Amexem Times and Seasons

Selections from Sheik Ra Saadi El’s
“Who is Noble Drew Ali?”

On January 8th an earthquake announced the manifestation of the returning spirit of Allah’s Prophet being manifested into human flesh. By this act of love Allah has distinguished these people with a particular favor, as he has given this distinction in the other families of man. (Sura 10, vs. 47) This particular blessing was that the time has come for them to have a Prophet, a messenger of God himself of them. His name at birth, Timothy Drew. Little is known of his early childhood nor of his father and mother’s true character. His father was a Moabite, and his mother a Cannanite; both soon passed out of his life. This we do know, he grew up as any Asiatic child. It is stated that his Aunt, who beat him often, once threw him into a blazing furnace but yet Allah saved him from the flames. Later on he ran away from home and one night while walking on the road, he heard a voice which stated, “Where thou goeth, I goeth.” As Timothy Drew was born through the new era of time in regards to his race relationship with others, that they had endured almost 400 years of slavery, and just 20 years before his birth, they were set free. This new era is called Up From Slavery.

In his growing years, he began to travel. he often came face to face with racism. Although his people were legally free, they were classed as inferior beings! Subject to all mistreatment and abuses that the European cared to put upon them. They were not even SECOND CLASS CITIZENS….

In this new era called Up From Slavery, his people were given a granted privilege, under the principles of the 14th and 15th amendments. Nowhere in the Union of States were they entitled to EQUAL protection of the Law. As every state that had entered the Union had entered upon the principles of Free white males, 21 and over. These are they that created the body of politics that govern the people of this land. These are the ones who have created the educational, financial, spiritual and political institutions. Changing the status of the new freed slaves from being a slave of an individual, to the ward of the Federal Government STILL having no rights as a CITIZEN thereof. In the growing years of Timothy Drew he discovered many things. Amongst them that there were no religious creed taught to them that would UPLIFT them both spiritually, mentally and economically FROM their present state of being a beggar people.

Timothy Drew began to unfold as others of his kind within the educational structure that has been established for his race at that hour gave him an illusionary view of his RACE PLACE in history! Yet Christianity had established a group of men whose knowledge and wisdom was renowned. They called themselves African Masons. These men sprung up during the American Revolution. This in all reality was a focal point of their salvation. In this organization they learned as the European in his arts, crafts, sciences, and mathematics. Here the door was wide open for GREAT LEARNING, beyond the regular established educational institution. Here he rose through the ranks. Here he came in contact with the Creed of Islam. Here he became a Noble of the Egyptian Mystic Shrine. But unlike others, he became attached to the principles, creed and faith of the ONE GOD principal as taught by Prophet Mohammed.

Some state that this is not true Islam, yet while slavery still existed in the Ottoman Empire which stretched from the tip of Turkey to the top of North West Africa. Therefore slavery was much worse. Not only did they enslave the Moorish descendants there, but they castrated them and made them guardians of their prostitutes called harems. To make it worse, they socially and physically raped their women. Slavery was one of the major sources of economic security for the Arabians at that hour, as well as the fact that they did not come propagating the faith of Mohammed but ENSLAVING under the banner of the Crescent and the Star!

Thus while other nations and people of other ethnic groups were advancing and ALLOWED to make their own fortunes, the members of Timothy Drew’s race were being held down, by either the weight of the cross on their back or under the crescent point of Islam, making the WHOLE RACE OF PEOPLE orphans!

Yet Noble Drew still found much wisdom and understanding in Islam, yet to be discovered. He began to STUDY even more the precepts, principles, practices, and THE FAITH of Prophet Mohammed, for in it he knew that there was salvation for his people, IF TAUGHT PROPERLY!

As he was doing this he was still traveling abroad. In Egypt he met a Master Sage; was tested by him and found to be true. This said Sage gave to Noble Drew some of the innermost meaning of human life. He also saw the place where his race built GREAT pyramids, dug the Nile, chartered the coarse of stars, and developed the Science of the Mysteries of both human life and life after death. Even here under the banner of what was called Islam, he found his people in MENTAL poverty on the bottom of the human ladder, suffering in their own country ruled by foreigners who conquered the people and soil, and both lie dying before his feet. Noble Drew, at this point, found that the only successful members of his race were the ones who IMITATED the conquerors of his people. Disappointed, he returned home, saddened in his heart. In America, there were no “great” Imam, or Sheikh teaching his people ANYTHING about Islam, or anything about themselves. Yet Allah blesses whom he pleases…. Allah became pleased with Drew Ali’s intentions.

In 1912 he united himself with two other individuals: one by the name Sulaiman Mohammed, the other represented the Emir Abdul Karim El of Morocco. From there he received certain books, lessons, and knowledge to think on greater things and the Cannanite Temple was born from this union. As time went on the other two had other things to do, and asked of the one now called Noble Drew what he would do. He simply stated, “I will wait on Allah to tell me, I will return to the South.”

Upon returning to the woods and hills of North Carolina, he would usually go off into the silent of the night and be one with all things. One night he entered a place and there being lead by a voice told him to go over there, and there he made a great discovery. There sat certain hidden things. Here he also met the spirit of the Mighty Allah. Here he became the first and last American Prophet. While in the spirit of Allah, he was given the name Ali. These days he quickly returned to Newark, New Jersey. There the Kingdom of Heaven was re-brought to Earth. There Drew Ali established the Holy Moabite Temple of Science of the World. Later in 1916 he founded, by the will of Allah, a Moorish Divine and National Movement of North America. During the same year the “so-called” Jewish people established the Zionist Movement.

Noble Drew Ali traveled to then President Woodrow Wilson and here he sat and they challenged him. Drew Ali raised his right hand and light filled the room. Noble Drew Ali asked the President to teach his people, and they asked him, “Are you talking about the ‘Negroes’?” He replied, “There are no Negroes, Colored Folks, Black People, or Ethiopians! They are descendants of the Ancient Moabites, who inhabited the Northwest and Southwest Shores of Africa! I came for the flag of Our Ancient Forefathers.” The President stated, “It is not yet your time!” Ali answered, “I have been appointed in due time by Allah the Great God of the Universe.”

One of the President’s counsels asked, “What kind of flag is your flag?” Drew Ali said, “YOU HAVE IT HIDDEN IN YOUR VAULT!” So they went to the vault room. Here they began to bring out all kinds of modern day flags. Ali stated, “You know it is much older than these!” They began to dig deeper and came up with a red flag and said, “This is the flag of Morocco.” The Prophet stated, “I am here for the Moorish flag, that which you called a cherry tree.” Then they dusted off an old flag that was red with a five pointed green star in the center.

The President and counsel stared amazed at the exactness of the Holy Prophet. The President the said, “We have had them so long that they will not follow anyone else and to tell them would be like putting pants on a mule.” The Prophet stated, “My flock knows my voice.” After a while, he left and returned to his people.

For twelve years, Noble Drew Ali became a hard working Prophet of Allah. This man carried on the trust placed in him, faced with great odds. The coming of Prophet Drew Ali came at a time when members of his race began to understand the God Degree, that God set him as ruler of the land (Surah 2, vs. 30).

Yea, there came Father Divine and Daddy Grace, “God”, Prophet Jones, etc. who had come out of the earlier attempts to establish the Faith of Mohammed. From his travels through out this land, he knew that the sins being committed and being practiced by his people in the United States of America. As they were not living up to the Divine Principles of Honoring their Fathers and Mothers NAMES, issues, and principles.

The Holy Prophet knew that it was a sin for any group of people to violate the national constitutional laws of a free national government and to claim names and principles that deluded them into MENTAL slavery. AS such, they were continuously practicing the things which bring DISHONOR, DISGRACE, and DISRESPECT to any NATION that lives the life.

First Drew Ali had to explain to the unconscious Asiatic what Islam was. He stated clearly that Islam was a very simple faith. Islam requires that man recognize his divine obligations and duties towards his Father God Allah, his Creator and to his fellow creatures. Islam teaches that the supreme duty of living is to be at peace with one’s surroundings. Islam is undoubtedly the Religion of Peace. The goal of man’s life according to Islam is peace with everything, peace with Allah, and peace with Man.

The Object of man’s life according to Islam is its complete unfolding of good. Islam teaches that man is born with unlimited capacities for progress. Islam DOES NOT support the idea that man was born in sin. Islam teaches that Everyone has within them the seed of perfect development and it rests solely with themselves to make or mar their future.

Now unity of Allah is the very first and foremost pillar of Islam and every other belief hangs upon it. These are just some of Prophet Drew Ali’s thoughts in regards to the Faith of the Prophet Mohammed. Now Prophet Drew Ali recognized that a beggar nation could not reach its highest spirituality, so Drew Ali began to stress economic development and social oneness (creating a Moorish Society). He sated this was in connection with our religious aims and beliefs. We must promote economic security as the preaching of economic security among us is by no means as widespread and intense as the circumstances demand. No other one thing is needed more among us at this time than greater economic power. With these goals in mind, Prophet Drew Ali founded the Moorish Divine National Movement, and thus he set in place our Moorish form of free national government. In order to promote a plan of a Divine nature for the betterment of man and the uplift of fallen humanity, he would teach those things that would make us better citizens , both men and women. In connection with these aims, objects, rules, and regulations, later on he established the Moorish Science Temple of America.

The M.S.T. of A. was established for the Asiatic to see more clearly their duties, obligations, and need to adhere to the Divine principles of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice. We must establish in our general relationship with mankind that we should adhere to wisdom at all times and to uphold those fundamental principles of any civilization — obedience to law, respect and loyalty to the Government. As Drew Ali stated, “In a profound sense the problems of life are moral and spiritual.” That is the reason that Prophet Drew Ali demanded of his followers to live a clean and moral life; no drinking, smoking, or using profanity and refraining from all wrathful words. We are taught by the Prophet to enter in no relationship which will terminate or utterly destroy peace or any other of the Divine Principles handed down by our Leader.

Now as there has always been some kind of opposition to the truth, as strange as it may seem, such opposition has come from sources where there were no ideas or the lack of courage to force proper action of such ideas. In spite of all the problems that arise when leading a people, and being handicapped on every side it was not until October 15th, 1925 that the first Temple of Islam was established by Prophet Noble Drew Ali. From 1925 throughout to 1929 until he passed, Prophet Noble Drew Ali established over 15 branch temples, 20 subordinate temples, and his membership ran well over one hundred thousand. These faithful members and followers had established Moorish businesses as well as other institutions such as schools.

Noble Drew Ali’s death was untimely…. The Moors endured years of conflict and division. Today in the ear of the End of Time and Fulfilling of the Prophecies, in spite of the absence of Prophet Noble Drew Ali, the Moorish Movement of America still exists. Our Holy Prophet stated, “Think not that I’ve come for you of this Generation, but I came for the Generations yet unborn.” The third and fourth Generations are here and some of them will come into the Temple with their eyes opened and place you “old” Moors in the back!

Today we the descendants of the old generation, born of the third and fourth generation of Moorish American Moslems realize what the Prophet meant; our eyes are truly opened and we see what our Holy Prophet saw. In our community we find from corner to corner liquor stores owned by Moslems of the Islamic Community which by the existence of these stores creates orphans in our neighborhood through the consumption of alcohol and pork, wine, cigarettes, and whiskey. Through these acts in this country shame is the end result of those who constantly promote these evils upon the Faithful of Prophet Mohammed. Our men are mentally castrated, our women are socially raped. We of the true and faithful KNOW that a real Moslem wants for his brother what he wants for himself. If we are called “cousins” by the Moslems in our neighborhoods that own liquor stores, they should drink and smoke the same things they sell us.

{The rest of this article is a direct call to the Muslims who attended the Muslim Unity Conference in L.A. in August of 1996 to help end the blight that their fellow Muslims place on the community by operating such detrimental businesses. He also calls for building a Moorish National Treasury to help build schools, businesses, and other uplifting projects. Sheik Ra Saadi El can be reached through this publication. — M.A. Ahari El, Editor.}

Islam in America and the Historian:
How to write our history in America

By Dr. Sulaiman Nyang and Muhammad Abdullah al-Ahari El [1]

The Muslim community of North America contains a mosaic of individuals which are but a reflection of the variety of peoples, cultures and classes found in the larger society. Muslims living in America must realize that blame for their being ignorant of Islam and their history can be placed in nobody’s lap but their own. This country has libraries that have public access, interlibrary loans, and Internet on computers. There is no reason for ignorance except one wanting to remain that way.

If you are a Muslim in America and you are serious about Islam and want to know about Islam, you can learn a lot about Islam. There are people who can verify the data and clarify your doubts. If you say, “this person is saying this or that person is saying that,” you can check with the persons who are knowledgeable to its veracity. They will tell you if it is true or not true.

At the Graduate Students Panel of the 1992 Muslim Social Scientists Conference Muhammad al-Ahari stated that a Muslim, “need not write in Pakistani English or Arabian English.” That is true, there are plenty of individuals who can correct the grammar and word usage for you. Why not write your own thoughts and then give them to an editor to correct. The audience who reads it will not question whether it went to an editor, but some of us have big egos and feel the way we word things and put them together should not be changed.

Another problem that can occur is from the side of the editor. A good editor not only needs to correct grammar, but needs to verify spelling of names, places, and the accuracy of dates and quotes in articles, essays, or longer pieces they edit. This hastiness in editing actually deviates from our Islamic past. We have the case of Bukhari (the editor of the Hadith collection of the highest veracity) who went for years collecting Hadith and patiently analyzing, sorting, and accepting or rejecting them based on a strict scientific, linguistic method which sought to find the chain through which each Hadith passed and how strong each part of the chain was. This included not only looking at the language of the Hadith but also the memory, character, and possibility of the narrator even hearing the Hadith through a good chain. What we have now is the result of his work, where he separated the real from the false, the truthful from the invented made-up Hadiths.

Today we do not have the moral ethical standards of the past to judge scholars. So, how do we judge them? Today so many Muslim scholars will take materials from other scholars without attribution (plagiarism). This issue need not be an Islamic one because in the West they already have a paradigm against which to measure a scholarly piece and part of the accuracy is in quoting and listing source materials. People have lost their jobs over such things. [2]

We have strayed somewhat from our original topic — Islam in America and American Islamic Nationalism and need to return to it. There are several things that need to be done and one of these is compiling a serious, scholarly bibliography on Noble Drew Ali which includes all available sources on him (including old newspaper articles). We know who the man was based on these sources, but they have to be looked at critically.

The sources can be divided into four basic categories: 1) material written by the founder or transcribed from his speeches and table talks, 2) material from his followers, 3) material the founder was influenced by, and 4) material written by outsiders.

First we must look at materials which originated from Noble Drew Ali hand. This is a tricky area because there are some letters attributed to Noble Drew Ali printed in the Defender and in Arna Bontemps They Seek a City (revised ed. Any Place but Here) [3] and we need to have the veracity of these checked against the originals of these letters and that requires some degree of openness on the part of Noble Drew Ali’s followers. One could write an article comparing the various renditions of his letters or one about the sources of his Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple.

The second source to look at is internal histories of the various movements. Scholars need to look at these sources more closely since they are primary source material from people closest to Noble Drew Ali. One such source is Timothy Dingle El’s The Resurrection, the Moorish Science Temple. [4] Even though it is a hodge-podge of materials (letters, excerpts from Noble Drew Ali’s works, President Lincoln’s writings, etc.), it is the job of the scholar to sift through this maze of materials and analyze his treatment of Noble Drew Ali and his message.

You need to look at the coherence of the work from the view of the compiler first and your own second. Far too often the scholar places himself/herself far too removed from the people they are studying to be objective; however, the converse may be true also. The scholar needs familiarity with a topic, but an ability to view it from a distance at the same time. Each piece needs to be analyzed according to where he got the piece and how it fits into the general scheme of the work.

Next come sources of influence: where did they get their influence? This can also refer to the first idea (the works of Drew Ali) since his work derived from the Aquarian Gospels [5] and from a Rosicrucian work Unto Thee I Grant. [6] There are two versions of the Aquarian Gospels — one with an introduction by Levi Dowling’s wife Eva and another with an introduction by the former Wyoming Congressman Asa Coffeen. Unto Thee I Grant also exists in three versions: one by the Oriental Literature Syndicate, one by DeLawrence (Infinite Wisdom), and the latest version (after 1925) by the A.M.O.R.C. Rosicrucians. The scholar can compare these with Drew Ali’s work to determine the most likely version to influence him.

When the scholar determines the sources of the work, many of the group’s mythologies and those developed by later scholars will explode. One might call such a piece — “Noble Drew Ali and His Movement: a critical bibliography.” A person or a group may pirate a poem or a work of another author, but unless and until this becomes a pillar of belief it cannot be cited as an influence but only as a work used by the movement. This is a delicate point because Christians claim that Muslims plagiarized the Qur’ân from the Bible and Christian and Jewish folklore. Muslims disagree with this and see the similarities being due to both being religions worshiping the same Creator, the same God. A scholar walks a tightrope when writing in this area because they have to prove their case to a point of irrefutability or they can be accused of an unscholarly bias against the movement.

How does outsiders writing on the movement influence the view insiders have of their group identity? C. Eric Lincoln [7] (for example) influenced the development of an “Orthodoxy” within the Nation of Islam. There is one dissertation on the education within the Nation that has been translated into Arabic, this work has influenced how people within the Nation have seen how the education process that was started by Elijah Muhammad worked.

In the case of the Garvey Movement they had two schools — Liberty University and Booker T. Washington Institute. [8] They were used to educate the leaders who in turn proselytized the message of the movement to the masses. One of the problems of the Garvey Movement was a lack of an education system for the masses.

However, in the case of Elijah Muhammad (a man who was not well educated himself), he had a vision and he had charisma. This is where we go into nativism. Some scholars (properly or improperly) see the movement as a nativistic one. Why is that so? It is a cultural revitalization movement.

One point that is missed is that history does not repeat itself. But there are the rise and fall of great men, religions, and ideas. When you look at the Nation of Islam you see a movement which combined psychology and sociology to develop some teachings that allowed for a people to rise above their social condition and develop “a Black Muslim work ethic.” Webber writes on the Protestant Work Ethic in much the same fashion. [9]

The Moorish Science Temple, Father Divine, and Daddy Grace also reshaped how these recent Urban immigrants saw themselves and related to the larger society. The only real difference in these leaders is that they had their own personalities and idiosyncrasies. All of these organizations were created by charismatic individuals who were very strong willed visionaries who recognized that their audiences were not likely to make it in society due to barriers against their entrance into the larger society. So, their solution was to create a greater a parallel universe for them. [10]

What makes them different from Millenarian movements is that those only gave placebos. The Nativistic movements gave a new reality. The Nation of Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, Seven Day Adventist are all Millenarian movements. In the case of the Nation of Islam they speak of the “Fall of America.” How can you speak about the fall of a nation, a people, or the end of an era of time without being a millenarian movement? The constructs of an ideology determine how social scientists classify it. [11]

However, the Nation of Islam is not only Millenarian; it also has Adventist and Nativistic elements in its theology. There is an “End Time” in these theologies. The Nation of Islam has an eschatology which incorporates this. The eschatology is that there is a time limit for the one who oppresses. The Religious pluralism in Africa discusses these issues in an African context.

The ideology can be changed due to outside influences. In a large movement a hierarchy of leadership quickly determines the canonization of doctrine and dissenters are displaced. This is especially true after the death of the founder of a movement. That is the case of the Nation.

Malcolm X (later he was renamed al-Hajj Malik Shabazz) was creating a split vision in the Nation and the leadership wanted only the vision of the Messenger to be presented. Elijah Muhammad position about the death of Kennedy and Malcolm’s inability to keep silent eventually drove the leadership to remove Malcolm’s name from Nation of Islam membership.

The Nativistic movements try to reconstruct the past in light of their doctrine. They are inventing a past not based on historical fact. For example, the modern Greeks are Albanians but claim to be the original Greeks. Their languages and cultures were totally different. However, after a time the mythology became the accepted history. New identities are constantly being invented. History is like an ocean, the rivers of mythology are constantly emptying into it but they only change it at the edges not at its depth. This is more evident in the case of studying religious groups.

In the Nation of Islam, each group is trying to redefine themselves and their role to make themselves “the Orthodox.” In Christianity Constantine did much the same thing. Warith Deen Muhammad’s teachings (if they become the Orthodoxy) will eventually displace the role of Farrakhan and Silas in the minds of historians on the Nation much like Muhammad Abdullah was displaced by Elijah Muhammad in carrying forth the teachings of Master Farrad Muhammad. People don’t really know about Silas or Calistran and only know about the Five Percenters due to their music. You had small groups like these in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, in all world religions. [12]

Even in Mormonism, the same process of the making of the Orthodoxy occurred. The main group is in Salt Lake City. Much smaller groups like the Reorganized Church and the Strangites still exist. [13] However, most people only see Salt Lake City Mormons in their minds when they speak about Mormonism. That group, of course, ameliorated their teachings to reject blood atonement, anti-black doctrine, and polygamy for acceptance by the wider society.

This is always the case with all religious movements. The most successful change their teachings and modes of operation with the circumstances. They are influenced by their mythologies but they also change with time.

In Islam, you have the same process. Sunnis and Shia agree on the sources but fight over their applications. Their Hadith collections have much the same material, but due to political differences lead to Shia accepting Hadith through only certain individuals. Even here, those who changed with time survived. The Twelves and the four Sunni schools control more than 99% of believers. The Khwarij, Ismaeli, Zaidi, and others are slowly coming to either the mainstream Sunni and Shia camps or are being delegated to the wastelands of the pages of history texts and have little influence in the present times.

What you have in the case of the Moorish Science Temple is much the same thing. The outsider’s view determines how the newer members see themselves. There is no internal history of any length or level of scholarship.

In the case of the Nation of Islam there is no internal history. The work Seeds of Abraham by Minister Ibrahim Beyah was never widely disseminated (less than one hundred copies were printed). As far as I know (never having seen the work) it was an oral history no where near the scholarly level of Lincoln’s work. [14]

In Orthodox Islam a similar process occurred where new converts to Islam from Jewish and Christian camps formed how Muslims viewed the previous Prophets through a new literature of folklore called Israeliyyat. Of course, the Qur’an and Hadith mentioned the stories of Jews and Christians, but when Muslim historians wished to go further the logical source was the writing of Jews and Christians about their Prophets. If you look at the index of Yusuf Ali you can pull all the material about Moses from the text and do the same for Hadith. However, when you go to historical texts, they have many more details. Where did they come from — the Jews and Christians, of course.

Above Bukhari was mentioned. He had a methodology for accepting and rejecting Hadith. Some collections using his methodology were compiled later and inevitably some Hadith he rejected crept into their collections. Some of these include Abu Daoud, Tirmidhi, etc. That is not to say their collections are full of false Hadith, but Bukhari had his own reason for accepting a Hadith and reasons for rejecting one. Much of the Israeliyyat Hadith is interpolated or was never spoken by the Prophet. A true scholar would use such materials with caution (but would not immediately reject them as spurious).

The Nation of Islam provides an experience for scholars that they never had with other religions. It is under the glare of history. It provides some very good models for how religious and social movements develop orthodoxy. Right now you could write a comparative essay on Farrakhan, John Muhammad, and Silas Muhammad and see the attempts to develop orthodoxy. In the case of Silas, he has his work on the Rise and Fall of the Nation of Islam entitled the Wake of the Nation. [15]

Another problem scholars face is vandalism and theft of texts. The copies of Timothy Dingle El’s work, another work on the Moorish Science Temple (and astrology) called the Circle of Life and a text called the Holy Koran of the Ancient Moorish School and Temple of Religious Science are missing from the Library of Congress. [16] There is a dissertation by Salaby (?) on religious groups in St. Louis that may give background to the social situation of these Moorish Science Temples but doesn’t mention them by name.

Besides the disappearing of sources, we face the problems of secrecy and disinformation on the part of these cultic groups who have a certain degree of distrust of the outsider. What Muslims know about the Kharajites is mainly what their enemies have said and increasingly so, this is the case of American born Islamic groups. Even when these groups have survived they are secretive. In the case of the Kharajite Ibadis in Oman, they are the rulers, but the outsiders know little about their history and faith. So, you only know them from outsiders.

When Muhammad al-Ahari and Peter Lamborn Wilson did their research on the Moorish Science Temple, they found that Arna Bontemps and Arthur Huff Fauset studies were the best sources available and later sources relied on them. A study by the WPA has never been published and needs to be done in a scholarly, annotated fashion. [17]

A reason for this is that the Moorish Science Temple is seen is a marginal group. The Nation was able to become mainstream due to the spread of their message in such mainstream African-American papers as the Amsterdam News and the Pittsburg Courier. Farrakhan has continued the level of growing influence. The media focuses on him now due to the Jewish pressure to cut his level of influence. [18]

Another difficulty the scholar has is this process of becoming orthodox. At the recent World Parliament of Religions, we had Farrakhan and various Sufi leaders speak but it was only after much debate and the Muslims protested Farrakhan much like the Jews did. The Ahmadiyyah was only allowed a spot in the bazaar and other groups such as the Moorish Science Temple were not even in attendance. The only papers on Islam in America were Muhammad al-Ahari’s on “Proto-Islamic Movements as a Response to Racism” and Akbar Muhammad’s on Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb. [19]

Many of these problems would vanish if the Sufi groups united and sent speakers to speak. A national organization would provide a platform to discuss Sufism in a National contact. The history of Islam in America would have been discussed if a similar group of American Muslim historians was started.

In Fayetteville, N.C. the mosque was named after a local Muslim leader `Umar ibn Said. The group decided on the name after a local Muslim there wrote a pamphlet called Seven Muslim Slaves. If there was a national organization the research able to be done would produce a work more on the lines of Austin’s work instead of a small pamphlet of 12 pages. [20]

A final issue we need to approach in discussion of Islam in America is the development of an American Islamic literature and history. Sterling X Hobbs The Black Angels [21] is a novel on the Nation and the Rosenwald Fund’s “I Your Prophet” is a short story on the Moorish Science Temple. Other novels such as the River World series, Hezekiah Butterworth’s In the Days of Jefferson [22], Claude McKay’s Harlem Glory [23], and Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo [24] have Muslim characters. In order for this to be done individual have to novelize the history of Islam in America and poets need to write on Muslim themes. A local or national workshop for Muslim journalists and writers would help as would a handbook for Muslim writers. But this is a long difficult task that requires a vision of the future and a willingness for Muslim writers to Islamize their writings and to work in the genres of fiction and poetry.

Pickthal did this in the case of British literature. A possible scenario would be a novel where Muslim characters relate to each other and the problems of living in America. Characters would go through real life problems and would have names such as: Muhammad, Sulaiman, and Ali. We already have some works such as George Ibrahim’s Islam and the Arabian Prophet [25] The Invincible Abdullah series, the Adam’s world series, and the works which were already mentioned but they are only a start — a significant one, but only a start.

How do we get such works to be taken seriously? One way is to develop a program of their study in college. This is a difficult task. You have to give reasons for their study. Works such as the Book of Mormon and the Aquarian Gospels are still regarded as cult religious texts and not as religious literature or novels of the American frontier. The Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple could also fit into a discussion of this problem of literary canon development. Currently these works are not studied as religious texts, novels of the frontier, or even as historical novels or texts.

Someone has to do the work. These have to be pulled together. Poetry clubs, historical societies, etc. have to be formed. This is not the work of one, or two or a few individuals.

In Europe, if you look at the phone directories of the smallest countries, there are pages of such organizations. Hundreds and thousands of persons must be together in such a program. There is no excuse for not having hundreds of such organizations in America. An American Discipline Council needs to be fully developed. At present it is only an idea being kicked around by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists.

This needs to be done now before we are cutoff from our potential sources. The work we are talking about here will eventually find its way into being written as footnotes if not chapters in the history of Islam in America.

Tracing Early African Muslims in America:
Some Barely Tapped and Possible Sources:
Let the Search Go On

The study of Islam in early America is still young. When Roots appeared in 1977 there were complaints that its hero Kunta Kinte was a Muslim. The novelist James A. Michener implied that the author Alex Haley had reflected an interest in Malcolm X rather than “true history.” Before then, a few texts, but only a few, were available to counter Michener’s error. There were articles by Morroe Berger (1964) and Clyde Ahmad Winters (1976); books by Philip D. Curtin and others: Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade (five narrators were African Muslims, their African information was emphasized–1967); by Douglas Grant: The Fortunate Slave (a story of Job Ben Solomon whose journey from the Gambia to Annapolis, Maryland paralleled that of Haley’s Kunta Kinte–1968). In the same year as Roots appeared, Terry Alford told the story of Abd ur-Rahman, Prince Among Slaves. Also in that same year, 1977, Toni Morrison introduced a song that named “Balaly,” “Medina,” “Omar,” “Ryna,” “Muhammet,” and “Solomon,” which lends a Muslim spin to her novel Song of Solomon. Presumably she borrowed these names from WPA interviews of ex-slaves descended from Muslims in Georgia found in Drums and Shadows (1940).

Before 1984, references to African Muslims in the New World were scattered in old newspapers, magazines, and in sections of a few books. Often African Muslims (Abd ur-Rahman, Bilali, and Umar ibn Said) were called Arabs or Moors — especially if they showed they were literate. A few individuals had been noticed (Job, Abd ur-Rahman, Umar ibn Said), but they had not been related to one another. The most comprehensive recognition of such individuals and comparisons to one another to date is my own African Muslims in Antebellum America: A Sourcebook (New York: Garland, 1984). It introduces, reprints and annotates published and unpublished scattered bits and pieces of the stories of eleven men about whom a fair amount of information has been found (and about five others who were taken to Jamaica), and similarly treats shorter notices — from a reference or sentence to a page — of thirty more who arrived on these shores from Africa between 1730 and 1862.

Since then an African Muslim has appeared in Julie Dash’s movie “Daughters of the Dust.” The historical Bilali has been noticed by Charles Joyner, Remember Me: Slave Life in Coastal Georgia (1989), by William S. McFeeley, Sapelo’s People (1994), and by B.G. Martin, “Sapelo Island’s Arabic Document: The ‘Bilali Diary’ in Context,” Georgia Historical Quarterly, LXXVIII, Fall 1994, 589-601. Michael A. Gomez has written more generally about him and others in “Muslims in Early America,” Journal of Southern History LX (Nov. 1994) 671-710, as have Thomas Parramore, Sulaiman Nyang, Renay Jihad and Muhammad Abdullah Al-Ahari in shorter articles. A Fayetteville, North Carolina masjid has been named after Umar ibn Said.

Gomez has extended a field barely approached in my book because he has begun exploring plantation records and collections of fugitive slave notices for Muslim names and references to Muslim practices. Such efforts will undoubtedly lead to the discovery of many more African Muslims in Antebellum America. Court records and lists of wills, similar potential sources, ought to be investigated. Southerner William Brown Hodgson of Savannah, sojourner in North Africa in the 1820’s and linguist, often wrote about African Muslims. His papers ought to be fully explored (some are in the Savannah Historical Society). References to the Moors of Charleston, the Wahabi families of the Carolinas, and any histories, memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies of Southerners, ought to be scanned for references to Muslims to go beyond what has been found so far.

Finally, the erudite Ronald T. Judy has provided both insightful historical and linguistic conclusions and out-of-sight philosophical inquires into the writings of Job Ben Solomon, Bilali, Lamine Kaba, and Umar ibn Said in his (Dis)Forming the American Canon: African-Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota, 1993).

Although I had barely dipped into some of those above, by the time I had completed the editing of my African Muslims, I had come up with 123 pages of notes, consisting, usually, of naming sources. These sometimes came from unexpected, serendipitiously discovered papers, but more often, the great majority came from articles on a single Muslim that included references to others. These notes and the sources they point to have not been exhausted.

Since 1984 I have found further information on four African Muslims.

1) Seven letters by Mahommah Baquaqua in the Amistad Collection, Tulane University, and from a correspondent, a note indicating Baquaqua had gotten as far as England on his way back to Africa. The papers of the American Free Baptist Society will undoubtedly have more on Baquaqua.

2) A carte de visite portrait, a short newspaper article, and a notice of Mohammed Ali ben Said and of his death in Tennessee in 1882 — all from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Probably more can be found in the military records of this soldier in the Massachusetts 55th Colored Volunteer Regiment.

3) Some further notes by Theodore Dwight, Jr. on Lamen Kebe in gallery sheet form suggesting that in some journal of the 1860’s there is a more complete account than what we have so far.

4) The most exciting recent find: the original manuscript in Arabic of Umar ibn Said’s nearly unique autobiography with notes on it and originals and translations of several other manuscripts in Arabic from an enslaved Muslim in Panama, and some by Africans in Liberia — all to be auctioned off by Swann Galleries, New York City, in March 1996.

Each of the findings just above suggests that a lot more is still somewhere out there. If I had more undedicated time, I would try to find the whereabouts of the papers of other individuals mentioned below. I would look for mentions of and papers by African Muslims in order to further understand their presence and possible influence on the early United States. At this time, however, I am trying to complete a paperback version of African Muslims which must be finished soon.

Here are some more directions for those seeking further in this project. Although Douglas Grant surely looked, as he composed his Fortunate Slave about Job — who was very well received by British nobles and intelligentsia — Grant did not find more than two of Job’s several writings in England or Africa. Somewhere, however, there must be a “version” of the Qur’an by Job Ben Solomon who wrote out three copies in England according to his 1734 biographer Thomas Bluett. In 1795 one copy was known to be in the hands of a William Smith, Member of Parliament, according to C.B. Wadstrohm: An Essay on Colonization (1795).

Abd ur-Rahman met dignitaries across the North who regularly recorded their meetings and who asked him to write in Arabic in 1828. Many are mentioned in Terry Alford’s Prince Among Slaves and in my A.M.A.A., but we both know there are other revealing papers yet to be found. Some possibilities: the papers of Henry Inman who drew his portrait; of Representative and popular orator Edward Everett, Jr.; of Ralph R. Gurley, secretary of the American Colonization Society; of Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star-Spangled Banner”; of Charles and Lewis Tappan, reformers and businessmen; of Thomas H. Gallaudet who founded schools for the hearing impaired; of George B. English, traveler in Turkish countries; of George Light, editor; of Rev. John F. Schroder who declared that Abd ur-Rahman wrote Arabic “with neatness and rapidity”; of Condy Raguet, mayor of Philadelphia — all of whom met Abd ur-Rahman. The latter’s 1828 crayon portrait — whereabouts unknown today — was seen as late as 1867 in Hartford, Connecticut, by none other than Mark Twain — whose response begins respectfully and ends callously racist.

There are allusive mentions of Bilali in several places by writers celebrating the Georgia Sea Islands America. Martin, McFeely, Al-Ahari, and Judy have added to the developing picture of this imam on Sapelo Island, Georgia, but something more directly descriptive from his contemporaries must appear one day. His friend, Salih Bilali on St. Simon’s island, was met by more people, but little more than what his master wrote in the 1930’s and what descendants recalled in the 1930’s has yet appeared. His descendants and island records need to be explored further.

Lamine Kebe, African school teacher, spent a great deal of time with one Theodore Dwight, Jr., author and editor of Dwight’s American Magazine. Dwight promised to publish what he learned but, so far, only two short essays have appeared. But a few new pages have been found as noted above. Another prominent acquaintance, Colonizationist Robert Breckenridge of Kentucky championed Kebe’s effort to finance a return to Africa in 1835. maybe he made notes about “his” African.

Until late in 1995, eleven manuscripts in Arabic by ‘Umar ibn Said had been discovered. Some of these included “The Lord’s Prayer,” and the “23rd Psalm” from the Bible. Translations of at least parts of nine more appear in various sources from 1819 to the 1880’s — each declaring that this manuscript showed Umar had converted to Christianity. Finally, late in 1995, at the Swann Galleries, his all-important “Autobiography” manuscript has been found. This last is the only extant manuscript asserting conversion. As it was written in 1831, and as his declaration made his life easier among local Christians, it needs to be kept in context. ‘Umar’s last minister expressed in 1854 some doubts about the completeness of ‘Umar’s conversion. ‘Umar’s latest manuscript, from 1857, understood by Carolinians to be the “Lord’s Prayer,” is a reversion to Islam. ‘Umar wrote Surah 110 — one of the last recorded by Mohammed.

It may be argued — by Christians against Muslims and by Muslims against Christians — that the “Lord’s Prayer’, the 23rd Psalm, and Surah 110 are statements any religious “bookman” could live with. The available documents, beginning with traditional Muslim invocations, tend, it seems to me, to argue ‘Umar had not converted. More of his writings may yet be found to test this conclusion.

Several writers who may have kept papers said they had some of Umar’s writings: Judge John Louis Taylor of North Carolina, William Brown Hodgson, R.R. Gurley mentioned above, Presbyterian minister and teacher William S. Plumer, and Theodore Dwight, Jr. It is also possible that F.S. Key again, missionaries Isaac Bird and Jonas King, Umar’s ministers W.D. Snodgrass, Gregory T. Bedell and Matthew B. Grier, also held some of his manuscripts. There are probably further statements from North Carolinians and visitors there about so single a character.

According to the compilers of a book on Baptist churches and missions (Andrew T. Foss and E. Matthews, Facts for Baptist Churches, 1850), Mahommah G. Baquaqua, born Muslim but a serious backslider, was already known, apparently through articles in the church’s journals. These have yet to be gathered. Baquaqua attended a preparatory school connected to New York’s Central College — where black professors taught in the 1850’s — for about three years, so there must be more notices of him than the [auto]biography he himself published in Detroit in 1854 or the seven letters by Baquaqua, one of which includes three words in Arabic, mentioned above.

Finally, my book includes a chapter on Nicholas or Mohammed Ali ben Said who went from Bornu to Turkey to Russia to Detroit to the Massachusetts 55th Colored Volunteer Regiment in 1863. So far nothing has been found on him beyond those recent discoveries listed above, four mentions by fellow soldiers and his own autobiography — published in the most prestigious journal of the day, the Atlantic Monthly, in 1867. Here again there must be more out there.

Go to it, young scholars.

Read on September 29, 1995 at DePaul University’s Islam in America Conference by Muhammed Abdullah Al-Ahari for Dr. Allan D. Austin of Springfield College (Mass.)

Farrakhan, His Role As An American Muslim Leader

It is difficult in a brief presentation to undo the distortion perpetrated by the mass media upon common Americans perceptions of the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan. This goal is made equally difficult due to the complex religious beliefs and creed presented by the N.O.I.. Historically, the public image given by the mass media was one orchestrated by the F.B.I. to neutralize this group of African-American dissidents. This conclusion is based upon the study of a great number of F.B.I. files previously unreleased.

The Nation of Islam is often seen as a bizarre cult situated on, if not beyond, the margins of Islam. The Islamic identity of the N.O.I. is an appropriate area to address. As the universal is shaped by the cultural, we find an impressive spectra of Islamic identities, united in their diversity, when we go to Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Trinidad, Sweden, or Iran The same pattern can be applied to the U.S., where the African-American social context gave rise to a specific black theological interpretation of Islam when it took hold in urban America during the Great Depression. When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad died or departed, according to one’s perspective, his son Warithuddin Muhammad rapidly transformed the Nation into a conventional Sunni Muslim movement. Among those who opposed the sweeping reforms were Minister Louis Farrakhan who argued that Elijah Muhammad never intended for Blacks to follow completely what is called orthodox Islam. While Farrakhan has moved his Nation closer to Muslim orthopraxy, he defends the deviating features of the creed, building his case on familiar Islamic arguments.

Farrakhan argues that God in His omniscience applies a certain method when He reaches out for His people. When God called Muhammad Ibn Abdullah to be His Messenger, the Arabs were living under the conditions of jahiliyya, the period of ignorance, ruling out the possibility of presenting the full content of God’s will at once. The Prophet worked for more than 20 years reforming the lives of his people. Adding the period of the rightly guided Khalifs it took more than half a century to bring the Arabs into the Islamic civilization. The African Americans were also found lost in a period of ignorance, the depth of which was even worse than that experienced by the Arabs. The Arabs had at least lived in their own country and spoke their native language, while Blacks were deprived of their freedom and original culture during slavery. Given these conditions, Farrakhan told a group of prominent ulama during a meeting in Mecca in 1989, it would have been impossible to present the perfection of the Qur’an without time for some serious preparation. Elijah Muhammad is said to have been divinely guided to adopt a gradual approach, based on the knowledge of the African American reality which explains his success where the mainstream Muslim dawah failed.

The direct divine guidance claimed by Minister Farrakhan gives confidence enough to not only defend his understanding of Islam, but to claim that the scholars of the old world of Islam have to be guided back to the straight path of Islam from which they have deviated.

As do many Muslim Modernists and Islamist ideologists, Farrakhan argues that the traditional Islamic position of favoring the implementation of Islam in state and society through a blind and unconditional imitation (taqlid) of the past obviously has led to internal stagnation and decline. If religion does not evolve in step with the evolution of society, it ceases being guiding and becomes hampering and oppressive instead. The degradation of Islam from its former position as the world’s leading civilization to a backward Third World religion proves the case. Look at the conditions of the traditional Islamic heartland, Farrakhan says. It is divided into warring states in which poverty, exploitation, racism and sexism prevail.

God knew that internal decline and corruption were to appear within the Eastern community of believers. This made Him reveal to the Prophet Muhammad that a necessary future renewal was ordained to come from a far-away land. In the Latter Days, Prophet Muhammad said in a Hadith, the Sun of Islam will rise in the West. Another tradition specifies the identity of those chosen to realize the divine plan. The Prophet Muhammad said, “I heard the footsteps of Bilal going into Paradise ahead of my own.” This shows, according to Farrakhan, that it is the Blacks who are going to lead the Muslim world back to the faith that they had forsaken. Given the racism that eventually would block a clear perception at that time, God also advised those future white Muslims in yet another Hadith, “You should accept wisdom and leadership even if it comes from one whose skin is black as soot and whose hair is like dried raisins.”

One might see this as an interesting sample of Farrakhan’s arguments, but still won’t buy it because there are too many non-Islamic elements in the N.O.I. creed to have us subscribe to its Islamic nature. What about the statements like God came in the Person of Master Farrad Muhammad, or that Elijah Muhammad first was presented as the Last Messenger of God and now is identified as the living Christ, or the theory of the inherent divinity of the black man and the corresponding evilness of the white man, or the existence of a number of Gods, something which stands in sharp conflict with the strict monotheism of Islam?

There is an explanation for all of this and I will attempt to clarify it. The confusion is partly caused by the unusual terminology of the Nation. If we translate some central concepts into more conventional Muslim ones, we will find that the creed stands in more harmony with Islam, especially with its Ismailiyya and Sufi varieties. The Nation teaches that God is no mystery God but a black man who came in the Person of Master Farrad Muhammad. He is said to have been born to a black father, Alphonse Shabazz, whom he called God, and a white mother. This God, Master Farrad Muhammad, is described as the Wisest God of all Gods. He is not identical with the Supreme God Who was in the Beginning and who created the world together with a closed circle of Gods or Scientists. These Gods are long since gone as the N.O.I. teaches that there is no God now living who was in the Beginning. In addition to all this, the Nation teaches that the Original Black man is by nature divine and that the white man is a race of devils created by an evil scientist, or God, named Mr. Yakub, in a temporarily successful effort to install an evil viceregent on earth. The Original Man lost world hegemony to the race of evil and was put to sleep, a euphemism for the unawareness of their true divine identity. The devils enslaved a number of the Original People and used them as slaves here in North America. Deprived of their true identity, they looked upon themselves as ignorant Negroes at the bottom of society until God came to Detroit in 1930. God raised one among them in divine wisdom to become His messenger, Elijah Muhammad. Working in this profession, the Messenger was in 1975 exalted as the Messiah, the living Christ whose imminent return is expected. Upon departing, Elijah Muhammad entrusted the leadership of the divine nation to Minister Louis Farrakhan. Today, Farrakhan is standing at the tomb of Lazarus, that is the black man, and calling him back to life. Master Farrad Muhammad thus raised Elijah Muhammad who raised Louis Farrakhan who is now raising the black community into divinity. The time of resurrection is approaching when the regime of evil will fall and the era of the divine black man will commence and thus usher in a period of divine justice, freedom and equality, that is Islam.

Now if we were to translate these central tenets into more conventional Islamic concepts, we will find a creed with remarkable similarities to Shi’i and Sufi Islam, merged with ideas derived from a black nationalist Christian tradition to become a specific kind of black gnosis which could be termed blackosophy.

The Originator is in all these creeds self-created, infinite and eternal. The Nation adds that he took the color from the black space out of which he emerged. The creative act proceeds as a series of emanations. The first emanation is Divine Wisdom (or Black Intellect in N.O.I. terminology). Like in Shi’i creeds, a circle of Imams (called Gods or divine scientists in the N.O.I. teachings) is then created as manifestations of the Divine Wisdom or Light, an act preceding the creation of the material universe. The notion of the Imams as creations of Divine Light could be taken to the extreme as in the Druze doctrines of Al-Hakim as God in Person — a notion akin to the N.O.I. doctrines of Master Farrad Muhammad. Ismailiyya and the Nation also share a basic notion of cyclical time, with alternating cycles of unveilment and ignorance. In the blissful cycle previous to the present one, Ismaili doctrine says, there was a race of humans superior to ours. They lived an angelic life until the cycle of Occultation began, in which the true Gnosis is concealed and only taught to a closed circle of earthly angelic descendants. The Fall of Adam represents the fall of the Angels (or the Original People in N.O.I. terminology). In the Isma’ili Gnosis, the Angels abhor the introduction of the new era in which fallen mankind will rule earth, which, in the N.O.I. Gnosis is presented as the Original People’s objection to the creation of the white man as the viceregents of earth, both quoting Qur’an 2:30 to support this argument: “Wilt Thou place therein someone who make mischief therein and shed blood?” to which God responds, “I know what you know not.” The plan God has in mind is mankind’s raison d’être, to learn the necessary lessons needed in order to be able to walk the path of Gnosis towards the perfection of mankind. While the Ismaili Gnosis speaks about angels, the N.O.I. speaks about Gods. “God in his fallen state is man,” Farrakhan says, and “Man in his exalted state is God.” Bridging the natures and cycles is thus the divine being on the inside of Self, leading the Self to the source of Self: “Ye are all Gods, children of the Most High God”.

In the N.O.I. creed, God is spirit after all, but spirit manifest in man and only man, whereby it is on a certain level of truth correct to say that “God is man and man is God”. The human mind is a receiver of energy or the power of God. If man submits to God the power of God will begin to manifest in man. Much in the same but reversed manner, the devil also travels in flesh, manifested in white bodies. As in Shi’i and other Gnostic teachings, this is not understood as reincarnations but as representations of the divine or the diabolic, as the actualization of dormant potentials.

The role of Master Farrad Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad is thus similar to Jesus’ role in Gnostic Christianity or the Prophet Muhammad’s role in Sufism: they are masters of gnosis who by their exemplary lives show man the path to God which every man is invited to walk. The fact that the Nation call such a man “god” is again only a question of unusual terminology. Farrakhan asserts that such a man possessing divine guidance has power that is of Allah and is Allah. He is not the God but a God. That man is thus God only to a certain extent: God is manifest through him, comes in his body, making him what perhaps could be called a partial representation as God is not confined to the material person in question. The key concept in the Nation of Islam is similar to the key concept of Sufism and Ismaili Gnosis: knowledge of Self. Knowledge of Self is Knowledge of God. The code that helps produce the right mentality necessary for the divine to evolve is ISLAM, which if you break it down stands for I-Self-Lord-Am-Master, I.S.L.A.M.

Converted into practice in the social context of the African American community, the N.O.I. creed acts in one respect as a psychological lever, aimed at breaking down the mental chains of inferiority by which the blacks are said to be stuck at the bottom ladder of American society. In this respect, the Black-man-is-God thesis is an extreme version of positive thinking, a therapy which evidently is functional as a great number of individuals prove capable of transforming their lives against all odds, holding on to a new self-esteem: I-Self-Lord-Am-Master.

The Blackoscopic Gnosis to a large extent explains the remarkable optimism expressed by the Nation at the brink of disaster. As is commonly stressed by the media, Minister Farrakhan frequently appears as a dooms-day prophet who with inflammatory rhetorical skill anticipates the dreadful end of the world as we know it. He points to grave statistics: the African American population is the only one in the Western world whose life expectancy rate is declining; 50% of all children raised in poverty are Black; 53% of all children with A.I.D.S. are black; black unemployment in many cities hovers around 40%, an increasing number of black children are born by teenage mothers and raised without fathers, the murder rate in many urban areas shows that a young black male would have been safer as a soldier in Vietnam than going down to the local drug-store, about 25% of all black men in their 20’s are either in prison or out on parole — I could continue to regurgitate statistics but you know the reality. Farrakhan interprets this as that the fabric of American society is beginning to tear apart, as signs of the great apocalypse, as evidence that the cycle of evil is approaching its predestined end.

Yet, and this is a central paradox of the Nation of Islam, in the face of this destruction all action taken is constructive. “You can accomplish what you will”, Farrakhan teaches. “Man and woman is God, the force and power to make things happen in the world”. The N.O.I. social philosophy has led to an oscillation between the poles of optimism and pessimism, of constructive action and promised destruction. Any obstruction experienced at the former pole has pushed them to the latter. Exacting reality prevents the Nation from remaining at the escapist poles of Doom, and engagement around what needs to be done returns focus to the pole of constructive action. Should observers concentrate less on the rhetoric of doom and study what actually is being done, a sober de-dramatization might replace the exited cries of condemnation. I would argue that if left alone the Nation of Islam will prove to be of no danger to American society, and many of its detractors will probably end up acknowledging the results as valuable.

Observed from the perspective of civilizing theory, the Nation of Islam is a movement of auto-civilizing that ultimately will adjust a segment of the African American community to the norms of the dominant culture of American society. Central to this argument is the fact that not only is the N.O.I. more Islamic but also far more American than is generally acknowledged. The call for a return to the Original Way of Life proves upon examination to be rather identical with the American Way of Life. The ideals preached are generally compatible with those of conservative, white, Christian, middle-class Americans: the Nation hails traditional family values, loyalty to the nation and obedience to God. They applaud the decent, hardworking, God-fearing heterosexual who should be neatly dressed, polite, modest, law-abiding and respectful of authorities. They are non-smoking, non-drinking, clean-living moralists who encourage self-help and mistrust social welfare, and value a God centered education with emphasis on discipline and learning.

The increasing impact the N.O.I. presently experiences, not least among young black urban males, is, I believe, derived not so much from the N.O.I. mythology as from its effective social activism combined with the rhythmical teachings of the rappers in the black Islamic hip hop movement. The remarkable Islamic boom has now largely made Farrakhan impossible to avoid. While it formerly was expected from black leaders who wished respectability to denounce Minister Farrakhan almost as a rite of passage, this strategy is now increasingly becoming out-dated.

During the early 1990’s we have observed an interesting development in which the Nation has sought and found common ground with traditionally more respected black civil rights organizations. Even though the agreements have been surrounded with obstacles and objections, the trend is evident. The Million Man March Minister Farrakhan called for October 16, 1995 could prove to be a definite turning point in the history of the N.O.I.. Not unlikely, it could gear the organization towards the center of black aspiration and give the Nation and Minister Farrakhan an unprecedented respectability and influence in the black mainstream.

All those who feel terrified over this possible development and unequivocally condemn Minister Farrakhan should pause to reflect on what they are actually attacking. Farrakhan is not so much a problem as he is the symptom of increasing social problems in American Society. Should Farrkhan disappear he would probably be replaced by another voice produced by the same social conditions that produced him. The Nation is basically a consequence of the Black experience, it is a social product stamped with a “Made in the U.S.”. If anything, perhaps the N.O.I. helps the American public focus on more relevant issues and problems than whether one should drink their coffee — with or without caffeine.

The Academy of American Islamic Literature and History

A needed project to assist in the preservation of Islam and Islamic history in America is an archival program. One such program is the one started by Sister Aminah McCloud (professor of Islamic Studies at Chicago’s DePaul University). Having this archives is a necessary part of this program.

A necessary part of this documenting of our history is the preservation of early literature. I have done this by editing the papers of Muhammed Alexander Russell Webb. He was an early pioneer of the Islamic Movement in this country and was responsible for some of the first literature written by a convert to Islam, in English, explaining the faith. A biography of the founder of the American Islamic Nationalist Movement (the Moorish Science Temple) Noble Drew Ali is due to be published shortly and has also contributed to this documenting and preserving of our history.

Earlier writers need to be studied and have their life histories, writings and influences documented also. Allan Austin with his African Muslims in Antebellum America provided a great step in this direction. This early literature includes materials in Arabic and English. The material in Arabic varies from excerpts from the Qur’an to letters to autobiographies. Photos, material on Islam in other nations where persons immigrated from and oral family histories are other sources of documenting this history. A more needed and important part of establishing an Islamic identity in America is that of the establishment of English as a medium to express ourselves Islamically. We can do this by: Islamization of the vocabulary of English; writing poetry, short stories and novels in English; and, by documenting our presence in America.

Besides the gathering of this history and development of an Islamized English literature, we also need to Islamisize our education system and a work on bi-lingual Islamic education was prepared recently for discussion of this issue. (see bibliography for details.) This work which you hold in your hands is a manual to aid Muslim journalists and writers who choose to use the English language medium to express themselves and to describe Islam. Our Muslim journalists and writers forced this writers hand into doing a work such as this even though so many of our Muslim writers claim proficiency in the English Language. These writers are extremely careless in their use of words (they use words incorrectly in both English and Arabic), they frequently misspell, their language is not as clear and concise as need be. Thus they do not put forth the message they seek to convey. Our writers also need to check the accuracy of their writing (dates, sources, etc.) and to use correct illustrations with their works.

The first goal of this project was to teach the correct use of Islamic terms (i.e. Muslim not Moslem and Bosnian not Yugoslavian). Another goal is to teach our Muslim youth where Muslim exist around the world and what their problems and difficulties are and to provide for the lessening of the ethnic blocks among Muslims.

As Muslims our first priority should perfection. Perfection in everything we do. When we write we should write clearly, straight forwardly, with purpose. We should not write in circles and our work should have both goal and purpose and have insight both in to the past and future and be relevant to the present situation.

Instead of focusing on the development of a Muslim community in this country we focus on the development of an immigrant community. Yet this immigrant community is not bi-lingual and most of the second and third generation tend to totally assimilate. We do not focus on the future. We focus on side issues such as the development of an American Madhhab. There is no such thing, nor is there a need for forsaking the madhhabs. This leads to confusion and opinions based on thin air. We need to use our experience from the past. We need to look at what our forefathers, here and overseas, wrote and said and use it as a guide for the future. If we talk about the development of Islamic law here, we have do so professionally and Islamically. We can not half-step nor can we sit around smoking water pipes and discussing politics. We can not make up fatwas out of thin air. Our work has to be exact and properly documented. Footnotes and bibliographies need to be through and accurate. They need to be double checked to make sure all books and articles are cited correctly down to the correct date and page numbers. When you write in English, you should write in English not in Pakistani English or Arabian English. As said above English can be Islamicized through writing on Islam in English, collecting writing of early Muslim American writers. Next we need to develop a program to study this genre. This will insure that the study of American and English Islamic Literature will be done in a systematic and Islamic manner and with a planned methodology.

Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, Sufi Abdul Hameed and Sheikh Daoud:
Our Forgotten American Muslim Heroes

Several years ago (November 12, 1994), I gave a speech at Chicago’s Wilbur Wright College on the importance of having American Muslim heroes for our youth to look up to as examples. I chose three individuals to focus upon in the speech: Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb, Sufi Abdul Hameed, and Sheikh Daoud Ahmed Faisal. The first was a European-American convert to Islam and author of the polemic guide Islam in America. Sufi Abdul Hameed was the organizer of Chicago’s and Harlem ‘s “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” jobs protest program. Finally, but not least, Sheikh Daoud was the individual most responsible for establishing so-called Orthodox Islam in America in the 40’s and 50’s. There is a link in this article to one of Sheikh Daoud’s letters.

Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb:

Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb was born on November 9, 1846 in Hudson, New York to Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Nelson Webb. A.N. Webb was a leading journalist of his day and perhaps influenced his son’s later journalistic exploits.

A.R. Webb received his early education at the Home School in Glendale, Massachusetts and later attended college at Claverack College near Hudson, New York. He excelled in college and upon finishing school purchased a weekly newspaper in Unionville, Missouri and became the publisher. The prowess as a journalist was soon apparent and he was offered city editorship of the St. Joseph, Missouri Daily Gazette. Next he became associate editor of the Missouri Morning Journal. Later he became one of the editors at the Missouri Republican in St. Louis. This newspaper was the second oldest and largest daily newspaper at that time.

While working for the Missouri Republican, he was appointed (in September, 1887) by President Cleveland to be Consular Representative to the Philippines at the U.S. office at Manila. According to the editor of his book The Three Lectures, he had given up any concept of religion at least fifteen years before that point. He started his life as a Presbyterian but found it dull and restraining. As early as 1881 he started a search for his true faith by reading in books from a well stocked library of over 13,000 volumes that he had access to. He started his study with Buddhism and finding it lacking, he began to study Islam. In 1888, he formally declared himself to be a Muslim.

At that time he had yet to meet a Muslim but was put in contact with several Muslims in India by a local Parsi businessman. A newspaper publisher, Budruddin Abdullah Kur of Bombay, published several of Webb’s letters in his paper. A local businessman, Haji Abdullah Arab, saw these letters and went to Manila to see Webb.

After the visit, Webb began plans to tour India and then return to the U.S. to propagate Islam. Webb’s wife, Ella G. Webb, and their three children had also accepted Islam. Hajee Abdullah returned to India and raised funds for Webb’s tour. Webb visited Poona, Bombay, Calcutta, Hyderabad, and Madras and gave speeches in each town. All are published at least once separately and some are published in collection.

He resigned his post in 1892 and toured India then returned to the U.S.. His family stayed in San Francisco till he sent for them. Settling in New York, he established the Oriental Publishing Company at 1122 Upper Broadway. This company published his writings (including his magnum opus- Islam in America). Islam in America contained 70 pages divided into eight chapters namely: I) Why I Became a Muslim; II) An Outline of Islamic Faith; III) The Five Pillars of Practice; IV) Islam in Its Philosophic Aspect; V) Polygamy and the Purdah; VI) Popular Errors Refuted; VII) The Muslim Defensive Wars; and, VIII) The American Islamic Propaganda. Along with this venture he started the organ of the American Muslim Propagation Movement called Moslem World. The first issue appeared May 12, 1893 and was dedicated to “The Interests of the American Islamic Propaganda” and “To spread the light of Islam in America”. It lasted for seven monthly issues (May to November 1893).

Webb was the main representative for Islam at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. On September 20th and 21st, 1893, he gave two speeches. His speeches were entitled: “The Influence of Islam Upon Social Conditions” and “The Spirit of Islam” and were published in the large two volume proceedings of the Parliament called “The First World’s Parliament of Religions” (1894).

For the rest of his life he was the main spokesman for Islam in America. On Broadway, in Manhattan, he founded a short-lived masjid. The reasons for the termination of this Masjid are unknown, but it could be due to a lack of financial support from India.

He is also known for his writing a booklet about the Armenian and Turkish Wars from a Muslim point of view (The Armenian Troubles and Where the Responsibility Lies) and for being appointed the Honorary Turkish Consul in New York by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The Sultan had been shown plans by Webb for a Muslim cemetery and Masjid and complimented Webb on them. Unfortunately these plans never materialized.

From 1898 to the time of his death on October 1, 1916, he lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. He died at the age of seventy and was buried in Hillside Cemetery on the outskirts of Rutherford. After his death his efforts were largely forgotten. There continued to exist a vague coming to Islam in the African American community and there exists some lines in the writings of the first American Islamic Nationalist, Noble Drew Ali, showing that if he hadn’t met Webb at least he had heard of his efforts.

Sufi Abdul Hamid and the Harlem Jobs Campaign of the 1930’s:

At the time of the greatest distress among the migrants from the Deep South, newly arrived in Harlem, a number of dangerous, visionary men arose to call for business owners in Harlem to employ the people who bought in their stores. This call for job equity gave since many business owners were Jewish or White and did not employ the largely Black populous of Harlem in their operations. One such individual was a covert to Islam named Sufi Abdul Hamid.

Abdul Hamid was born on Lombard Street in Philadelphia. Sometime before 1930 he came to Chicago where he became a Buddhist missionary and Oriental Magic practitioner before his acceptance of the religion of al-Islam. In 1931 he arrived in Harlem as a practioner and missionary of the Islamic Faith. His fame was from his leadership in the Harlem Jobs in the Community Campaign.

As leader of the campaign, he was able to articulate his positions in the media. To do this he hired a press agent named Ace Parker. Ace Parker was a world wise, articulate Black spokesman and advisor to Sufi Abdul Hamid and allowed his Jobs Campaign to succeeded where previous similar campaigns by others had failed.

One would think that a Harlem with Voodoo, Daddy Grace, Father Divine, and several Black Jewish groups would not see a leader of the Jobs Campaign as being more than another bizarre character. But such thoughts would be inaccurate. He employed an Egyptian named Hafiz Mandaly to teach Arabic and he became leader of the new Harlem Mosque. This new Islamic Center was called the Universal Holy Temple of Tranquility and his chosen title became His Holiness Bishop Amiru al-Muminin Sufi Abdul Hamid.

Abdul Hamid’s headquarters was in a loft on 135th Street in Harlem and it served as a combination grocery, butcher, and meeting hall. In this center he also organized the Negro Clerical Alliance. This meeting place was provided by a funeral director who was an early convert to Islam under Abdul Hamid’s direction.

His greatest success was as a street-corner preacher. Dressed in a Arabian style turban, a close-cropped brown beard, piercing eyes, green velvet blouse, Sam Browne Belt, riding habit, patent leather boots, and a black crimson-lined cape he rose above the crowds to which he preached by perching on a stepladder platform. His favorite corner was on Lenox Avenue, an area of Harlem where the pangs of the Depression were acutely felt. He harangued crowds about the millions of dollars which Blacks poured into the coffers of White and Jewish businesses in Harlem. When decrying the tribulations of Blacks during the Depression, he would point at the businesses and proclaim, “They are taking the Negroes’ money.” Pointing to these same stores he would cry aloud, in a deep rumbling voice, “Share the jobs!”

People who joined his Campaign paid a dollar a month for the promise of assistance to find work. The members then were sent to do the leg work of getting jobs by agitating business owners until they hired from within the community. Eventually a full fledged business boycott would ensue.

Detractors claimed that business that were under boycott or pressures to hire Blacks were forced to pay protection money, but whether this was an act of propaganda against the Jobs Campaign can not be proven with surety. A few light skin Black and those that were able to pass for White were given jobs, but Sufi Abdul Hamid clamored for Jobs for all Blacks. Jews were the primary target of his attacks since they were the largest business owners in Harlem. This lead to his being labeled a “Black Hitler” and his chief lieutenant, Francis Minor, as a “Goering.” The Jews took him to court and the Anti-Nazi, Edgar H. Burman, was able to label him as an anti-Semite. Sufi Abdul Hamid served three days in jail and retired to private life as a missionary of the Islam Faith.

His brief marriage to Madame Stephanie St. Clair (a policy queen from the West Indies) brought him brief notoriety. It ended at the point of a gun and he once again returned to be a full-time missionary.

People who were attracted to his teachings that were heard from his street corner addresses were further indoctrinated into Islam at the Temple by his Egyptian associate Mandaly. Between 1931 and 1937 over 300 Blacks of Harlem accepted Islam after having heard his call.

At his temple he hired a White secretary and decided to marry a woman of Oriental extraction. Him and his associate Mandaly both died in 1937. Sufi Abdul Hamid in an airplane crash and Mandaly a week later of natural causes. The anti-Islam, Uncle Tom Blacks rushed in to call him a false self-proclaimed Prophet and to decry his humble origins as Eugene Brown, born on Lombard Street in Philadelphia.

Sheikh Daoud Ahmad Faisal – Delegate at Large Representing American Muslims at the United Nations:

A contemporary of Sufi Abdul Hamid was a Caribbean native who also propagated Orthodox Islam — Sheikh Daoud Ahmad Faisal. Sheikh Daoud was born in 1891 to a devout Muslim family of Caribbean and Moroccan background. He came to the United States as a young man. In 1920 he married his wife Khadijah. She become a dutiful aid to his Islamic work which ranged from his founding of the Islamic Propagation Center of America in 1928 at 143 State Street in Brooklyn to his establishment of the Muslim Village Madinah al-Salaam near Fishkill, New York in 1934 (it lasted to 1942). He was always a Muslim pioneer in all his endeavors.

This venerable Muslim leader was active in propagating Islam and trying to explain away misconceptions about Islam and present Islam in a form palatable to the American people till his death in Feb., 1980. He left a great legacy to our Muslim Youth. His monumental 280 pp. work Islam: the True Faith, the True Religion of Humanity (Islamic Propagation Center, Brooklyn, 1965) has yet to be edited and published in a needed scholarly edition. The work he carried out as the United States Muslim Representative to the United Nations has no equal. No one else called for equality and justice for all minorities in quite as loud and articulate voice as he had.

This writer has finished work on the first attempt at sifting out Sheikh Daoud’s writings from his book. Almost two thirds of this massive work is filled by other writers works. These other works vary from the Saudi Government Hajj Manual, to a Prayer Manual by Hosny Gaber, and a few articles from Minbar ul-Islam. I have not included any of these and since Sheikh Daoud tended to be very repetitive in his writings, I repeated most things he wrote only once. I have also rearranged the order of some of the passages so that similar topics are under the same chapters. Also, he repeats the verse “Truth shall last and falsehood shall perish.” (Holy Qur’an 17:81) numerous times in his work. I have given the aya’ number at only the first occurrence for this verse. There was an earlier edition of this work dating from the 1950’s that was only 195 pp. long. This earlier edition is better edited than the second edition and gives us more of an insight to the propaganda that Shiekh Daoud undertook. There the reader can see a letter to the United Nations from 1949 showing Shiekh Daoud feeling on Islam, World Peace, and the delegates of the United Nations responsibility. Like his later work, this contains work from other writers. Whole chapters of the Bible and the Qur’an are quoted and a thirty odd page long excerpt from the writings of Maulana Muhammad Ali are included. This excerpt does not give credence to the Ahmadiyyah’s version of Islam. Ghulam Ahmad is not even mentioned in it. Furthermore, Shiekh Daoud frequently gave khutbahs against the teachings of the Ahmadiyyah and the Nation of Islam. Both of these works are being edited for future publication by this writer.

Sheikh Daoud told us little of himself in his work as he was more interested in propagating Islam. Any assistance at writing a biography of this great man would be a great aid to the preservation of American Islamic literature and history. There is a passage on p. 73 of his 1965 work Islam, the True Religion of Humanity that tells us something of his family background. It reads, “It is very encouraging indeed to know that at last illiteracy will be a thing of the past in a very few years for Morocco and the people of Morocco, which was denied our people for the past seventy-two or more years during the French rule. Personally I have every reason to be proud and joyful. Because my grand father, one of Africa’s great Chiefs, and one of the wealthiest was a Moor, and so was my father whose mother was an east Indian, born in Mauritania. We are of the Bambara tribe. Known as the Rift night riders, who fought the French from 1865 until 1890 with Samory Toure who was eventually betrayed by his own officer, Murryba Kita and was captured while at prayer in the early hours of the morning and was taken to the Kongo, where he died in 1898. Leaving besides many wives and children in Africa. There were two who were taken to France where they lived for many years.”

There was one detractor named Nadim Makdisi who claimed Sheik Daoud’s Moroccan origins were pure fantasy. He writes, “Another Negro organization is the Islamic Mission headed by Sheikh Daoud Faisal, a controversial character who claims to be a Moroccan but, judging from his features, language and mannerisms is an American Negro. At his home in downtown Brooklyn, which is used also as a club and house of prayer, Sheikh Daoud, an affable and charming person, impressed the writer as a sincere but unversed propagator of the Islamic faith. Sheikh Daoud founded the Islamic Mission Society in 1934, and ten years later was incorporated for `the propagation of al-Islam, the religion of mankind’ (in the words of the application). Sheikh Daoud, who boasts of having converted 30,000 Negroes to Islam, even advances the fantastic theory that most American Negroes were originally Moslems.” I have problems with Nadim’s account. Others such as Noble Drew Ali made similar claims of ancestry for themselves and their followers, besides Sheikh Daoud said his ancestors were Moroccan not that he was.

A Letter by Sheikh Daoud to Delegates at the United Nations August 12, 1963

In the name of “God”, the “Beneficent”, the “Merciful”

I respectfully call your honorable attention to the fact that Allah, our Lord, the Almighty God, your Lord and my Lord, the Lord of the worlds, Creator and Sustainer of the universe is (one) Universal Eternal God, and not three in one, and all creatures, things and beings are God’s, and are equally servants of God. The peace we human beings crave and which you are trying to achieve in the United Nations. Peace is Righteousness, an attribute of God, which can only be achieved by the Righteous, through Submission in obedience to the Will, the Commandments and the Laws of Allah, our Lord, the Almighty God in Islam. The revelation of our Lord containing His Sacred Laws an holy Commandments for the righteous government and guidance of all humanity.

Since all things, creatures and beings are God’s, and Peace is righteousness, an attribute of God, and it cannot be achieved without the leave of God, the Giver and Taker of Life, Peace and death. Therefore it is quite obvious peace cannot be achieved without righteousness, which is submission to the Will, the Command and Laws of Allah, the Owner, Giver and Taker of Peace. However, this Peace for which we crave and which you strive to achieve in the United Nations can be achieved, and must be achieved, if humanity is to survive. But in order to accomplish this great feat, you honorable delegates and representatives of the United Nations in the United Nations, and the people and the nations of the world must willingly, and without reservation surrender your will in complete submission to the Will, the Command and the Laws of Almighty God, Lord of the Worlds in obedience to “ISLAM”, His revelation, containing His holy Command and Sacred Laws, perfected and revealed unto His chosen Prophet Mohammed (peace and mercy of Allah be upon him) as the Religion in which to worship Him, and the Laws to be taken therefrom for the government and guidance of all humanity. Bear in mind, that all things, creatures and beings are God’s, and are equally Servants and Messengers of God, including the very breath that you and I breathe is the Life and Spirit of the Life of God in us, which is also His Servant and Messenger. Now how can peace and economic security for which you strive for humanity be achieved without God?

All knowledge is God and came from God. Knowledge which humanity have achieved or acquired thus far came to us in the form of Commandments and Laws, revealed and taught to the various Prophets of our Lord, who in turn taught humanity. No man is independent and self-taught. All must be taught. God taught the Angels, Angels taught the Prophets, and the Prophets taught humanity, and humanity teaches each other. This is the way knowledge was acquired. No one is self-taught. God is Knowledge and Giver of all knowledge. Praise to God the Lord of the worlds. We human beings were created by Allah, our Lord, the Lord of the worlds, free and equal without sin, and with a free will and a mind our own, and a conscience, the Criterion of right and wrong, good and evil, and a soul to cherish and to nourish and then placed us upon this planet earth, as His Servant-representatives, with earthly provisions and all other necessities for the nourishment and sustenance of life, to live in peace with each other, and for the love and peace of each other, and the goodwill of each other, to love, to praise and to glorify the holy name of our Lord.

Our main objective on earth as human beings, and as Servants and Messengers of God, our Lord, is to praise and to glorify the holy name of our Lord, to enjoy the companionship, the love, the peace and the goodwill, the social, economic, industrial and commercial co-existence of each other, and to enjoy a full and complete social life with our families, friends and neighbors; and not for hate and the making of destructive implements of war for the destruction of each other. But to live for the love, the peace and the goodwill of each other for the good of our own souls and the glory of God.

For the sake of peaceful co-existence man must learn to love and to respect the human rights of each other, the freedom of each other, the dignity of each other, the property rights of each other and the rights of self-determination of each other, which is the fundamental law of common decency and self-respect, and the respect of others. Upon these high basic principles which Islam teaches rest the peace of our world and the solution of all the problems confronting humanity. Man cannot live without God for all things are God’s, including man himself. For the very breath that we breathe is God in us; and the Life and the Spirit of God.

All ye faithful believers, know the truth, that the Koran which contains Islam, the last and complete revelation of Allah, our Lord, confirming all previous teachings of the Prophets of our Lord, and all of His revealed Books is available to you. Please read it. It was revealed especially for you. Its contents are all true revealed words, Laws and Commandments of our Lord, the Almighty God. Please avail yourselves of the opportunity of reading it. Remember this, that there is not any forgiveness for those who make partners unto God; and there is no forgiveness after death.

I am appealing to you honorable delegates of the United Nations on behalf of humanity to be ever mindful when making decisions in which the rights, the freedom, the dignity, the property rights and the rights to self-determination are involved. Because Allah, our Lord and His Heavenly Angels are ever present, hearing, seeing and knowing all that you do and say. While the Heavenly Angels are making a just record of everything you say, do, or write, and your reward whether it is good or bad is instantaneous. Remember this also that your secret and personal ambition and desire may have to give way, so that truth and justice in relationship to the decision that you may be called upon to make for the benefit of peace and economic security you are striving to achieve in the United Nations may be realized.

It is a foregone conclusion that all creatures, things and beings are God’s and are equally Servants and Messengers of God. Then how can the United Nations ever hope to achieve peace and economic security for humanity without the leave of God, Who is the Owner, Giver and Distributor of peace and economic security! The United Nations can never achieve, nor accomplish anything successful, good and lasting without the leave, the guidance and the blessings of Allah, the Almighty God, Lord of the worlds. All things, creatures and beings are God’s. Therefore, you must go to God, the Owner and Distributor of Peace and economic security through submission in obedience to His Commandments and His Laws in Islam, which he hath especially revealed for our righteous government and guidance.

To falsify in the name of God by saying and doing what He hath not revealed and which was not taught by His Prophets is the gravest of all transgressions. Therefore, be careful of what you say, write and teach relative to the Nature of our Lord and His relationship to humanity. Remember that Allah, our Lord, the Almighty God, Lord of the worlds, Creator and Substainer of the Heavens and the earth and all that lies between, Life, Creator and Substainer of Life; the Giver and Taker of Life, Peace and Death has neither image nor likeness of anything, creatures or beings, that are but His Servants and Messengers, including Jesus, the Messiah, son of Mary, the Apostle of God, and there is nothing comparable nor like unto God. To make unto God the father of a human son and to say God is three persons in one God, is false, blasphemous, mischief making and misleading, for which there is no forgiveness from God. No Prophet said nor taught any such misleading thing. So long as saying amongst you, you could never receive the guidance and blessing of God. The only truth in existence is Islam, and the only solution that can and will solve all problems of humanity. For Islam is the Commandments and the Laws of God, to which man must bow in obedience.


Therefore, whatsoever man may establish on falsehood, and false and many gods, and false worship, will perish. Your Lord and my Lord, the Lord of the worlds is (one) God and not three persons in the one God. False god worshipers and the worshiping of false God is false; such as those who worship Jesus, the Messiah, son of Mary, the Apostle of our Lord as God and as son of God. For them said Allah, our Lord, the Lord of the worlds: Paradise will be denied them and they will perish in the hell fire. (KORAN): False gods worshipers and the worshiping of false and many gods, the hypocrite and unbeliever will perish. Unless they repent, beg forgiveness of Allah, their Lord and establish true worship in the Glory of His holy name, and to glorify His holy name.

The so-called Christian believing humanity who have established and advocate what is now known as White Supremacy above their other human brethren have and are spreading this poisonous philosophical doctrine everywhere and by every means possible, which has created and is creating dissension, confusion, hate, unGodliness throughout the wide world. They and their evil doctrine will soon perish from the face of the earth. Because Truth shall last and Falsehood shall perish, and will be replaced with Godliness, Truth, Peace, Human Equality, Justice and the Brotherhood of Man under one God on earth. For God is Truth, Love, Peace, and Justice;; and Islam teaches Truth, Love, Peace, Justice, Human Equality and the Brotherhood of Man. But unbelieving humanity will not accept nor surrender their selfish lofty selves in humble obedience to God and His Will, Laws and Command. Who created them and unto Whom is their return.

If and when the revealed Laws of Allah, our Lord, the Almighty God in Islam are accepted and implemented in the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, it will solve all problems confronting humanity, establish, maintain and preserve peace, love, goodwill and the brotherhood of humanity on earth forever. Praise be the name of Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

Thank you. May Allah grant you peace, good health and long life.

An Interview with Imam Katib Adam Ibrahim Beyah
Masjid ‘Umar ibn Said of Fayetteville, N.C.
October 21, 1993

Ahari El: Assalm aleikum. Brother Imam can you tell our listeners a little about yourself.

Imam: Wa aleikum salam. My name is Katib Adam Ibrahim Beyah and I’ve been Imam at this Masjid since August 1990. I’ve been Muslim for twenty years.

Ahari El: How did you come into Islam?

Imam: Well, basically, I heard the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in June of 1972 and that was my first introduction to the teachings of Islam. I became a member of the Nation of Islam at that time. In 1975 upon the ascension to leadership of Imam Warith Deen Muhammad, I came into a more universal understanding of Islam.

Ahari El: How did you prepare yourself for your current leadership position?

Imam: I just worked. In my mind I had made a commitment to be Muslim and follow the laws of Islam. I feel that I was only doing (in my mind) what every conscientious Muslim should be doing: supporting the religion, trying to advance the religion, anything for the betterment of Islam. I relocated to Fayetteville in September 1984 for employment. When I came here I found the people were not that active and I started to work with them anyway. I was preparing to be a leader, but I accepted that position when it was thrust upon me.

Ahari El: What was the community like at that time?

Imam: Well the community had purchased an acre of land and an old raggedy house at Southern Avenue. If you came to Jumaa’ at that time there might be five people. We had a lot of Muslims in town but they were not real active at that time. And the brother that was Imam — Imam David Hassan who worked with the brothers. More brothers tended to come for taleem on Sunday. Looking at where we came from perhaps we were not that sophisticated and knowledgeable but we always had a desire to build a Masjid on the property and improve ourselves educationally and Islamically. What really helped the brothers along was when the building was condemned by the city and Rightly so because it was in bad shape.

Ahari El: Once they condemned the building and it was torn down did you start to build a Masjid?

Imam: Not really it was condemned but the city let us stay there. They didn’t really put any pressure on us to move. We knew it was condemned and we were happy to do something for safety reasons. So, we embarked on a plan to build a Masjid. One of the brothers that was in the community at the time had gone to school to be an architect, but was never licensed, but he knew enough to design a building.

Ahari El: So you designed the first Masjid and started to build it.

Imam: Right. That was the old Masjid that you visited today. He designed. It was a real simple design and we could do a lot of the work ourselves. We got help from the whole community. For example, the brother that made the cinder blocks was a Christian but was a friend of the community.

Ahari El: How did you come up with the design for the minaret?

Imam: That came four years later. That was part of the initial design. It was added on. As a matter of fact …

Ahari El: It has the look of a traditional West African mosque.

Imam: Right. This was due to a brother out of Atlanta, Georgia who was originally from this area — Brother Wali-ud-deen Sabir. He actually designed the minarets and did a lot of the initial construction on them in Atlanta and towed the framed and minarets up by car and trailer from Atlanta.

Ahari El: What is the frame? Iron?

Imam: No, its wood with wire mesh screens around it with stucco on top of it. It’s a real simple design but it works well. We were able to build on this base when several well known figures such as Muhammad Ali, Naim Akbar, and others came in and helped us with fund raising.

Ahari El: How did you choose a name for the community’s Masjid?

Imam: Before it just Masjid Muhammad. As far as I know, I wasn’t there at the time, it didn’t have a number on it though. I believe it was a satellite temple of the Nation of Islam Temple in Durham, N.C.. Under the leadership of Imam Warith-ud-Deen Muhammad it was named Masjid Muhammad Fayetteville. In 1982, we decided to change the name and Imam Warith-ud-Deen had given a speech where he mentioned ‘Umar ibn Said.

Ahari El: You mean the lecture published in As the Light Shineth from the East?

Imam: Well, he had mentioned him in speeches before that. There was one brother in Fayetteville at that time named Dr. Abdul Hakim Muhammad. He was a music teacher at Fayetteville State University. He had heard a lecture and had done some research. He published his research as the pamphlet Seven Muslim Slaves.

Ahari El: I have the pamphlet.

Imam: Then you must know that one the Muslims that he wrote about was ‘Umar ibn Said. And at that time in 1982 or 1983, before I came here, the Muslims had decided to name the Masjid — Masjid ‘Umar ibn Said. And that’s basically how it got the name. That was before they built the old Masjid. As I said before, their long range plans were to build a Masjid. In 1987 we were able to complete the construction of the Masjid without the minarets. At that time we had a dedication ceremony and Imam Muhammad came and gave a public address. It went very nicely and we had a dedication ceremony. After that we just tried to continue to grow as a community.

Ahari El: How did you pull yourselves together from having a few people come to Jumma’ to the point where you are today.

Imam: As I have said many brothers were not always able to come for Jumma’ as they were not able to get off work, but families came to Taleem which was at 1 P.M. on Sundays. We had more activities like that for people who couldn’t make Jumma’. Building the Masjid was the result of a lot of sacrifice by individuals. We even got a ten thousand dollar grant from the Saudi Arabian Embassy. But that money came in after we completed the construction. I guess that after that saw we could do something they were willing to help and it was without strings. We had a phone call one day from the Muslim World League from Daud Assad as a matter of fact who asked for our correct address so they could mail us a check. A few days later the check arrived. That helped too because we had some outstanding obligations we had to cover. After that, as a result of the Masjid being built more families came out and that is where we are now.

Ahari El: Earlier you said that the old Masjid was being torn down. Can you tell why this is going to happen and why are you at the temporary location that you are at now?

Imam: In August of 1992 we received a notification from the North Carolina Department of Transportation that a highway extension was being planned and the highway would cross the property the first Masjid was on and that they would buy our property as part of a right of way purchase to construct a highway. We knew before that the highway was coming our way but we didn’t know that it would encompass us, we thought that it would bypass us. But there had always been plans on the books as I found our later to build a highway in the vicinity. I did some research and found out that it was basically a lost cause to fight for the Masjid and we relented. And at that time, we obviously started to look for an additional location. We did a search for a comparable property and in the interim the state made an offer and we found out that we couldn’t find comparable land for that price. That center was in a less commercial district than the temporary Masjid we are in now while the new Masjid is being built. The old Masjid is being torn down for a highway extension. We are in a temporary center now and are building a new larger Masjid.

Ahari El: What did you do then?

Imam: Well about the search, we were able to find four acres of land on Mercanson Road and it was part of a fifteen acre tract and we could have got the whole thing for fifteen thousand an acre for the whole tract. But we wanted a smaller tract and we were blessed when he let us have it for sixty thousand. That was good for him. When he sold something, he could easily sell the rest because it would be a known interest. We were able with the help of one of our members who gave fifty thousand dollars, we were able to secure the land in March of 1993.

Ahari El: That means you had an outstanding balance of ten thousand dollars?

Imam: Which we don’t have now. What we did we able to convince the seller to hold the note until we settled with the state. Which he did and now we had deed to the land free and clear.

Ahari El: And the money that was left over?

Imam: We put it in a checking account but we don’t use checks on it. We don’t plan to access it until we need it. In the interim the state settled with us for one hundred thousand for the property and we paid off the seller of our new property. The state notified us of August 1st that we had to be out of our old property, so we started to rent this temporary space which used to be a barber shop. It suffices us for what we are doing now. We plan to break ground on the new structure in four or five days.

Ahari El: Future plans?

Imam: Our immediate plans are to complete the Masjid structure. It is an 8,500 square feet building but it has a lot of things we need but with area to grow. With the four acres we envision space for a school, but we will have classrooms in the main building to run a school temporarily. We hope to build a school but we also hope to encourage Muslims to open businesses around the structure.

Ahari El: Such as?

Imam: A Halal butcher, bakery, laundry, things that a growing Muslim community will need. They will not only serve the Muslim community but the community in general. There is also an eight acre lot of land we have rights of first refusal for.

Ahari El: Another thing you might try is farming.

Imam: Well, on the four acres the way we have it designed the land would be almost totally utilized. We have plans for a tennis court, a recreational facilities for the youth, and shops.

Ahari El: Where would the parking be?

Imam: Between the shops and the Masjid. After we allot all of that we feel all of the land would be used and we hope to secure the other lot after the Masjid is built.

Ahari El: Where do you see yourself as a community in ten or fifteen years?

Imam: Hopefully, InshaAllah, a growing community where we will basically be self sufficient and encourage people from other parts of the country to settle here. We feel that if we were able to get a school going, have a good economic base, and get the community would grow more quickly that we would attract Muslims to come and settle here. Another thing we have is that we are close to Fort Bragg, constantly Muslims (both converts and persons born into Islam) are coming there in the service and are looking for Muslims to socialize with and a community to be part of. Right now Muslims for Dubai are training there. Muslims from Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, and other countries have also been trained there. We hope to offer them an Islamic Cultural Center — an outlet or place they can come to in order to be in touch with their Islamic roots. When they come to Fort Bragg they can visit us and they can learn from us and we from them. We would have classes and interact with them; that would really help and encourage them. So that’s another thing we hope to put in place soon. We will contact the various Muslims embassies to let them know and to let the soldiers know we are there and that they can visit us and eat Halal foods.

Ahari El: You mentioned an Islamic school. What about an Islamic library for the general community?

Imam: We Hope to have classes for adults to teach Qur’anic Arabic, Hadith classes, and general adult education classes. As you know we are located in the heart of an African-American community and such Adult Education services are greatly needed and we hope to be a place to provide those services. That is one reason that we are having a community awareness day sponsored by the Masjid. We are trying to be a facilitator to attract people to community service and to Al-Islam.

Ahari El: Thank you for your time. Assalm aleikum.

On the “New Revised Edition” of Yusuf Ali’s Quranic Translation
A book review by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

In 1983 Amana printed Yusuf Ali’s outstanding Qur’anic translation and commentary in a nice subsidized hardcover edition. Except for minor changes, it was a reprinting of the classic third edition of Ali’s famous work. The third edition, the last produced during Ali’s lifetime, has been responsible for the conversion of many English speakers to Islam. He was punished for his intense labors for the sake of Islam with persecution. In the L’envoi to his Qur’anic translation and commentary he confided: “I had not imagined that so much human jealousy, misunderstanding, and painful misrepresentation should pursue one who pursues no worldly gain and pretends to no dogmatic authority.”

During his life he triumphed over misrepresentation. Now that he is dead, and no longer able to defend himself, however, Amana (1989) has produced a similar-looking, but seriously condensed edition marked “New and Revised.” The commentary in this “edition” is not so much revised as censored. The Publisher’s Note places responsibility for the work on anonymous “scholars” and “committees”. The only scholar named by the publisher is the late Isma’il al-Faruqi who was assassinated before the book was published, and who, therefore, cannot explain why he acquiesced to such revisions as, for example, the removal of Yusuf Ali’s appendices on the “Allegorical Interpretation of the Story of Joseph,” “Mystical Interpretation of the Verse of Light,” and “The Muslim Heaven” from the “New Revised Edition.” The subsidization of this edition is pricing Ali’s own third edition out of the market. This is not just a matter of underpricing the competition; it is more like a case of “knock-off designer labels.” By this method, buyers of what is called “Ali’s” translation and commentary are unwittingly deprived of Ali’s actual work and ideas.

The removal of appendices and evisceration of footnotes are my main objection to this edition. Less draconian among the features which make the “New Revised Edition” a less effective introduction to Islam is the decision to detranslate the word God back into the Arabic Allah. One of Yusuf Ali’s brilliant insights was not to follow Muhammad Pickthall’s precedent of declining to translate the Arabic word Allah into the English word God. Many Arabs and linguists prefer Allah because it cannot be made plural, according to the rules of Arabic grammar. It therefore profoundly symbolizes the unity of God. This subtle linguistic point is lost on the average English speaker reading a Qur’anic translation for the first time. Ali wisely realized that it is more important to drive home the point that Allah is the same God with Whom the reader was already familiar as the God of Abraham and did translate that Arabic word into English. This is a more accessible and powerful lesson on divine unity.

It would have been better had the committee responsible for the “New Revised” edition heeded al-Biruni’s criticism of early translators of Greek texts for transliterating technical terms rather than using Arabic equivalents, thus losing potential readers. The scholars who passed judgment on Yusuf Ali’s commentary should have identified themselves in print, signed their names to their revisions, and made their criticisms openly. When Imam Muslim put out his Hadith compilation, he did not call it the “New revised” edition of Sahih Bukhari! Academic scholarship must be done openly; there is no merit in testing ideas in an academic equivalent of a Star Chamber.

Demolish the Wall of Deception

by Khadim-e-Quran Mohammad M. Shareef

There stands a Wall of Deception — a mirage, between this World and the Hereafter, that needs to be immediately demolished. If it continues to remain, it will disappear on the Day of Judgement by the Order of Allah (S.W.T.) and the Reality will confront us. That Day will then be nothing but the Day of Sorrow for us.

Every person today, irrespective of religion or creed, is in a state of chaos and worry and is in desperate pursuit of fulfilling the one and the sole ambition of becoming wealthy. Wealth is perceived as the only media with which all desires and wishes can come true. It can satisfy all the cravings of the Self (Nafs) and one can acquire more and more of social status, of comforts and luxuries. Therefore, every one’s earnest prayer and entreaty to Allah (S.W.T.) today is for Wealth so that one can faithfully submit to the dictates of Nafs and spend the lifetime after it.

Doesn’t this demand a serious consideration to see if this is what Allah (S.W.T.) had created us for — that we struggle on this world to pacify the Nafs and the one who becomes wealthy should be happy and enjoy it? No, not at all. Definitely and absolutely not. Then what is it? We are all subject to a Test. This world is a farmland and every one of us like a farmer. Whichever grain-seeds we sow in this farmland of Deeds, we shall reap the harvest of that grain in the Hereafter.

Waves of Islam in America: A Spiritual Autobiography

Muhammad Abdullah Ahari Bektashi El
Chicago, Illinois, November 1, 1994

When Brother Adib Rashad suggested I write a spiritual autobiography of my path to al-Islam, I didn’t know where to start. In the past I’ve done articles on Sufi Abdul Hameed, Noble Drew Ali, Arab immigrants, Arabic slave narratives, Muslim writers, Sheikh Daoud, and others. I didn’t want to just do another survey and repeat material already available to the public. Additionally I didn’t want to lead people away from love for our Islam pioneers in America (Noble Drew Ali, Elijah Muhammad, and others), nor did I want to come across as only a Black Nationalist. I am neither and I am both. I am Bektashi, Moorish America, Sufi, Shia’, Moorish Orthodox, and Wahabi all at the same time. I am the average American Muslim, growing and trying to define himself and to find his place within the greater Muslim world and still not lose his unique identity as American Muslim.

The pilgrimage of the forced emigree to these shores produced many of these seemingly diverse and complex trends within the American Muslim scene and even within a family or even an individual. This pilgrimage was made less ornus by a spiritual quest than was undertaken by these emigres (and to some extent the larger society). Sometimes this quest follows the pattern of the larger society, but more often than not the so-called American Negro (now African American, Moorish American, Ethiopian, and Nubian) was lead by his own imagination and genius which does not allow for a stale, withered flower to bring spiritual fulfillment and new patterns for this quest were made.

The common core for both of these quests (those that made their own pattern and those that followed that of the greater society) transcends orthodox or unorthodox Christian, Islamic , or Jewish forms of worship and presents a pattern that is designed to answer the needs of the forced emigree in a strange land. The essence of all of this is an ethnic ethic that tries to give purpose and meaning and answers the greater questions of whys and hows of our existence.

Within the African American Community this resulted in a magic world view that is usually apocalyptic in scope. Saviors and Messiahs had to come to take the lost-found back to the Motherland and to the Motherland’s mentality. This is not only true of the rural poor but of all but the most assimilated.

Most writers of the past have attempted to analyze the nativistic American Islamic Nationalist Movement separate from the African American Religious Community or from the larger American Religious Community. This is a grave error which I have tried to correct. Brother Adib Rashad gave me the impetus to carry out this difficult demanding research. He himself has found parallels with Father Hurley, Father Divine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Elijah Muhammad, and Marcus Garvey. Connections with Masons, Shriners, Christian Science, Mormonism and Eastern Muslim groups can also be made.

The range of the indigenous American Islamic Nationalist range from the anti-Shariah Five Percenters and their Book of Life to a Militant Silk Traders preaching to a new American Prophet from the hidden realm who borrowed from the white mansion and from the lost-found testaments in Egypt and Tibet lately brought to these shores. In the East we had dervishes that spun in circles, people that were trampled by horses and were unharmed, and your thief-beggar. America had its own snake oil salesmen, tall tale weavers, and crafty big city wheelers and dealers. Gang bangers, pimps, lying womanizing ministers, and men whose true motives were unknown slithered into the Depression Era America heralding new ages, new identities, bringing new histories, and lining their pockets.

America was hurting and crying out for love and caring. Thousands were ready to “hear” the call. Love of God and self was the solution. The package has to be new not just new wine in old wine skins. The heard call had to bring answers that would allow the down trodden to raise their heads high. Many came with new Christianity, but a few came with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. These New Age “Muhammadans”, “Moslems”, and “Asiatic Black Men” are the focus of this present work.

To be honest, this was true of those calling themselves Muslim to a small extent, but most who fit this mold were not Muslim not did they identify with Islam or call themselves Muslim. The Mainstream Press would slander our Muslim leaders such as Noble Drew Ali and Sufi Abdul Hamid and we believed and still repeat that horrible slander. A few courageous pioneers sought to tell the truth and clear away the muck that obscured the truth of our history. Adib Rashad has attempted to tell us of Elijah Muhammad, I have attempted to tell of Noble Drew Ali, Muhammad Yusuf of Tennessee has written on Sufi Abdul Hameed, and Peter Lambourn Wilson (Hakim Bey) has written on the Moorish Orthodox Church.

At the first World Parliament of Religious our early Muslim American leader – Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb gave two speeches on Islam. These were the only speeches by a Muslim on Islam given there. A lone Muslim correspondent from Paris sent a brief letter revealing his personal feelings about his faith. Forward to 1993 and we see a Parliament where over 200 Muslim speeches were presented, but alas only two dealt with the history of Islam in America or with the first parliament. These speeches were one by Akbar Muhammad on Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb and one by myself on Islam in America being a response to racism. The immigrants all but closed out the Ahmadiyyah and Indigenous views on Islam.

It is a sad state of affairs when immigrant Muslims sell pork and beer in our neighborhoods and teach us intolerance. We are taught to call every we disagree with is a Kafir and we are separated from our community when we accept Islam. Furthermore we are subjected to more racism when we attempt to marry into the immigrant community. The only answer is for us to develop our own community. To do this we must develop a sense of history, a dialect or language to identify members by, a literature, and a cadre of potential leaders so we need not be subservient to immigrant Muslims. As I have said above Brother Adib is doing this. We must also thank Shiekh Daoud (May Allah Rest His Soul), Minister Farrakhan, Silas Muhammad, Imam Warith Deen Muhammad, Imam Jamil al-Amin, and others for doing the needed work in this direction. I pray to Allah for the day when the followers follow their lead and when those in the Hanafi Madh-hab, Dar al-Islam, the Islamic Party, and the Moorish Science Temple get off their backsides and join in the work of nation building (those who are doing the work within these groups are to be commended) and needed dawah work.

To close I will end with the text of my speech at the 1993 World Parliament of Religions entitled “Proto-Islamic Movements as a Response to Racism”.

“Today I am going to speak about proto-Islam being an answer to the racial and social problems in America. By proto-Islam I mean groups that are not necessarily Islamic but have characteristics in common with Islam. This would include groups diverse as the early Mormon Church, the Ahmadiyyah, the Bahia’ Movement, the Moorish Science Temple, and the Nation of Islam.

“The first use of the term Proto-Muhammadanism was by 19th century Protestant writers in America writing about Mormonism. This term is highly inaccurate as Muslims do not worship Muhammad and thus do not follow Muhammadanism. The term does have a value in referring to so-called Pseudo and Heretical Islamic groups. Nothing can be Islamic and false, but a religion can be derived from Islam or have something in common with Islam, thus Proto-Islam would be a useful and accurate term to use.

“My main focus will be on the Moorish Science Temple. The reason I chose to speak on proto-Islamic movements is that they were how the current Islamic communities and environment was started in this county. Until recently there was no propagation of Islam by the Immigrant groups to the larger American populous. This left a wide open arena in which groups such as the Bahia’, the Ahmadiyyah, the Nation of Islam, and the Moorish Science Temple could spread their ideas. A more “Orthodox Islam” did not have a firm basis in this country until after the founding of the MSA (Muslim Student Association) and when immigration laws began to loosen in this country. Before that most of the Muslims that came here very quickly assimilated and for the most part they did not spread Islam or do Dawa’h.

“However in the Black or African American community groups such as the Garvey Movement and the Moorish Science Temple began to develop in order to answer the problems that arose from African Americans being treated as second class citizens and looking for an alternative to the Manifest Destiny, racist version of Christianity they were exposed to. The Proto-Islamic movements filled this void.

“Some of the problems which arose among the so-called Negro masses (now termed African-American) included: what they should be call themselves; or, whether they should be called Negro, black, colored, or Ethiopian. They would also have to have a reason to change the nomenclature. They would re-invent or rewrite histories to better fit their world-views in order to do this. In the case of the Moorish Science Temple, the founder Noble Drew Ali said that America was founded by a tribe of “Ameers” (thus Ameer-I-ca). These “Ameers” were members of tribes from Morocco (Moroccan Tribes) which were part of Africa or in Moorish nomenclature — Amexem. A brief side line here, in the commentary of the translation of Maulana Muhammad Ali we are told that the early followers of Islam were originally called Moors and were only later called Muslims. This would fit into Drew Ali’s world-view and not the one of the so-called Orthodox Muslims.

“Noble Drew Ali’s world-view was one where the original Asiatics (Moors) were displaced by Europeans from their place as leaders of high civilization. It is reported he said, “We are an Eastern people traveling West building kingdoms as we go.” In order to gain acceptance of his world-view amongst his people (the African-Americans and by extension the whole world, as he saw himself as a world prophet), Noble Drew Ali felt a desire to change the mentality of his people. Due to this heart felt desire, he was reported to have said, ‘In order to change a people you must first change their literature.’

“To achieve this he wrote (compiled might be more accurate) a new scripture. This new scripture derived its sources from early American Spiritualist writers such as Levi (author of the Aquarian Gospels) and from the Rosicrucians who published a pseudo-Egyptian psalmic text purported to have been written by Amenhotep. The title of the Rosicrucian work is alternately Unto Thee I Grant and Infinite Wisdom.

“In using all of this material he began to develop a new view of history and nomenclature for his future followers to use and expound. He began to get people to leave Christianity which he called ‘The Folly of the Slave Master.’ He told his followers that they had to follow certain dress codes and dietary habits. Thus he imposed a structure in his followers lives where, in many cases, there was none before.

“In imposing a structure he developed a text named the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple. On the front of this work there is a symbol — a seven enclosed by a circle divided at the four points of the compass. This is derived from the Aquarian Gospels wherein Jesus received this title after he conquered the pyramids in order to pass the test for prophethood.

“In Noble Drew Ali teaching his personal history, he said he had to go through the pyramids to receive the title of prophet. Thus his own history was derived from the books he used in compiling the sacred text for the Moorish Science Temple. He did not tell his people who his parents were. His life was told mainly through myths and legends. To say more he was introducing Religious Nationalism — an American Islamic Nationalism — is beyond the scope of this brief work. Drew Ali’s first step in doing this was to tell people that, “Before you have a God, you must have a nationality.

“Following is a passage from Moorish Literature called ‘What shall we call him?’

“So often our various journalists find trouble in selecting the proper name for the Moorish American. Some say “Negro,” another will brand him “Race Man,” still another will call him “Afro American,” and then some “Colored,” “Dark American,” “Coon, ” “Shine,” “The Brethren,” and your “Folks.” It is indeed a hard matter to find something suitable for the various occasions where a title needs to be used. Is it that these people have no proper name? Did they have a national name when first brought to these shores in the early part of the seventeenth Century? If so, what was it? Did not the land from which they were forced have a name?”

“From the above you can see that Noble Drew Ali was trying to get people away from names that allowed people to lord over them. He gave them back a pride by giving them a new name, new history and new religion (whether it was true or false is besides the point). He clothed these new ideas in the garb of what he said was Islamism (or Islam). This was strange, Oriental, and different from what they were used to but it linked them back to their true history.”

Freedom — Is there such a thing?

I have noticed in discussion with my colleagues, that freedom has no precise definition. Prophet Noble Drew Ali lists the five pillars of Islamism to be Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice. I hope this brief discussion can clarify the concept.

Some see freedom as being, paraphrasing Martin Luther King, “freedom is the ability to travel, work, and live in ones’ own nation so long as they are able and stay within the law.” Others take Elijah Muhammad’s view, “You are not free until you own your own livelihood.” I see that both of these definitions have merit. The ability to travel, Work (if able and qualified), live where one chooses (and is able to afford), and the ability to own one’s own livelihood are all types of freedom that need not be taken too lightly. The ability to travel allows your mind to grow as you see the varied cultures and traditions around you.

However, I do not feel freedom is the ability to destroy your own culture. We are taught in the Moorish Science Temple that we are free only when we: follow our ancient forefathers’ traditions; follow the concepts of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice; and do not amalgamate with those of the “Pale-skin European mentality.”

Love allows you to understand your own shortcomings and those of your fellowman. Truth, which never changes, is what we should speak. Peace, which comes from love and understanding (plus Truth when it is spoken), will allow us a time of contemplation. When all of these are followed, you are only beginning to be free. First you must: study yourself and then accept who you are. These are two practices that will tell you how to satisfy your five senses without going beyond the limits set by Allah. They will also tell you self-applied name-tags (Negro, black, colored, coon, shine, white, honkey, Latino, spic, brown, red, jungle bunny, etc.) are only ways to further divide ourselves.

A divided people cannot be free. We are all members of the human race and we each have a nationality and birthrights and we cannot forsake this. Within each nation are smaller tribes and ethnic groups and Imperialists have sought to divide the Asiatics from each other along these lines. These smaller, well defined ethnic groups, are but part of a whole. If these groups do not support the common good of all Asiatics, we will remain disgraced, bleached bones in a valley of despair, never to be resurrected back to a life in tune with the dictates of our Creator, our Father God — Allah. This means, we must support our schools, our businesses, and keep our neighborhoods safe and clean for this and future generations. Remember the whole is only as strong as its component parts.

When we realize these concepts and no longer divide ourselves along lines of color and race, then our quest toward a definition of freedom can better be plotted. No longer divided, no longer seeing each other as stereotypes and now seeing each other as people of principles, culture, and nations, we can set out on path towards our goal.

Freedom, when all the above pre-determinates are set in place, needs to be limited in order for it to continue to exist. Certain freedoms, however, must first be guaranteed: 1) Freedom of the press. This would set limits under which government and individuals would care to act publicly.; 2)Freedom of speech and artistic expression. This allows those unwilling to print their opinions an outlet of expression. Often, obscenity laws are an impediment to these freedoms. As long as no one is hurt, mentally or physically, these laws are useless. In fact, they quickly turn into book burning laws.; 3) Freedom of religion. This fundamental freedom is being eaten away today by those acting in our best interest to insure we don’t belong to their favorite cult target group.; 4) Freedom of production. As long as there is a market for goods and they present no harm to the consumer, why limit this freedom. Workers rights should be considered separately from this issue, however.; and, 5) Freedom of consumption. Limits set should only be those that ensure the individual is receiving the good or service they purchased. Within these five freedoms and laws governing our personal health, welfare, and livelihood in place, our path towards freedom starts. Or does it?

I say no. We are not free because we have no one to depend upon in hard times or to thank in good times. That is the National God. All nations have such a God. Europeans have theirs that was created for their earthly salvation, but Asiatics also have theirs. He is a god that has always existed and always will. He is omniscient and omnipotent and is the only true god. He is Allah. In earlier times propaganda of this ideal was not necessary as all people passed down this idea of a National God to their descendants. Slavery, colonialism, missionarianism, and imperialism all sought to have a National God that favored the Imperialists and Colonizers and put the subjected peoples in their place. That time was declared out with the coming of Prophet Noble Drew Ali and his call, “Come all ye Asiatics!” He called us to learn our true faith (Islam), our origins, and our National God (Allah).

This is a discussion that can never end. Hopefully, InshaAllah, I will continue this dialogue on the concept of “Freedom” in a later article. The reader who wishes to know more of the Prophet Noble Drew Ali’s concepts and teachings can Email this writer at for more information and books you can order on Islam in America and the Moorish Science Temple.

This paper was originally written by Muhammed Abdullah al-Ahari (A/K/A Hakim Muhsin Abdul Ali El on January 11, 1986 for a technical writing class at Chicago’s East West University. It has been revised twice — once on February 1, 1986 and a second time on March 10, 1997. The writer has plans to write short paper on the concepts of Love, Truth, Peace, and Freedom and combine these with the above papers for an introductory pamphlet on “Moorish Revolutionary Concepts and Nation Rebuilding”.

The Reality of the Genocide Against Bosnian Muslims

Imam Senad ef. Agic, Mufti of the Bosnian Community in North America

All Praise is for Allah, the Lord of all creation, who is without a partner in any nature. And may Allah’s endless blessings be upon the light of His creation, our master Muhammad and upon his purified family and upon all of his noble companions. I ask Allah’s mercy to be rained down upon the successors of the companions, upon the great mujtahid imams, upon the righteous scholars of the religion and upon the virtuous and righteous saints of Allah. As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

Allah, Most Glorified, Most High says in the Qur’ân in Sura Ra’ad: “Allah will not change the situation of a people until they change themselves.” (Sura XIII Aya’ 11)

The truth of Allah contained in the aya’ I have just recited can be realized in the situation that we view the Muslims in Balkan Europe today. This ayah’s style, brevity and universalism present an everlasting and present warning to everyone who truly submits to Allah and in particular people who are thinking and contemplative of their situation (ulul-al-bab). Implied in that ayah’ from Surah Ra’ad are several causes for the present suffering Muslims endure and perspectives for ameliorating their suffering and entering into the light of the straight path (sirat-ul-mustaqim).

It must be clearly stated and conveyed that very often (if not always) the essence of suffering lies within the Muslims themselves. In the same way or manner the exit from such a state depends on their willingness and ability to change themselves in accordance with the teachings of Islam about the straight path (sirat-ul-mustaqim). (Refer Holy Qur’ân 1:5)

The act of genocide and open aggression against the Muslim Ummah in Bosnia is a reality. We have all been witnesses, either directly or indirectly, to the horrible atrocities enacted against us yet even the victims of it had a difficult time understanding the wisdom of this ayah and thus they had, in many cases, prolonged their own suffering due to an inability to align their behavior with Allah’s command.

A lot of ink, paper and emotions have been spent in so-called analytical texts in almost all languages of the world in order to describe the tragic events in Bosnia and unveil the hypocrisy of Western Democracy. However, with such approaches Qur’ânic diagnosis of the genocide has been obscured. Such an approach — one of accusing others from our own suffering — presents a dead end and a misleading interpretation of the events that could befall the rest of the Muslim world unless they purify their deeds and actions through obedience to divine warnings and instruction from their Lord. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 2:129)

The West has never been Democratic toward the Islamic World and the enemies of Islam and their goals are well known to us. One such goal is the destruction and removal of Muslim minorities that exist amongst them. The strongest proof of this is the present genocide in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Is it rational or wise, while knowing the goals of our enemies, to accede to their methods of governance and behavior and thus make it easier for them to overcome us?

It is justifiable before the reality in which Bosnians and the Muslim Ummah are in for them to turn inward and review the functioning of the mechanisms of the Muslim system of governance, morality and ethics. (Holy Qur’ân 62:2) We need to see how much harm that we bring ourselves due to our unpreparedness to change our condition in order to follow the path of Allah and protect ourselves from harm that will befall us if we stray from the straight path. (Holy Qur’ân 5:105) If we don’t analyze our weaknesses and if we don’t build possibilities of everlasting, strong, solid defenses through the process of permanent self improvement and correction then we can expect the situation in Bosnia to be repeated elsewhere, even at the places where the tragedy would be much greater. Allah commands us to have a program of strong, active self defense in the Holy Qur’ân. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 3:167 and 13:11)

Now I will ask some rhetorical questions in order to aid in deepening our understanding of where the problem lies either with the West or with certain circles in our own Ummah:

Is the West guilty because help from most of the so-called Islamic countries was coming to Bosnia in the form of humanitarian aid that was provided for by the U.N. already when it was well known that we were in dire need of arms to defend our very lives in front of naked aggression and genocide?

Is the West guilty for the genocide lasting four years during which 200,000 members of the Muslim Ummah were killed, amongst them being 16,000 children, and in addition, 40,000 of our sisters were disgraced?

Is the West guilty because the oil of certain Muslim nations was not used to stop the bloodshed of Muslims?

Is the West guilty for the Muslim World being disunited and many Muslim lands being ruled by tyrants?

Is the West guilty because Muslim nations escaped their responsibility of putting their monies into the reconstruction of the infrastructure of Bosnia and to offer support in military defense of Bosnia? Now when we enjoy relative peace, we must use it to be ready to combat the next genocide (being planned already) instead of passively awaiting it.

Is the West guilty because many Muslims from the Muslim World came not to fight the enemies of Bosnia but to fight the traditional Bosnian Islam that has been practiced there for more than 500 years? For your information, it was this traditional Islam that allowed Islam to survive in Bosnia (and Europe) till today. Even non-Muslim, if they are truthful, could accept this historical fact. The proofs can be found in such readily available texts as: Rev. Arnold’s The Preaching of Islam.

Is the West guilty because such misguided Muslims, who fight traditional Islam instead of helping us, have introduced fitnah and confusion into our midst? Instead of helping and strengthening Islam in Bosnia they have weakened it. Consequently, Bosnians are now divided into two camps: the majority which follows the Hanafi Madhhab and a small but vocal minority which claims to follow the “Qur’ân and Sunnah” but in fact are the furthest from them. A division between those who celebrate Mevlud (the birthday of the Prophet) out of the love of the Messenger and those who fight it because the feel it is an innovation exists. These men, who have mainly come from Arab countries with humanitarian missions, have also divided Bosnian believers by other issues that never existed prior to those modern day innovators coming to Bosnia to cause fitnah. These individuals that cause fitnah sap our strength and allows more deaths and destruction to occur. Masjids are damaged and destroyed, medresas are burnt to the ground, and more people die.

A disturbing example of the discord sown by these innovators in religion even went as far as to bribe children with the promise of candy if they did not visit the graves of Shuhada or refused to celebrate Mevlud. When the town of Srebrenica fell and tragically 6,000 people were murdered, the children in the central Bosnian town of Travnik were bribed not to pray for the Shuhada by these foreign modern day innovators. Praying for martyrs is a tradition of Bosnian Islam and of Islam in general. Ask yourself which is more important — fighting the enemies of Islam or forcing foreign derived innovationist Islam on traditional Madhhab following Muslims?

Considering what I know of the situation of the Muslim communities in both the United States and Bosnia and due to the bitter experience Bosnian Muslims have suffered, we have no other choice but to move with a strong initiative following appropriate and well-coordinated actions to form a Muslim community which will serve Allah Almighty and not his enemies and which will be strong in body, in spirit, and will be unified; such a community will be honored firstly by ourselves and then by others. It depends only on us (as Muslims) whether we will have a powerful united community based on Qur’ân and Sunnah. As long as we don’t accomplish this goal, it will be in vain to accuse others for our mishaps. We must hold onto the faith and commands of Allah, they are like a rope that attaches us to Heaven. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 3:103)

Let us analyze some of the reasons for the present state of the Muslim World. Firstly, Islam requires courage. Many examples can be brought forth to show the necessity of being courageous for Muslims. However, the Muslim society today is full of individuals who are essentially cowards and lack courage. To make matters worse, these individuals frequently sit in the governments of Muslim counties. How can we then expect the Muslim minority in Bosnia to be protected by such individuals who only fawn over the West? If the aggression against Bosnia happened 300 years ago, the Ottomans wouldn’t have stood by and watched the slaughter of their Muslim brothers and sisters. Here I must remind you of the ‘Ummah’s responsibility for the care of orphans, widows, and the oppressed. Today Bosnia is the orphan of the Muslim World. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 93:6)

Secondly, we must consider the value of following the guidance that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’alla, has given us. Islam prohibited alcohol, however, today it is being produced and consumed in a number of Muslim countries. What kind of example can Muslim minorities then take from the behavior of their brethren in those countries?

Thirdly, Islam prescribed brotherhood amongst Muslims, however, wherever you turn you see Muslims are not united and moreover some wage wars and die for the sake of foreign causes or spend their abundant resources for military defense to protect themselves from their Muslim brothers. Furthermore, after stockpiling expensive highly sophisticated weapons, they stingedly give only a small minuscule fraction to the Muslims of Bosnia to protect themselves and these weapons came only reluctantly with much foot dragging. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 47:38)

Islam proclaims that in the wealth of the rich is a portion that the poor have a right to. Instead of giving the poor their God given rights, the rich started taking the lives and liberties of the poor as their own so much so that many Muslims got into a situation where they had little freedom to collect donations for their Muslim brethren in Bosnia. Governments of some Muslim countries were afraid that large donations would be collected, so they prohibited fund raising for Bosnia. Worse yet, some of these governments maintained diplomatic and economic relations with Serbia during the genocide in Bosnia. In doing so, they strengthened the hands of our killer — the real aggressors and perpetrators of genocide in Bosnia. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 70:25 and 51:19)

The nonexistence of the office of the Khalifah and the government under him leaves no Muslim minority paying a higher price than the Bosnian Muslim. Bosnian Muslims suffered tremendously after the fall of the Khalifate. Bosnia is an indicator to the Muslim World that it cannot even live (let alone progress) in an Ummah divided along national lines. Grand Muftis and Rais-ul-Ulema don’t have the necessary competencies and authority of the Supreme Religious leader of all Muslims in the world — the Khalifah (the successor of the Prophet Muhammad) — to lead Muslims. Only the Khalifah has these abilities and authority invested upon him. If we had the Khalifah, the Serbian aggressor would ponder the out come of the aggression to see if it would be worthwhile to enter a war against one billion Muslims. (Refer Holy Qur’ân 4:59)

There are many things that the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) abhorred so one non-Muslim felt obliged to write, “If the Prophet would arise from his grave and see what his followers have done he would certainly be horribly angry and would curse those who participated in that [in regards to the faith of Allah].” The President of Bosnia, his Excellency Alija Izetbegovi has a habit of saying that those who love Islam have one thing left to console them, This situation is not the result of Islam but its negation. [Zasto su muslimani zao stali Why Muslims are backwards Takvim 1967, p. 97]

The consolation which the President mentions contains a hope if the negation led to such a situation of backwardness and chaos. Is the return to Islam going to mean the advent of a new spirit and new era in the life of the Muslim ‘Ummah?

These changes brought about by a reaffirmation of the traditional sources of Islam (Qur’ân, Hadith, consensus of the scholars, and scholarly personal opinion derived from these sources) will turn the Muslim world from its decline and dependence upon the West for its forms of governance, morals, economics, and education system and standards. Every person who supported Bosnia and attempts to implement a return to Islam is a needed part of an Islamic Renaissance and deserves praise and thanks.

Today’s dynamic changes in the Islamic World despite some clumsiness, unreadiness, and unnecessary emulation of others, announces a new — and we hope and pray to Allah — positive turn of events and renaissance for Muslims. I hold this conference as an invitation to every Muslim to be a participant in this Renaissance.

Note: This paper was originally written for presentation at the August 1996 Islamic Unity Conference in L.A. For various reasons it was not able to be presented there, but it is here for the uplift of fallen humanity. — Editor.

Islam & Muslims: An American Stylebooklet

Today, more than ever, Islam and Muslims are appearing frequently in our media. Besides this, we have over five million Muslims in the U.S.. This stylebooklet will help fulfill some of the needs of the media and may become the precursor of a comprehensive stylebook that could serve as a ready tool for reporters, writers and researchers who are writing about Islam and Muslims. The authors of the first seven chapters have expanded this stylebooklet somewhat to overcome some of the deficits inherent in a work of this brief size.

Some Islamic Phrases

Alhamdulillah – “praise be to God” – said anytime a Muslim expresses thanks to God. It is not confined as a thanks for good things, but even uttered when an apparent misfortune occurs.

Allahu akbar – “God is great” – used to express happiness or enthusiasm. Also a part of the call to prayer. Not the Muslim “war cry.”

Assalamu alaykum – “peace be upon you” – The standard Islamic greeting.

Bismillah – “in the name of God” – an invocation uttered by Muslims before doing anything, even an act as simple as eating food, or starting a speech. It signifies the Muslim’s belief that everything emanates from God.

Terms and Concepts

There are 5 million Muslims in America and some 1 billion worldwide. They represent a diversity of opinion on politics, family life, social and any other issues encountered in modern life. However, there are certain terms and concepts shared by the vast majority of Muslims around the world.

The word “Islam” means “submission” to the will of God. It is also the faith revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) between 610 and 632 A.D.. Demographers say Islam is currently the world’s fastest growing religion. Every country in the world has at least a small Muslim community.

A “Muslim’ is a member of the Islamic faith. In 1990, the Associated Press altered its stylebook to drop the highly offensive and misleading spelling Moslem, and replaced it with the acceptable and phonetically correct spelling “Muslim.” The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others, are using this spelling. The use of the term “Muhammadan” – a usage initiated by some early Orientalist- is highly misleading because it implies the worship of Muhammad, a concept totally alien to the Muslim belief.

The Prophet Muhammad is revered but not worshiped by Muslims. He is not the “founder” of the Islamic faith. His role was that of “transmitter” for the words of God as revealed to him and compiled in the Qur’an. Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca in 570 A.D.. He began to receive the message of Islam (which was compiled later into the Qur’an) in the fortieth year of his life.

Muslims believe him to be the final Messenger of Allah. His message is a universal one and is the culmination of the teaching of all earlier prophet such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac and David.

The Qur’an
The Qur’an, or `recitation’ was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 22 years. It is regarded by Muslims as the direct word of God speaking in the first person. The usage of “Koran” like “Moslem” is not favored by Muslims. The Qur’an is not the Muslim “Bible,” because the Bible is seen as a secondary text while the Qur’an is a primary source of revelation. The Qur’an is a seal and purifier of all the previous scriptures. It speaks of distortions that crept into earlier texts and gives the message that all prophets and messengers brought in a pure and unadulterated form.

“Allah” is the Arabic word for “the one God.” It is the same word Arab-speaking Christians use when referring to God. Allah is not “the Muslim God,” but the same God worshiped by Christians and Jews.

Arabic names referring to God
Many Muslims have names which contain an attribute of God, such as “Abd al-Wahid,” “servant of the One.” On second reference, these names must be used in full. If, as in this example, the reporter’s second reference was “al-Wahid,” the person would be taking on an attribute of God, something a Muslim would abhor.

This word is derived from the Arabic root juhd, and is more accurately translated as “effort,” not “holy war.” The Prophet Muhammad said the highest form of jihad is the personal struggle to make oneself a better Muslim.

Shi’ism or Shi’a
Shi’ism is a branch of Islam comprising about 10 percent of the total Muslim population. The word “Shi’a” derives from “Shi’at Ali” the “party of Ali.” Shi’as are not members of a ‘sect’ of Islam. They are Muslims who have different perspectives on certain issues that are subject to difference in interpretation.

The word “Sunni” is taken from sunnah, “the practice of the Prophet Muhammad.” While there is no provision in Islam for labeling groups, the term Sunni has come into popular usage and is widely applied for the main body of Muslims- over 90 percent.

Black Muslims
The term “Black Muslim,” first used to describe the followers of the late Elijah Muhammad. This term was coined by C. Eric Lincoln (author of Black Muslims in America) and was not used by the followers of Elijah Muhammad to describe themselves. However, it is no longer accurate to use this term when describing African American Muslims. Since the death of Elijah Muhammad, the vast majority of his followers discarded the non-Islamic teachings of the Nation of Islam and entered main-stream Islam.

Not all Muslims are Arabs, just as not all Arabs are Muslims. In fact, Arabs are a minority within the Islamic world. There are Christian Arabs and Jewish Arabs. According to modern usage, the term “Arab” is a linguistic, not an ethnic, designation. Anyone who speaks Arabic as his/her mother tongue is an “Arab.”

Women’s Rights
Under Islamic law, women have always had the right to own property, receive an education, and otherwise take part in community life. The restrictions placed on women concerning dress and social mixing apply equally to men. If a particular society oppresses women, it is in spite of Islam, not because of it. (The first person to accept the Prophet’s message was his wife. The first martyr of Islam was a woman.)

Muslims and Jews
Until the advent of Zionism in the late 19th century, relations between Muslims and Jews were quite peaceful. Muslims regard Jews as “People of the Book,” meaning they believe in an earlier form of God’s revelation. Despite the usual problems associated with being a minority, Jews prospered under Islamic rule. There are no Islamic parallels to the European “pogroms” against Jews.

The term “Islamic fundamentalism” is foreign to Muslims. Islam sets out clear guidelines for life. A Muslim who follows these guidelines is merely obeying God. The word “fundamentalism” like “moderate” and “fanatic” is perceived as an attempt to stereotype Muslims.

Shariah (Islamic Law)
Islamic law is a flexible and sophisticated system of justice based on the Qur’an, Hadith – the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and Ijtihad – the opinions of Islamic scholars. Its provisions for punishment are viewed by Muslims as more equitable than those in the West. Shura – consultation is an integral part of Islam, where the leader is advised to consult his followers in matters of common concern.

When writing or reporting about Islam or Muslims, the tendency is to quote so-called “experts” on the subject. While some of these are knowledgeable, many have an ax to grind. Almost all large cities have Islamic groups capable of responding to a reporter’s inquiries. Look in the Yellow Pages under Mosques, Islamic Centers or Muslim Student Associations.

The “Five Pillars” of Islam

1) Shahadah: the Declaration of Faith. A person becomes a Muslim by saying and believing the shahadah: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

2) Salah: Prayer. A Muslim prays five times a day: at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and during the night. The prayers take about 5-10 minutes and can be performed on any clean surface. Muslims pray communally at noon on Friday. Friday is not the Islamic “Sabbath.” Prayers are oriented in the direction of Mecca as a symbol of unity. Muslims pray to God: they do not pray “to” Mecca or to the “East.”

3) Zakat: Poor-due. A Tax on income which is gathered by the community and distributed according to need. It is generally 2 1/2 percent of savings.

4) Saum: Fasting. Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual activity from dawn to sunset during the lunar month of Ramadhan. Eid prayers mark the end of the month.

5) Hajj: Pilgrimage. A Muslim must make the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in his or her lifetime if physically and financially able. It symbolizes unity and equality. Muslims of different races, wealth, status, and gender, gather in Mecca for hajj, and all are equal in the eye of Allah.

Beliefs of Muslims

1) Tawhid: Oneness of God. He has no partners nor associates.

2) Nabiun: Prophets. All prophets come with message to worship Allah. Only their laws (Shariah) differ due to the circumstances under which they had to deliver their message. The Prophet Muhammad is the seal of Prophets and is the last Messenger.

3) Kitabun: Books. Belief in the Qur’an and previous Scriptures such as the Torah, Psalms, Gospels, Avesta, Suhuf and others not named.

4) Malikah: Angels.

5) Yawm al-Qiyamah: Day of Judgement. This also includes a belief in Heaven and Hell and Life after death.

6) Qadr: Predestination.

English as an Auxiliary Language of Al-Islam

Praise be to Allah of Whose signs are our diversities of speech and hue. Peace and benediction be upon Muhammad, our noble mentor and intercessor on the Day of Doom.

It is perhaps a truism to say that English has become, for better or for worse, the main auxiliary language of Al-Islam. This very fact may well surprise some; and perhaps consternate others. The reason behind this manifest phenomenon is a number of accidents, some of which may be counted auspicious and other, not quite so fortunate.

It so happens that English has today become, for richer or for poorer, international language number one. Yet for the part of English as a language of a certain standing in the world of “Belles Lettres,” this international ubiquity is not altogether an unmixed blessing; but it cannot be ignored. It is a state of affairs, which has come to stay for as long as the circumstances which brought it into existence remain; and perhaps as long as the first few decades of the 21st century of the Christian era, and the middle of the 15th century of the Hijra era.

Yet it is important and rather sad to note that, apart from old translations such as that of George Sale, who had bequeathed his own brand of authorized version English to many a later translator of the Holy Book, including Muhammad Assad’s very recent effort, English translations are rather wanting and somewhat behind-hand. They compare but unfavorably with French translations and the more recent Italian translations, especially the really outstanding “Cape Lavoro” of Professor Alessandro Bausani.

However, English is now the de facto second or auxiliary language of Islam. It is appropriate, nay imperative, that it be accorded the status de jure also. Yet this desideratum cannot really be realized, until those who understand and value English, and who know its immense possibilities as the tongue of Shakespeare and Milton, endeavor to effect a drastic change of the miserable status quo, which is that of a rather ineffective and none-too-brilliant secretary – a squire of low degree. I say this because both the traditional Muslim world, and the native Muslim speakers of English, who are not decreasing, seem bent on reducing the language to its lowest common denominator – as a conveniently handy but second rate language. But if English is really to be a suitable vehicle for conveying the message of the Qur’an, and of the various disciplines of Al-Islam, then it has to deploy its best equipment, its most sensitive and intelligent endowments and abilities, so as to continue to be at its best in its novel function, and a worthy ambassador to the courts of its own people, of the incomparable language of the Arabs and of the peerless Book of Islam. It is not, however, sufficient to produce a pedestrian Islamic literature of sorts in English; but it behooves us Muslims to endeavor to take the citadel of English letters by storm; and occupy it with dignity and aplomb.

At this juncture, I remember the late Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall (may Allah accept his earnest endeavor and rest his soul). This Englishman of breeding, who has given us besides his famous translation of the Qur’an a fair number of novels, essays and other literary works. It is incumbent upon Muslim intellectuals, especially the younger ones, to collect, annotate, and evaluate this no mean English heritage of Islam. All this should, of course, be republished. The translation, however, as it stands, is the least exceptionable of extant English translations. It is more meritorial than Professor Arberry’s somewhat over-rate and fairly recent translation of the Qur’an. It would also be a work of value to make a quest for the historical Pickthall, and do him the well-deserved homage as a modern and pioneering exponent of Islam. Pickthall is to my way of looking, a considerable man of letters; and his merit would be fully apparent if he had not written any book beside his novel entitled “Saeed, the Egyptian!” It is perhaps appropriate to remember that Pickthall had been noticed and was in no certain terms by the late English writer and novelist E.M. Forster.

Today, only very few and far between are the Islamic publications in English, which can be properly said to belong to the realm of literature. Many Islamic publications of today are often pot-boilers which pass as dedicated works. These are sometimes produced by people who presume that they have a good command of English, just because they have never felt the urgent need for self-criticism or for consultation with the better informed. Unfortunately such authors, who more often than not exhibit the worst examples of unawareness, are given countenance by many people who have, through pure accident, had to adopt English as a secondary or even main cultural language, but without being on reasonably intimate terms with it. The background of this situation can be found by studying the history of the British empire, before and after its dissolution, which was by no means the wonderful deliverance that they had dreamt of, when they had felt and resented the yoke of their alien rulers.

However, the fact that there are so many non-native speakers and writers of English must never be brought forth as an argument for suffering gladly all sorts of poor quality literature in the name of Islam. If we are to use English as an effective auxiliary language of Islam, we have to emulate and follow the example of cultivated and excelling native speakers of the language. It is not seemly that we say to ourselves, with a smirk of smug and vapid self-satisfaction, that we cannot help producing indifferent verse or prose, just because we are not native speakers. Such an argument is a sort of brazen mendacity, the purpose of which is to pocket charitable forbearance and tolerant condescension.

It behooves Muslims to feel proud of their heritage, and to feel equal to any task and to use our skills and abilities for earnest and dedicated service to Al-Islam.

Ishaq al-Khalifa Sharief, “English as an Auxiliary Language of Al-Islam,” The Muslim World League Journal, Ramadhan & Shawwal 1405, pp. 56-57.

Poetic License:
Amexem Times and Seasons Poets Corner

Poem One: Come All Ye Asiatics!
Poem Two: Bismillah (Sheikh El-Husary at I.I.T.)
Poem Three: The sleeper has awakened
Poem Four: From here and there (for an ASIATIC girl)
Poem Five: Alas! The goal is set
Poem Six: The Middle Ages

Poem One:
Come All Ye Asiatics!

Come All Ye Asiatics!
Learn your nationality and divine birth rights.
The Moorish Mahdi has proclaimed that the time for half-stepping has ended.
Brothers and sisters pickup your pen,
pickup your sword.
Heed the call, you all!

Star and Crescent in the Sky —
Signs for you and I.
Don’t wish on a star —
Pray to Allah.
Don’t wait for Jesus to turn swords into plows.

We’re an Eastern people traveling West
Building kingdoms as we go.
We built the pyramids.
We wear our crowns.
Prophet gave us all we need.

No more time to be mentally enslaved.
Let your mind and body be free.
Never again let yourself be ignorant,
naked, hungry, out-of-doors!
Demand your forty acres and a mule.

Go to city hall.
Don’t fall for the same old tired lines.
Demand your rights.
Demand your forty acres and a mule.

Stand on the square.
Between righteous and parody are the five pillars squared.
Seven prophets called
Heed the call, you all!
66 La illaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah.
Salvation, Allah, Unity, Islam, The Uniting of Asia
Muhammed Ahari El

Poem Two:

(Shaykh El -Husary at IIT)
Audhu billahi minashatani rajim.
Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim.
Shaykh El-Husary sits,
chants Qur’an.
Brothers surround him
softly murmuring amin.
Within the words
Sufi drums bump and shrug,
angel hips shudder tambourines,
shakers respond from 35th St.
Steam rises,
smoke curls,
the floor, unneeded, falls away.
Softly rocking,
Allah’s d-flat song.

J.B. Figi

Poem Three:

“Until the dawn and peace…Say, I seek protection in the Lord of the Dawn.”
1) The darkness upon the earth fell to such a thick impenetrable level that only divine light could even attempt to pierce the darkness. A despair that displaced hope was throughout the land. The source of truth, light and reawakening of the land still existed.
2) Man, true man, was chained in a strong, dark prison safely held unaware of his true role. Prophets and messengers came and went but true man heard the message and later returned to his former state. Man would not recognize either messenger or message.
3) The next stage to awaken the sleeping giant came. Chains no longer bound his limbs yet the perfect man, the ancient one failed to realize. Even when Yeshua aroused visions in his sleeping mind, he failed to awaken from his slumber. The savage slaughter of Mani and his Sons of Light by the followers of Paul a/k/a Saul did not awaken the sleeping giant from his slumber.
4) The cries of death pangs of Yassar and Sumarah failed to awaken him. Bilal’s cries of, “Ahad, ahad!,” scarcely disturbed his sleep.
5) The sleeper must awaken from his slumber for the world to finish this cycle and the tree of Yssidrag to drop its fruit for the blooming of the next level of existence.
6) Fake Messiahs with false miracles have not awakened the giant. Old rules, new rules, old tyrants, new tyrants have not awakened the sleeping giant.
7) Ancient dreams, myths, legends are all we know of the sleeping giant. The true man sleeps in divine bliss, consciousness in bare brief fleeting moments.
8) The giant sleeps. Wind blows as it always has blown and seasons come and go. The giant sleeps.
9) Reality evaporates at its tenuous borders and chaos, sweet chaos and Mother Night’s march ends. Reclaiming the night. Casting the day and the light bringer aside. The light bringer is now evil and darkness- light. And yet the sleeper has not awakened.
10) Poison in the air, thoughts and patterns of existence. And yet the sleeper sleeps.
11) Poison in the mind- thoughts are not only of corruption but are now fully corrupted and yet the sleeper sleeps.
12) Twelve princes died. The true man only a dream. No savior only half-baked fables to placate the oppressed that realized they were oppressed.
13) The Messiah betrayed for a handful of silver and yet the sleeper sleeps. And yet the sleeper sleeps.
14) Venus is no longer beautiful. Apollo is old. Jupiter has been dethroned. And yet the sleeper sleeps.
15) Black skin burnt in the sun. Chains on ankles. Pierced virginity. Mind raped, chained. Soul on ice. Four hundred and more years away from the true land and yet the sleeper sleeps.
16) One Arabian youth, pure of spirit, true of speech called the sons of the Rebel Ishmael back to God and yet the sleeper sleeps.
17) The Lion of God fought with his two headed sword and conquered the land for God and fought till the true faith greened the sands. And yet the sleeper sleeps.
18) A Persian Prince forsake the world. Nuamen fought to have the true law established. Yesevi and Sari Saqati and al-Junayd all called to the light with the true man and yet the sleeper sleeps.
19) Smoke from Yemen, the Sun rises in the West. The Sleeper has awakened, the change has come.

Muhammed Ahari El

Poem Four:
From Here and There
For an Asiatic Girl

When at evening our mother Earth lay down
And on her breasts that are hills there came
A shadow like that dusk the ages have
Spread softly on your forehead and pale arms,
Then always at eve-hour I visioned you
Always as if through some pale sheet of dusk
That grew between us, I could barely see
Your olive-skinned limbed people aching up the years
And I could dream your bosom only through
That film — hear your sweet laugh only to know
My folks can never share its sweetness, nor
Your crooning words, your fragrant wit they’ve thrust
You from their temples where some carved mock god
Leers at his bigot-children and priests
And sick with knowing how my people, and
Your people have played crassly with frail things,
(Leaving us here to weep among the shards)
I kissed our Mother Earth — This we can have
In common, anyway — and then I cried
“Thy children are not perfect yet,
Oh Allah.”

Juanita M. Richardson Bey
from Moorish Guide National Edition
Vol. 1, No. 9, Page 4.
November 30, 1928.

Poem Five:
Alas! The Goal is Set

We have sat by the side of a low rugged road,
On a chest filled with shining gold
With our arms uplifted towards the drowsing horde,
And with a prayer from the depths of our soul.

We have begged for the comforts of all other man
At the cost of a great race pride
When all we get, we give to them
But for ourselves we refuse to provide.

We have opened the vaults that contain all the wealth,
And have borne it till our frames now bend,
We have delivered the burden at the cost of our health,
While laboring for all other men.

As we worked in fields they taught us a way,
For a time we refused to leave it
Up from the earth we brought wealth day by day
Which was ours but we did not receive it.

They taught us to ASK and all would be given,
We were beggars but still we could give,
They say that’s the course which leads to heaven,
But it is finished when we cease to live.

Our life’s blood’s pier in the country’s foundation,
We have died that other’s might live,
Our sisters go begging in the fields of damnation,
Because their brothers have nothing to give.
Alas! Nay, not alas, but yet —
There is time and we must atone,
Our vision is clear and the prophet has come,
If it is death let it be for our own.

Richard H. Ross Bey
from the Moorish Guide National Edition
Vol. 1, No. 4, Page 4.
September 21, 1928.

Poem Six:
The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages which they say were dark
Like me, were lit with Thy grace, Oh Lord!
And rare with music like a singing lark
Rising with notes of Thy divinest word!
Averrhoes, Aquinas and Maimonides,
Muhammadan and Christian and Jew,
Interpreted the richness of their creeds,
Thy Church brooding over all points of view.

Like a grand tree, rooted in faith supreme,
Its glory and its strength protecting all,
Illuminating Earth with Heaven’s beam
Of Brotherhood of Man without the Fall!
Hermits and princes; men with wisdom’s rods
With which they walked abroad and talked to gods.

Claude McKay
Catholic Worker
Vol. 13, No. 4, May 1946, page 5.

Authors Biographical Sketches

Imam Senad Agic is Imam of the Northbrook Mosque of Chicago and Chairman of the Bosnian Relief Committee of Chicago, where perhaps the most Bosnian refugees in the nation are located. Imam Senad is extremely active in helping the refugees in relocating to their new homes in the US, in collecting donations and supplies for the Muslims in the former Yugoslavia who are in dire need, and in supporting the jihad movement in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Imam Senad studied in Imam Khatib school, having a degree in shari’ah, and has tariqat in the Naqshbandi Order, having taken initiation in 1991 from Shaikh Nazim al-Haqqani al-Qibrisi, and he has initiation in the Qadiri Order.

Dr. Sulayman Nyang is a Gambian scholar on Islam and African History presently at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University. His most popular work is Islam, Christianity, and African Identity. This paper is based on a November 18, 1992 discussion between Dr. Nyang and Br. Muhammad Abdullah Ahari El.. The text has been rendered in a scholarly format instead of the question and answer/discussion format on the tape. However, no information has been lost or changed in this superior rendering. This article is available as a separate illustrated pamphlet with additional footnotes and a bibliography for $6.00 (postage included from Magribine Press).

Muhammad Abdullah Ahari Bektashi El is a Cherokee\ German\ Irish \ Melugeon (Moor) convert to Islam. He has attended the Nation of Islam under Minister Farrakhan in Chicago, meetings of Father Hurley’s Universal Spiritual Assembly, several branches of the Moorish Science Temple (including the El Rukn’s), and the Nubian Islamic Hebrews. He is a young scholar (born in 1965) but has uncovered materials on Islam and Islamic Nationalism in America that few scholars before him have touched. Br. Muhammad has been published in the Message, Minaret, al-Basheer, Muslim Prison Brotherhood Newsletter, al-Talib, Meditations from the Bilali Muhammad Research Society, The Light, and Amexem Times and Seasons (he is editor of the last publication). This industrious Muslim has a Masters in English from Northeastern Illinois University and has studied Islam at Chicago’s American Islamic College and under the Nimatullah, Bektashi, and Naqshbandi Sufi Orders.


This is the online bookstore for the American Muslim Scholar. At present we will list books available through us but they must be ordered through mail order and paid by check or money order. In the future we will accept Credit Card Orders and Online Orders. We will advise you when we have that capability. All orders of $25.00 or more will receive a 20% discount unless otherwise noted. The first 50 orders of $10.00 or more will receive a free copy of Muhammed Al-Ahari’s Bilali Muhammad Al-Timbui: Muslim Juriprudist in Antebellum Georgia (a $3.00 value). More than twenty other works are at various stages of development besides those listed below. Each issue of Amexem Times and Seasons will update the list. All prices include postage.

To order, contact: Muhammad Abdullah Al-Ahari of the Khutubhana Bookstore.

Currently Available:
Muhammed Abdullah Al-Ahari

Bilali Muhammad Al-Timbui ($3.00).

Malcolm X: Some questions answered. ($2.00). Malcolm’s last interview.

Muslims in Antebellum America: Their Educational Theories ($4.00).

Al-Hajj ‘Umar Ibn Said: His Life and Autobiography ($6.00).

Naim Frasheri

The Bektashi Pages. ($5.00). A study of this Albanian Sufi Order by one of the Fathers of Albanian Nationalism.

Dr. Javad Nurbaksh

The Great Satan ‘Eblis’ ($10.00). Stories of Sufi masters dealing with Satan’s position in Sufism and Islam.

Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis ($10.00).

In the Tavern of Ruin ($12.00). An elementary handbook for the novice in Sufism.

Spiritual Poverty in Sufism ($10.00). A collection of sayings of Sufi Saints.

Hazrat Shah Waliyullah

Sata’aat: A Commentary on the Qur’an’s verse of the lamp ($4.00).


Muhammed Abdullah Al-Ahari
Jinnah, Beulah, and Eden is a comparative study of works attributed to Sheikh Adi, William Blake and Abdul Al-Hazred. The Fulani Connection is a study of Arabic literature among Muslim slaves in the United States and Jamaica. Volume One deals with their autobiographies and pamphlets. Volume two with letters.

William Attaway
Two Tales of a Blackamoor is an illustrated gathering of Attaway’s known short stories. He is primarily known for his screenplays, folk song collections, and his novels Blood on the Forge and Let Me Breath Thunder.

Charles Chesnutt
The Future Race in America contains several long essays by Chesnutt on the future of race relations in America. Written at the turn of the century, these are still extremely pertinent to today’s situation.

Congressman Henry Asa Coffeen
Taxes, Tariffs and Other Issues is a collection of this Wyoming Congressman’s speeches. The Aquarian Gospel: A Study is his introduction to the first edition of Levi’s work. This includes a glossary of terms in the Aquarian Gospel and biographical and bibliographic notes on Coffeen and Levi. A facsimile version of Coffeen’s study of Levi’s work is available for $4.00 post paid. The complete edition will be available in January 1998 for $8.00 postage paid.

Martin Delany
Author of Islam, Christianity, and Africa. We offer an annotated version of his essay in support of so-called Negro Freemasonry.

Levi Dowling
Levi’s fame rest primarily with his automatically handwritten Aquarian Gospel. The Biopnuema and the Higher Self is a collection of lessons he prepared to apply what he taught in his version of the Gospels.

Jessie Redmon Fauset
This author of four critical Harlem Renaissance novels also wrote novellas and poetry. During the 1920’s and 1930’s she was editor of Crisis Magazine. The poetry and novellas published there have never been published in a collection. Stories of Passing is a collection of four novellas and Race Poems is a collection of sixteen poems.

Miles Mark Fisher
Essays of an African American Historian. This is a collection of the magazine articles of this pioneer collector of African American Slave Hymns and Folk Music.

Reverend Arnold Josiah Ford
The former musical director of the U.N.I.A. prepared a hymnal for use of Garveyites. The U.N.I.A. Universal Ethiopian Hymnal contains twenty hymns written by or collected by Rev. Ford.

Abdul Al-Hazred
A reprint of an edited version of the 1973 Owlwick facsimile of his Al-Azif (Necronomicon). The text is in the fictional Duriac Syriac script.

“I Your Prophet”
A Julius Rosenwald Fund sponsored novella about the early years of Prophet Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temple (a pioneering organization for reclaiming the Islamic origin of former slaves).

Sheikh Adi Muzaffar
The reputed founder of the Devil Worshiping Yezidis of Iraq. He wrote several poems of a highly spiritual nature and five essays on Tassawuf (Sufism). These are collected together here with a first ever hagiography of this contemporary of Imam Ghazali and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. An extreme supporter of the ‘Ummayyad Dynasty, these show he was a Sufi and Sunni and not a founder of a new religion. A separate publication of his Kitab-ul-Jilwah is available from us for $6.00 postage paid and includes a facsimile of the Kurdish original. The Kitab-ul-Jilwah shows the Sheikh’s true feeling about Satan. This is a must have for all students of comparative religion and Sufism.

Mark Owing
The Necronomicon: A Study. This is a reprint of the 1967 tongue in cheek study of Lovecraft’s fictional work by the Mad Arab Abdul Al-Hazred. Long out of print, it is not available elsewhere.

Ann Petry
Ann Petry is the author of Country Place, The Street, and The Commons. Her short stories have been collected as Miss Muriel and Other Stories. How to Write a Short Story is a small work that collects three short stories and several essays that have not been collected under one cover previously. The essays deal with how to develop characters and plots in short stories.

Reverend James Morris Webb
This Garveyite minister from Seattle was responsible for spreading the theory of the African blood of Jesus. The Black Man Father of Civilization is a reprint of his most famous work.

Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb
An early American convert to Islam. Magribine Press plans to republish his Islam in America (a dawah manual), all of his pamphlets, diaries, and his journal The Moslem World.


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