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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Bilalian News

Our Global Responsibility

Imam Warith Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.


Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Sunday address {WJPC live radio broadcast} at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, III., Aug. 24, 1980 — Continued from the last two weeks.)

Now let me continue. When I come out, I bring a lot because I love you so much — I want to give you everything I've got. But I see I'm not going to be able to handle all of this. So now I'm looking for the goodies, the best of this.

Now dear people, we want to look at a principle in our life, something that is called in psychology, the "pleasure principle,"
In looking at this principle in our life, I want to tell you something that a man I respect very much said about our peculiar weakness. He wasn't talking about just the Bilalians in America, he was talking about all African people or people of African descent.

This person is a worldly known figure and I don't want to prejudice you, so I'm not going to tell you much about him. He said "black" people — and I'm using his terminology, because this is the terminology that he uses, I don't — I refuse to use it; I refuse to endorse it, even if I use it.
He said black people have the weakness that might be charged to their racial inferiority, while it should be charged to environmental conditions. Not the environmental conditions that man is responsible for, but the natural environmental conditions. He said, in words, that he accepts that the African people and their descendants on the whole seem to be extremely given to relaxation.

We don't want to defend him or to defend anybody, but let me say for just myself right here before going any further — I buy that, and I don't buy it. I buy it because that is one of our strong characteristics. But we have more.
He said that it seems that by and large we are given to relaxation. He said this is not because of racial inferiority, it's because of influences of the natural environment on our life. He goes on to observe that Caucasians live in a harsher climate than most of the African people and their descendants. The native climate for us has been somewhat favorable, so he said.

And I agree. Because if you go to the banks of the Nile or to Nigeria or to Zanzibar or wherever you think you came from, you won't have to wear an overcoat. You won't have to go out and chop fire wood; you won't have to migrate or feel desperate because there is nothing to eat. You can just go a little distance, and you can find an edible animal or an edible piece of fruit or some plant, some herb; you can find something on which to survive.
Now we know since the days of our traffic from Africa, the world has changed somewhat. It has become very, very crowded; the population has greatly increased. There might not be as much food around now in those parts of Africa that we are talking about as there was when we were brought here to America.

But we do know that we can even fare better in a desert, sometimes, where there is heat and warmth than we can in a ghetto when winter comes. Because when the emergency comes that you have to face right now while in a desert, maybe you can go on to another oasis, maybe there is a chance.
I've never heard of anyone getting a four-day notice in Zanzibar or in Uganda or in Nigeria or in any of those places that we are referring to now. I believe you can survive well enough for four days, four weeks, four months, four years - a long time, just scouting and searching around for an herb, for a piece of fruit — bread or something that is edible.

So the situation was quite different for our people in the warmer climate than it was for the Caucasian in the much colder climate. In the much colder climate, he was constantly aware of the threatening challenge coming to him from the environment. But in Africa, we were not constantly aware of the threatening challenge coming to us from the environment.

So we would get up and do a little bit and we would play. We would play on the drum, we would sing folk songs, we would do a folk dance. We would crack jokes and do a lot of chatting; we would chatter a lot — we had a lot of leisure time on our hands.
Now leisure sometimes works to a people's advantage as well as to their disadvantage. When the mind is new in the environment, leisure works to your advantage because at that time the mind is like the mind of an infant or little baby — the mind is very curious; the mind is very excited in its environment.

So when the people began to evolve in that kind of favorable African environment for the first time, I'm sure that their minds were very excited. The great rivers, the great trees, the great land masses — the great this, the great that! It all excited them, and I'm sure that they went searching to explore and discover things that they didn't understand or didn't know. And I'm sure that the leisure brought them to culture and to great civilizations.

So leisure, dear people, can act adversely, or it can act as a positive thing in your life. Leisure can be positive in your life when your mind is new and fresh and alert and curious. Leisure can work so well. The scientists want leisure, the scholar wants leisure — he wants free time. He will sacrifice from his personal well-being just so he can have free time.

The scholar will say, "No, I don't want to work eight hours to earn $400 this week, I'd rather take $100 this week so I can have those 30 hours extra." He wants extra time, he wants plenty of leisure. He's not punching a clock, but his mind is hungry, his intellect is alive and hungry. He's using that leisure time to "recreate" himself. So what we call "recreation" today once was "re-creation." Isn't that beautiful?

(To be continued)