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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

Muslim Journal

Islam’s Climate for Business Success—Excerpts V
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed

The Climate of Tolerance and Balanced Revolution

Muslims have a revolution. Al-Islam is a revolution. It is the most civilized revolution. We are not asked to go out and kill parents and fight parents, because they tell their children to reject al-Islam. Allah says, "Don't obey parents in false worship, but keep good relationships with them in this world."

Muslims are to be peacemakers. "Be not aggressors," and, "If those who fight you incline toward peace, incline yourselves also." (Qur'an) People attacked our religion. People attacked Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon the Prophet. Peace and blessings be upon the Christ-Prophet Jesus. They called Jesus and others "mad." The Prophets did not come out and say, "Kill them!"

Meccans persecuted, boycotted and caused Prophet Muhammad to leave Mecca, his hometown. When the Prophet was able to really kill his enemies, he announced a period of forgiveness and said: "All offenses of the past are forgiven."

There were people there who had done cruel and horrible things to Muhammad the Prophet, to his family, to his friends and to others of his followers. In this same town, upon achieving victory, the Prophet said: "All past offenses are forgiven. Let there be no more bloodletting."

Firmness, but also forgiveness, is the way of our Prophet. When we one-sidedly follow his character, we present a one-sided view of the Prophet and a one-sided view of the religion. I believe many of us do this in ignorance.

Many of us have lived so long in a Crusade atmosphere where the "sword" and the "crescent" are in conflict. We have lived so long in that atmosphere that there has developed a kind of "cross and crescent" fixation and phobia.

Bring Sense and Respect to Our Religion

I have been told that if one renounces his religion after saying he is a believer, that person is to be killed. Agreed, if it is referring to wartime and to turncoats. Civilized armies will court martial and kill turncoats in these modern times. If a soldier supports the other side, he risks being killed. Peace times are different.

What about a situation where a person just came to a meeting, heard a sermon on the religion and got excited and said, "yes, I believe, and I would like to be a Muslim today." And that person recites the shahadah or oath of faith without knowing the religion?

Then tomorrow, he runs into a preacher of another religion who says to him, "Come to G-d; just say you believe." That person then says, "Yes, I believe." Now, you want to go out and kill him?

We need people with good clean minds and with love for humanity to see what Allah is saying in His Holy Book and then give us the right understanding. We need to be a bit cautious. Today many traditional authors think they are products of the Qur'an and products of the life of the Prophet. But many do not see a problem in their wounds and sensitivities.

They are victims of the influences of centuries of foreigners who came to their lands and changed their institutions, changed also their way of looking at the Qur'an, and changed their way of looking at Muhammad the Prophet. Many are victims of centuries of occupation and are not qualified to tell us what Allah says.

When I hear something coming out that does not sound decent for human beings, I reject it. If I don't find any support for it in the Qur'an, I reject it. I have read in a Muslim publication that the Jews and the Christians are kafirs (infidels). We sent our complaints to the country of the organization.

We are working hard here to bring sense and respect to our religion, as it is viewed by Americans. We want to appeal to them and show them the true picture of our religion. We have worked and have accomplished a lot; we have people now-looking at this religion and appreciating it. We are living in a new time with new circumstances.

People of the Book

Allah says in the Qur'an: "Say we have no contention with you people of the book. Our contention is with the idol worshippers." That is the teaching of the Qur’an, and it is the way of the Prophet.

When the government was established in Medina, the proclamation came that guaranteed the freedoms and the rights of the Jews to go on practicing their religion the way they had before. The same was granted to the Christians.

Since then, civilized Muslim leaders and nations have carried on that excellent tradition. Christians live in Muslim lands. Jews live in Muslim lands. There are long periods of productive life during the history of Muslim Spain. There in Spain were Jews and Christians and Muslims all living together and working together and prospering together under Muslim rule.

America's vision of the destiny for this continent has been called divine destiny. They came here from Europe to realize the "manifest destiny." What inspired it, I believe, was passages of their Christian scripture and the wisdom of their great philosophers and teachers. And I also strongly suspect that they had studied the great life of prosperous Muslim Spain.

It is a pity that their (Muslim Spain) achievement was lost. It was lost because of the intolerance on the part of European nations that were jealous. They were jealous to the extent they fired up ignorant prejudices to fuel the Crusades. What I say is not any criticism of Christianity; they were not living their Christianity. They were still in the grip of their ancestral savagery and ignorance.

America has been influenced recently to see certain Muslim leaders and Muslim figures as monsters of a strange psychological make-up. I don't see the Palestinian armed forces as monsters; I see them as victims of monsters. In my opinion, these monsters were human before driven mad by inhuman treatment. Human beings do not take on a monstrous image until forced by circumstances beyond their control.

Another Lesson Out of History: Southern Man vs. Northern Man

I have grown to look differently at the Southern White European American man of the once cruel South. I have grown to look at that time and the circumstances to see also Whites as victims. I have grown to lay blame on the Northern man and on the Southern man.

As long as we have the explosive sensitivities most of us have, we are not going to make it in the land of plenty. The reason why we have troubling and crippling sensitivities is that we ourselves are victims of our plight. We should know that many were rejects of Europe who were established over us in the South. Many were let out of prisons. If they would agree to work for landowners in the New World (America), they were freed.

Much of this abused lot of the Europeans settled in the South. The better educated and the more wealthy settled mostly in the New England area. America grew upon the New England area and the Southern states. The less victimized were settled in the New England region. The victims of Europe's more horrible abuses settled in the South.

When we study their history we see many Whites were abused in the way they abused us, their African slaves. What they inflicted upon us was inflicted upon them in their European lands by those of their race who were their masters. Many of them were unprepared to treat themselves or others as human beings. They were often themselves criminals and social rejects in the eyes of other Whites.

There were great minds among the Southerners, but the majority were victims of a horrifying past. I look at them now and have a different attitude. It is amazing that this mistreated lot of Whites did as well as they did. Both are survivors retaining our human nature's goodness. A deeply scarred people while yet festering should not have been given charge over our race. Babies born to slavery were put in the custody of these victims of Europe's cruelties. The South (its masses) was at the mercy of a monster formed by the hands of its history as victims.

That Infamous Period in Slavery

Have you heard the story of the lost boy who was found in the woods? He lived and survived among animals. When they discovered him, he was behaving like an animal. He could not speak. It was the same for a, child born into America's "peculiar" slavery.

If you know the history of that "infamous" period, you will know it was forbidden for anyone to give a slave any literature. Slaves were not permitted to read a Bible. They were not permitted to have anything come to them of true history. Nothing was permitted to come to the slave except what would serve to keep the slave in subhuman animal condition.

Now knowing the circumstances which had a role in shaping the Southern man and knowing the circumstances which favored the Northern man, I have come to know how the Northern man played the "master" against the "slave" and the "slave" against the "master." The Northern man did that for his own selfish exploits.

I know how the Northern man won the Civil War, occupied his Southern brothers' land and then used Blacks in Reconstruction to rub salt into his brothers' wounds by putting the slave in a position of authority. The Northern man made the slave the soldier-in-command, and the White man of the South had to come to the freed slave to get permission for certain things.

When the North occupied the South, the Northerner put members of our race in positions of authority over Whites. We may be foolish enough to say, "That is what they deserved." But the White man of the North planned for the African American and for the "White" South. He knew it was not good for our future to put us over Southern "Whites" suffering the bitterness of defeat.

The Southern White man was already saying, "Our own people have killed us, wounded us, dominated us and occupied our land." The real reason for the Civil War was the freedom of the free enterprise system.

The Northerners knew that putting "slave over master" would make any relationship for the freed slaves with former masters impossible. He knew they would never be able to live together in the South in peace. The Northern power holders had to eliminate all risks of "Blacks" and "Whites" ever uniting for a strong South.

New Plantation of Northern Factories

The Northern scheme was to get us ex-slaves up North for the labor-hungering new plantation of Northern factories. Study the early history of America's factories; they presented bad health risks. Working conditions in many early factories gave us to similar humiliation, hardship and brutal existence. More lives sometimes were lost in the factory situation than were lost on the Southern plantations. But the slave only saw freedom.

We have to grow with experience, and our senses have to become more sharpened with experience. It is not too late to look back at those circumstances and extract from them the lesson we need for today.

The lesson is to never let the people who victimized you and dominated you and abused you decide your future while you take it easy. We are going to study our social situation. We will then be in a better situation to study our political past.

It doesn't make the scientist less human because he is not dealing with this matter from his emotions. He still goes home and grabs his tender little baby and kisses it. He feels good and holds his child while watching television. He is no less human because he has divorced his stormy feelings from the problem at hand, and African Americans have to be able to do that.

African Americans must mature to the point of having sharpened sensitivities. We go into new areas. Don't go into the White man's neighborhood with no caution. That is not your neighborhood. Also be cautious going into your own neighborhoods. Be cautious to respect the residents of those neighborhoods and not be hurt by them. There are dangers in the world.

You can't expect 100 years of so-called freedom marked all over with decades of lynching and terrorist Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow Laws to disappear for African Americans to drop our guard.

Be humane in your neighborhoods at home with your own, and with outsiders of all nationalities be humane and constituted to serve your own protection, should the need present itself.