Elijah Muhammad and Islam by Herbert Berg

By Herbert Berg

Elijah Muhammad is arguably the main major determine within the historical past of Islam within the usa. Successor to W. D. Fard, the founding father of the country of Islam, and a mentor to Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad led the state of Islam for over 40 years.In Elijah Muhammad and Islam, Herbert Berg specializes in Elijah Muhammad's religiosity, that is often introduced into query because the authenticity of the kingdom of Islam as "truly Islamic" is still hotly debated. to raised understand this strong and arguable determine, Berg contextualizes Elijah Muhammad and his non secular strategy in the higher Islamic culture, exploring his use of the Qur'an, his interpretation of Islam, and his relationships with different Muslims. notably, Berg seeks to understand—not outline or label—Muhammad as a Muslim. To do in a different way, he argues, is to misconceive and warp the fellow, his teachings, his stream, and his legacy.

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In 1939 he opened Temple No. 4 in Washington and led it personally, using the name Muhammad Rassoull. His success there brought him to the notice of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. In 1941, his objection to black participation in a “white war” only increased the attention they gave him. Elijah Muhammad, with his fourth grade education and still one year shy of the 45-yearold maximum, was still eligible for the draft. After months of surveillance, Elijah Muhammad, then living under the alias of Gulam Bogans, was arrested in May 1942 for failing to register for selective service.

This interest often led to invitations to dinner or lunch, which in turn led Fard Muhammad to hold informal meetings in their homes. Soon he had enough followers and contributions to rent a hall for his meetings. ”52 The main message of Fard Muhammad, as reconstructed by Beynon, was somewhat simpler than that given by Elijah Muhammad outlined above: The black men in North America are not Negroes, but members of the lost tribe of Shebazz, stolen by traders from the Holy City of Mecca 379 years ago.

Malcolm X endured these public humiliations and private trials. The final straw, however, came when Malcolm X learned that his death had been ordered—but his remaining friends within the Nation of Islam made sure that it was not acted upon. , based upon orthodox Sunni Islamic principles, and an associated political body, the Organization of Afro-American Unity. His turn to Sunni Islam was in large part due to his experiences during a hajj in April 1964. He came to believe that Islam could transcend even the racial divisions of Whites and Blacks in the United States, thus abandoning Elijah Muhammad’s racial teachings.

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