Oct - Dec 2002, Other

The NOI is not al-Qaeda

By Juan Alvarado

As per Laurie Kellman of the Associated Press [“Muslims fear sniper backlash,” 10-24-02], John Allen Muhammad belongs to that idiosyncratic religious group of African-Americans known as the ‘Nation of Islam’ or the NOI for short. He provided his services to Louis Farakhan’s Million Man March as security back in the mid-nineties. This means that despite his name, John Allen Muhammad is neither Sunnite, Shia, Wahhabi or Salafi. Because of his affiliation with the NOI, Mr. Muhammad holds onto some pretty peculiar beliefs which may explain the phrase ‘I am god’ on the tarot card left on the murderous scene some time ago — something that would have been unheard of from an Orthodox Muslim.

Some of the differences between the NOI and Orthodox Islam are as follows:
1. The NOI holds onto a strange trinity by stating that Wallace Fard Muhammad, the person who taught Elijah Muhammad, is God in the flesh as well as the returned Christ and the Mahdi. Orthodox Islamic belief holds that God is not human; that Christ will return in the end times (but hasn’t yet) and that the Mahdi or the Guide, a separate entity, will herald the coming of the Messiah and fight the anti-Christ.

2. The NOI holds that “the Blackman is god” and is somehow superior to all other men and/or people. Orthodox Islam holds that the True God is the Creator of everything else, of black men or otherwise and is not human. Furthermore, the prophet of Islam stated that all people descended from Adam and Eve and that the noblest among us all are those who are most pious.

3. The NOI holds that Elijah Muhammad, formerly known as Elijah Poole, is the prophet and messenger of God, who in their thought is W.F. Muhammad. Orthodox Islam refutes this saying that Mustafa Muhammad al-Amin, the prophet of Islam of over 1,400 years ago was the final prophet sent to humanity. He is called the Khatim or the Seal of prophethood.

4. The NOI holds that an evil scientist named Yakub created the other races but most importantly the white race which they consider to be devils incarnate. Orthodox Islam holds that all people are redeemable in God’s eyes. As such, there are millions of Muslims of European descent, namely the Bosnians, Turks, Kosovars, Albanians, Bulgarians, Chechens, etc. The NOI bars membership to whites.

Although these are some of the more major issues that divides the Nation of Islam from Orthodox Islam, there are many more differences between the two religions. For the past few years, however, Louis Farakhan has been trying to accommodate his NOI to Orthodox Islamic teachings. It remains to be seen whether much of the above has been abandoned. These beliefs can be verified in their own publications, namely “Message to the Blackman” by Elijah Muhammad.