the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, The Merciful
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad
A Man Who Raised A Nation:
By the grace and permission of Allah (God)
Nearly three decades after President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with
the Emancipation Proclamation, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was born on or
about Oct. 7, 1897. Mr. Muhammad was born the 7th child of 12 to William (later
named Wali) and Marie Poole, in Sandersville, Ga. Due to poor record keeping
by government officials, the exact date of his birth remains unknown, according
to historians and family members. Nevertheless, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
said his birth took place some time between the first or second week of October
1897 and established Oct. 7 as the anniversary date of his birth. His life’s accomplishments and achievements have made a major impact
on both Black and white America.
Like few other figures in American history,
he quite simply reconstructed society like no one else. The accomplishments of the Muslims, under his direction, achieved dramatic,
never before seen results in the areas of religion, politics, social interaction,
economic development, and international affairs for the so-called American
Negro at that time. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in the dawning of the 21st
century, remains a pivotal world policy maker and key figure whose program
and position will shape the destiny of the new century and millennium, his
supporters have determined.
By the end of the 1920s, both black and white America
plunged into the bowels of severe economic misery at the hands of the stock
market crash of 1929. Hard times would force many people to go on relief.
Lynchings, race riots, that is, whites attacking defenseless Blacks, and other
forms of terrorism against Blacks at the hands of whites continued unabated,
as reported by Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois and other credible sources.
However, Detroit, with its huge population of 1.5 million
people, including 250,000 Blacks, was beginning to see changes in its social
scene. On July 4, 1930, the long awaited “Saviour” of the Black
man and woman, Master W. Fard Muhammad,
appeared in this city. He announced and preached that God is One, and it was
now time for Blacks to return to the religion of their ancestors, Islam.
News spread all over the city of Detroit of the great
things taking place on Hastings Street brought about by the benevolence and
generosity of this distinguished yet mysterious man from the East. Mr. Muhammad’s
wife first learned of the Temple of Islam and wanted to attend to see what
the commotion was all about, but instead, her husband advised her that he
would go and see for himself.
In the autumn of 1931, Elijah Poole attended his first
lecture by Master Fard Muhammad and was
overwhelmed by the message and immediately accepted it. With the great spiritual
inspiration Mr. Muhammad received from his visit to the Temple of Islam, he
was able to convince his entire family to embrace his new found religion.
The Founder of the Nation of Islam gave Elijah the
surname “Karriem” and made him a minister. Later he was promoted
to the position of “Supreme Minister” and his name was changed
A NEW MAN
“The name ‘Poole’ was
never my name nor was it my father’s name,” he would later write.
“It was the name the white slavemaster of my grandfather after the so-called
freedom of my fathers.”
Mr. Muhammad, in the early1930s, along with 25,000
other believers in Detroit, quickly worked
to help this great man from the East build the so-called Lost and Found Nation
of Islam. Over the course of the next three-and-one-half years, Minister Muhammad
was personally taught by his Teacher non-stop.
The Muslim community, in addition to establishing religious
centers of worship, began to start businesses. Mr. Muhammad established a
newspaper, The Final Call to Islam, in 1934. Much of this newspaper’s
content contained religious editorials and transcripts of lectures delivered
inside the Temple of Islam, as it was known then. This publication would be
the first of many publications he would produce.
Meanwhile, Mr. Muhammad and the Muslim parents were
so inspired by the message that they had received from Master Fard Muhammad
that they worked to establish their own schools for the proper education of
their children. Indeed, the Muslim parents felt that the educational system
of the State of Michigan was wholly inadequate.
By 1934, the Michigan State Board of Education disagreed
with the Muslims’ right to pursue their own educational agenda, and
the Muslim teachers and temple secretary were jailed on the false charge of
contributing to the delinquency of minors. In response to the State’s
denial of the Muslim’s right to self-educate their children, Mr. Muhammad
said he committed himself to jail after learning what had happened. Eventually,
the charges were dropped and the school officials were freed and Mr. Muhammad
received six months’ probation. Mr. Muhammad’s stance on Islamic
education remained firm and the religious community continued to resist placing
the Muslim children under white Christian teachers. In September of that same
year, he moved to the city of Chicago, where his Teacher had already set up
the Islamic settlement.
After several incidents of police harassment against
Master W. Fard Muhammad, in both Detroit and Chicago, in 1934, Elijah Muhammad’s
teacher departed the scene, under the veil of mystery, and left Mr. Muhammad
with the mission of resurrecting the Black man and woman
By 1935, Mr. Muhammad faced many new challenges. A
death plot arose among a few disgruntled members who wanted the leadership
position, and Mr. Muhammad took flight, not in fear, but, as he said, to preserve
the peace and carry out his Teacher’s instructions to him which was
to go to Washington, D.C. to visit the
Library of Congress in order to research 104 books on the religion of Islam,
among other subjects. He was on the run for the next seven years.
During this period, he was known under many names:
“Mr. Evans” (his wife’s maiden name), “Ghulam Bogans,”
“Muhammad Rassoull,” “Elijah Karriem” and “Mohammed
of U Street.” He also personally founded and established the mosque
in Washington, D.C.
America’s war with Japan and Germany gave rise
to the draft. On May 8, 1942, Mr. Muhammad was arrested in Washington, D.C.,
allegedly for draft evasion. “When the call was made for all males between
18 and 44, I refused (NOT EVADED) on the grounds that, first, I was a Muslim
and would not take part in war and especially not on the side with the infidels,”
he wrote in “Message To The Blackman.”
“Second, I was 45 years of age and was NOT, according
to the law, required to register.” Many other male members of the Nation
of Islam at that time were imprisoned for being conscientious objectors to
World War II.
NATION GROWS DISPITE PERCECUTION
After World War II ended, Mr. Muhammad
gained his release from prison and returned to Chicago. From Chicago, the
central point of the Nation of Islam, Mr. Muhammad worked hard to expand the
Nation of Islam’s membership. Among the many new members to enroll in
the ranks of Islam, during this time, were Brother Malcolm X and his family.
During the 1950s, Mr. Muhammad promoted Minister Malcolm
X to the post of national spokesman, and began to syndicate his weekly newspaper
column, “Mr. Muhammad Speaks,” in Black newspapers across the
country. As the membership continued to increase, by 1955, Minister Louis
Farrakhan, then known as Louis Walcott, an entertainer, enrolled in the Nation
of Islam after hearing Mr. Muhammad deliver a speech in Chicago.
Persecution of the Muslims continued. Members and mosques
continued to be attacked by whites in Monroe, La., Los Angeles, Calif., and
Flint, Mich., among others. Publicity in the white-owned-and-operated media
began to circulate anti-Nation of Islam propaganda on a massive scale. By
the early 1960s, the Readers Digest magazine described Mr. Muhammad as the
most powerful Black man in America.
In Washington, D.C., Mr. Muhammad delivered his historic
Uline Arena address in 1959 and was afforded presidential treatment, receiving
a personal police escort.
Subsequently, television commentator Mike Wallace,
in conjunction with Louis Lomax, a Black journalist, aired the documentary,
“The Hate That Hate Produced,” on a local New York City station.
The documentary misrepresented the message of the Nation of Islam, calling
it a hate teaching. James Baldwin, a famous Black author, released the book,
“The Fire Next Time,” based largely upon his interview with Mr.
Muhammad. At the same time, white political leaders
began to denounce the Nation of Islam and held hearings on alleged “un-American”
activities. Minister Louis Farrakhan and the believers of Islam defended the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the
Nation of Islam against these attacks.
Meanwhile, by 1964, Minister Malcolm X decided to separate
from the Nation of Islam and formed his own religious and political organization.
His very public defection from the Nation of Islam was based on his misinterpretation
of the domestic life of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and counterintelligence
efforts by the U.S. Government.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere of rancor on both sides
made ripe the environment for the secret police to meddle in the affairs of
of Islam and Black America, according to late attorney, William Kuntsler.
Mr. Kuntsler cited a declassified memo obtained under the auspices of the
Freedom of Information Act that revealed that the U.S. Government played a
role in the 1965 assassination of Brother Malcolm X.
After the assassination, the New York mosque was fire
bombed and the Muslim community was reeling. Mr. Muhammad then dispatched
Minister Louis Farrakhan to New York City to take over the mosque there and
begin the rebuilding effort. In 1965, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad promoted Minister Louis Farrakhan to the post
of national representative.
By the mid-sixties, Mr. Muhammad’s ever-growing
Islamic movement extended itself to more than 60 cities and settlements abroad
in Ghana, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America among other places, according
to the Muhammad Speaks newspaper, the religion’s chief information apparatus.
A host of Islamic and African governments all over
the world received the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and donated generously to
his mission. Mr. Muhammad made Hajj to Mecca (the holy pilgrimage and a pillar
of Islam) on more than one occasion and advocated universal brotherhood and
Every February 26, he brought together the faithful
for Saviors' Day conventions in Chicago to celebrate his Teacher’s birthday.
In addition to re-emphasizing his message of moral and spiritual renewal that
also featured his future plans and agenda for the upcoming year, Mr. Muhammad
also announced his economic development programs.
Under his leadership, the Nation of Islam began to
show signs of progress with the establishment of farms, livestock and vegetable
cultivation, rental housing units, private home construction and acquisitions,
other real estate purchases, food processing centers, restaurants, bakeries,
lamb packing and cold storage facilities, clothing factories, banking, business
league formations, import and export businesses, aviation, health care, administrative
offices, shipping on land, sea and air, plans for modern university and campus
in Chicago in addition to men’s and women’s development and leadership
MUHAMMADS GREATEST HELPER
By 1972, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad opened a $2 million mosque and school
in Chicago. During this important grand opening of Temple No. 2, as it was
known then, he praised and let it be known who his top helper was in his work.
He asked Minister Farrakhan to come before the religious
community and then made the following announcement while digressing from his
previously stated remarks: “I want you to remember, today, I have
one of my greatest preachers here. ... What are you hiding behind the sycamore
tree for brother? (He chuckled.) C’mon around here where they can see
you! (A rousing round of applause ensued).
“We have with us today,” Mr. Muhammad continued,
“our great national preacher. The preacher who don’t mind going
into Harlem, New York, one of the most worst towns in our nation or cities.
It is our brother in Detroit and Chicago or New York. But, I want you to remember
every week he’s on the air helping me to reach those people that I can’t
get out of my house and go reach them like he.
“I want you to pay good attention to his preaching.
His preaching is a bearing of witness to me and what God has given to me,”
he declared. “This is one of the strongest national preachers that I
have in the bounds of North America. Everywhere you hear him, listen to him.
Everywhere you see him, look at him. Everywhere he advises you to go, go.
Everywhere he advises you to stay from, stay from. For we are thankful to
Allah for this great helper of mine, Minister Farrakhan.” (Another rousing
round of applause ensued). “He’s not a proud man,” he said.
“He’s a very humble man. If he can carry you across the lake without
dropping you in; he don’t say when you get on the other side, ‘You
see what I have done?’ He tells you, ‘You see what Allah has done.’
He doesn’t take it upon himself. He’s a mighty fine preacher.
We hear him every week, and I say continue to hear our Minister Farrakhan.
In watching Minister
Louis Farrakhan and the followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the
legacy of the Nation of Islam continues to make unlimited progress as witnessed
by the “miracle” of the “Two Million Man March” among
other truly amazing accomplishments.
Mother Clara Muhammad: An Example of Black Womanhood
By Nisa Islam Muhammad
Staff Writer, Final Call News
In the 1930s and ’40s, few Black women ventured off the path dictated
by their slave master’s children. The behavior, conduct and demeanor
of Black women was more than predictable.
And then out of the wilderness of North American came Mother Clara Muhammad,
the late wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and together they established
the Nation of Islam in America.
Mother Clara, born Nov. 2, 1899, in Georgia, was a deeply religious and devoted
Black woman. She married then-Elijah Poole in Georgia in 1917. From Macon,
Ga., the Muhammad family moved to Detroit in April 1923 in search of better
economic and social circumstances as many Blacks migrated north for many of
the same reasons.
Between 1917 and 1939, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Mother Clara had
eight children—six boys and two girls. Their names are Ayeman (Emmanuel),
Nathaniel, Ethel, Lottie, Jabir (Herbert), Elijah Jr., W. Deen (Wallace),
Black Detroit was electrified at the mysterious appearance in July 1930 of Master Fard Muhammad , the founder of
the Nation of Islam. News of this great teacher and humanitarian spread like
wildfire throughout the Black community.
Mrs. Muhammad got news of Master Fard from a neighbor and wanted to see for
herself what the commotion was all about, but her husband said he would go
Hence, in September 1931, Mr. Muhammad first heard Master Fard Muhammad and
embraced the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Mr. Muhammad, subsequently,
was able to bring his entire family into this “new religion.”
The Hon. Elijah Muhammad was a star student in Islam. Master Fard Muhammad
often visited their home and according to family members, He would also teach
Mother Clara and the children.
Often, Mother Clara demonstrated strength and courage in the face of virulent
opposition to the Nation of Islam. They took their children out of the public
school system and became pioneers for home schooling. But then home schooling
She relentlessly continued to maintain her household and raise her children
while her husband went to jail for the right to self-educate their children
and as a conscientious objector to World War II and all wars entered into
by white America.
Also, internal disputes over the leadership of the Nation
of Islam in the 1930s would cause her husband to leave his home in Chicago
to preserve the peace and avoid the evil planning of would be rivals.
Those times were tough but not too tough for Mother Clara Muhammad. She carried
on her husband’s work while he was
away. Her leadership and courage proved essential to the preservation of the
newly formed Nation of Islam.
While her husband was incarcerated she led the Nation of Islam, under his
direction. In Illinois, according to family members, Mother Clara continued
to resist placing her school-age children in the public school system, and
when the white authorities came to her door to take her children away, she
reportedly said, “I will die as dead as this doorknob before I allow
my children to attend public school!”
“As the tenderly beloved help-meet,” the late Muhammad Speaks
editor, Leon Forrest, would write in 1972, Mrs. Muhammad, “in her deeply
moving, quiet way set a sterling, ringing national standard for all Black
women to follow.”
Photo caption: The love, courage and faithful determination of Mother Clara
Muhammad (pictured along with her husband the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad) helped to establish the Nation of Islam in America.
by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad
Why do I stress the religion of Islam for my people, the so-called
First, and most important, Islam is actually our religion by nature. It is
the religion of Allah (God), not a European organized white man’s religion.
Second, it is the original, the only religion of Allah (God) and His prophets.
It is the only religion that will save the lives of my people and give them
divine protection against our enemies.
Third, it dignifies the black man and gives us the desire to be clean internally
and externally and for the first time to have a sense of dignity.
Fourth, it removes fear and makes one fearless. It educates us to the knowledge
of God and the devil, which is so necessary for my people.
Fifth, it makes us to know and love one another as never before.
Sixth, it destroys superstition and removes the veil of falsehood. It heals
both physical and spiritual ills by teaching what to eat, when to eat, what
to think, and how to act.
Seventh, it is the only religion that has the divine power to unite us and
save us from the destruction of the War of Armageddon, which is now. It is
also the only religion in which the believer is really divinely protected.
It is the only religion that will survive the Great Holy war, or the final
war between Allah (God) and the devil.
Islam will put the black man of America on top of the civilization. So, why
not Islam? Some people say, "Why so much religion?" It is very necessary
for me to teach the knowledge of that which is the only key to the hereafter
for his brother. I will say here that this alone is salvation to you and me,
just learning to love each other as brothers. Islam, unlike Christianity,
is doing this right in your midst.
Regardless as to how long and how hard you try to be a good Christian, you
never have a sincere true love for your own black brother and sister as you
should. Islam will give you true brothers and sisters the world over. This
is what you need.
A people subjected to all kinds of injustice need to join Islam. You are
sure of Allah’s (God) help in Islam. Why don’t the preachers of
my people preach Islam? If they would, overnight they would be on top.
Are you too proud to submit to Allah and sit in heaven while you live and
have His protection against your open enemy? Take it or leave it. You will
soon wish you had taken Islam. God is drying America up by degrees. This time
is at hand, and hell is kindling up. Islam is the right way.
A Few Testimonials....
New York Times magazine
"Alone of all the Negro leaders, Elijah Muhammad has a vivid awareness
of the vital need of a new birth in any drastic human transformation, and
he alone mastered the technique of staging a new identity.... It is worth
remembering that what Elijah Muhammad is doing to the Negro is, in a sense,
what America has done to the immigrant from Europe."
"Muhammad, a master psychologist, offers identification, definition and
belonging to all those who seek it, and in return gets a loyalty, obedience
and discipline which staggers the imagination."
James Baldwin, author, "The Fire Next Time"
"Elijah Muhammad has been able to do what generations of welfare workers
and committees and resolutions and reports and housing projects and playgrounds
have failed to do.... He has done all of these things, which our Christian
church has spectacularly failed to do."
Readers Digest magazine (reported in early 1960s)
"This mild-looking man is the most powerful Black man in America. He
offers a new way of life. Muhammad prompts even his severest critics to agree
when he says he attacks ‘traditional reasons the Negro race is weak."
"They (the Muslims) manage to do something that is beyond
the grasp of most public schools in urban ghettos. Muslims schools have little
trouble with drugs, truancy, or unruly behavior."
The Washington Star News
"The Black Muslim Mosque has been called by high police officials a stabilizing
influence in the community."
Abdul Basit Naeem, former editor and publisher of Moslem World
& The U.S.A. "Despite Mr. Elijah Muhammad’s blunt
techniques and a few controversial teachings about certain aspects of Islam,
I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Moslem leader. I do indeed appreciate
his efforts to bring the Black people of America back into the fold of Islam,
which, in his opinion, as in mine, is the only solution to their basic problems.
... Americans of African descent, I believe, should be grateful that the Message
of Allah has, at last, been brought to them, through the person (of) ... Mr.
Purchase "Table Talks" of the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad here; http://www.tabletalks.org/