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A.M. Journal

Imam Muhammad's address to 1st Political Awareness Confab: Part 2

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(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.)

Dear beloved Muslims, a people's rise in the level of civilization and progress is a product of their sense of community. Through us, Allah — when I say "Allah" I mean the One God — is going to bless the ignorant and the innocent in these wasted Communities of America.

They cannot be helped directly because they have been so beaten down by the trials and tribulations that met them when they tried to get up or go forward. But through our model they will be helped. They have given up hope and they won't respond to our call. They can't hear. They are afraid to listen.

They fear to turn an ear, but they can be helped indirectly — they respond when they see something. We respond on faith, and they will see something because of our faith. Praise be to Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the great teacher said, there's no compliance to the unlawful. If your leader bids you to do wrong, don't obey him. The members of the Muslim society obey only . what is lawful. And we don't care . how big the authority is —:if they bid us to do what is unlawful, the true believer will balk, stop, say no! Praise be to Allah.

WE HAVE TO understand that we are not responsible for the progress and favorable circumstances .in our life today. We have to understand that the labor of many who have passed away with their suffering and their sacrifices have worked to make possible whatever conveniences, whatever opportunities we have today.

We have to become a grateful people — grateful to God,  grateful to history,
grateful  to  those  men  who made it honorable, and grateful to those women who made it honorable. We have to become history conscious people. We have to have a sense of progress in time so that we don't become arrogant, defiant and ugly in our attitudes.

Dear beloved people, we are a unique and peculiar lot. I don't know of another people in history who were put in our kind of situation — separated from the past, cut off from ancestral, traditional life and thoroughly subdued or oppressed by the kind of slavery and the degree of slavery that we have experienced.

I don't know of a people in history who experienced such circumstances and sought freedom, but did not realize that they needed an education for liberation — an education for liberation coming from them and not from the oppressor. I only know of us.

I think that is because we are the only people in history who have suffered the extent of separation from past life and past experiences that removed the natural urge to equip the members of our lot with an education for liberation.

It (liberation) was attempted but it was never completed. We were not sophisticated enough to meet the connivance of the power holders, the exploiters of the West. We were not sophisticated enough to deal "^with them, to meet their schemes and beat them at their game and win for ourselves dignity and establishment.

WE HAD PEOPLE who made a contribution, but their contributions were not recognized for what they really were.

W.E.B. DuBois attempted to lead the restoration of the African-American person's mind and intellect. Carter G. Woodson and others stand out. In fact, Booker T. Washington, although he was addressing more so the physical circumstances rather than the intellectual needs, he too attempted to bring about a rebirth in the African-American person -to lead or to head a plan for equipping the African-American man's mind for survival and progress in this part of the world at that time.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was definitely trying to do the same. He was trying to head up the work of restoring to the African-American person a mind of his own.

They all attempted but they didn't complete the work.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad couldn't complete the work because the. effort of those who influenced him to come into his work was divided. They were trying to attend to problems of the white race and problems of the black race at the same time.

MANY OF US who lived the nation of Islam, as it was called, knew it very well, heard its message almost daily, supported it, but will never understand the motivation and the work of the man we used to call god — the teacher of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

But I have to say and we all should understand that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was sincere and his heart was not divided. He was not trying to save white America; he was trying to save black America. His heart was not divided.

Mind you now, don't think that I'm saying that it's not proper or it's not right, or I don't think that someone should try to save "black" and "white" America — no. I do accept that. But if you're not going to come all the way clean, you're going to make a mess of it and you're going to leave both white America and black America in a worse situation than they were ever in before.

Let us not lose a sense of history. Today we live at home with central heating and cooling. I'm not that old and 1 can recall times in Chicago when there were poor people on the South Side of Chicago my mother used to take me to their homes — whose homes were heated by old potbellied iron stoves. Many of them were cooking and eating their food right on top of that stove.

In fact, I remember attending a meeting at a sister's house on 31st and Vernon Street on the South Side of Chicago, when I was a little boy. We had a temple meeting there, and the sister cooked for the group. She cooked squash pie and we were right there when she cooked it on the pot-bellied stove.

IT'S GOOD TO recall those days. Western man used to heat his home with a fireplace. He moved from fireplaces to radiators, from radiators to central heating and cooling. That's progress, real progress. It's good to keep a sense of history. Praise be to Allah.

I guess you all are saying this is a political convention. What does he have to say on political awareness?

What do I have to say? Peace. Mercy. That's what the Muslim has to say in America- Peace to the right. Peace to the left. It's straight down the middle for us. Progress! Praise be to Allah, So don't worry.

ANOTHER STEP that is badly needed if we're going to succeed is the building of dignity and community excellence. We have to have a climate for growth. We're not going to grow as a poor striving people if we're going to be distrustful of each other without grounds, without reason.

The past experiences, the past letdowns — the disappointed expectations — have sensitized us so that we are distrustful of each other. We ask that one of our own kind be a spook, be an angel, or a Divine being before we will give him support.

But a foreigner, a white man, American white, a Western man, a non-black, can come among us and we just relax our guard and walk behind him without any worries. We have to be aware of that kind of conditioning and force ourselves out of that.

Say, "Hell, this is a stupid attitude — a stupid position on my part. If I have to pick out my own eyetooth, I'm going to force myself to come out of this silly distrustful nature." Especially when it comes to the concern of the ongoing people.

Come on out of that. God is with us!

I'M NOT ONE to draw attention to myself, I'm here out of necessity. I'd much rather be living a private life. God knows that. But in the years of success that you have from 1975 to today is strength, food. Food for hope, food to get rid of this weakness, this distrust in us.

It is the doing of our Creator. It is the doing of the Greater One, that the son of Elijah Muhammad has become your leader.

They may charge me with being delinquent in paying my taxes but they can't charge me with being dishonest or avoiding that obligation. Sometimes I know I don't owe them anything so I just wait late before filling out my tax papers. Now that's not a good habit, I know I shouldn't do that, but I have so many things on my mind and on my back.

In this 10 years — 10 years because actually I began supporting this following of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad who now have become the following of the Prophet, in the Sunnah of the Prophet.

I WAS SUPPORTING that following preaching in different parts of these United States before February 1975. so actually that is 10 good years of works, 10 good years of trust. I have trusted the good people and they have trusted me. I have not let the good people down, they have not let us down. Praise be to Allah.

Don't you know that is strength? That's unheard of in the African-American community, where a leader comes behind a leader who was before him with profoundly different ideas and receives sufficient support from the past membership or the past order and then begins to reduce the amount of income to himself as the years progress.

History shows that the men who have come into position have increased the amount of money coming to themselves as the years progress. But the record stands - you can see it any time you want. 1 have pushed away money as the years have progressed, because 1 know my security will best be served if I put that money in my future life.

I may die any moment, but you are my future life. I am a product of the word of God, and I follow the most excellent mode, the great teacher. Peace and blessings be upon him. So, I'm nothing but a striving follower.