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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Business Requires Strength

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: The following is excerpted from an address Imam Muhammad made on Dec. 7, 1985 at the South East Regional Collective Buying Workshop held in Washington. D.C. This In sha 'Allah, is part one of several excerpts.)

As a people. I find that we have too much negative in us when it comes to accepting responsibility to do business. The first thing we hear is a lot of complaints. And I'm not talking about Muslims only, I'm talking about small people in general. We have too many complaints, too much negativeness in us: 'oh, we can't do this, is the first thing we say. Or how are we going to do that? We want to ask questions. We suggest that we are not ready, and really, given the long period of time that we have been doing without, or doing with, at other people's expenses, I think, as Muslims, we should just shout when somebody says, 'come, let us make an effort to improve our business circumstances. We should just shout: 'hey, let's go! Let's go!' We should be ready to go.

I've talked to people of our situation, and whether they are Muslim or not, they say, 'well, you can only do so much.' I'd say, what do you mean? I will stop a person in a minute, I will ask for an explanation. I'd say, what, you're telling me is I can't do something. What do you mean, I can't...? They'd say 'well, you know, the establishment ain't going to let you do but so much.' I'd say, what do you mean. 'Establishment'? Do you have rights? Are you doing something illegal? Is this legal what you are talking about? They'd say, 'yes, it's legal.' I'd say, then you forget the Establishment until the Establishment gets in your way and then you do all you can to get the Establishment out of your way.

So what I've been saying from the very beginning is that business is not a matter for babies and sissies. Business requires some strength and courage on your part, a willingness to fight for what you give your life and your energies to. You should be willing to fight for it. I'm not talking about picking up a physical weapon or a gun or something, but fight with your spirit, fight with your principles, fight with your rights. Don't let anything back you up.

That's number one.
We have to get rid of the fear of not being able to succeed, in business. And I'm not talking to just businessmen, I'm talking to the community of Muslims; the community of Muslims should be a business community. Not that you're in business yourself, you may not be a proprietor. We all don't have to be a proprietor, or an operator of some shop or something, no, but, we share responsibility for the business life of a Muslim community. As Muslims, we have to share that interest because God has given us one of the very fundamental principles essential to our life; an obligation to pay Zakat. How am I going to pay Zakat if 1 am always asking for Zakat.

So business is a religious obligation. It's a religious obligation for Muslims.