I’ve been out of town for a few days on a shoot and have had some travel time to continue reading Professor Jackson’s book, Islam & The Blackamerican. It really is proving to be a most engaging read. I’ve reached the point in the book where Professor Jackson begins to talk about the transition from Islam as Black Religion to loosing its validity do to a number of influences. Some of those include the break-off of Warith-deen Muhammad from his father’s group, the Nation of Islam. The rise of sunni-Blackamerican Muslims and how they challenged the validity of not only the Nation, as it was viewed as straight heretical, but also Warith-deen’s off-shoot movement, since by it coming out of the Nation, it had a stigma attached to it. And finally, as both the proto-Islamic movements (The Nation, Moorish Science Temple…) and the sunni-Blackamerican Muslims had had very little in the way of authentic tradition based on history, immigrant Muslims showed up with a sort of de facto religious superiority. They had had Islam in the family/country for a 1,ooo years. They were descendents of the Prophet and so on and so forth. Since neither of the indigenous groups were able to counter this tide they were forced to take a back set, as he says, “Black Muslims went from the back of the bus to the back of the camel” with the advent of immigrant Islam.
This is as far as I have gotten. There are some other notes that I will post later in regards to a few other interesting points. I cannot recommend the book enough as a very special and pertinent piece of American Muslim scholarship.