EXAMINING THE BLACK MUSLIM MOVEMENT, "NATION OF...
Written by: Abba II Posted on: 04/24/2003
Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics
EXAMINING THE BLACK MUSLIM MOVEMENT, "NATION OF ISLAM"
In our study, we are going to be going in great detail in
what I believe is one of the most important and rapidly growing
non-Christian cults of our day. It is known as the Black Muslim
cult, or, as some have termed it, the Nation of Islam. But,
whatever name we wish to apply to it, it is here, and it is
penetrating many of the ghettoes of the United States, and it is
holding out hope to many black people who are seeking some relief
from the great oppression which has descended upon large segments
of our populace.
In the furor of racial tensions in Africa, and in the United
States--so characteristic of our time--a new force is stirring
throughout the Negro world. And it is one to be reckoned with by
responsible persons of all races.
This is designated, as I said, the Black Muslim movement.
Its membership is conservatively estimated at more than 150,000
persons--all of them Negro. Now, there is good evidence that the
hard core of the Muslims in the United States does not exceed
35,000. But they have more than 84 temples, and a membership
goal of 20,000,000 in the United States. Muslim real estate
holdings and investments are scattered across America, and they
are sufficiently solvent to propose the erection of an Islamic
center in Chicago, Illinois, at a cost of $20,000,000.00.
It is quite obvious, therefore, that we are dealing with a
well-organized group of individuals who have specific goals and
are moving forward towards their realization. There can be
little doubt that the Black Muslim movement is propelled by a
fervent nationalistic spirit on the part of black people. And
the most disconcerting feature of its growth is the fact it has
capitalized upon the Christian churches' apparent reticence, in
some quarters, to support vigorously the rights of Negroes
guaranteed under the Constitution.
Church Not Interested
Now, at the risk of getting into political conflicts and
racial tensions, let me point out that the Christian church never
really seriously got interested in the plight of the black man
until long after the fact has been attended to by other agencies-
-whereas the church ought to have been in the forefront of the
crusade for minority groups in the United States.
That does not mean that the Christian church has not done
many things. That does not mean that the church has not extended
herself charitably and in the spirit of Christian love in many
areas--for she has. It does not mean that the church has not
cared for the black man. For, quite obviously, the evidence is
clear that the church has. What I am trying to say is that the
Christian church did not make a basic thrust of leadership in
this field. Because of this, it left the door wide open for
other groups--cultic and otherwise--to come along and to charge
the church with negligence.
Surely ours is the task of being the good Samaritan. Who is
my neighbor? Obviously the man who needs me. And the church
should have been directing her activities in this area long
before she was forced to by the exigencies of the day.
Christianity "the White Man's Religion"
Now, listen to this: The Black Muslims make the consistent
charge that Christianity is "the white man's religion"--ignoring
totally the fact that Jesus Christ was an Asiatic, a Semite, a
descendant of Isaac, half-brother of the Arabs through Ishmael.
And, if anyone reads carefully Genesis 16:1-12, it becomes
apparent that the whole story is spelled out for anyone to read,
including those who are devotees of black Islam.
This Christianity claims closer ties to any supposed Islamic
brotherhood than any Negro Muslim movement ever could.
Christianity is certainly NOT the "white man's religion." It is
the religion of the Jew and the Arab through Judaism. Any
national connection with the Negro race of either a black Judaism
or a black Islam is totally foreign to the Bible, the Koran, and
all the available evidence of anthropology and genetics.
Yet despite these facts the Black Muslims move forward with
a militant, vitriolic and denunciatory spirit against all white
people, merely because they are white--NOT because they belong to
a religion other than Islam. Any student of comparative
religions will tell you immediately that Islam launched its great
crusade against the religions of the world on the basis of a holy
war to establish that there is one God--Allah--and Muhammad is
the prophet. Islam was not concerned with "racial" issues.
She's not concerned with it today. That is true of historic
A Racist Form of Islam
But when we deal with Black Islam, we are dealing here in
America with a group that IS concerned with the color of one's
skin, and therefore it is a racist form of Islam. The official
view of the Muslim religion concerning Elijah Muhammad, prophet
of the Black Muslim movement, is one of outright disdain. The
Muslim religion takes--if we may use the phrase--a very dim view
of Elijah Muhammad. The Koran forbids anyone to discriminate
against another on the basis of his skin. It's an open fact that
there are millions of Muslims who are neither black nor brown,
and who are indeed yellow and white, in many quarters of the
The Federation of Islamic Association, the official Muslim
organization in this country, has repudiated the Black Muslims,
claiming "...that it is not affiliated and is not recognized as
This Black Muslim movement, therefore, is characterized by
militant, vigorous racism, which describes all white men as
"devils" and enemies of the black race by nature. They
vigorously reject any form of integration under the Constitution
of the United States, or of any other country, preferring an all-
black state of their own. They have not hesitated to suggest
that seven or eight of the states of the United States be
allotted to them for the creation of their own separate nation.
The Black Muslims are also vigorously opposed to intermarriage
between the black race and the white race. They are
segregationists par excellence, surpassing even white extremists
of certain sections of our country.
A Black Ku Klux Klan
In the Black Muslim movement we can see emerging the
outlines of what is most certainly a black Ku Klux Klan which
wants, not equality with the white race, but which maintains
instead the intrinsic superiority of the black race. It is a
swing of the historical and anthropological pendulum, liberally
seasoned with a hatred which defies description. It's a movement
borne of many centuries of slavery and degradation, and,
unfortunately in the United States, a hatred not totally
This is seen in the light of the exploitation of the Negro
by unscrupulous and unprincipled white men, who have nodded to
the Emancipation Proclamation, but have subtly disobeyed each of
its precepts, and those of the Supreme Court, in favor of the
segregation of the black man, both racially and socially. We are
reaping the fruit of this today. Christians must become
concerned, because the Gospel is both salvatory and social. We
have a dual responsibility, not only to proclaim Jesus Christ and
live the Christian life, but also to minister to the needs of a
world which is perishing--black, white, brown, and yellow--
independent of pigmentation or the absence of it--a world that is
perishing without the Son of God--a world that God so loved that
He was willing to send Jesus Christ to save.
Promise of a "Pan-Negro Brotherhood"
Black Islam presents the awesome spectacle of a growing,
black funnel, engulfing potentially millions of black people in
the United States, who, though they have no sympathy for its
religious fervor, know that in a number of areas it speaks the
truth concerning the exploitation of the black man. Many Negroes
support the Black Muslim movement because it is the voice in
defense of their rights. The voice speaks with increasing
frequency and intensity throughout the major Negro population
centers of America--New York, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, Los
Angeles. And the Black Muslim movement sweeps into its hold
daily--by the annunciation of a militant nationalism--those
underprivileged and exploited Negroes who are promised the
eschatological dream of a "pan-Negro brotherhood" in which, at
last, the white man will have to recognize their independence--
and, if the Black Muslims have their way, their superiority.
This is important: Many Negroes, though non-Muslim, give
aid, comfort, and support to Elijah Muhammad's growing kingdom as
a type of protest vote against race-shy politicians and
segregationists of all varieties, Christian as well as non-
It is sad to have to admit that such occurrences as Little
Rock, Birmingham, Watts, Rochester, and Memphis have only served
to pour fuel upon the fires so zealously fanned by the Black
Muslims. Every instance where they can legitimately show
persecution of the black man, violation of his constitutional
rights, and his privileges as an American citizen, only serve to
demonstrate the validity of their basic charge that the white man
intends to always be the "slave master" of the Negro race.
Through this type of psychology, they are penetrating
ghettoes where people are looking for a ray of hope in the midst
of ever deepening darkness. Even though these things are
demonstrably false, even though they can be refuted from numerous
sources, it still serves the propaganda purposes of Elijah
Muhammad. There is a new spirit abroad today among the Negro in
America, aided and abetted by the ignorant, the uninformed, and
the lawbreaker, whatever his apparently legal maneuver may be.
It is forging a solid wedge of discontent, unrest, and antagonism
toward the white man--and even, in some instances, toward Negro
leaders who have attempted a moderate approach, fully aware of
the grave dangers inherent in any Negro insurrection.
The Black Muslim movement is a fuse which could ignite
racial, cultural, political and economic explosions that could do
irreparable damage to our country and to its image abroad. This
image has been marred and scarred by the excesses of a few on
both sides of the racial controversy. These seem willing to
sacrifice the future welfare of our nation for a continuance of
something we fought one of the bloodiest wars in all human
history to eradicate--a war in which white brother faced white
brother as enemies in order to free black slaves that they might
become black brothers and citizens of a truly United States of
America, free from bigotry, slavery, exploitation, and
oppression. In the words of the Great Emancipator, a just
government, "with malice toward none, and charity for all."
We may not have fully attained these things because we are
limited and sinful, and because these things will always limit
the development of the ideal, no matter how high that ideal may
be set by mankind.
Black Islam is Un-American
The Black Muslim movement, by its insistence upon a separate
black state within the United States, will not add constructively
to the picture, but instead will divide further the federal
union. It is therefore untenable because it is un-American. If
the black race were given its own state, what then of the yellow
race? And the brown race? Would they too not have a just claim?
And if these be granted, what then of the union?
The answer to all this, of course, is that the Black Muslims
will never get their state. For the cornerstone of American
government is, as Lincoln once put it, "the federal union--it
must be preserved." There can be no doubt that it will be.
The danger, however, has not been removed, and will not be,
until the general public and Christians in particular become
aware of the challenge of the Black Muslim movement.
Black Islam, then, is not an insignificant cult. It is not
a cult that the Christian church can afford to become complacent
about or ignore. Instead, it directly challenges the very
foundation of historic Christianity. Paradoxically, it attempts
to do this in terms taken from Scripture itself.
Elijah Muhammad's "Knowledge of Self"
To better evaluate the Black Muslims, some understanding of
the historical and theological roots from which the cult sprang
is necessary. Such an evaluation, I believe, is necessary to
gain an understanding of the psychological and spiritual
motivations and drives which seemingly compel these zealous and
sincere people upon a course even they cannot fully understand.
That neither they, nor those who oppose them, can accurately
predict what the outcome will be gives pause for thought, in the
light of the growing tensions of racial conflict so apparent in
There can be little doubt that the American Negro has been
exploited, oppressed, and suppressed by the white man in not a
few states of our country, in the North as well as in the South.
Emerging as they have from slavery and denied their civil rights
in far too many instances, the American Negro has by and large
been forced into a ghetto-like existence. This is evidenced by
his concentration in such places as New York's Harlem, and its
equivalents in Detroit, Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles.
Elijah Muhammad has capitalized upon this, emphasized what
he called "the knowledge of self," and stimulated pride in the
black man, pride in his race, his heritage, and his abilities.
Riding the crest of this wave of racial pride, the Black Muslims
have made enormous strides. According to the late Louis Womack,
distinguished Negro journalist, who made an intensive survey of
the Black Muslim movement, the following observations should be
carefully weighed by anyone who wants to know what's really going
on in the mind of the American Negro today. Wrote Mr. Womack:
"The same general approach, teaching race, pride as knowledge of
self, accounts for the success the Black Muslims have among low-
income Negroes. These people are in something of a prison tomb.
They see themselves as failures and need some accounting for what
they are and what they do, why they are not and what they are
not. These needs are met when a wave of the downtrodden proclaim
the divinity of the black man. Blame the white man for his sins
and lawlessness, and then go on to herald the impending
destruction of the white 'devil.'"
Negroes Beginning to Listen
In other words, what Womack is saying, is that Elijah
Muhammad has gotten to the crest of this wave, and he has
proclaimed the divinity of the black man--blaming the white man
for all the black man's sin and lawlessness, and blaming the
white "devil" for all the difficulties which the black man faces.
Because of this, a large, growing segment of the Negro populace
is beginning to listen, and some have accepted and believed
fervently. Womack went on:
"Thus it is that a growing segment of the American Negro
population, beset with economic, psychological pressures, and
remembering only too well the history of slavery, limited
emancipation, and Jim Crow discrimination in the realms of
education, economics, and civil rights, is beginning to listen if
not to follow the exhortations of Elijah Muhammad. Goaded by a
groundswell of nationalism prevalent throughout the world, and
badgered by cries of brotherhood within the black race to the
exclusion of all others, the American Negro finds himself at the
crossroads in an era when crises have become the common place.
Should he trust the United States government, dominated by white
legislators, in which he feels he has little voice to guarantee
him the rights and privileges legally afforded him a hundred
years ago but never fulfilled? Or shall he cast his lot with the
nationalistic movement, founded in racial pride and promising him
dignity and a life of equality, coupled with the respect of all
races? This is the dilemma in which many Negroes find themselves
And the psychological appeal cannot be underestimated, especially
among a Negro populace which has suffered much and is today
striving for recognition and justice."
Mr. Womack has, of course, performed a great service for
those interested in studying the Black Muslim movement. He, in
company with Eric Lincoln, whose classic volume, The Black Muslim
Movement in America, is by all odds the finest objective
evaluation of the work of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X now in
print, has carefully pinpointed many of the difficulties which
face us--and particularly the church of Jesus Christ--who would
reconcile the black man to God, recognizing that all men,
regardless of the color of their skin, are in need of that
The history of the Black Muslim movement began with Wallace
Fard, an Islamic Negro who in 1930 appeared among the Detroit
Negro community. He spoke softly and intelligently and appealed
to the Negro mind about proper living and civil rights. At that
particular time, he utilized the Bible and the study of the
Koran, and rejected the teaching of Jesus Christ that one should
turn the other cheek to one's enemy. He built quite a large
following, and then Fard disappeared. He was referred to as
"the Prophet," but his disappearance was not apparent until he
had trained one Elijah Poole, now known as Elijah Muhammad.
Fard left behind him two manuals, The Secret Ritual
Relation of Islam and Teachings for the Lost, Found Nation of
Islam in a Mathematical Way. The first of these works was and
still is orally transmitted. The second is written in symbolic
language requiring translation and interpretation by the prophet.
Fard founded the University of Islam and the Muslim Girls
Training Class, and a militant organization for the protection of
Muslims known as the Fruit of Islam. At the end of 1933 this
organization was progressing so well that Fard withdrew from its
leadership. Shortly thereafter, he disappeared.
No one knows where Wallace Fard went. But he was "deified"
shortly thereafter by Elijah Poole, nee Elijah Muhammad today,
and was called the "incarnation" or the "manifestation on earth
There was an interesting interview between Elijah Muhammad
and the New York Herald Tribune, which attempted to penetrate
Muslim theology, not too long ago. I'd like to give some
documentation as to Muslims' theological views, because a great
deal has been said about it, but not from authoritative sources.
This is from Elijah Muhammad himself, the highest voice in black
A New York Herald Tribune reporter said, "I asked Mr.
Muhammad about this (about Fard and the early work of the
movement). I said, `Is there a mystery about what happened to
Mr. Fard?' `No sir, there is no mystery about what happened to
him,' he answered. Did Mr. Muhammad say what happened? He is
just waiting for the proper time to deliver speeches. Did Mr.
Muhammad consider Mr. Fard to be not only a holy man, but
actually a divine person? `He is God himself. He is the one
that we have been looking for for the last two thousand years to
come. He is the one, and his word bears witness to the fact that
he is the one.'
"`And you know him?' I asked.
"`I do know him,' he answered.
"Is Mr. Muhammad in touch with him now? `Yes,' he replied,
"I asked him about a successor. Did he have in mind the
identity of his own successors, and see himself, as known, as the
inspired messenger of Allah. His answer to this was a swift one.
`No, that is not my job to do anything like that. This work has
been put upon me to do the will of almighty Allah, who has
appointed me. There will be no such thing as a successor, because
everything will be guided according to the will of Allah. And
whatever he reveals will be carried on. It is like today; we
have the sun and moon and stars up there, and they are not
changed for others.'
"I asked him about the membership figures in his
approximately 80 temples around the country, saying that law
enforcement officers seemed agreed that the hard core membership
of the Black Muslims is between 5,000 and 6,000 members, with a
less attached number of followers between 150,000 and 300,000.
"He answered, `I don't even know that, because we don't have
a record showing the figures.'"
In the theology of the Black Muslim movement, Wallace Fard,
then, was God--or Allah--himself. And it is no exaggeration to
state that the Black Muslims worship a black god whom they say is
awaiting the proper time to return and proclaim the triumph of
Of course, should a death certificate and the discovery of a
grave identifying Wallace Fard's remains ever be found, this
would doubtless embarrass the Black Muslim movement considerably,
though the wily Mr. Poole would no doubt explain that
resurrection was imminent.
It was Mr. Fard who taught the Black Muslims that they did
not owe any allegiance to America or the American flag. After
Elijah Muhammad's break with the movement following Fard's
disappearance, he abandoned this philosophy--at least outwardly.
Eric Lincoln has described the condition which followed the
split. He said, "Fard became identified with the god Allah,
being thus deified. He was worshipped with prayer and sacrifice.
Muhammad, who had served Allah, naturally assumed the mantle of
prophet, which Allah had worn during his mission in Detroit.
Today Muhammad is referred to both as a prophet and, more often,
as the messenger of Allah."
The Black Muslims have come far under Muhammad. He has
given them temples and schools, apartment houses and grocery
stores, restaurants and farms. Most important of all, he has
given them a new sense of dignity, a conviction that they are
more than equal to the white man and destined to rule the earth.
It's interesting to note also that on February 26, in the
calendar of black Islam, the notation is for Savior's Day--the
birthday of Wallace Fard. And cards and presents are exchanged.
He is recognized, therefore, as an incarnation of divinity.
It ought to be pointed out that the movement had about 8,000
adherents when Fard departed. Elijah Muhammad then moved the
headquarters from Detroit to Chicago, and there set up new
headquarters and changed the emphasis into a militant movement of
black people. Fard's approach was slightly different; Elijah
Muhammad's was direct, and produced fantastic results, as Mr.
Lincoln has pointed out.
Jail Yesterday, Luxury Today
It should also be drawn to the attention of students of
black Islam that Elijah Muhammad was jailed between the years
1942 and 1946 for sedition and for inciting his followers not to
register for the draft. We also ought to take into consideration
the fact that he lives today in an 18-room mansion and owns two
Cadillacs and one Lincoln Continental. His six sons and entire
family are involved in the operation of black Islam, and his
oldest son is alleged to be in line for inheritance to the
Today the disciples of Elijah Muhammad propagandize in major
Negro population centers throughout the United States. Their
methods of evangelism are visiting jails and places where Negroes
congregate in their particular areas and ghettoes. They hand out
fliers on street corners; they sell Elijah Muhammad's paper which
tells about Muhammad speaking and proclaiming to the world the
message of black Islam. They utilize radio spots, and they are
very, very adept at working together through communal usage of
properties in attracting the attention of the community to the
success they have managed to attain by working together as black
people for a common goal. They have attracted the media's
attention this way.
The Late Malcolm X
And none was more successful in this than the late Malcolm
X, a man who had been involved in drug traffic and in pimping and
in every conceivable kind of crime, virtually, before his
"conversion" to black Islam.
Muhammad had made a great convert in Malcolm X, and Malcolm
went forth to become the chief spokesman for black Islam in the
United States. Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali, is
today the best public relations man for black Islam. But it was
Malcolm X who really put the movement on the road or in the eyes
of the public for everybody to see it with his publications and
with his tremendously powerful apologetics for the Negro.
I'd like to give a few quotations to demonstrate just how
effective Malcolm X was, and just what the theology of Islam is,
as Malcolm X explains it, because he was Elijah Muhammad's prize
pupil. Questions were addressed to Malcolm X in a taped
interview shortly before his death. I have a copy of that
transcript, and I'd like to give you some excerpts from it,
because I think they reveal more about black Islam than one could
get from reading 100 of the newspapers and 20 or 30 books on the
Question: "What is the ambition of the black Muslims?"
Answer: "Freedom, justice, and equality are our principal
ambitions, and to faithfully observe and follow the honorable
Elijah Muhammad is the guiding goal of every Muslim. Mr.
Muhammad teaches us the knowledge of ourselves and our own
people. He cleans us up morally, mentally, and spiritually, and
he reforms us to the vices that have blinded us here in the
Western society. I don't know when Armageddon is supposed to be,
but I know that the time is near when the white man will be
finished. The signs are all around us. Christ wasn't white;
Christ was black. The poor, brainwashed Negro has been made to
believe Christ was right to maneuver him into worshipping white
men. Mr. Muhammad says that Allah is going to wake up all black
men to see the white man as he really is, and see what
Christianity has done to them. The black masses that are waking
up don't believe in Christianity any more. All that's done for
black men is to help keep them slaves. Mr. Muhammad is teaching
that Christianity as white people see it means that whites can
have their heaven on earth, but the black man is supposed to
catch his hell here. You must understand that the honorable
Elijah Muhammad represents the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy
to us. In the Old Testament Moses lived to see his enemy Pharaoh
drowned in the Red Sea, which in essence means that Mr. Muhammad
will see the completion of his work in his lifetime, that he will
live to see victory gained over his enemies."
And then, of course, Malcolm was asked more questions. One
of the questions: "How do you reconcile your disavowal of hatred
with the announcement which you made last year that Allah has
brought you the good news that 120 white Atlantans had just been
killed in an air crash en route to America from Paris?"
Answer: "As I see the law of justice, it says, `As you sow,
so shall you reap.' The black man's true god, Allah, to defend
us, and for us to be joyous, because our god manifests his
ability to inflict pain on our enemies. We Muslims believe that
the white race, which is guilty of having oppressed and exploited
and enslaved our people here in America, should and will be the
victims of God's divine wrath. All civilized societies in their
courts of justice set a sentence of execution against those
deemed to be enemies of society, such as murderers and
kidnappers. The presence of 20 million black people here in
America is proof that Uncle Sam is guilty of kidnapping. Because
we didn't come here voluntarily on the Mayflower, and 400 years
of lynching condemn Uncle Sam as a murderer. Islam is a religion
that teaches us never to attack, never to be the aggressor. But
you can waste somebody if he attacks you. These Negro leaders
have become aware that whenever the honorable Elijah Muhammad is
caused by their attacks to level his guns against them, they
always come out on the losing end. Many have experienced it.
Another thing to think of in the 20th century is that the
Christian church has given us two heresies--fascism and
The Jew in Black Islam
Then Malcolm went on to discuss something else which black
Islam has very definite views on--the position of the Jew. Let
me quote once more: "Where did fascism start? Where is the
second largest Communist party outside of Russia? The answer to
both is Italy. Where is the Vatican? But let's not forget the
Jew. Anybody who gives even a just criticism of the Jew is
instantly labeled anti-Semite. The Jew cries louder than anybody
else if anybody criticizes him. You can tell the truth about any
minority in America, but make a true observation about the Jew,
and if it doesn't pat him on the back, then he uses his grip on
the news media to label you anti-Semite. Let me say just a word
about the Jew and the black man. The Jew is always anxious to
advise the black man, but they never advise him how to solve his
problems the way the Jews solve their problems. The Jew never
went sitting in, and crawling in, and sliding in, in freedom
riding, like he teaches and helps Negroes to do. The Jew stood
up and stood together, and they used their ultimate power, the
economic weapon. That's exactly what the honorable Elijah
Muhammad is trying to teach black men to do. The Jews pool their
money and bought the hotels that bogged them. They bought
Atlantic City and Miami Beach and anything else they wanted. Who
owns Hollywood? Who runs the garment industry, the largest
industry in New York City? But the Jew that's advising the Negro
joins the NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, and others. With money
donations the Jew gains control and he sends the black man doing
all this wading in, boring in, even burying in--everything but
buying in. He never shows
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