In ‘What We Do,’ hip-hop artist Freeway describes the conditions in the black ghettos of the United States. He states, “Don’t you know cops’ whole purpose is to lock us down? And throw away the key.” Whereas most people believe the cops purpose is to “serve and protect,” in his community, Freeway sees the police as an enemy whose sole purpose is to suppress local residents of the area. Freeway continues, “But without this drug shit your kids ain’t got no way to eat, huh?” The drugs that many communities sell act as a mechanism for historically impoverished and disenfranchised people to have basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. Without the drug economy, many communities have no way to eat or survive. Freeway describes these conditions as such: “the stomach start growlin’… Then the heat start flowin’.” With a lack of jobs and quality nutrition available in these food deserts, when one is hungry the first retort is crime. Freeway puts this as follows: “If my kids hungry snatch the dishes out ya kitchen.” In such ghettos , holding on to ethics means starving and people must do what they can to survive. Elsewhere, Freeway spits:
Oldheads will try to teach us Quran
Before the Prophet Muhammad, Arabia was in total chaos. It was rampant with alcoholism, drug consumption, laziness, gambling, social vices, female infanticide, and conflicts resulting from tribal warfare. This period in Arabian history was known as ‘Jahiliyya,’ which is Arabic for the age of ignorance. Through his teachings, based upon the revelations he received from Allah, the Prophet Muhammad turned the most uncivilized and backward people into the most civilized, disciplined, and structured people on earth. The Prophet Muhammad successfully ended materialism, tribal warfare, and frivolous entertainment and replaced it with spirituality, unity, and discipline. The Prophet Muhammad’s heirs would go on to conquer Rome, Syria, and Egypt, and it was under the Muslims that science, art, mathematics and sciences flourished. The rampant 360-degree turn Arabia made in terms of civilization continues to baffle western historians, as noted by Thomas Caryle:
“How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades?”
The message of Islam spread to West Africa, and many embraced it, eventually forming caliphates. However, the Transatlantic slave trade brought by secular western powers who separated God from life affairs would forever change this. African Muslims were rounded up and put on slave ships, and as Diouf notes in her book “Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas,”
“Scattered across every region of the Americas, the Muslims entered a hostile world—a world that enslaved free Muslim men and women; a white Christian world determined to wipe out any trace of “paganism” or “Muhammadanism.”
She continues, “All the conditions were thus present for a rapid disappearance of Islam in America, or even for its nonemergence.”
Slavery was about more than just physical cruelty and punishment; it was also about a form of spiritualicide, which we can define as an effort to separate Africans from their religious beliefs and indoctrinate them with the values of secular liberalism. While many Africans were forced to convert to Christianity, the truth is that this form of Christianity in a secular society was neutered and made impotent by secular liberalism. About 150 years removed from slavery, African-Americans are still in a Jahiliyya, suffering from some of the same social problems prevalent in Jahiliyya influenced Arabia. It’s not tribal warfare as in the Prophet Muhammad’s days, but rather gang violence – and we have acquired a variety of destructive socio-economic habits, such as drugs, alcohol, and a lack of responsibility. Describing this Jahiliyya mindset are rappers Jay-Z and Canibus:
“While you pray to Allah, reading your Quran, and your teachings of Muhammad I’m in my crib and be studying thuganomics.”- Canibus
While capitalism is the socio-economic system accountable for the oppression of black people in America, it is the values of secular liberalism which have pervaded and affected the subconsciousness of African-American communities; this has served as the main impediment towards advancing. We must remember the Qur’anic creed, “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
Liberalism states the existence of human beings serves no real purpose, and that we are merely the result of an accident. This field of study is unconcerned with spirituality and holds the belief that we should be devoid from political affairs. Liberalism believes humans can use their reason to determine what is good for themselves.
Liberalism also believes that human beings are simply deserving of pleasure.
Secular Liberalism teaches that human beings have an inherent right to live their lives in any way they wish so long as they don’t harm other people. This means the right to adultery so long as the person consents, the right to alcohol consumption, the right marijuana usage, and the right to eat whatever and drink however one pleases. We see this play out in society in the form of very unscrupulous activities. Children grow up with an individualistic attitude and an attitude of entitlement. Greed, overconsumption, and a lack of spirituality become the norm when such beliefs are widely held.
In the black community, many turn to such vices as coping mechanisms to deal with the struggle they face under capitalism on a day to day basis, but secular liberalism, which has inoculated African-Americans, keeping them in a perpetual cycle of poverty. Under secular liberalism, the purpose of life is to simply “enjoy oneself” and experience as much pleasure as possible.
Since the spirituality of blacks has been made impotent by secular liberalism and the legacy of slavery, a variety of social problems have resulted. Neglected children are prevalent, which is the result of promiscuity out of wedlock. Black women dress provocatively with leggings, miniskirts, and cleavage. Profanity and a sex-oriented mentality is common among young kids. Single parent households are the norm. Drugs and a variety of other social ills are also commonplace. Further, materialism becomes the norm due to the separation of spirituality from life affairs under secular liberalism. With the rise of capitalism, black artists are commoditized; the more vulgar, disrespectful, and vile their music is, the more records they are likely to sell. and the more influence they have on the masses. The average kid now believes their purpose in life is simply to be happy, enjoy oneself and this usually manifests itself through “getting wasted,” as people like to call it, or fornication with no responsibility. However, Islam posits a different purpose in life. God asks his creatures the following question in the Qur’an:
“Do you honestly think that we created you and brought you in the world below purposelessly or just for fun and that you would not be brought back to us when there is much to answer for? “
Islam rejects the idea that “free-will” is for humans-beings to do whatever they want. The purpose of free will in Islam is accountability, duty, and responsibility – not “doing what you want.” You don’t have the right to marijuana or alcohol consumption because it’s not just about yourself – the body that your soul inhabits is a gift from God that you must take care of, and you have an obligation and responsibilities to your community to be in your best cognitive state. So, secular liberalism is about “personal freedoms,” and Islam is about duties and responsibilities. By returning to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, we can combat the black American Jahiliyya and the values of secular liberalism.
“I leave behind me two things, the QUR’AN and my example, and if you follow these you will never go astray.” – The Prophet Muhammad