Shabazz (name)

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Shabazz is the name of a black architect whose tribe founded the populations of Africa, according to the doctrine of the Nation of Islam (NOI).

The name was adopted by Malcolm X, initially when he joined the NOI. Born Malcolm Little, by 1949 he was signing letters as "Malachi Shabazz", before taking the name "Malcolm X". After returning from his pilgrimage in Mecca, he finally adopted the title and name El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, seen as symbolic of his spiritual journey to Orthodox Islam. The surname was borne by his wife Betty Shabazz and his children, and has also been adopted by unrelated persons.


A 1994 article in The American Muslim claims that the name is from the Arabic words شعب sha‘b, "a people", and عز ‘azz, "to be mighty or glorious". There is also a similar (but etymologically unrelated) Persian name, Shahbâz, meaning "royal falcon". Indicating "royalty and nobility", the name is popular with Bosnian, Turkish, Indian and Pakistani Muslims.[1]

In his book Message to the Blackman in America, Elijah Muhammad wrote that African-Americans (then called Negroes) are descended from an ancient tribe by that name:

[God] has declared that we [the so-called Negroes] are descendants of the Asian Black Nation and the tribe of Shabazz. [1]

O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz[edit]

An important U.S. Supreme Court case, dealing with the extent to which the government (specifically, the prisons) must go to accommodate private practice of religion, is O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz (1987). [2] The respondent (originally the plaintiff) in this case was Ahmad Uthman Shabazz, who was not related to Malcolm X.

Other uses[edit]

A number of rappers have taken "Shabazz" as part of their stage names to express their belief in Elijah Muhammad's vision or in homage to Malik Shabazz. Among them are Shabazz Palaces featuring Ish from Digable Planets, Shabazz the Disciple, a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate, and Lakim Shabazz of Flavor Unit.

A character named Shabazz K. Milton Berle appeared in the TV series The Boondocks, in the episode "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus".


Further reading[edit]

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