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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Model Muslim Communities

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


In addressing our desire to establish a model community or model communities throughout the United States, I must first address the conditions of the human person, the individual in this society. The circumstance that we find ourselves in as Muslims in this society is bad. I don't care if we live in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, or any other place, the condition is bad. The bigger the city, the bigger the burdens of that city and consequently, the bigger the problem for the Muslim life.

We could escape much of our problems and headaches by looking for smaller communities and centering our population in those smaller communities where people still have a sense of respect for life, for families, and for the future of man. But we know that is not the only answer for us. As preachers of the Dawah we don't want to run away from the problem, we want to address the problem. But when we look at the whole problem for ourselves, we sometimes conclude that maybe we are spending too much and sacrificing too much by concentrating all of our efforts in these big cities. We could perhaps accomplish more by concentrating part of our effort on the big cities while securing our life in smaller areas where there are less problems; build the life, secure the life, and also work in the jungle; trying to civilize the jungle.

That's a way of looking at it, that I think is getting more and more support, in our communities. As I go around the country and meet with you, I sense that more of you are desiring to pull away from the big city problems to establish your life in a more favorable environment, then attack the big city problems from a healthy situation. I favor that myself, and I'm looking all the time, for a situation for myself and my family that will be better than Chicago.

I believe the trend for the future is to dissipate the forces of these big-cities and bring about a new trend. I think the growth of small communities is the new life for America.


A Nature Not Ours

We have to review the human being and his nature. The nature of a human being is to seek a condition that is livable. We know that tolerating conditions that are against the good nature will, in time, impose upon us a nature that is not ours. We'll take on a nature that is not ours and sometimes we will go to such extremes in that deterioration, that in the eyes of healthy persons who have not undergone such deterioration, we begin to resemble wild animals, senseless beasts, vulgar creatures, that deserve no respect at all. As Allah says in the Qur'an: He has made the human being to aspire to the highest heights, however, because of his own bad behavior, he may fail to the lowest of the low. As Muslims, we should understand that we have to be watchful of the nature intended for us by our Creator.

I took a course in the Humanities at a Junior College in Chicago. On my first day in class, the professor was talking about the natural urge or desire in man. He said the aim or the goal of human life is happiness, just as it is for
all creatures who are seeking a situation that is pleasant for themselves. I had some problem with that at the time, because my definition of happiness was based on what I saw in the behavior of the society. What they were going after as happiness, in my opinion, was sadness. So I had some difficulty with his position. But I thought about it for a long time,  and I  came to realize    upon    studying   the Qur'an that actually, our Holy Book, recognizes that it is the destiny of man to be at ease, to be happy, to be in a situation that is good, pleasant and perfect for him.

That is the reason we have the concept of heaven; a blissful state that our nature is asking to be put in. But I still can't excuse that professor,   because there's a danger in only telling people to go after happiness, without any kind of intelligent guidance. God doesn't invite us just to pursue happiness; God doesn't describe us as being created just to pursue happiness. God first describes us as creatures who by nature are seeking their role and their responsibility. We are creatures of responsibility.

We don't get happiness by going directly after happiness, though happiness  is the state that our nature is ing for. We get that happiness by   doing first things first. Happiness   is   a  reward   but what have we done for it? The first thing to  do to  deserve that happiness  is  to  realize our obligation to our Creator. There should be a natural urge in the human being to feel accountable to something to feel he owes somebody something. From the first moment that we realized that we were existing in this world, we had already received   some   benefits.  

We have a well-formed body, we're breathing, there's a sense of pleasure and a sense of  pain  and  the  rewards  of pleasure are greater than the feelings of  pain; if  they weren't, we'd be crying all the time.  So  we  owe  somebody something from the very start, and   it   is   natural   for   the creature then, to feel indebted and to try to find the way to pay   his  debts.   Most  of  us come into this world, thinking that we don't owe  anybody anything but we do. We didn't pay for anything that we have, it was already paid for before we got here. Everything was a gift, our body and everything we possess was a gift. I guess that's why they call it the 'gift of life.