Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975

Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975

Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975

Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975

Synopsis

Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam came to America's attention in the 1960s and 1970s as a radical separatist African American social and political group. But the movement was also a religious one. Edward E. Curtis IV offers the first comprehensive examination of the Nation of Islam's rituals, ethics, theologies, and religious narratives, showing how the movement combined elements of Afro-Eurasian Islamic traditions with African American traditions to create a new form of Islamic faith.

Considering everything from bean pies to religious cartoons, clothing styles to prayer rituals, Curtis explains how the practice of Islam in the movement included the disciplining and purifying of the black body, the reorientation of African American historical consciousness toward the Muslim world, an engagement with both mainstream Islamic texts and the prophecies of Elijah Muhammad, and the development of a holistic approach to political, religious, and social liberation. Curtis's analysis pushes beyond essentialist ideas about what it means to be Muslim and promotes a view of the importance of local processes in identity formation and appropriations of Islamic traditions.

Excerpt

I give my life to this great man, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad; For in the principles by which he stands, I envision a code of honor. He gave me a God whose name is Allah; One Who really answers prayer — In place of a spook, who, in times of great need, Was never, ever there. I revere this man who filled me with pride Such as I've never known before; A road to success and true happiness, Elijah has opened the door. Each time I pray, some five times a day, I beseech that Allah keep him strong; For I know down life's way there'll be many like me For Muhammad to teach right from wrong. — Edward 6X Ricketts, “A Muslim's Allegiance,” Muhammad Speaks, 29 December 1967 . . .

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