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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Progressions Magazine


Imam W. Deen Muhammad


Allah tells us in the His Holy Book, the Qur'an, "And we have not made the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in sport." This is a big problem for most people today. Most people take things too lightly. They want to turn everything into a joke. They want to make everything humorous, even things that may have bad consequences for themselves and others. There are some people if caught doing wrong and warned that they are violating the law, they just laugh and say, "They got to catch me first. Ha, ha, ha." Many of us want to be players. For many, it is their highest ambition.

Muslims, as well as all people of faith, should look to the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and see in him what is the balanced emotionality a person
should have. A balanced emotionality is neither the hard stone face or the silly face that giggles all of the time. Anybody who can't smile has something wrong with him. And anybody who smiles all of the time has something wrong with him, So we have to look for the balanced emotionality that neither goes to one extreme or the other. And according to the reports of Prophet Muhammad's life, he was that perfectly balanced person.

Prophet Muhammad could show humor when the occasion called for it. However, when the matter was a serious one, there was no smiling or laughing. For example, he didn't laugh while he gave the khutbah (lecture) at the Friday (Jumu'ah) prayer service. The delivery of his khutbah was serious business. It is reported of him that he never laughed compulsively. He would sometimes laugh a very hard laugh, but he would never get caught up in the spirit of laughter. Now let's look at the silly person. When his laugh is strong, he gets caught up in the spirit of the laughter.

It has also been reported of Prophet Muhammad that he would not be stern in a situation that would hurt or damage the emotionality of another person. He was a perfect all-around human being. And this is what we have to be. We have to emulate him and try to take on his character.

I repeat, God did not create the heavens and the earth and what is in between them in sport or play. This creation is to be taken seriously. This Western culture often suggests to our young children that they do dangerous and silly things with their bodies. Don't you know that damage to the body affects the person inside the body? If you take on the habit of abusing your body, it is going to affect your psychology; that is, your mental and emotional makeup. You are going to become a self abuser. This will become your identity. Even your clothes, the garments that you hang up in your closet are a pan of your identity. You have grown to identify with those garments. If you throw them on the floor, it is going to affect your psychology.

If you can sink to tolerate walking on the same clothes that you pick up and wear, it will affect your mental and emotional makeup. Before long, you will be walking on your own soul, not caring about yourself. And isn't that what we have come into along with these other bad habits, the abuse of self. People are abusing their clothes, their minds, and their souls. If you mistreat your belongings, subconsciously you are going to mistreat yourself. In fact, the moment you mistreat any of these things, you have psychologically accepted to mistreat yourself. All of the wrongs we have in our environment are manifestations of previous wrongs that we did in taking a position not to care about our own souls. The only way out is to surrender the soul to God.


The Purpose of Play

When we study the development of life, we find that play is strongest in the early years or stages. Play is strongest when there is no adult responsibility on an individual's life. The urge to play is strongest in the wild creature while young and not expected to carry the burden of adult society. But as they get older, God reduces the urge in them for play, and they become more serious in order to carry the burden of society.

What is play itself aiming for? What is its purpose? Play is an exercise that strengthens the muscles and produces skills through the physical activities of the creature. Therefore, when he matures and has to carry the burden of society, he has the necessary skills for work, for defense, etcetera.

The purpose of play is not play itself. Play aims at the serious business of developing abilities necessary in preparation for adult responsibilities. What if someone works just for the purpose of being able to play as is the case with many people. Many grown-up men live just for the weekend, many work for their check just to go out and play; to be with a woman or go to a party. If the main purpose of a man's work is to have a lot of fun on the weekend, then he is worse than little children or little animals who are not yet ready to shoulder the burden of society. At least children's play is conditioning and preparing them for an adult role, However, men's play is nothing but the dissipation of hard earned money and good human resources. This is a sad state for men to give themselves to play and not be able to see play's divine purpose.


Compete For Good

God tells us to "go as in a race towards all that is good." He invites us to compete. And we find that perhaps the most productive concept for material interest or for the economy is competition, We know that if there is competition, there is accelerated growth. What does God want us to compete in? He says to compete in all that is good. There are different words in Arabic for good. But the Arabic word used for good in this verse means something that is useful to human beings as well as good and useful to society.

It is important to understand this because there are many things that are good but not useful to society. Banana cream pie might be my greatest love. I could go into the banana cream pie business and try to make that the only thing people eat. And once people accept that as their main diet, many will die of sugar diabetes or something worse. So we cannot go after what we individually or socially see as good. We have to go at what is established as good and useful to the society of human beings.

When God says to go as in a race, it does not mean like some of our people go to work. You hear many of them say, "Well man, I've got to hit it again." What are they going to hit? Is their job good for them, for their families? Does it help them to keep the dignity of themselves and their families? Does it help society? If their job is helping society, then the more men we have in lawful employment, the less crime we are going to have.

A person shouldn't say, "Oh man, I've got to do it man. I can't get around it. If I knew any other way, I wouldn't go out there." When the slickster hears that, he tries to tempt you. He shows you a big roll of money, hundred dollar bills bursting out of his hands and says, "Looks, you ain't got to be hustling like that. All you have to do is sell some of this coke (cocaine) man." With that kind of attitude, you put yourself in a situation to be bought by the devil.


The Racist Excuse

No criminal will approach a person who goes to a lawful job in high spirits. He knows he can't reach him. Your attitude when going to work should be one of having a great and dignified role in supporting the whole society. And that kind of attitude is what the criminal in our society wants to keep the African-American man away from. They want to sell him on crime, idleness, loafing and jokes. They want to sell him on the kind of life that will cause him not to share in the dignity of upholding the structures of society. This allows the racists and bigots the opportunity to point to our situation and say, "Well we have stopped calling them niggers and inferior, but look at their situation." The situation itself will speak for the racist. He doesn't have to call us inferiors. He can say, "No, I don't have any prejudices, but look at the black situation. We try to give everybody a break. But look, we haven't done nearly as much for the Cubans, the Koreans, the Chinese and the Vietnamese who just recently came here to the United States in these bad times. But look at how they are getting some economic substance. They are establishing businesses and doing very well in this land of opportunity. Now I'm not prejudiced, but just look at the blacks situation."

We have made it possible for the white bigot to pretend to be dignified, pretend not to be a racist and let our situation speak for him. And our situation speaks louder, and does more damage to the hope that other people will support us in our needs than anything a racist could say.

When people of intelligence look at our situation, they say, "Are these the people that came from all of those centuries of oppression? Are these the people that used to be jim-crowed? Are these the people that once were not welcomed in the colleges and universities of the United States? Why are so many of them on welfare? Why are so many of them in jail? They constitute only eleven percent of the population, yet they are more than fifty percent of the jailhouse population. Why are they bogged down into idleness and crime? What is wrong with them? Maybe we made a mistake. Maybe they are black and inferior."

We have been tricked and manipulated. As a race, we are not inherently inferior. But where we are inferior is in our makeup. And that is a fact. If we were not inferior in our emotional and mental makeup, then we would not be in this terrible situation in America.


Inferior Makeup

You must understand what I am saying. I am not saying that we are inferior by nature. What I am saying is that we have allowed ourselves through the process of conditioning to take mental dispositions and to accept emotional makeup that render us inferior in this highly competitive society. We have become unfit for the challenge of modern society. Now what will make us fit? It is the same thing that made any other society fit that was subjected to such a situation—a period of enlightenment. Nothing else is going to do the job.

Going to American colleges and universities will not help our situation. In the colleges they don't point to the problem. They don't say to the African-American, "Look, we must first find out what is holding you people back. We must find out what is keeping you people down. Let's have that as the first subject in humanities for you black folks." No, they are not going to do that.


Historical Examples

The African-American people must look at the proper historical examples if they expect to correct their situation. When we study the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), we find that he was a man of faith, of logic, of sound reasoning, of supreme knowledge—a knowledge that enabled him to rise above all other men. He gave instructions for establishing society with the highest standards and knowledge. These standards and knowledge were the basis for building the highest civilization existing at that time. And it is what he brought that the Western world copied and made possible their modern advancements. This is a fact of history.

We must strive to make an improvement in our life day by day, and keep a circumspect awareness. We should not be looking in just one direction, but be aware of what is happening all around us. We must be able to make a distinction among people who mean us good, and those who are enemies to us. We have to know that the racist will do anything to keep dignity from the African-American man.

These racists worked against our civil rights leaders. They worked against our black nationalist leaders. What was Dr. King preaching that was so terrible that he had to be killed? He was preaching something that would give the African-American man a position of dignity. No race would attack what he believed without discrediting their own worth. Racists didn't want dignity for the African-American people. The only thing they ever promoted for us is something that will do us no good. They promote black savagery. Anyone who is a black savage can get on television, he can preach. And he can have the freedom to propagate if he is a black savage. We are always shown some black that has no principles, one who just wants to take advantage of our weaknesses. But the blacks who have principles, they try to keep them hid from us. They don't want us to see them.

We must remember what Prophet Muhammad said, "No descendent of Adam enjoys a food better than the child of Adam who earns it with his own hands lawfully." This not only applies to food. Your car, house, or anything you consume or have as a possession are not as fulfilling to you psychologically if you got them unlawfully or they were just handed to you while you sat down and put forth no effort to earn them. Simply handing it to a person is not as satisfying to his soul. These things are not as beneficial psychologically as those earned by your lawful effort.

We must have a period of enlightenment. Once that happens, you will then create a new environment that will be of healthy influences, and in time get rid of this bad kind of mental and emotional makeup.