Black Islam

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Black 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 which 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.


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 Address: International Headquarters: ℅ 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 resulted in their persecution in several Muslim-dominated countries.

Members of the Ahmadiyya branch founded by Ali 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.


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

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


Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam

2141 Leroy Pl. NW
Washington, DC 20008

The Ahmadiyya movement was not brought to the United States with the intention of its becoming a black man's 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 the first center was in Chicago. Its founder, Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq began to publish a periodical, Muslim Sunrise. While recruiting some members from among immigrants, the overwhelming majority of converts consisted of 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 constitutency in the United States.

A vast missionary literature demonstrating Islam's superiority to Christianity has been produced. Jesus is widely discussed. He is viewed as a great prophet who only swooned on the cross. He then escaped from the 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.

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

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: The Ahmadiyya Gazette. • The Muslim Sunrise. • Ayesha.


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

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

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

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

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Though there are a variety of Muslim groups functioning with in 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 revolution. 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 was also referred to as the "Caucasian devil" and "Satan.") He 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 with the Nation of Islam. With in Fard's ranks discussion focused on his 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 is the time for the Nation of Islam to regroup and regain an ascendant position.

Education, economics, and political aspirations were major aspects of the Muslim program. The first University of Islam was opened in 1932, and parochial education (many of the schools being names for Clara Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad's wife) has been a growing and more 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 Muslims have stressed a work ethic and business development. The weekly newspaper carries numerous ads by businesses owned by Muslims. Politically, Muslims looked to the establishment of a black nation to be owned and operated by blacks.

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

Black Muslims instituted a far-reaching program in furtherance of their aspirations. An evangelizing effort to make the Muslim program known with in the black community was sustained in a weekly newspaper, Muhammad Speaks. During the 1960 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, the schism of conservatives who have left to found movements continuing the peculiar emphasies 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 the imans rather than 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. Send orders to 910 W. Van Buren, Chicago, IL 60607.


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. As a Light Shineth from the East. Chicago: WDM Publishing Co., 1980.

Muhammad, W. D. 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, mainly: 1) As Sayyid Abdur Rahman Muhammad Al Madhi (the first successor); 2) As Sayyid Al Haadi Abdur Muhammad Rahmaan Al Madhi (the second successor); 3) As Sayyid Al Imaan Isa Al Haadi Al Madhi (the third successor). 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'aan. The last testament, the, was given to the last and seal of the Prophets of the line of Adam, Mustafa Muhammad Al Amin. The group teaches that Allah is Alone in His power, the All (which is 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 succesors to Mustafa Muhammad Al Amin.

Adam and Hawwah (Eve) are believed to have been Nubians. After the flood, during the prophet Nuwh's (Noah) time, his 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, Sidonites, all the sons of Canaan and their descendants. Mixing the blood with these "subraces" (socalled because they are no longer pure Nubians), is unlawful for Nubians.

From the seed of Ibrahiym (Abraham), two nations were produced, the nation of Isaac, whose descendants later became known as Israelites, through his son Jacob, and the nation of Ishmael, whose descendants are called the Ishmailites and the nation of Midian, whose descendents are known as Midianites from Ketura, Abraham's third wife. The Israelites were enslaved for 430 years in Egypt. The Ishmailites were predicted to be enslaved in a land not of 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 the Latins, Japanese, Koreans, Cubans, Sicilians, etc.

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) commenced 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 Philadlephia, Pennsylvania; Connecticut; Texas; and Albany, New York. The following year centers were opened in Washington, DC; Baltimore, Maryland; North Carolina; South Carolina; Georgia; Michigan; Florida; and Virginia. In the Carribean, centers were opened in Trinidad, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Guyana, and Tobago. During the next decade, the movement spread around the world and included South America, Ghana and Hawaii.

Symbol of the community is the six-pointed star (made from two triangles) in an inverted cresent. It is considered to be the seal of Allah.

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

Periodicals: Ansar Village Bulletin.


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

Warner, Philip. Dervish, The Rise of An African Empire. New York: Taplinger Publishing Company, 1975.

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

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

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

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




The Calistran was a short-lived splinter of the original Nation of Islam (now the American Muslim Mission) which came to public attention in the early 1970s, a period of heightened tension and internal violence with in the black Muslim community generally. On October 7, 1973, two members of the Calistran who had reportedly "stepped out of line" were shot in Pasadena, California, by a "disciplinarian." No sign of the Calistran has been seen in the 1980s.


Hanafi Madh-hab Center, Islam Faith

7700 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20012

History. The Hanafi Madh-hab Center was first set up in the United States by Dr. Tasibur Uddein Rahman in the late 1920s. In 1947 Khalifa Hammas Abdul Khaalis (born Ernest Timothy McGee) met his teacher, Dr. Rahman, a Mussulman (or Muslim) from Pakistan, 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 member into Sunni Islam (that faith and practice recognized 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, after unsuccessfully trying to convince Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, to change the direction of the movement. He set-up the Hanafi Madh-hab Center in Washington, D.C.

Again at the beginning of 1973, Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis wrote letters to the members and leaders of the Nation of Islam asking 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' 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 Musselman took action against the showing of a motion picture, "Mohammad, Messenger of God," which they considered sacreligious, due to be released in theatres in America. 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. Since no believing Musselman was on the the jury, Khalifa Hamaas Abdul Khaalis considers the jury to have lacked impartiality.

Beliefs. The Al-Hanif Hanafi Musselmans uphold the two standards of Islam, Holy Qur'an and the Hadiths, and are Sunni (obeying all things as laid down by Allah to the Prophet Muhammad) Muslims. Hanafi means unconditional and uncompromising. They also follow by way of the 124,000 Prophets major and minor, and believe in all holy books according to Allah's knowledge. The Holy Qur'an is the final Seal of All Prophets and Prophecy.

The Hanafi Mussulmans have taken a special interest in presenting Islam to African Americans and 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.


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


Lost-Found Nation of Islam

PO Box 57048
Atlanta, GA 30343

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. He 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 national circulation of Muhammad Speaks. 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, he 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, he 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 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 the 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, the biblical account (and the account in the Qur'an) being a prophetic and symbolic history of the African American of today.

Membership: In 1995 19 temples associated with Nation could be found across the United States.

Periodicals: Muhammad Speaks.


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


The Moorish Orthodox Church Diocese of New Jersey

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Alternate Address: 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/DC area, some poets and jazz musicians encountered a remnant of the temple and individually acquired one of the passports like the ones originally given to temple members and indicative of their new identity as Moors. There artists formed the Moorish Orthodox Church of America, which they envisioned as partly Moorish Science and partly Eastern Orthodox. They were acquainted with various independent bishops with Old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox lineages.

In the early 1960s, 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 included a head shop called "The Crypt," and a Moorish Science reading room. It also acquired a campsite in northern New York, where relationships were developed with the Ananda Ashrama that eventually located to Milbrook, New York, where in the 1960s Timothy Leary (1920-1996) had established 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 from Sufism and Ismaili Islam. Over the years, it also absorbed elements of Advaita Vedanta, Tantrism, psychedelic mysticism, and Native American symbolism. At the time that the community at Milbrook split up, the membership of the church scattered and through the 1980s interest lagged, with two small groups, one in Manhattan and one in Dutchess Co. (where Milbook is located) preserving some form of community existence. However, at the end of the 1990s, 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 M.O.C. 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 a individualized appropriation of spirituality tied together by what is thought of as a spiritual aesthetic. Members tend to share similar opinions of traditional religion (opposed to it) and toward a spectrum of "liberatory teachings" (they accept them). They describe their perspective as a "rootless cosmopolitanism" that discovers a universal spirit hidden (occultized) anywhere but available in 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. Since 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 ( the Moorish Fire Shrine, in Bisbee Arizona; and the Diocese of New Jersey ( The diocese of New Jersey maintains an online directory of church members.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: The Journal of the Moorish Paradigm, Mu-Atlantis, c/o PO Box 980, Baychester St., Bronx, NY 10469. • The Moorish Science Monitor, c/o The Moorish Fire Shrine, PO Box 451, Bisbee, AZ 85603.


History & Catechism of the Moorish Orthodox Church of America. 7 May 2002.

The Moorish Orthodox Church Diocese of New Jersey. 7 May 2002.


Moorish Science Temple of America

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Timothy Drew (1886-1929), a black man from North Carolina, had concluded from his reading and travels that black people 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, Detroit, and several southern cities. In 1925, Ali moved to Chicago and the following year incorporated the Moorish Science Temple of America. In 1927 he published The Holy Koran (not to be confused with the Koran or Qur'aan used by all orthodox Moslem groups). Ali's Koran was a pamphlet-size compilation of Moorish beliefs which drew heavily upon The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, a volume received by automatic writing by Spiritualist Levi Dowling in the 1890s. The Koran delineates the creation and fall of the 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 Moorrish. 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 the competition from the Nation of Islam, the temple grew in the years after Ali's death, and during the 1940s temples could be found in Charleston, West Virginia; Hartford, Connecticut; Milwaukee; Richmond, Virginia; Cleveland; Flint, Michigan; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Indianapolis; Toledo and Steubenville, Ohio; Brooklyn; and Indiana Harbor, Indiana. In more recent years, the movement has declined. During the 1970s, the headquarters were moved to Baltimore.

Membership: Not reported.


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

Ali, Noble Drew. Moorish Literature. The Author, 1928.

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

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


Moorish Science Temple, Prophet Ali Reincarnated, Founder

Current address not 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 it follows the beliefs and practices of the Moorish Science Temple of America.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Moorish Guide. Send orders to 3810 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60653.


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


Muslim Mosque, Inc.


The Muslim Mosque, Inc., was founded in 1964 by Malcolm X (1925–1965), who at the time had just announced his departure from the Nation of Islam, then headed by Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm X had become the most prominent spokesperson of the Nation of Islam in the early 1960s, and in 1963 he was made the nation's first national minister. A short time after Malcolm X assumed his new position, news broke that Elijah Mohammed was the object of two paternity suits filed by former secretaries. Malcolm X received the news as a word of betrayal by the leader he so respected.

A major incident then occurred in November 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Elijah Mohammed had ordered a three-day period of silence on any comment on the death. During this time, however, Malcolm X was approached by a group of reporters following a speech in New York. Pressed for a comment, he said simply that the assassination appeared to be a case of the "chicken's coming home to roost." The comment was reported widely and in the wake of the negative publicity, Elijah Mohammed silenced Malcolm X for 90 days. Malcolm X soon found other Muslims shunning him and learned that a contract had been put out on his life.

In the heightened atmosphere, on March 1964, Malcolm X resigned from the Nation of Islam. The new Muslim Mosque was created to act as a spiritual force behind the social action to eliminate the oppression of African Americans. As a first action, he decided to make the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the basic requirements of a Muslim. While in the Middle East, he was impressed with the lack of racism among the pilgrims and among Muslims in general. The experience forced him away from the previously held belief that all white people were evil. He also became directly aware of the difference between the Nation of Islam's beliefs and the teachings of orthodox Islam.

Upon his return he began to build the program of the Muslim Mosque, but on February 21, 1965, he was shot and killed by several members of the Nation of Islam who were later tried and convicted for the murder. The Muslim Mosque did not survive Malcolm X's death for very long.


Breitman, George. The Last Year of Malcolm X: The Evolution of a Revolutionary. New York: Schrocken Books, 1969.

Clark, John Henrik, ed. Malcolm X: The Man and His Times. New York: Macmillan, 1969.

Goldman, Peter Loomis. The Death and Life of Malcolm X. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1979.

"Organizations and Leaders Campaigning for Negro Goals in the United States." New York Times, August 10, 1964.

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


Nation of Islam (Farrakhan)

4855 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615

Of the several factions which 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 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 Muslims at that time, he dropped his last name, which was seen as a name imposed by slavery and 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. Long-standing 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. He 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 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 creating programs for the African American community and led followers in establishing business to build the economy for the community. He has also made a number of public statements which have included controversial sentences that critics charge evidence acontinuing 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.

Most recently, Farrakhan called a mass day-long demonstration by African American males in Washington D.C. called the Million Man March. It attracted several hundred thousand men and a number of African American leaders who were included among the speakers. At the march he again asked the Jewish community to institute a dialogue with him to resolve their differences, an offer Jewish leaders have rejected until he publicly rejects his comments which they deem anti-Semitic.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: The Final Call. 734 W. 79th St., Chicago, IL60620.


Gardell, Mattias. In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Durham: 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.

Muhammad, Elijah. 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)

14880 Wyoming
Detroit, MI 48238

John Muhammad, brother of Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, was among those who rejected the changes in the Nation of Islam and the teachings of Elijah Muhammad 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 Elijah Muhammad's two books, Message to the Blackman and Our Saviour Has Arrived. According to John Muhammad, who uses the standard title of black Muslim leaders, "Minister" Elijah Muhammad was the last Messenger of Allah and was sent to teach the black man a New Islam.

Membership: Not reported. John Muhammad has support around the United States, but the only temple is in Detroit.

Periodicals: Minister John Muhammad Speaks. Available from Nation of Islam, Temple No. 1, 19220 Conant St., Detroit, MI48234.


Nation of Islam (The Caliph)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

As significant changes with in the Nation of Islam founded by Elijah Muhammad proceeded under his son and successor Wallace D. Muhammad, 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 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) 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, was begun and the Fruit of Islam, the disciplined order of Islamic men, reinstituted. A new effort aimed at economic self-sufficiency has been promoted, and 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 and one in Chicago.

Periodicals: Muhammad Speaks. Available from Muhammad's Temple of Islam No. 1, 1233 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD21223.


Nation of the Five Percent

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Nation of the Five Percent was founded in 1964 by Clarence 13X, a former member of the Nation of Islam. Clarence 13X was born Clarence Smith (1929–1969), and after joining the Nation in Islam in 1961 he took "X" as a last name, a practice with in the nation that indicated 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 Harlem mosque. He believed that all Blacks were Allah and rejected the teaching that Allah had appeared in 1929 in the person of Wallace D. Fard. In 1964 he was expelled from the Nation of Islam.

The idea undergirding the Nation of Five Percent was Clarence 13X's belief that only five percent of Blacks understand the problem causing their condition and that these five 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.

From 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 of 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 Percenters.


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

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

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