Is the ‘Nation of Islam’ a Muslim organization?

The beliefs and tenets of the ‘Nation of Islam’ are contrary to some of the fundamental tenets of Islam. In is therefore incorrect to consider the Nation of Islam a Muslim organization.

The Nation of Islam was formed to address racial inequity and civil rights concerns of African-Americans in the United States. The Nation uses terminology borrowed from the religion of Islam. However, it has simultaneously developed an elaborate belief system to supports its doctrines of black racial superiority.

The Nation of Islam considers its founder, Elijah Muhammad, as a prophet of God. It further believes that Elijah Muhammad’s mentor, W.D. Fard was God Incarnate. These beliefs are contrary to the basic testimony of Islam. Therefore, the Nation cannot be considered as a branch of Islam. The racial outlook of the Nation of Islam, contradicts the universalistic beliefs and worldview of Islam.

A large number of members of the Nation of Islam, have renounced their beliefs in the doctrines preached by the Nation, and embraced mainstream Islam. Among those who were able to rise above the racialism preached by the Nation was Malcolm X,. He traveled to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, to perform the Hajj or pilgrimage. There Malcolm X saw the brotherhood of Islam, where people of all races and colors were united in their seeking of divine pleasure. Upon his return, he took the name of El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz, and began developing a new organization to further the cause of African-Americans in the US, without the racial trappings of the Nation. Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1964.

 

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