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World Community of Al-Islam, The

(former names: The Lost-Found Nation of Islam in the Wilderness of North America; Black Muslims; Nation of Islam). In 1930 a peddler, perhaps Arab., known as Farrad Mohammad (or Fard Mohammed [Muhammad]; F. Mohammad Ali; Elijah Mohammed [Muhammad]; Wallace Fard Muhammad; Wali [or Walli] Farrad; W. D. Fard; Ford) began teaching the Bible to Negroes in Detroit, Michigan, but came to oppose Scripture in favor of Islam.* The meeting hall was called Temple of Islam; later ones were called Temple 2 (Chicago, Illinois), etc. Farrad Mohammad lived in Detroit till 1933 or 1934, when he disappeared and Elijah Mohammad (Elijah Poole; Robert Poole; Paul Poole; Karriem; Ghulam Bogam; 1897–1975) became the leader. He was succeeded by his son Warith (formerly Wallace) Deen Muhammad, who changed the sect's name first to The World Community of Al-Islam in the West (WCIW) and then to the American Muslim Mission, oppned its membership to whites in 1976, and instituted other reforms, including one that allows women to share power with men as “imams” (see Imam), i. e., spiritual leaders, of mosques; Warith resigned 1978 in favor of an elective council to head the §. The decision to admit whites led to factionalism and a split, with Louis Farrakhan forming his own, smaller, Nation of Islam.

Black Muslims held that the solution of the Negro problem in Am. is separation and that the US owes them land. They rejected the white race, Am. society, Christianity, and the term “Negro,” and regarded N. Am. as a cultural and moral wilderness. They accept modified Islam. They hold Am. Negroes to be descendants of original man (“people of the moon”) and part of the ancient lost tribe of Shabazz, which allegedly lived in the region of Mecca. F. Mohammad is regarded by some as an incarnation of Allah (see Islam, 1); E. Muhammad is regarded as a Messenger of Allah. Muslim claim ca. 80 temples in the US (1963).

E. U. Essien-Udom, Black Nationalism (Chicago, 1962); C. E. Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (Boston, 1961); W. H. Burns, The Voices of Negro Protest in America (New York, 1963); W. J. Brink and L. Harris, The Negro Revolution in America (New York, 1964). EL

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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