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Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975
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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 rituals, ethics, theologies, and religious narratives of the Nation of Islam, 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 offers a view of the importance of local processes in identity formation and the appropriation of Islamic traditions. Although it came to the nation's attention as a separatist and radical African American social and political group in the 1960s and 1970s, Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam was also a religious movement. This book offers the first comprehensive examination of the NOI's rituals, ethics, theologies, and religious narratives based on interviews, members' memoirs, and contemporary media produced by the NOI, such as the weekly newspaper Muhammad Speaks. 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. 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. Curtis 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. 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. 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 rituals, ethics, theologies, and religious narratives of the Nation of Islam, 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 offers a view of the importance of local processes in identity formation and the appropriation of Islamic traditions.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. Chapter One: What Islam Has Done For Me: Finding Religion in the Nation of Islam
  2. pp. 15-34
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  1. Chapter Two: Making a Muslim Messenger: Defending the Islamic Legitimacy of Elijah Muhammad
  2. pp. 35-66
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  1. Chapter Three: Black Muslim History Narratives: Orienting the Nation of Islam in Muslim Time and Space
  2. pp. 67-94
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  1. Chapter Four: The Ethics of the Black Muslim Body
  2. pp. 95-130
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  1. Chapter Five: Rituals of Control and Liberation
  2. pp. 131-174
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  1. Conclusion: Becoming Muslim Again
  2. pp. 175-188
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 189-228
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 229-241
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