what Allah has revealed to us in the Qur'an about the self, what Allah says of success and failure: "He will certainly be successful who invests in his soul." Here soul is a focus for the activities I am trying to bring to your attention. And Allah says, "The one who neglects to invest in his own soul is certain to fail." Moreover, the Quranic terms of this investment are "taqwa" (re-gardfulness) and "fujur" (enlightenment, education).

We could just close this address with that. That would be enough. I told one of my associates in this work that I know the audience is expecting a big deal. I said, it is a big deal but it is also so simple that I can do it in two minutes.

Allah has not left us with just insights regarding human tendencies. Allah has also given us the Guidance, the Qur'an. "This is the Book (speaking of the Qur'an. the last Revelation), in it is no defects. "And, "It is guidance for the regardful. " The Qur'an is good guidance for the people of good conscience. For Muslims good conscience begins with regard for Allah. We must first be conscious of Allah and be regardful of Allah. Regard for Allah is not without our obedience to Allah. This obedience includes regard for our family relations or "family ties." Qur'an.

The management of material and spiritual concerns is only possible for us if we have something directing us as a deciding authority in our lives. There has to be an authority in our life that decides authority for everything else and is greater than everything else. If you are not acknowledging an authority in your life that you accept as having more authority than all else, then you are going to be a failure.

Even the man or woman who looks at their life in a very simple way and are oblivious or unconscious of what should be the authority of God in their life, they too must be guided by a principle authority. Perhaps they are not thinking about religion or church or mosque or synagogue. They may only be thinking of how to be successful in their business life as employer or as business persons or as career persons. However, if they don't have an overriding authority in their life, they are not going to be successful.

Understand this: Allah in our religion does not close the door of material things to people because they don't acknowledge Him. Allah says in our Holy Book that the doors to those things are open to all. Non-believers can make money, and Allah is not going to ask.,,"Did he take the shahadah? Is he a follower of Muhammad, My Last Prophet? If not, I'm not going to let him get rich!" This is not the way of Allah to close the way of material gain on non-believers.

Allah says the doors to those things are open to all. But Allah also says, "But My special blessings are only for my devotees. 'Allah has blessings that are better and you cannot get those without being devoted sincerely to Allah.

What does this mean in simple language? It means you can have the material world, whether you respect Allah or not, but you will never be really happy or satisfied or pleased. If you want to be at peace, satisfied, and feeling good about yourself, then you have to put your Creator before and above the world. You have to value the goal of satisfying your Creator more than you value your ambitions in the world. That is the simple answer.

However, also we are to understand that for Muslims, we are not to be bothered with the problem of seeing material requirements in our life as something by nature in opposition to the real human life. No matter how saintly we become in this religion, we should never take on spiritualism in the extreme. We should never take on spiritualism to the degree that we begin to fear material involvement. Muslims are never to be called spiritualists. Work in the material field should never be thought of as a threat to the life we chose for ourselves.

The answer given simply is to serve Allah, the God of both the spiritual and the material.

(To be continued)