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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Al-Islam’s Promotion Of Business And Its Development

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(Editorial Note: Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this address to the invited public and business persons on June 10,1989 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.)

(Note from Imam W. Deen Mohammed: My somewhat random and unwritten speeches often require not only editing, but also the re-writing of rough parts. I like to improve.)

As-Salaam-Alaikum. That is peace be unto you I did not expect that we would be paid such honor here today in what I thought was a very- small town. I knew it was a "heavy" area out here, for I have visited this area before. Years ago I visited this area with my father, an (Hit that time we called this the "field ministers" territory. But I see you have some heavyweights out here tonight! We are honored and we appreciate our guests from public service and from the private sector for coming out and joining us for the Appreciation Awards Banquet.

It really gives us a great lift. Many of us do not know that we have as many excellent people in government and in the private sector as we have in these smaller cities. I'm to address the Muslim business persons — men and women, I hope we have Muslim sisters who are in business. Those sisters in business who are with us here tonight please raise your hands. Yes, there are some here. Are there any brothers here m business? Praise be to Allah that brothers in business are here also.

If I had said, "How many sisters here are employed," I know you would see more hands go up than brothers', if brothers were asked the same. Even those sisters who list themselves as home keepers and housewives, they are employed and have full time jobs. So brothers, it looks like we are the only ones with a problem of unemployment.

We always like to begin by giving recognition to Allah, who is responsible for everything that is good, and is responsible for all the benefits that we receive. Giving recognition to Him, we say "With Allah's Name, the Gracious, the Merciful.” I We give thanks to him for the blessing of the last and universal Prophet, Muhammed, upon him be peace and prayers and what follows of the best salutation.

In addressing you on the role of Al-Islam in promoting business and its development, I'm going to begin with certain quotes from the Qur'an. It is "scholars'" tradition that we first give these verses in Arabic whether the speaker himself knows what he is saying or not. The speaker is supposed to give what is said in the Qur'an. first in its original text as it t.- in the Arabic. I thank Allah that I do know the Arabic quotes and their meanings. I will be quoting from several surahs (chapters) in the Qur'an.

"For those who do good in this world, there is good." In other words, the blessing of good is guaranteed. If you do good, you are going to receive good. We know that is also common language and common knowledge of the good and morally upright people, We all think that to do good is to get good. I have heard that so many times on the streets, in homes, and from my teachers.

This quote is from Chapter 16 of the Qur'an. "And certainly the home of the Destiny is best for those who are regardful. " We are to recognize the Lord Creator (Allah) as being uppermost in the attention to regardfulness. It continues. "Then will you not be informed?"

I will go to another quote from the Holy Quran, but will not give chapter and verse.
"That special home of the Destiny we have made it for those who do not want dominance over the earth and who do not want to make corruption." Allah also says in the Qur'an, "And seek by the means that Allah has availed you the home of the Destiny. However do not forget your share of this world."

Prophet Muhammed has said, peace and blessings be upon him, "Live in the world as though you are going to die tomorrow. And live as though you will never die."

Before going further. 1 want to come back to some key words in these quotes from Quran. "Ahsanu," simply translated means. "They do good," A teacher tells his student when that student has excelled, "Ahsanta." It means that you have done excellent. There are many other Arabic terms for the expression "good." "Absanu" means they have done good in the spirit of goodness and human excellence.

For those who do that in this world there is "hasanah." "Hasanah" means goodness, excellence, Allah is assuring us, if we perform excellently, strive for excellence, we are going to have excellence to our credit in the world. If we strive for excellence in business, according to what Allah says here, we are to have excellent results in business in this world. We will have excellence to our credit as business persons.

What we are doing here is trying to present how our religion addresses the concerns of business and all material benefits. It is concern for a balanced life. Mind you, we began with the emphasis on "the Destiny." For us "the Destiny" is to be understood mainly in two ways:

There is the common way that the great religions understand Destiny. We have to meet Allah one day. We have to account for our lives and for how we lived or how we conducted ourselves. If we have done good, we expect to be rewarded accordingly. The reward for that is a place in paradise or in heaven, which is a blissful life, a happy life eternally. Yet it is a life on a different plane, in a different dimension.

However, "the Destiny, "is also to be understood in this life. The Muslim's concept of hell and heaven is different from the concept of hell and heaven given in most religions as I understand them. Our (Muslim) concept is different in that we believe we experience both conditions of heaven and hell in this life, and Allah rewards us with both in this life. What we do of evil will earn for us a bell on this earth at the address, "4161 South Michigan, Gary. Indiana, "or whatever the address may be. At that address the hell will come.

We also believe that if we manage our lives as Allah intended, also at that address the heaven will start. We believe that both heaven and hell are conditions that start in this very life here. Allah says you will not get the fullness of it until the resurrection. You will not see hell in full, you will not see heaven in fullness until the resurrection. But here in this lifetime you get a little of both, hell and heaven.

Some may say. ''Well. I have gotten enough of hell already, and I don't expect any more." And I want to agree with you. you probably will not get any more. Some of you have been punished so much by sins in this life, that I don't think you will get anymore hell. But you must turn around, please.

Allah, with His Book (Qur'an) informs you that if you do good and strive and work for excellence in this world, you are going to receive excellence and get the result of excellence to your credit, recognition, and enjoyment. I'm addressing you business people. So if you work for excellence in your business, then your business will be seen for excellence. People will identify you and your business with excellence. It will be said you have an excellent product, you give excellent service. But you will not get that unless you strive for it in the spirit of excellence, goodness.

Look again at what Allah says, the home of the Destiny is "khair." The term "khair" is translated as meaning best, good and better. To understand the word "khair," it is a strong word for what is good and is distinguished from other terms that mean good.

"Khair" means "useful" also. Not only what is "useful" to you, but what is useful to everybody. It is not only "useful" in your town, but in all towns. Not just in your country, but in all countries. It means that which is claimed by everybody as being good and useful. It is that which has universal value and is seen as good and useful universally, by all nations, by all people.

There are times when we will have something and claim it to be so good. And perhaps it is that good, but it does not mean that it is good for everybody. We may go just next door and offer it, and the house next door will not want it. So Allah in calling us to "khair" (good and excellence) is calling us to what is best and of universal value and usefulness. Allah calls us to what can be appreciated as such by all people.

We have another idea about the Destiny. We believe Allah points us to the Destiny to tell "us that to work for the "future good" is best. To look to the future for results and for establishment and to plan the long range plan is better than the disposition to have immediate, quick, "benefit-me-now" results.

We as business persons will know that to be true. The quick plan just for today or just for next, week or next month when the rent is due, those quick plans to get the things done are not as important to my life and to my son's life, to my daughter's life and to my wife's life as will be that long-range plan that looks way ahead into the future. The long-range plan looks beyond my children to my children's children. That is the way we should think.

When you are in business, you should not think of having a business just for your own immediate concerns. If you don't have children, you should think of other relatives and close friends. You should say, "I would like to see my relative or close friend inherit what I have. I hope to find one to qualify to take over this business before I leave this life." If that person is younger than you, that is good planning. But if not younger, then you should look around for someone else. We should work for the distant future and not just for now (today, the weekend).

This will make our work more effective and long tasting and will make our work have more substance now and later. The Prophet said, "Live as though you are going to die tomorrow, but again live as though you are going to never die." That means that your business should not be a seasonal business. If it is a "seasonal" business, then you should have a cycle of businesses. Say to yourself, "This business I am in is seasonal. And when its season runs out, I will replace it with this one." It is okay to take up seasonal businesses, for there is also good money in these quick and seasonal things. They may not last more than two weeks sometimes. But if you can see your success and hit it while it is hot, while opportunity is knocking at your door for a time, maybe only for two weeks, you may make good money. But don't stop there.

Allah says, "As soon as you have finished or accomplished one (beneficial) task, immediately enter into another." Many of you can quote to me that verse in Arabic, and you do not have a job. You should be ashamed of yourselves. It is important for us to talk on these things. I can hear you saying, "Well, I'm a small businessman. Why do you want to talk to me about those heavy ideas?"

The common persons, the persons of small means who did not go to school to study business law, ethics and all to learn how to be decent and manage themselves sometimes gain rich establishment. They are just decent people by nature, by spirit, by habit. They are just decent. They will get into a business and thrive and thrive because of industriousness and decency. Allah will just bless them to have things to "turn to gold" for them.

You can ask them, "How did you do alt of that and you only have an eighth grade elementary school education?" They will answer, "Allah just blessed me." Or "I've been fortunate." "I can just put my hands to things and hopes materialize for me." You will meet people like that who have been very successful. I only think of how much more successful they would have been, if they had the education and business field training or assistance to go with their natural excellence.
(To be continued)