Members of the Nation of Islam were given Arabic names to replace those that had originated in slavery. The NOI attracted new followers such as its spokesman Malcolm X and high profile sports personalities such as Muhammad Ali Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The Nation of Islam became fragmented following the death of Elijah Muhammad was reestablished by Louis Farrakhan in 1978
Facts about Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam (NOI) was founded during the 1930's in Detriot by Wallace D. Fard, later known as Farrad Muhammad, whose followers later became known as the Black Muslims. Farrad Muhammad was strongly influenced by the first American Black Islamic society, the Moorish Science Temple Movement, which had been formed in New Jersey in 1913 by a man named Noble Drew Ali.
Farrad Muhammad taught a unique form of Islam preaching the teachings of the Quran and the worship of Allah but based on the belief that blacks were his chosen people.
Followers of the Nation of Islam were given Arabic names to replace those that had originated in slavery.
The first temple of the Nation of Islam was established in Detroit, during the early 1930's, by which time 8,000 African Americans had had been recruited to the religion. Each NOI temple was given a number indicating when it was built.
Farrad Muhammad taught a unique form of Islam based on the teachings of the Quran. One of his disciples, Elijah Muhammad (born Robert Poole). Farrad Muhammad mysteriously disappeared and Elijah Muhammad took over as the leader of the Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975.
Elijah Muhammad became known for his loud rhetoric directed at white people, whom he called “blue-eyed devils.” Within the NOI, he became widely known as "The Messenger of Allah".
In 1961, Elijah Muhammad visited various Muslim countries and, upon his return, directed that the NOI temples should now be referred to as mosques. Under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad, the NOI gained one million followers who by the 1970'sworshipped in 76 mosques.
Members of the NOI, the Black Muslims, are required to adhere to a strict moral, disciplinary and dress code. Members are forbid from eating of pork, corn bread or 'slave food' and the consumption of alcohol or tobacco. The typical dress code of male members is to suits and ties, and women members are required to wear modest clothing, typically long white gowns or saris.
The rituals of Black Muslims included praying toward Mecca (east) five times each day (and pre-prayer washing rituals. They were also required to attend at least two meetings at the temple every week, recruit new members "Fish for the dead" and to sell the NOI newspaper.
The NOI also established the "University of Islam" providing the education for elementary to high school children
The Nation of Islam (NOI) advocated black nationalism that called for the creation of a separate black nation in America as an alternative to being assimilated by the American nation.
Members of Nation of Islam also supported Black separatism, a movement that aimed to create separate institutions for African Americans.
The Civil Rights activist Malcolm X, formerly Malcolm Short, was inspired by the beliefs of Elijah Muhammad and joined the Nation of Islam in 1952. Malcolm X, like many members of the organization, also supported the concept of what would become known as Black Power.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the mid 1950's - 1960's, and the emergence of the concept of Black Power, membership to the Nation of Islam increased as the charismatic Malcolm X became spokesman the NOI attracting new followers including high profile personalities.
Sporting personalities such as the boxer Cassius Clay, who changed his name to Muhammad Ali, and basketball player Lewis Alcindor, who took the name Kareem Abdul Jabbar, became famous followers of the Nation of Islam. Note: Other famous personalities such as Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) and Jermaine Jackson, brother of the world-famous pop star Michael Jackson, adopted the Muslim religion in the 1960's but were not members of the Nation of Islam.
Louis Eugene Walcott joined this Muslim movement in 1955 and at first adopted the name Louis X, which he then changed to Louis Farrakhan. During the early 1950s and 1960s, the NOI called for racial separatism in the United States, and protested against police intimidation and brutality.
Elijah Muhammad died on February 25, 1975, and the leadership of the NOI was passed to his son Warith Deen Muhammad. However Warith Deen Muhammad renounced the origins of Black Muslims together with the concept of black separatism and established the World Community of Al-Islam in the West, which later became known as the American Muslim Mission.
Disagreeing with the views of Warith Deen Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan took over the leadership of the fragmented Nation of Islam, in 1978. He reestablished the Nation of Islam (NOI) but was strongly criticized for expressing anti-white and anti-Semitic statements.
Khalid Abdul Muhammad, born Harold Moore Jr., was a became the National Assistant to Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. During the late 1980s and early 1990s Khalid Abdul Muhammad gave numerous speeches at many U.S. colleges but his harsh rhetoric about Jews and whites led to his expulsion from the NOI.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan famously went on to lead the Million Man March. It was held on October 16, 1995 around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to highlight the problems faced by black communities and call for unity and revitalization of African American population. .
The Million Man March was attended by a massive crowd of 850,000 of all different religious denominations. It featured the keynote address by Louis Farrakhan and other prominent speakers included civil rights activists such as Jesse Jackson and Rosa Parks and entertainment was provided by Stevie Wonder and Maya Angelou.
In 2010, Louis Farrakhan made the public announcement that he had embraced Dianetics and actively encouraged Nation of Islam members to undergo auditing from the Church of Scientology.
In 2015, on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, another rally was held and Louis Farrakhan, aged 82, passed the torch to the next generation, again called for unity and reform in social justice issues affecting African Americans.
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