Tag Archives: Muhammad

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?


But for real, when a drug addict (or alcoholic, or homeless guy… we really don’t know what’s going on with them) asks you for money, do you give it to him? Something my mother once said… Yeah, he might be a drug addict–but how do you know he won’t eat with the money you’re going to give him? Which is worse:  gambling with giving an addict not-enough-money-to-get-high, or letting a hungry man stay hungry when you actually LIE to him about having enough to buy him a sandwich?

Decisions, huh?

Well, I feed the homeless regularly and very often buy someone who is begging a cup of coffee, a sandwich or whatever. God tells me to feed the hungry, he doesn’t tell me to try and figure who’s really hungry and who’s running a hustle. To be honest, that’s his job–not mine.

On top of that, how can we expect our Creator to bless us when we refuse to bless others? There are some basic things that every man must have, and we must count compassion and charity and selflessness among them. You show me a man who refuses to give an insignificant amount of money to the poor, and I will show you one selfish mother fucker. Excuse the language.

I really don’t have a lot to talk about right now, I got to make a run to get some butter pecan ice cream… it’s an emergency. But I did want to share the following poem, it’s a subject that was on my mind last night in conversation so I thought it would be appropriate for a blog entry today. Considering that every holiday in this country we waste money in fast food joints, overeat at barbeques, drink too much, and then complain about getting too fat and needing to work out in a land where people who we pass every day will close out their night hungry. Something to think about.

Enjoy the piece, and thanks for visiting my blog.



can you spare a dime?

Ran outta gas down the way

need ta eat

tired feet

from running all these lines:

got me a job

but i’m stuck in this town

need ta borry $40 to get a Greyhound

back ta Oaktown

i’ll be back tomorrow

same place, same time

forget the dime—

brotha can you spare me a quarter?

baby needs milk

get my stamps lata

some place you could take me

i’ll work if you make me

if I don’t get my sugar up, i’ll die!

baby, look…

you look like you got a job

don’t ask me why

loan me a dollar

so a brother could get high?

Man got his boot on my throat

foot up my behind

tax man robbing me blind

i’m a soldier of the 60s, baby

i’ll NEVER work for the white man

uh, black man,

could you lend a brother a hand?

A leg?

Yo life?

Got this crack on my head

all my sense done leaked out

needle holes closed

bout to freak out

spent my future lying

need to sneak out

lines paint these forearms

like tiger stripes

no, zebra skin

got a death clutch on sin

got me clinging to life


cleverly claiming countless carefree crackcoons

clustered on corners

in our community (click-click)

Nigroe gimme yo money

got to feed my daughter

her name is Greed

last name Jones

got a itchin in my bones

got me pimping my hoes

got me sniffing my nose

twitchin for stones

I represent the meek of the earth

Reverend, let me inherit what you’re worth

white man been feeding me lies

bout being color blind

now i’m paralyzed

been leaning so long on this crutch called racism

can’t feel my legs

so I beg

back broke under the burden

beseeching me to blame behavior

on brutal backgrounds

of this cross I bear

now i’m bending over backwards

the least respected boy on the block

i’m an addict

doomed to shooting up


taught that life is hard, so fake it

taught that I will never make it

taught when I need something i’ll take it

unaware that the glass ceiling

is nothing more than a platform I push

with my mind

as I rise

but I sink to levels

frozen in time with closed eyes

impotent by design

I need to feed my weakness

 with weapons



gotta get the chains of slavery

off my mind

but in the meantime

baby just read the sign:


Can you spare dime?


“brother, can you spare a dime?”

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Filed under Poetry

The Bottom Rung

Let me tell you about my morning. Akamo always has an interesting day because people on the street are just so engaging, and I find it so difficult to pass some folks by. So there’s this kid “Davey”….

After my workout this morning, I walked over to the gas station near my gym and was approached by a young man. He was 16 years old and tall, stood about 5′ 9”, and about 130 lbs soaking wet. Good looking, small twisty dreds, and obviously someone’s baby-boy-turned-thug-but-not really:  and he was begging. Sir, can you spare 75 cents, he says. No, I cannot. As a practice I tend not to give panhandlers money when they look young and clean enough to work. He obviously gets his hair done somewhere, and that costs money. He is not malnourished, so someone around him can afford to feed him. His clothes are updated and clean, and that takes money. You don’t look desperate or in extreme poverty, so hell no. It took two tries before he realized that I was not going to give him any money. While getting my coffee, the young man approached several more. As he made his rounds, conversation in the store was starting to piss me off. The Fedex guy commented on how he always had some method of gaining income as a high schooler. Indian customer talks about how American kids are lazy and feel entitled–nothing like the hard working and resourceful youth of his poverty-stricken country. A few Mexican brothers laughed and shook their heads, and a white sister corrected the Indian man:  It’s the Blacks. They wallow in their tormentous past and blame everyone for what is not much more than pure laziness in their present. Everyone agrees. Who doesn’t get discriminated these days? Even white men who are gay get discriminated… blah blah blah. Boy am I pissed.

And also glad to be mixed up enough to slither in and out of these candid conversations, incognegro.

I begin to be ashamed for my people; there was no malice in this conversation, they were speaking some basic truths that any observer would find, albeit a very wide net they are casting. In comes young man.

Naturally, the conversation is over, and as I wait in line, out the corner of my eye I see the young man stick a candy bar in his pants pocket! That’s the last damned thing our people need after such a conversation–for one of our own to confirm to these people that their latent racist feelings about our people might be true. Knowing how much my coffee is, I jump ahead and throw down $1.25 for my coffee, I grab the second candy bar from the young man and put it back, and stick my hand in the boy’s pocket and take out the other candy bar and throw it back, then snatched the young man by the back of his shirt (thus spilling hot coffee on my wrist) and drag him outside. I tell him to walk with me and I give him a “Daddy” scolding like you would ever hear. First thing I ask him is does he know who he is? Do you know what our people have gone through, so that your Black ass could dress nice, walk into the FRONT of a store and shop, walk down the street knowing that no white men will beat you up and hand you by your neck??

Yes, he was shocked. I had to inform him that yes, I am Black too. First, you beg for money from people who are already looking down their nose at you and everyone who is your color. Then you steal from them? Are you hungry? No, he answers. Of course not. That’s why I was asking you for 75 cents. So no one gave it to you and you decided to steal? Little brother let me tell you something. As a young Black man, you are the SENIOR minority in America. You have been here longer than any Asian or Hispanic. You built this country. You have laws made to protect you and your rights. Your people produced the first minority Senators, the first minority judges, the first minority PRESIDENT, and your sorry ass can’t find a way to legally come up with one fucking dollar???? For a candy bar? Do you realize there were people in that gas station who don’t speak this language as good as you, don’t have as much education than you, don’t have parents who can put a roof over their head and THEY don’t have to fucking steal a $1 candy bar!!!

Don’t you know that the drug addict has a valid reason for begging? But guess what–they rarely do because even the DRUG addict has a hustle to buy himself a fucking candy bar! You mean to tell me a drug addict has more potential to feed himself than you? A YOUNG man! Brother if you knew yourself and what your people went through, you wouldn’t be the lowest rung on the social ladder. You are the lowest rung, and the brand new immigrant, the uneducated Vietnamese, the fresh-across-the-border Mexican, even the trash-can-digging meth addict is higher up the ladder than you. You are smart, you’re good-looking you have a little status–but you can’t find a way to buy yourself a damned candy bar!  Do you realize that the man who works behind that counter in that gas station keeps a WEAPON because of all the crap he’s had to deal with? Do you want to be the next Trayvon Martin?

We walked to my karate school, but I had two Caucasian students inside working out and I didn’t want to embarass my people any more than this young brother had already done. But I had to finish with him. Oh, and he had a friend who was waiting on the side walk who ran when I called him over (he called him too). These dudes needed something real because someone had been talking to them about some bullshit. Some real bullshit.

Now, cover your ears.

We had to get the conversation in a way that he would hear me.

Davey, do you like pussy?

Of course, everybody like pussy.

How are you going to get pussy when you can’t even figure out a way to buy her a candy bar without begging like a a fucking slave? What kind of sister would want to get with a nigga who begs like a fucking crack head? Little brother I’m going to be real with you–if you don’t figure out how to step up your game, you will be a loser in ten years who don’t have shit, still living with your momma, don’t have no nice car, don’t have no money in your pocket, paying for $10 blow jobs because your silly ass ain’t enough of a man to get his program going like a real man. Right now, you are the worst kind of loser; you are a loser with potential to have everything you ever wanted. You can acquire anything you want…. a nice car, money, nice clothes, fine ass women. But instead you lower yourself to the lowest rung on the ladder, underneath the immigrants, underneath the drug addicts. Where do you see yourself in two years from now?

He thinks he will be driving a nice car with rims (boy we are a lost ass people when we consider some tacky ass RIMS to equate to “success”). I told him that he will have his own place, halfway done with college, and money in the bank. And a fine ass girlfriend.

How am I going to do that? He says.

My name is Mustafa, I own this gym. Make sure you bring that coward, loser ass homeboy who left you in the dust to get your ass beat down and visit me. I’ll show you how.

We’ll see if he has an ounce of curiosity to find out how he will improve his life, or if I catch his punk ass back at the gas station tomorrow, begging for quarters. Black men, we always talk about making a difference in our community. We always hear Church pastors and fraternities talk shit about reaching out and uplifting our brothers. Well THIS is a blue print on how to make that difference. Each one, teach one.

Thanks for visiting my blog.


Filed under Message to the Black Man

The Liberty Tax Opportunity

I am reminded of something I heard that was a version of something my mother often tried to instill in us:

It isn’t just low-paying, menial work. We call it opportunity.

Oh, how we tend to be ungrateful for what we have. In the Quran, God tells us that there are those who would settle for the crumbs that fall off the Master’s table, than to take a chance on the riches of heaven… When I see and hear my Black brothers put down and ridicule those who don “Lady Liberty” costumes to stand on street corners and dance for minimum wage, I cringe. I cringe for the Black man who is too prideful to “accept” work he deems unworthy of dirtying his hungry hands (are we ever really offered work?). I cringe for the Black men who pass up opportunities for “menial” work in order to “look” for jobs he will possibly never find, too proud to take whatever stepping stones line our path to success. I cringe for the children who must be fed by a government who finds them more valuable behind bars, feeding the extensive-but-lucrative Correctional/Penal system–or running behind a ball, or dancing and singing on a video, or making a fool of himself on some movie screen. I cringe for the Black men who would rather be unemployed than caught picking fruit or vegetables like a Mexican, or dancing on a street corner for Liberty Tax… but making money.

I cringe for the deaths of our uncles and fathers, and leaders, who died during the Civil Rights Movement, just so that it would illegal for a place like Liberty Tax to toss your resume in the trash, just because you’re a Black man. Yeah, a Black man too fucking proud to “take” work to feed yourself and your children. You call it humiliating; my mother called it opportunity. I cringe for the industries who make a fortune off our stupidity as a people: Liquor stores. Check Cashing places. Title loans. Bail Bondsmen. Auto detailing and tire rims. Pawn shops. Everything except tutoring centers and libraries. None of the industries feed our people; they only feed off us. And we make it so.

Our grandparents did whatever was necessary to feed our parents and send them to school. Our parents took low-paying jobs and made it work. To hell with the idea that back then housing prices were lower–our parents weren’t walking around with thousand dollar rims on their cars, living off of credit and trying to dress like celebrities. For some reason, OUR people have this idea that we should look good, whatever our budget. We will lie, cheat and steal–damn near–to buy these houses we can’t afford, to go on vacations we can’t afford, and dress nice along with our children–when we can’t afford it. We are the biggest people to live beyond our means and act like we are something we’re not. The Black man of yesterday, the REAL man, was something of a James Evans, of Good Times. He was a strong, but modest and loving man who tried his best to give his kids a good home. Even when that home was in the projects.  He did not dress fancy, but his clothes were clean and well taken care of. He took pride in himself and in his children. He stuck by his woman to keep the family together, even when they failed to see eye-to-eye. He held his hat in his hands when he lost his job, because he would hear nothing of his woman getting on County benefits to feed the family. His wife knew her place (if that phrase pisses you off, then we need to talk a little, because I’m sure you have relationship problems) as his wife. She was tough, but yielding. She made sure the kids were always taken care of and fed, and that her man felt like, well, a man. She did not degrade herself to her husband. But when she disagreed, they hashed it out, and sometimes her man got his way–and sometimes she got her way. Being a strong, domineering man does not mean you don’t listen to your woman.

I mean, come on. The man worked in a car wash. If you found a brother working in a car wash, you wouldn’t know it by the clothes he wears and the car he drives, can I get an “Amen”? And many of you sisters wouldn’t give him the time of day, anyway! Our fathers took whatever kind of work they could find and if it wasn’t enough–most of the time it wasn’t–they had a second, and maybe even third, job to make ends meet. Our Dads dressed up sometimes, but they had no problem going to the mall with a white T-shirt with a gravy stain on it… to buy US designer clothing (that they could barely afford either). Both my mother and father had second jobs, and they were so strong with it, we didn’t realize we were “poor”.

Oh, if we could just understand this concept today.

In my last job, I saw young men who have children they often do not pay child support for. They are being garnished, and I must sign off on garnishments when payroll receives notice. Each time I had to counsel the employee to get their acknowledgement, I speak to them about taking care of the responsibility so that they could avoid more action. I hear the sorriest reasons why these brothers do not pay:  “I can’t afford it” is the primary excuse. Ah, but you can afford a nice car, going to the club, weekly visits to the barber, your jewelry, etc. It’s a cop out. When you are looking at suffering and you’re a parent–it’s either the kids, or you. Guess who you chose.

We must do better. We have bills to pay, we have children to feed, we have families to support. We have to do whatever we must do to make that mission a success. If we can do that, and still manage to drive a nice car, purchase nice clothes and floss on Facebook–then do it. There are a plethora of reasons our people are not working:  The job market sucks, racism and discrimination, those silly ass tattoos and piercings that you can’t seem to cover for the interview. But if it’s because you feel you can’t do certain jobs, like work fast food or dance for liberty tax, because it’s beneath you, how wrong you area. Look around you, my family. We are at the bottom of the barrel. Nothing is beneath us. Regardless of what kind of work it is, that glass ceiling is a platform you push with the assistance of any job.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Filed under Message to the Black Man

Black Revolution, The Basics

Black Revolution is sorely needed, now more than ever. But our struggle today is different than it was 40-something years ago. Where we struggled an institution in my father’s day, today we must struggle against what we’ve instituted ourselves. Can’t blame everything on the white man, you know…

So to start, I’d like to explore Revolution–Black Revolution–and what the possible solutions to our problems may be. Taking examples from the leaders of our past, let’s first study them and what they did to revolutionize the world they live in. We will  also take a look at what other leaders and movements have used to institute change, and how they relate to our struggle. Finally, we will dissect and learn from the psychology of revolution–both internal and external–and what we can do to improve our condition as individuals and as a people.

One of my favorite revolutionary movements was the original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, founded by my frat brothers Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. They are known for the image above:  Black leather jackets, turtle neck shirts, black berets, angry and holding firearms. But the BPP wasn’t founded for that. At their base, they only wanted a better life for Black people. They wanted employment, they wanted safe streets, they wanted the Black man to no longer have to worry about his personal safety and that of his family, he wanted Black children to have proper nutrition. The quasi-violent image the press portrayed them to have was, in a way, a racist reaction to seeing Black people who refused to be weak and submissive. Their message was simple: let us be, or we will be forced to defense ourselves. Hell, no red-blooded American would tolerate the sort of brutality African Americans were subjected to–ever. They were not waiting for White America to decide to stop terrorizing their people. If the American way to solve problems is war–the BPP was only going about it the good old American way.

As I stated earlier, the Black Panther Party was not founded to brandish weapons, but only to improve the standard of life for Black Americans. To gain a basic understanding of their methodology one only needs to understand their Ten Point Program. The following is, in Huey Newton’s own words (and the mission statement of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense). Read, understand, and absorb and institute. We will revisit this and discuss later. And please, share this and any other articles you enjoy or find useful with others. Thank you for visiting my blog.

The Ten Point Plan

We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities.

We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the American businessmen will not give full employment, then the technology and means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.

We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.

We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to our Black and oppressed communities, then housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people in our communities, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for the people.

We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of the self. If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your position in the society and in the world, then you will have little chance to know anything else.

We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future survival. We believe that mass health education and research programs must be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced scientific and medical information, so we may provide our selves with proper medical attention and care.

We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United States uses its domestic enforcement agencies to carry out its program of oppression against black people, other people of color and poor people inside the united States. We believe it is our right, therefore, to defend ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed people should be armed for self defense of our homes and communities against these fascist police forces.

We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of the world. We believe that if the United States government or its lackeys do not cease these aggressive wars it is the right of the people to defend themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors.

We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held in United States prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial trials under a racist and fascist judicial system and should be free from incarceration. We believe in the ultimate elimination of all wretched, inhuman penal institutions, because the masses of men and women imprisoned inside the United States or by the United States military are the victims of oppressive conditions which are the real cause of their imprisonment. We believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed, by the United States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice and freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are most disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Hear Bobby Seale explain the Ten Point Program.


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Filed under Message to the Black Man


And I’m back.

I’ve run into a mental road block, and with life comes strife so I hadn’t been much of a writing mood lately. Over the last few months I have had ideas–the most recent being a humorous one inspired my James Westray–but I decided to go with a subject as rare as a three-legged man. Joke intentional.

Relationships fail when they lack sincerity. Endeavors fail when the one who strives lacks sincerity. Intentions may accomplish simple goals, but the best of intent fails when it lacks sincerity.

Let us define sincerity first.

Sincerity:  Freedom of deceit, hypocrisy, or duplicity. Synonyms–truth, condor, frankness. See honor

Simple enough? I would like to take the definition a step further:  “Having intent completely in line with a stated purpose.” (This one is mine)

I know some folks who are very good at appearances. They love to pray publicly, speak of religion constantly, question the faith and sincerity of others, quick to call others a hypocrit–but cannot be counted on to keep their word for anything. Sadly, everyone seems to know where they stand except those they manipulate and themselves. I would say that such people lack sincerity.

  • Doing a good deed for praise
  • Achieving excellence for admiration of others
  • Pursuing a goal for any reason other than simply acheiving that goal
  • Being selfish

Let me relay a story.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) walked in as his wife had washed some clothes, and was folding the clothes and applying perfume. As she packaged the clothes up to take from the house Prophet Muhammad asked her where she was going. His wife answered, to give these clothes to the homeless.

No one could see what she was doing in the house but her husband. She was giving her clothes to the poor, and treated those clothes as if she were giving them to a queen. No doubt, the blessings she would receive for the deed were increased because of the sincerity she must have had in doing so. I would like to suggest that we all have various reasons for the things we do. Sometimes we do those things for money. Sometimes we do things for love. Sometimes we do them for pride and ego. But the greatest reason for doing anything is for the pleasure of God–we do it because it’s the right thing to do, and because God would want us to.

I have seen God-fearing men open liquor stores and night clubs. Celebrities and organizations publish press releases when they hold benefits for the poor. Gifted athletes create million dollar organizations in order to give 50 kids a single summer of football camp. No person knows our intentions when we do a good deed, but God always knows. When our intention is pure, and contains no selfish motive–no deceit–the outcome is concentrated and pure. When it is laced with ego, greed, and hypocrisy–it becomes watered down and diluted.

Today I heard a beautiful sermon that confirms something I have been doing for years. The Imam spoke of men dropping on their knees to ask Allah to get them out of a financial bind. But when we get up, do we just wait for blessings to drop out of the sky? Or do we get to work and hope that our prayer had given our efforts a shot of energy from our Creator? One thing we can do is purify what little wealth God has given us regularly–whether we want something or not. We purify this wealth by sharing the little we have with someone who has less. It cures us of selfishness, and makes us grateful for what we do have. God says that  He blesses us so that we can bless others. How arrogant are we to think that we deserve all that we have just because WE deserve it! He gives us an abundance for the benefit of others. And remember this:  God tells us that when we give Sadaqa (charity) it reaches HIS hands before it reaches the poor. If you were giving expired food from your cupboard to the poor–and you think that is a “good deed”–would you give that same unhealthy food if the one who was to eat it was God Himself? Remember, all of our good efforts will be rewarded, but they are rewarded extra when they are sincere.

Another thing we can do is to be sincere in our work. If we work with the knowledge that God has our back, would we be pessimistic or optimistic? If you work while knowing that your effort is going to be successful, the outcome would certainly be different if you thought you were working alone.   <—- This is some advice I could use right now.

So today’s post isn’t old know-it-all Mustafa Akamo lecturing you all on some shit I’m trying to teach. I’m just having some thoughts about what I need to remember, and I’m letting you in on the conversation.

The soapbox will be back tomorrow, and I’ll be back to my old cocky, smart assed self. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Filed under General

The SECRET to Getting Everything You’ve EVER Wanted!

Okie… So I pulled a little bait-n-switch.

But ya gotta admit, sounds good, doesn’t it? You probably even answered ads promising you the same thing. Went to churches telling you they can get it for you. Subscribed to philosophies that do this and that, pray, be a good boy or girl, and attend the right religious services at the right church with the right denomination (funny how similar that word can be mis-typed as “demon-nation”, huh? or how “denomination” also refers to money? hmm…) and you can have everything you wanted. They do the same thing with Jedi-mind tricks psychology/negotiating/how to win arguments books, lose weight while doing nothing programs, you name it.

Let me start by saying this. Man, by his childish nature, is ungrateful. The Quran (17:83, I am paraphrasing) states that man is ungrateful, and when he is prosperous he does not worship but when he suffers, he prays. Think back to your childhood, on Christmas Day, what is the most sad part of the day? What do you do when that sad part happens?

I do not practice Christmas, but I do birthdays. I’ll answer for you, and you tell me if I’m right. The most sad part is when the last gift has been opened. And when it happens, the last thing you do is look for more gifts that you might not have opened.

Man is, at his very center, that child. His lust and greed and pride will not allow him to be satisfied. Even the most wealthy of men, who own everything in the world, still knocks on God’s door asking for more “stuff”. Lust, greed and pride are like the flowing brook–you can never seem to find its source, and it seems to always run. Men will always want more. We may be handsome, but will still work out more and more to gain more beauty. We may be powerful leaders, and will still lust for more power. We may be the richest of men in the land, we will still get up every morning and go out to create more wealth. And for this reason, the “secret” is that you will NEVER get everything you’ve ever wanted.

Because “everything” is an ever-increasing amount. The more you get, the more you want. It seems, these days, that the only men to escape this are men of sound religious foundation. In the Quran, man is tested and taught to be grateful by constantly being given trials and tribulations. It keeps us grateful for what we have. It keeps us unselfish because we all know what hunger tastes like, and what loneliness feels like, and what eating crow tastes like when you swallow it. This is why we as believers should not treat God as Santa Claus; we don’t prostrate ourselves in prayer to ask for “stuff” all the time. We ask for guidance, for wisdom, for forgiveness–not as a customer showing up at a business placing an order for weight loss or a better job. See, God didn’t pass out flyers hoping you’d choose Him and His wisdom over some other company’s.

And let me jump in a second…

When you approach God, are you approaching him as a “Customer” of the church who deserves to get anything you want? Or do you approach him with extreme humility?

Islamic tradition refers to humility as khushu (koo-shoo, roughly). Let me draw a picture of how humble you should approach your Lord, whatever you call him:  the Prophet Muhammad stated that we should treat our prayer as an employee who has been caught not doing his job. Imagine that you were paid to do a job, and for whatever reason, you’ve been cutting up. Sleeping on the job, cheating, stealing, lying on your timesheet, just NOT doing your job. Now, imagine that you discover that your boss knows about it, and they have camera footage of you in action. And you are about to enter the office with the big boss, but you heard he is not going to fire you. How would you enter that room? As a “chosen”, “saved” man whose wrongs have already been forgiven? Or what?

And that feeling, folks, is how you approach prayer. None of us have been doing our job like we’re supposed to be doing. We all have been cutting up. We have been receiving a paycheck despite the big boss knows that you’ve been cutting up. He isn’t going to fire you, but he does want to talk to you about straightening up as an employee. Each time you arrive for prayer, this is how you present yourself to your Lord. You don’t go in asking for a raise or a promotion. Just be glad you have a job. Now, while you’re there–you might want to ask the boss for a little time to get yourself together. Or advice on how you can do your job better. Or for guidance. Or forgiveness. Or for suggestions on what He wants you to do.

The secret to getting more–if you deserve it–is to truly appreciate what you have, and not covet anything else. Just show the One who gave you what you have how glad you are to have it, and to show Him that you deserve more by being a better employee.

And that book? The one with the secrets? I’m willing to bet you have already invested in that course. You just have to crack it open a little more often, and follow its advice. I believe in my house, the book is entitled “The Holy Quran”. In someone else’s house, it may read “The Holy Bible”. And the big boss knows it well, because, according to my teaching, He wrote it Himself.

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Filed under Message to the Black Man

“Your” Women

An oft-repeated phrase heard among Muslims and NOI Muslims is “your women”:

  • Protect your women
  • Provide for your women
  • Teach your women
  • Love your women

And others….

I would like to address this and appeal to my brothers to resume this practice and phrase into our collective vocabulary.

The Holy Quran (4:34) states that “Men are the maintainers of women…”  God Himself enjoins man to provide for and lead the women given to him. We are to provide for her needs–material, physical as well as emotional needs. We are required to be kind to them. We are also responsible for leading them and educating them. In this, the man must keep himself knowledgeable and spiritual, employable and emotionally stable. He must be capable of improving her standard of life from when she was single. If a man cannot–whether he is still in school, he is not practicing his religion sufficiently, or he is not healthy enough to maintain her physical needs–he is not considered suitable for marriage. A man who is not working or cannot provide for her and her children (if she already has children) is therefore instructed to prepare himself for marriage. As a show of his capability, commitment, and desire to take her as a wife, the man is required to provide a dowry (gift) of her choosing in order to prove his worthiness of marriage. To prove his moral fitness for being a potential mate, he is required to court his love interest while abstaining from sexual relations and compromising situations where he may be tempted to lead her to sin. If a man is incapable of maintaining a celibate courtship, he does not have enough spiritual strength to be a reliable husband. If he cannot be relied on to protect his woman’s soul by keeping her from sin, how can be trustworthy enough to resist the powerful pull of lust and sin bombarding him every day when he is away from her? A man who cannot do these simple things is not considered a man by Islam’s standards and therefore not ready for marriage. Marriage is serious business, and only men are suitable for taking wives.

First problem in our community, our “men” are not marrying. We are courting women but we have it backwards. Sex is often the goal, and little interest goes beyond the bedroom. In fact, women are so confused by what a good man is, she is happy just to find a man with a job (or not) who tries to convince her that he is fornicating only with her. Imagine that! So, with standards so low, is it any surprise that these men do not fulfill their obligations as fathers and providers when you have their children out of wedlock? The idea of marriage seems to range from the make believe (wifeys) to out-of-reach, dreams come true (fairytale weddings). Many of our daughters don’t even play house and pretend to get married anymore–they call themselves “bitches” and aspire to be “independant” women who work and not “need” a man. More and more of our women are so confused about what they need for mates they turn to other women to be their “man”.

The Black Man is failing miserably.

Don’t get mad. We have lots of good men out here. I have noticed more men marrying than in the last two decades–but it still is not enough. When I look at my immediate social circle, I only know ONE young man under age 25 who is unmarried and has his own apartment, job and mature enough to take a wife. His older brother, who is 20 is already married, by the way. I do know a quite few young men who are married, under 25, gainfully employed and taking care of their families. I know their fathers, and they are all Muslim. (The two brothers two sentences back are Christian, btw… I know their mother.) Perhaps you will be impressed by these statistics, but you shouldn’t be. Although I am proud of these young men, they are exceptions to what we know as normal. This is a shame.

The plight of the Black man, if it is to improve, must first begin with rebuilding ourselves. We must ensure that our sons are marriage material; many of us are not doing this. We enable them by not forcing them to be self-reliant. We are not finding them good role models. We are not demanding more of them. We are not teaching them. When a woman tells me she is happy that she raised her sons alone, I do not praise this; single motherhood is a travesty, and it has taught her sons that marriage is not important. It has also taught them that their mother spent the last 18 years fornicating, and apparently having children out of wedlock, continuing to fornicate and struggle financially (or not) and spiritually is acceptable behavior. Men have to be taught that everything that happens to our children–every missed meal, every time he is cold and lonely, every time his mother is malnourished sexually (and legally), every time he is told “no, you can’t have that because I don’t have the money”), every time he is given poor advice, every time he makes a moral mistake, every time he is out of favor with his God because he wasn’t taught better–it is our damned fault. As a people, we can no longer accept this. As a community striving to improve the world our children live in–and improve our reputations to the rest of the people of the world–we can no longer afford this.

Divorce doesn’t change a thing, by the way. Today, I was speaking to a brother about my ex-wife (who has remarried) informing me that her electricity is cut off. To my horror, he told me that this “was no longer my problem”. In his view, I’m free of responsibility because the new husband should have paid the bill.

Oh no? Despite the fact that my son lives in that household? I am no rich man. But I understand that regardless of how I feel about this woman (I am not very fond of her), for the rest of my son’s life–as my ex-wife, she is considered by God to be one of “my” women. For me to allow her to live in darkness, even for a few days, would not just be a sin–especially if I have money–it wouldn’t be the very “manly” thing for me to do. Struggle is something God designed man to be able to withstand; it is not for our women and children to suffer. We do not live in comfort while our women and our children live in discomfort. It would be very bitchy for me to do so. #no homo

The sooner our men see responsibility in its full view–everything that comes with it, like it or not–the sooner our community will benefit by having real leaders. From the smallest family all the way to our political and religious leaders.  This message is not just for Black men, it is for all men. We do not cease to be men just because we divorce or break up, or have financial problems, or have new women. And God does not let us off the hook because it might cause a little discomfort. Please pass this on.

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Filed under Message to the Black Man