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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


A.M. Journal

Imam Muhammad's Address To 1st Political Awareness Confab: Part 1


(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam W. Deen Muhammad's address at the 1st National Political Awareness Convention, held Aug. 25, 1984 at the Convention Center, Washington, B.C.)

With the name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate. We ask His blessing on this convention and we expect success and rewards to come from Him.

We ask the peace and the blessings upon the great teacher and the great human, Muhammad the Prophet. Upon his descendants, his companions, the righteous and upon us be peace. Amin.

LET US FIRST understand who we are. We are striving for community excellence. We are the poor strivers. Our aim is to build models of community excellence.
A people by their own doings may become the target for abuses. Now we know of the wrongs of the past and of the wrongs of the present done to poor dependent people, to the African-American, but we must also be aware that our own doings may invite abuses upon us.
So we have to be very careful to study our own past behavior and attitudes in our own community to see to what extent we have been responsible for abuses that we have been suffering.

You know, there are people who say — I know they say it and most of them are right here in our own community; I don't know if they are here, at this meeting — "The Imam is not realistic." They say, "The Imam doesn't recognize the circumstances and the limited capacity of the masajid." Well, what they are saying is that we are getting too big for our own britches.
I have had an environment that has made me have faith in what we can do. That environment was influenced by the courageous, ambitions, vision, aspirations and faith in the people demonstrated in the life of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad —may Allah forgive him his sins and grant him Paradise.

I'M NOT WITH those who walk trembling as we go to our duty, I am with men like Samuel Bilal. And I thank Allah that we are increasing in that kind of support.
So, let us not be worried by those who say, "Oh, they are showing off. They won't be able to accomplish what they are trying to do." Let us not be discouraged. When they say that we are trying to be important, let's reply, "We are going to become more important!"
How are we going to do that? By giving more attention first to our family needs, and secondly, to the common interest of all good people in America, and humanity-at-large. This is the way we are going to do that.
We are going to do that by coming into a sensitivity bigger than the neighborhood block, bigger than white and black conflicts, bigger than race consciousness. That's how we're going to do it.

THE STEPS OF the past start with a sense of community. If people come into a sense of community they will come into life and happiness. It requires also a sense of history. We're not where we are by accident, or by some superstitious act; we are where we are because of great people who lived before us—our leaders.
We can't speak of Africa, because our life was completely cut off from Africa— we can only speak of Africa in vague terms. But we can speak of America, of this part of the world with clear perception.

EVEN WHILE our people were in physical bondage, there were brave men and brave women who said, "No! God did not intend this for me." We don't hear much of them because it is not good for the situation of those who would like to see us subjected. And it's not good for the situation of those whites who bear guilt and misjudge us and fear the consequences of an enlightened, properly informed African-American man.

We have to understand American progress. America got started with people who came from the old world, as they call it. Most of them were seeking a situation that would favor their nobler aspirations, their better instincts and appetites. They were seeking a place that would permit human growth, freedom and prosperity for the human person.
Many of them who came here were very much like those who recently came on the boats from Cuba - rejects, mentally deranged, perverts, criminally insane people who had been denied an opportunity to grow in civilization. They came here too because their labor was needed. They came as free people. We were brought here as slaves.

We became the victims of that degenerate lot through the manipulation and the cunning of the greedy aristocratic men who came also from the Old Country— the materialists.
SO HERE we have these ugly images in American history. Rich people who cared nothing about human life, only wanting to exploit it for material gain, and poor degenerates who had been oppressed themselves and denied enlightenment and denied culture by the same rich materialists in their own homeland.
But because of the revolution in the thinking of the Western man brought on by Martin Luther and other advocates of reform in the Church and freedom for man—because of such persons and support for such persons and their great ideas—the majority of the
people who came over here in the earliest days were human beings with clean, noble, human aspirations.

But they could not manage to control the influences of evil that came also into this country. It took them many generations before they could get enough moral support in this country to bring about the changes and circumstances for freedom and emancipation of the African-American man.
WHEN YOU THINK of the circumstances of the past, how men and women lived in those days, how they had to drive for months, sometimes on horseback sometimes with a horse .and carriage to get to their location; how many of them suffered epidemics, pestilence, disease, severe cold, etc.; how many of their own family members or a great percentage of their towns would be wiped out, you ask, did they give up? No!

See how a sense of history does wonders for an ignorant people. And believe me the designers who want to keep us—the poor strivers —from dignity, they want to keep us from a sense of history. They don't want us to have a sober, balanced life.
But we, the poor strivers will make it. The evils of yesterday did not destroy us and the evils of today won't destroy us.
I know that there is a Greater, and the Greater is always with the poor striver. Don't give up. Don't give up!
A certain preacher says our time has come. I say the poor strivers don't wait on the time to come, we set our own time.

THE WORLD HAS a clock and Allah has a clock, and when He gives it to us we set our own time. I agree with the reply from the opposite camp, their time has passed. But we set our own time. Praise be to Allah.
The steps that we have to take require that we have an understanding of hostilities and conflicts in the life of the American people, especially for the blacks and the whites. We can't go on living day after day without giving serious attention to history and present circumstances.
A people can't go far if they don't have a sense of destiny. A sense of destiny
quickens us, sensitizes us and prepares us for the future.

In the striving poor, we have people who have not given up on the future. They still believe that their excellence is waiting for them just down the road a little piece.
The hope of the African-American population is in the striving poor. You should come to the (same) realization that I have come to—by the grace of God— and that realization is that the path to hell is broad and there are many walking it, but the path to excellence is narrow and a few have survived.
I've contented myself to devote my energies for the sake of the striving poor.