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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Bilalian News

Our Global Responsibility: Part 1

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate.

(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's Sunday address at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, Ill., Aug. 24, 1980.)

To our WJPC radio listening audience, the masajid, peace be unto you, As-Salaam­Alaikum.

To Allah, the Guardian, Evolver, Cherisher and Sustainer of all worlds, the common object of devotion for Christians, Jews, Muslims and all people—if we understand. Praise be to Allah, who created everything, sustains everything, and who resurrects things after their death.

I would like to begin this address this af­ternoon with a Quranic quote. We will be ad­dressing the principal problem in the Bilalian community, and a simple philosophy for cor­recting or removing that problem.

But first, to express a Quranic prin­ciple—"Do not extend your hand so far in giving help to others that you become a burden on others by doing so. And do not selfishly allow your hand to fasten to your own greedy neck to become insensitive to charity's demand on your own life."

This is an expression of a very familiar Quranic principle, and the talk this afternoon will be addressing the problem in the history of our trials and tribulations as a race or as a people, and the problems that sprout from that situation.

There is the need to expand our sense of belonging so that the sense of belonging becomes a sense of global responsibility, hence a need for a projection into the future that respects the excellence of our past and present record as a people rising towards the full ex­cellence of their human potential.

I believe that we all identify in that ascent or in that uprising, an uprising from ignorance, from mistreatment, from deprivation, from in­feriority, to the full excellence of our human potential.

Just as important is the need to see and un­derstand the natural connection between life's functions and their influences. In reading the news, trying to keep abreast of what's going on in our local and national environment, I am repeatedly reminded that the economic situation for the African-American is critical.

We keep reading about the rising unem­ployment of the African-American—that is the Bilalian people—and it has been reported that the level of unemployment for our community now is at Depression level. It is said that the national unemployment level is much better off, a much better situation than the situation that we face.

I know there is always more unemployment in our community than is reported. I know that all of the facts that are reported somehow miss some of the facts of our situation. We have heard about the Census taking and how the Census has missed so many of us and so many Hispanics. That responsibility should fall on our shoulders to see that better information is collected concerning our own affairs and our own situation.

We also are hearing how the talk of black capitalism and a possible revival of the idea of black capitalism as it was promoted under the presidency of President Nixon. I'm not here to pass on my personal opinions or private judgment, but I believe that the facts will sup­port the opinion that I'm about to express con­cerning the black capitalism or the idea of black capitalism. Especially as the approach has been attempted in the United States re­cently — especially in regards to that attempt.

A noted writer wrote a book on the nar­cissism of our culture. Narcissism, in case some of you are not familiar with the word, means the involvement with your own self while forgetting the needs of others. This writer says in his book that the effort to gain black power brought narcissism to the African-American people. He says that the in­troduction of black studies affected the education of our community in a negative way. The concept of education was depreciated; it lost much of its real substance or real content.

And we can understand that when we un­derstand that blackness for some of us is a racial term that suggests a response to cruelty under white racists. And when we can see it as an emotional word, we can understand that pursuing blackness without an intelligent plan 1,611 cause us losses. I believe that is what has happened.

Regarding black capitalism, what connection does that have with black capitalism? Our in­terest in wealth, too, is too sentimental, too emotional. Our interest in wealth should be an economic interest for the support of the whole community. Our interest in wealth should not be sentimental.

I will explain what I mean by a sentimental interest in wealth. Knowing that for a long time in America we have been watching the white man enjoy better material comfort than we have; knowing that our sentiments have been influenced while we have been watching the white man enjoy better material comforts than we have should make us understand that some of our motivation, our financial motivation, may be sentimental.
We might be influenced to try to do the things that we haven't been able to do that we have been seeing the white man do all the time. We may be moved to buy a car bigger than our means, because we have seen the white man en­joy that and we were denied an opportunity to get an income to make that possible for us.

So once we get an income that makes it possible for us to live a life-style like that we've seen white folks living, then we move sen­timentally towards acquiring those things that we have envied in the white man's achieve­ments.

And the moving that way, dear people, deprives us, denies us any real economic sub­stance in our community because our energies, our productions, our work, and our striving go for cosmetic, superficial things—unnecessary, perishable things that don't really count or measure up when we are talking about economic responsibility.