The Nation of Islam

What do Malcom X, Muhammad Ali, and the Million-Man March have in common? All have to do with the Nation of Islam (NOI), otherwise known as the Black Muslims.

One of several Black Islamic sects, NOI was founded by Wallace D. Fard (Wallace Fard Muhammad), the incarnation of Allah. After his mysterious disappearance in the 1930’s, Elijah Poole (Elijah Muhammad) was named the sect’s leader. Upon Poole’s death in 1975, leadership passed to Poole’s son, Wallace D. Muhammad. Due to several changes made by Wallace D. Muhammad (one such change was the acceptance of whites into membership, moving to integration), Louis Eugene Wolcott, popularly known as Louis Farrakhan, emerged to salvage the teachings of Poole and broke away from Wallace D. Muhammad in 1978, founding a new NOI.

With headquarters in Chicago, NOI sells many books and tapes by its leaders. They also publish their own newspaper named The Final Call.

Farrakhan has been in the media limelight on several occasions, and I’m sure many people wonder what it is he believes (that is, in addition to his racial beliefs). Christians should be aware that NOI’s theology is anything but Christian.

Anthropologically, the central myth of NOI is that blacks are the original race (The Supreme Wisdom, p. 19) that was deported from the moon 66 trillion years ago (Our Saviour Has Arrived, p. 35). Some time after the deportation (more than 6,000 years ago) a scientist named Yakub discovered a way to graft a race of people from this original race, thus the explanation of the white race (Ibid., p. 116), and the superiority of black people.

As for the Bible, the white race tampered with the divine scriptures, distorting it to make them suit themselves. Thus: “The Bible is now being called the poison book by God Himself, and who can deny it is not poison?” (The Supreme Wisdom, p. 12) As a result, the Qur’an is viewed as the true word of Allah (see ibid., p. 20).

NOI’s view of God is complex. They see God collectively as the black race, with Allah being supreme over them. Louis Lomax, a black journalist, once interviewed Elijah Muhammad in 1959: “Lomax: Now if I have understood your teachings correctly, you teach that all of the members of Islam are God, and that one among you is supreme, and that one is Allah…? Elijah Muhammad: That’s right.” (recorded in The Black Muslims in America, p. 69) Consequently, all white people are blue-eyed devils (see ibid.).
NOI denies that Jesus is God the Son, second person of the Trinity: “He (Jesus) was only a prophet like Moses and the other prophets…” (The Supreme Wisdom, p. 16) To justify their view, in part NOI twists the same passages in the Bible as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do to deny Christ’s deity (Colossians 1:15; John 14:28). In Jesus’ place NOI sees Wallace Fard Muhammad: “We believe that Allah (God) appeared in the person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July 1930; the long-awaited ‘Messiah’ of the Christians and the ‘Madhi’ of the Muslims.” (Our Saviour Has Arrived, p. 224)
Of course, with such beliefs there can be no Christianity. But that does not deter NOI: “Christianity is a religion organized and backed by the devils [whites] for the purpose of making slaves of black mankind.” (The Supreme Wisdom, p. 13)

In reaching Black Muslims for Christ we should be aware of how NOI views the different races, Christians (by the way, NOI sees black Christians as those who have sold out to the devil), Christian doctrine, and understand what Black Muslims believe. For more information on NOI theology and witnessing tips, contact SDM.


Elijah Muhammad. The Supreme Wisdom. Chicago: The University of Islam, 1957.

___________ . Our Saviour Has Arrived. Chicago: Muhammad’s Temple no. 2, 1974.

C. Eric Lincoln. The Black Muslims in America. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.