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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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Elijah Muhammad, Other Muslims, and Islam

Elijah Muhammad, Other Muslims, and Islam

(p.105) 5 Elijah Muhammad, Other Muslims, and Islam
Elijah Muhammad and Islam

Herbert Berg

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the mutually suspicious, even hostile, relationship between Elijah Muhammad and many other Muslims, and on the various ways scholars have understood the relationship between Islam and Elijah Muhammad. Most scholars recognize that he took the underdeveloped teachings of Fard Muhammad and produced a viable religious movement. However, some scholars maintain that “Islam” is merely a veneer for a militant civil rights movement, or that his was a millenarian sect, whose strong racial and political agenda was garbed in Islamic language. Even those scholars who maintain that Elijah Muhammad must be considered a Muslim ask what is the best way to understand his role in Islam: as a racial exegete? a jihadist? He has even been recast as a “proto-Muslim” or “crypto-Muslim,” who guided African Americans through a temporary “unorthodox” stage so that they could eventually be brought to Sunni Islam.

Keywords:   Elijah Muhammad, Islam, Muslims, religious movement, civil rights movement, African Americans, Sunni Islam

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