Elijah Muhammad

Elijah Muhammad, 1897–1975, American black-nationalist and religious leader, b. near Sandersville, Ga. Originally named Elijah Poole, he left home at 16 and worked at various jobs. In 1923 he settled in Detroit and became an automobile assembly-line worker. In 1931 he became a follower of Wali Farad, or W. D. Fard, who had established a Temple of Islam in Detroit. When Farad disappeared in 1934, Poole (now renamed Muhammad) assumed leadership of the movement that was to become known as the Black Muslims, officially the Nation of Islam. He was imprisoned during World War II for encouraging resistance to the draft. Muhammad called himself the "Messenger of Allah" and preached that the only salvation for black people in the United States lay in withdrawal into an autonomous state. He retained almost autocratic control over his movement. He greatly influenced Malcolm X, although Malcolm later left the Black Muslims. W. Deen Mohammed, his son, succeeded him as leader of the Nation of Islam.

See biographies by C. A. Clegg 3d (1997) and K. Evanzz (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Elijah Muhammad: Selected full-text books and articles

The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad By Claude Andrew Clegg III University of North Carolina Press, 2014
Elijah Muhammad and Islam By Herbert Berg New York University Press, 2009
From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity By William W. Sales Jr South End Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: "The Theology of Elijah Muhammad" begins on p. 61
Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare By James H. Cone Orbis Books, 1992
Librarian's tip: "Break with Elijah Muhammad" begins on p. 183
Islam in America By Jane I. Smith Columbia University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam" begins on p. 80
The Impact of Al-Islam on the African American Population. (Issues and Insights) By Lumumba, Hakeem Counseling and Values, Vol. 47, No. 3, April 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Muslims of America By Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad Oxford University Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Elijah Muhammad begins on p. 54
Integration or Separation?: A Strategy for Racial Equality By Roy L. Brooks Harvard University Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Elijah Muhammad begins on p. 143
Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam By Carolyn Moxley Rouse University of California Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Elijah Muhammad begins on p. 94
Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups By Stephen E. Atkins Greenwood Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Elijah Muhammad begins on p. 212
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