In 1803, Bilali (Ben Ali) Muhammad and his family arrived in Georgia on Sapelo Island. Bilali Muhammad was a Fula from Timbo Futa-Jallon in present day Guinea-Conakry. By 1806 he became the plantation manager for Thomas Spalding, a prominent Georgian master. Bilali and his wife Phoebe had 12 sons and 7 daughters. One of his sons is reported as being Aaron of Joel Chandler Harris’ work, author of Uncle Remus and Br’er Rabbit stories. His daughters” names were Margaret, Hester, Charlotte, Fatima, Yoruba, Medina, and Bint. All his daughters but Bint could speak English, French, Fula, Gullah, and Arabic. Bilali was well educated in Islamic law. While enslaved Bilali became the community leader and Imam of at least 80 men. During the War of 1812 Bilali told his slave master that he had 80 men of the true faith to help defend the land against the British.
Bilali was known for regularly wearing his fez, a long coat, praying five times a day facing the east, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and celebrating the two holidays when they came. Bilali was buried with his Qur’an and prayer rug. In 1829 Bilali wrote a 13 page hand written Arabic text book called a “Risala”about some of the laws of Islam and Islamic living. The book is known as Ben Alis”Diary, housed today at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Bilali “Ben Ali” was the leader of one of America’s earliest known Muslim communities. It’s documented that in 1812 there were at least eighty Muslims living on a plantation controlled by Ben Ali from 1806 to the late 1830s.
In 1803, Salih Bilali (Old Tom) came from a powerful family of Massina in the Temourah district in West Africa. He was captured around 1782, sold in the Bahamas at first and then in the US around 1803. He lived from 1770-1846. He was sold to John Couper in the Bahamas and brought to St. Simon Island, Ga. From 1816-1840 Salih Bilali was the trusted head slave manager of more than 450 slaves of John and Hamilton Couper. It was reported by his master’s son, that while Salih was on his death bed that his last words were “Allah is God and Mohammed his Prophet.”
One of Salih’s descendants was Robert Abbott, founder of the “Chicago Defender, “one of the nation’s first black newspapers. Another one of Salih’s descendants was named after him Bilali Sullivan who was known as (Ben Sullivan). Bilali (Ben) Sullivan purchased some of the original property from the plantation in 1914. He was interviewed about his life in the 1930s.
There are two well known Muslim communities of the Gullah Islands of St. Simon and Sapelo off the coast of Georgia. Bilali (Ben Ali) Mahomet and Salih Bilali ruled as plantation mangers and Muslim leaders. In America’s history there were Gullah Wars. Some of them are known as the Seminole Indians wars. The African-American language Gullah was initially developed by the enslaved African Muslims and non-Muslims in Senegal to help communicate among the various African tribes.
In 1805, a slave named Sambo who knew Arabic had escaped from a plantation on the Ashley River, in South Carolina. The announcement in the Courier on February 9, 1805 offered a reward of $5 for his recovery. It stated that he was about 5′ 5”, slender body and writes the Arabic language.
In 1807, Yarrow (Mamout) Marmood was given his freedom. Yarrow was enslaved and brought from Guinea, Africa before the American Revolution. Yarrow was given his freedom by Upton Beall of Montgomery County in the Washington, DC area. On April 13, 1807, Upton Beall’s deed was recorded that the Negro Yarrow was given his freedom because he was more than forty-five years old and that he would not become a bother to the County of Washington.
Two pictures of Yarrow exsits today, one painted by James Simpson in 1822 which hangs in the Peabody Room at Georgetown public library, and the other picture painted by Charles Wilson Peale in 1819 which hangs at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Yarrow Marmood was a property owner in Georgetown in Washington, DC. In the 1800 and 1810 census Yarrow’s name was listed as Negro Yarrow with a wife or elderly woman living with him. In the 1810 census Yarrow’s name was listed as Yarrow Marmood with one woman living with him. Yarrow had established a hauling business, owned real estate on what is now 3330-3332 Dent Place NW, and he had invested some of his savings in the stock of the Bank of Columbia. One of Yarrow’s neighbors and friend was another manumitted slave named Joseph Moor who became a respectable grocer in Georgetown.
In Washington, DC the 1820 census identifies Yarrow Marmood and Joseph Moore, both with families and free men. The census identifies Yarrow and a female family member and two other free people of color (blacks), Grace Almonds a family of four and Yarrow’s neighbor Charley Brown a family of three, and one slave. The 1820 census also has three other free blacks Obed Diner a family of five, Free Catty a family of three, and Nelly a family of two.
On April 12, 1844, Yarrow’s estate was administered by probate court in Washington, DC, under the name Negro Yarrow. Yarrow lived to be more than 100 years old. The dates of his birth and death have been record as 1736-1844.
In 1807, Hajj Omar Ibn Sayyid was captured at the age of 37. Omar was a Fula born in Fur Tur in present day Senegal. He was born from a Serahule family. Omar lived from 1770-1864. He had studied in Bundu, Senegal where he learned how to read, write, arabic, Islamic studies, and made Hajj in Mecca before his capture. Omar was enslaved in Charleston, SC where he labored for a short period of time before he escaped in 1810 to Fayetteville, NC where was caught and imprisoned. While in prison Omar persuaded James Owen, a general in the state militia and brother of John Owen (who later became Governor of North Carolina), to purchase him, which he did for $900.00. Omar was also known as Uncle Moreau.
Omar ibn Sayyid wrote many items in Arabic while enslaved. He wrote the Lords Prayer, the Bismillah, this is How You Pray, Quranic phases, the 23rd Psalm, and Omar’s latest known writing was in 1857 Surah 110 of the Holy Qur’an.
Omar was given an Arabic written Bible and a Qur’an by his slave master. The Bible is housed today at Davidson College in North Carolina.
In The War of 1812, Abraham joined the British Colonial Marines who had occupied Spanish Pensacola. Abraham lived from 1787-1870. He was well known as a very gifted individual, soft spoken, and intelligent. Abraham came to Pensacola, Florida sometime in the early 1800s. During his years in Pensacola, Abraham had been a slave of Dr. Eugenio Antonio Sierra, a prominent Spanish physician and surgeon. He was held in high esteem and worked as an interpreter, for he spoke several different languages.
Soon after the Fort Negro construction Abraham left out on his own. He soon gained a reputation as a businessman or a man after profit. Abraham became involved in trade with the Maroons and the Seminole Indians of the lower Suwannee River area. Gradually, he was accepted by the Maroons and became their foremost leader. The Seminoles had a high regard for Abraham.
Chief Micanopy, the top hereditary chief in the Seminole Nation, appointed Abraham as the “sense-bearer” or legal counsel. As the military leader of the Maroons, he was known by the name “Sounoffee Tustenuggee” which means “Suwannee Warrior.” Abraham was married to a woman named Hagar. Abraham and Hagar had two sons named Renty and Washington. Abraham lived peacefully with his family and people in the villa of Pilaklikaha, raising horses, cattle, and growing crops.
After the first Seminole war Abraham and a delegation of Indian Chiefs went to Oklahoma in 1832 to inspect the land being offered to them in the treaty that was to move them out of Florida. The United States officials would not allow Abraham and the others to leave until they signed the treaty, which they did on March 28, 1833. Abraham opposed the move, therefore spending almost eight months at Fort Gibson. Abraham and several other leaders were opposed to the treaty after learning of its deception, thus the second Seminole war began 1835 to 1842. Abraham had fought in almost every battle of the Seminole Indians wars until 1837. However, in February of 1839 he moved to Oklahoma with his family and became a successful cattle rancher.
Abraham returned to Florida in 1852, ten years after the government officially declared an end to the Seminole war. The government had hired Abraham to take chief Billy Bowlegs, his father in-law, and some other chiefs to Washington, DC., in order to convince them to leave Florida. They met with Millard Fillmore who became President after Zachary Taylor died. The chiefs still refused to move to Oklahoma. They went back to Florida and disappeared in the everglades. Abraham went back to his ranch in Oklahoma where he died years later, sometime after the Civil War in 1870. He was buried in an unmarked grave in today’s Seminole county.
In 1818 Medina, Ohio was organized. It was originally called Mecca, then later it changed to Medina making it the seventh place on the globe at the time called Medina. Three other cities in America bear the name Medina- Medina, New York; Medina, Michigan and Medina, TX.
In 1828, Abrahim Abdul Rahman ibn Sori (1762-1829) was set free by the order of the Secretary of State Henry Clay and President John Quincy Adams. He was born in Timbo, West Africa (in present day Guinea). He was known as the “Prince of Slaves.” He was a Fulbe from the land of Futa Jallon. Abrahim left Futa in 1774 to study in Mali at Timbuktu.
Abrahim was captured by warring tribes and sold to slave traders in 1788 at the age of 26. He was bought by a Natchez, Mississippi cotton and tobacco farmer, where he eventually became the overseer of the plantation of Thomas Foster. In 1794 he married Isabella, another slave of Foster’s, and eventually fathered a large family. In 1826 he wrote a letter to his relatives in Africa. A local newspaperman sent a copy to Senator Thomas Reed in Washington, who forwarded it to the U.S. Consulate in Morocco. After the Sultan of Morocco read the letter, he asked President Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay to release Abrahim Abdul Rahman.
In 1807, a coincidental meeting took place. John Cox, an Irish ship’s surgeon, whose life had been saved by Abrahim’s father many years earlier. John Cox recognized the Prince in the market, learned of his story, and began petitioning for his freedom. Twenty five years later in 1828 at the age of 66 Abrahim gained his freedom. Rahman had been a slave in America for forty years before he got his freedom. Rahman and his wife sailed for Africa in February 1829. The following September his former owner died. Foster’s heirs sold two of Rahman’s children and five of his grandchildren to the American Colonization Society (A.C.S), and they were reunited with his wife in Liberia.
In 1828, a Muslim named Sterling living in Hartford, CT met Abdul Rahman during his visit to the New England States.
In 1832, The Village of Mahomet, IL was laid out. Mahomet, IL was originally named Middletown. Sometime during the 1840s it was changed to Mahomet, IL.
In 1834, A Muslim woman named Sylvia appears in “Knights of the Golden Horseshoe,”by William A. Carruthers.
In 1834, in Tennessee, a Muslim by the name of Hamet Abdul is reported to have sought money to return to Africa.
In 1834, two Muslims by the names of Jupiter (Dawud) Dowda and Big Jack were reported by the American Colonization Society’s “The African Repository”to be well-known slaves in New Orleans. Big Jack was a plantation manager.
In 1835, Lamen Kebe known as (Old Paul) was liberated after having been in servitude in South Carolina and Alabama. Lamen Kebe was captured in battle and arrived in America in the early 1800s. He was from an elite class of Serahule who were trained to rule, advise, teach, protect, trade, translate, collect taxes, and travel. His family were the founders of ancient Ghana, and they were among the earliest converts to Islam south of the Sahara. His mother was a Mandinga. In Senegambia, he was a schoolmaster in the land of the Fulah before his capture. Lamen and Omar Sayyid corresponded with each other in 1835 in Arabic. Lamen (Old Paul) through Omar, provided Theodore Dwight, a member of the American Ethnological Society, with information of his native land and school system. Lamen returned back to Africa at the age of sixty in 1835.
In 1839, Oman’s ruler, Sayyid Sa’id, ordered his ship “The Sultana”to set sail for America on a trade mission. The ship touched port in New York on April 30, 1840. The voyage was not a commercial success. The ship’s commander, Ahmed bin Nauman bin Muhsin Al-k’abi Al-Bahraini came from Zanzibar. Ahmed bin Nauman bin Muhsin Al-k’abi Al-Bahraini’s photo hangs today on the third floor of City Hall in New York, NY.
In 1845, Osman Rockman died. His tombstone was found in Connecticut.
In 1852, Osman known as “General Osman” became the leader of the North Carolina Dismal Swamp community from 1852-1862. Osman was a runaway slave from Virginia and lived in the dismal swamp. At one time the dismal swamp was partly owned by George Washington, the first President of the United States. The swamp was drudged out by slave labor in the mid 1700s.
In 1856, The United States cavalry hired a Muslim by the name of Hajj Ali to experiment with raising camels in Arizona. He experimented with breeding camels in the desert. He became a local folk hero in Quartzsite, AZ, where he died in 1903. He was known as “Hi Jolly”, his tombstone is a stone built pyramid with a camel on top of it.
In 1859, in Savannah, Ga, many slaves were sold from the Butler plantation in Darien, Ga. Some of the slaves sold were Muslims. It was reported that some of the women wore gorgeous turbans and one of them had a string of beads. At the auction a Muslim named Abel age 19 was sold for $1,295, and one named Hagar, age 50, was sold for $300.
In 1860, a Muslim lady known as “Old Lizzy Gray” died in Edge field County. Her obituary, appeared on the front page of the Edgefield Advertiser, on September 12, 1860. Her physician and owner Dr. E.J. Mims wrote that according to the best computations she was 127 years of age. She had four children in Africa before being taken prisoner. During the revolution she was a prisoner on board an English ship. Before her capture she was educated as a Muslim. As a slave she seems to have combined both faiths and became a member of the Methodist Church. She was known to have always said “Christ built the first Church in Mecca.”
In 1860, Muhammad Ali ibn Said (1833 – 1882), known as (Nicholas Said) arrived in America as a free man. Muhammad was born in the Kingdom of Bornoo, West Africa near Lake Chad to a well-educated merchant family. Said was kidnaped and enslaved when he was 16. His first slave master was an Arab named Abdel Kader who took him to Tripoli and Fezzan. Muhammad was then sold to Alexander Menshikov, an aide to the Russian Czar, then to Nicholas Trubetzkoy with whom he traveled to many places during his years of slavery from Russia, Rome, Persia to France. In 1860 he left Liverpool, England with a man from Holland to travel to Boston, New York, Kingston, New Providence, Toronto, Quebec, and other places in North America as a freed man.
In 1861 he arrived in Detroit. Shortly afterward he found a teaching job and in 1863 Muhammad enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts colored regiment and became a Civil War hero. He served faithfully and bravely with his regiment as Corporal and then Sergeant in the South. Near the close of the war he was assigned, at his own request, to the hospital department, to learn some knowledge of medicine. His Army records show that he died in Brownsville, Tennessee in 1882.
In 1864, a monument was erected in New England for a Mr. Smith and it is crowned with three slain Muslim’s heads who were slain by Mr. Smith. From the Isles of Shoals.
In 1864, Captain Harry Dean was born. He was the son of Susan Cuffe Dean whose brother was Paul Cuffe. Captain Dean’s family came from Quata, Morocco. For three generations the family were wealthy merchants in Philadelphia. Captain Dean found the first black nautical training school in America. Dean maintained his family’s Islamic tradition during his seafaring days on the ship “Pedro Gorino” and in southern Africa where he tried to build an African empire. He was also associated with the Muslim Mosque of London. In the United States he distributed Islamic literature in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington state.
In 1866, The Cherokee chief had a Muslim name, Chief Ramadan ibn Wati. Muslims were known to live among many of the different Indian tribes. They lived among the Seminole Indians, The Delawares, The Nanticokes, The Cherokees, and many others.
In 1869, a number of Muslims from Yemen arrived in the United States after the opening of the Suez Canal. Most Yemenis came through New York to Buffalo, and Detroit. Many Yemenis jumped shipped in San Francisco and settled on the West Coast.
In 1875, The first small wave of Muslim immigrants arrived, mainly from Greater Syria (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine). Some of the Syrian-Lebanese Arabs settled on Manhattan’s lower Washington Street and in Brooklyn across the East River around Atlantic Avenue and South Brooklyn. A smaller number came from the Punjab area of India.
In 1876, The Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, attracted Arab merchants and peddlers, where they sold an assortment of merchandise, and some set up centers to import goods.
In 1877, Seven Algerian escapees from French Guyana were admitted by the Mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, and held as exiles.
In 1884, Sambo Swift died. He was born in 1811, and lived in Darien, GA. He was buried with his tombstone facing northeast. Engraved on his tombstone is a hand pointing with one finger up as the Islamic symbol of God’s oneness. This symbol was used by Muslims dating back more than 1400 years. It is believed that Sambo was one of the slaves left on the Butler plantation at the time of the great slave sale of 1859 in Georgia. Sambo was a carpenter and had at least three children named Abraham, Mollie, and Alonzo.
In 1889, Edward Wilmot Blyden, a noted scholar and activist, traveled throughout the eastern and southern parts of the United States proclaiming the truth of Islam. Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832 – 1912) was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on August 3rd, 1832. In 1850 he emigrates to Liberia from America and by 1855-56 became the editor of the Liberian Herald. Blyden served for three terms (1864-1871) as Secretary of State of Liberia, and on three postings as Ambassador to the Court of St. James in 1877, 1879, and 1892-94.
In 1858 Blyden was ordained as a Presbyterian clergyman. By 1886 he resigns from the Presbyterian Church and becomes a Muslim, one of the first known freed Africans to revert back to Islam. In 1887 Blyden published his first book Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race.
From 1901-1906 Edward Blyden was the Director of Mohammed Education in Sierra Leone.
In 1893, Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb (1846-1916) appeared at the First World Exposition Conference on World Religions in Chicago, where he delivered two lectures, “The Spirit of Islam” and “The Influence of Islam on Social Conditions.” Among the audience was Mark Twain. Webb converted to Islam in 1888 while he was serving as the American Consul to the Philippines. He was also a Journalist. Webb is known as the first white American convert to Islam. In 1893, Mohammed found the first Islamic organization in America called “The American Moslem Brotherhood” in New York.
In 1897, The Federal government allotted free land, consequently Syrians started moving to Rugby and Williston, North Dakota. From 1899-1914 a total of 86,111 Syrians arrived in America.
In 1897, Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) is born in Sandersville, Georgia. He became the leader of The Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975.
In 1899, Hassen Juma had settled in Ross, North Dakota with 160 acres of free land. By 1902 twenty families had followed his path from Birey, Syria. In the early 1920s they built one of the Nations first Mosque.
In the late 1800s many people and former slaves used the Islamic symbol of God’s oneness on their tombstones.
Compiled By Amir Muhammad
From 1900-1917 Wills are found in Washington, DC Archives beginning with Islamic salutations “With the Name of God Amen” with names like Hannah Henderson, Fontaine Mahmood, James Moore, Mary Newman, Edward Quader, and Anne Yarrow.
In 1903, Mohammed Asa Abu-Howar arrives in New York. Moves to Washington, DC. He becomes a successful builder as A. Joseph Howar, who backed the construction of the Islamic Center.
In 1904, at the St. Louis Exposition and World Fair, merchants and visitors came from the Arab world at which time an Arab used a waffle to create an ice cream cone.
In 1905, The US General Land Office grants land title to one Mahmod Ali.
In 1907, The Polish Tartars establish “The American Mohammed Society” in Brooklyn, NY.
In 1908, Muslim immigrants from the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan arrive in North America. They are mainly Turks, Kurds, Albanians, and Arabs.
In 1913, Noble Drew Ali established the Canaanite Temple in Newark, NJ. Noble Drew Ali was born Timothy Drew, January 8, 1886 on a Cherokee reservation in Sampson, North Carolina. There were immediate challenges to Noble Drew Ali’s leadership from within the Moorish community, and by 1916 internal disagreements caused a division of the Moorish-American nation into two groups. One group stayed in Newark, changing its name to the Holy Moabite Temple of the World. Moabite, is the ancient name for Moroccans. Noble Drew Ali and his followers moved to Chicago in 1925 and established the Moorish Science Temple of America. By this time, Drew Ali had established temples in Charleston, WVA; Milwaukee, WI; Lansing and Detroit, MI; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, PA; Pine Bluff, AR; Newark, NJ; Cleveland and Youngstown, OH; Richmond and Petersburg, VA. Noble Drew Ali was murdered in 1929 in Chicago, IL and buried in Burr Oak Cemetery.
In 1915, Albanian Muslims in Biddeford, Maine established the first effective Mosque in North America. Most were bachelors working at the Peppermell Mills. Muslim Albanian families still reside in Biddeford and nearby Saco.
In 1919, The Albanians established another Mosque in Connecticut.
In 1919, an Islamic association established in Highland Park, Michigan. The organization dismantled after 5 years.
In 1920, The first Ahmadiyya Muslim missionary to arrive in America was Dr. Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, who arrived in Philadelphia on Sunday, February 15, 1920, on board the Haverford. For religious reasons he was detained on Ellis Island, New York on February 25, 1920. On May 20, 1920 he was released by the order of the Secretary of the State. Dr. Sadiq stayed in New York for some time and continued to preach Islam. Later, he moved to Chicago and in 1921 established the first headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, at 4448 Wabash Avenue, giving it the name “Al Masjid.”
In 1920, The Red Crescent, a Muslim charity modeled after the International Red Cross, is established in Detroit.
In 1922, an Islamic association was established in Detroit, Michigan.
By 1923, Hassen Mohamed became a successful businessman in Downtown Belzoni, Mississippi. He had a general merchandise store. Hassen settled in the Belzoni area in 1911 he came from the Lebanese Shiite village of Sir’een. Hassen was married to Ethel Wright together they had eight children one of their sons Ollie Mohamed became a State Senator. Hassen Mohamed past away in 1965.
In 1925, a Muslim group in Michigan City, Indiana purchased land designated as their cemetery. In the thirties, these Muslims added a Mosque/Community Center. The building is still in use.
In 1926, Duse Muhammad Ali (1866-1945), mentor of Marcus Garvey, helped establish an organization in Detroit known as the “Universal Islamic Society.” Its motto was “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.” He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, the son of a Sudanese mother and an Egyptian army officer. He was brought to London at a young age by one of his fathers” friends. He was known to be a frequently in the company of Muhammad Pickthall, the English Muslim scholar who translated the Holy Qur’an into English. Duse Ali had considerable influence upon Garvey’s when they work together in London when Duse Ali was the Editor African Times and Orient Review.
In 1926, Polish speaking Tartars opened a Mosque in Brooklyn, NY. In the 1900s Polish Muslims came to Brooklyn, NY. In 1931 they purchase a New England church-style-meeting hall and an adjacent three-story residential building which is still in use today. The community is made up of Asian Tartars whose nomadic ancestors helped Vitautas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, in his victory against the Teutonic Order in 1410. They settled in Lithuania and Poland with the status of nobility, while remaining Muslim. They were nearly annihilated during World War II.
In 1928, The Islamic Propagation Center of America opened up on State Street in Brooklyn, New York, under the leadership of Shaikh Al-Haj Daoud Ahmed Faisal. He also started the Islamic Mission Society, which was active from 1934-1942. Shaikh Faisal was granted a charter by Shaikh Khalid of Jordan and King Saud of Saudi Arabia to propagate Islam in America.
In 1928, The early beginnings of the first Mosque of Pittsburgh were rooted in Noble Drew Ali’s teaching. Several years after its foundation, the main teacher of the community, Walter Smith Bey, invited Dr. Yusef Khan an Ahmadi to speak and teach the community. During this time of growth and development by 1935 there emerged a new conflict pertaining to Dr. Khan’s teachings. Most of the community members concluded against Dr. Khan and the community divided for a second time. Today the community follows the sunnah of the Prophet.
In 1929, Muslim farmers built one of America’s first Mosques (Masjid) in Ross, North Dakota. The homesteader Hassen Juma had settled there with 160 free acres in 1899. By 1902, twenty families had followed his path from Birey, Syria. The U.S. objected to their naturalization until 1909 when it withdrew the ban and the Syrians began claiming citizenship. Many fought and died in the two world wars. In 1929 the community built a Mosque, and performed Jumah (Friday) prayer service. The farmhouse/mosque was destroyed in 1978. The cemetery on its grounds remains and there is an arched gate with a crescent and star on it.
In 1929, “The Lost-Found Nation of Islam in the Wilderness of North America” in Detroit was founded by W.D.Fard. Fard was known as (Wali D. Fard, Wallace Fard, and W.F. Muhammad) mystery surrounds his origins some identify him as half-Syrian, half-Jamaican some say half-Persian, half-Turkish, and the FBI says he was half-Polynesian, half-Scottish. Fard claimed he was half-European, half-Meccan genealogy. On July the Fourth, he announced the beginning of His mission which was to restore and to resurrect his lost and found people, who were identified as the original nation of Muslims of Asiatic-African descent from the tribe of Shabazz, who were captured, exploited, and dehumanized and enslaved. In 1931, Fard was preaching in Detroit, Michigan where after hearing his first lecture Elijah Poole was overwhelmed by the message and immediately accepted it. The founder of the Nation of Islam gave him the name “Karriem” and made him minister. Later he was promoted to the position of “Supreme Minister” and his name was changed to Muhammad.
Mr. Muhammad quickly became an integral part of the Temple of Islam. For the next three and a half years, Mr. Muhammad was personally taught by his teacher Wali D. Fard. Eljiah was taught some Islamic beliefs, a self-independence and empowerment concept, a history, a superior cultural belief, was inspired to read and respect the Holy Qur’an. There where about 8,000 followers at that time.
In 1933, Fard told Eljiah Muhammad that he was the Mahdi “The Saviour”, the one who had come in the early morning dawn of the New Millennium to lay the base for a New World Order of Peace and Righteousness on the foundation of truth, justice, freedom, and to change the world into a Heaven on Earth.
In 1934, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) becomes the leader of “The Lost-Found Nation of Islam in the Wilderness of North America” which later became known as “The Nation of Islam.” The Nation of Islam, was an i-ndigenous African American Islamic expression founded by Wali Fard Muhammad and developed by Elijah Muhammad. In 1934, W. Fard Muhammad, departed the scene and left the Honorable Elijah Muhammad with the mission. By 1935, Mr. Muhammad faced many new challenges and a death plot at the hands of a few disgruntled members. To avoid the plot and to do research at the Library of Congress he moved to Washington, DC. In Washington, Mr. Muhammad studied and started a Muslim community he was known as “Mr Evans”, “Ghulam Bogans”, Muhammad Rassoull”. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad built a mulit-million dollar empire by the time of his passing. The Nation of Islam had develop many Temples of Islam, and the University of Islam across the country, they had businesses, farms, property, rental property, transportation fleets and more. He produced many great Muslims leaders like Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), Muhammad Ali, Louis Farrakhan, and Imam W.D. Mohammed.
In 1934, The Muslim community of Cedar Rapids, Iowa built the first Masjid (Mosque) specifically designed and built as a Masjid. The earlier community was predominantly Lebanese under the leadership of Abdullah Ingram. Cedar Rapid’s community has grown and has been able to maintain their Islamic identity.
In 1934, The Frist Mosque of Cleveland was developed by a major community of Ahmadis headed by Wali Akram from 1934-1937. By the 1940s there were two hundred people in the Masjid. As the twentieth century progressed, the direct personal influence of the Ahmadi missionaries declined. Many of the early members left the movement for a variety of reasons.
In the 1930’s, three other Mosques (Masjids) were started in Dearborn, MI., Sacramento, CA., and Michigan City, MI.
In the late 1930s, “The Addeynu Allah Universal Arab Association” a Sunni community was established in Newark, NJ under the leadership of Professor Ezeldeen who was second in command in Noble Drew Ali’s movement and was known as Brother Lomax Bey. As one of the first African-American to master the Arabic language and to go aboard to study Islam in Egypt. When Professor Ezeldeen returned to the States, he rejected the teachings of the Moorish Science Temple and developed orthodox Islamic communities in several cities throughout the United States. A community was developed in upper State New York and in Southern part of New Jersey outside of Camden in a community called Ezaldeen Village. Professor Ezeldeen was responsible for establishing the first National Islamic Organization among the Sunni Muslims called “United Islamic Communities”, which included Sheikh Dawud, members of the First Mosque of Cleveland and Pittsburgh along with others.
In 1939, The Islamic Mission Society is founded in New York by Sheikh Dawud.
In 1940, The first official Nation of Islam Temple #4 in Washington, DC was setup by Elijah Muhammad. Three other cities had Temples in Detroit, MN #1, Chicago, IL #2, and Milwaukee, Wn #3.
In 1941, The FBI begins its’ program of harassment on the members of the Nation of Islam.
In 1942, John Ben Ali Haggin was known as Captain Johnny Haggin who became famous for his valor as the pilot of the famous submarine sinking flight, off the coast of New Jersey. John Ben Ali Haggin was born of Irish-Arabian descent on August 19, 1916, in New York City.
In 1942, The Nation of Islam begins preaching in the US prison systems in Petersburg, VA. William X Fagin, Harry X Craighhead, and Benjamin X Mitchell. In Benjamin’s book he states that “Inmates began to ask us questions about our religion. The three of us began to explain to the inmates the teachings of Islam.”
In 1946, The Nation of Islam bought their first Temple called Temple #2 in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1946, The first Young Muslim Women’s Association was chartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They had a sub-charter in Missouri that provided services such as aid for dependent children, widows, and the elderly.
1947-60, A third wave of Muslim immigrants, coming from Palestine, Yugoslavia, Lebanon and Egypt.
In 1949, The Albanian-American Muslim Center of Detroit was founded by Imam Vehbi Ismail.
By the late 1940s, a few jazz musicians became Muslims. Art Blakey, Talib Dawoud, Mohammed Sadiq, Sahib Shihab, Ahmad Jamal, Dakota Staton, Yusef Lateef, Idrees Sulieman, and McCoy (Sulieman Saud) Tyner to a name a few.
In 1950, the first mosque in the nation’s capital is established as the “American Fazl Mosque” at 2141 Leroy Place, Washington, DC. It served as the Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from 1950-1994.
In 1952, Muslim service men sue the federal government and were allowed to identify themselves as Muslims.
In 1954, The Federation of Islamic Associations (FIA) of the US and Canada was established.
In 1955, The State Street Masjid in New York City was established by Sheikh Dawud Ahmed Faisal. It is still in use today. From this Masjid came the Dar-ul-Islam movement in 1962.
In 1955, A Mosque was established by Yugoslavians in Chicago. These Muslims arrived in the early 1900s and have evolved into an organized ethnic group with several institutions, including the Bosnian-American Cultural Association.
In 1956, Malik Shabzz (Malcolm X) (1925-1965), becomes an active preacher for the Nation of Islam. While in prison, he was introduced to Elijah Muhammad teaching. In the early 1950s he converted and took his X. He started working with the Nation of Islam in 1952 when he was released from jail. He eventually rose to a position of leadership and was assigned to New York City Temple #7. In the late 1970s Temple #7 was renamed Masjid Malcolm Shabazz in honored of him.
In 1957, The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. opens. The Islamic Center of Washington, DC was open on June 28th 1957. The center was built as a traditional Islamic architect structure. President Dwight Eisenhower gave the opening remarks at the opening of the Islamic Center. In his statement he says, “Under the American Constitution this Center, this place of worship is as welcome as could be any similar edifice of any religion. Americans would fight with all their strength for your right to have your own church and worship according to your own conscience.”
In 1960, Masjid Muhammad of Washington, DC was built as the first Mosque built under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad. During its” first ten years the building was used as a Temple. For more than twenty years since 1975 Masjid Muhammad has functioned as a Masjid under the Sunnah or orthodox way of Al-Islam. The community has a rich history that expands more than sixty years since the mid 1930s and was known as Temple #4 in its early beginnings.
In 1962, The first Muslim American Newspaper “Muhammad Speaks” is launched. It later became the largest minority weekly publication in the country and reached more than 800,000 readers at its peak. It has undergone various name changes’ Bilalian News, The A.M. Journal, to its current name Muslim Journal.
In 1963, The Muslim Student Association (MSA) was founded. It’s an organization to aid foreign Muslim students attending schools in the United States. MSA now has more than 100 branches nationwide.
In 1965, Internationally known Muslim leader El Hajj Malik al-Shabazz (Malcolm X) is assassinated in New York.
In 1965, Muhammad Ali the three time world boxing champ makes the name Muhammad Ali and the Islamic faith a household name in America.
In 1968, The Hanafi Movement is founded by Hamas Abdul-Khaalis. The Hanafi Madhab Center was established in New York but later moved to Washington, DC. At it peak the community had a membership of more than 1,000 in the United States. Kareem Abdul-JAbbar, the famous basket player help bring attention to the community.
From 1960’s-1980, A fifth wave of Muslim students and immigrants came from all over the Muslim World.
From 1970-1973, Dr. Fazlur Rahman Khan, a Muslim from Bangladesh, designed the Chicago’s John Hancock Center in (1970), the One Shell Plaza in Houston (1971), and the Sears Towers in Chicago in (1973).
In 1972, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad opened a $2 million Mosque and school in Chicago.
In 1973, a unique event took place. A descendant of the Beall’s Family sold some property to Masjid Muhammad, then known as Muhammad’s Holy Temple of Islam # 4. The Beall’s is the same family that had own and freed Yarrow Marmood in the 1800s.
In 1974, The Muslim World League was granted non-governmental organizational status at the United Nations.
In 1975, Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, dies February 25th.
In 1975, Warith Deen Mohammed becomes the leader of the Nation of Islam. He moved the Nation of Islam from nationalism into the Sunnah path of Islam. Under his leadership the community made many positive transitions and name changes from The World Community of Islam in the West, to the American Muslim Mission, Ministry of W.D. Mohammed, and now Muslim American Society.
In 1978, Warith Deen Muhammad is named as consultant/trustee by the Gulf States to distribute funds for Islamic missionary activities in the U.S.
In 1981, The first Islamic library was established in Plainfield, Indiana.
In 1982, The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was established in Plainfield, IN. ISNA is now an umbrella organization for many active Islamic groups seeking to further the cause of Al-Islam in the United States.
In 1985, Warith D. Muhammad decentralizes the old N.O.I community structure.
In the 1990s, A Somalian born Muslim working as an employee for the US Post Office invented the new self-adhesive stamp.
In the 1990s A National Shura developed in North America which comprises Imam W.D. Mohammed, Dr. Abdullah Idris Ali, President of ISNA, Imam Jamil Al-Amin, and Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, the Amir of ICNA.
In 1991, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, became the first Muslim in U.S. history to offer the invocation (opening prayer) to the United States House of Representatives.
In 1991, Charles Bilal, of Kountze, Texas, became the nation’s first Muslim mayor in an American city.
In 1992, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, became the first Muslim in U.S. history to offer the invocation (opening prayer) to the United States Senate.
In 1993, Captain Abdul Rasheed Muhammad became the First Muslim Army Chaplin (Imam) in the U.S. Army was installed. In 1991 according to the United States Department of Defense, there are more than 5,000 Muslims in uniform on active duty in the military.
In 1994, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is established, a leading Islamic Human and Civil rights organization.
In 1994, Abdul-Hakeem Muhammad, a computer specialist with the IRS, won the Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award for Civilian Service. For his work in the field of Open systems standards and architectural environment.
In 1996, Monje Malak Abd Al-Muta”Ali ibn Noel, Jr. became the First Muslim Naval Chaplin (Imam) in the U.S. Navy.
In 1996, The American Muslim Council sponsored the first Iftar Dinner Celebration on Capitol Hill.
In 1996, The White House and the first lady, Hillary Rodham-Clinton, recognized the completion of Ramadan by hosting a group of Muslim families at a White House reception for Id al-Fitr.
In 1999, The New York City Police Department appoints the first Muslim Chaplain, Imam Izak-El M. Pasha.
In 1999, The U.S. Post-office published a stamp to honor the Muslim leader Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X). There are two other postage stamps honoring achievements of Muslims the revolutionary heroes Peter (Salem) Saleem, and Saleem (Salem) Poor. Malcolm is the first well-known Muslim to be put on the stamp.
In 1999, The U.S. State Department hosted its first Iftar for Muslim Americans at the State Department.
In August 1999, The first Muslim US Ambassador, Osman Siddique was sworn in as the Ambassador to the Fiji Islands.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s we have seen much growth in the Muslim community. Today Islam is the fastest growing Religion in America today and has now become the second largest religion in the United States. Today there are many Muslims across the country that are holding elected offices as local City Council members, State representatives, a Mayor, and Judges. We find Muslims in every profession today as Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers and others.
Muslims in America . org