The Nation of Islam (NOI)
By Cky J. Carrigan, Ph.D. (11-02)
I. Nation of Islam AT-A-Glance
- A. Established in Detroit (1930) by W.D. Fard.
- B. Synthesis of four movements: Black Nationalism, Black Freemasonry,
Islam & Christianity.
- C. Key Leaders: W.D. Fard, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, W. Deen
Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan.
- D. Key beliefs
- 1. W.D. Fard is Allah (God) in the flesh.
- 2. Elijah Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (Fard).
- 3. All Blacks are divine and will ascend to worldwide political supremacy.
- 4. All Whites are demons and will descend from political supremacy and be
- E. Membership: 20,000-50,000 in the U.S., and less than 100,000 worldwide. The influence of NOI among blacks is far greater than its membership. In 1995, hundreds of thousands of black men gathered with NOI’s leader, Louis Farrakhan, for the “Million-Man-March” in Washington, DC.
II. Historical Development
- A. The NOI began in the context of Black Nationalism during the early twentieth
- B. Black Nationalism arose in the context of political, religious and cultural
oppression of blacks by whites (slavery and post-slavery conduct).
- C. Two key political and religious forerunners of the NOI were Marcus Garvey
(mainly political) and Noble Drew Ali (mainly religious).
- 1. Marcus Garvey (Universal Negro Improvement Assoc., est. 1914).
- a. Directly influenced W.D. Fard and Elijah Muhammad, and
Garvey’s writings indirectly influenced Malcolm X.
- b. Promoted independent black commerce and industry, and
the emigration of all blacks to Africa.
- c. Taught that whites were an inferior race and that God was black.
- d. UNIA grew to become the largest black social movement in American
history with six million dues paying members in US.
- e. Garvey was jailed in 1922 for mail fraud and deported to Jamaica.
- 2. Noble Drew Ali (Moorish Science Temple, est. 1913)
- a. MST is synthesis of black nationalism, fringe Islam (including Sufi-
Islam), Freemasonry, and Gnosticism.
- b. Christianity is the white religion and Islam is the black religion.
- c. Whites are the embodiment of evil—Satan.
- d. All blacks and olive skinned people are “Asiatics” descended from the
Moabites (the original race).
- e. Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, was the reincarnation of Jesus.
- f. Ali was the third reincarnation of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.
- g. Ali’s died in 1929.
- 3. Garvey’s imprisonment and deportation in 1922, and Ali’s death in 1929 left a vacuum of leadership in the black nationalism movement
(Enter W.D. Fard).
- D. NOI founded by W.D. Fard (1930).
- 1. W.D. Fard -- aka Wallace D. Fard, Farrad Mohammad, F. Mohammad Ali, Professor Ford, Wallace Fard Muhammad, Wali Farrad.
- 2. Fard’s fingerprints and photographs match those of convicted felon and drug user Wallie D. Ford born in Portland, Oregon on February 25, 1891, the son of Hawaiian immigrants.
- 3. Fard and the NOI claim that Fard is NOT Wallie D. Ford, from Portland, Oregon.
- 4. Fard and the NOI claim the Fard was born in Mecca, the son of a black father and white mother.
- 5. Fard was heavily influenced by the black nationalism of both Garvey and Ali and may have even been a member of Ali’s Moorish Science Temple.
- 6. Fard arrived in Detroit on July 4, 1930 as a silk and raincoat salesman with a vision for leading the black nationalism movement.
- 7. From the summer of 1930 to the summer of 1933, Fard gathered eight thousand members of the NOI.
- 8. After several arrests, Fard was ordered by police to leave Detroit in May 1933. He left Detroit for Chicago, then “disappeared.” Fard never made another public appearance after the summer of 1933.
- 9. The NOI believes he is still alive, living in concealment, waiting for the appointed time to “re-appear.”
- 10. Fard led the NOI through his appointed Messenger--Elijah Muhammad.
- E. Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975)
- 1. Born 1897 in Georgia as Elijah Poole to Mariah and William Poole, a
- 2. Moved from Georgia to Detroit in 1923 and joined Garvey’s UNIA and
Prince Hall Masonic Lodge (Black Freemasonry).
- 3. Rejected Christianity because it supported slavery and oppression.
- 4. Met Fard in 1931 and became the “Messenger of Allah (Fard)” shortly
- 5. Claimed that he spoke with Fard-Allah regularly.
- 6. Led NOI from 1933 (Fard’s disappearance) to his death in 1975.
- F. Malcolm X (1925-1965)
- 1. Born 1925 in Nebraska as Malcolm Little to Louise and Earl Little, a
- 2. Father died, Malcolm housed in foster-care, became a criminal.
- 3. Imprisoned for burglary from 1946-1952. Introduced to NOI teachings
while in prison.
- 4. Met Elijah Muhammad and joined NOI in 1952.
- 5. Became NOI minister in 1954.
- 6. Went on Middle East tour of Muslim world in 1959 where he discovered
the legal enslavement of Africans by Muslim Saudis, the lack of racial
prejudice in Middle Eastern Islam, and the failure to recognize W.D. Fard as Allah.
- 7. Became NOI’s premier apologist for NOI against Muslim and
- 8. Became disillusioned with Elijah Muhammad for moral reasons and was
suspended from the NOI by Elijah in 1963.
- 9. Made the pilgrimage to Mecca for the Hajj in 1964 and became a Sunni
Muslim, rejecting Elijah Muhammad and the racist teachings of NOI.
- 10. Founded the Organization for Afro-American Unity (OAAU) in 1964.
- 11. Murdered in 1965 by three NOI members.
- G. W. Deen Mohammed (aka Warith D. Muhammad) (1933—present).
- 1. Seventh son of Elijah Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (W.D. Fard).
- 2. While imprisoned for draft evasion for eighteen months in 1961-62,
he studied traditional Islam and became convinced that his father (Elijah Muhammad) was wrong and W.D. Fard was a fraud.
- 3. He was influenced by the teachings of Malcolm X who had become a critic
of Elijah Muhammad and NOI teachings by then.
- 4. His beliefs resulted in a series of suspensions and reinstatements by his father, but he was reinstated before his father died.
- 5. Became NOI leader upon Elijah’s death in 1975.
- 6. Changed several fundamental NOI doctrines and merged with
- a. W.D. Fard not Allah.
- b. Elijah Muhammad not the Messenger of Allah.
- c. Blacks not superior to whites.
- 7. Renamed NOI to the “World Community of Islam in the West” (WCIW).
The Islamic group now associated with Imam W. Deen Mohammed is called the American Muslim Mission.
- 8. Louis Farrakhan objected to W. Deen Mohammed’s innovations, split
with the WCIW, and reinstituted the NOI in 1978.
- H. Louis Farrakhan (1933 – present)
- 1. Born 1933 in Massachusetts as Louis Walcott to Mae Clark and a man
Louis never knew. Mae Clark was West Indian and Louis’ father may
have been a white man.
- 2. Raised in an Episcopalian Christian context.
- 3. Became a Garveyite (UNIA).
- 4. Heard Elijah Muhammad speak in 1955, and he became a member of the
NOI Temple in New York that same year due to the influence of
- 5. Malcolm X taught and mentored Farrakhan for two years until Farrakhan
was appointed by Elijah Muhammad to be the minister of the Boston Temple in 1957.
- 6. He was a strong defender of Elijah Muhammad against the criticisms of
Malcolm X and W. Deen Mohammed.
- 7. In 1965, he was appointed by Elijah Muhammad to be the minister of the
New York Temple #7 after Malcolm X’s assassination.
- 8. In 1967, Elijah Muhammad made him the national spokesman for the NOI.
- 9. He reinstituted the NOI in 1978 after W. Deen Mohammed had taken
Elijah Muhammad’s group into traditional Islam.
- 10. There is some evidence that suggests that Farrakhan may be moving away
from Fardian Islam and moving toward traditional Islam, but recent statements by Farrakhan indicate that he is still loyal to Fardian Islam (ie. Fard is Allah and Elijah Muhammad is his messenger).
- I. NOI Divisions
- 1. John Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad’s brother, claims that he is the
legitimate leader of Fard’s NOI and Fard continues to speak through him.
- 2. Silas Muhammad formed the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in Atlanta when
Elijah Muhammad died.
- 3. Hanafi Muslims follow Sunni Islam and broke away from NOI while Elijah
Muhammad was still alive.
- 4. Clarence 13X broke away from NOI while Elijah Muhammad was still alive
and called his group “The Five Percenters.”
- 5. Solomon founded the United Nation of Islam and teaches that he himself is
Allah in the flesh in the same way that Fard was Allah in the flesh.
- J. Summary of the development of the Nation of Islam
- 1. In 1930, W.D. Fard founded the NOI and led it till 1933.
- 2. In 1933, Elijah Muhammad became the Messenger of Allah (Fard)
and led the NOI from 1933 to his death in 1975.
- 3. W. Deen Mohammed became the leader of the NOI upon the death of Elijah
Muhammad in 1975. He renamed the NOI the WCIW and rejected Fardian Islam so as to conform with traditional Islam. W. Deen Mohammed’s group is now called the American Muslim Mission.
- 4. In 1978, Louis Farrakhan reinstituted Fardian NOI.
III. NOI Doctrine
- A. Revelation and Authority
- 1. The Bible is a poisoned and corrupt book that is only true when interpreted
properly by W.D. Fard or Elijah Muhammad. The white-Christian
interpretation of the Bible is false.
- 2. The Qur’an is a holy and pure book that comes directly from God.
- 3. Revelation continues with the teachings of W.D. Fard (Allah) and his Messenger, Elijah Muhammad. The Bible and even the Qur’an are secondary next to the current teachings of W.D. Fard and Elijah Muhammad.
- 4. A new holy book will be revealed in the future. This “Last Book” will be written by W.D. Fard (Allah) and his Messenger, Elijah Muhammad. This new book will be the Muslim guide to life in the next dispensation of black reign.
- B. God(s)
- 1. Finite Monotheism: There is only one God at a time, and he is finite.
- 2. God is finite (human) and black.
- 3. The first God was a man—the original black man, who created himself out
of total darkness. Thus God will always be, both man and black.
- 4. There has been a succession of Gods who live about two hundred years each. W.D. Fard is the latest in a string of Gods and therefore the Supreme God.
- 5. The black race is also God collectively.
- C. The Divine Nature of the Black Race
- 1. The black race is descended from the original race of mankind called the
Shabazz people, who are descended from God himself.
- 2. Since God is black, blackness is divine.
- D. The Demonic Nature of the White Race
- 1. Six thousand years ago, an evil scientist named Yakub purposely bred a
white race of liars and murderers for evil purposes. Yakub manipulated the gene pool for hundreds of years and murdered dark infants until he created a lying murdering white-skinned and blue-eyed people.
- 2. Yakub’s breeding scheme not only produced physical features of white skin
and blue eyes, it also produced an evil race of demons who would oppress original black man for a time.
- 3. For two thousand years, white demons lived as cavemen in Europe until Moses (a black man) brought them back to civilization where Allah has allowed them to rule over creation for four thousand years.
- 4. Christianity is the white devil’s religion and therefore must be as evil as he
is. Every black man who is a Christian has been deceived by the white devil.
- 5. Black men with white (European) names should change them to a Muslim
name as a sign of unyoking themselves from the white demon deception.
- E. Salvation
- 1. There is no resurrection of the dead, only a waking-up to Fardian Islam.
- 2. There is no eternal life for the just. (Nobody lives forever, not even God.)
- 3. Salvation is inward moral righteousness and separation from the demonic
white man and his corrupt ways.
- 4. Salvation is the recognition of black divinity, and deliverance from the
oppression of the evil white man.
- F. Armageddon
- 1. Armageddon is the final battle (jihad) between the righteous and the
unrighteous, between Fardian Islam (righteous) and Christianity (unrighteous).
- 2. In the end, W.D. Fard (Allah) will reappear from his present concealment
and lead a jihad against the white devils.
- 3. While the original black nation has been “asleep,” Allah (Fard) has been
preparing for the great jihad.
- 4. Allah has been building the “Mother Plane” (Ezekiel’s wheel within a
wheel). The Mother Plane is a war machine composed of 1500 flying bombers located inside a base ship that travels faster than the eye can see.
- 5. The “Mother Plane” will appear soon to annihilate the entire white
race and black Christians (apostates called “Uncle Toms”) in America and England.
- 6. Blacks will be delivered from the destruction of the Mother Plane if they
follow instructions about how to flee to safety when the Mother Plane appears.
- G. The Nation of Islam and Traditional Islam: According to traditional Islamic
scholars and Imams, the doctrines of the NOI stated above put the NOI outside the scope of traditional Islam.
 Based on Steven Tsoukalas, The Nation of Islam: Understanding the “Black Muslims,” (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2001).