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Elijah Muhammad and Islam$
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Herbert Berg

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791134

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791134.001.0001

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The Major “Islamic” Themes in Elijah Muhammad’s Quranic Commentary

The Major “Islamic” Themes in Elijah Muhammad’s Quranic Commentary

(p.75) 4 The Major “Islamic” Themes in Elijah Muhammad’s Quranic Commentary
Elijah Muhammad and Islam

Herbert Berg

NYU Press

This chapter presents a more detailed look at Elijah Muhammad's exegetical framework and teachings in light of some major themes in his writings. Elijah Muhammad and his followers may have honored the Qur'an and insisted on being called Muslims, but many of the beliefs and practices that he elucidated struck other Muslims as heretical and even unislamic, so much so that they strongly objected to the use of “Islam” to describe Elijah Muhammad's movement. Elijah Muhammad produced no systematic tafsīr, or commentary on the Qur'an, and none of his writings even takes the form of traditional commentaries. He was completely unfamiliar with the vast tafsīr literature produced over the fourteen centuries of Islam. Elijah Muhammad's conception of Allah differed from a more “orthodox” Muslim interpretation in two ways. First, he identifies Fard Muhammad with Allah. Second, he seems to ignore the doctrine that Allah is one. That is to say, Elijah Muhammad was not a strict monotheist.

Keywords:   Elijah Muhammad, Islam, Nation of Islam, Muslims, Qur'an, tafsīr, Allah, Fard Muhammad, monotheist

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