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The UnIslamic Nation of Islam

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The UnIslamic Nation of Islam

cause an immense number of responses in any situation. To some, this organization

symbolizes blatant racism. To others, it is seen as a savior of the black community.

Regardless of one’s opinion of the Nation, though, the differences between

Al-Islam(traditional Islam) and the beliefs of the Nation cannot be denied. The Nation of

Islam is a social movement. This social movement is undoubtedly rooted in religion, and

its principles are derived from those of traditional Islam, but their basic philosophies are

so strikingly different that the Nation of Islam cannot be considered Islamic. In 1930, the

Nation was founded by an African immigrant who called himself Wallace D. Fard

Muhammad. He stated that his mission was to take “the black nation to the full range of

the black man’s possibilities in aworld temporarily dominated by the blue-eyed

devils”(http://www.forerunner.com/foreruner/X0065_Nation_of_Islam.html). This

philosphy was carried on to the next leader of the Nation, Elijah Muhammad, and

eventually to the current leader, Louis Farrakhan. The Nation was founded as a black

organization, and has remained as such. Islam, on the other hand, is all encompassing.

The first, and most astonishing, difference between the Nation and traditional Islam is the

role of race in the church’s philosophy. the Nation’s philosophy clearly states that, “We

believe that intermarriage and race mixing should be prohibitted (www.noi.org/

program.html)”. The traditional wording of the Koran, however, states that diversity in

race is one of Allah’s greatest creations(Koran, 30.22). The Nation of Islam restricts its

membersip to those who are black. the beliefs of traditional Islam, however, state that all

persons are born Muslim, and that “every person is endowed by Allah with the spiritual

potential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good Muslim.(4) The Islamic

church ignores the issue of race when examining one’s spiritual purity. Rather, It is the

spirit itself which defines a Muslim. Traditional Muslims and members of the Nation of

Islam also differ in their definition of what it means to be Muslim. The belief in Islam is

defined by five Pillars: shahada(the belief in only one Allah), salah(prayer),

zakuh(obligatory charity), sawm(fasting), and hajj(pilgrimage)

(www_leland.stanford.edu/group/Thinker/v2/v2n3/Saudi.html). Of these Five Pillars, the

Nation of Islam requires none of its members. The shahada is rejected by the Nation

because it belives that Wallace D. Fard Muhammad was Allah incarate. (noi.index)

Salah, or the five daily prayers in the direction of Mecca, are also not required of

members of the Nation(coolguy). Zakuh is rejected by the nation, as it believes charity is

a “way to benefit the dominant classes of the culture.(coolguy). Sawm is also not

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required of Nation members, nor is the hajj to Mecca(coolguy). (Ironically, it was the

hajj of Malcolm X which led him to abandon his separatist beliefs, and to preach unity).

The rejection of the five basic requirements of Islam is representative of the distances

between the Nation of Islam and traditional Islam. Because of these differences, the

Nation cannot be accepted as just another chapter of Islam, but it must be treated as a

different and distinct religion. The third difference between the Nation of Islam and

traditional Islam is the manner in which other religions and their members are regarded.

Islam accepts the existence of all prophets from Moses to Muhammad. (Koran, 2:91)

The Nation, however, believes that Wallace D. Fard Muhammad is the true

prophet(Noi.program). Traditional Islam regards members of all religions as holy. The

Koran states that, “those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians, and

Sabaeans-whoever believeth in Allah, and the Last Day doeth right- surely their reward

is with their Lord, and their shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve”(2:62).

Farrakhan, on the other hand condemns those of other religions and races. In a speech in

January 1994, Farrakhan warned members of the Nation of Islam that “they(the jews)

are plotting against us even as we speak (www.strang.com/cm/stories/emmy/96tl.html).”

He proposes that other religions are inferior to Islam, as well as proposing that different

races are unequal. The Nation of Islam believes that the white race was created by a

botched experiment of mad scientist named Yakub, 6,000 years ago(7). It is beliefs such

as this which create the image of the Nation which is common to most: a racist

organization which preaches Black supremacy. Some may argue that the often

outrageous methods and beliefs of the Nation of Islam have done more good than harm.

In 1996, Farrakhan organized the Million-Man March which brought over 400,000

black men to the nation’s capitol. Those who enter the Nation swear to refrain from the

use of drugs and alcohol. Thus, being less likely to become addicts, gang members or

victims of violence. But, the hate which Farrakhan preaches outweighs any of the benefits

of his Nation.

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