Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » World Religions » Abrahamic Religions » Islam » Denominations & Sects » Nation of Islam

Established in 1930, the Nation of Islam a political and religious movement of African-Americans in the United States.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Nation of Islam as a hate group, and critics describe it as antisemitic, and as a black supremacist group.

Founded by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad, the organization's goal was to elevate the status of black people in America by giving them a thorough knowledge of God and of themselves.

When he arrived in Detroit in 1930, Wallace D. Fard was an unknown. He used several aliases, and his background was obscure. He was light-skinned, possibly of Arab origins, although he later became known as a light-skinned black man. As a result of its investigations, the FBI came up with a few possibilities. One was that he had been born Wallie Dodd Ford, a Californian with white parents, who has served time in San Quentin for assault with a deadly weapon. According to the records at San Quentin, Ford was the white son of Zared and Beatrice Ford, who were both born in Hawaii. However, another FBI report described him as a Turkish-born Muslim who later left Detroit to work for Hitler during World War II. His common-law wife gave yet another story, that he was a Caucasian New Zealander.

Originally, Fard used the Christian Bible as his textbook, as this was the religious text with which his early converts were familiar with. Later, he introduced the Quran and began to attack the reliability and authority of the Bible. At this time, his denunciation of Caucasians became stronger, as well.

Fard established the University of Islam, which enrolled school-aged children as an alternative to the public schools, and he established the Moslem Girls' Training and General Civilization Class, where girls were taught to clean, cook, and keep house.

Fard chose Elijah Muhammad as his assistant in 1931, and trained him daily for six months, then less frequently for another two years. In May of 1933, he promoted Elijah Muhammad to Minister of Islam, and disappeared without naming a successor, never to be heard from again.

After a struggle for leadership, Muhammad emerged as the NOI leader. He slowly increased the membership of the organization after World War II, calling for a separate nation for black Americans.

While in prison from 1946 to 1952, Malcolm Little joined the Nation of Islam. As a member, he changed his name to Malcolm X, and rose quickly to prominence in the NOI.

In 1964, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam over differences with Elijah Muhammad and became a Sunni Muslim. He was assassinated shortly afterward, and three NOI members were convicted of the crime.

Louis Wolcott join the NOI in 1955 and was given a new name, Farrakhan, by Elijah Muhammad. Upon the death of Malcolm X, Farrakhan became the National Representative of the NOI.

Upon the death of Elijah Muhammad, his son, Wallace Muhammed, became the leader of the Nation of Islam in 1975. He disbanded the original organization in 1976 and transformed it into a Sunni Muslim movement, which later became the American Society of Muslims.

Farrakhan resigned from the reformed organization in 1977, and reorganized the Nation of Islam upon its original foundation, as established by Wallace Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad, restoring many of NOI's original properties.

In 2010, Farrakhan embraced Dianetics, and has encouraged NOI members to undergo auditing from the Church of Scientology. NOI hosts its own Dianetics courses and graduation ceremonies.

The main beliefs of NOI is that there is no God but Allah and that their founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad, is the Mahdi. Written lessons were passed from the founder to Elijah Muhammad, and later published as The Supreme Wisdom, which is used as a text along with the Quran.

The NOI teaches that long before Adam, the moon was part of the earth. Black people in America are descendants of the Asian black nation and the tribe of Shabazz, who existed before the earth and the moon was separated.

The Nation of Islam teaches that the original people of the earth were black, and that white people are a race of devils created by a scientist named Yakub on the island of Patmos. From that starting point, white people became dominant through a program of eugenics that encouraged a preference for people with lighter skin.

NOI theology resembles Sunni Islam in some ways, but its interpretation of the Five Pillars of Islam differs from orthodox Islamic schools of thought. Of course, traditional Islam does not hold to the NOI's view of the origins of the black and white races. The Nation of Islam is not recognized by most mainstream Muslims.

Topics related to the Nation of Islam are the focus of this category. Official NOI websites, as well as other sites about the NOI, are appropriate.

 

 

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