Elijah Muhammad was born in Sandersville in Georgia in a family of 13 children. He left home at the age of 16 and went around United States. He settled in Detroit Michigan in 1923 where he worked in an automobile factory. He later became an advocate for independence of black people, spearheaded for black operated institutions and religion. The Muslim community established various centers for worship while Mohammed established a newspaper, THE FINAL CALL OF ISLAM. During 1930s he came into contact with W. D. Fard. ho was a peddler and had already established an Islam temple in Detroit.
In this temple much of the features were anti white. Fard proclaimed Islam to the collect religion for the African American thereby denouncing Christianity as religion for the slave masters. The teaching of this group was similar to orthodox Islam which included Sufism. Elijah Poole, together with his parents became very inspired by the master fard teachings which they received. This made them establish their own Muslim schools for their children. Because they felt that education in Michigan was not adequate.
Mr Muhammad stance on Islamic education was firm and the religious community continued to resist placing of Muslim children under white Christian teachers In 1934 Michigan state education board disagreed with Muslims right to purse their own education agenda and the Muslim teachers together with temple secretary were jailed on a false charge. W. D. Fard renamed Elijah Poole to Elijah Muhamend. Elijah Mohammed then succeeded Fard of the Nation of Islam [N O I] and became the supreme minister. He settled in Chicago due to hostility he got from other Muslim functions in Detroit.
Elijah Muhammad built what became the best and important center for the movement. They owned apartments, houses, grocery stores and restaurants. Many temples were opened in other cities and farms bought to grow ritually pure food for the members. The teaching of the Nation of Islam was that blacks should develop independence in economics, religion and nationhood. They had very strict rules. Where the following was prohibited drinking, smoking, gambling, physical abuse of the black women and inability to protect ones family from attacks by violent white America.
Conservative good grooming ,neat clothing were required while some kind of personal behaviors like taking drugs, listening to music, dancing were prohibited. Self improvement was advocated, end of race hatred and separation of nationhood aspects. Elijah Mohamed was a divinely appointed prophet who changed the theological teaching of NOI which had been laid down by master Fard which proclaimed that Allah the Islam God had an earthly incarnation. In 1934 master Fard Mohamed disappeared mysteriously thus leaving behind Elijah Mohamed to lead the group.
In 1942 Elijah Mohamed was arrested at Washington DC for conspiracy, sedition, and violation of draft laws, sympathizing with Japan during World War 2 and encouraging members to be against military draft He was then jailed for four years in Milan prison at Michigan. His teaching was seen to be black separist doctrine. This states that blacks were the original people on earth but were tricked out by Caucasian through global white supremacy. He demands freedom, equal justice, and law and constitution that would apply equally to all.
Regardless of color, race and class He also stressed on equal membership on persons to members in society and organization of civilized society. Persecution and prosecution of the Muslim groups became life in Monroe, Los angeles, Calif and Michigan. Many followers of nation of Islam were jailed for being conscientious objectors of World War 2 White owned media and white operated publishers begun to circulate anti -nation of Islam propaganda on a massive scale. In 1959 Elijah Mohamed delivered a speech where he was accorded presidential treatment and escort.
Later political leaders begun a denouncing and smear campaign against the Nation of Islam leaders and described it as being an anti America theories. Minister Farrakhan defended Elijah Mohammed and nation of Islam against these attacks. After would war two Mr. Muhammad was released from prison and he returned to Chicago which was a central point of Nation of islam. He worked very hard and expanded Islam membership. Among the new converts were Malcolm and his family. He came to influence Malcolm x who was the leader of New York Temple an ex convict.
He had came from jail where he was serving a ten year jail term for theft . It is at this time when Nation of Islam teachings are introduced to him by a fellow inmate known as Beines. Malcom marries Betty Shabazz and preaches a doctrine of separation from the whites society. But a pilgrimage from Mecca teaches him that Muslim religion is for all races thus he softens his strict racial stand and breaks his free dogma on Nation of Islam. He later became very popular, speaking on politics gained roots highly on the Nation of Islam.
In 1950s Mr. Mohammad promoted Malcolm x to the post of national spokes man and begun to write weekly newspaper column entitled Mr. Mohamed speaks which was A news paper for the blacks. The membership of the Nation of the Islam grew tremendously. Nation of Islam got a big brow when rumors’ went on about Elijah Mohammed had sex with various young Nation of Islam women who were working for him, whom he had gotten children with. The leakage and discovery of this information led to Malcolm being driven out of Nation of Islam.
Although this was part of United States politics and counterintelligence plot to destroy the movement. Another reason of the split was a comment by Malcolm on assassination of John F. Kennedy which so Mohammed to suspend him from the society. Shortly Malcolm X founded his own movement on religious and political reasons; which was more Orthodox than Islam. Later he was assassinated on February 1965. The alternative too change the philosophy of the Nation of Islam is the destruction of the organization.
This might be accomplished through generating factions among contenders for Elijah Mohammed leadership or through legal handles to probate court on his death. Thus Chicago should organize on how to generate the factionalism to destroy the Nation of Islam by splinting it into several functional groups. The United States government was accused of playing a big role in 1965 assassination against Malcolm and using secret police to meddle about with the affairs of the Nation of Islam and the black America. After the assassination the New York mosque was bombed.
Mr, Mohamed sent minster Louis Farrakhan to New York City to take over the mosque there and begin the rebuilding mission. Later the following year he promoted him the post of national representative. During the late 1960s the greatly growing Muslim movement extended itself to more than sixty cities and settlement abroad in Ghana Mexico and Caribbean. A host of African government and Islamic government all over the world received Mr. Elijah Mohamed and donated generously towards his mission and effort. He went on HAJJ visits to Mecca the holy pilgrimage and pillar of Islam on many occasions during his life time.
In addition to spread of Islam honorable Elijah Mohammed is credited for his contribution of an economically viable empire and his development programme. Under his leadership the nation of Islam showed signs of progress with the establishment of farms, export and import businesses, aviation, health care, administration offices, shipping on land, sea and air and his plans to start a modern university campus in Chicago. In 1975 he introduced mi minister Louis Farrakhan as his helper when they officiated the opening a multi- million dollar mosque and school.
After the death of Elijah Mohamed 1975 Warith Deen Mohamed son to Elijah took over leadership and changed Nation of Islam membership allowing white members. Thus causing a major split in the organization Due to his drift from the black nationalists the splinter group under Warith changed its name to Muslim American Society. The other was lead by Louis Farrakhan who happened to be Elijah’s assistant. Things took another dimension later when Malcolm’s window accused Louis of her husband murder.
Many members of the nation were disturbed at the movement’s new moderate direction and withdrew to form more traditionalist splinter groups. The most important of them retained the old names . the Nation of Islam and was led by Louis Farrakhan born Louis Eugene walcort of British west Indian parents of 1934. Farrakhan generary retained Elijah Mohammed ideas and practices including the strict behavior rules. He achieved prominence when he became a major adviser to Jesse Jackson during the latter presidential campaign in 1984 Conclusion
Although the nation of Islam does not presently advocate for violence by its members the group preaches hatred of white race and racial separations. The membership of Nation of Islam is organized and poses areal threat. The Nation of Islam is responsible for the largest Black Nationalist newspaper which has been used by black extremists. It appears to be personal fiefdom of Elijah Muhammad . When he dies a power struggle emanates while Nation of Islam changes direction. While change in philosophy is seen and government intervention is seen to act as bureaucratic deletion destroy and reduce the activities of the group.
Courtney from Study Moose
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