Black Muslims

General Information

Black Muslims is a widely used name for the adherents of an American black nationalist religious movement whose self designation changed in 1976 from "The Lost - Found Nation of Islam" to "The World Community of Islam in the West." The movement traces its beginnings to the enigmatic figure of Wallace D Fard (Wali Farad), known as "Prophet Fard," "The Great Mahdi" or "The Savior," who attracted 8,000 followers in the short period between his appearance in Detroit in 1930 and his disappearance in June 1934.

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The movement, with its present headquarters in Chicago, gained ground significantly under Fard's successor, Elijah Muhammad, who exercised strong leadership until his death in 1975. He saw himself as the "prophet and apostle of Allah," claiming that God had appeared in the figure of Fard. Preaching an anti integrationist message, Elijah Muhammad frequently voiced warnings about "the human beast. . . the people or race known as the white." He called "every Black Man in America to be reunited with his own" and urged a sense of black self reliance and separation from the white society, even economically. One of the best known Black Muslim ministers during this period was Malcolm X, converted while he was in prison in 1947, who broke with the movement in March 1964 and was assassinated 11 months later.

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A radically different phase began under Elijah Muhammad's son and successor, Warith Deen (or Wallace D) Muhammad. He called for a new sense of patriotism, urging blacks to "identify with the land and flag." Advocating the "religious unification of the world's Muslims," W D Muhammad abandoned unorthodox notions and expressions that had presented obstacles for many other Muslims' recognition of this movement as being authentically Islamic. In May 1985 he announced the dissolution of the American Muslim Mission to unify its members with the worldwide Muslim community.

A splinter group led by Louis Farrakhan, however, retains the earlier separatist principles and the name "Nations of Islam." During the 1984 presidential campaign Farrakhan's racial comments stirred controversy. In subsequent years, he repeated anti-Semitic remarks at large rallies, but he did not inject himself into the 1988 presidential campaign.

Willem A Bijlefeld

J R Howard, Becoming a Black Muslim: A Study of Commitment Processes in a Deviant Political Organization (1965); C E Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (1973); L E Lomax, When the Word is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and the Black Muslim World (1963); C E Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims: The Transition from Separatism to Islam, 1930 - 1980 (1984); E Muhammad, Message to the Blackman in America (1965).

Also, see:
Islam, Muhammad
Koran, Qur'an
Pillars of Faith
Testament of Abraham
Revelation - Hadiths from Book 1 of al-Bukhari
Belief - Hadiths from Book 2 of al-Bukhari
Knowledge - Hadiths from Book 3 of al-Bukhari
Times of the Prayers - Hadiths from Book 10 of al-Bukhari
Shortening the Prayers (At-Taqseer) - Hadiths from Book 20 of al-Bukhari
Pilgrimmage (Hajj) - Hadiths from Book 26 of al-Bukhari
Fighting for the Cause of Allah (Jihad) - Hadiths of Book 52 of al-Bukhari
ONENESS, UNIQUENESS OF ALLAH (TAWHEED) - Hadiths of Book 93 of al-Bukhari
Hanafiyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Malikiyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Shafi'iyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Hanbaliyyah School Theology (Sunni)
Maturidiyyah Theology (Sunni)
Ash'ariyyah Theology (Sunni)
Mutazilah Theology
Ja'fari Theology (Shia)
Nusayriyyah Theology (Shia)
Zaydiyyah Theology (Shia)
Imams (Shia)
Qarmatiyyah (Shia)
Ishmael, Ismail
Early Islamic History Outline
Kaaba, Black Stone
Sunnites, Sunni
Shiites, Shia
Sahih, al-Bukhari
Abu Bakr
Fatimids (Shia)
Ismailis (Shia)
Islamic Calendar
Interactive Muslim Calendar

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

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