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The Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan

Orthodox Muslims vs. Black Muslims 

Shaykh ‘Ali Mo’allim Hussen
President, Board of Ulema
Italian Muslim Association

The Nation of Islam Examined

On March 7, 1998 the board of Ulema of the Italian Muslim Association (AMI) issued the following fatwa against the Nation of Islam.  The English translation was rendered by Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Secretary-General of the Italian Muslim Association and director of the cultural institute of the Italian Islamic Community.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace upon His servant and Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah, upon his family, his companions and those who following his way till the day of the Resurrection. Allah, the Most High, says in the Holy Qur’an:  “Of the people there are some who say: ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day,’ notwithstanding their unbelief.  Fain would they deceive Allah and the believers, but they only deceive themselves, and realize it not.  In their hearts there is a disease, and Allah permitted this disease to increase. Grievous is the penalty they incur, because they are false.” (Aur’an 2:8-10).

During the past few months a group active in the United States that calls itself the “Nation of Islam” has received worldwide press coverage. Its leader, Louis Farrakhan, met Islamic scholars and heads of State, introducing himself as a representative of American Muslims. Some brothers of ours asked this Board: “Can Mr. Farrakhan and his followers be accepted as ‘Muslim’ in the sense that this word is defined by the Shari’ah?” With the permission and the help of Allah, after due investigation of the matter, this Board answers as follows:

Praise to Allah, the One who created good and evil, and who revealed the difference between the true and the false. Generally speaking, the hukm (Shari’ah rule) is that each one who claims to be a Muslim must be accepted as such by other Muslims, except in the case they have clear evidence of the contrary. The most common hukm is that “unbelief is not proved by actions,” but “is proved by the principles that are believed.” The most common way to prove what a man actually believes is by analyzing his speeches and writings.

That means that the fact that someone does not usually observe the hukm of the Shari’ah is not enough to prove his unbelief. This view is held by the Hanafi, Maliki and Shaf’i schools, but the school of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal says that “unbelief is not proven by actions, except for the compulsory ritual prayers (salawat).”

According to this school, a Muslims who refuses to pray a compulsory prayer must be regarded as a renegade, but the other three schools says he is a Muslim, although a sinner (fasiq). Notwithstanding this divergence, the four schools are unanimous in considering non-Muslim someone who—without being under pressure—says “I do not regard prayer as compulsory,” or “There is no need to fast on Ramadan,” or “There is no harm in drinking wine,” etc.  That kind of declaration proves that a person has rejected one of the clear hukms, about which there is no doubt or possibility of misunderstanding.  The consensus of Islamic Jurists is that rejecting a single hukm is like rejecting them all, and that missing an element of faith is like missing them all.  There is no difference between a hukm concerning things that must be believed by the heart, or things that must be done by the body.  As a general rule, it is forbidden to investigate whether Muslims observe the Shari’ah, and even if their belief is correct from all points of view.  Notwithstanding this, as soon as a Muslim hears from his brother something that can be identified as a wrong belief, he has the duty to correct him and to teach him the correct doctrine according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

In cases when some wrong doctrine can imply unbelief, it is necessary for the involved person to repent and to pronounce again the two testimonies. The case is different when a person or a group is openly preaching and teaching doctrines that look unusual.  In that case, the Ulema are bound to investigate the matter, and judge whether these doctrines imply heresy (bid’ah) or apostasy (riddah).

Regarding the Nation of Islam

Regarding the “Nation of Islam”, their official doctrine is that Allah appeared in the form of a human being named Fard Muhammad, and that this “incarnation of God” chose another man, called Elijah Muhammad, as his Prophet.  This is a clear contradiction of the Monotheistic faith (Tawhid), and of the Qur’anic teaching according to which Muhammad (blessings and peace upon him) is the Seal of the Prophets.  That is enough to say that everyone who belongs to the “Nation of Islam” is not, ipso facto, a Muslim, but an unbeliever.

Muslims must declare this truth, and each one of them who keeps silent while listening to Mr. Farrakhan being called “a Muslim leader” is sinning.  Since the matter concerns “faith and unbelief,” it is not permitted to avoid a judgment due to political or diplomatic considerations.  Every marriage between a Muslim and a member of the “Nation of Islam” is null and void, and whoever, after becoming a member of this organization, wants to return to Islam, must repent and be reconverted.  In case he was married, he must re-celebrate his wedding; in case he performed the Pilgrimage, he must perform it again.


We pray to Allah to make all this clear to our brothers in Islam, and to help them never to deviate from the doctrine that was revealed in the Holy Qur’an and that is presently accepted by the Islamic Community.  And we call upon Allah as a Witness of what we say.

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