Noble Drew Ali and the Higher Identity
By Osman Malik Khan
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God;
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
–The First Epistle of John 4:7 (NRSV)
The Moorish faiths are unitarian in nature, in both the more commonly used, Western sense and the less commonly used/understood “West Asian” sense. It is unitarian in the “West Asian” sense in its position that Allah is aught– Allah is anything and everything. Humans of course share in this, as we are emanations of Allah, not simply objects of Allah’s construction. This is an expression of deific unitarianism, that there is nothing but Allah. And this, as it has been said better than I could, is both “our legacy and our responsibility.” Moorish belief is also essentially unitarian in the modern Western sense of the term. The Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America states that all faiths are valid, that they are the numerous facets of the same Father-God Allah.
“All people worship Allah, the One; but all the people see Him not alike.”
Holy Koran X:13
“A man’s ideal is his God and so, as man unfolds, his God unfolds. Man’s God today, tomorrow is not God. The nations of the earth see Allah from different points of view, and so He does not seem the same to every one.”
Holy Koran X:16,17
Nowhere is it claimed that Moorish faith is outside of or beyond that process. All faiths are valid and sacred, and should not be disdained.
Why, then, is Moorish faith important to understand? Its position is, it appears, anti-proselytizing. Should the Moorish faith be actively shared? Should it be shared only with individuals who seem confused and lost? Why is Moorish faith important? Why was the Noble Drew Ali given his Message and his Call?
The concept of identity is central in Moorish beliefs. This seems to be a highly secular or non-scriptural idea to many; it might seem to be a socio-economic claim, or a maneuver for some sort of social influence. But identity is very much at the heart of the scriptural teachings of the Holy Koran. Noble Drew Ali said that he was sent to “uplift fallen humanity.” The final verses of the Holy Koran explain his Call the best:
“Come all ye Asiatics of America and hear the truth about your nationality and birthrights, because you are not negroes. Learn of your forefathers’ ancient and divine Creed. That you will learn to love instead of hate. We are trying to uplift fallen humanity. Come and link yourselves with the families of nations. We honor all the true and divine prophets.”
Holy Koran The End of Time and the Fulfilling of the Prophecies: 10,11
What this means is that Noble Drew Ali was sent not only to reveal truths and spark faith; but he was also sent to provide the Moorish peoples with their identity, which had been lost in the Wilderness of North America.
Chapters XLV through XLVII of the Holy Koran deal with the cultural history and origins of the Moorish peoples. This idea was gladly accepted, for instance, by the Nation of Islam (NOI). This can be seen in the texts and such of the NOI, and very well seen in the May 1963 Playboy interview of Malcolm X by Alex Haley. Malcolm discusses at some length the history of the Moorish Empire, its sprawl across Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The ideas of religio-racial essentialism as suggested by the Holy Koran are also discussed, as well as the teaching of Noble Drew Ali (which Malcolm mistakenly credits to Elijah Muhammad) that all peoples of any “color” are Moorish, or as he puts it, part of the “black nation.”
So the NOI fully accepted the blood-identity of Noble Drew Ali’s teachings. But blood history and blood origins are only a small part of the teachings of identity which we receive from the Noble Drew Ali. (And nowhere in the Holy Koran is there any interpretation of this blood history that claims superiority for anyone.) The finite identity, the flesh identity is nothing to the infinite identity of mankind as revealed to us in these teachings. And, as the Holy Koran points out:
“All finite things are subject unto change. All finite things will cease to be because there was a time when they were not.”
Holy Koran, Chapter One.
While the blood identity of a person is a thing to be considered, it is but a finite, limited thing. The real identity of a person, if it is to be something to which a person clings and from which a person understands himself, is that of the spirit.
“But man himself is not the body…he is a spirit and a part of Allah…the spirit-man is one with Allah, and while Allah lives man cannot die.”
Holy Koran, Chapter One
It is the spiritual identity revealed to us through the teachings of the Noble Drew Ali that are the return to our true identities. It is the revelation of our unitarian natures that are at one with Allah that is our true Self. The Noble Drew Ali taught of two selves, the Higher Self and the Lower Self. The Lower Self is that of the carnal man, that which operates now but will pass away. This Lower Self is the body, the flesh, the blood. The Higher Self is that of the spirit, the Thought of Allah which is every person. This Higher Self is the True Self, which will always exist and is the core of our True Being.
The teachings of the Noble Drew Ali, of the Moorish faiths, of the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America— these are important not because they are the bases for another religious group which might contend with the countless others and attempt to exert itself. These teachings are important because they reveal to us our True Selves. Rather than a system of power which persons should follow, they reveal to us our own power, our own place with, in, and through Allah. They spark not only the memory of the blood, but more profoundly they spark the memory and awareness of the Spirit.
Our identity is not of individual bodies or individual groups. Rather, our identity which is revealed in the Holy Koran is that we are One with Allah, and with each other. We are not a jumble of pieces, but facets of a whole. We are not mundane constructions, but magnificent extensions of Allah. This is the teaching of our unitarian Higher Selves.
“Again Lamaas asked: ‘Of wisdom, what have you to say?’
And Jesus said: ‘It is the consciousness that man is aught; that Allah and man are one. That naught is naught; that power is but illusion; that heaven and earth and hell are not above, around, below, but in; which in the light of aught becomes naught, and Allah is all.'”
Holy Koran VII:22-24