Sample Religious Research Paper on The nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam


The Nation of Islam is a religious movement mainly composed of the African Americans that was first founded by Wallace D.F. Muhammad in July 1930 in Detroit Michigan. The aim of the establishment of the religious movement was what Wallace termed as improving the spiritual, mental, as well as the social and economic conditions of the black population living in the United States.  Between 1934 and 1975, Elijah Muhammad was the key figure of the group and he ventured in real estate, as well as armed forces and schools among other amenities. Later on, Malcom X took the mantle of the movement and became very prominent. Malcom X made hajj to mecca where he got experience of the place and this made him to reject the separatist ideologies of the nation of Islam, thus trying to move the group towards the orthodox Sunni Islam, and this led to his assassination in 1965. After the assassination of Malcom X, Warith Deen Mohammad, took the mantle of the group. Deen was the first born to the legal wife of Malcom X.  He took part in the consolidating and merging majority of the Nation of Islam members and converting  them to the traditional Islam, after which he disbanded the Nation of Islam. After the dissolution, the new NOI group was renamed the American society of Muslims. Being its leader, he stayed at its mantle until 2003 when he died.  After his death, rival groups, who were not satisfied with the former leadership developed. Farrakhan who was the reader of the formed group called the group final call, and in 1981 renamed the group as the original groups name, thus maintaining the beliefs that were held by Elijah Mohammad. Farrakhan led the rebelled minority group and aimed at brigding the gap betweenthe American Christians while at the same time moving towards the Sunni Islam mainstream. The nation of Islam has temples in various cities in the US and has an estimated population/followers of about 20000 -50000 members. In the United States, the group is categorized together with other groups that preach hate messages. This paper aims at identifying the various dimensions of the nation of Islam with an emphasis on ideologies, main beliefs, and its comparison with other groups.

Ideologies of the NOI

Many of the African American views the group as one that possesses positive motivating attributes and black ideologies.  The main tenets of the nation of Islam are to enhance moral, social as well as economic standpoints of the African American. This includes the disparagement of the core groups, the white Caucasian. They have even gone ahead and personified the white rave as a resemblance of evil, claiming that the race was originally black and therefore the black population must pursue separate development. With such kind of ideologies, the movement has been able to win a lot of African Americans especially prisoner’s criminals and drug users. The Muslims of black race backgrounds have been financing the group’s projects that include the construction of mosques, schools, building of apartment complexes, stores as well as buying farms.

The main idea behind the strong beliefs heal by the group, emanates from the attempt by its leaders leader and followers in answering  two fundamental questions including the  definition as to who the NOI are and the quest for what the search for the real definition of sin. One of the belief held by the NOI is the fact that they believe that there only one God- Allah. This is evidenced by their daily five times prayers. The official believes have been outlined in books, published articles as well as in other documents and speeches that were presented by its leader including Elijah Muhammad, Malcom X, and Louis Farrakhan, among others (Gibson, 2012).  These statements include the inflammatory statements that were talked by former leader which included the use of the terms like white devils to signify the white people. The NOI has continued to teach it followers of the existence of three distinct categories of people who represents the world society. One of the category that the group highlights contains the deaf, blind, , the dumb, and the blind masses, who accounts for 85% of the total population and are easily swayed in the wrong direction and are difficult to lead in the right direction. . The 85% category are said to be controlled by 10% of the population who are generally termed as the rich and slave makers. The 10% are said to achieve the goal of controlling the 85% through their ignorance, their ability of utilizing the religious doctrines as well as the mass media.  The third category of people that the group teaches includes the poor righteous teachers who teach the world and know the truth about the 85% who controls the 10% (Lee, 1996). These people accounts for 5% and are in constant struggle to liberate the 85% by engaging with the 10% who controls the world by trying to free the minds of the masses.

Main beliefs

As specified out by Elijah Muhammad in a message to the Blackman living in America that was published in 1965 indicated several verbatim that serve as the beliefs of the nation of Islam. The group believes in the existence of only one God. Allah, as he is known by the Muslim name is the only provider and from him came the prophets. The nation of Islam also believes in the facts and truth that are contained in the holy book of Quran. The truth in the Quran is in the order as it was spoken by the former prophets. In their believe, there is a notion that people will resurrect from the dead, and this will happen in the mental status and not in the physical form. This means that people will not resurrect in the fresh but in the spiritual form. This being the case, the Negroes who are believed to be in need of the mental resurrection will be the first to resurrect (Elijah, 1993). At the same time, this believe holds that they are the people of Gods choice and since it is written that god will accept the despised and the rejected, they  find no other person fitting the category description in the last days except the negroes in America. This is supported by the fact that the NOI believes in the resurrection of the righteous.

They believe that judgment will start as revealed in the holy books in America. At this time, as their belief hold, there ought to be a separation between the Negroes and the white as the black man should be freed in name as well as in facts (Elijah, 1993). By this, they imply that the black person ought to unchain from the names imposed by the former slave masters. Justice for all in equality as a nation as well as the respect for other peoples law is advocated with the idea of intergradation being termed as  hypocritical the Americans do not believe in the ideologies that could lead to the satisfaction of the unemployed in society.

The NOI believes that they are righteous and that no Muslim should participate in wars likely to take human lives. At the same time, they believe that women ought to be respected and protected. They also believe that God appeared in the form of Wallace Muhammad in 1930, and resembles the long awaited messiah of the Christians or Mahdi of the Muslim.


Comparing the nation of Islam (NOI) and the traditional Islam

There are some similarities between the NOI and the traditional Islam. However, differences also exist. The teaching of the five pillars of the Muslim faith, for example, is viewed as an important part of the Muslim faith but is viewed differently among the various Islamic schools of culture as well as cultures. In terms of the belief in Allah (God), the traditional Muslims believe that there is only one God known as Allah (tawhid) (Decaro, 1998). This fact is contrasted by the NOI as they believe that Wallace was Mahdi. This, according to the traditional Muslim believes, is contentious as they believe in Mahdi as shirk. The traditional Muslim believers pray five times a day (salat), and this is mandatory. This belief is also accepted by the NOI though; some sections of the NOI questions the validity of this fact. Actually, it is indicated that once, the former leader of NOI indicated the importance of prayers in spiritual advancement.

Fasting is mandatory in the traditional Muslim setting, in the month of Ramadan. This fact corresponds with NOI beliefs only that the NOI believers are allowed to fast in December. This fact was allowed by the NOI leadership so that it could be easier for new converts to break away from celebrating Christmas. Both the nation of Islam and the traditional Muslim believers believe in zakat (compulsory charity) (Curtis, 2006). This entails contributing money as well as contributing time to do a service to the community. Concerning pilgrimage, both groups believe on its importance and encourage its members to undertake the journey.

NOI teaching on race

NOI in its teaching emphasizes that the black people are the mother source of all other races (aboriginal) and therefore all other races emanated from them. By this, Louis Farrakhan was indicating that from the black man, all other races, including the white, brown yellow and the red people. It is indicated that the success of a black man producing a white man was developed by a black scientist known as yakub, who is thought to have envisioned making a race that would be opposed to the initial people. That is a race that would in future (today) rule the original people for a given duration of time. Yakub is said to have promised his followers that the grafted people would be taught how to rule his people through a system characterized by tricks and lies and would use deception to divide and conquer or disenfranchise the unity of the aboriginal people, by putting a brother against a brother and then acting as mediator to rule both sides.

Criticism of the nation of Islam

The nation of Islam has been attempting to stand on its own distinct from Islam. They even produced a book titled the Black Muslim in America which Lincoln describes how religious organization use myths and extreme generalizations to indoctrinate the NOI. At the same time, the sect believes in the superiority of the black race, an expression not held by the Muslim fraternity or the Quran. The movement is also criticized on their belief that Elijah Muhamand did not die but rather was restored back to health, and now flies in a huge like plane over their heads.


The nation of Islam has been in existence since the 1930, and has had some of the most controversial figures and ideologies in the 20th century. Their central tenets has been the question of who the black person is and the nature of sin. All in all, they belief of one God, respect for women among other believes can be comparable with the traditional Muslim. All in all, their believe that the negroes were the first to be created and that the white man came as a result of some chemical reaction by yakub raises the controversy as to the reality of the religion.





Gibson, D.-M. (2012). A history of the Nation of Islam: Race, Islam, and the quest for freedom. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

Lee, M. F. (1996). The Nation of Islam: An American millenarian movement. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press.

Elijah, M. (1993). History of the Nation of Islam: Interview by Elijah Muhammad. Phoenix, Ariz: Secretarius MEMPS Ministries.

DeCaro, L. A. (1998). Malcolm and the cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and christianity. New York and London: New York University Press.

Curtis, E. E. (2006). Black Muslim religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.