Nation of Islam

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For the pan-Islamic concept of the Muslim nation, see Ummah.

The Nation of Islam (NOI) is a syncretic new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad on July 4, 1930.[1] The Nation of Islam's stated goals are to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African Americans in the United States and all of humanity.[2] Its critics accuse it of being black supremacist[3] and antisemitic.[4][5][6][7]

After Fard disappeared in June 1934, the Nation of Islam was led by Elijah Muhammad, who established places of worship (called Temples or Mosques), a school named Muhammad University of Islam, businesses, farms and real estate holdings in the United States and abroad.[8] There were a number of splits and splinter groups during Elijah Muhammad's leadership, most notably the departure of senior leader Malcolm X to become Sunni Muslim. After Elijah Muhammad's death, his son Warith Deen Mohammed changed the name of the organization several times and brought it into line with Islam.

In 1977, Louis Farrakhan rejected Warith Deen Mohammed's leadership and re-established the Nation of Islam on the original model. He took over the Nation of Islam's headquarter Temple, Mosque Maryam (Mosque #2), which is located in Chicago. Its official newspaper is The Final Call. The Nation of Islam does not publish its membership numbers; in 2007, the core membership was estimated between 20,000 and 50,000, but their following was believed to be larger.[9] Most of the members are in the United States, but there are minority communities in other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Since 2010, under Farrakhan, members have been strongly encouraged to study Dianetics, and the Nation currently claims it has trained 1055 Auditors.[10]

There has been much speculation over the years about who will succeed Farrakhan as the national leader of the NOI. Most recently, Farrakhan's selection of Assistant Minister Ishmael Muhammad to deliver the 2013 Holy Day of Atonement key note address in his place may shed some light on that question.[11] Farrakhan was absent from the event due to suffering a heart attack, he later announced in Indianapolis in December 2013.[12]

History[edit]

The Nation of Islam (NOI) was founded in Detroit, Michigan, on July 4, 1930, by Wallace Fard Muhammad, also known as W. D. Fard Muhammad.[13] As the Nation of Islam website states, “His mission was to teach the downtrodden and defenseless Black people a thorough Knowledge of God and of themselves, and to put them on the road to Self-Independence with a superior culture and higher civilization than they had previously experienced.” The NOI teaches that W. Fard Muhammad was both the "Messiah" of Judaism and the Mahdi of Islam.

Fard chose his assistant minister, Elijah Muhammad, in 1931 to succeeded him as head of the movement, calling Muhammad “His Divine Representative.” Fard trained Muhammad night and day for 3 ½ years before he took over NOI in 1934. Muhammad and the movement itself was widely rejected during his 44 years as the NOI leader. However, Muhammad tried to do a lot as a leader, including establishing a newspaper titled “The Final Call to Islam” and attempting to create schools founded upon Muslim teachings.[14]

Muslim parents agreed with the foundation of these new schools, but the Michigan State Board of Education did not. Muslim teachers were charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors and subsequently jailed. The charges were later dropped and the teachers were freed; Muhammad was given six months probation to relocate the children to a standard state school, but he refused because the classes were predominately taught by white Christians. Muhammad left for Chicago in September of that year. He was soon joined by W. D. Fard Muhammad, who was run out of Detroit by the police.[14]

Shortly after in 1942, during World War II, Elijah Muhammad was charged and convicted of violating the Selective Service Act and jailed. Many other Nation of Islam members were charged for the same thing, as NOI opposes serving in the United States Military. Upon his release years later, Elijah Muhammad slowly built up the membership of his movement through recruitment in the postwar decades. His program called for the establishment of a separate nation for black Americans and the adoption of a religion based on the worship of Allah and on the belief that blacks were his chosen people.[14][15]

During this time, the Nation of Islam attracted Malcolm Little. While in prison for burglary from 1946 to 1952, Little joined the Nation of Islam. He was influenced by his brother, Reginald, who had become a member in Detroit. Little quit smoking, gambling and eating pork, in keeping with the Nation's practices and dietary restrictions. He spent long hours reading books in the prison library. He also sharpened his oratory skills by participating in debate classes. Following Nation tradition, Elijah Muhammad ordered him to replace his surname, "Little", with an "X", a custom among Nation of Islam followers who considered their surnames to have been imposed by white slaveholders after their African names were taken from them.[16]

Malcolm X rose rapidly to become the minister and national spokesperson for the NOI. Highly influenced by Malcolm X's membership, the Nation claimed a membership of 30,000. In March 1964, Malcolm X was excommunicated from the Nation due to disagreements with Elijah Muhammad; among other things, Malcolm X found issues with Muhammad's adherence to Muslim teachings, and Malcolm X's fame had led to media attention and an FBI infiltration into the Nation of Islam.[16] In the next month, Malcolm X founded Muslim Mosque Inc., stating, "I never left the Nation of Islam of my own free will. It was they who conspired with Captain Joseph here in New York to pressure me out of the Nation."[17]

A crowd of Black Muslims applaud during Elijah Muhammad's annual Saviors' Day message in Chicago in 1974

In 1955, Louis Walcott had joined the Nation of Islam. Following custom, he also replaced his surname with an "X". He was given his new name, "Farrakhan", by Elijah Muhammad. In 1965, following the assassination of Malcolm X, Farrakhan emerged as the protege of Malcolm. Like his predecessor, Farrakhan was a dynamic, charismatic leader and a powerful speaker with the ability to appeal to the African-American masses.[18]

By the time Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, there were 75 NOI centers across America.[19] The Nation's leadership chose Wallace Muhammad, also known as Warith Deen Mohammad, the fifth of Elijah's sons - not Farrakhan - as the new Supreme Minister. At the time, Nation of Islam was founded upon the principals of self-reliance and black supremacy, a belief that mainstream Muslims consider heretical.[20] He shunned his father's theology and black pride views, forging closer ties with mainstream Muslim communities in an attempt to transition the Nation of Islam into orthodoxy more similar to Sunni Islam.[21] Under W.D. Mohammed's leadership, the Nation of Islam decentralized into many bodies of followers led by many different leaders. This made it hard to track the exact number of NOI members, but it’s estimated to be in the tens of thousands.[22]

The Million Man March, Washington, D.C., October 1995

In 1977, Farrakhan resigned from Wallace Muhammad's reformed organization. He worked to rebuild the Nation of Islam upon the original foundation established by Wallace Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad. Farrakhan traveled across America speaking in city after city gaining new followers. Over time, Farrakhan regained many of the Nation of Islam's original properties. Currently, there are mosques and study groups in over 120 American cities attributed to Farrakhan’s work as a leader.[23]

In 1995, the Nation of Islam sponsored the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., to promote African-American unity and family values. Estimates of the number of marchers were given between 400 and 840 thousand. Under Farrakhan's leadership, the Nation of Islam tried to redefine the standard “black male stereotype” of drug and gang violence. Meanwhile, the Nation continued to promote social reform in African-American communities according to its traditional goals of self-reliance and economic independence.[23]

Under Farrakhan's leadership, the Nation was one of the fastest growing of the various political movements in the country. Foreign branches of the Nation were formed in Ghana, London, Paris, and the Caribbean islands. In order to strengthen the international influence of the Nation, Farrakhan attempted to establish relations with Muslim countries. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1991 and experienced a near-death experience in 2000 due to complications. After such experience, Farrakhan toned down the politics of NOI and attempted to strengthen relations with other minority communities, including Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.[23]

On May 8, 2010, Farrakhan publicly announced his embrace of Dianetics and has actively encouraged Nation of Islam members to undergo auditing from the Church of Scientology.[24][25] Since the announcement in 2010, the Nation Of Islam has been hosting its own Dianetics courses and its own graduation ceremonies. At the third such ceremony, which was held on Saviours' Day 2013, it was announced that nearly 8500 members of the organisation had undergone Dianetics auditing. The Organisation announced it had graduated 1,055 auditors and had delivered 82,424 hours of auditing. The graduation ceremony was certified by the Church of Scientology, and the Nation of Islam members received official certification. The ceremony was attended by Shane Woodruff, vice-president of the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre International. He stated that "The unfolding story of the Nation of Islam and Dianetics is bold, It is determined and it is absolutely committed to restoring freedom and wiping hell from the face of this planet.” [10]

Beliefs and theology[edit]

Nation of Islam leader (1981-present) Louis Farrakhan

The Nation of Islam (NOI) preaches adherence to the Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith. The NOI also teaches morality and personal decorum, emphasizing modesty, mutual respect, and discipline in dress and comportment. NOI adherents stress a healthy diet and physical fitness, do not consume pork, shellfish, or alcohol, and do not use drugs or tobacco. They also refrain from premarital sex, as well as recreational sex while married, except for the sole purposes of producing children. Abortions are strongly discouraged except in the cases where the mother's life is in danger. However, the Nation of Islam argues that because of the unique experience of the oppression and degradation of slavery, Elijah Muhammad used unique methods for introducing Islam to his people.

The main belief of The Nation of Islam and its followers is that there is no other God but Allah. They teach that their founder, Master Fard Muhammad is the Mahdi.[26] and that "Allah, came in the person of W. D. Fard."

The official beliefs of the Nation of Islam have been outlined in books, documents, and articles published by the organization, as well as speeches by Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Farrakhan, and other ministers. Many of Elijah Muhammad's teachings may be found in Message to the Blackman in America and The True History of Jesus as Taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.[27]

Written lessons from 1930 to 1934 were passed from W. Fard Muhammad to his student, Elijah Muhammad. These were collected and entitled The Supreme Wisdom. The Nation of Islam continues to teach its followers that the present world society is segmented into three distinct categories. They teach that from a general perspective, 85% of the population are the "deaf, dumb and blind" masses of the people who "are easily led in the wrong direction and hard to lead in the right direction". Those 85% of the masses are said to be manipulated by 10% of the people. Those 10% rich "slave-makers" are said to manipulate the 85% masses of the people through ignorance, the skillful use of religious doctrine, and the mass media.

The third group is referred to as the 5% "poor righteous teachers" of the people of the world, who know the truth of the manipulation of the 85% masses of the people by the 10%. The 5% "righteous teachers" are at constant struggle and war with the 10% to reach and "free the minds" of the masses of the people.[28]

Official platform[edit]

Members of the Nation of Islam, San Francisco, California, 1994

An official Nation of Islam platform referred to as "The Muslim Program" was written by Elijah Muhammad in his book Message to the Blackman in America (1965). The itemized platform contains two sections; "What The Muslims Want", consisting of 10 points; and "What The Muslims Believe", consisting of 12 points.[29]

Cosmology[edit]

The NOI teaches that the Moon was once a part of the Earth, and that the Earth is over 76 trillion years old.[30] The entire land mass on the Earth was called "Asia". This was, Elijah Muhammad claims, long before Adam.[31]

Black experience of slavery was Bible prophecy[edit]

The NOI teaches that black people constitute a nation and that through the institution of the Atlantic slave trade they were systematically denied knowledge of their history, language, culture, and religion and, in effect, lost control of their lives. Central to this doctrine, NOI theology asserts that black people’s experience of slavery was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and therefore, black people are the seed of Abraham referred to in the Bible, in Genesis 15:13–14:

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

—King James Version

Separatism[edit]

In an April 13, 1997, interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Farrakhan to explain the Nation of Islam's view on separation:

Tim Russert: "Once a week, on the back page [of your newspaper] is The Muslim Program, 'What the Muslims Want' [written in 1965]. The first is in terms of territory, 'Since we cannot get along with them in peace and equality, we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by white America justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own.' Is that your view in 1997, a separate state for Black Americans?"

Minister Louis Farrakhan: "First, the program starts with number one. That is number four. The first part of that program is that we want freedom, a full and complete freedom. The second is, we want justice. We want equal justice under the law, and we want justice applied equally to all, regardless of race or class or color. And the third is that we want equality. We want equal membership in society with the best in civilized society. If we can get that within the political, economic, social system of America, there's no need for point number four. But if we cannot get along in peace after giving America 400 years of our service and sweat and labor, then, of course, separation would be the solution to our race problem."[32]

Teachings on race[edit]

Nation of Islam members at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London, March 1999.

Wallace Fard Muhammad taught that the original peoples of the world were black and that white people were a race of "devils" created by a scientist named Yakub (the Biblical and Qur'anic Jacob) on the Greek island of Patmos. According to the supreme wisdom lessons, Fard taught that whites were devils because of a culture of lies and murder that the black man Yakub instituted on the island to ensure the creation of his new people. Fard taught that Yakub established a secret birth control policy among the ruling class on the island. They were to kill all dark babies at birth and lie to the parents about the child's fate. Further, they were to make sure that the lighter-skinned children thrived in society. This policy encouraged a general preference for light skin. This was the establishment of the idea of White Supremacy. It was necessary to allow the process of grafting or making of a lighter skinned race of people who would be different. The idea was that if the light skinned people were allowed to mate freely with the dark skinned people, the population would remain dark-skinned due to the genetic dominance of the original dark-skinned people. This process took approximately 600 years to produce a blond-haired, blue-eyed group of people. As they migrated into the mainland they were greeted and welcomed by the indigenous people wherever they went. But according to the supreme wisdom lessons, they started making trouble among the righteous people, telling lies and causing confusion and mischief. This is when the ruling class of the Middle East decided to round up all the troublemakers that they could find and march them out, over the hot desert sands, into the caves and hillsides of Europe. Elijah claimed that this history is well-known and preserved, and is ritualized or re-enacted within many fraternal organizations and secret societies. Also, Fard taught that much of the savage ways of white people came from living in the caves and hillsides of Europe for over 2,000 years without any divine revelation or knowledge of civilization.[33]

The writings of Elijah Muhammad advise a student must learn that the white man is “Yacub's grafted Devil” and “the Skunk of the planet Earth”.[34]

The Nation of Islam teaches that black people are the aboriginal people, and that all other people come from them. Farrakhan has stated, regarding spiritual ascension, "If you look at the human family — now, I'm talking about black, brown, red, yellow and white — we all seem to be frozen on a subhuman level of existence. In Islam and, I believe, in Christian theology and Jewish theology as well, there are three stages of human development. The first stage is called the animalistic stage of development. But when we submit to animal passions, then we can do evil things to one another in that animalistic stage of development. But when moral consciousness comes and we have a self-accusing spirit, it is then that we become human beings. Right now, we have the potential for humanity, but we have not reached that potential, because we are functioning on the animalistic plane of existence."[35]

The Blackman is the original man. From him came all brown, yellow, red, and white people. By using a special method of birth control law, the Blackman was able to produce the white race. This method of birth control was developed by a Black scientist known as Yakub, who envisioned making and teaching a nation of people who would be diametrically opposed to the Original People. A Race of people who would one day rule the original people and the earth for a period of 6,000 years. Yakub promised his followers that he would graft a nation from his own people, and he would teach them how to rule his people, through a system of tricks and lies whereby they use deceit to divide and conquer, and break the unity of the darker people, put one brother against another, and then act as mediators and rule both sides. -Elijah Muhammad[36]

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Farrakhan said the following in response to host Tim Russert's question on the Nation of Islam's teachings on race:

You know, it's not unreal to believe that white people — who genetically cannot produce yellow, brown or black — had a Black origin. The scholars and scientists of this world agree that the origin of man and humankind started in Africa and that the first parent of the world was black. The Qur'an says that God created Adam out of black mud and fashioned him into shape. So if white people came from the original people, the Black people, what is the process by which you came to life? That is not a silly question. That is a scientific question with a scientific answer. It doesn't suggest that we are superior or that you are inferior. It suggests, however, that your birth or your origin is from the black people of this earth: superiority and inferiority is determined by our righteousness and not by our color.[32]

Elijah Muhammad addressing followers including boxer champion Muhammad Ali, 1964

Pressed by Russert on whether he agreed with Elijah Muhammad's preaching that whites are "blue-eyed devils", Farrakhan responded:

Well, you have not been saints in the way you have acted toward the darker peoples of the world and toward even your own people. But, in truth, Mr. Russert, any human being who gives themself over to the doing of evil could be considered a devil. In the Bible, in the "Book of Revelation", it talks about the fall of Babylon. It says Babylon is fallen because she has become the habitation of devils. We believe that that ancient Babylon is a symbol of a modern Babylon, which is America.

During the time when Malcolm X was a member and leader of the Nation of Islam, he preached that black people were genetically dominant to white people but were dominated by a system of white supremacy:

Thoughtful white people know they are inferior to Black people. Even [Senator James] Eastland knows it. Anyone who has studied the genetic phase of biology knows that white is considered recessive and black is considered dominant. The entire American economy is based on white supremacy. Even the religious philosophies, in essence, white supremacy. A white Jesus. A white Virgin. White angels. White everything. But a black Devil, of course. The "Uncle Sam" political foundation is based on white supremacy, relegating nonwhites to second−class citizenship. It goes without saying that the social philosophy is strictly white supremacist. And the educational system perpetuates white supremacy.[37]

After Malcolm X made his pilgrimage to Mecca, he stated that seeing Muslims of "all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans", interacting as equals led him to see Islam as a means by which racial problems could be overcome. He credits his evolving views on Islam and race as a reason for leaving the Nation of Islam and his decision to convert to Sunni Islam[38]

The Nation of Islam teaches that intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited. This is point 10 of the official platform, "What the Muslims Want", published 1965.[39] Farrakhan nevertheless stated in the Tim Russert interview:

The mother of the Leader who came to North America to teach us, Fard Muhammad, His mother was a white woman. His father was a black man. So where there is love, love transcends our racial denomination or ethnicity. Love is the great power of transformation. I don't think that we can say when two people are in love that they shouldn't marry one another. But I would prefer that the black man and the black woman marry into their own kind.[40]

The Mother Plane and Ezekiel's Wheel[edit]

Elijah Muhammad taught his followers about a Mother Plane or Wheel, a UFO that was seen and described in the visions of the prophet Ezekiel in the "Book of Ezekiel", in the Hebrew Bible.

Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.

—Ezekiel 1:15–18 (ESV)

Farrakhan, commenting on his teacher's description said the following:

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us of a giant Mother Plane that is made like the universe, spheres within spheres. White people call them unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Ezekiel, in the Old Testament, saw a wheel that looked like a cloud by day but a pillar of fire by night. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that that wheel was built on the island of Nippon, which is now called Japan, by some of the Original scientists. It took $15 billion in gold at that time to build it. It is made of the toughest steel. America does not yet know the composition of the steel used to make an instrument like it. It is a circular plane, and the Bible says that it never makes turns. Because of its circular nature it can stop and travel in all directions at speeds of thousands of miles per hour. He said there are 1,500 small wheels in this Mother Wheel, which is a half mile by a half mile [800 m by 800 m]. This Mother Wheel is like a small human-built planet. Each one of these small planes carry three bombs.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said these planes were used to set up mountains on the earth. The Qur'an says it like this: We have raised mountains on the earth lest it convulse with you. How do you raise a mountain, and what is the purpose of a mountain? Have you ever tried to balance a tire? You use weights to keep the tire balanced. That's how the earth is balanced, with mountain ranges. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that we have a type of bomb that, when it strikes the earth a drill on it is timed to go into the earth and explode at the height that you wish the mountain to be. If you wish to take the mountain up a mile [1.6 km], you time the drill to go a mile in and then explode. The bombs these planes have are timed to go one mile down and bring up a mountain one mile high, but it will destroy everything within a 50-square-mile [130 km²] radius. The white man writes in his above top secret memos of the UFOs. He sees them around his military installations like they are spying.

That Mother Wheel is a dreadful-looking thing. White folks are making movies now to make these planes look like fiction, but it is based on something real. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Mother Plane is so powerful that with sound reverberating in the atmosphere, just with a sound, she can crumble buildings.
—Louis Farrakhan, The Divine Destruction of America: Can She Avert It?[41]

Criticism[edit]

The first book analyzing the Nation of Islam was The Black Muslims in America (1961) by C. Eric Lincoln. Lincoln describes the use of doctrines during religious services.

Often the minister reads passages from well-known historical, sociological, or anthropological works, and finds in them inconspicuous references to the black man's true history in the world.... Occasionally the minister chides the audience for its skepticism: "I know you don't believe me because I happen to be a black man. Well, you can look it up in a book I’m going to tell you about that was written by a white man." He then reads off references that his hearers are challenged to check.

In recent years, the embrace of Dianetics under Farrakhan has drawn much criticism that the Nation of Islam is becoming too close to the Church of Scientology and the ideas of its founder L. Ron Hubbard, whom Farrakhan has said he respects. Farrakhan has praised Hubbard, saying he was "exceedingly valuable to every Caucasian person on this Earth". Of followers of Scientology, he stated "You can still be a Christian; you just won't be a devil Christian. You'll still be a Jew, but you won't be a satanic Jew!".[24][25][42]

Antisemitism[edit]

The Nation of Islam has repeatedly denied charges of anti-Semitism.[43] Farrakhan has stated, "The ADL ... uses the term 'anti-Semitism' to stifle all criticism of Zionism and the Zionist policies of the State of Israel and also to stifle all legitimate criticism of the errant behavior of some Jewish people toward the non-Jewish population of the earth."[44] However, NOI officials and outlets including Farrakhan have also been accused of repeatedly using anti-semitic and homophobic rhetoric, including saying, "It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It's the wicked Jews, false Jews, that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!".[7]

Regarding condemnation for having referred to Adolf Hitler as being a 'great man', Farrakhan has said, "I have throughout my life referred to Hitler as a wicked man, yet, the national news media insists that I called him a "great man," with the implied inference that "great" means "good." However, I did refer to him as "wickedly great," in the same sense that Genghis Khan stands out in history."[45]

Professor David W. Leinweber of Emory University asserts that the Nation of Islam has engaged in revisionist and antisemitic interpretations of the Holocaust and that they exaggerate the role of Jews in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Leinweber and others use the original statements of Farrakhan and others as the basis for their evaluation.[46] NOI Health Minister Abdul Alim Muhammad has accused Jewish doctors of injecting Blacks with the AIDS virus.[47][48]

Jeffery Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's longtime leader in Dallas, stated:

They [Asian-American merchants in black neighborhoods] are just the latest in a long line of people who have come to this country—like Jews, Italians, Indians and now Asians—who have sucked the blood of and exploited the black community.[49]

A mosque of Nation of Islam in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, 2005.

Comparison with traditional Islam[edit]

The Nation of Islam resembles traditional Islam in many ways, however some differences are present. For instance, Nation of Islam preaches the following of the Five Pillars of the Islamic Faith, though somewhat different, it is important to note that interpretation of the Five Pillars differs among many different Islamic schools of thought, as well as different Islamic cultures.

  1. Belief in one God (Allah): Traditional Muslims believe that Allah is the One and only God (known as Tawhid), while the NOI believes that Wallace Fard was mahdi.[50] This is an often contentious issue, as all other Islamic schools of thought consider this belief to be a form of "shirk" which is the worship of anyone besides Allah.[citation needed]
  2. Prayer: Traditional Muslims believe that the five daily prayers (salat) are mandatory, the Nation of Islam also believe that they are mandatory. According to some sources, there are debates as to whether this is indeed true or not.[51] The leader of the NOI, Elijah Muhammad, was once quoted as saying to his followers that prayer is 'necessary for spiritual advancement'.
  3. Fasting in the Islamic month of Ramadhan: Traditional Muslims believe that this fasting is compulsory, the NOI belief corresponds with traditional beliefs. Although controversy has arisen over the fact that NOI allows followers the option to fast during the month of December instead. This was allowed by NOI followers to make Ramadhan easier for new converts to Islam and to break the habit of celebrating Christmas.[52]
  4. Compulsory Charity (zakaat) Both traditional Islam and the Nation of Islam share the belief of charity. Charity can be defined as contributing monetary funds as well as contributing time to do a service to the community.[53]
  5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) – pilgrimage to Makkah: Both Traditional Muslims and Nation of Islam believe that this is compulsory if one has the means to undertake the journey.

The NOI mosques have lecture rooms that contain seats for the worshipers during sermons (males on one side and females on the other) with the prayer hall, also known as the musalla, in another room for the 5 daily Muslim prayers prostration.

Other doctrines of the Nation of Islam are also disputed, specifically:

  • Messiah and Mahdi:
    • NOI teaches that their founder, Master W. Fard Muhammad, is the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews and the Mahdi of the Muslims."[45]
    • Shi'a Muslims are still awaiting the coming of the Mahdi, and believe that the Jews' awaited Messiah is indeed Jesus (the prophet not God) whom the Christians believe is God.
  • Status of the Islamic prophet Muhammad vs. other prophets:
    • The Nation of Islam believes that Muhammad was the last prophet of Allah, and that Elijah Muhammad was a messenger, taught by God in the person of the Mahdi, whom the NOI claim as "Master Fard Muhammad" (W. D. Fard).[54]
    • The Nation of Islam points to the Quran: "And for every nation there is a messenger. So when their messenger comes, the matter is decided between them with justice, and they are not wronged."—Quran 10:47
    • Traditional Islam teaches that Muhammad was the last of the prophets and messengers of Allah sent to mankind; there would be no more and all Muslims are to follow the teachings of the Qur'an and accept monotheism.
  • Yakub: Traditional Islam does not hold to this teaching from the NOI.
  • Conversion of whites:
    • The NOI primarily focuses its attention on the black community of America. Although there are members of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities. Members of the white community are not allowed to join the NOI.
    • Traditional Islam believes the teachings of the Qur'an and monotheism are for all mankind, and that God does not distinguish between humans based on their race.[55]

Divide between NOI and the Italian Muslim Association[edit]

On March 7, 1998 the Board of Ulema of the Italian Muslim Association (AMI) issued a fatwa against the Nation of Islam. According to the AMI, "the obligatory daily five prayers of Islam are not imposed upon the members of the Nation, and the ritual bowings and prostrations have been removed from prayers. Friday service consists of a sermon by a minister with an invocation, but the congregational prayer of two Raka'ahs is not held. The Islamic fast in Ramadan has been made optional and Hajj is not required of the followers."[56]

Foreign affiliations[edit]

The Nation of Islam's links to Libya are well known. The Muslim group obtained substantial funds from Gaddafi, notably a $5 million loan used to pay back-taxes and costs for the home of the movement’s former leader Elijah Muhammad and a $3 million loan from Libya in the 1970s to acquire its opulent headquarters on Chicago’s South Side.[57] Libya channeled funds through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) based in Canada to a Libyan intelligence front in Washington. The money was funneled for the purpose of financing trips to Tripoli by the NOI and American radicals, according to a Canadian parliamentary investigation and a prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in northern Virginia.[58] "At least one gathering attended by Farrakhan in Libya – in violation of a travel ban imposed on Americans by President Reagan after Libya was linked to terrorist attacks in Europe – offered training seminars on weapons and explosives."[59] The Libyans also paid $250,000 in travel and other expenses to stage a pro-Gaddafi demonstration in which NOI played a leading role.[60]

In 1994, the NOI leader visited Khartoum, where he met with Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, the Sudanese head of state and Dr. Hassan Abdullah al-Turabi, who headed Sudan’s ruling party.

Farrakhan's National Assistant Khalid Abdul Muhammed attended the 1995 PAIC meeting. Upon meeting Sheikh Naim Qassem of Hezbollah after a news conference at a Khartoum hotel, Muhammed found a translator to convey his greetings.

In 1996, Farrakhan traveled to Iran and Iraq, as well as Libya, at which time Gaddafi offered him an additional $1 billion.[61] Farrakhan insisted that the money would not be used to arm his followers, despite a report from Iran that Farrakhan had said there that one day Allah will destroy Americans at the hands of Muslims. The full statement attributed to Farrakhan was,

God will not give Japan and Europe the honor of bringing down the United States. This is an honor God will bestow upon Muslims.[61]

As of 2011, Farrakhan continued to portray Gaddafi as a fellow revolutionary who has lent millions of dollars to the Nation of Islam over the years.

It wasn't the money, but the principles that made me his brother.[62]

Press and media[edit]

The Final Call[edit]

The Final Call is a newspaper distributed by NOI in Chicago, publishing news stories on a variety of topics, primarily related to Blacks in America.

"The Muslim Program" is published in every issue of the newspaper stating the demands of the Nation of Islam.

NOI journalists have written about a range of topics, including conspiracy theories on the murder of John F. Kennedy and a CIA conspiracy to disrupt rule in Libya.[63] Harold Muhammad, minister of an NOI New Orleans mosque, wrote in the paper that there is enough evidence that AIDS is a man-made disease being used by the U.S. government against Blacks.[64][unreliable source?]

Videos[edit]

The NOI has produced a number of videos promoting anti-American sentiments. NOI video titles include "Conspiracy of the International Bankers", "Conspiracy of the U.S. Government", "Controversy with Jews", and "Which One Will You Choose, the Flag of Islam or the Flag of America?" In one video Farrakhan is said to state, "I hasten to tell you that the precious lives that were lost in the World Trade Center was a cover, a cover for a war that had been planned to bring a pipeline through Afghanistan to bring oil from that region, oil owned by Unocal, of which Dick Cheney is a stock holder."[65]

Farrakhan's videos also address the U.S. military. During the Millions March in Harlem, Farrakhan discussed the Fort Hood shootings as he addressed the crowd.

You don't join the armed forces to become nation builders. You join the armed forces and they train you to kill. They're killers. So why did Army major Nidal Malik Hassan, a Muslim psychologist at Fort Hood go on a shooting spree after being assigned to debrief soldiers who came back from the theater of war. He couldn't take it any more so he shot up the soldiers. They want you to think he was a terrorist. But he was debriefing terrorists. And unfortunately, it took his balance.[66]

Controversy over the availability of NOI videos and writings surfaced on June 15, 2011, when Representative Peter King, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security hosted a hearing titled "The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons". During the hearing, former Bureau of Prisons director Harley Lappin testified on the extreme susceptibility of radicalization of inmates through propaganda efforts of groups like NOI. Testimony included discussion of an incident in which two radicalized converts planned a terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The suspects had met in prison and had converted to Islam while there.

In July 2011, King and Representative Frank Wolf, worried that prisoners were being radicalized by Farrakhan, asked U.S. Bureau of Prisons Acting Director Thomas Kane to remove Nation of Islam material from prisons and to audit all other Islamic texts and sermons made available to inmates as well as bureau procedures for approving such materials.[65]

Noted current and former members and associates[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nation of Islam. "Nation of Islam in America: A Nation of Beauty & Peace". Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "A Brief History on the origin of the Nation of Islam in America". Nation of Islam. March 1, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Associated Press (September 9, 2008). "Former Nation of Islam leader dies at 74". MSNBC. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Nation of Islam Leader Reprises "Vintage" Anti-Semitism; ADL Says Farrakhan's Racism 'As Ugly As It Ever Was'". Anti-Defamation League. March 1, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ Perry, Marvin and Schweitzer, Frederick M. (2002). Antisemitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 213. ISBN 0-312-16561-7. 
  6. ^ Stephen Roth Institute. "Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam". Tel Aviv University. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Nation of Islam", Southern Poverty Law Center
  8. ^ C. Eric Lincoln (1994). Black Muslims in America. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. pp. 88, 89 218. ISBN 0-8028-0703-8. 
  9. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (February 26, 2007). "Nation of Islam at a Crossroad as Leader Exits". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ a b Mohammed, Asahed (February 28, 2013). "Nation of Islam Auditors graduation held for third Saviours’ Day in a row". Final Call. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Farrakhan’s Absence From NOI Event Spotlights Possible Successor, Ishmael Muhammad". Access ADL. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "In First Appearance After Heart Attack, Farrakhan Continues Anti-Semitism". Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Muhammad, Tynetta. "Nation of Islam History". Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c "Honorable Elijah Muhammad". Nation of Islam. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Elijah Muhammad", Biography website
  16. ^ a b "Malcolm X". The Estate of Malcolm X. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  17. ^ http://www.brothermalcolm.net/mxwords/letters/lettertoelijah.gif
  18. ^ http://www.biography.com/articles/Louis-Farrakhan-9291850?part=1
  19. ^ "Muhammad's Temple of Islam", Muhammad Speaks, 4 Oct 1974
  20. ^ Associated Press. "Former Nation of Islam Leader Dies at 74". Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Nation of Islam", Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  22. ^ NBC News. "Former Nation of Islam Leader Dies at 74". Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c "Minister Louis Farrakhan". Nation of Islam. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Gray, Eliza (October 5, 2012). "The Mothership of All Alliances". The New Republic. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Rossetter, Shelley; Tobin, Thomas C. (October 18, 2012). "Louis Farrakhan renews call for self-determination among Nation of Islam followers". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  26. ^ http://noi.org/about_beliefs_and_wants.shtml
  27. ^ Chicago: Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad, 1992
  28. ^ "Assignment of Mr. Elijah Muhammad, The Supreme Wisdom", February 20, 1934; "Power at Last Forever", Louis Farrakhan, Madison Square Garden, New York, October, 1985
  29. ^ "The Muslim Program". The Nation of Islam. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  30. ^ Elijah Muhammad's 1961 "Atlanta Speech", quoted in Louis E. Lomax's When The Word Is Given...
  31. ^ Message to the Blackman, Elijah Muhammad, 1965]
  32. ^ a b http://www.finalcall.com/national/mlf-mtp5-13-97.html FCN/NBC, 1997
  33. ^ Supreme Wisdom Lessons, Lost found muslim lesson 1 & 2
  34. ^ http://www.thenationofislam.org/
  35. ^ Million Family March Transcript, 10/16/00
  36. ^ Elijah Muhammad|Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No. 2, 1965 & Dorothy Blake Fardan, Yakub and the Origins of White Supremacy, Lushena Books, 2001
  37. ^ Alex Haley, "The Playboy Interview: Malcolm X", Playboy Magazine, May 1963
  38. ^ Malcolm X, Autobiography, pp. 388–393; quote from pp. 390–391.
  39. ^ "What The Muslims Want". Nation of Islam website.
  40. ^ Farrakhan Meets The Press
  41. ^ FCN, 1996 Metric conversions added by Wikipedia.
  42. ^ Farrakhan, Louis (March 11, 2011). "Preparation of the Mind and Qualifications to Act for Christ". The Final Call. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  43. ^ Farrakhan and the Jewish Rift; A Historic Reference
  44. ^ The Final Call. February 16, 1994
  45. ^ a b "Minister Farrakhan rebuts fraudulent 'Judaism is a Gutter Religion' canard".
  46. ^ H-ANTISEMITISM OCCASIONAL PAPERS, NO. 1M
  47. ^ Nation of Islam
  48. ^ Piven, Jerry S. (2002). Judaism and Genocide: Psychological Undercurrents of History Volume IV. Writers Club Press. p. 10. ISBN 0-595-24086-0. 
  49. ^ "Racial tensions flare in protest of South Dallas gas station". The Dallas Morning News. February 5, 2012. 
  50. ^ http://noi.org/about_beliefs_and_wants.shtml
  51. ^ http://www.salafitalk.com/threads/499-Nation-Of-Islam
  52. ^ http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/Fasting_strengthens_discipline_3939.shtml
  53. ^ Mitchell, Mary (19 July 2012). "Farrakhan, Nation of Islam, step in to help stop shootings". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  54. ^ http://www.has.vcu.edu/wrs/profiles/NationOfIsam.htm
  55. ^ Katrina Riddell, Islam and the Securitisation of Population Policies, p.67
  56. ^ http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=83361
  57. ^ "Nation of Islam leader slams Gaddafi's 'assassination', says rejoicing will turn to sorrow". Associated Press The Washington Post. October 25, 2011
  58. ^ Carlyle Murphy, "US Alleges Plot by Libyans; Col. North Said to be Target". The Washington Post, July 21, 1988
  59. ^ Warren Strobel, "Farrakhan aide threatens to kill whites in the street". The Washington Times, April 21, 1996.
  60. ^ Carlyle Murphy, "FBI Testifies Suspects are Libyan Spies: Assassination Plot alleged in VA Court". The Washington Post. July 1988.
  61. ^ a b http://www.aim.org/media-monitor/the-nation-of-islam-and-violence/
  62. ^ "Nation of Islam leader slams Gadhafi's 'assassination', says rejoicing will turn to sorrow". The Washington Post. Associated Press. October 25, 2011.
  63. ^ http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/article_7783.shtml
  64. ^ Harold Muhammad, Minister of New Orleans Mosque Interview with the Times Picayune April 11, 1994: http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/american/adl/nation-of-islam/noi-10.html
  65. ^ a b Bedard, Paul (July 5, 2011). "Farrakhan's Hate Sermons to Prisoners Slammed". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  66. ^ "Millions March in Harlem" on YouTube speech: August 13, 2011
  67. ^ Muhammad Ali's New Spiritual Quest
  68. ^ MC Ren: RenIncarnated HipHopDX
  69. ^ "BBC News Profile: John Allen Muhammad". London. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  70. ^ [1], Snoop Dogg does not specify a date when he joined.

External links[edit]