Wallace Fard Muhammad

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Wallace Fard Muhammad
Wallace Fard Muhammad.jpg
Nation of Islam portrait
Leader of the Nation of Islam
In office
Succeeded by Elijah Muhammad
Personal details
Born 26 February 1877
Died Unknown
Occupation Minister
Religion Nation of Islam

Wallace Fard Muhammad (born 26 February 1877) was the founder of the Nation of Islam and teacher of Elijah Muhammad.[1] Members of the Nation of Islam refer to him today as Master Fard Muhammad.[2] In the 1930s, they referred to him as Prophet W.D. Fard.[3] He began teaching Islam in Detroit, Michigan in July 1930 and he disappeared in 1934.[4] The Nation of Islam teaches that he is “God in Person.”[5] They also teach that his arrival in America and preaching are the fulfillment of biblical prophecies concerning the coming of God, and Islamic prophecies about the coming of the Mahdi (self-guided one).[6]

There are two sources of information about the life and work of Wallace Fard Muhammad: 1) statements and writings that he provided to his followers during the 1930 to 1934 timespan; and 2) the FBI’s file compiled under the tenure of J. Edgar Hoover. Authors writing about his life derive all information from these two sources, or from other writers who relied upon these two sources. Springing from these two sources, there has developed two opposing narratives about Master Fard Muhammad. One narrative claims that he is a man named Wallace Dodd Ford. Those relying upon this narrative provide facts about Wallace Dodd Ford's history and present those facts as Wallace Fard Muhammad's history. The other narrative, which is promoted by the Nation of Islam, presents him as God in Person based upon the teachings of Elijah Muhammad.

The only source that is not derived, directly or indirectly, from the aforementioned sources is the following quote from the 1962 book titled "Black Nationalism: The Search for an Identity": "For some time, one W.D. Fard assumed leadership of the Moorish movement. According to Bontemps and Conroy, Fard claimed that he was the reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali. By 1930 a permanent split developed in the movement. One faction, the Moors, remains faithful to Noble Drew Ali, and the other, which is now led by Elijah Muhammad, remains faithful to Prophet Fard (Master Wallace Fard Muhammad). However, Minister Malcolm X and other leaders of the Nation of Islam have emphatically denied any past connection whatsoever of Elijah Muhammad, Master Fard Muhammad, or their movement with Nobel Drew Ali's Moorish American Science Temple."[7] The author of this text, E.U. Essien-Udom, provided no source for the above quote contained within his book.

The FBI File on Wallace Fard Muhammad[edit]

A search was initiated for Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1942 after Elijah Muhammad was arrested in Washington D.C. on May 8th.[8] Elijah Muhammad told agents that Wallace Fard Muhammad instructed his followers that they should not register for Selective Service. The FBI’s Washington office contacted their Detroit office and suggested that they check the criminal records of the Detroit Police Department for records concerning Fard. They found that Wallace Fard was arrested in Detroit for "conversion" on May 26, 1933.

Photographs of Fard were confiscated by the FBI in two raids conducted of the Nation of Islam’s Temple in Detroit on May 16, 1942 and Elijah Muhammad’s home on September 20, 1942. The FBI file states that the Bureau was hopeful that the photographs would help them "positively identify Fard." The FBI’s efforts in 1942-43 did not produce any information concerning Fard’s whereabout so the file was closed.

The investigation was later reopened due to increases in Nation of Islam membership. In 1957, the FBI came across the name of a convicted felon named Wallie D. Ford, and they began investigating whether he could be Fard. The same year, they spoke to Ford’s common-law wife who described Ford as a New Zealander, 5'8", 140 lbs., slender build, black curly hair, black eyes, Caucasian features but "extremely swarthy complexion, (he) had the appearance of a very dark skinned Mexican."

In 1958, FBI records state: “It was not definitely determined whether the individual referred to as W.D. Fard…was identical with the subject of this summary (i.e. Wallie Ford).” The same year, J. Edgar Hoover terminated the investigation and sent a memo to the Chicago FBI office stating: “The Bureau feels that continued expenditure of investigative time in this matter is not warranted. Therefore, this matter is being closed by the Bureau. You should take similar action in your office.” The memo contains a note added later stating: “Actually, since birth has not been verified, subject's true identity unknown (emphasis added).”

The FBI initiated further efforts after the documentary called The Hate That Hate Produced aired in 1959. The documentary was credited for causing membership in the Nation of Islam to increase. FBI records during this time period reveal that the Bureau sent fictitious allegations to newspapers claiming that Wallace Fard Muhammad was a Turkish born Nazi agent for Hitler during World War II in an effort to discredit the Nation of Islam.

The FBI closed the Wallie D. Ford file in 1958. A February 19, 1963 FBI file concludes: “In connection with efforts to disrupt and curb growth of the NOI, extensive research has been conducted into various files maintained by this office (Chicago). Among the files reviewed was that of Wallace Dodd Ford…It is felt that if the whereabouts of Allah could be inconclusively determined, the impact on Elijah Muhammad and his followers would be tremendous and could well serve to make Muhammad appear ridiculous.”

In this note and others within the FBI file, the FBI refers to Wallie D. Ford as Wallace Dodd Ford, but Wallace Dodd Ford is actually the name of Wallie D. Ford’s son born September 1, 1920 according to FBI records. At some point in time, the son’s name began to be used in place of the father’s.

The FBI later investigated leads that Wallie Ford was from New Zealand, and they traveled there with photos of Wallace Fard Muhammad. The FBI file on Fard contains a letter dated December 7, 1962 from the New Zealand Chief Commissioner of State Police stating: “In the course of these inquiries I spoke to a number of men in Willington [unintelligible] with Maori affairs and welfare. One such person –a Mr. Steve [unintelligible] informed me of the fact that it is most unusual to discover a Maori family named Ford, but he was able to recall that such a family lived in the Thomas District some years ago. He was also able to recall that a relative of this family had, many years ago, traveled to California in the United States of America. Further inquiries by the Thomas Police established that this person was Walter [D. Ford]. His brother – [unintelligible] is now residing at 843 Weeton Road...and when interviewed recently he gave the following particulars concerning his brother: Full name – Watana (?) [unintelligible] (usually known as Walter [Ford]) – born at Thomas in October, 1881 and went to America about 1912; that he joined the American Forces during the 1914-18 World War; that in 1957 he returned to New Zealand for about six months; that he returned to New Zealand for a further six months in 1959; that he married and is at present residing at 1103 Pacific Avenue, [unintelligible], California. From the photograph supplied, however, those persons who knew 'Walter [Ford]', say that he is not identical with Ford, alias Farad.”

In 1963, after learning that Elijah Muhammad would not be speaking at his annual Saviours’ Day convention due to health related issues, J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo to the FBI’s Chicago field officer stating: "now [is] the time to use the dossier on Fard to neutralize the NOI.” The Bureau sent the Ford file to numerous large newspapers the same year.

While these efforts continued, a July 30, 1963 FBI memo states: "We have not been able to verify his (W.D. Fard's) birth date or birth place nor identify his parents. W.D. Fard has not been seen or heard from since 1934.” In an August 12, 1974 FBI memo from the Chicago office to the FBI Director regarding a 1963 LA Herald-Examiner newspaper article about Fard, the following is stated: “As the Bureau (i.e. Director) is aware, efforts were made in 1963 to verify the birth and identity of Wallace Farad or Wallace Dodd, these attempts met with negative results.”

The same 1963 LA Herald-Examiner newspaper article includes a photograph of Wallie Ford (called Wallace Dodd Ford) with no handwritten notes on the photographs, with the following caption underneath the photo: “Profile features of British father and dark eyes and complexion of Polynesian mother was evident in these Los Angeles Police shots of Wallace Dodd, alias Farad. Pictures were taken just prior to his confinement in San Quentin for the sale of narcotics.” This same photograph later appears in publications with a handwritten notation across it containing Wallace Fard Muhammad’s Detroit arrest booking number and date of arrest. The photograph is also now in the possession of the Detroit Police Department and is listed as the official photograph of Wallace Fard Muhammad from his May 26, 1933 arrest.

FBI files indicate that several actual photographs of Wallace Fard Muhammad were destroyed by the FBI. A June 2, 1971 FBI memo references a “Destruction Project” wherein photographs of Wallace Fard Muhammad were destroyed. It states: “In re 1-A file, only one photo and/or negative was retained of photos prior to 1961.” FBI records also indicate that on April 5, 1957 Fard’s files numbered 65-411-706 and 100-11506-531 were also destroyed. On October 20, 1957, Fard’s File 100-7006-979-24 was likewise destroyed.

Founding the Nation of Islam[edit]

Wallace Fard Muhammad came to public attention teaching a unique representation of Islam among black people in Michigan in 1930 by himself.[9] He began teaching within the homes of his followers, but later established meeting locations called Temples of Islam as the number of followers grew. Within these Temples, he established a leadership structure and referred to leaders within the community as Laborers.[10] The objective of the Laborers and general membership was to help propagate the faith to the larger black population. He also established a military structure and strict rules of moral conduct called the Restrictive Laws of Islam which included restrictions against stealing, dishonesty, premarital sex, the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or the eating of pork, among other rules.[11]

A weekly newspaper was established in the city of Detroit under his direction called The Final Call to Islam. It is unclear exactly how many people became followers of Wallace Fard Muhammad during this time period. However, the Nation of Islam has claimed that he gave approximately 25,000 black people new names for the purpose of removing names descended to them through slavery.[12]

Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975, heard Wallace Fard Muhammad teach for the first time in 1931 and he became one of his most devoted followers.[13] Elijah Muhammad described one of his first encounters with Wallace Fard Muhammad as follows: “I asked him, ‘Who are you, and what is your real name?’ He said, ‘I am the one that the world has been expecting for the past 2,000 years.’ I said to Him again, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘My name is Mahdi; I am God, I came to guide you into the right path that you may be successful and see the hereafter.’”[14]

Elijah Muhammad was taught by Wallace Fard Muhammad continuously from 1931 to 1934 where the two became inseparable.[15] During this time period, Wallace Fard Muhammad wrote several lessons which are read and committed to memory by members of the Nation of Islam to this day.[16] Some of the lessons are in the form of questions asked by Wallace Fard Muhammad to Elijah Muhammad. One such lesson concludes with the text: “This Lesson No. 2 was given by our Prophet, W.D. Fard, which contains 40 questions answered by Elijah Muhammad, one of the lost found in the wilderness of North America February 20th, 1934.”[17] The last direct physical communication that Elijah Muhammad received from Wallace Fard Muhammad was a letter that was sent from Mexico.


In his book, Message to the Blackman in America, Elijah Muhammad described the teachings provided by Wallace Fard Muhammad in the 1930s as follows: “He began teaching us the knowledge of ourselves, of God and the devil, of the measurement of the earth, of other planets, and of the civilization of some of the planets other than earth.

“He measured and weighed the earth and its water; the history of the moon; the history of the two nations, black and white, that dominate the earth. He gave the exact birth of the white race; the name of their God who made them and how; and the end of their time, the judgment, how it will begin and end.

“He taught us the truth of how we were made ‘slaves’ and how we are kept in slavery by the ‘slave-masters’ children. He declared the doom of America, for her evils to us was past due. And that she is number one to be destroyed. Her judgment could not take place until we hear the truth.

“He declared that we were without the knowledge of self or anyone else. How we had been made blind, deaf and dumb by this white race of people and how we must return to our people, our God and His religion of peace (Islam), the religion of the prophets. We must give up the slave names of our slave-masters and accept the name of Allah (God) or one of His divine attributes. He also taught us to give up all evil doings and practices and do righteousness or be destroyed from the face of the earth. He taught us that the slave-masters had taught us to eat the wrong food and that this wrong food is the cause of our sickness and short span of life. He declared that he would heal us and set us in heaven at once, if we would submit to Him. Otherwise he would chastise us with a severe chastisement until we did submit. And that He was able to force the whole world into submission to his will. He said that he loved us (the so-called Negroes), his lost and found, so well that he would eat rattlesnakes to free us if necessary, for he has power over all things.”[18]

Wallace Fard Muhammad taught that the original man is God. Specifically, he taught that the ethnic and racial descendants of the original inhabitants of the earth are collectively Allah or Almighty God, the deity of monotheistic religions.

Wallace Fard Muhammad taught that the power and wisdom that would allow human beings to exercise control over the forces of nature has been kept among a small number of men, never exceeding 24 in number.[19] The wisest and most powerful of these men, he taught, is the Supreme Being, also called the Son of Man, or the Lord in the Bible. He taught that the 24 men (called 24 Scientists) possessing the secret God knowledge and power are the same as the 24 elders referenced in the Bible in Revelation 4:2-4, and the plural “We” and “Us” referenced in the Quran as Allah. He taught that this group of 24 men are divided into two groups of 12 called: the 12 Major Scientists and the 12 Minor Scientists. He taught that the power exercised by these men will be shared with a chosen people, the black people of America, then to the rest of humanity later.

A core component of Wallace Fard Muhammad’s teaching involved mathematics and astronomy.[20] In one of the lessons that he provided, which is often quoted by members of the Nation of Islam, he said: “After learning Mathematics, which is Islam, and Islam is Mathematics, it stands true. You can always prove it at no limit of time…” His theological teaching involved a belief that there is a mathematically based relationship between such units as time, distance, and thought. Lessons that he provided often involved mathematical problems.

Wallace Fard Muhammad taught that the Bible only covers a period of time lasting 6,000 years and that this time period was given to white people to rule the earth.[21] The 6,000 year time period given to whites ended in 1914 according to his teaching, and since that time, non-white populations have been moving slowly toward true independence. He taught that the Bible and Quran are actually books containing a mathematically coded outline of how and why humanity would come under white domination and how the white man’s rule would come to a disgraceful end when black people come into the knowledge of their dormant power.

He taught that he would destroy America with rain, hail, snow, and earthquakes.[22] He also taught that a dreadful plane exists under his command that will be used to destroy America and this is the same plane that was seen in a vision by the prophet Ezekiel as mentioned in the Bible as a great wheel in the sky.

Wallace Fard Muhammad taught that human beings have the ability to live for hundreds of years.[23] In his books, How to Eat to Live Books One and Two, Elijah Muhammad recounts a detailed dietary law that Wallace Fard Muhammad gave to his followers. The core of his dietary law was that a person should eat either one meal a day, one meal every two days, or one meal every three days.[24]


Wallace Fard Muhammad's legacy is the Nation of Islam itself. Each year, the Nation of Islam celebrates the birth of Master Fard Muhammad during their annual Saviours’ Day Convention in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1965) Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 16-17
  2. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1974) Our Saviour Has Arrived, Muhammad's Temple of Islam No. 2, ISBN1-929594-0602, P. 110
  3. ^ Muhammad, Fard (1993) The Supreme Wisdom Lessons, The Final Call, p. 24-25
  4. ^ Muhammad, Jabril (1993) This is The One The Most Honored Elijah Muhammad We Need Not Look For Another, Vol. 1, p. 130
  5. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1967) How to Eat to Live Book One, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 1-929594-02-X, p. 48
  6. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1965) Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 164; Muhammad, Fard (1993) The Supreme Wisdom Lessons, Instructions to the Laborers, The Final Call, p. 3
  7. ^ E.U. Essien-Udom (1962), Black Nationalism: The Search for an Identity, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226218533, p. 35-36
  8. ^ See Generally FBI File, Master Fard Muhammad; Muhammad, Elijah (1965) Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 179
  9. ^ Farrakhan, Louis (2011, Feb. 27) Saviours Day Address 2011, Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iygl0zfbPE
  10. ^ Muhammad, Fard (1993), The Supreme Wisdom, The Final Call, p. 1-5
  11. ^ Farrakhan, Louis, The Restrictive Law of Islam is Our Success (2012), The Nation of Islam's National Center for the Re-Education & Re-Training of the Black Man and Woman of America and the World
  12. ^ Muhammad, Askia (2000, March 10), Impact of a Nation on 20th Century America, The Final Call, Retrieved from http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/Impact_of_a_Nation_on_20th_century_America_2849.shtml
  13. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1964), Historic 1964 Buzz Anderson Interview, The Final Call
  14. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1965) Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 17
  15. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1964), Historic 1964 Buzz Anderson Interview, The Final Call
  16. ^ Muhammad, Fard (1993), The Supreme Wisdom, The Final Call
  17. ^ Muhammad, Fard (1993), The Supreme Wisdom, The Final Call, p. 24
  18. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1965) Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 16-17
  19. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1965) Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 108-109
  20. ^ Muhammad, Fard (1993), The Supreme Wisdom, The Final Call
  21. ^ Message to the Blackman in America, Muhammad's Temple No 2, ISBN 978-1-929594-01-6, p. 2
  22. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1973), The Fall of America, Muhammad's Temple No 2
  23. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1972), How to Eat to Live book Two, Muhammad's Temple No 2
  24. ^ Muhammad, Elijah (1972), How to Eat to Live book Two, Muhammad's Temple No 2

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