Have you ever heard of the Black Wall Street? It isn’t a very well-known place in this day and age primarily because of two reasons. One, it existed in the early 1900’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Moreover, it was undoubtedly the most affluent all-Black communities that ever existed. Considering the general status of the African American community, it would be very difficult to fathom that, in the early 1900’s, Black Wall Street had 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stories, 2 movie theatres, a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes, and a bus system. Of course the area was bombarded and destroyed in the span of 12 hours. The most important question that one may ask regarding the Black Wall Street is that how was it so successful?
It is said that the dollar circulated about 36 to 100 times and a span of a year before it left the community. The secluded society flourished due to trust, faith, and cohesiveness of its members. The properties of a successful community were effectively applied and produced profitable results, both individually and collectively. This is what the Muslim community is deeply in need of at this time.
Ask yourself this question: If you had a choice between selecting a Muslim vs a non-Muslim professional (plumber, accountant, physician, teacher etc), who would you rather choose? If you prefer a non-Muslim, don’t worry; this is a very common theme among members of our community. Where did this lack of trust come from? More importantly, does this foreshadow an even bigger concern?
In Psychology, it is very well known that lack of self-trust is a precursor of distrusting others. Trust, much like other important qualities such as honesty, care, and compassion, initiates from the self and propagates to the environment. If you find it difficult to trust others, perhaps it is due to lack of self-trust. Can you honestly trust your intentions, impulses, and judgments? Have you caught yourself lying and breaking promising you made to yourself? Can you count on yourself to deliver your promises?
The good news is that self-trust, much like other qualities described above, can be strengthened. It begins with a solid recognition of your self. Furthermore, self-assessment and self-evaluation will help you to recognize who you are, what your purpose in life is, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how you may overcome the obstacles in your life. As you begin to build this system of trusting yourself, you will notice a decrease in despair, self-doubt, and hopelessness. Allah (SWT) has eloquently stated in the Quran: “DO NOT despair from the mercy of Allah…” Indeed, despair is not only a sin but also leads to a decline in progress. Allama Iqbal has stated:Na Ho Naumeed, Naumeedi Zawal-e-Ilm-o-Irfan Hai Umeed-e-Mard-e-Momin Hai Khuda Ke Raazdanon Mein Despair not, for despair is the decline of knowledge and gnosis: The Hope of a Believer is among the confidants of God.
In order to maintain a stronger sense of self, one must continue on the process of self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-knowledge. Once this self-trust has been established, it will emanate from our personality and intertwine with our interactions among the community members. It will lead to increased trust of others and empowerment of our community as a whole. We pray that Allah (SWT) helps us throughout this process. Ameen.