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.