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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


World Muslim News

Freedom Of Growth And Development

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from an address given by Imam Warith Deen Muhammad at Masjid Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Sunday, April 25, 1982.)

What I am about to say is for those who identify with what I believe in — my vision that I follow, which is Islamic. But it is also representative of my own understanding in this religion — those who identify with that and support that first in the leadership; that means the Imams and whoever has charge of any responsibility in this community.

It might not be anything but coming here and opening the door.
Everybody that is in any position of responsibility in this community, I want you to know this: that we are obligated to work for and establish conditions that will welcome and accommodate the personal growth of every member.

Any time we promote conditions in this community that stifle the growth of the individuals in this community, then we are not at all serving the main cause; we are, in fact, oppressing that cause.

We didn't make these changes that we made from the old Nation of Islam to keep the people in prison, to keep their potential and their creative energies bottled up and deny them the freedom to express their own minds and their own intelligence and their own creativity. We didn't make those changes for that; we did it for the express purpose of changing that kind of condition and bringing about a condition that would welcome the contribution of each and every individual person.

And none of us is to own each other. Whatever a person has the ability to create and to present to the society as worth, we have no personal claim on that and we don't have a masjid claim on that. If you are a businessman, say you can do a great job in any kind of business, the masjid shouldn't own you; the Imam shouldn't own you, nobody has the right to own you.

Say you are a member of this community with talent who has come back into this community, your income is a decision of this community; no indeed — you are a free individual.

Prophet Muhammad never said that any individual had to bring his business or his talent under any dictatorship or under any authority in the Muslim community. No indeed! In the days of Prophet Muhammad businessmen and women did their business freely; it was a free enterprise system.

No one was policing their businesses or dictating to them what kind of policies they should have in their businesses or telling them what kind of percentage they should give back — no. The same percentage that hit everybody else hit them, and that was the percentage of charity that everybody gave.

Nobody had the right to snoop into another's business or to tell a person who had a talent that they had to use that talent in a certain way or they wouldn't get the benefit of the market of the Muslims. That is wrong. This market is a free market, it's an open market, the system is free enterprise.

That is why Saudi Arabia can warm up to America and have such a good relationship with America, not because they have the same religion, but because they both believe in the free enterprise system to which Russia and some other countries are opposed. So we have to understand what we represent. That is the only condition under which I will work with you. Believe it.

If those are not the conditions that you are going to accept then we might as well say good-bye right now. That's right. And believe me, I have said good-bye to a whole lot of them already because they can't see eye to eye regarding this particular principle.