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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


A.M. Journal

Support The Good Structures In Society

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: The following are excerpts from an address delivered by Muslim-American Imam W. Deen Muhammad at the First AMMCOP Artistic Clothing Show and Appreciation Banquet held at McCormick Place, in Chicago, III. The date is Nov. 5,1983.)

PRAISE BE TO ALLAH. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. As-Salaamu-Alaikum.

To the National AMMCOP Chairman , Samuel Bilal, the local Chairman, Brother Sulaiman — all the other chairmen and supporters of AMMCOP who have come to support this occasion here tonight:

I would like to say that this is the way to make it a success. It will be successful if supported. And from the looks of this support tonight, I think AMMCOP is on the way to bigger and bigger successes. (Allah-u-Akbar, following thunderous applause.)

NOW LET ME first say that a lot of recognition has been given me and I try not to enjoy it because I know if I start to enjoy it, it will poison my system. But I do appreciate it.

I want you to know that I meet quite often with the AMMCOP national chairman. Both of us live here in Chicago, and we meet quite often. And I feel that this nationwide program is in good hands. (Allah-u-Akbar follows applause).

I insist that he doesn't involve me in too much of AMMCOP's business. My role in AMMCOP is merely to support an idea that all of us want — to support something that all of us want, because all of us are in the same situation -- we don't have enough money.

We come from a tradition of support for this kind of program where we pool our small resources together and collectively enjoy bargaining power — some strength.

I told Brother Samuel Bilal that I have a cold, and I was feeling terrible when I came out here. But after hearing a few songs and eating a little bit, I started to feel much better. I
had told Brother Samuel Bilal I was not going to speak - except for about five minutes, because my voice is not good and I have to speak tomorrow. And you know me - I'll speak tomorrow even if I have to use a mechanical device in my throat.

AN OLD FRIEND of mine wrote me -- I got his letter today — and he said, "I hear you are going to be making speaking tours." He has known me for a long time, and he's a long winded speaker himself. He's about 80-years-old. He said, "I want to tell you that Ivm afraid for your health. You just made your 50th birthday, take it easy - - don't talk too long." So, I took his message seriously, and I am working on that. I'm trying to cut down my time talking.

THIS IS A GREAT, great, great involvement. All of you who are involved in AMMCOP are involved in a great thing. After all, there is no problem facing us bigger than the problem of poverty. I don't know one that African-Americans are suffering from more than this - - the problem of poverty.

Now, the problem goes further than just money. But that's the problem, poverty; and money will help a whole lot. If we have more money in our pockets — more money to spend on worthwhile things - we can do better in many many ways.

You feel healthier internally when you don't have to worry about the phone bill this month, or the gas or electric bill. When you have to worry about just surviving, it gets the animal out of you. Just worrying about survival turns you into an animal.

SO THIS PROGRAM has as its main purpose, financial relief for us; for the consumers who pay too much for the little bit we get. Its program of collective buying will enable us to buy at a great reduction in cost to us.

It's not a program to enrich any one of the operators who are responsible for it. And we are blessed to have selfless people like Samuel Bilal and many others throughout the country.

THE CHAIRMEN of AMMCOP are selfless people. There're not working for themselves, they are working for all of us. They're not working for personal enrichment, or personal gain, or personal promotion, they're working to relieve the burden of poverty upon us.

They believe that if we buy collectively 100,000 plus commodities, this is going to leave more money in our pockets, in our bank accounts, in our homes, for our needs, for our children's needs To send the children to college — to take care of the things that you've been neglecting because animal survival hasn't allowed you have that.

That's why when I heard that the program was going to be on at 7:00 o'clock - - and I felt very bad -  I said, well, they're not going out there to hear some songs, have some fun. I could be absent from that. They're going out there because poor Muslims all around this country have their faith and their hopes in this program, (Allah-u-Akbar following applause). So I have to go out there. And I decided to come out here, and I thank Allah that I did the right thing.

I'VE BEEN WATCHING closely the business of AMMCOP. When I say business, I'm talking about hard work, I've been watching the sincere work of AMMCOP, and I just wish that more people around the country knew what kind of people are responsible for this program.

We have special human beings working this program. You don't find people like this everyday. People like the people who are responsible for AMMCOP are very hard to find — very hard to find.

When they realize proceeds from this event tonight, I know what they are going to do. They are going to say well, we have bills — we are going to pay the bills; we have to do this. If we have something left over, we want to donate something to the Clara Muhammad School, something to the Zakat.

I see all of these things as equally important: education, reducing the burden of cost on poor consumers, and the propagation of Al-Islam; preaching, that is — Dawah. I see all of these things as equally important.

So, never feel that you have to report to me. You don't have to make any financial report to me. When you get the money, put it to a good cause, and a good cause is AMMCOP. AMMCOP is the best cause!

WE WANT TO SEE operations supporting themselves. If you have programs and operations that support themselves, you're sure to be successful.

If you start a business, make it support itself. Don't depend on that business being taken care of by donors, people who will donate some money to it. That's not a business then. Businesses support themselves.

If you start a school, operate a school so it can support itself. The parents who send their children there are the ones who are obligated to support that school, first of all. If any other persons support it, good. But let it not depend on charity from the outside.

If we want something, let us get together and support it. We have a Clara Muhammad School. I would like to see that school supported by the parents who enroll their children in that school. I wouldn't like to see any parent in that school looking to the outside for money.

IF YOU WENT to the Catholic school around the corner, you wouldn't look to the outside. You would have to come up with that money. If you went to any other private school, you would have to come up with that money.

When we have something of our own we have to find the ways and means to support it.
We have the school, we have the Masjid Propagation, Media Propagation. We have all of these things.

We have the newspaper and all of these things should be supporting themselves.
Those business ventures not only should be supporting themselves but they should be making contributions to such things as education and even AMMCOP. Certainly, because those are operations that require all of our collective support.

Those are operations that we expect everybody to support. AMMCOP should be supported by the rich. Not only the rich, but those whose means are sufficient to keep them above water. They should remember AMMCOP.

DON'T BUY ONE ticket! Buy a table like Brother Jabir does; two tables - - sometimes three. He supports these things. And we all should be that way.

We have other businessmen in the community who do the same thing. We have Brother Rahman here in Chicago, a businessman who operates a car wash and gasoline station on 87th Street. He has supported the school and supported many other things in this community (AMM).

We have other businessmen in the Chicago area who do the same thing. And we want to encourage that.

Those who have businesses, you should be charitable, especially if you are a Muslim.

CHRISTIAN PEOPLE are charitable. If they have money, they support a charity. You'd be surprised how much. When December comes around, they know they have to figure up all their money; the IRS is looking for them to give that report, they set aside a certain amount of money for charities. They give so much to this charity, so much to that charity. They have a number of charities they are supporting.

This is, most 6f the Christians who earn money. I'm talking about free people. I'm not talking about slaves — free people. Slaves who have never been responsible for anything but taking orders from master wouldn't know about managing their personal affairs.

The master even managed our personal affairs. He told us when to take a bath, when to take a rest, he even told us when to go play. "We don't need you any more, tomorrow is Sunday. You're off, have a good time. Go play."

So we don't expect slaves who never had to be responsible for managing their personal affairs to think that way. But, free people think that way.

Free people want to be supportive of the good things, the good operations, the good structures of society. And they will look around and see what good operation, what good structure they can support. It's those people that God enriches.

GOD ENRICHES those people. But the tight-fisted person who gets his and says, "This is mine, I'll give them nothing" that person is a miserable creature. God is not enriching him. No matter how many dollars he has, he's poor. And most of them will never get too many dollars. They stay poor forever.

It's the people who support worthwhile operations, worthwhile concerns in society who get money. They're the ones who get money.

SO IF YOU want to grow, take into your heart human concerns, institutional concerns, charities like the Clara Muhammad Foundation; programs for the poor like AMMCOP. Take such operations into your heart and set a little money aside for those operations and you'll see that you'll grow more. You'll grow richer.

I can look at you now and see that a lot of you are poor folks. I can look on your face and I can tell you've been hungry a long time.... And believe me, your problem is that you're not giving enough.

I know a lot of poor people. I'm looking at them but they don't look poor. They look rich, and it's because they're giving; they're giving and Allah has given them happiness because of that. And they're happy because of that So let's remember that.

AMMCOP IS A program -- don't forget it -- to relieve misery in the life of the poor, the miserably poor.

I'm not talking about ordinary poor folks, I'm talking about the miserably poor.
DO YOU KNOW who the miserably poor are?

The miserably poor are those people with two color televisions; with two or three phones in the washroom; with about $5,000 in radio, hi-fi; and phonograph sets -and another $50,000 in old and new records. That's the miserably poor!

With a car for each adult in the family, and getting five-day notices every six months. Can't pay the rent, can't pay the gas bill, can't pay the light bill. Open the closet door and the clothes jump out before they take them out -- too many on the rack. That's the miserably poor!

But this program is for you. The only thing I regret that you're not showing in this fashion show tonight are overalls, working boots, hard hats, pick axes and hammers. I regret that you are not or don't have anything like that on display tonight. That's the only thing that hurts me. As-Salaamu-Alaikum.