Malcolm X and His Contribution to Islamic Religion
Malcolm X was a human right activist and Muslim minister of African-American origin. He was born in May 19, 1925 and was assassinated at the age of 40. Malcolm X was popularly known to many as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, the Islamic name given to him following his commitment to the fundamentals and Islamic ideologies (Sabrina 4). While growing up among the whites in Michigan, Malcolm X started developing mistrust for the white Americans following the believe that it was the white terrorist who murdered his father while he was six years (Turner 61-2). This incident marked the transformation of this little man as he turned to crime upon moving to Harlem. At the age of 20, Malcolm X was arrested and taken to prison for criminal offense (larceny, breaking, and entering). It was during his prison life that Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam; a movement founded by Wallece Fard in the 1930s (DeCaro 76). He rose to the ranks to become a leader in the Nation of Islam. He opted for the name X on the belief that he had lost his true lineage following forced slavery on his African ancestors. For years, Malcolm X featured as the public face of this controversial Islamic group that believed and worshipped Allah and also lived to Mohammed’s teachings. In protecting the Nation Islam’s teachings, Malcolm X strongly advocated for Black-White separation, scoffed at the American’s civil rights movement, and espoused black supremacy by emphasizing on white-black integration (Kly 77).
Following the mysterious disappearance of Fard, Elijah Muhammad ascended to the leadership of the movement. The Nation of Islam became very powerful and influential, especially among the African-Americans who had been released from prison and where in search of help and guidance (Turner 54). The group preached strict adherence to moral codes as well as relying on fellow African-Americans for guidance and support. The primary goal of this movement was not integration, but empowering the blacks to establish their own churches, support networks, and schools (DeCaro 85). After making his personal conversion to Muhammad, Malcolm X’s talents were recognized by Elijah, making to become the spokesperson of the Black Muslims. Having been disillusioned with Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X led repudiation to the Nation of Islam and its fundamental teachings (Sabrina 6-7). It was after this walkout that Malcolm X embraced Sunni Islam. Following years of Middle East and African travels, Malcolm founded the popular Organization of Afro-American Unity and the Muslim Mosque, Inc. upon his return to the U.S.
While emphasizing the concept of Pan-Africanism, black self-defense, and black self-determination, Malcolm X disavowed the then prevailing racism. It was his repudiation of the Nation of Islam that prompted his assassination by a three-member team from the Nation of Islam movement. Malcolm X significantly contributed to the growth and development of Islamic region in the U.S. and other parts of the world (DeCaro 98). Through his inspirational and eloquent prose style, he electrified urban audiences, thus, impacting on their religious choices. His contribution to the spread of Islamic religion was facilitated by the establishment of the Mecca pilgrimage in 1964, a place that has since attracted Muslim faithful (Kly 65-6). His mission in supporting the spread of Islam came to an end on February 21, 1965 when the rival Black Muslims group arranged for his gunning down while he was leading a mass Muslim rally in Harlem (Sabrina 9). Although Malcolm X is no more, his Islamic ideologies and philosophies lived to be embraced by the Black Power Movement and the rest of the Muslim followers globally.
DeCaro, Louis A. Malcolm and the Cross: The Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, and Christianity. New York [u.a.: New York Univ. Press, 1998. Print.
Kly, Yussuf Naim, ed. The Black Book: The True Political Philosophy of Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik El Shabazz). Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2008.
HYPERLINK “http://www.google.co.ke/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22sabrina+zerar%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=4” Sabrina, Zerar. Malcolm X’s Ideology: From the Puritan/Nation-of-Islam Doctrine to Independence Rhetoric. GRIN Verlag, 2010.
Turner, Richard Brent. “Islam in the African-American Experience”. In Bobo, Jacqueline; Hudley, Cynthia; Michel, Claudine. The Black Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.