As the black lives movement (BLM) is all around us right now, I think it’s important that we educate ourselves on the black Muslim movement (also known as the Nation of Islam) which began in 1930 and was founded by Wallace Fard, in America.
To sum up what this movement was- it was a religious movement to join black nationalist ideas with the elements of traditional Islam. It was taken over by Elijah Muhammed after Wallace Fard disappeared in 1934.
This was a movement adapted by black African Americans and to this day is still very controversial. A lot of people believe the group was very extreme in terms of their beliefs as they believed that blacks are superior to whites. Some of the different leaders have also made remarks which are anti-gay, antisemitic and extremely racist. Some of their views are highly rejected by mainstream muslims and this is what caused the diversity and violence throughout the entire movement.
You will all know Malcom X, who was actually one of the groups ministers who would preach about black empowerment, black supremacy and even the separation of black and white Americans.
Malcom X was the biggest reason why this black Muslim movement became so popular and this grew tensions between him and Muhammed. The people began to follow Malcom X because he had strong leadership skills and his theologies were coherent.
This led to Malcolm X being suspended and then he was assassinated in 1965, which many people believe was carried out by Muhammed’s followers.
Malcom X touched and influenced many people’s hearts, including Warith Deen Mohammed (the son of Elijah Muhammed). This meant that when the movement was passed down to him by his father, he dropped all of the nationalist and racial beliefs and became a very respected leader within the larger muslim community.
Warith Deen Mohammed changed the name of the organisation twice. It was changed to “World Community of al-Islam in the West” and then again to “American Muslim Mission” in 1978.
Members who had been lost because of Elijah Mohammed began to re-join.
However, another rivalry began between Warith Deen Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan led a group of black muslims who split from the organisation as they still believed in Elijah Mohammed’s ideas of Islam. After roughly 13 years, this group led by Farrakhan began to believe and accept some of the traditional Islamic practices.
Therefore in 2000, the rivalry ended between both groups and Warith Deen Mohammed stepped down as leader in 2002.
It is estimated there are between 20,000- 50,000 members. Minister Louis Farrakhan became and still is the leader of Nation of Islam.
By Aaisha Sabir