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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

How We Are To Establish Muslim Life In America: Part 7

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Imam W. Deen Mohammed's Phoenix, Arizona public address of January 21, 1990 is given here. We thank Allah for the opportunity to make this presentation to the Muslim Journal readers.)

As slaves, we were denied the right to own property. In many of these cities of the United States, even after we were freed, we were not allowed to own property. Certainly there were a few exceptions, but why would somebody make one-in-a-million the case? Now look at us as African Americans today. We got free from that situation of slavery and into a situation where we can have property, and many of us abuse property.

At one time we were not allowed to be a part of this business life, the financial life of the United States. We get free and can be a part of it, and cut each other down. Our people will travel twenty-five miles to trade with "a white man". We will deny our own people our support. We are in ugly competition with each other. It appears we hate to see another one of our kind succeed. Many say, "Blacks have no chance in America," and we (many) work to keep it that way.

We like to s«e our own people succeed after death, or it has to be personal. 'That's my son, you know! That's my pastor, you know!" Many have to have some personal attachment to the one who succeeds to appreciate his or her rising. The majority of us are in this sick spiritual state. It is a very sick state for us. Many deserve punishment and are punished.

You want to talk about punishment? You want to talk about really having your nose rubbed into the dirt? Look at the people who are coming up now that we used to laugh at. Do you remember the Mexicans and how many of us thought ourselves better than them? We would laugh at Africans. Do you remember how we would make fun of Africans?

Now look where the African is and where most of us are. The African comes here and is counted among "the haves". Africans are among the wealthy and the investors.

Many underestimated "the boat people" from Haiti. They came to America to establish themselves. Now, Haitians are seen progressing. Most of us want to keep going to "Pharaoh’s House" for our needs. While right in our face other ethnic groups are coming to America and setting records of progress. A curse seems to be on our race. We are cursed for failing the best aspirations of our people. We turned our backs on the best aspirations of our people. We (many) in freedom time use our freedom to promote weekend fun, violence, bigotry, and "black-on-black" crime. We have to recognize what we are faced with and overcome subtle circumstances.

We (the many) are not yet a liberated people. This is my point. A liberated people have to have something in them that is independent of (bigger than) the circumstances. For now we are a people who are just acting out the circumstances. That, we have been doing since "freedom." What happened to our ideas and plans for carrying us out and beyond defeating circumstances? We (for the most) don't have any authority bigger than the authority (the influence) of the circumstances. There is no championing authority in our lives.

All we need in our lives to make us come from this bad situation into a good one for ourselves is a productive idea bigger than the environment. A deciding purpose, a goal for ourselves bigger than the environment. We cannot do that equipped with only blind faith, "leaving it all to Jesus". Peace be on him (Prophet Jesus), we would think Jesus Christ would motivate us to "do for self.

Religion, when it is accepted that way, can only carry a people until they come into contact with a truly free people they have to compete with. To have long lived achievements, the need is a vision that gives us its spirit. A people without vision will be the slave of a people with vision. A people without vision will remain inferior to the people with vision.

As a race, we depend excessively on other people. It is because we (most) are blind-faith Christians, having spirit detached from vision. Most are not Christians of vision. It is not that we have not had intellectuals in Christianity. Some African-American intellectuals in Christianity have found a vision in Christianity. But they have not been able to turn on enough of our people to bring a healthy situation in this country for Christian African-Americans.

I believe the main thing that makes establishment of the "black man" so difficult is that Christianity as an image-centered religion is unnatural for us and counter productive for us. Even if you were to make Jesus black, it would still be unnatural for us.

There are those who hold that Jesus and Mary are "black". But it cannot take them out of their difficulty. Because deep down, whether they face it or not, they know that changing color is patch work convenience, and that in the big wide world Jesus Christ is a "white man". Some people in Detroit and in Chicago changed the "white" Jesus to a "black" Jesus. It did not change their defeating circumstances.

A lost desperate child who is dissatisfied with his real father says, "I hate him!" He brings a picture of a stranger and says, "This is my father." He is not going to get healthy. He has compounded the problem. Ruled by emotional desperation, the child lives to free himself, but grows more lost.

To make Jesus Christ an African American is a lie. To make Jesus an African is a lie. He was not an African, he was not an African American. 'The Bible says Christ Jesus had hair like lambs wool." Most don't know what they are reading. The Bible says he had eyes like "Burning coals." Do you want eyes like that?

Allah (God the Creator of all) intends for us to be saved by Al-Islam. He intends for us to rise in dignity not only in America but also in the international world (as Muslims). Allah intends that we overcome our ethnic weaknesses with Al-Islam. That we establish ourselves in a spiritual way, in a moral way, and in a material way with Al-Islam. That is what Allah intends for us. Trying other things is wasting time and makes more problems for our group.

Muslims, be happy. I don't expect the African Americans in mass to come from the Church just by hearing me say these things. I want us to be uplifted. I want you to be stronger in and to your situation. Muslims, know that this is not just your choice: this is Allah's Purpose, this is Allah's Will, this is Allah's Choice. The more we live truthful to the content of our religion, to the reality of our religion, the more Allah is going to lift us up in worth as a group.

Do you think the people are saved by a majority? Study history. Societies have always been saved by a minority (a select few). Understand also, that our religion insists upon certain disciplines that if we bought them, we would be a success even if we don't understand much religious mystery. We don't have to understand all the mysteries in our religion to be raised up. If we would pay the price of disciplines, we would start to be a success overnight.

Some of these disciplines are: you are not supposed to be intoxicated. No liquors. No reefers. No drugs.

Another big problem for us is hypertension, high blood pressure. The principle of (the rule of) wisdom in our religion is that anything harmful to you if taken in relaxed amounts is forbidden in any amounts. Anything taken in the excess is also forbidden. You would not take at one time a cup of salt, a cup of sugar, a cup of oil or grease, a cup of vinegar into your body. I saw someone making a drink and had to ask, "Hey, are you going to drink sugar?" The answer was, "I like it."

Accept that the defeating circumstances in our lives is an enemy. Then be on guard against such circumstances. This should be done at home or wherever. Discipline self to not be overcome by the adverse influences in our environment. With Islamic disciplines we are making progress. It is guaranteed.

Check our appetites. Control our own life. Get the benefit. And isn't that real freedom? Freedom is to feel that my life is mainly in my own hands (control). Slavery is when my life is not in my own control. Our religion instructs us to take charge of our own lives and be responsible for our own personal and individual lives.

To be continued...