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The Moorish Science Temple Legends and Charisma in the making of productive Prophecy

Dec 24, 2015



  • Slide 1
  • The Moorish Science Temple Legends and Charisma in the making of productive Prophecy
  • Slide 2
  • Continuous Muslim Presence? Noble Drew Ali, as the foundation for Islam among African Americans in the twentieth century, may very well be their link to an African Muslim past, as he was born and reared in an area contiguous with Melungeon and Ishmaelite influence at a time when the descendents of verifiable African Muslims may have yet been practicing Islam along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. (Gomez, 275)
  • Slide 3
  • Importance of the Moorish Science Temple For, in the final analysis, Noble Drew Ali is necessarily the bridge over which the Muslim legacies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries crossed over into the Muslim communities of the twentieth and twenty-first. (Gomez, 203) the coming together of Islam, Islamism, Garveyism, Freemasonry, New Thought, Rosicrucianism, anticolonialism, black nationalism what does authentic mean here? Syncretism?
  • Slide 4
  • The life of Noble Drew Ali (1) born as Timothy Drew in non-existent Simpsonbuck county in North Carolina on January 8, 1886 possible meeting of the Drew family with Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d. 1897) in Newark, NJ Egypt connection: induction into the secrets of High Magic; appointment by Saudi ruler of Mecca, fact or allegory?
  • Slide 5
  • The life of Noble Drew Ali (2) Canaanite Temple founded in 1912-3 in Newark, NJ; possible membership of 30000 by 1920 Context of the Great Migration, religious and political movements; NAACP founded in 1909; Garvey arrives in 1915 Shift to Chicago in 1925, Moorish Temple of Science declared in 1926, in 1928 the Moorish Science Temple of America Internal Conflict and then his death in 1929
  • Slide 6
  • The Noble Drew Ali
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  • Slide 8
  • Noble Drew Ali on Race and Islam We, as a clean and pure nation descended from the inhabitants of Africa, do not desire to amalgamate or marry into the families of the pale skin nations of Europe. Neither serve the gods of their religion, because our forefathers are the true and divine founders of the first religious creed, for the redemption of mankind on earth. Therefore we are returning the Church and Christianity back to the European Nations, as it was prepared by the forefathers for their earthly salvation. While we, the Moorish Americans are returning to Islam, which was founded by our forefathers for our earthly and divine salvation. (Quoted in Dannin, Black Pilgrimage 28)
  • Slide 9
  • Establishing a proper genealogy The Negro, as they were called in this nation, have no nation to which they might look with pride. Their history starts with the close of the Civil War or more properly with his being forced to serve someone else. Thus he is separated from the illustrious history of his forefathers who were founders of the first civilization of the Old World... This is why the nationality of the Moors was taken away from them in 1774 and the word negro, black and colored, was given to the Asiatics of America who were of Moorish descent, because they honored not the principles of their mother and father, and strayed after the gods of Europe of whom they knew nothing. (Quoted in Gomez, 224)
  • Slide 10
  • Constructing the meaning of race From the Koran for Moorish Children: 92. What title does Satan give himself? God. 93. Will you define the word White? White means Purity, Purity means God, and God means the Ruler of the Land. 94. To who do we refer to at times, as being the GREAT GOD? ALLAH. 95. Is the devil made in the Image and Likeness of ALLAH? No, he is the shadow of our lower-selves and will pass away. (Gomez, 225)
  • Slide 11
  • Identity Card: Muslim and American This is your Nationality and Identification Card for the Moorish Science Temple of America, and Birthrights for the Moorish Americans, etc. we honor all the Divine Prophets, Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, and Confucius. May the blessings of the God of our Father Allah, be upon you that carry this card. I do hereby declare that you are a Moslem under the Divine Laws of the Holy Koran of Mecca, Love Truth Peace Freedom and Justice. I AM A CITIZEN OF THE U.S.A. (Quoted in Dannin, Black Pilgrimage 27)
  • Slide 12
  • The importance of economic independence
  • Slide 13
  • Circle Seven Koran (1) The Holy Koran of the Moorish Holy Temple of Science 7, Know Yourself and Your Father God-Allah, That You Learn to Love Instead of Hate. Everyman Need to Worship Under His Own Vine and Fig Tree. The Uniting of Asia. Canaan and Moab the historical homeland, founders of Africa Jesus not Jewish so much as Moabite (Davids marriage to Ruth) John to Jesus as Garvey to Noble Drew Ali
  • Slide 14
  • Circle Seven Koran (sources) Chapters 2-19 from The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ by Eva S. and Levi Dowling, published in 1909 Chapters 20-44 from Unto Thee I Grant, published in San Francisco, 1925 Chapters 1, 45-48 original by Noble Drew Ali
  • Slide 15
  • Circle Seven Koran (2) This observation need not diminish claims that the Circle Seven Koran constitutes divine revelation; however it does mean that Noble Drew Ali encountered most of the revelation indirectly, identifying sacred, arcane utterance rather than receiving it afresh. The real problem with the Circle Seven Koran, therefore, does not issue from its mostly derivative nature but from the fact that its sources are unacknowledged. Noble Drew Ali is therefore susceptible to the charge of being one of the more significant plagiarists of the twentieth century. (Gomez, 232)
  • Slide 16
  • Influences on the MSTA Rosicrucianism, came to America in the 19th century Christian Science, founded by Mary Eddy (d. 1910) in America, the New Thought Movement Garveyism Freemasonry, Black lodges in America since the 18th century Shriners, Black Shriners founded in 1893, in Newark from 1901 onwards Ahmadiyya
  • Slide 17
  • Conversion to the MST All black men and women in the USA descended from Canaan, specifically from Moab, and Muslims, most recently from Morocco; part of an Asiatic transnational community Upon joining the MST, one takes a new surname: Bey or El Dietary restrictions; monogamy; men must continuously wear fezzs; three daily prayers facing Mecca; Friday a holy day The Noble Drew Ali a reincarnation of both Jesus and Muhammad There was no afterlife to worry about, heaven and hell in this world Many symbols, figures, songs taken from Christianity: conversion is facilitated
  • Slide 18
  • Marcus Garvey (d. 1940) So few of us can understand what it takes to make a man - the man who will never say die; the man who will never give up; the man who will never depend upon others to do for him what he ought to do for himself... If 400,000,000 Negroes can only get to know themselves, to know that in them is a sovereign power, is an authority that is absolute, then in the next twenty-four hours we would have a new race, we would have a nation, an empire, - resurrected, not from the will of others to see us rise, - but from our own determination to rise, irrespective of what the world thinks. 5
  • Slide 19
  • Other messiahs: Father Hurley (d. 1943) Father Hurley instructed his followers to refer to themselves as Black or Ethiopian as opposed to the pejorative Negro, and to eschew interracial marriage. Contemptuous of so-called mulattoes, Hurley proscribed swine and alcohol (although he permitted wine in moderation for special religious occasions), and he flew his own version of the red, black, and green flag (the colors of the UNIA flag). (Gomez, 211)
  • Slide 20
  • Critiques of the MSTA Satti Majid Muhammad, from the Sudan, arrived in New York in 1904, founds orthodox Muslim groups, encounters Seven Circle Koran in 1927; went back to Egypt and asked for fatwa from al-Azhar against MSTA Garveys attack on the MSTA Internal fragmentation in 1929
  • Slide 21
  • Crisis in the MSTA Noble Drew Ali was facing the crisis of the conflict in his own message. He consistently required his followers to observe the law of the land; on the one hand, his argument for the embrace of Moroccan identity as a necessary precursor to full acceptance in North America suggests that he was not interested in a radical political solution to the intransigence of racism. On the other hand, he had created a psychological space, a terrain of the mind, wherein racial separation was envisioned and anticipated. (Gomez, 266)
  • Slide 22
  • Succession struggles in 1929 Claude Greene declared himself to be Grand Sheik; he was killed on March 15; Drew was arrested, released on bail, died July 20, 1929 Kirkman Bey, Steven Gibbons and George Johnson Bey vied for power; latter two claimed Drews spirit had entered them Steven Gibbons founded new Moorish Temple in Chicago in 1941 Muhammad Ezaldeen, former member, returns in the late 1930s from Egypt, founds Adenu Allahe Universal Arabic Association, a Sunni organization
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  • Kirkman Bey (1929-59) Nelson Bey (1959- 62)
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  • Blakely (1963-71) R. Love El (1971- 2002)
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  • Current leader: R. Jones Bey
  • Slide 26
  • The Significance of the MST previous strands of Muslim influence/presence converge the emerging importance of African-American political mo
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