Abstract

According to accepted knowledge, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam to embrace ‘orthodox’ Islam after his pilgrimage to Mecca. As a result of his contacts with Saudis and Egyptians, it was assumed that Malik Al-Shabazz had embraced Sunnism or Salafism. This study, however, suggests that Malcolm X was brought into mainstream Islam by Dr. Mohammad Taki Mehdi, an Iraqi Shi‘a. Not only did Dr. Mehdi make arrangements for Malcolm X’s pilgrimage, he appears to have acted as his spiritual and political mentor. On the basis of interviews with family and friends of the late Dr. Mehdi, it is suggested that the famous activist may have shared the story of Imam Husayn with his African American associate. If Malcolm X decided to follow in the footsteps of Imam Husayn, he could be considered a de-facto Shi‘a by some. At the very least, it would suggest that Malcolm was influenced by Shi‘ism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2051-557X
Print ISSN
1748-9423
Pages
pp. 5-24
Launched on MUSE
2012-11-14
Open Access
No
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