The Nation of Islam is a spiritual/political movement founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad. It was based on the doctrine that out of all the nations of the earth, African Americans were the only nation without any knowledge of their past history, no control of their present lives, and had no guidance for their future. One of Wallace's first disciples was Eiljah Poole, who later changed his name to Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad began preaching that W F. Muhammad was literally God incarnate.
Elijah was born in Georgia but later moved to Chicago where he came into contact with Fard Muhammad and accepted his teachings. He eventually travelled all across America setting up mosques or temples (as the are commonly referred to) and named them based upon his sequence of arrival dependending on where he was. In New York, to this day, they still refer to the New York mosque as Temple No. 7 because that was the seventh place he visited while travelling all thoughout the US.
Throughout this time his teachings were spread by his followers, everywhere from the streets to the prisons. They eventually reached a man in prison by the name of Malcolm Little. Upon his accepting of the teachings, as he left prison he joined the Nation of Islam and became commonly know as Malcolm X. This 'X' represents what is called in mathematics an unknown variable. The followers accept this X as a sign that they are rejecting all that this world has done to them including the inherited family name given to them by their former slave owners with respect to their history in America. They eventually will replace this 'X' with an Arabic name more descriptive to their personality and character.
Also around this time an up and coming Caribbean singer known as Louis Eugene Walcott came into contact with the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. He also accepted the teachings and eventually came to be known as Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan is currently the leader of The Nation of Islam and lives in Chicago, Illinois at the former home of Elijah Muhammad.
Muslims the world over reject the premise that the Nation of Islam has anything to with Islam. They point out that only the names are similar and that all of the fundamental beliefs are totally at odds. Below is a list of differences between Islam and the Nation of Islam (NOI).
(It is true that Muslims all over the world reject The NOI as having anything to do with Islam. That is irrelevant to the work done in the Black community by leaders and followers of the Nation of Islam. The traditional Muslim community never came into the Ghettos of North America and taught the principles of civilization or proper conduct for advancement in a modern society. The Nation of Islam does this on a continual basis to the shock and amazement of not only the Muslim community, but the entire world. Former drug abusers and criminals have found life meaningful again and have become productive members of society because of the NOI.)
Islam: Teaches the worship of an incorporeal God, called Allah, who by definition has no physical form.
NOI: Teaches that God became incarnate in the form Wallace Fard Muhammed in 1930s Chicago.
Islam: Teaches that the Arab preacher and warrior Muhammad was the very last of all prophets, and that no more messengers or prophets would ever arise.
NOI: Teaches that Elijah Muhammad is another prophet or messengers of Allah; also teaches that Louis Farrakhan is yet another messenger, sent to deliver a last call to humantity.
Islam: Teaches that there will literally be a resurrection of the dead, and that resurrected souls (or bodies) will be sent to paradise or hell.
NOI: Rejects life after death.
Islam: Teaches that Muslims must fast during daylight hours during the entire month of Ramadan.
NOI: Does not maintain this requirement.
(Again this is an inaccurate statement - The NOI DOES suggest fasting with the Muslim commnity during Ramadan although it is not a requirement BUT but they DO fast every Decemeber.)
[This claim needs references: Every month they are required to fast for an entire three day period. Not like a traditional Muslim fast of abstaining from food in the daylight hours [which NOI members do on a regular basis throughout their life time - one meal a day] but an actual fast of no food intake during the entire 72 hour period.]
Islam: Teaches that all races are created equal in the eyes of God.