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Nation of Islam

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Black Muslim redirects here. This term is sometimes used to refer to African Americans who convert to Islam.


The Nation of Islam (NOI), also known as Black Muslims, is a spiritual/political movement founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad[?] (1877-1934?). It was based on the doctrine that out of all the nations of the earth, black people are the only nation without any knowledge of their past history, no control of their present lives, and had no guidance for their future. One of Wallace's first disciples was Elijah Poole, who later changed his name to Elijah Muhammad[?] (1897-1975). Elijah Muhammad began preaching that W F. Muhammad was literally God in person.

Elijah was born in Georgia but later moved to Chicago where he came into contact with Fard Muhammad and accepted his teachings. He eventually travelled all across America setting up mosques or temples (as they are commonly called) and named them based upon his sequence of arrival. In New York, to this day, the mosque there is still referred to as Temple No. 7 because that was the seventh place visited by Elijah Muhammad during his travels.

Throughout this time Elijah Muhammad's teachings were spread by his followers, everywhere from the streets to the prisons. They eventually reached a prisoner called Malcolm Little. Upon his acceptance of the teachings, as he left prison he joined the Nation of Islam and became commonly known as Malcolm X. This 'X' represents what is called in mathematics an unknown variable. The followers accept this X as a sign that they are rejecting all that this world has done to them including the family name given to their ancestors by slave owners. They eventually replace this 'X' with an Arabic name more descriptive of their personality and character. (see slave name)

Also around this time an up-and-coming calypso singer, actor and violinist called Louis Eugene Walcott came into contact with the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. He also accepted the teachings and eventually came to be known as Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan is currently the leader of The Nation of Islam and lives in Chicago, Illinois at the former home of Elijah Muhammad.

A separate article, Nation of Islam anti-semitism, describes this group's history of anti-Semitic preaching.

Most Muslims all over the world reject and disapprove of this group because of its divergence, sometimes extreme, from the teachings of the mainstream and original Islam.

Nation of Islam and Islam coincide on many points, including the following:

  • Both teach that there is but one God.
  • Both teach that there will literally be a resurrection of the dead, and that resurrected souls (or bodies) will be sent to paradise or hell.
  • Both teach that Muslims must fast during daylight hours during the entire month of Ramadan.

But they differ in several respects:

  • God's incarnation
    • NOI: Teaches that God became physically incarnate in the form of a black preacher in 1930s Chicago.
    • Islam: Teaches that it is heretical to believe that God could become physically incarnate.

  • Black supremacy
    • NOI: Teaches that Caucasians were created by an ancient evil scientist called Yakub. Only black people are considered human by the Nation of Islam. Non-blacks are literally held to be non-human demons.
    • Islam: Teaches that all races are created equal in the eyes of God.

  • Prophets
    • NOI: Rejects the Muslim belief that Muhammad was the last prophet. Instead it teaches that Elijah Muhammad was a prophet of Allah, and that Louis Farrakhan is yet another messenger, sent to deliver a last call to humantity.
    • Islam: Holds that Muhammad was the very last of all prophets, and that no more prophets would ever arise.

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