Islam spread through much of the African continent through trade. In this observation is an important lesson for those descendants of Africans existing in the Americas. Those who seek to encourage the spread of Islam in their communities in the West will find trade and commerce as highly potent means to do so. Not only will using trade as Dawah entice more wanderers to the guidance of Islam, but it can also shield the believers from the pernicious whims of the non-believers that surround them. Here are some proofs, correlations or observations about the saliency of trade as a form of Dawah in Black Muslim America.
The Way to A Man’s Heart is Through His Stomach
The adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach is applicable in more ways than the one in which it is often used. If a man is being fed he’s far more susceptible to advice because generally when a person is eating his mouth isn’t doing much talking. And when the mouth isn’t doing much talking, the ears tend to be slightly more receptive to what others may have to say.
If the Black Bedouins can find a way to be the source of sustenance firstly for themselves and then secondly to the unbelievers they’d find people more receptive and sympathetic to their calls to Islam. This will require first that the Black Muslim community develop a way to wean themselves off of being employed by non-believers. How many of us have had to hold hands in office prayers where the supplications were offered in Jesus’s (Pbuh) name? Or have been scheduled to work amidst pagan office parties? Or have had to work during Jumma? Or have been forbidden to wear hijab in the work place? Etc., etc., etc. As long as we are fed by the Kuffar we’ll continuously be at their whim and continuously be besieged by their beliefs and influence. But if we make the initiative to be the employers rather than the employee’s we could supplant the erroneous influence of the non-believers with Tawheed and help assist more souls away from hellfire and towards paradise.
Your Dollar Supports What You Love
Most people understand the importance of their dollar. Few understand that by handing their dollar over to a vendor, they are not just enabling that particular transaction, but enabling that vendor and everything he believes. So when we as a Muslims give our dollars to disbelievers we are enabling and supporting their disbelief. We’re in fact empowering their disbelief over the Muslim who does believe, with whom we could have spent our dollars. It is highly important that we spend our dollars with Muslims whenever possible and that we only spend our dollars with the Kuffar under extreme duress. The reason for this is that as Muslims we should love and support belief in God and His Messenger (pbuh) and do our best to frustrate the capabilities of disbelief. A simple way to stop disbelief is to make it unprofitable. If we as Black Muslims decided to steadfastly trade amongst ourselves, others will see the sustenance and brotherhood that Allah (swt) has provided us and would want to take part in it and thus become more susceptible to dawah. If we give away the power of our dollar to the unbelievers we empower them to influence us in every aspect of our lives, especially religion. If we love Islam we must spend our dollars with the Muslims. If we love Allah (swt) we must spend our money with His faithful. If we love the Prophet (pbuh) we must spend our money with his community of believers. If we love Michael Jordan or Ralph Lauren, Chic-fil-A, or Chipotle we’ll give them our money and God will leave us at their mercy.
Creating Something of Value — Developing the Black Muslim American Economy
Again money is necessary for the Black Muslim community to create things of value that can be traded amongst themselves and encourage the disbelievers to enter the fold of Islam. The Masjid as the most salient institution of the Black Muslim American community will have to take the initiative in seeing this particular aim to fruition. The Masjid will have to evolve and become more than just the center of spiritual and social life but also the center of the economic life of the believer as well. And it could easily do so by replacing the role that many commercial banks play in the life of Muslims today. Masjids could redevelop their infrastructure in order to allow for the safe keeping, accounting and storage of cash and valuables of the believers, with the agreement that such valuables and cash would be extended in the form of halal loans to members of the Masjid in order to induce Black Muslim entrepreneurship and develop the Black Muslim American Economy. Masjids could themselves invest or start halal businesses to provide their communities with employment and necessary services. In this sense Masjids could emerge as not just places of spiritual, or social centers, but financial centers that offer halal securities that their entire community could invest in and prosper from.
Envision a masjid with four floors. The lowest underground floor houses the vaults and safety boxes that house the community’s wealth. Above that on the ground level is the securities and exchange floor where a ticker displays the halal companies being traded and where petitions for halal loans are reviewed and approved by experts in Islamic finance. Above that, on the second floor, is a floor for social gathering, where rooms for studying, segregated weddings, Walimas, Eids, gyms etc, are available. And above that on the highest floor is a place where believers can gather and ask God to continue to bestow his bounty and sanctify all the sustenance he grants them below.
Perhaps an emphasis on strengthening the Black Muslim Community’s ability to engage in trade and commerce will strengthen its ability to give meaningful Dawah. In the same way that trade with Arab Muslims helped convince many of our African ancestors of the truth of Islam. At any rate the ideas and opinions expressed above are those of a layman. If any scholarly opinions or ideas contradict them those of the scholars, the inheritors of the Prophet (saw), take precedence over that of a layman. If I communicated anything of any good it was from God. If I communicated anything that was useless or of evil then it was from myself and the shaytan.
A desert dweller