Skip to main content

African-American Islam

African-American Islam

African Islamic Mission

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, Inc.

Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam

American Muslims

Ansaaru Allah Community

Hanafi Madh-hab Center, Islam Faith

Lost-Found Nation of Islam

Moorish-American National Republic

The Moorish Orthodox Church in America

Moorish Science Temple of America

Moorish Science Temple, Prophet Ali Reincarnated, Founder

Nation of Islam (Farrakhan)

Nation of Islam (John Muhammad)

Nation of Islam (The Caliph)

Nation of the Five Percent/Nation of God and Earths

United Nation of Islam

African Islamic Mission

1390 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216

The African Islamic Mission emerged in the 1970s in Brooklyn, New York. It is an African-American orthodox Muslim organization that is headquartered in the Al Masjid Al Jaaami’a under the leadership of Imam Alhaji Obaba Muhammadu. The mission is most noted for its development of a black history publication series, which includes reprints of many rare and hard to find books on the origins of the Africans.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

African Islamic Mission, Inc. www.inetmgrs.com/onepeoples/AfricanIslamicMission.htm.

Introduction to Islam: The First and Final Religion. Brooklyn, NY: African Islamic Mission, n.d.

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, Inc.

1315 Kingsgate Rd., Columbus, OH 43221-1504

Alternate Addresses

International Headquarters: c/o Darus Salaam, 5 Usman Block, New Garden Town, Lahore-16, Pakistan. Canadian Headquarters: Box 964, Postal Station A, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Following the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, a disagreement arose among his followers concerning the founder’s status. Those who followed Ahmad’s family proclaimed him a prophet. However, others, led by Maulawi Muhammad Ali, considered Ahmad the Promised Messiah and the greatest mujaddid, i.e., renewer of Islam, but denied that Ahmad had ever claimed the special status of “prophet.” Ali asserted that Ahmad’s use of that term was entirely allegorical. The claim of prophethood for Ahmad has resulted in the assignment of Ahmadiyya Muslims to a status outside of the Muslim community and has led to their persecution in several Muslim-dominated countries.

Members of the Ahmadiyya branch founded by Ali in 1914 came to America in the 1970s and incorporated in California.

Membership

Not reported. There are four centers in the United States and two in Canada. There are an estimated 100,000 people affiliated with the movement worldwide. Centers are found in Indian communities around the world.

Periodicals

The Islamic Review.

Sources

Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. www.muslim.org.

Ali, Muhammad. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Newark, CA: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, 1984.

Aziz, Zahid, comp. The Ahmadiyya Case. Newark, CA: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, 1987.

Faruqui, Mumtaz Ahmad. Truth Triumphs. Lahore, Pakistan: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-I-Islam, 1965.

Faruqui, N. A. Ahmadiyyat in the Service of Islam. Newark, CA: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, 1983.

Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam

U.S. National Headquarters, 15000 Good Hope Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20905

The Ahmadiyya movement was not brought to the United States with the intention of its becoming an African-American religion. Ahmadiyya originated in India in 1889 as a Muslim reform movement. It differs from orthodox Islam in that it believes that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908) was the promised Messiah, the coming one of all the major faiths of the world. It has, in the years since its founding, developed the most aggressive missionary program in Islam.

Ahmad had concluded, as a result of his studies, that Islam was in a decline and that he had been appointed by Allah to demonstrate its truth, which he began doing by authoring a massive book, Barahin-i-Ahmaditah. He assumed the title of mujaddid, the renewer of faith for the present age, and declared himself both Madhi, the expected returning savior of Muslims, and the Promised Messiah of Christians. He advocated the view that Jesus had not died on the cross, but had come to Kashmir in his later life and died a normal death there. The Second Coming is not of a resurrected Jesus, but the appearance of one who bore the power and spirit of Jesus.

Ahmadiyya came to the United States in 1921 and shortly after the first U.S. center was established in Chicago. Its founder, Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, began to publish a periodical, Muslim Sunrise. Though some immigrants were recruited, the overwhelming majority of converts consisted of American blacks. Only since the repeal of the Asian Exclusion Act in 1965 and the resultant emigration of large numbers of Indian and Pakistani nationals has the movement developed a significant Asian constituency in the United States.

A vast missionary literature demonstrating Islam’s superiority to Christianity has been produced by the Ahmadiyya movement. Jesus is widely discussed. He is viewed as a great prophet who only swooned on the cross. He then escaped from his tomb to India and continued many years of ministry. He is buried at Srinagar, India, where the legendary Tomb of Issa (Jesus) is a popular pilgrimage site. The denial of the divinity of Jesus is in line with the assertion of Allah as the one true God. Christianity is seen as tritheistic.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community U.S.A. has auxiliaries for various professions: the Ahmadiyya Medical Association (AMMA), the Ahmadiyya Scientists Association (AAMS), Ahmadiyya Computer Professionals (AACP), and Ahmadiyya Architects and Engineers (IAAAE). There are also chapters of these auxiliary organizations in other countries, which provide worldwide relationships for members and bring experience and knowledge to the organizations.

At present, the movement is small. Headquarters were moved to Washington, D.C., in 1950 after a quarter century in Chicago, and are now located in Maryland.

Membership

Not reported.

Periodicals

The Ahmadiyya Gazette • The Muslim Sunrise

Sources

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. www.alislam.org/.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community U.S.A. www.ahmadiyya.us.

Ahmad, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud. Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam. Washington, DC: American Fazl Mosque, 1951.

———. Invitation. Rabwah, Pakistan: Ahmadiyya Muslim Foreign Missions, 1968.

Dard, A. R. Life of Ahmad. Lahore, Pakistan: Tabshir Publications, 1948.

Khan, Muhammad Zafrulla. Ahmadiyyat: The Renaissance of Islam. London: Tabshir Publications, 1978.

Nadwi, S. Abul Hasan Ali. Qadianism: A Critical Study. Lucknow, India: Islamic Research and Publications, 1974.

Turner, Richard Brent. Islam in the African-American Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

American Muslims

c/o The Mosque Cares (Ministry of W. Deen Mohammed), PO Box 1061, Calumet City, IL 60409

Though there are a variety of Muslim groups functioning within the black community, when one reads in the media or hears mention of “Black Muslims,” the most likely reference is to the Nation of Islam, founded by Master Wallace Fard Muhammad and headed for many years by its purported prophet, Elijah Muhammad (1897–1975). After Elijah Muhammad’s death the organization’s name was changed successively to the World Community of Islam in the West and, in 1980, the American Muslim Mission. It is the most successful of the Black Muslim bodies, having spread across the nation in the 1960s during the period of the black power movement. Its success and that of one dissident member, Malcolm X, led to numerous books and articles about it.

Following the death of Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America, there appeared in Detroit, Michigan, one Wallace D. Fard, a mysterious figure claiming to be Noble Drew Ali reincarnated. He proclaimed that he had been sent from Mecca to secure freedom, justice, and equality for his uncle (the Negroes) living in the wilderness of North America, surrounded and robbed by the cave man (the white man). (The white man was also referred to as the “Caucasian devil” and “Satan.”) Fard established a temple in 1930 in Detroit. Among his many converts was Elijah Poole.

The 1930s was a time of intense recruiting activity and dispute for the Nation of Islam. Within its ranks discussion focused on Fard’s divinity, legitimacy, and role. In 1934 a second temple was founded in Chicago, and the following year Fard dropped from sight. By this time, Poole, known as Elijah Muhammad, had risen to leadership.

Under Elijah Muhammad’s leadership, the Black Muslims emerged as a strong, cohesive unit. Growth was slow, due in part to Muhammad’s imprisonment during World War II as a conscientious objector. As the new prophet, he composed the authoritative Message to the Blackman in America, a summary statement of the Nation of Islam’s position.

The central teaching of the Nation of Islam can be seen as a more sophisticated version of the Moorish Science study of the black man’s history. According to Muhammad, Yakub, a mad black scientist, created the white beast, who was then permitted by Allah to reign for six thousand years. That period was over in 1914. Thus, the twentieth century was the time for the Nation of Islam to regroup and regain an ascendant position.

Education, economics, and political aspirations were major aspects of the Black Muslim program. The first University of Islam was opened in 1932, and parochial education (with many of the schools being named after Clara Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad’s wife) has been a growing and effective part of the Nation ever since. Besides the common curriculum, Black Muslim history, Islam and Arabic have been stressed. Classes are offered through the twelfth grade. Economically, the Black Muslims have stressed a work ethic and business development. The weekly newspaper carries numerous advertisements from businesses owned by Black Muslims. Politically, Black Muslims looked to the establishment of a black nation to be owned and operated by blacks.

Black Muslims excluded whites from the movement and imposed a strict discipline on members to accentuate their new religion and nationality. Food, dress, and behavior patterns were regulated; a ritual life based on, but varying from, orthodox Muslim form, was prescribed.

Black Muslims instituted a far-reaching program in furtherance of their aspirations. An evangelizing effort to make the Muslim program known within the black community was sustained in a weekly newspaper, Muhammad Speaks. During the 1960s and into the 1970s, growth was spectacular. By the time of Elijah Muhammad’s death there were approximately 70 temples across the nation, including the South, and over 100,000 members.

In 1975 Elijah Muhammad died and was succeeded by his son, Wallace D. Muhammad. During the decade of Wallace’s leadership, a move toward both orthodox Islam and decentralization of the organization has occurred. These moves have been reflected in the name changes, a schism in which conservatives left to found movements continuing the peculiar emphases of the Nation of Islam prior to 1975, and the beginning of acceptance of the American Muslim Mission by orthodox Muslims. Muhammad Speaks was renamed Bilalian News.

In 1985 Wallace Muhammad, with the approval of the Council of Imans (ministers), resigned his post as leader of the American Muslim Mission and disbanded the movement’s national structure. That move represents the establishment of a fully congregational polity by the Muslims whose local centers are now under the guidance of their imans rather than under the control of the Chicago headquarters. Wallace D. Muhammad, also known as Warith Deen Muhammad, now operates as an independent Muslim lecturer and a member of the World Council of Masajid, which is headquartered in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His emphasis is upon the proper image of Muslims worldwide.

Membership

Not reported. There were approximately 200 centers in the mission at the time of its disincorporation. Foreign centers were located in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Bermuda, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Canada, St. Thomas Island, and Trinidad.

Periodicals

Muslim Journal.

Sources

The Mosque Cares. www.themosquecares.com.

Lincoln, C. Eric. The Black Muslims in America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1961.

Muhammad, Elijah. Message to the Blackman in America. Chicago: Muhammad Mosque of Islam, No. 2, 1965.

Muhammad, Wallace D. Lectures of Elam Muhammad. Chicago: Zakat Propagation Fund Publications, 1978.

Muhammad, Warith Deen [Wallace D. Muhammad]. As a Light Shineth from the East. Chicago: WDM Publishing Co., 1980.

———. Religion on the Line. Chicago: W. D. Muhammad Publications, 1983.

Ansaaru Allah Community

716 Bushwick Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11221

Members of the Ansaaru Allah Community, also known as the Nubian Islaamic Hebrew Mission, believe that the nineteenth-century Sudanese leader Muhammed Ahmed Ibn Abdullah (1845–1885) was the True Mahdi, the predicted Khaliyfah (successor) to the Prophet Mustafa Muhammed Al Amin. After his death, Al Mahdi was buried in the Sudan, and the group he founded (the Ansaars) continued under his successors—namely, As Sayyid Abdur Rahman Muhammad Al Madhi, As Sayyid Al Haadi Abdur Muhammad Rahmaan Al Madhi, and As Sayyid Al Imaan Isa Al Haadi Al Madhi. Presently, the third successor, who is also Al Mahdi’s great-grandson, leads the mission.

The Community teaches from the Old Testament (Tawrah), the Psalms of David (Zubuwr), the New Testament (Injiyl), and the Holy Qur’an. The last testament, the Holy Qur’an, was given to the last of the prophets of the line of Adam, Mustafa Muhammad Al Amin. The group teaches that Allah is alone in his power, the All (Tawhiyd, “Oneness”), and does not use the term God. They believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that Ali (599–661 c.e.) and Fatima (610–633 c.e.) are the successors to Mustafa Muhammad Al Amin.

Adam and Hawwah (Eve) are believed to have been Nubians. After the flood, during the time of the prophet Nuwh (Noah), Nuwh’s son Ham desired to commit sodomy while looking at his father’s nakedness. This act resulted in the curse of leprosy being put upon Ham’s fourth son, Canaan, thus turning his skin pale. In such a manner did the pale races come into existence, including the Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, and Sidonites, who are all the descendants of Canaan. Mixing blood with these “subraces”(so-called because they are no longer pure Nubians), is unlawful for Nubians.

From the seed of Ibrahiym (Abraham), three nations were produced: the nation of Isaac, whose descendants later became known as Israelites, and whose lineage is through Abraham’s son Jacob; the nation of Ishmael, whose descendants are called the Ishmailites; and the nation of Midian, whose descendents are known as Midianites and whose lineage stems from Ketura, Abraham’s third wife. The Israelites were enslaved for 430 years in Egypt. The Ishmailites, it was prophesied, were to be enslaved in a land not their own for 400 years. The Nubians of the United States, the West Indies, and various other places around the world are the seed of Ishmael (and hence Hebrews). Al Madhi taught that all with straight hair and pale skin were Turks; however, this does not include people of color, such as Latinos, Japanese, Koreans, Cubans, Sicilians, and so on.

Under As Siddid Al Imaan Isa Al Haahi Al Madhi’s guidance, the Nubian Islaamic Hebrew Mission was begun in the late 1960s in New York. In 1970, the prophesies of the “Opening of the Seventh Seal” (Revelation 8:1) began to come to fruition with the opening of the Ansaaru Allah Community and the publishing of literature to help remove the veil of confusion from Nubians. In 1972, communities were established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Connecticut; Texas; and Albany, New York. The following year, centers were opened in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; North Carolina; South Carolina; Georgia; Michigan; Florida; and Virginia. In the Caribbean, centers were opened in Trinidad, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Guyana, and Tobago. During the next decade, the movement spread to South America, Ghana, Hawaii, and other places around the world.

The symbol of the community is a six-pointed star (made from two triangles) in an inverted crescent. This is considered to be the seal of Allah.

Membership

Not reported. There are several hundred members in the United States.

Periodicals

Ansar Village Bulletin.

Sources

Dietary Laws of a Muslim. Brooklyn, NY: Ansaru Allah Community, 1979.

Muhammad Ahmad: The Only True Madhi! Brooklyn, NY: Ansaru Allah Community, 1979.

Muhammad Al Madhi, Al Hajj Al Iman Isa Ibd’Allah, trans. The Holy Qur’aan. Brooklyn, NY: Ansaru Allah Community, 1977.

Muslim Prayer Book. Brooklyn, NY: Ansaru Allah Community, 1984.

Warner, Philip. Dervish: The Rise of an African Empire. New York: Taplinger, 1975.

What Is a Muslim? Brooklyn, NY: Ansaru Allah Community, 1979.

Hanafi Madh-hab Center, Islam Faith

7700 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20012

HISTORY

The Hanafi Madh-hab Center was first established in the United States during the late 1920s by Dr. Tasibur Uddein Rahman, a “Mussulman”(i.e., Muslim) from Pakistan. In 1947 Khalifa Hammas Abdul Khaalis (born Ernest Timothy McGee) met and became a student of Dr. Rahman, who gave him his new name and taught him the sunnah (the tradition and practice) of the Prophet Muhammad. In 1950 Dr. Rahman sent Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis into the Nation of Islam (now the American Muslim Mission) to guide the members into Sunni Islam (the faith and practice followed by the great majority of Muslims). By 1956 Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis was the national secretary of the Nation of Islam. He left the Nation of Islam in 1958, however, after unsuccessfully trying to convince its leader, Elijah Muhammad, to change the direction of the movement. He then established a Hanafi Madh-hab Center in Washington, D.C.

At the beginning of 1973, Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis wrote letters to the members and leaders of the Nation of Islam in which he once again asked them to change to Sunni Muslim belief and practice. On January 18, 1973, members of the Nation of Islam came into the center in Washington, D.C. (which also served as Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis’s home) and murdered six of his children and his stepson. His wife was wounded. Subsequently, five members of the Philadelphia Nation of Islam group were convicted of the murders, only to receive relatively light sentences.

In 1977 Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis and other Al-Hanif Mussulmans, as members of the group are called, took action against the showing of a soon-tobe-released motion picture, Mohammad, Messenger of God, which they considered sacrilegious. They took over three buildings in Washington, D.C., and held people hostage for 38 hours. In the process, one man was killed. For this action Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis was sentenced to spend from 41 to 120 years in prison, and 11 of his followers were also convicted and sentenced. Because no believing Muslim was on the jury, Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis considers the jury to have lacked impartiality.

BELIEFS

The Al-Hanif Hanafi Mussulmans uphold the two standards of Islam, the Holy Qur’an and the Hadiths, and are Sunni Muslims (obeying all things laid down by Allah to the Prophet Muhammad). They also follow the 124,000 prophets, major and minor, and believe in all holy books, from the perspective of Allah’s knowledge. The Holy Qur’an is the final seal of all prophets and prophecy. The word Hanafi in their name means “unconditional” and “uncompromising.”

The Hanafi Mussulmans have taken a special interest in presenting Islam to African Americans and in informing them that Islam is a religion that does not recognize distinctions of race or color.

ORGANIZATION

Authority for Al-Hanif Hanafi Mussulmans is vested in the chief iman (teacher), Khalifa Hammas Abdul Khaalis, and each mosque is headed by an iman appointed by him.

Membership

Not reported. There are estimated to be several hundred Hanafi Muslims in the United States. Mosques are located in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California.

Periodicals

Look and See.

Sources

Hanafi Madh-hab Center, Islam Faith. www.al-hanifhanafimdhbctr.com.

Khaalis, Hamaas Abdul. Look and See. Washington, DC: Hanafi Madh-hab Center, Islam Faith, 1972.

Lost-Found Nation of Islam

c/o Minister Ishmael Abdul-Salaam, 3040 Campbelton Rd., SW, Atlanta, GA 30311

The Lost-Found Nation of Islam emerged in 1977 under the leadership of Silis Muhammad, who had joined the original Nation of Islam in the 1960s. As a member of the Nation, he had developed a reputation for his promotion of the Nation’s tabloid, Muhammad Speaks, and as a result was invited to the Nation’s headquarters in Chicago to manage the paper’s national circulation. He became a close confidant of Elijah Muhammad and eventually assumed a role as his spiritual son (there was no biological relationship).

Following Elijah Muhammad’s death in 1975, Silis Muhammad rejected the changes instituted by the Nation’s new leader, Warith Deen Muhammad, the son of Elijah Muhammad. In 1977 he charged Warith Muhammad with being a false prophet and demanded that he turn the property of the Nation back to his father’s genuine followers. Soon afterward, Silis Muhammad left to reorganize the Nation of Islam under his own leadership with headquarters in the South. In 1982 he started a new edition of Muhammad Speaks, the name of the original having been changed. In 1985 he published an expanded book-length version of his attack upon Warith Deen Muhammad and an alternative program for the reorganized Nation.

Soon after Silis Muhammad attempted to resurrect the Nation of Islam, another prominent leader, Louis Farrakhan, also left and founded a rival Nation of Islam. Silis Muhammad and Farrakhan disagreed on the role of Elijah Muhammad in regards to Jesus. Farrakhan had interpreted some of Elijah Muhammad’s statements as meaning that he had claimed to be the fulfillment of some of Jesus’ prophecies. Silis Muhammad rejected that interpretation. In the wake of the disagreement the two have gone their separate ways.

The Lost-Found Nation of Islam headed by Silis Muhammad has established headquarters in Atlanta. The Nation has reaffirmed that Allah appeared in the person of Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1930 and that he spoke face-to-face with Elijah Muhammad from 1931 through 1933. Hence, Elijah Muhammad is Moses, and the biblical account (and the account in the Qur’an) is a prophetic and symbolic history of the African American of today.

Membership

In 2008, 13 temples associated with the Lost-Found Nation could be found across the United States.

Periodicals

Muhammad Speaks.

Sources

Muhammad, Silis. In the Wake of the Nation of Islam. College Park, GA: Author, 1985.

Moorish-American National Republic

2530 N. Calvert St., Ste. 101, Baltimore, MD 21218

The Moorish-American National Republic is one of the groups rooted in the vision of Prophet Noble Drew Ali, aka Timothy Drew (1886–1929). Drew argued that blacks are an Asiatic people group known as Moors, descendants of the ancient Moabites who originally dwelt in Mecca, which is the site of the Garden of Eden. Drew started a temple in New Jersey in 1913 and moved to Chicago in the 1920s. The prophet’s most famous text is the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America, which serves as the holy book of the movement he founded.

After Drew’s death the Moorish movement developed several factions. The Moorish-American National Republic traces its roots to the Moorish group led by John Givens El who was succeeded by Richardson Dingle-El and his brother Timothy. The current leader is Grand Sheik Joel Bratton-Bey while the National Secretary is Grand Sheikess Yumnah El. The group also refers to itself as the Moorish Science Temple and also as the Divine and National Movement of North America, Inc., #13.

Membership

Not reported.

Sources

Moorish-American National Republic. www.moorishnationalrepublic.com.

The Moorish Orthodox Church in America

Diocese of New Jersey, Ongs Hat Rd. & Magnolia Ave., Pemberton, NJ 08068

The Moorish Orthodox Church is one of several groups to emerge from the original Moorish Science Temple founded by Noble Drew Ali. In the 1950s, in the Baltimore/D.C. area, some poets and jazz musicians encountered a remnant of the temple and individually acquired passports like the ones originally given to temple members, which were indicative of their new identity as Moors. They then formed the Moorish Orthodox Church of America, which they envisioned as partly Moorish Science and partly Eastern Orthodox. The latter element resulted from their acquaintance with various independent bishops with Old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox lineages.

In the early 1960s one of the church’s original members, Warren Tartaglia (better known as Walid al-Taha), a musician and author of a now rare text, The Hundred Seeds of Beirut, initiated several people into the church and together they founded a new temple in Manhattan. The temple structure incorporated a head shop called the Crypt, and a Moorish Science reading room. The church also acquired a campsite in northern New York, where relationships were developed with the Ananda Ashrama. The campsite was eventually relocated to Millbrook, New York, where in the 1960s Timothy Leary (1920–1996) had established the headquarters of the League for Spiritual Discovery, and from which the psychedelic spiritual movement was launched.

During this period, the church dropped its ties to the Eastern Orthodox tradition and adopted a spirituality drawn from Sufism and Ismaili Islam. Over the years, it also absorbed elements of Advaita Vedanta, Tantrism, psychedelic mysticism, and Native American symbolism. When the community at Millbrook split up, the membership of the church scattered and through the 1980s interest lagged, though two small groups, one in Manhattan and one in Dutchess County (where Millbrook is located), preserved some form of community existence. At the end of the 1990s, however, some members began to work for a revived Moorish Orthodox Church. They restarted the church periodical, The Moorish Science Monitor (discontinued in 1967), and reprinted a basic Moorish Orthodox Church pamphlet, also out of print for three decades.

The church found early inspiration in the writing of Noble Drew Ali and has from the beginning attempted to explore the esoteric dimensions of those writings, especially the basic text, the Circle Seven Koran. The spiritual search conducted by the early members led not to a new belief system but to an individualized appropriation of spirituality tied together by what is thought of as a spiritual aesthetic. Members tend to share similar opinions of traditional religion (they are opposed to it) and toward a spectrum of “libratory teachings” (they accept them). They describe their perspective as a “rootless cosmopolitanism” that discovers a universal spirit hidden (occultized) anywhere, but available in all cultures. The Moorish Orthodox Catechism, then, centers on the “Six Pillars” of Moorish Science: Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, Justice, and Beauty.

To symbolize this shared aesthetic, church members are encouraged to recreate their identity by taking a new name and some appropriate title (such as Moorish governor, metropolitan, deacon, vicar, exilarch, or imam). The Moorish hierarchy is self-appointed; anyone is free to print passports. Because all Moors have authority, they are entitled to titles.

Given the egalitarian nature of the church, as it has been revived a spectrum of new structures have appeared (on the Internet), including the Upper Left Temple of the Far West, based in Seattle, Washington (www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/4623/catechism.htm); the Moorish Fire Shrine, in Bisbee Arizona; and the Diocese of New Jersey (www.geocities.com/moorishorthodoxchurch/). The diocese of New Jersey maintains an online directory of church members.

Membership

Not reported.

Educational Facilities

Hakim Bey Diocesan Theological College.

Periodicals

The Journal of the Moorish Paradigm • The Moorish Science Monitor.

Sources

The Moorish Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of New Jersey. www.geocities.com/moorishorthodoxchurch/.

“History and Catechism of the Moorish Orthodox Church of America.” www.deoxy.org/moorish.htm.

Moorish Science Temple of America

1445 Constitution Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002

Timothy Drew (1886–1929), a black man from North Carolina, had concluded from his reading and travels that blacks were not Ethiopians (as some early black nationalists were advocating) but Asiatics, specifically Moors. They were descendants of the ancient Moabites and their homeland was Morocco. He claimed that the Continental Congress had stripped American blacks of their nationality and that George Washington had cut down their bright red flag (the cherry tree) and hidden it in a safe in Independence Hall. Blacks were thus assigned to the role of slaves.

As “Noble Drew Ali,” Drew emerged in 1913 in Newark, New Jersey, to preach the message of Moorish identity. The movement spread slowly, with early centers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Detroit, Michigan; and several southern cities. In 1925, Ali moved to Chicago, where the following year he incorporated the Moorish Science Temple of America. In 1927 he published The Holy Koran (not to be confused with the Koran (or Qur’an) used by all orthodox Moslem groups). Ali’s Koran was a pamphlet-sized compilation of Moorish beliefs that drew heavily on The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, a volume received via automatic writing by Spiritualist Levi Dowling in the 1890s. The Koran delineates the creation and fall of the human race, the origin of black people, the opposition of Christianity to God’s people, and the modern predicament of the Moors.

It was Noble Drew Ali’s belief that only Islam could unite the black man. The black race is Asiatic, Moroccan, hence Moorish. Jesus was a black man who tried to redeem the black Moabites and was executed by the white Romans. Moorish Americans must be united under Allah and his holy prophet. Marcus Garvey is seen as forerunner to Ali. Friday has been accepted as the holy day. Worship forms, particularly music, have been drawn from popular black culture and given Islamic content.

Ali died in 1919 and was succeeded by one of his young colleagues, R. German Ali, who still heads the movement. Shortly after Ali’s death, one of the members appeared in Detroit as Wallace Fard Muhammad, the reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali, and began the Nation of Islam (now the American Muslim Mission). In spite of competition from the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple grew in the years after Ali’s death, and during the 1940s temples could be found in Charleston, West Virginia; Hartford, Connecticut; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Richmond, Virginia; Cleveland, Toledo, and Steubenville, Ohio; Flint, Michigan; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Indianapolis and Indiana Harbor, Indiana; and Brooklyn, New York. In more recent years, the movement has declined. During the 1970s, the headquarters were moved to Baltimore, Maryland.

Membership

Not reported. In 2008 there were 33 subordinate temples in the United States.

Sources

Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. www.moorishsciencetempleofamerica.com.

Ali, Noble Drew [Timothy Drew]. The Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America. [Baltimore: MD]: Moorish Science Temple of America, 1978.

———. Moorish Literature. Author, 1928.

Fauset, Arthur Huff. Black Gods of the Metropolis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1971.

Turner, Richard Brent. Islam in the African-American Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

Moorish Science Temple, Prophet Ali Reincarnated, Founder

Current address could not be obtained for this edition.

In 1975 Richardson Dingle-El, a member of the Moorish Science Temple of America in Baltimore, proclaimed himself Noble Drew Ali 3d, the reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali (1886–1929), the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America. As such, he claimed succession to Noble Drew Ali 2d (d. 1945), who had claimed succession in the 1930s. The followers of Noble Drew Ali 3d have established headquarters in Baltimore and have several temples around the United States. A periodical is published by the temple in Chicago. In most ways, the temple follows the beliefs and practices of the Moorish Science Temple of America.

Membership

Not reported.

Periodicals

Moorish Guide.

Sources

Turner, Richard Brent. Islam in the African-American Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

Nation of Islam (Farrakhan)

National Headquarters, 7351 South Stoney Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60649

Of the several factions that broke away from the American Muslim Mission (formerly known as the Nation of Islam and then as the World Community of Islam in the West) and assumed the group’s original name, the most successful has been the Nation of Islam, headed by Abdul Haleem (Louis) Farrakhan. Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Wolcott. He was a nightclub singer in the mid-1950s when he joined the Nation of Islam headed by Elijah Muhammad. As was common among Black Muslims at that time, he dropped his last name, which was seen as a slave name imposed by white society, and became known as Minister Louis X. His oratorical and musical skills carried him to a leading position as minister in charge of the Boston Mosque and, after the defection and death of Malcolm X, to the leadership of the large Harlem center and designation as the official spokesperson for Elijah Muhammad.

In 1975 Elijah Muhammad died. Though many thought Louis X, by then known by his present name, might become the new leader of the nation, Elijah Muhammad’s son, Wallace, was chosen instead. At Wallace Muhammad’s request, Farrakhan moved to Chicago to assume a national post. During the next three years, the Nation of Islam moved away from many of its distinctive beliefs and programs and emerged as the American Muslim Mission. It dropped many of its racial policies and began to admit white people into membership. It also began to move away from its black nationalist demands and to accept integration as a proper goal of its programs.

Farrakhan emerged as a leading voice among “purists” who opposed any changes in the major beliefs and programs instituted by Elijah Muhammad. Longstanding disagreements with the new direction of the Black Muslim body led Farrakhan to leave the organization in 1978 and to form a new Nation of Islam. Farrakhan reinstituted the beliefs and program of the pre-1975 Nation of Islam. He reformed the Fruit of Islam, the internal security force, and demanded a return to strict dress standards.

With several thousand followers, Farrakhan began to rebuild the Nation of Islam. He established mosques and developed an outreach to the black community on radio. He was only slightly noticed until 1984, when he aligned himself with the U.S. presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson, a black Christian minister seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party. Jackson’s acceptance of his support and Farrakhan’s subsequent controversial statements (some claimed by critics to be anti-Semitic) on radio and at press conferences kept Farrakhan’s name in the news during the period of Jackson’s candidacy and in subsequent months.

Since 1985 Farrakhan has been in the news continually, as he has proposed and created programs for the African-American community and led followers in establishing businesses. He has also periodically made public statements that critics charge evidence a continuing anti-Semitism. Farrakhan has spoken on several occasions of European American’s history of involvement in the African slave trade and has taken pains to note the ownership of slaves by Jews.

In 1995 Farrakhan called a mass daylong demonstration by African-American males in Washington, D.C., called the Million Man March. This event attracted several hundred thousand men, and a number of prominent African-American leaders were included among the speakers. At the march Farrakhan, as he has done before, asked the Jewish community to institute a dialogue with him to resolve their differences, an offer Jewish leaders have said they will not accept until he publicly rejects comments of his they deem anti-Semitic. In 2000 Farrakhan convened the Million Family March, calling on humankind to unite.

Membership

Not reported. In 2008 there were regional centers in Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles; Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; New York; London; and Toronto.

Periodicals

The Final Call.

Sources

Farrakhan, Louis. Torchlight for America. Chicago: FCN Publishing Co., 1993.

Gardell, Mattias. In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996.

Lee, Martha. The Nation of Islam: An American Millenarian Movement. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996.

Muhammad, Elijah. History of the Nation of Islam. Cleveland, OH: Sectarius Publications, 1994.

———. Our Savior Has Arrived. Chicago: Muhammad’s Temple of Islam No. 2, 1974.

Muhammad, Tynnetta. The Divine Light. Phoenix, AZ: H.E.M.E.F, 1982.

Turner, Richard Brent. Islam in the African-American Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

Nation of Islam (John Muhammad)

c/o Muhammad Temple of Islam #1, c/o Minister Sami Muhammad, 1448 E Outer Drive, Detroit, MI 48206

John Muhammad (1910–2005), brother of Elijah Muhammad (1897–1975), founder of the Nation of Islam, was among those who rejected the changes in the Nation of Islam, which led to its change into the American Muslim Mission. In 1978 he left the mission and formed a continuing Nation of Islam designed to perpetuate the programs outlined in his brother’s two books: Message to the Black Man and Our Savior Has Arrived. According to John Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad was the last messenger of Allah and was sent to teach the black man a new Islam.

Membership

Not reported. John Muhammad had support around the United States, but there is only one congregation located in Detroit.

Periodicals

Minister John Muhammad Speaks.

Sources

Supreme Minister John Muhammad. www.webspawner.com/users/smjm/myhistoryaimspu.html.

Nation of Islam (The Caliph)

c/o Muhammad’s Temple of Islam, 3217 Garrison Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21216-1320

As significant changes within the Nation of Islam, founded by Elijah Muhammad (1897–1975), proceeded under his son and successor Wallace D. Muhammad (b. 1933), the Nation of Islam became a more orthodox Islamic organization. It was renamed the American Muslim Mission and dropped many of the distinctive features of its predecessor. Opposition among those committed to Elijah Muhammad’s ideas and programs led to several schisms within the organization in the late 1970s. Among the “purist” leaders, Emmanuel Abdullah Muhammad asserted his role as the caliph of Islam raised up to guide the people in the absence of Allah (in the person of Wallace Fard Muhammad [1877–1934]) and his messenger (Elijah Muhammad). One Islamic tradition insists that a caliph always follows a messenger.

The Nation of Islam under the caliph continues the beliefs and practices abandoned by the American Muslim Mission. A new school, the University of Islam, has been established and a new effort aimed at economic self-sufficiency has been promoted. Businesses have been created to implement the program.

Membership

Not reported. As of 1982, the Nation of Islam under the caliph had only two mosques, one in Baltimore, Maryland, and one in Chicago, Illinois.

Periodicals

Muhammad Speaks.

Sources

None available.

Nation of the Five Percent/Nation of God and Earths

c/o Allah’s Universal Development, PO Box 217, Albany, NY 12202-0217

The Nation of the Five Percent was founded in 1964 by Clarence 13X (1929–1969), a former member of the Nation of Islam. Clarence 13X was born Clarence Smith, and after joining the Nation of Islam in 1961 he took “X” as a last name, a practice within the nation indicating that African Americans’true names had been lost and they had been forced to take non-African slave names. Smith soon began to develop views divergent from those taught in the mosque in Harlem, New York. He believed that all blacks were Allah and rejected the teaching that Allah had appeared in 1929 in the person of Wallace D. Fard (1877–1934). In 1964 he was expelled from the Nation of Islam.

The idea undergirding the Nation of Five Percent was Smith’s belief that only 5 percent of blacks understand the problem causing their condition and that these 5 percent are the only ones capable of leading the African-American community. He began to teach that all black men were Allah, and that black women were the earth, a teaching that earned the group a popular designation as the Nation of Gods and Earths. Women were to raise a nation; their children were seen as the salvation of the nation.

After settling its headquarters in New York, centers were soon established in neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey. In 1969 Clarence 13X was assassinated. The movement reorganized under a collective leadership and continued. In 1988 its Allah School in Mecca, its main outreach structure for Harlem, was burned to the ground. The organization has continued, however, though it still struggles to find its place in the African-American community as a whole.

Membership

Not reported.

Periodicals

The Word; the Five Percenter.

Sources

The 5 Percent Network. www.allahsnation.net

Prince-A-Cuba, ed. Our Mecca Is Harlem: Clarence 13X and the Five Percent. Hampton, VA: U.B. & U.S. Communications Systems, 1995.

Sayyid Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi. The Book of Five Percenters. Monticello, NY: Original Tents of Kedar, 1991.

Turner, Richard Brent. Islam in the African-American Experience. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

United Nation of Islam

1608 N 13th St., Kansas City, KS 66102

The United Nation of Islam (UNOI), a splinter group from the Nation of Islam, was founded by Royall Jenkins. Born in South Carolina in 1942, Jenkins was raised first by his mother and then by foster parents in Maryland. He married Juanita Gattes when he was 16 and she was 13, and they had 10 children. He moved his family to Brooklyn, New York, where he discovered the teachings of Elijah Muhammad (1897–1975). The family subsequently moved to Chicago, where Jenkins worked for the Nation of Islam as a long-distance truck driver from 1970 to 1975.

Jenkins claims that in 1978 two angels took him on a spacecraft around the universe in order for him to learn his identity as Allah, the Supreme Being. Minister Louis Farrakhan (b. 1933), who had emerged as the leader of an independent Nation of Islam a year earlier, rejected Jenkins’s claim. Jenkins now views Farrakhan as an enemy of Allah. Shortly after declaring that he was Allah, Jenkins and his wife divorced.

UNOI shares some of the ideology of the Nation of Islam in its earlier years under Elijah Muhammad. At first Jenkins taught that W. D. Fard, founder of the Nation of Islam, was the Allah of the Qur’an, but he revised this view when he asserted that he is the new and more powerful Allah. According to Jenkins, and in keeping with an older Nation of Islam belief, white people were created 8,000 years ago by a scientist named Yakub.

The UNOI was originally based in Temple Hill, Maryland, where Moreen, one of Jenkins’s daughters, became a prominent leader in the movement. She was married to Joseph Kelly, who her father believed was the reincarnation of Elijah Muhammad. Moreen was called the “Mother of Civilization” within the group, until she withdrew in 2002. In 1993 Abbass Rassoull, one-time secretary to Elijah Muhammad, joined the UNOI.

The group runs a university and several businesses and owns farmland in several parts of the United States. It has been cited for its positive impact on urban life in Kansas City because of the group emphasis on a work ethic, drug-free living, and cleanliness.

Educational Facilities

University of Islam.

Members

Not reported. Other sources estimate that there are 500 to 600 members as of 2008.

Remarks

Following her withdrawal in 2002, Moreen Kelly, along with other former UNOI members and members of the Cult Awareness movement, became a public critic of her father. They have criticized UNOI for its semi-communal aspects, with members drawing support checks from the government while working full-time for the organization. They have also raised concerns about Jenkins’s sexual activities, which he compares to the polygamous practices of the biblical king Solomon.

Sources

United Nation of Islam. unitednationofislam.com/.

Johnson, Allie. “Heaven Is Hell.” The Pitch (March 37, 2003). Available from www.pitch.com/2003-03-27/news/heaven-is-hell/.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"African-American Islam." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"African-American Islam." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-american-islam

"African-American Islam." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Retrieved October 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-american-islam

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.