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The Other Side of Elijah Muhammad

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam from the early 1930’s until his death in 1975, is best known (some say infamously) as a hater of white people, whom he called devils. He also was on record as vehemently against integration of the races. And perhaps the most controversial thing he was known for was his preaching that God, (ALLAH) came in the form of a man named Fard Muhammad. This last pronouncement, probably more than any thing else he was known for, separated him from the rest of the Muslim world and caused non-Muslims to doubt the Nation of Islam’s credibility.

But there was much more to this man than that made famous by his own philosophies and the media. For instance he is quoted as saying, “They’re (this government, run by white men) are not objecting to me teaching the truth, as there are white Muslims in America, and lots of them. (Although the NOI would not allow white people into their mosques) “We have them all over the world and they recognize and respect you. You must recognize and respect them. You don’t disrespect people who are trying to respect you.”

One of the most striking characteristics of the religion of Al-Islam is the instant kinship of all Muslims. Also the respect given to Muslims when they live the religion the way it was revealed to, and lived by Muhammad the Prophet (s). Living this religion means being respectful of others and being non-violent (except when attacked). Elijah Muhammad knew the dignity this religion conferred upon its adherent. All that is needed is to love ALLAH and live the religion.

“He does not wish for us to waste our time looking to see who we can make mockery of, looking and trying to show people up.” We must show the world we are a righteous people trying to set up the characteristics of people of righteousness. We don’t want our people acting unrighteous regardless of who acts unrighteous to us. We must not do so ourselves since we represent ourselves as righteous people.”

Elijah Muhammad espoused some of the tenets of the Holy Qur’an in many ways. Clean moral living was a way of life during his leadership. Acts of lawlessness and immoral behavior was not tolerated. Smoking, the taking of intoxicants, stealing and adultery and fornication were some of the strict taboos.

He was quoted as saying that if God gives something to another man, that is between him and God. “Take somebody’s property? – Take nothing. Just take that which God has given you and make something out of it.

You take nothing – you go to war with no man. No – you go to war with yourself (the greater jihad).

Trying to rob people out of their own (what is theirs) is wrong. The earth is too large.”

The ideal formula for human growth and development just may be adopting the strict moral code of the Nation of Islam and coupling it with the spiritual direction of the last revelation from ALLAH, the Holy Qur’an.

Let’s take the good from everything we encounter. We can only grow from it.

With ALLAH’S name, the Merciful Benefactor, Merciful Redeemer
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin


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