As-Salaam Alaikum Imam Mohammed,
I have a question regarding Save Yours Day. I recently heard a very well-known imam in our association state publicly that "this community is growing in leaps and bounds" and that Imam W. Deen Mohammed would be "so proud of his sons and daughters." It was almost insulting to hear this because it is so patently false. Our community is not in a period of prosperity and anyone with eyes can see that.
Allah commands us to save ourselves and our families. How should we understand this in light of our Save Yours Day observance, the reasoning behind its establishment, and what it obligates of us in this time under these circumstances?
IMAM EARL ABDULMALIK MOHAMMED: You are asking about a matter that is major for our People. It may be difficult for some to understand, but Save Yours Day is at the center of our life in America, and at the center of our Muslim-African-American identity and aspirations. To be frank, those who criticize our Save Yours Day are our enemies in faith, in knowledge, and in community. The only exceptions are those who are innocent, uninformed, or misinformed.
If I did not have the experience that I have I might think that this Imam that you mention is caught up in the spirit of his own preaching. I might think that I am not understanding what is supporting his reasoning, or that maybe he just woke up from a dream and he is expressing what he perceived in his dream. I know that dreams can look and feel very real. But my experience tells me that he is willfully, consciously, and tactically presenting a false picture. His statement is, in my view, intended to be more one of obfuscation than of truth. In other words, given our reality as a community, his statement is intended to confuse. It is a statement of hype or hyperbole, which amounts to a cursed phenomenon in our faith. He is purposely embellishing and inflating our reality. Islamic teachings do not, by their very nature, support the promotion of falsehood or what we might call 'hype-speech.'
Imam W. Deen Mohammed once told me that these leaders were the "masters of African-American Muslim dawah hype." He left no doubt in me that he meant this as a condemnation. This is a direct quote from him and I am sure he mentioned it to others. Also, it is reported that the Prophet said that the farthest people from him on the Day of Judgment and the most despised are those who are loud, verbose, and given to constant and deliberate, wild exaggerations. It is a fact of history that the habit of errant, exaggerated speech can ruin a People. It would be irresponsible for us to ignore this. It is a symptom, a Sign, of a cancer that is attacking the health of our fundamental constitution as a People. We should consciously turn aside from this kind of speech and these types of leaders. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an that the Believers are those "who avoid and shun foolish speech." In the context of our Save Yours Day observance, and our life as a People, this kind of speech is extremely dangerous, and it is a tactic to weaken our community's determinations.
I have always maintained that we are an exceptional People. We have exceptional children and families. We have a distinct, beautiful and rich identity that has been safe-guarded and nurtured for nearly 100 years now by conscientious, faithful stewards of Muslim community excellence. There is no doubt that we have a promising and bright future as a People. But, it must also be admitted that we have only a few well-established national religious, educational, business, and cultural institutions. Our establishments are mainly in our souls. We retain them, nurture them, guard them, develop them, in the privacy of our own souls. We know they are alive and safe in our souls. We have taken this position because we sense that they are not safe in the world. Our strong perception is that without Imam W. Deen Mohammed we are not safe. So, with this process we are saving what is within our souls, like a seed, and preserving it to plant for a safer time. We are preserving that which is most precious to us deep inside our collective consciousness as a People, until we have a trustworthy confirmation and season to plant it in the world.
We know as a sense in our collective souls also that our reality in most cities in this country is troubled, and our determinations as a People have been blurred by the incompetence of inept leaders. In many cities our situation is so pathetic and unrecognizable that it cannot be identified in any way with our community group spirit. In spite of this our prevailing group spirit for realizing our best life has always been strong because our people refuse to give up the fight for what their nature demands. It is this demand in us that has warranted, even demanded, that a successor to the leadership of Imam W. Deen Mohammed appear. I am not speaking of a Savior, or a personality to worship. Nothing is more unacceptable, or farther from Islamic teaching, than to attempt to erect a false idea or false god as a Savior.
What I am speaking of is a consciousness that comes in the line of our best leadership tradition, that obeys and refuses to deviate from the best Islamic reasoning, and confidently accords itself to the most sound and verifiable reports in Islamic teaching and tradition. I am speaking of a season that is a commencement. A season that marks the conclusion to one period of decline, and a new period that is resurrection. I am speaking of the Day of Judgment and the Day of Resurrection in the same instance. I am speaking of a spirit in the People where they are not afraid to look at themselves for who they really are, accept responsibility for that picture whatever it is, and re-construct themselves upon the support of their best knowledge and purest traditions. I am speaking of the Day of Religion. We are at this very point as a People, even as this world experiences its 'climate change' moving from one environmental and social reality to another. 'Climate change' is another way of saying 'a new world.'
This strength in us as individuals and families is what most people in the public who know us admire. We know deep in our souls that we are not operating at our optimum as a People, not even near it. But because we are a People of Islamic faith, we are by reasoning an optimistic people. Our hopes and prayers are perpetually strong and focused. This is a requirement of our faith. As conscientious Muslims, aware that our Lord is the One That Determines the outcome of all affairs, we are never desperate or without hope. Our late leaders, the Honorable Elijah Mohammed and his son Imam W. Deen Mohammed, insisted that we embrace the spirit of struggle as opposed to the spirit of complaints and grievances, always maintaining an appreciation for developing our strengths and correcting our weaknesses, with a conscious attention on those who target us as their potential slaves.
There is a big difference between protesting and complaining. Protests are those actions prompted by a demand for inherent rights. Complaining is nothing more than an admission of dependence on others to address your needs. It is a part of our Islamic identity to be strong and determined even in the advent of periods of hardship and trouble. This is the Holy Qur'an teaching about the characteristics of the righteous people. We have generations of pride in our Muslim-American identity, but we are not yet a self-sufficient Muslim community. We are no doubt a beautiful and believing People, but we remain in too many critical ways a dependent People. I protest our condition and I protest the rule of those who brought us to this condition. I choose struggle against their Order and its influence until it is subdued and our souls are saved to plant the seed, and grow and cultivate the life the Mujeddid-Mahdi left for us as an Islamic New Africa vision.
Our spirit has been weakened and warred upon by those who are constantly at their work of "dawah hype". Just as this particular Imam you have mentioned demonstrates in his misleading words, our People have been abused by this entire class of leaders since Imam W. Deen Mohammed's passing. In fact, immediately after his passing, they instituted their false Order and standardized its leadership language. At that moment in 2008, less than 60 days after his passing at consecutive meetings in Chicago and Detroit they initiated their plan to take charge over the People of Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
Their strategy was and is to standardize their 'hype' as proper religious teaching, and to take emphasis off of Imam Mohammed's "Day of Religion" teaching. They had already recruited a youth leadership class and trained them in their 'hype' techniques and language. Years before, I remember a headline appearing in the Muslim Journal that infuriated Imam W. Deen Mohammed, about which he told me "This is their plan. Magician's tricks. This is what they want the people to think I am, so that when I am gone they can offer this stuff to the people in my name. They will do it with the support of the Journal and try to bring in a new order. Most all of their friends and associates will join them. Do you understand what this is that we are looking at? It is their plan to take over this community." That headline in the Muslim Journal read "Dynamic Duo Delivers the Deen."
I know for certain that I was not the only one Imam W. Deen Mohammed spoke to about this. Imam W. Deen Mohammed spoke often about their plotting. Why? For the same reasons Allah revealed His Word and raised His Prophets and Messengers and exposed the strategies and behaviors of oppressive Orders from all times: to protect the destiny of the People of Faith. Over the 33 years of his leadership Imam W. Deen Mohammed exposed all of his community's enemies and labeled their schemes. In these same moments he also publicly identified and placed protection on the type of thinking that should succeed him and the person who best represented it. He told me "I have said enough in plain language about you in the public that any who are sincerely paying attention will know what our leadership should be after me." Those that deny this, obstruct it, try to cover it up, or are actively working against it, are clear enemies.
I am taking the time in this answer to explain something very important. I am explaining what is at stake for our People. These leaders despise the challenge of the steep climb of serious and committed study of our condition, and the associated hard work required to deal with it effectively. But why? What is it that they gain from this? What is their incentive?
They know that we are the generation after our special leaders, the Honorable Elijah Mohammed and Imam W. Deen Mohammed. We are the line of continuation and if we are defeated our people are destroyed. Because our leaders were serving a special need in the reality of the African-American people they are in many ways comparable to the roles of Allah's Messengers. There is no way to deny the comparisons. We, this generation after them, carry enormous responsibility. Anyone that truly comprehends this understands that our late leader made preparations, just as his enemies made preparations.
He sensitized groups and individuals to carry his knowledge forward into this present world. He trained groups and individuals to build with it. Do you not think that this wise, inspired leader would not also entrust a role to someone that he especially trained to lead those groups and individuals in a time of crisis? Do you think that he would not have identified one who exhibited to him qualities that were a combination of himself and his father, one that he singled out on the special public occasions so that the wise and sensitive among us would know him and would recognize him when the need was apparent and the time was right? The leaders knew this and they conspired using all resources at their disposal to prevent the appearance and rise of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's successor. This is why they want no Save Yours Day where our message as a People is heard.
I ask you and any who may read this, if we have this growth spurt this Imam boasts about, then where are our New Africa establishments that these growing numbers should be able to sustain? Where is Islamic New Africa in these American cities? Where are our four, square blocks in these American cities that speak to our Muslim-African-American emphases and tastes in culture. Where are our Muslim-African-American mosques built from the ground, distinguished in their unique architecture, and reflecting our special history and special tradition? Where are our restaurants? Where are our theatres? Where are our schools? Where are our grocery stores? Where are our farms producing halal food products? Where are our Muslim-African-American residential communities? Where are our hospitals?
Do you know that the Honorable Elijah Mohammed was openly advocating the need for our community to be responsible for a hospital? Where is the sensitivity that leads to addressing these needs? Is it lost? No. It is protected and intact in the collective soul of our People where Imam W. Deen Mohammed placed it. But, in realizing it in the world we have been deliberately taken off of our natural track of development by this line of thinking of those who want us to accept that their knowledge and leadership supersedes what Imam W. Deen Mohammed planned, and therefore what he planned does not need to be, or deserve to be, succeeded. When they say there is no successor many think that they are speaking of one individual.
With their strategies they want us to believe we are not a true People, but a bastardized people, with no traditions in building and upholding Muslim society that need be respected or acknowledged. They clandestinely acquiesce and bow to the promise of resources that come from other people's interests in our skill and labor. They are not the slave-masters. They are the slave-overseers, using their intimate knowledge of our cultural life to manipulate our emotional nature. Believe me, I see them. I was trained to see them. Imam W. Deen Mohammed's sword is in my hands and I, and those with me, are determined to put the lies of their 'hype-influence' to the sword.
This is the reason your question about our Save Yours Day is a major matter requiring a thoughtful, thorough answer. Really, this is a sacred matter. It is a matter that concerns the most important and significant aspects of our life and destiny as a People. Every sincere and wide-awake follower of Imam W. Deen Mohammed should read this question and answer, and ponder it deeply. Every individual who ever thought of themselves as a serious member of our community should have a copy of it and discuss it with others who have the same mind and spirit.
Every ethnic group of Muslims who have migrated to this country can be found in any city in America. They are not hiding. They want to be seen and respected as Muslim peoples. We see them and we feel them in the cultural distinctions and expressions. They do not permit themselves to be dominated or swallowed up by any other community, and they are not dependent on others for their knowledge, planning, and establishments. In every major city in America we can give you the address of the Muslim-Chinese restaurant, the Muslim-Indian restaurant, the Muslim-Arab restaurant, the Muslim-African restaurant. Our sisters will go to the neighborhoods of Arab and Indian Muslim communities and purchase their Islamic garments.
We know in our souls that every need we have as a People can be addressed and supplied by us, but we are woefully deficient in providing for those needs. It cannot be said that we do not understand this. Our late leaders consistently reminded us that this sensitivity was a natural deposit in the human soul. The idea and commitment to have public expression for our Muslim identity that was preached and established by the Honorable Elijah Mohammed and Imam W. Deen Mohammed is what explains the successes of immigrant communities of Muslims. Immigrant Muslims that many of us now look to to provide their Islamic needs did not have this public sense of cultural pride and economic dignity until they experienced us in our Lost-Found Nation of Islam determinations. Imam W. Deen Mohammed was the champion and most articulate spokesman for the importance in America's indigenous Muslim community as a contributor to the strength in American ethnic diversity. This attention, language and understanding did not exist in America before him.
The fact of the matter is that we do not produce for our needs. We are abnormally dependent on others. We are not the producers of halal meats for our halal diets. In other words, we are not providing to society that which has been prepared for public consumption under Allah's Name or under the habits formed by communities under Allah's Authority. This is what the halal industry is, in symbol. Others are doing that and the public institutions of America see it and are documenting it. We are not the authors of books that guarantee our Islamic community and knowledge integrity, though these Imams that boast so loudly of their importance, claim they are scholars of Islam and Arabic.
It is not that we do not know this. It is not that we don't recognize our needs. It is that we do not feel secure in our expressions because those who say they are our leaders are actually shaming us with their incompetence. Our souls will not permit us to be seen in the public in confidence because those representing our life are not presentable. While at every Friday prayers we hear their loud, grandiose pronouncements, we know in our souls it is all 'hype,' and we know that what we nurture in our souls that is sacred and real is not and cannot be safe with such people as caretakers over it. Even though most of us won't speak it aloud, we know these leaders are bold liars. I know that those who are straight, sincere people who read this, that it is touching you in the way that only Imam W. Deen Mohammed and his successor could.
For all of the years of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's leadership he strongly cautioned the leaders to not inflate the picture of our Islamic community reality. When they were promoting the falsehood that we had a nationally-organized school system, he firmly corrected them. They took that falsehood abroad and when one Muslim nation offered support to our so-called 'school-system' these leaders were exposed and forced to admit not only that the school-system didn't exist, but that the schools that were in operation were not held to any independently-verified accredited standards. I was on that trip abroad with Imam Mohammed. He was thoroughly disgusted and embarrassed by them. He said to me after that, that he would never take another delegation of them anywhere again. And he never did.
With the financial support of hundreds of investors Imam W. Deen Mohammed organized the Collective Purchasing Conference (CPC) and ComTrust to focus our material resources and establish a model Islamic community presence in Markham, Illinois. He worked with all of his energy to establish the Islamic New Africa four-block community that included religious and educational establishments, residential property that included his own residence, retail and industrial establishments, halal meat production, and a center for cultural expression. In less than a year after his death it was decimated. Not one eyebrow raised, not an article written in their media arm, nor a protest made by this Order of leaders. Why? Because it was their plan.
I am announcing now that I fully intend to take up residence in Markham, Illinois. For those who know me, they know I am not dreaming or posturing. I do not have to explain what I will be doing there. In the months and years to come, all will readily see. Those who are our enemies and thought Imam W. Deen Mohammed's successor would not have support or would never appear, know for certain that your plot has been short-lived and your triumph over us, premature.
Our enemies cannot reach the purity of the soul. It is off limits to them. It is guarded by those who do not flinch in obedience to their Lord and charged with the duty to exact swift and severe punishment on intruders or violators. And this is what our Save Yours Day observance represents for us. Our Save Yours Day commemorates our first awakening in our People-hood, or People-ness under the true G'd, the Lord of all the Systems of Knowledge, and in the identity of life He reserves for His perfected servants and obedient worshippers. More importantly, it commemorates that particular awakening in a recurring fashion. It is the observance in the sanctity of the soul, where we as a People have earnestly "saved ourselves" and saved for ourselves those plans which are most central to establishing who we are and what we are destined to be.
We have preserved in our souls, in the inviolable space of our essential, collective selves as a People, that which Mr. W.D. Fard, the Honorable Elijah Mohammed, Imam W. Deen Mohammed and all of the souls who committed themselves over 100 years in America to their vision of our human life, the determination to acquire and bring into expression all that is a soul-society of freedom, justice, and equality. What we have preserved for ourselves beyond the reach and above the impurity of enemies, which is fundamental to our existence as a People and our destiny as a People, we celebrate on our Save Yours Day.
Each and every individual People experience for themselves a 'Day of Religion.' It is a universal experience and reality for all humanity. It is an individual experience and reality as well. It is an activity in the soul that is both private to an individual People and public and universal for all people. We celebrate it for us and for all. This world and this society took this awareness from us 400 years ago when it made us slaves, and the beginning of its restoration to us began in 1930, 100 years ago.
In spite of the enemy that thinks he is better than what Allah designated for us, we are confidently planning to plant that seed upon our late leader's designs and plans. In spite of the inflated illusions told against our true reality by the enemies among us to trick our senses and prevent us from having a true, Muslim community presence, we embrace what our souls have preserved. We are awakened to it, we embrace it, we bring it into the world in every community expression, and we celebrate all of that annually within a true, not hyped or distorted, reality of our African-American Muslim values.