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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Nation Of Islam

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^ Very informative post. I'm a bit confused by the "Of course, a lot of deviant concepts and potentially kufar" bit though. Potentially? :mellow:

 

Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

 

I also slightly disagree with: "These guys did it with their strange beliefs; we can do it with our sensible ones."

 

In my opinion, the racism and nationalism of the NOI was one of it's key attractions, which Islam doesn't have. There is a big difference between being part of a religion that sees you as a 'special race', and where everyone else is the same race as you, and being part of a religion where you are just the same as everyone else, and to make things worse where you will still encounter racism from many other so-called Muslims. In addition to that, I get the feeling that real Islam is a little too 'boring' for most people. They want some crazy beliefs and rituals. Even 'mainstream' Muslims aren't immune to this...

 

Nevertheless, I wouldn't doubt that there are many valuable lessons to be learned from the success of the NOI, and certainly they social programs are to be commended. I just don't think it would be that easy for Muslims to replicate. After all, as you point out, many former NOI members have become Muslims, and yet they don't seem to be able to create a very successful 'Muslim' version of what the NOI did.

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^ Very informative post. I'm a bit confused by the "Of course, a lot of deviant concepts and potentially kufar" bit though. Potentially? :mellow:

 

Believing in extra prophets, God on Earth, and no resurrection day is no doubt kufr. However, to millions of people in the 1930s-1970s, this was the closest they could get to Islam. They had a genuine love for our religion, and most of them became Muslims when they traveled the world and learned of the orthodox message. Even under the NOI, they made immense strides - women were wearing hijab, people began learning Arabic, alcohol and pork was abstained from, du`a' was made, names were changed, etc. etc. The transition from Christianity to Islam was akin to the transition from jahiliyya to Islam - it did not happen overnight, and if Islam were presented in its perfect form to a community of jahiloon, most would reject it. Just remember that neither Fard nor Elijah were infallible, and so one who is genuine in becoming a Muslim must cast those two aside and abandon some of their teachings. If you study the early history of the NOI, the intention was not to create an entirely new sect. The intention was actually to join up with the Muslims around the world (the "Nation", i.e. the Umma) and adjust to their beliefs.

 

In Elijah's ministry, a lot of steps were taken to get there at a gradual pace. He began replacing temples with mosques (with a minaret, minbar, mihrab, carpets), he began phasing out the Bible in his talks and introducing the Qur'an, and he even privately began taking steps towards Islamic monotheism. It was actually Farrakhan who made the NOI into a sect when many people like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Warith Deen were becoming Muslims. So Farrakhan's ministry was focused on dealing with the rise of orthodox Islam and repositioning the NOI as a competing message to it. Farrakhan himself knows quite a bit about orthodox Islam: he goes on Hajj regularly, he visits Muslim countries and leaders, and he appears in interfaith dialogues. But the NOI gives him his authority (especially in the 90s - see the "Million Man March") and allows him to interpret the Qur'an, ahadith, and Bible as he wills. Farrakhan has made some adjustments, like for example, Elijah introduced the "December Ramadan" and Farrakhan recently reintroduced the traditional lunar month fasting. He also replaced the daily du`a' with a salat that involves a sujud. But the NOI is completely unnecessary in today's world, where one can access Islam very easily. It's really just become a black nationalist movement. Still, worth knowing their history and their struggle, they are a part of America's story and the story of Islam in the West. They left their legacy behind even in the spelling of certain words. "Muslim" for example was the NOI version of "Moslem", and the word Negro was phased out completely partly due to the NOI.

 

 

I also slightly disagree with: "These guys did it with their strange beliefs; we can do it with our sensible ones."

 

In my opinion, the racism and nationalism of the NOI was one of it's key attractions, which Islam doesn't have. There is a big difference between being part of a religion that sees you as a 'special race', and where everyone else is the same race as you, and being part of a religion where you are just the same as everyone else, and to make things worse where you will still encounter racism from many other so-called Muslims. In addition to that, I get the feeling that real Islam is a little too 'boring' for most people. They want some crazy beliefs and rituals. Even 'mainstream' Muslims aren't immune to this...

 

Nevertheless, I wouldn't doubt that there are many valuable lessons to be learned from the success of the NOI, and certainly they social programs are to be commended. I just don't think it would be that easy for Muslims to replicate. After all, as you point out, many former NOI members have become Muslims, and yet they don't seem to be able to create a very successful 'Muslim' version of what the NOI did.

 

Yeah, you're right. And a lot of the NOI's success was due to its timing. It sprung up during the Great Depression and the black civil rights movement. The mistreatment of blacks was real and in everyone's faces. Even someone like Muhammad Ali was not allowed to eat downtown due to his colour. So really, the message brought the so-called American Negro back into history after four centuries of the world's worst form of slavery.

 

Still, there's a lot to learn from. The black Muslims were proud Muslims - they were very open with their identity, said things like "salam" and "inshaAllah" in public, all while us immigrants try to blend in and hide our religion. They made da`wa to prison inmates, while most orthodox Muslims cannot relate with such people at all (often because of their race). The NOI made conversion very easy, with the philosophy that everyone can be changed ("born again") no matter who they used to be. The NOI had workshops for the unemployed, services for the unfortunate, and gave people a revolutionary fervour. We can't utilize the same strategies, as we've said, because a lot of that was fit for its time period, and a lot of that is exclusive to the NOI. But instead of pushing all of our kids to become doctors and engineers, we should set a few people aside who can read societal trends and revitalize Islamic da`wa.

Edited by Qa'im

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Some interesting video resources that introduce the Nation's origins and beliefs:

 

Part 1 of a documentary on Wallace D. Fard Muhammad (starts at 1 minute, it is an 8 minute video):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYEAHvJj2mI

Master Fard was either from the Subcontinent or getting his teachings from there:

 

 

Farrakhan: Muhammad in the Holy Qur'an

 

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Factually, Imam Louis Farrakhan is a great man. If Ayatollah Khomeini can be called Imam in respect, so can be the Minister Louis Farrakhan. I have no cure for those who have HASAD or Envy with Imam Farrakhan as their scholars don't match him in stature, and spiritual and intellectual qualities. His understanding of faith is very very good.

 

 

Farrakhan: Muhammad in the Holy Qur'an

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^^ is he a haafiz? has he memorised the quran off by heart, and can he translate quranic arabic into english just by reading the text of the quran?

 

Besides some words and phrases, Farrakhan does not speak Arabic. He only quotes the Qur'an in English

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