Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam is a figure as current as
today's headlines, but the movement of which he is a nominal spokesman has a
continuous history of over sixty years in this country. The Nation of Islam
(NOI), as it is officially known, came to the attention of the general public
in the 1960s as the 'Black Muslims.' (1) It is well-known for its doctrine
that the White Man is a devil. but what is probably less well known is another
part of its teaching - that the Black man is god.
Outsiders have done little in-depth research to trace the NOI's doctrinal
predecessors. The NOI itself has denied its connections with previous
movements, specifically the Moorish Science Temple of Noble Drew Ali. Ali,
who was born as Timothy Drew in North Carolina in 1886, taught, among other
things, that Blacks are descended from the ancient Canaanites.
Legend has it
that he was the reincarnation of Muhammad, the Prophet of orthodox Islam.
Eventually relocating to Chicago, Ali built an organization that numbered
perhaps 30,000 adherents at its peak. (2)
On March 15, 1929, Ali was arrested after factional violence resulted in the
death of a rival, Sheik Claude Greene. Arrested and held in the county jail,
Ali was eventually released on bail, but died July 20, 1929, under mysterious
Master Fard Muhammad
The story of the NOI itself starts with a man variously known as Wali Farrad,
W.D. Fard, Wallace Fard Muhammad, and Farrad Muhammad, but who is best known
as Msater Fard Muhammad. (4) According to his sucessor, Elijah Muhammad,
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ He came alone. He began teaching us the knowledge of ourselves, of
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ God and the devil, of the measurements of the earth, of other planets,
ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ ÃÂÃ and the civilizations of some of the planets...