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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

September 4 1992

Muslim Journal

"Dealing with Money Problems": Part 6

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(This article has been prepared for Muslim Journal's readers by Imam W. Deen Mohammed. It is prepared from his public address given in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, May 23, 1992 at the Dallas Convention Center.)



What will do the most for us is told in many ways. It is in the scriptures that this great leader of Moses's people went to Jericho. The walls of Jericho were a block and in their way. So they blasted the horn three times. But we only need one blast. The one blast that we need is perception ["They do not know the Book except as regards matters of faith". Qur'an]

Work on improving the perception, not just their perception of one thing but their perception of the total reality. You won't see the results all at once, but it will be continuous, steady, and the results will continue to come. When you present the Islamic perception of the total reality, ail the natural law and natural reality support that perception. When you present that, you can call it scientific or whatever you want to call it, it will shatter the house of myth, fairy tales and none reality.

We need to correctly educate the perception of the people. Whether you do it in the name of Islam or in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, peace be upon the prophet, whether you do it in the name of one thing or the other, work on bringing the perception of man and the external world to agree with what is fact and reality in this real system we call the world and space. How can we expect people to manage adult responsibility with kindergarten, fairy tale preschool ideas of reality in their heads: It cannot happen.



The American society I do believe is the most advanced society on earth in terms of science, industry, and secular world advances. But when it comes to religion and culture, we Americans are the most primitive people walking this planet. We are primitive in our cultural thinking. We are primitive in our religious thinking. When you think that you can go to the church and someone can lay a hand on you and you are going to come out all right, then what makes you any different from that savage in the jungle who goes to the witch doctor for a root or to have him lay his hand? If you believe that looking at some image is going to heal you, what makes you any different from what we call a savage who looks at his image and says it heals him?

I'm not going to hurt you too much today. And the medicine man never says to you that he is not going to hurt you. He says, "This will pain a little bit, but it is good for you!" And I do believe that we are the people most burdened on this earth with myths. Myth burdened perception does not prepare us for the challenge of reality. We can deal with small problems and can survive and do very well, but big problems eliminate us and remove us from the struggle or battle of life for survival. We are moved to give up, to throw up our hands.

These people now who are advocating Afrocentricity are doing nothing but adding more confusion and more mind-locking myths upon our youth. I have nothing against Africa. I love Africa. I too advocate us becoming more aware of Africa. Ever since I have been preaching I have done that. But why lie? Don't tell any more lies. Lies have our children shooting and killing each other and not valuing their life and other human beings? Lies have them in that state. Don't say they are out of jobs and that's why they are in that state.



We were out of jobs one hundred years ago, and we weren't killing each other. We were freed from slavery and didn't have jobs, but we didn't want to kill ourselves off. We had much less, were hungry, ragged, and naked. We were only hoping just to have enough so the children could go to bed without hunger pains in their stomachs. We knew we were going to be hungry all night, but we didn't start killing each other. So don't say that it is the material condition or unemployment that makes these kids kill each other. That is not the only answer, and it is only a small part of it.

The big part of it is blind behavior. The big part of it is the state within. The society is responsible for it, because it feeds lies to them about self and the external world. It is what society has fed them as lies about man and about what a human being is. Any time an African American youth is told the black man is god, you are rigging him up to destroy self sooner or later. He may seem to be doing well for a while, but watch him. In time he is going to become destructive if he does not back up off from that idea (lie) you gave him.



The answer in my conclusion is to go back to the original motivation. This is philosophical, but I will try to give it to you quickly. The original motivation in life (before we are even conscious) is improvement, excellence, betterment, growth, growth towards more and more improvement and excellence and efficiency. That is the original motivation in life.

The simple cell comes here and is not satisfied to be a simple cell. It combines with other cells so as to become more productive and more efficient and to do bigger and more things. All of the time it is growing, it is following a law of disciplined behavior and to have an artistic pattern. That is what we find in nature. When we become conscious, something tells us to want to do better.

The new baby has a desire for decency, a desire for comfort. Comfort is to be free of waste, free of filthy things. The baby is motivated just like that cell to become more efficient and to become a more complex and a better performing and a richer entity with bigger and more possibilities. The new baby is not satisfied to sit down or lay down always. It wants to rise up. Eventually it wants to stand up on its own feet.

Have you seen a child stand up for the first time? I've seen it, and it makes you feel so happy. You share that child's victory. You see the fear on that child but with the fear is the pride, faith and excitement. Fear is doing it the first time. But pride is, "I did it!" The happiness is there saying, "Look!" And the baby joins us in walking like we walk.

From a simple cell to a self-supporting individual there is a motivation towards betterment. Original motivation is towards better performance and more performance. Life wants to do more things and to do them better. We need to call to excellence to motivate excellence. One word takes care of it all, "excellence". Aspire and work for the society to be motivated by excellence. I am sure we can reach all of the people with that.

Don't worry about telling them, "Hey, you are drinking liquor!" Do you think Prophet Muhammed, the prayers and the peace be on him, went out and the first thing he told his drinking people was "Stop drinking"? No, our Prophet (A.S.) tolerated them drinking for some time before he told them that God forbid them to drink. The first thing he gave them was a motivation towards excellence. Let me correct that, for the first thing that he gave them was a real perception of themselves and the external world. And that in itself created a situation for them to be motivated towards excellence. He connected them back to the real "reality" of original excellence and that motivated them towards excellence. That is the answer for us.



So much for the philosophical side of this address. Now for your money problems. I will not be like that doctor who says, "You are sick. You have been that way for four days. A lot of people out there have this sickness. It is spreading." I'm not going to be that way. Now, you are poor—we are poor. But at the same time the "poor in America" is both poor and well off. The first help I want to give you is faith in original excellence. Understand that America's poor is poor and at the same time well off.

What do I mean by that? Very few of us are really poor and not. well off. There are a very few of us who have nothing but poverty; we have poverty and also some means. We are enjoying colored television, beepers, and $100 sneakers. That is what I call poor but well off.

You will find poor families and one boy will have a beeper. They will be wearing expensive sneakers. One teenager will have a car and there will be two or three bicycles. But they are poor and will get notice to move for not paying the rent. The phone will be cut off and sometimes the gas and lights also.

But in the house clothes are everywhere. There will be a whole laundry bag full of socks, if located and collected. My mother could put all of our wash for the week in one big laundry bag. Now it will take a bag like that just for the socks.

So I don't call this just poverty. This is what I call the affluent poor. That is what America has, an affluent poor.

If you want to really do something about your condition, learn to respect money. In our religion everything deserves a respect. If you get $10 in your hands, then know that is $10. Look at what you need today and spend that $10 very carefully. If you can manage today without touching that $ 10, then do not touch it. Keep that $10 for tomorrow, and try to continue day by day behaving like that, until you can save for tomorrow.

I don't care how poor you are, you are supposed to save something for tomorrow. "How can I save anything? My bills are much more than what I am get-ting." Cut down your bills. "How am I going to do that? My rent is high." Then move! "But I need these four rooms!" Cram your poor self into two rooms! "But I like living in this neighborhood." It is not reality for you, get your poor self out and go where you can do better. Go down south. Go where they will allow you to put up a shanty.

You don't know what a shanty is? Just make a big wooden box to live in and put some tin or plastic on top of the roof so the rain won't come down into it. Live there until you can do better. I am serious and this is no joke. Before I let myself become a criminal or starve, or see my family suffer, I would do exactly what I am telling you to do. I would go to those extremes. And I don't think you have to go to those extremes, but you have to start somewhere. Start by checking your waste. Stop wasting. See the Qur'an on the fate of "the wasters".

(To be continued)