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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

The Islamic Role Of Business: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave this address at the Grand Opening ceremonies of the new Atlanta Masjid of At-Islam on December 30, 1990. From this address Imam Mohammed has now prepared this article for Muslim Journal's readers.)

We can get money and have a good bank account and think ourselves to be well off. We may have our cars for each family member and a new house and be depressed by a life of wasting earnings.

We have people thinking, "Well, I'm doing okay and I'm making it." However, they are not conscious. We don't want that kind of success where we have money in the bank, a home and nice cars, but we are unconscious of the duties of our religion. This type person will be condemned for having nothing in the right hand. All that will be there is sin.

Morally speaking, sinning is unconscious behavior. You can have achievement in the world, but if that achievement was by sin then sinning is unconscious behavior and makes for nothing in "the right hand."

Conscious responsibility, if we accept it, will make us great people. It will make for peace in our souls by achieving in the right way. We cannot just achieve in any kind of way. We cannot achieve by haram, for it will not be accepted. There will be nothing in the right hand. The right hand of a Muslim has nothing but halal in it. If there is haram in the right hand of the Muslim, then the right hand is lost and the sinner is left with only the left hand to present.

I would like to see us grow with more appreciation for this religion as the religion of successful people. Allah says, "...and the believers must win through." The believers must triumph. And why is that? It is because what they believe in is productive. This is what we have been missing. We have been misdirected and made afraid to talk about achievement. We want achievement, and we want a continuous life of achievement - achievement behind achievement. Allah the Merciful says to the Prophet, "When you finish one thing, get involved productively in something else." When we finish one thing, don't accept to be idle.

So you have not quite finished the masjid here. Right now the work project is coming to a close. Right now I know you are thinking for the next project. When you conclude or complete one project you want to get right into another productive involvement.

Allah has given us opportunity and has provided resources. Allah has also given the facilities. What will be done with opportunities depends on conditions within and also the circumstances without or outside of our persons. Sometimes the circumstances without are good, but the conditions within are bad. Therefore, we cannot get the benefit. Sometimes the conditions within are good and the circumstances without are bad and we can't get the benefit right now.

Once conditions are right within, we will be stopped today, but we will never accept to be quitters. I am glad that I was born into the environment of my past. I was born into an environment where people had faith in themselves. I give my father and mother a lot of credit. They were hard working sacrificing country folks who did not believe in lying around vegetating and drying and turning into dust.

My parents did not accept to be idle. They believed that they could make it. I heard my mother say, "Well, I don't know how long we will have what we've got. But I know that I can get out here, if I have to, and wash and iron and take care of other people's clothes." My mother was not going to accept that she was going to sit somewhere and die because no one would give her something. She would say, "I know I can make it." And that spirit went into us.

My father, I do not have to tell you about him. Everyone knows him. Any time a man tells you, 'This white man is nothing but a baby. We tie him on our little finger and sling him off like that." Coming up in a house with a man like that makes you not ready to quit. I thank Allah for blessing me with people who had that kind of spirit. I am never ready to quit. But I am patient, as your Imam has said.

I want to be a very patient man. I do not like to walk fast. My mother used to say, "Wallace, I am afraid that what will be your failure in life is that you are just going to let everything go by you. Boy, pick up your pace. You are slow as molasses in the winter time." She would tell me all of those things and it would help me. But I still find myself moving slowly.

I like to see where I'm going. I don't like to move in the dark. But I am aware that being slow or procrastinating or putting off today for tomorrow what I should be doing today is a problem and a defect. I am aware of that. My mother's cautioning me and criticizing me helped me to be more aware of defects. I do not move too fast in certain situations. It depends on how much light I have.

The pilot of the plane will say, "We have one quarter of a mile visibility." And that pilot will be acting accordingly. I think most of us who carry a lot of responsibility have to be that way. The more responsibility we get on ourselves, especially when other people are trusting us with their interest, we cannot just be moving fast ahead of ourselves and losing contact with essentials in the matters we are trusted with.

I appreciate being here with you and thank Allah for the blessing of begin here for this occasion. I do hope that this spirit to be good Muslims and to have a life of halal and a life of achievements in education for our schools, for our business people will continue to grow and spread from places like Atlanta to touch others in towns big and small and catch on like industrial fires - not like wild fire. I pray it catches on like industrial fires and fire us up for more achievements. We will raise ourselves up by our own work efforts and by our obedience to Allah. Steadily we will rise up out of poverty and out of the image of a people begging. Our spirit will not let us be a people depending on others for our tomorrows.

I don't want you to get lost in material mindedness. But Allah has inspired me, I do believe, to work for righteous establishment, for strong business, for strong educational institutions, for those strong institutions needed in community life. We want to be a strong industrious people who can make and sustain material accomplishments in this life. We must keep in mind all is made possible by Merciful Allah.

Isn't it wonderful to see as a part of religion reward for our material accomplishments? Allah, will reward us for our material accomplishments. All He asks is for us to keep the Taqwa - keep the fear and obedience for Him. Those who have accomplishments will be over those who have no accomplishments. Those who have material achievements will be over those who have no material achievements. We don't want to be slaves to people of material means.

Malcolm had a way of dealing with the white man when the "white man" would be jamming him. Malcolm would say, "Why don't you just ask yourself what do you want?" Malcolm would then say, "Well, that is what I want." Now I will add, "and we want it halal!"