The UnIslamic Nation of Islam The mention of the ?Nation of Islam? will undoubtedlycause an immense number of responses in any situation.
To some, this organizationsymbolizes 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 betweenAl-Islam(traditional Islam) and the beliefs of the Nation cannot be denied. The Nation ofIslam is a social movement. This social movement is undoubtedly rooted in religion, andits principles are derived from those of traditional Islam, but their basic philosophies areso strikingly different that the Nation of Islam cannot be considered Islamic. In 1930, theNation was founded by an African immigrant who called himself Wallace D.Order now
FardMuhammad. He stated that his mission was to take ?the black nation to the full range ofthe black man’s possibilities in aworld temporarily dominated by the blue-eyeddevils?(http://www. forerunner. com/foreruner/X0065_Nation_of_Islam. html).
Thisphilosphy was carried on to the next leader of the Nation, Elijah Muhammad, andeventually to the current leader, Louis Farrakhan. The Nation was founded as a blackorganization, 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 therole of race in the church’s philosophy. the Nation’s philosophy clearly states that, ?Webelieve that intermarriage and race mixing should be prohibitted (www. noi.
org/program. html)?. The traditional wording of the Koran, however, states that diversity inrace is one of Allah’s greatest creations(Koran, 30. 22).
The Nation of Islam restricts itsmembersip to those who are black. the beliefs of traditional Islam, however, state that allpersons are born Muslim, and that ?every person is endowed by Allah with the spiritualpotential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good Muslim. (4) The Islamicchurch ignores the issue of race when examining one’s spiritual purity. Rather, It is thespirit itself which defines a Muslim. Traditional Muslims and members of the Nation ofIslam also differ in their definition of what it means to be Muslim.
The belief in Islam isdefined 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, theNation of Islam requires none of its members. The shahada is rejected by the Nationbecause 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 ofmembers of the Nation(coolguy). Zakuh is rejected by the nation, as it believes charity isa ?way to benefit the dominant classes of the culture.
(coolguy). Sawm is also notrequired of Nation members, nor is the hajj to Mecca(coolguy). (Ironically, it was thehajj 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 distancesbetween the Nation of Islam and traditional Islam. Because of these differences, theNation cannot be accepted as just another chapter of Islam, but it must be treated as adifferent and distinct religion. The third difference between the Nation of Islam andtraditional 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 trueprophet(Noi. program). Traditional Islam regards members of all religions as holy.
TheKoran states that, ?those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians, andSabaeans-whoever believeth in Allah, and the Last Day doeth right- surely their rewardis 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 inJanuary 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 differentraces are unequal. The Nation of Islam believes that the white race was created by abotched experiment of mad scientist named Yakub, 6,000 years ago(7).
It is beliefs suchas this which create the image of the Nation which is common to most: a racistorganization which preaches Black supremacy. Some may argue that the oftenoutrageous 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 400,000black men to the nation’s capitol. Those who enter the Nation swear to refrain from theuse of drugs and alcohol.
Thus, being less likely to become addicts, gang members orvictims of violence. But, the hate which Farrakhan preaches outweighs any of the benefitsof his Nation.