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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

Muslim Journal

The Career Rooted In Scripture
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(This text is from the address given by Imam W. Deen Mohammed at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee on Sept. 9, 2000 — the conclusion.)

One of the attributes of Muhammed is also "bashir," and bashir is a word that points to human sensitivities in their original nature and form; unadulterated human sensitivities. The importance of these sensitivities for human beings, I find also in the major scheme of the movement in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

When we study the term "bashir" in the Arabic language, it also suggests the human skin or the outside skin of anything — the human being or even of fruit. For flesh, the outside skin appears to be alive, and it is alive. But in the way that we perceive living things, it is not alive. The very outside skin is dead. You can cut yourself very shallow' and you will feel nothing, no pain. You have to go deeper to feel pain.

The outer skin is a dead skin. So the whole life, the live, living body protected by dead skin. Yet, it seems to be alive more so than the skin beneath it, because if you just touch it a little bit, you will feel it. It is such a great conductor or recipient of communication. The communication goes to the dead skin and immediately you feel it.

It also protects the outer part of the body from discomfort. If it were really alive, a rub or touch would not feel good or comfortable. If you get some skin knocked off, you don't want anyone rubbing that place. It is dead and yet alive. It is dead to what is not good for it, dead to what is bad for the human life in this world influenced by Satan, but alive to the life that G-d wants.

So learned men, great men of wisdom, saintly men and women saw this human body and studied it. They saw the human body as a message from G-d, that the body itself was a communication to the mind of the people from G-d, who made that body. They began to translate the language that they saw in the human makeup, and they thought it was wonderful to be dead and yet alive.

If you want to be successful in a career, develop your life so that your life is dead to that which takes you down and alive only to that which takes you up or helps you to get up. This life is a trial, and no matter how much academic knowledge you have or how much you have acquired as a student in college or as a professor, a little small thing can take you down. Then we will have to give you a dollar on the street.

A little thing can take you down, for the brain cannot hold man up. Only his obedience to G-d; obedience to the best of his own creation—only that can hold him up. Everything else will let him down, sooner or later.

When I look at the word career, as I did a little research, in Latin it goes back to the word spelled "car." Now I'm sure it is not car, like the automobiles we have. But I was on Hajj once, and the traffic is very heavy during Hajj Season in Mecca. This was after they had built those nice roads, and there were fine cars lined up one behind the other as in a big traffic jam in New York or Chicago during rush hour.

An officer took his stick and hit the car, and he saw me looking at him. So I don't speak Arabic, I speak English and he knew I wasn't an Arab. But the body communication is every human being's language. When he saw my face, he knew what I was thinking. So he said to me in English, "The vehicle has skin, too." I understood what he was saying.

We are talking about "career." When you look at "car," the word "carnal" which means flesh may be traced back to the word "car," life. And I do know that the designers of the first cars, and those who later followed the first designer — Henry Ford — made that car to address the life and makeup of the human person's body.

They were actually trying to teach us through their invention or their creation. The old cars had a crank, and you would get outside and take it and start it up. It had a throttle, and you had to mash on the gas and pull that throttle to keep it accelerating, until it got up to where it could hold its own or keep up its velocity or speed.

All of them had hot water; when you turned on the motor, the water would heat up. The purpose of the water was to keep the motor from getting too hot, as a cooling agent. I'm sure they were speaking to us and telling us that the human being needed a cooling agent. If you want to go with your life, you need a cooling agent. You also have to have an exhaust system. You need the exhaust to let out impurities.

There are the spark plugs to ignite or make the fire to start the engine. Inside, you have to have a steering wheel. They use to tell us, when we would go to get our driver's license or take the driver's test — I don't think they do it anymore: "Both hands on the wheel, 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, please." You had to have the hands balanced on the upper part of the wheel — at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. This was best for driving, when you steer the car with both hands on the wheel.

You have a window that is not called a window pane; it is called a windshield. You have gas and also the brakes. When you had to change the gears yourself, you had a clutch. Before you started to change that gear, you had to push down on the clutch with your left foot and the gas and brakes with the right foot. But to change gears, you used the left foot.

It is all science. The design of the car is speaking a science to our minds. Not to the mind of the public, but to the minds of those who have been blessed to gain deeper scriptural knowledge and higher knowledge in the world.

What do I mean by that expression? Deeper scriptural knowledge puts you in the position to have higher knowledge in the world. That is why Muhammed became the leader of society, the leader of his time. He could not have become that just by having spiritual life and spiritual love and spiritual knowledge.

He had to have something that the banker appreciated something that the governor appreciated, something that the general of the army appreciated — and highly appreciated. They saw him with the ability to educate them and to put them above the rest of the men of their time in knowledge.

G-d had given Muhammed a knowledge that when he imparted it to men who had faith in him, he put them above the men of their time, not only in spiritual knowledge but also in worldly knowledge. I'm not using the term "worldly" in a bad sense; I'm using it in a good sense.

G-d does not want us to abandon His Gift to us of the world. G-d created the world and the world, itself, is a gift from G-d to us. G-d says: "Who has said that the good things of the world are not for my devotees," meaning those who devote their life in obedience for G-d. He said, "This is for them and exclusively for them in the Hereafter." It means that He going to cut the sinners and the criminals out, the killer dope pushers, who don’t respect human life or anything else. The crooked banker, the crooked ruler of the land will all be cut out.

This land is going to be for us exclusively in the hereafter. I see it coming right now. My career is to get me a big part of it and to share it with as many good people as I can.

G-d says to us: "And seek with the means I have given you the Hereafter." It means that the spiritual life is the higher and more valued life, and the Destiny with G-d is better than all this material world. But He says: "Do not forget your share of this material world."

Where would the Catholic Church have gotten, if they had said that money is sin and had not gone after some of the material world? It wouldn't be the great church that it is; it would not be able to finance its needs. So we want a balanced life, and that is what you should see as a career.

Put obedience to G-d first. But don't think that the land that you walk on and the wealth that comes out of the ground – the earth – that supports human life is your enemy or an interest that is in conflict with your better side, with your moral side, your spiritual life.

It is our perception of this world that causes us trouble, if we misperceive. The world is created to assist us; to help us to take our human soul and our human spirit and the best of our human life –moral life – to The Destiny. Certainly, it is going to challenge us, but it challenges us only to be the best that we can be.

You will say, "I'm hungry, and I had better feed myself." That is the first thought. But if you want to be more prepared to feed yourself, say: "I'm hungry and I am going to help to feed the rest of the members in my family who are hungry." Now, you have a better force, more energy, more powers working for you to feed yourself.