One distinct difference between Malcolm's life before prison and after it was the sense of purpose. Prior to prison, Malcolm lacked direction and purpose. He was without a spiritual identity, refusing to identify himself with anything larger than himself. This self- interested and manipulative sense of being was replaced with a commitment to something transcendental and beyond him with his conversion to Islam. For Malcolm, the transformation into a person who embraced Islam and made it his purpose to spread the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was the critical difference between his life before prison and his life afterwards. This sense of purpose was the difference from which all other differences flowed.