The Nation of Islam in Literature Summary


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

In 1930, Wallace D. Fard (also known as Walli Farrad or Farrad Muhammad) began spreading what would become the central precepts of the Nation of Islam. Tenets of the Nation of Islam include: Whites are devils and use Christianity to subjugate blacks, history should be retold so that blacks may be given the regal spot they deserve as original agents of civilization, and blacks should strive for independence and sociopolitical separation from whites. After Fard’s disappearance in 1934, Elijah Muhammad, who had become acquainted with Fard in the early 1930’s, succeeded him. The Nation of Islam generally adheres to tenets of the Islamic faith. The Nation of Islam sanctions the Koran and the worship of Allah. A central departure that the Nation of Islam makes from orthodox Islam is that Black Muslims do not necessarily have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Black Muslims also rigorously confront the conditions of African Americans in racist America. Despite internal crises within the Nation over the years, it continues to thrive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, discipline, and hard work. Strict codes of conduct regarding tobacco, dress, drugs, sex, and marriage are adhered to by its members. Malcolm X was chosen by Elijah Muhammad to expand the Nation of Islam; differences of opinion led to Malcolm X’s breaking with the Nation of Islam in the early 1960’s. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. After Elijah Muhammad’s death in 1975, the Nation passed through a time of crisis in leadership. Louis Farrakhan became the leader; as his stature in the organization rose, so did membership—to approximately 100,000 in the mid-1990’s. Farrakhan has been the subject of writings...

(The entire section is 687 words.)


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Allport, Gordon W. The Black Muslims in America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1961.

Baraka, Amiri, and Larry Neal, eds. Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing. New York: William Morrow, 1968.

Lincoln, C. Eric. The Black Muslims in America. 3d ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994.

Lomax, Louis E. The Negro Revolt. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.