This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to understand Elijah Muhammad as a Muslim, opting for sociological and psychological approaches rather than theological ones. More specifically, by contextualizing Elijah Muhammad within the larger Islamic tradition, this book seeks to understand him as Muslim through a detailed examination of his religious context, his life, his use of the Qur'an, his relationships with other Muslims, his legacy, and his own religious convictions. It argues that to understand him, his movement, and his significance, scholars of religion must abandon the prejudice that he was not a real Muslim or that he was merely superficially Muslim. Even his political, economic, and social agendas were inextricable from his religious one. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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