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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Muslim Journal

A Man

Imam W. Deen Muhammad

Among the philosophers, humanists, lovers of humanity, and the builders of the idea of democracy that has come to be America's democracy, are such men as Frederick Douglass, that we perhaps don't even see as a man that God blessed to have great philosophical insight.

But American history tells us of the development of democracy, contributions to it by Jean Jacque Rosseau who said, according to the book. The Social Contract: "Passage from the state of nature to the civil state pro­duces quite a remarkable change in man. For it sub­stitutes justice for instinct in his behavior, and gives his actions a moral quality they previously lacked. On­ly then when the voice of duty replaces physical im­pulse and right replaces appetite, does men who has taken only himself into account, find himself forted to act upon other principles, and to consult his reason before listening to his inclinations. Although in this state he deprives himself of several of the advantages belonging to him in the state of nature, he regains such great ones. His faculties are exercised and developed. His ideas are broadened. His feelings are ennobled. His entire soul is elevated to such a height that if the abuse of this new condition lowers his status to beneath the level he left, he ought constantly to bless the happy mo­ment that pulled him from a stupid, limited animal, into an intelligent being, aman."

NOW HERE IN THE wordsof this man of great insight, is a definition for man. According to his words, if you don't have that characteristic, if you don't have that intelligent orientation in your life, if you are moved and acting upon instinct and neglecting to consult reason, and to follow the excellent or intelligent behavior, according to these words, you are not a man.

When we were brought to this country and reduced to brute savages by the cruelest system of slavery that ever existed upon the earth, we lost our manhood. And our masters called us boys no matter how old we were. There should be in your genes a yearning to be recogniz­ed as a man, and you shouldn't depend upon your short vision to know what is truly a man. You should listen to the wise, and hear what they say the definition for a man is, and then you should say. "Thank God, I know what a man is now. I'm going to try to be a man, because that is what was denied me." Our situation is calling for men, and because of the moral neglect and the dis­respect in our lives, we are still boys.

Rousseau goes on to say. "Let us summarize this en­tire balance sheet so that the credits and debits are easily compared. What man loses through the social contract is his natural liberty and unlimited right to everything that it gives him. That is what man loses. What he gains is civil liberty and the proprietary owner­ship of all he possesses.” That is what he gains.

Now look at the lot of our people in America. Look at the typical behavior of the people — our people in America — and see if they make the first requirement or the second. We are of this description. That is, seekers of natural liberty, and unlimited right to everything that tempts us, whether it is good or bad. Whether it is right or wrong. Whether it hurts others or not. Whether it hurts ourselves or not. Whether it destroys our character, our lives, or our community. Most of us just follow our silly, blind inclinations to be completely free. For the true man that God made, that is not freedom. His freedom calls first for restraint.

The freedom for the man that God made, dictates that he first restrain himself. First he checks his passions, inclinations and impulses so that his intellect will be free to rise up to the excellence God intends for it. That is the true freedom. It is free-dome. Here is the dome right here. And your mind will never be free as long as you are corrupt.

One of the great minds of the West who has contributed to our concept of democracy in this country, said, "If man cannot be trusted with the government of himself, how can he be trusted with the government of others?” This is Islamic. Prophet Muhammad, peace and the blessings be on him, said. "Everyone of you is an authority, and you are going to be questioned as to how you discharged that authority."

Prophet Muhammad didn't say, "Oh, I’m your leader now. You are not responsible for yourself." No, he said that you are responsible for yourself.” You are responsible for your individual life. You are responsible for your personal behavior. You are responsible for the condition of your life, in your personal life, in your family life, in your home life. You are responsible for the conditions in your community life. Every individual is accountable. Every individual has been given authority, rightful authority.