The Black Muslim religion was founded by Wallace Fard in 1930 and joined by Elijah Mohammed. After four years, Fard disappeared mysteriously and Elijah took up the leadership of the movement. The movement continued to grow but at a slower rate until when Malcolm X joined. He spearheaded its growth through his influential teachings that attracted more black Muslims to join. Many who have looked at it as a cult that is against the white people have criticized the movement. The teachings have also been considered to be wrong and mainly directed towards a particular race and demonization. Many Muslim orthodox have distanced themselves from the group claiming that it does not conform to the teachings of the Koran.
After reading about the religion and hearing all that has been spoken about it, I set out on a research to gather more information about it. This for the purpose of finding out what the religious believes and practices of the people were and how strong the religion is. I carried out an exclusive interview with one of the committed members of the group who explained to me that he had specific reasons why he will still be a member of the group despite all the negatives associated with it. From the interview, I realized that most people were misguided about the religion simply because of the practices of some few individuals. It should therefore be realized that despite the weaknesses displayed by some of their leaders, the group was and is still instrumental towards the people who chose to align themselves to it.
The Black Muslim was formed out of the desperation of the blacks to seek a recognition as well as counter racial issues that were being faced by them in united states. The religion was found at a time when the blacks were being segregated and looked down upon. There was so much bitterness within the blacks towards the whites that they would do anything to counter this. One of the reasons that made the blacks even feel more alienated is the fact that each religion was associated with the white (Lincoln, 1994). This hence aggravated their need to have something that will cater for the needs of the black community as well as give them hope. It was quite difficult for the black Muslims to incline themselves to the original Islam community because it emphasized on the fact that Mohammed was a white. With al the evils they experienced from the whites, they wanted to disconnect themselves from anything that has a white origin.
It was difficult for the blacks to fathom the fact that the Islamic religion they were inclined to have its source from a Whiteman who was apparently not treating them, as the religion required them to. They hence felt cheated by such religions and thought there must be a way out. They were loyal to Islam and could therefore not just dump it to form a newer religion. Furthermore, there was a need to birth some hope among the black community who needed a feel of a religion that was there own. Islam and Christianity were the main religions in United States at this period. Fard therefore came up with a religion that would liberate the black man and most probably a means through which they would display the black race as superior.
Even though the Black Muslim has been criticized and despised, it should be recognized that it impacted a lot on the poor black race who found a recognition. It helped in raising their self esteem that has been tampered by the racial segregation. The blacks had been pushed to a point of desperation and hence required them to adopt means that will enable them survive. The movement has mainly been condemned because of the way it has displayed the white race. They look at whites as devils that should be avoided (Lincoln, 1994). What the blacks were experiencing during this time may have justified their negative attitude towards white. It is rather unfortunate to condemn this group simply because it is a minority not considering the situation that may have made them resort to such a religious group. They were desperate and in pain, they had no identity and nobody to speak or represent them. The moment they found a person, who could say something positive about their origin and despise their opponent, they considered it a good change that they adopted.
The information I gathered revealed that apart from its religious teachings that made the group to be condemned and the wrangles that were experienced among its leaders, the group spearheaded the growth of the blacks. The group managed to gather many blacks and motivated them towards believing that they had great potential. This changed their mindset, which had made them believe that they would amount to nothing. There was need for them to know that their skin color did not define their destiny but rather what they believed and subsequently achieved. Through this movement, many were empowered economically as they gained the courage to face the challenges they faced. The teachings were mainly to help them believe that they had what it takes to be successful. This ensured that they ignored all the accusations against them by the whites and concentrated on what will benefit them.
The 20th century proved to the blacks that the efforts being done to offer them recognition were futile. There is nothing more they could do but to find a way through which to survive. They had for long lived in a country where nobody recognized them. For all the contribution they made to the nation, they were rewarded by abuse and torture, which reflected on the kind of lifestyle they lived. The very people that were mistreating them were inclined to religions that encouraged them to be kind towards other people and not show partiality. They were angered by the fact that not even such religious teachings afforded them a fair treatment from the whites. The solution was to come up with a similar religion that would elevate them. They were religious people and hence had to be conformed to a religion they knew best. If such a religion could not satisfy their needs, it was only fair for them to come up with a different set of teachings.
The Black Muslim religion has been condemned to be against the whites and considered them to be devils. However, before we condemn this, had the whites displayed anything to the blacks to disapprove their opinion? On the other hand, how wrong was it for the blacks to come up with a religion that seemed to segregate when the whites were free to segregate them basing on their skin color? This was not just a subject of religion but a battle between races. The Black Muslim can be considered a black revolutionary movement that was aimed at hitting back at the whites for the evils they had displayed to them (Lincoln, 1994). It may be said that the words they used were misleading and demeaning the Christian and Islamic religion, but what could have been expected out of an angry lot of people who were not being rewarded well by the very people they have served and lived with for years.
Before we condemn a religious movement or join others in despising their religion, it is important to gather historic and environmental facts that led to the formation of such a movement. There is much a bout religions that is never shared. People are good at criticizing a religious sect simply because of some few things that they dislike about them. Just because a religion is against what the majority believes in does not necessarily render it useless. They could be having other fundamental facts that make others stick to it irrespective of what others say. There is no religious movement that was just formed without prior consideration. Matters of religion touch an important aspect of human life, which should never be taken for, granted. When am movement still thrives even after facing such opposition, then there is something that the followers are benefitting from which should never be taken for granted. We are living in a democratic world where people are free to do what they please as long as they are not directly interfering with other people’s life. We should also recognize the fact that we have different views, which have to be accommodated if we have to live in unity.
Lincoln, C. (1994). The Black Muslims in America. New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.