Nation of Islam

Wallace D. Fard
 Deportation of the Moon
The God-Scientist Yacub
God is Not a Man
The Supernatural
The Quest for the Historical Wallace D. Fard
The Virgin Mary
The Second Coming
Honor Thy Mother
Women's Rights

Wallace D. Fard

According to his disciple Elijah Muhammad, Wallace D. Fard was Allah in the flesh, who unexpectedly turned up on the streets of 1930's Detroit.


All Praises are due to Allah, who appeared in the Person of
Master W.D. Fard Muhammad

Born February 26, 1877


February 26, 1936

Written and sent to #1 Michigan by the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad,
Servant of Allah

This day February 26, 1877, Fifty nine years ago, in Heaven the Holy City Mecca, a Savior was born.

From the bearers of Heaven's throne, a voice raised high, and mighty Master W.D. Fard Muhammad has been born the mighty King. save me, and my people who were lost, Blind, Deaf, and Dumb. Dead to the knowledge of everything.

Born...Hath he, to intercede, for me, and my people in this Judgement Day. give life to me and my people, that we might live. give Freedom to me, and my people, who were slaves to devils in this wicked Hell of North America. give Justice, to we lost founds, who never knew what it was before. give Equality with the Angels of Paradise. save the fallen sons of the Tribe of Shabazz from the wicked grasp of Yakub's made devil and Satan. destroy with unquenchless fire, the enemy of we Lost People that the work of Yakub's made devil will never revive. unite the Lost Sheep who went astray in 1555 with the 4,400,000,000 of his Nation. restore all Black Mankind into one Love together.

Born...The Lord of the Worlds! destroy the old world; and bring in the new world.

Born...the Wisest of all, the most Merciful, the most Loving, the Almighty, the knower of what is in man's heart, the Doer of what he pleases...There is no God but Him, in the Earth, not in the heavens above the Earth. I shall forever remember this day, the 26th of February, 1877, and my off spring too. To keep a fast of joy with all my poor lost found Nation, whom this, Our Savior the King was born; I shall not eat any food this day until the sun goes down. This I will do, that my heart, and my body be not hindered, from giving praise to my King that was born this day, whose light of Love, Freedom, Justice, and Equality, is greater to me than the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

Now come all you lost-founds, and praise the name of our Savior and King, who was born, and we have reclaimed our own.

He gave to us his Holy Name and calls everyone of us by own. All praise be to Our Savior, the Almighty ALLAH. The Strong, the Giver of Life. Praise him, you who have reclaimed your own, and know him as your Savior and King. Forever and ever, let the Universe Praise Him.

(Savior's Day Greeting, 1936, from the web-site


 This profession of faith is fundamental to 'Nation of Islam' identity; those who drop it, may remain Black Muslims but cease to belong to this group: "He soon convinced himself about Fard's divinity. 'The greatest and mightiest God who appeared on the earth was Master W. D. Fard,' Malcolm would eventually profess." (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 88).

"He said, finally, as though it had just happened to come into his mind, 'Malcolm, if a man knew every imaginable thing that there is to know, who would he be?'
"Back in Harlem, he had often liked to get at something through this kind of indirection. It had often irritated me, because my way had always been direct. I looked at him. 'Well, he would have to be some kind of a god—'
"Reginald said, 'There's a man who knows everything.'
"I asked, 'Who is that?'
"'God is a man,' Reginald said. 'His real name is Allah.'" (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley, p. 158).

Can it be that, to people accustomed to Christianity, straight-up Islam just seems flat, disappointing? An incarnate Savior is a deviation from standard-brand Islam. Yet the recurrence of this idea, in Islamic off-shoots like the Druse and Ahmadiyya sects, testifies that it corrects a deficiency in Islam, restoring the latter to its claimed status as the original faith. Jesus is "the desire of all nations" (Haggai 2:7). Those deprived of hearing the good news that He has come will sometimes allow their very desire to tell them he has come. . .only it's somebody else. Unfortunately Wallace D. Fard, scurrying away from J. Edgar Hoover, is a Savior who cannot save. It is not so much the wrong concept, but the wrong guy.


Need a Koran?

The Deportation of the Moon

A theory of secular science that goes in and out of fashion proposes that our present-day moon is the remnant of a body of material ejected from the earth. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad added a new twist to this story, reporting for the first time that it was human endeavor, through the means of dynamite drill bombs, which resulted in the transport of the moon to its present location.

Alas, the moon being deficient in oxygen, water, and other necessities of life, the survivors of the righteous Tribe of Shabazz who found themselves there relocated, pined away:

"And we also have a knowledge of the deportation of our planet and the moon which took place sixty-six trillion years ago by one of our own scientists...He'd taken high explosives drilled a tube into our moon, which it was called moon, and a lot of our ancient people today refer to the earth as moon, it is moon. And filled that tube full of high explosives, set it off and it split our planet in two.

"That part that you see up there tonight, that we call moon, it was blasted away from the original bed or pocket that we were in some 12,000 miles and it turned over, dropped all the water of that part on this part. That's why this part, today, it's surface is 3/4 covered under water because we have that water that once was on the moon...

"Now, a Black Scientist did that sixty-six trillion years ago. He was smart enough to try to destroy us by drilling a tube into our earth's, as we call it today, surface about 4,000 miles. He split the planet and this part dropped 36,000 miles from the original pocket and found a pocket and it started rotating. And we are the lucky people who were on this part that we didn't get destroyed with those who were once on the moon. The moon is part of our earth. The astronomers, today, they have learned that and they believe it."

('Messenger Elijah Muhammad Speaks in Baltimore in 1960,' transcription of an audio cassette, at

Wallace D. Fard
Wallace D. Fard

The God-Scientist Yacub and the White Race

According to the Bible, all mankind are of one race, one descent:

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;..." (Acts 17:24-26).

The Koran shares this universal emphasis. Mohammed ibn Abdallah's message is addressed to "all men," whatever their color:

"And among his signs are the creation of the Heavens and of the Earth, and your variety of tongues and color. Herein truly are signs for all men." (Koran, Sura 30: 21).

Mohammed ibn Abdallah also reiterates than mankind are of common descent:

"O men! fear your Lord, who hath created you of one man, and of him created his wife, and from these twain hath spread abroad so many men and women." And fear ye God, in whose name ye ask mutual favors,- and reverence the wombs that bore you." (Koran, Sura 4:1).
"And it is He who hath produced you from one man, and hath provided for you an abode and resting-place! Clear have we made our signs for men of insight." (Koran, Sura 6:98).
"He it is who hath created you from a single person, and from him brought forth his wife that he might dwell with her..." (Sura 7:189).
"He created you all of one man, from whom He afterwards formed his wife; and of cattle He hath sent down to you four pairs." (Koran, Sura 39:8).

As his biographer Ibn Ishaq tells it, when Mohammed entered Mecca, he scolded the tribe of the Quraysh for their boastful arrogance on account of their noble ancestry: "Every claim of privilege or blood or property are abolished by me except the custody of the temple and the watering of the pilgrims. . .O Quraysh, God has taken from you the haughtiness of paganism and its veneration of ancestors. Man springs from Adam and Adam sprang from dust.'" (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 553).

According to the Koran, Jews and Christians are men God created:

"Say the Jews and Christians, 'Sons are we of God and his beloved.'...Nay! ye are but a part of the men whom he hath created!" (Koran, Sura 5:19).

Though startlingly novel on its face, Yacub's History is the inversion of a tale not altogether unfamiliar to those versed in racist lore. In spite of purposeful Bible teaching that all mankind are of one descent, some white Georgians who met up with young Elijah Poole, a preacher's son, held to a different teaching: that the creation narrative in Genesis described an event which took place 6,000 years ago, namely the creation of the white race. The black race, they believed, was either a pre-existing unmentioned animal creation or the consequence of some subsequent process of pollution involving 'serpent-seed' or the like. It would appear that young Elijah's fact-checking skills were insufficient to overcome this predominant social consensus, and he adopted it wholesale into his account of the world:

"According to the Bible (Gen. 3:20-24), Adam and his wife were the first parents of all people (white race only) and the first sinners." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'The White Race's False Claim To Be Divine, Chosen People,'

The difference between the creation story as told by white Georgians and Elijah's version is a difference of perspective: it seemed to young Elijah that the creation of the white race was not a good thing but a bad thing. Borrowing a page from gnosticism, his religion ascribes the creation of a significant feature of the world, namely the white race, not to the high god, but to a fallen, inept and ill-motivated lesser deity, a god-scientist named Yacub. He was dissatisfied in mind: "About sixty-six hundred years ago, when seventy per cent of the people were satisfied, and thirty per cent were dissatisfied, among the dissatisfied was born a 'Mr. Yacub.' He was born to create trouble, to break the peace, and to kill." (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, pp. 164-165) This party designed the white race according to a program of genetic engineering called 'grafting:'

"It was a black man by the name of Yakub, 6,600 years ago who grafted the white race out of us...what you have in the Bible there, dated back to 6, 000 years ago, means this: that it had taken their father, Yakub, 600 years to make a race out of another race. He was grafting out of darkness, or out of the Blackman for 600 years, to bring out a complete white man altogether different by nature than that in which he was taken from. These are facts that I defy your colleges or university professors to dispute. There are so many of you whispering, going around saying, 'This old story, we all are from God; we are all brothers; we all are alike.' I say to you my people, stop telling other than the truth, you are not like white people." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,' 1962,

Though white folk did not come out well, rule was given to them for 6,000 years, a period which came to an end in 1914. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's prophecies presented a bleak prospect for the future; an apocalyptic race war, to result in the extermination of this undesirable population, as Malcolm Shabazz explained it: "'In the next war, the War of Armageddon,' he predicted, 'it will be a race war and will not be a "spooky war."'" (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 190).

A novel feature in this system is the extremely long time period allotted to the history of the black race, stated in the trillions of years. Inasmuch as no birth record survives, perhaps the correct count is "forever." Where does this idea come from? Like the story about the moon, it may be an exaggerated version of information found in the newspapers, reporting on the 'Out of Africa' strain of secular science. However to count 'trillions,' the newspaper-reader must turn to the story about the national debt, not the age of the race or the planet:

"Long before there ever was a Caucasian, or white race, on the face of the earth, you and I and our fathers were. Not, just thousand of years, not just hundreds of thousands of years, not just millions of years, not just billions of years. But TRILLIONS of years ago, according to the word of All Mighty God Allah, to me, that we and our fathers were here. There is no birth record, meaning their is no beginning record, of The Black People. They have been here forever and forever they have. We don't know nothing about their beginning. There is no prophesy of any ending to them. This is known. The world knows it."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Master Fard Muhammad Not a Silk Peddler,'


At times the Honorable Elijah Muhammad seems willing to follow where his gnostic paradigm leads, even if away from monotheism:


"Who was ALLAH Before MASTER W.D. FARD MUHAMMAD was born? Who was ALLAH when Jesus was born?

"Now there are twelve (12) Imams or Scientists, who have been ruling all the time, and one of the twelve is always greater than the other eleven (11), but the God of this world before the birth of Jesus and up until 1877 was Yacub. That means that the God of this world, Yacub, although he lived only 152 years, has ruled for the last six thousand (6,000) years; therefore, he was in power when Jesus was born, and that is why Jesus wasn't able to set up His Kingdom, because the wicked God's time was not up. A people who have been taught that the SUPREME BEING is other than a Being, something spooky-like, it is not so easy for them to see out of that dark and ignorant teaching into reality."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Concerning Allah, the Supreme Being... W.D. Fard Muhammad is Allah,'

At other times he seems to want to conform to the monotheistic theology he heard from his Baptist minister father's pulpit. The Koran, which Elijah Muhammad urged his followers to study, is equally unaware of any succession of gods. Even the more enlightened pagans, such as the Greeks and Romans, did not believe in gods with finite life-spans. The Greek and Roman gods were immortal, though venturesome ethnographers hear tales of the twilight of the gods. The gods under present scrutiny have not even that much to boast of:

"Allah, in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praises are due forever, taught me that there are not any gods Who live forever. Their wisdom and work may live six thousand or twenty-five thousand years, but the actual individual may have died within a hundred or two hundred years, or the longest that we have a record of, around a thousand years." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 96).

There is a cycle, a succession, of gods in Nation of Islam theology. But a succession implies a plurality:

"He makes all things new. Allah (GOD) Who Came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praises are due forever, taught me that every twenty-five thousand (25,000) years, each God coming after the other God made a new civilization. His belief, teaching, and theology were different from the other God who preceded Him who made a beautiful change in the history of the wisdom of man." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 119)
"The Wisdom of each God, according to what Allah (God), in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praises are due forever, taught me, has a cycle of twenty-five thousand years. Once every twenty-five thousand years, another God would be given a chance to show forth His wisdom to the people." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 98).

Here the suggestion is made that Wallace D. Fard is the highest ranking god, the god of gods: "The black people, God's children, were Gods themselves, Master Fard taught. And he taught that among them was one, also a human being like the others, who was the God of Gods: The Most, Most High, The Supreme Being, supreme in wisdom and power— and His proper name was Allah." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 207). This makes the Nation's denial of an afterlife all the odder; can a race of Gods die? But this strange theology fails to line up with the Bible, which teaches that God always has been God. He does not change. There is no succession to this office, and there is only One office-holder:

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2).
"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6).

Elijah Muhammad did not teach that Wallace D. Fard always had been God. Neither is Wallace D. Fard, precisely speaking, the incarnation of One who had always been God; that is 'spook' theology. The Koran does not dispute God's eternity:

"SAY: He is God alone:
God the eternal!" (Koran, Sura 112:1-2).

Though Elijah Muhammad repeats the Muslim confession of one deity without any evident embarrassment, the tales he tells call to mind quite different precursors:

According to the gnostic world view, evil in the world,-- which for Elijah Muhammad includes the existence of the white race,-- requires another source than a good Creator:

"Yakub, the father of the devil, made the white race, a race of devils -- enemies of the darker people of the earth. The white race is not made by nature to accept righteousness...If you and I believe that the devils are from the God of Righteousness, we are making the God of Righteousness an evil god, who created an evil god, and made the evil god to become the best guide for the people of righteousness." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 90).

One might hope that this crew are 'called' gods who have not the nature of deity, like the 'other' or 'strange' gods of the Bible. The 'strange' gods, recall, are not gods by nature: "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods." (Galatians 4:8). But this fond hope would be disappointed, because there is not any entity in Nation of Islam theology which has the attributes of the true God, who cannot not exist. There is no 'I AM' in Nation of Islam theology, only an 'I, like you, came to be:'

"How came the Black God, Mr. Muhammad? He is Self-created. How could Self create Self? Take your magnifying glass and start looking at these little atoms out here in front of you...This is the way He was born: in total darkness. There was no light anywhere. Out of the total orbit of the Universe of darkness there sparkled an atom of life." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 39)
"Allah was created; self-created from an atom of life. The atom of life was not only able to create flesh and have blood from the earth that He was created on -- Allah (God) was created on the very earth that we are on today. But the earth was not as it is today." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p.146).

The author does not detail how to create oneself, other than that it involves 'rotation:'

"Just think it over: a little small atom of life rolling around in darkness. Think it over: Building itself up, just turning in darkness, making its own self...He started rotating." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 43)

Elijah Muhammad occasionally addresses black people corporately as God:

"You brought forth that light. You are walking around looking for a God to bow to and worship. You Are the God!" (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 35).
"When we say 'Allah,' that Name means God and covers all Muslims. All Muslims are Allahs, but we call the Supreme Allah the Supreme Being. And He has a Name of His Own. This Name is 'Fard Muhammad.' 'Fard' is a Name meaning an independent One and One Who is not on the level with the average Gods (Allahs)" (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, pp. 56-57).
"We are all God. When we say 'Allah' we mean every righteous person. Allah teaches me that He is a man -- not something that is other than man." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 26).

This elevation of mankind (or in this case, a portion of mankind, exclusive of white persons) also fits into the gnostic paradigm, although other features of the religion, such as its denial of an afterlife, break the mold.


God is Not a Man

As seen earlier, Elijah Muhammad could talk about W. D. Fard in the same incarnational language Christians use in talking about Jesus. Sometimes it seems he's telling the familiar Christmas story, with a different set of characters.

But on a closer look, Elijah Muhammad's concept of Master Fard's deity is more reductive than incarnational. The Bible teaches that God's own nature is not the same nature as a man:

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

"And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent." (1 Samuel 15:29).

"I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city." (Hosea 11:9).

Thus Christians say, Jesus Christ has two natures, His own proper deity from before the ages and the humanity He took on late in time in the incarnation. Instead Elijah Muhammad argues, against the Bible, that God IS a man. He sees proof of this in the Bible's references to God's hands, His feet, His walking and talking. While Jesus taught,

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24),

Elijah Muhammad begs to differ:

"There are many people who would like that you think that God is a spirit and He has no form. This false thought is all condemned by His universe. God has made for us a visible universe. He has made for us visible beings. If a visible universe of material that has been made from His word, if there are people that He says, that they are His likeness and the very image of Him, the God has to be a person Himself! If He sees, if He hears, if He acts, then He is a person! There is no such thing as a spirit that can do these things!"

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'The 6,000 Year History,'


Elijah Muhammad could not disagree more with the idea of God found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

"What is God?

"God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 4)

Elijah Muhammad sees evidence of God's humanity in His likeness and His activities:

"So according to God's own words, through His prophets, He must be a man. He is interested in man's affairs according to the Bible (Genesis 1:27): 'God made man in His own image and likeness, both male and female.' If we believe that alone, that God created man in His own image and likeness, that is sufficient for us to expect God to be nothing other than man." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 66)
"All these scriptures show that He sees, hears, feels, tastes, smells, talks our language, walks, stands, sits, eats, and drinks. Therefore, God must be a human being." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 63).

This materialist way of thinking about God is surprisingly popular with American 'prophets' and religious teachers; Finis Dake and Joseph Smith shared a similar concept. Is it Biblical?

In the Image

In the Image

God or Man?

The Incarnation

The Beatific Vision

 Will We See God?


It is shameful to realize that nominal Christians were implicated in the slave trade. This legitimate indictment was over-generalized by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as, 'only Christians were involved in the slave trade.' This is not so. When Elijah Muhammad completed his Hajj to the holy places of Saudi Arabia, there were still persons of African origin held there in a condition of slavery. Slavery was not outlawed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until 1962.

"We are the results or victims of Christianity. Who made us spiritually blind? It was white Christians who went after our people and put them in chains 400 years and brought them here...The white race has made them a little religion to catch black people with. Christianity, if you study it, you will find that the whole of its teachings is nothing but slavery. It's to enslave black people for the service of white people; That's all it's for." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,'

Is the Bible pro-slavery or anti-slavery?

The main selling point of the Nation of Islam has always been the following 'brand comparison' with Christianity:

"'Christianity is the white man's religion. The Holy Bible in the white man's hands and his interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings. Every country the white man has conquered with his guns, he has always paved the way, and salved his conscience, by carrying the Bible and interpreting it to call the people 'heathens' and 'pagans;' then he sends his guns, then his missionaries behind the guns to mop up—'" (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, pp. 241-242)

The irony here is that, while this indictment is only imperfectly true of Christianity, it fits Islam to a 'T:'

"It turns out now that the Arabs were the most successful imperialists of all time, since to be conquered by them (and then to be like them) is still, in the minds of the faithful, to be saved." (V. S. Naipaul, Among the Believers, p. 142).

Islam spread through imperialism, in its first century of expansion reaching the Atlantic. And slavery was only outlawed in Saudi Arabia in the 1960's, precisely because there is no Islamic foundation for abolition. Contrast this with the Bible-believing abolitionist movement, of which the Nation's spokesmen were reminded from time to time: "They would unearth Lincoln and his freeing of the slaves." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 242). If imperialism is bad, then Islam is bad. If slavery is morally unacceptable, then Mohammed ibn Abdallah, a slave owner, and slave trader, was a wicked man.

The notion of the 'white man's religion' is somewhat problematic, given that, under the racist Jim Crow laws, Arabs were classed as white, in accordance with a decision by U.S. Circuit Court Judge Chas A. Woods that persons from the "western Asiatic side of the Caspian Sea and the Ganges" were to be so classified. ('Census to Count Arabs as White, Despite Write-In Campaign,' March 25, 2010). Their reclassification, for purposes of Nation of Islam propaganda, as non-white is somewhat mysterious; have they ever requested such reclassification?

The vast majority of Africans kidnaped from their homes and brought in chains to America had been pagan animists in their home countries. A study of registers of slave names in colonial America will reveal, however, more than a sprinkling of 'Ahmad's and 'Abdullahs.' Some of this may been trade Islam, where they had the names but little else, although John Wesley quotes a witness who lived among the West African peoples to this effect: "All the Mahometan Negroes constantly go to public prayers thrice a day; there being a Priest in every village, who regularly calls them together; and it is surprising to see the modesty, attention, and reverence which they observe during their worship." (Monsieur Brue, quoted Chapter II, John Wesley, Thoughts on Slavery). A certain percentage of the slaves captured and brought to these shores were practicing Muslims:

"Several great Islamic empires dominated West Africa from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. As European states colonized the Americas and the Caribbean in the sixteenth century, they ultimately transported about fifteen million chattel slaves into their respective colonies. A significant minority were Muslims: of the approximately 650,000 involuntarily taken to what would become the United States, Muslims made up about 7 or 8 percent." (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 80).

In 1819 artist Charles Peale painted an interesting portrait of one member of this forgotten group, the Arabic-literate Mahmut Yarrow:

Charles Peale, Portrait of Mahmut Yarrow
Mahmut Yarrow, American Muslim ex-slave

To analyze the Nation of Islam's logic, let us look at a comparable case. When India gained its freedom from British banditry, some in the leadership uttered pious aspirations after religious pluralism, however that was never in the cards: not an 'ethnic cleansing,' but a religious cleansing, took place, the Muslims bound north and the Hindus remaining south, with consequent partition into two separate countries, the majority Muslim Pakistan and the majority Hindu India. Some Muslims however remain in the south, with resultant communal violence. Although there is no one side which is solely to blame, the fact that Islam lays no foundation for the religious toleration of pagan idolatry probably does play a role in these disturbances. Unlike Christians and Jews, people of the book, pagan idolaters cannot even aspire to the condition of 'Dhimmis' in an Islamic state; they have no civil rights. So imagine if pious Hindus emigrated to the United States, and some generations afterward, their descendants, looking to honor their forbears, adopted, not Hinduism, but Islam, on grounds that it was one of the religions found on the Indian sub-continent. Can one imagine the ancestors stirring in their graves, wondering, 'What? You mean those people who wanted to kill us?' For those African Americans whose ancestors were pagan animists, who are the overwhelming majority, it is unclear how their ancestors' memory is honored by their descendants adopting a religion whose adherents would have cheerfully murdered or enslaved these same forbears. 7 or 8 percent is far from a majority; if these numbers are correct, then 92 to 93% of this population were pagans, a religion despised by Muslims. Nevertheless Americans should be reminded that there were meaningful numbers of Muslims brought into this country in chains, an historic fact which has strangely disappeared into oblivion.

It is ironic that those Southern states whose white inhabitants obsess about creeping Sharia, are the very places in this country which once upon a time had a meaningful Muslim population, though no more. No functioning Muslim community survived up until the time when Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made it possible for these people to reclaim their lives and their liberty, including freedom of religion. In remembrance of the lost past, several start-up quasi-Islamic new religious movements in the Great Depression era justified their activities as a reclaiming of African Americans' Muslim roots. Though there was little enough of Islam in Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple, that was its rationale, as also for Wallace D. Fard's group. In the process, they willingly overlooked Islam's long history of tolerance for slavery, which was only outlawed in Saudi Arabia in the 1960's:

  Mary the Copt

  Kidnapping Raids

  The Kingdom

  Thy Right Hand

  The Good Side

  Black Slaves

  Naught But a Sinner

  Islamic History

The prophet Mohammed ibn Abdallah was himself a slave-owner. The worst abuses of the Southern slave system which scandalized Malcolm X find no warrant in Christianity, but are specifically allowed in the Koran. The privilege of enjoying the sexual services of slaves is granted to the prophet:

"O Prophet! we allow thee thy wives whom thou hast dowered, and the slaves whom thy right hand possesseth out of the booty which God hath granted thee..." (Koran, Sura 33:49).

...and to the faithful generally:

"Not so the prayerful...And who control their desires, (Save with their wives or the slaves whom their right hands have won, for there they shall be blameless; But whoever indulge their desires beyond this are transgressors)...These shall dwell, laden with honors, amid gardens." (Koran, Sura 71:22-35).

It is shameful that white, nominally Christian slave-owners in the American southland conducted themselves as if they were Muslims, but the remedy is not to embrace Islam. Mohammed ibn Abdallah does not write as did the abolitionists, aflame with the morality of the Sermon on the Mount, or as the framers of our Declaration of Independence:

"God maketh comparison between a slave the property of his lord, who hath no power over anything, and a free man whom we have ourselves supplied with goodly supplies, and who giveth alms therefrom both in secret and openly. Shall they be held equal? No: praise be to God! But most men know it not." (Koran, Sura 16:77).

Elijah Muhammad divides the American populace into the children of slaves, and the children of slave-owners. Yet his own audience were more likely to be the children of slave-owners than the average white American. Those white Americans whose forebears lived north of the Mason-Dixon line, where slavery was illegal prior to the Civil War, are not the children of slave-owners. Because the area north of the Mason-Dixon was always more populous than the south, this was the majority of the population prior to the Civil War. Neither are the multitude of white Americans whose forebears were not in the country at the time of the Civil War but only arrived thereafter the children of slave-owners.

Nor was the wealth of this country built up by slave labor. Slavery was a regional institution, not a national one; and the region where it was prevalent was, and remained for a very long time, the most backward and impoverished area of the country. Most white Americans do not perceive themselves as having been the beneficiaries of the slave system, nor did Elijah Muhammad ever construct a plausible narrative justifying why he so categorized them.

The Supernatural

Wallace D. Fard instructed his Messenger Elijah Muhammad for several years in Detroit before going...where? To Japan to construct the Mother Plane, or on to future encounters with the law and J. Edgar Hoover? That behemoth would take some constructing: "'The present wheel-shaped plane known as the Mother Plane, is one-half of a half-mile and is the largest mechanical manmade object in the sky. It is a small human planet made for the purpose of destroying the present world of the enemies of Allah. . .'" (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 89).

While no outside observer can know what features of this wildly original religion come from Mr. Fard and which originated in Mr. Muhammad's fertile brain, perhaps a note of Mr. Fard's street-wise voice lingers in the skepticism about the supernatural that pervades Nation of Islam thinking. How about life after death, a common religious concern? Elijah Muhammad isn't buying it:

"There’s no such thing as a little man going out of your mouth and going to an unknown place; no, no. . .There is no such thing as a spirit jumping out of your body going someplace. [...]

"'The cross, believe in the cross my brother,' he says. 'I will cling to that old cross.' Yeah, 'Oh yonder,' he says, 'on yonder hills stands an old cross.' Yeah; its a sign of shame. 'It’s a sign of my guilt of murdering the prophets of God, because I was at cross roads with them in the science of truth. So, here it is, blind deaf and dumb black man, follow this and you will go to heaven and meet Jesus.'

How many have been there and came back and told you that? There is no man that dies and goes back to the earth, then returns again. That is the thing that just doesn’t happen. You say 'Well Jesus rose again.' Yes, he’s rising now! The resurrection of Jesus means the resurrection of justice among you and me, that’s what it means. It doesn’t mean that man will come back alive like he once was."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Life After Death and the Existence of Spirit,', Theology of Time, June 4, 1972).


Though texts accepted as holy by the Nation speak of resurrection, this 'resurrection' is understood as an awakening from the death of error, not as revivification of the deceased. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad went so far to deny the Easter resurrection as to claim Jesus' dead body had been embalmed and preserved:

"There is no such thing as Jesus sitting in a heaven waiting for the final Judgment, he won't be here when the final Judgment come anymore than Moses or Abraham. He's gone back to the earth, or rather he's embalmed, and he will stay there another well 8,000 years. They embalmed him to last 10,000 years, and that his body will disappear at the end of ten thousand years. And it will disappear at this very hour if air is let in that tube that he's in. He's not alive, he looks just like he did the day that they killed him, but he's not alive. Go there and yell to him all you want to, he can't speak, he can't hear you either." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,'

There is a perplexing ambiguity in Elijah Muhammad's understanding of Jesus. Elijah Poole was looking for the second coming of Christ when he told Wallace D. Fard, 'I know who you are.' Yet Jesus, in Nation of Islam teaching, is just a prophet, whereas Wallace D. Fard is Allah in person.

"There is no such thing as a Jesus and a God standing on any other planet looking at you and I. The God is here on this earth. This is the God where you and I live. This is the heaven this is the hell. Hell and heaven is not a certain place or a particular place, it is the condition of our lives. You won't be able to come through no tombstone, or even through the dust, because they don't come back after they go there. We have had life, they last for trillions of years and never have anybody returned from that earth that went back to it. When you go back to the earth, you don't rise anymore."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,'


In light of this movement's skepticism about a literal, physical resurrection, their choice to identify themselves as 'Muslims' is peculiar. Like a modern political candidate, Mohammed ibn Abdallah stayed 'on-message' even at the cost of repetition. His message, that men will rise again, was laughed at by the scoffers, who said,

"But the unbelievers say to those whom they fall in with, 'Shall we show you a man who will foretell you that when ye shall have been utterly torn and rent to pieces, ye shall be restored in a new form? He deviseth a lie about God, or there is a djinn in him,' but they who believe not in the next life, shall incur the chastisement, and be lost in the mazes of estrangement from God." (Sura 34:7-8).
"And He whom God shall guide will be guided indeed; and whom he shall mislead thou shalt find none to assist, but Him: and we will gather them together on the day of the resurrection, on their faces, blind and dumb and deaf: Hell shall be their abode: so oft as its fires die down, we will rekindle the flame. This shall be their reward for that they believed not our signs and said, 'When we shall have become bones and dust, shall we surely be raised a new creation?'" (Sura 17:99-100).
"If ever thou dost marvel, marvellous surely is their saying, 'What! when we have become dust, shall we be restored in a new creation?' These are they who in their Lord believe not: these! the collars shall be on their necks; and these shall be inmates of the fire, to abide therein for aye." (Sura 13:5-6).
"And they say, 'There is no other than our life in this world, neither shall we be raised again.' But if thou couldest see when they shall be set before their Lord! He shall say to them, 'Is not this it in truth?' They shall say, 'Yea, by our Lord!' 'Taste then,' saith He, 'the torment, for that ye believed not!'" (Sura 6:29-30).

Were the scoffers Mohammed ibn Abdallah encountered scoffing at the idea an author might forge a simile between correction from error and resuscitation from death? Inasmuch as there is nothing incredible in an author crafting a metaphor or likeness, why would the scoffers balk at such literary license? Rather they found the fact of resurrection impossible to credit, for much the same reasons as did Elijah Muhammad.

The only thing dearer to Mohammed ibn Abdallah's heart than the resurrection and meeting with God was the confession there is no God but God. Joining other gods to God is unwelcome in this faith:

"SAY: Come, I will rehearse what your Lord hath made binding on you -- that ye assign not aught to Him as partner; and that ye be good to your parents..." (Sura 6:152).
"Had there been in either heaven or earth gods besides God, both surely had gone to ruin. But glory be to God, the Lord of the throne, beyond what they utter!" (Sura 21:22).

Given Mohammed ibn Abdallah's preoccupations, it is perplexing that a story-teller who liked to recount tales of god-scientists and denied the resurrection attached himself and his followers to this religion. Why not Hinduism, which is sympathetic to long-phase cycles of gods? In attaching his followers to Islam and urging them to read the Koran, Elijah Muhammad was stamping an expiration date on his religion. When they follow his advice, they stampede into orthodox Islam.

The Quest for the Historical Wallace D. Fard

The rise of the Nation of Islam occurred in plain view, recently enough for ample documentation and evidence to survive detailing the circumstances of its origin. Let us impose, onto this well-documented modern event, the paradigm employed by secular 'Jesus scholarship.' The results are farcical.

The model employed by Ernest Renan in the nineteenth century was the "Legends of the Saints." European saints were alleged to be modest, unassuming types about whom legends congregated after their death. Jesus, too, must have been of this stamp, or else He would be unlike the European saints:

"The legends respecting Alexander were invented before the generation of his companions in arms became extinct; those respecting St. Francis d'Assisi began in his lifetime. A rapid metamorphosis operated in the same manner in the twenty or thirty years which followed the death of Jesus, and imposed upon his biography the peculiarities of an ideal legend." (Ernest Renan, The Life of Jesus, Author's Introduction.)

Employing this paradigm in the case of Wallace D. Fard, we discover that Mr. Fard did not claim to be God, rather this claim arose in the "twenty or thirty years which followed [his] death." Yet not only Elijah Muhammad, but also the Detroit Police, heard him make this claim:

"On Wednesday morning, November 23, Fard was apprehended while leaving his hotel room at 1 West Jefferson Street. [...] Once at police headquarters, he answered questions circumspectly and in his typical messianic vein. According to police and press transcripts, Fard identified himself as the 'supreme being on earth' and claimed responsibility for starting the Nation of Islam, assisted by Ugan Ali, who was also arrested." (Claude Andrew Clegg III, 'An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad,' p. 31)

In 20 B.C., no one had heard of 'Christianity.' In 140 A.D., Christianity had spread round the globe. When confronted with a new thing in the world, the nineteenth century 'explained' it with an adverb: "gradually." Even though it is not clear an adverb can be the answer to a question 'why' or 'how,' this answer solidified into unquestionable dogma.

It's not clear it's a useful answer even in the fields where it was originally introduced. A tourist viewing the Western badlands is not impressed by the idea 'this must have happened gradually.' While the topography of Sandy Hook in New Jersey changes, no one has ever seen it change 'gradually.' Rather, people wake up and discover a thundering storm in the night has introduced a new reality.

The idea that new religions are introduced through gradual accretions to existing religions is an especially unhappy one, and not only because the time scale available is so compressed the 'Jesus scholars' must ever be trying to enlarge it. The religious public is expected to throng to some unpretentious, mild-mannered Mr. Milquetoast, holding aloft his beige banner, as he leads them on an unexciting and unassuming program of minor reform. They continue to follow complacently as the successor generation introduces radical innovations such as Mr. Milquetoast's deity. What would make people act like this? If the charismatic founder cannot introduce innovation, how can the lackluster caretakers who succeed him?

In fact, none of the new religions born on American soil arose according to the gradualist paradigm. When we inspect Mormonism, the Shakers, the Comet Hale-Bopp UFO cult, and others, we realize that the most extreme doctrines and practices of these groups either arose in the generation of the founders, or not at all. New religions often experience a pronounced contraction in the second generation, not an expansion to even wilder claims, if indeed they survive at all. When Wallace Muhammad took over the reins of the Nation of Islam from his deceased father, the group lunged toward mainstream Islam and away from the founder's doctrines. Louis Farrakhan and others who remained faithful to Elijah Muhammad's message were forced to secede. Likewise, the Mormons abandoned polygamy, a controversial but theologically significant practice espoused by Joseph Smith, in exchange for statehood for Utah. Herbert Armstrong's group abandoned the founder's heterodox teaching that God was a 'family,' not a Trinity, after the family who thought it plausible God was a family passed from the scene. These groups experienced, and succumbed to, pressures to conform, not only from the larger society, but from their own members and contributors. From whence would come pressure for ever-expanding doctrinal innovation?

New religions on American soil are not started by mild-mannered reformers whose teachings and personalities are exaggerated by their successors. Is there any reason to believe new religions have ever been so generated? If there is not, then why is secular 'Jesus scholarship' based on this illusion?


Many Americans think of Muslims in America as a new phenomenon. It is surprising to realize that some of the Africans brought to this country in its infancy, while the importation of slaves was still legal, were practicing Muslims:

"Before 1808, when the transatlantic trade was still legal in what was by then the United States, possibly tens of thousands of Muslims from Senegambia and other Islamic parts of West Africa were transported to North America as slaves. Numerous notices in Georgian and South Carolinian newspapers for runaway slaves with Arabic names confirmed the presence of a significant Muslim minority among African-American slaves." (Claude Andrew Clegg III, 'An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad,' p. 18)

But there were no practicing Muslim communities among the slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Nevertheless, the idea arose among some African-Americans that they could see past their slave identities by 'returning' to Islam, although the Islam of Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple owed more to the Shriners than to Mecca.

But where did this idea come from, the religious adherence is a subordinate factor in ethnic or national identity? It does not come from the Koran, which ridicules those who look to their ancestors for religious assurance. In the Koran, keeping to the fathers' tradition is the infidels' constant refrain:

"And when it is said to them, 'Follow ye that which God hath sent down;' they say, 'Nay, we follow the usages which we found with our fathers.' What! though their fathers were utterly ignorance and devoid of guidance?" (Koran, Sura 2:165)
"And when it was said to them 'Accede to that which God hath sent down, and to the Apostle:' they said, 'Sufficient for us is the faith in which we found our fathers.' What! though their fathers knew nothing, and had no guidance?" (Koran, Sura 5:103)
"Have thou no doubts therefore concerning that which they worship: they worship but what their fathers worshipped before them: we will surely assign them their portion with nothing lacking." (Sura 11:111).
"And when it is said to them, Follow ye what God hath sent down, they say, 'Nay; that religion in which we found our fathers will we follow.' What! though Satan bid them to the torment of the flame?" (Koran, Sura 31:20).
"For when our distinct signs are recited to them, they say, 'This is merely a man who would fain pervert you from your father's Worship.' And they say, 'This (Koran) is no other than a forged falsehood." (Koran, Sura 34:42).
"Then shall they return to hell.
They found their fathers erring,
And they hastened on in their footsteps." (Koran, Sura 37:66-68).
"But say they: 'Verily we found our fathers of that persuasion, and verily, by their footsteps do we guide ourselves.' And thus never before thy time did we send a warner to any city but its wealthy ones said: 'Verily we found our fathers with a religion, and in their tracks we tread.' SAY,--such was our command to that apostle--'What! even if I bring you a religion more right than that ye found your fathers following?'" (Koran, Sura 43:21-23).

Abraham is Mohammed ibn Abdallah's hero; he imagines himself to be following that patriarch, though he has lost hold of Abraham's messianic faith. Abraham was a man who left his home:

"Of old we gave unto Abraham his direction, for we knew him worthy. When he said to his Father and to his people, 'What are these images to which ye are devoted?' They said, 'We found our fathers worshipping them.' He said, 'Truly ye and your fathers have been in a plain mistake.'" (Sura 21:52-55).

If Abraham had gone looking for his roots, he would have returned to idolatry. There is no such instruction in the Koran.

Since the idea of looking to one's racial ancestors for religious guidance does not come from the Koran, from whence does it come? From nineteenth century Europe. It is the blood-drenched root of nationalism, an ideology which rivals even Islam and Communism in the number of human lives it has cut short.

You will sometimes hear Christianity accused of being a white, Northern European religion. How did it ever become so? Jesus was born and taught in the Middle East. Paul preached the gospel beginning in Asia Minor, which is today Turkey. Yet ultimately Christianity did come to be identified with Europe. How? Because of Muslim oppression. They came down hard on the Christian communions subject to their misrule, leaving these once numerous churches as tattered remnants.

"As Andrew Walls remarks, '[I]t was not until comparatively recent times — around the year 1500 — that the ragged conversion of the last pagan peoples of Europe, the overthrow of Muslim power in Spain, and the final eclipse of Christianity in central Asia and Nubia combined to produce a Europe that was essentially Christian and a Christianity that was essentially European.'" (John Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity, p. 25). Is that really fair? Wouldn't it be comparable to Anglo-Americans massacring Native Americans and then saying, 'Look around you, this is a majority white country.' A man applied for a job as a wood-cutter in a logging camp and was asked where he had done this kind of work previously. 'The Sahara,' he replied. 'The Sahara!' coughed the interviewer. 'But that's a desert!' 'Sure it is,' he confidently boasted, 'now.'

The Virgin Mary

"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34)

According to both the Bible and the Koran, Mary was a virgin when the angel announced her pregnancy:

"She said, 'How, O my Lord! shall I have a son, when man hath not touched me?' He said, 'Thus: God will create what He will; When He decreeth a thing, He only saith, "Be," and it is.'" (Koran, Sura 3:42).
"She said: 'How shall I have a son, when man hath never touched me? and I am not unchaste.' He said: 'So shall it be. Thy Lord hath said: "Easy is this with me;" and we will make him a sign to mankind, and a mercy from us. For it is a thing decreed.'" (Sura 19:20-21).
"Verily, these vied in goodness, and called upon us with love and fear, and humbled themselves before us: And her who kept her maidenhood, and into whom we breathed of our spirit, and made her and her son a sign to all creatures." (Sura 21:90-91).

Elijah Muhammad zigs on this point when everyone else zags. The way he tells it, Jesus was the natural offspring of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was married to another party who had borne him six children at the time of this illicit affair. Unlike the Honorable Elijah Muhammad himself in his later years, Joseph was swift enough not to get caught:

"Joseph came daily with water and food to Mary and to see the baby. He fooled his wife by telling her that he had a job building a house. This was how Jesus was born." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'The True History of Jesus,'

But this is the very same kind of slander against Mary that so incensed Mohammed ibn Abdallah against the Jews of Medina:

"So, for that they have broken their covenant, and have rejected the signs of God, and have put the prophets to death unjustly...And for their unbelief,-- and for their having spoken against Mary a grievous calumny..." (Koran, Sura 4:154-155).

The Second Coming

"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11).

The Bible teaches two advents of "this same Jesus." This is He for whom Elijah Poole was looking when he found Wallace D. Fard instead. In Nation of Islam theology, Fard is the "Jesus" of the Second Coming:

"Jesus' history refers more to a future Jesus than to the past. There is a prophecy of a Son being prepared to redeem man (the so-called Negroes). This Jesus made His appearance July 4, 1930 and His work is now in effect."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 152).


According to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, it is nothing but "ignorance" to believe that the Jesus of the first coming is anything other than a mortal man, a prophet, and a mistaken one at that, now dust:

"But you keep trying to preach the dead prophet, Jesus, back to life. Jesus was nothing but a prophet and he did not deny it. I have contended with you on this...We know what happened to him 2,000 years ago. He cannot come back from the grave. He is not in heaven...I would not give you two cents for all your praying to a dead Jesus to hear you. He does not hear you. He is dead and buried as all others before him and since who have died." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, pp. 210-211).

Yet the Jesus of the Second Coming, Wallace D. Fard, is God in person. Why this puzzling asymmetry? Why would there be an ontological difference between what Jesus was in His first advent and what "this same Jesus" would be in His second advent?

There is no need to investigate this claim, incidentally, because the Bible teaches that if you have to ask, it's not Him:

The Real Deal versus the Counterfeit

Honor Thy Mother

"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." (Exodus 20:12).

Wallace D. Fard, according to Elijah Muhammad, was the son of a black father and a white mother:

"The Great Mahdi, the God and Judge Who is now present in the world, Master Fard Muhammad, To Whom praises are due forever, taught me that His father was a real Black Man. His Father went up to the mountains (governments of the Caucasians) picking out a white woman to marry so that she would give birth to a son looking white but yet the Father is Black." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 183).

It is distressing to think that Mr. Fard taught people to believe that his own mother was a devil. This is a dutiful son? And why is the Savior of the black man half-devil? Does good fruit come from an evil root?

Like gnosticism, this faith looks not for converts, for sinners willing to leap over the chasm to the other side, but for people to realize who they are. White folk, by nature, are wicked, and black folk are good. They should wake up and realize who they are. But who are they? An artist wishing to draw a colored pencil portrait of leaders of this movement like Wallace D. Fard, Elijah Muhammad, and Louis Farrakhan, will make liberal use of that much maligned colored pencil formerly known as 'flesh' but subsequently relabelled 'peach.' The 'black' pencil will remain in the box unused.

Did Wallace D. Fard sincerely believe that his own mother was a devil, not a human being? Neither the Bible nor the Koran takes up his cause:

"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:7).
"Moreover, we have enjoined on man to show kindness to his parents. With pain his mother beareth him; with pain she bringeth him forth..." (Koran, Sura 46:14).
"Thy Lord hath ordained that ye worship none but him; and, kindness to your parents, whether one or both of them attain to old age with thee: and say not to them, 'Fie!' neither reproach them; but speak to them both with respectful speech; and defer humbly to them out of tenderness; and say, 'Lord, have compassion on them both, even as they reared me when I was little.'" (Sura 17:24-25).

Wallace D. Fard had so much in common with his contemporary Father Divine as to make an observer suspect copying. In the nature of things, Father Divine, whose message was not racist, attracted many more white followers, however both figures addressed a felt need at the time, aiming for that constituency which saw in the mainline churches the slave-master's religion. Marcus Garvey was the 'John the Baptist' who brought everyone to state of expectancy: "Marcus Garvey had once stirred crowds in Harlem with the prophecy, 'A black God is coming. Be ready when he cometh.'" (Robert Weisbrot, Father Divine and the Struggle for Racial Equality, p. 60.) Both, unfortunately, were false gods, upon whom their followers' lavish devotion was wasted:

The Nation of Islam is not, ultimately, all that Islamic. In some respects, such as avoiding pork, they are onboard. And they share Muslims' disdain for the idea of non-violence, "James 67X listened as Malcolm told the congregation, 'We are not Christian(s). We are not to turn the other cheek, but the laborers [NOI members] have gotten so comfortable that in dealing with the devil they will submit to him. . .If a blow is struck against you, fight back.'" (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 209). Malcolm X is particularly indignant at the idea of turning the other cheek, which is indeed a distinctively Christian virtue: "This white man's Christian religion further deceived and brainwashed this 'Negro' to always turn the other cheek, and grin, and scrape, and bow, and be humble, and to sing, and to pray, and to take whatever was dished out by the devilish white man; and to look for his pie in the sky, and for his heaven in the hereafter, while right here on earth the slavemaster white man enjoyed his heaven." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 163). Yet worshipping a man, Wallace D. Fard, as God, is not Islamic; at the heart of their theology, they deviate. But Christian they certainly aren't either. Neither fish nor fowl, they occupy their own category; nothing can be more self-defeating than Elijah Muhammad's advice to his followers, to read the Koran. Do that, and you leave.

In the Islamic mainstream, being a Muslim is generally defined in a minimalist way, which seems to leave an opening for non-conforming groups like the Nation of Islam, or like the Ahmadis, who encounter similar problems in demonstrating their Islamic orthodoxy. Quoting an Ahmadi missionary, Nabeel Qureshi presents the case, "'The other Muslims say we are not Muslim, but who are they to cast us out of Islam? According to Anas ibn Malik, Muhammad said, 'Anyone who proclaims the shahada is a Muslim.' And the shahada is clear: 'There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.' Even today, all you have to do is recite the shahada and you will be accepted into the fold of Islam.'" (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qurershi, p. 51). But if when you recite the shahada, what you mean to say is, 'There is no god but Wallace D. Fard,' that presents a bit of a problem. Or if you mean to say, 'There are many gods besides Wallace D. Fard,' that is even worse.


Women's Rights

As seen, in some respects the Nation of Islam is Islamic, in other respects not Islamic at all. Why did their temples meet together for corporate worship on Sunday, other than in imitation of Christianity? However, Malcolm Little's Seventh Day Adventist mother would likely be proud of him for abstaining from pork, because they did that. Some of the points the Saudi religious authorities insisted upon seem wrong-headed or inconsequential, like demanding the people pray in Arabic: why is it so important for people to pray in a language they do not understand? One point on which they were, and are, solidly on board the Islamic vessel, is their conviction that women are by nature inferior to men:

"Now, Islam has very strict laws and teachings about women, the core of them being that the true nature of a man is to be strong, and a woman's true nature is to be weak, and while a man must at all times respect his woman, at the same time he needs to understand that he must control her if he expects to get her respect. (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, pp. 225-226).

They added their own misogyny to the sizeable deposit already encapsulated in this faith. Their glory days are pretty much over, although you still see revivals and small start-ups preaching the old-time religion of Wallace D. Fard and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad: