The Nation of Islam annually celebrates the birth of its founder, Wallace Farad Muhammad, on this day. Known in the NOI as Saviour’s Day, the recognition of the mysterious leader has culminated into a three-day event with current NOI leader, the Hon. Louis Farrakhan presiding over the festivities.
Also known as Wallace D. Fard, Muhammad’s birth year is recognized as 1877 by the NOI, although the FBI says he was born in New England in 1891. Muhammad’s birth origin and early life is not known but he told followers that he hailed from a family of means from the Holy City of Mecca with direct familial ties to the Prophet Muhammad.
Arriving in Detroit in 1930, Muhammad began preaching about a brand of Islam with a strong Black nationalist bent. With radical notions that white people were “devils” created by a Black scientist and bu encouraging healthy changes in diet, the early seeds of the Nation of Islam were planted. A man named Elijah Poole, who would become the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, became Master Farad’s top student.
In 1934, Muhammad mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again. Elijah Muhammad assumed the mantle of leadership for the next four decades. In NOI lore, Master Farad is considered the living manifestation of Allah (God), and came forth to the masses to liberate Black people in the name of Islam.
The FBI monitored the activity of the NOI heavily, and made vast yet unproven claims that Master Farad was white, and a working con man among other accusations, although nothing ever seemed to stick. The FBI’s COINTELPRO program, spearheaded by the paranoid and race-obsessed J. Edgar Hoover, did much to try to upend the NOI’s momentum and mar the image of its leader and savior.
Master Farad’s teachings were often brushed aside as divisive rhetoric by his critics, but he is still revered by NOI members and members of the Five Percent Nation.
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