What were Malcolm X's religious beliefs and how did his beliefs affect his actions?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Malcolm X converted to Islam in early adulthood and this guided the rest of his life, especially his advocacy for People of Color in the United States. Initially, Malcolm was introduced to the Muslim faith through the Nation of Islam—a sect of Islam founded in the United States as a Black Nationalist and reconstructive movement with the goal of undoing racial oppression. Due to Malcolm's early life experiences, the Nation's message of the evil of white people resonated with him. Early on in his religious and sociopolitical career, he spoke, wrote, and published openly the belief in a natural superiority of Black people and the natural evil of white people. To him, and the Nation, Muslim faith (as a part of Black identity) and social advocacy were the means to advance the station of Black Americans.

After more than a decade of involvement with and leadership in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm left the Nation. He had become disillusioned with many of the attitudes and methods favored by other Nation leaders. His own study of Islam guided his departure from the Black Nationalist movement. He came to believe that Islam was the way to peace and equality for all, even people of different races, even for the oppressor and the oppressed.

In more day-to-day life, Malcolm followed the rules of personal conduct which Islam promotes. He prayed often, did not drink alcohol, and before his death, he made the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial