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The Ansaru Allah Community

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“The Ansaru Allah Community�

 

also called “The Nubian Islamic Hebrews.�

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“The Ansaru Allah Community�

 

 

Along with what may be termed the rise of Orthodox or Sunnite Islaam in America, there has also appeared in the Twentieth century a variety of cults and sects all claiming to represent true Islaam. Most of these groups have or have had strong nationalist overtones and anti-white sentiments in their teachings, which is not surprising, since the vast majority of those who enter the fold of Islaam in America have been Black Americans and the reverberations of white supremacy on which the nation was built, were quite intense throughout the country until recently. The earliest of these groups is the “Moorish Science Temple of America� founded by Timothy Drew from North Carolina (1886-1929). Drew renamed himself Prophet Noble Drew Ali and opened the first branch of his cult in New York in 1913. [E.U., Essien-Udom, Black Nationalism, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 33]

 

Drew taught that Black Americans were really “Moorish Americans� or “Moors� and that he had been commissioned by the King of Morocco to preach Islam to Black Americans. [Eric Lincoln, Black Muslims, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), p.52]

 

He provided his followers with a Scripture in English which he called Koran but which was in fact the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ written by Levi H. Dowling (1844-1911). Drew also included Buddha, Confucious, and Zoroaster among the prophets [black Nationalism, p.35.] of whom he was supposed to be the last. The dress, symbols, and religious rites of his cult were, for the most part, borrowed from the Masonic order known as the “The Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrines� or simply “The Shriners.�

 

The most prominent of these pseudo-Islamic groups in America was “The Lost Found Nation of Islam� which became known in the news media as the “Black Muslims�. This group’s beginnings are somewhat shrouded in mystery. A foreigner, by the name of Wallace Fard Muhammad, of uncertain origin, taught what he termed Islaam among Blacks in Detroit from 1929 to 1931. Following his disappearance in 1931, the most prominent of his students, Elijah Poole (1897-1975) secured leadership of the group and claimed that Fard was actually God in person and that he, Elijah, was the messenger of God sent to Black Americans. Elijah taught that Black people were gods, and White people were devils created by a Black scientist. Heaven and Hell, according to his teachings, are on earth in this life and there is no resurrection for the physically dead. [black Muslims, pp. 72-78] Although Elijah claimed that the Qur’aan was the book of Muslims, he mostly referred to the Bible in his teachings. Actually, the main text of the cult was a book composed of some of his speeches and newspaper articles which he called Message to the Black Man in America. [Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Black Man in America, (Chicago, ILL: Muhammad’s Temple no. 2, 1965)]

 

The present work is concerned with the most recent of these black nationalist pseudo-Islamic sects, “The Ansaru Allah Community� also called “The Nubian Islamic Hebrews.� Systematic approach to the analysis of the cult’s heretical beliefs in contrast with the fundamental principles of Islaam, the fallacies and extremely unislamic character of the cult will be clearly exposed for those trapped in its clutches, for those contemplating joining their rank, and for those Muslims who, in ignorance consider them Muslims and support them directly or indirectly.

 

History of the Cult.

 

The founder of the Ansaru Allah sect, Dwight York, was born on June 26, 1935 in New York. 1 He grew up in Brooklyn where, as a youth he was involved in crime and drugs 2

 

and after a number of run-ins with the police he was jailed in the early 60’s for a period of time. In prison it may be presumed that York came in contact with Elijah Muhammad’s teachings as well as those of Noble Drew Ali’s.

 

Sometime after his release he went to State Street Masjid in Brooklyn, New York, and accepted Islaam around 1965 at the hands of another Black American convert, Luqman ‘Abdul ‘Aleem. 3

 

1 Isa Muhammad, Muslim Prayer Book, Edition 12, (New York, USA: Ansaru Allah Printing, 1974 ed.), p.2. In 1975 editions of the books, the large picture of Isa holding a case, signed with his birthdate as 1935 was deleted and his birthdate was mentioned as 1945, 100 years after that of the Sudanese “Mahdi� (1885). In the 1977 editions, the large picture was placed on the inside cover with a new signature and a new birthdate (See, Isa Muhammad, Tajwyd Proper Reading of the Qur’an, Edition 39, (USA : Ansaru Allah Community, 1977), Book 1, inside cover-the pasted addition is quite obvious). See appendix iv, pp. 186-7 for the evidence.

 

2 Isa Muhammad, Muhammad the only True Mahdi, Edition 13, (USA : Ansaru Allah Community, n.d.), p.36.

 

3 From an interview with Luqman ‘Abdul-‘Alim in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the Summer of 1982.

 

The First Stage : Foundation of the Cult

 

Dwight York changed his name to Isa Abdullah and began inviting Black youths to a black nationalist version of Islaam which he had begun to concoct. Isa’s version had an appeal to those seeking Islaam, but who could not divorce themselves from the strong nationalist sentiments of that era. The period of the sixties was a time in which Black Americans were demanding their rights under slogans like “Black Power� and many were highly conscious of the plight of black people worldwide. To many blacks the whole white race was the enemy of Black people and only a religion which taught the superiority of Blacks over Whites would have any attraction for them. Isa managed to gather a small band of followers based on his racialist interpretations of the Bible and the Qur’aan and formally founded his own cult in 1967 which he named “Ansar Pure Sufi�. The star of David inside a crescent with an ankh 1 inside of the star became the cult’s symbol and their uniform was a green and black shirt and pants. 2

 

His choice of the star of David does not represent his support for Judaism as such, for he has written that “ Jacob was the father of Christianity and Judaism or the religions of the Devil (see The Book of J)�.3 He only wished to Co-opt the Black Jews 4 as he later tried to co-opt the Black Muslims.

 

1 A tau cross (T) having a looped top : an emblem of generation. (From Egyptian “Ankh� Life, soul).

 

2 “The Metamorphosis of the Ansaru Allah Coomunity.� Humzah, (1978). p. 13. See also, Isa Muhammad, What Ever Happened to the Nubian Islaamic Hebrews?. Edition 140, (USA : Nubian Islamic Hebrews, 1985), p. 105.

 

3 “Read and Try to Understand�, The Book of J, Ansaru Allah Community, (1979), p.6.

 

4 Prophet F.S. Cherry was the first of the leaders of the Black Jews. He regarded white jews as frauds and interlopers and maintained that his followers were the true israelites of the Bible. In the Period 1919-1931, at least eight Black Jewish cults arose in Harlem-groups that were given to splintering, disappearing, and reorganizing. Arnold Ford, a Black Jew from Barbados was one of the most important of the early Black Jewish figures of the Garvey era. The Black Jews claim that they are Ethiopian Hebrews or Falshas whose names and religion were taken away during slavery. (George Eaton Simpson, Black Religions in the New World, (New York : Columbia University Press, 1978), pp. 268-9)

 

However, after a year passed, Isa changed the Cult’s name to the “Nubian’, their dress became African (long robes known as Akbarders and a cap called a Fum) and the ankh

 

Was dropped from their emblem, 1 During this phase, Isa began to develop his tachings that Black people and White people had different origins. Black were called “Nubians� and Whites were called “Cananites�.

 

In the following year 1969, Isa again changed the group’s name to “Nubian Islamic Hebrews� and added the Mahdist crescent and spear to the group’s symbol. He also obliged his followers to wear a small bone in their left ears and their dress changed to an assortment of short African shirts called Dashikis along with a black Fez as their head gear. 2 This remained their syandard dress until 1971, except for the addition of a nosering for male members of the cult. 3

 

1970 represents the year in which the official inauguration of the cult took place according to its members. 4 This date was chosen due to its mathematical significance in their numerological arguments for the cult’s authenticity. During this phase, the followers were compiled to live communally, all the males together in one building and the females in another. A single room called the Green Room was set aside in the women’s dormitories for married couples to have conjugal relations in turn, after receiving permission from Isra or one of his deputies. No males were allowed into the female dormitories on other occasions except Isa who was free to visit the inmates at will and was intimate with those who pleased him, married or otherwise. Isa never restricted himself to four wives and illegally obtained concubines, but has divorced innumerable times, taken new concubines and seduced the wives of many of his followers. 5

 

1 “The Metamorphosis of the Ansaru Allah Community “, Humazah, Ansaru Allah Community, (1978), p. 13

 

2 Ibid.

 

3 Isa Muhammad, Why The Norsering ? Edition 24, (USA : Nubian Islaamic Hebrews, revised ed. 1986), p.9.

 

4 “Sectism in Islaam�. Americans Muslims: Muslims in America, Ansaru Allah community, (1980), p. 16

 

5 See Appendix III : interviews with Formers Ansars, pp. 130, 149 & 167-8.

 

The women communally did all the correspondence, cooking, sewing and washing clothes for all the cult’s members while the men communally earned a living for all.

 

On joining the group, all of the wealth and possessions of new converts were turned over to Isa who then distributed some of it to his followers according to their needs and their performance of their duties. 1 This communal approach enabled Isa to accumulate sufficient funds to embark on new projects aimed at strengthening the group’s base and spreading the message.

 

The cult found stability when it purchased a building on Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn after renting a building on Rockaway Avenue from December 1971 to December 1972 and another on St. John’s place in 1973. 2 The group soon began regularly publishing a newspaper and printing some magazines written by ‘Isa to popularize his teachings. 3

 

1 From interviews in 1981 with Talat Al Ahmari (Baltimore), Dr. Abdul Khabeer Muhammad (Panama) and Abdul Basheer (Newv York) all of whom where former deputies of Isa in the early seventies. See also Appendix III, pp. 130, 139, 147, 151-1 & 160

 

2 “At Home with the Nubians, “ The Man of our Time, Ansaru Allah Community, (1978), pp. 8-9.

 

3 Their first publication appeared in 1970 (See the article, “Sectism in Islam�, American Muslims : Muslims in America, p. 16).

 

Isa also adopted the Hare Krishna1 method of fund raising as the basis of the cult’s economics. Each male member except his deputies, educated followers and those with well-paying jobs, were required to beg for donations and sell the cult’s publications on the street corners and subways from dawn to sunset.2 Those who failed to collect the set minimum of donations were denied conjugal rights with their wives and otherwise chastised. All earnings were turned over to Isa for redistribution and investment.3

 

In 1973, Isa travelled to the island of Trinidad in the West Indies, where a large number of Blacks had converted to Islaam. Unfortunately, many Muslims of Indian origin who had been brought to the island as indentured labourers by British colonists a century or more before, did not treat the new converts as brothers in faith. Some even went so far as to avoid standing besides the new converts in prayers and openly expressed that Islaam was an Indian religion. Isa was quick to exploit the situation and most Black responded to his call, forming a branch of the cult in Trinidad under the leadership of Imaam Yahya ‘Abdullah Muhammad.4 During this period (1971 – 1974), the title “Ansaru Allah Community�5 was added to the cult’s name, and white knee-length tops and white turbans became the standard dress.6

 

1 Officially known as “The International Society of Krishna Consciousness�, this Hindu sect was founded by A. C.. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada (1896 – 1977) of Calcutta, India when came to vist America in 1965. he taught the worship of Krishna which had first been proposed by Caitaniya Mahaprabu in Bengal India during the 16th century. It was claimed that Vishnu was an incarnation of Lord Krishna who was actually the Supreme Being and that Krishna would intimately commune with his devotees on a personal level, an idea foreign to the traditional Hindu perception of God’s impersonality. Their main text is the Bhagvad-Gita (supposedly narrated by Krishna) as interpretated by the founder. (See Bob Larson’s, Larson’s Books of Cults, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 6th printing, 1984), pp. 283-291).

 

2 “What About Begging?� American Muslims: Muslims in America, pp.9 and 12. see also Appendix III : Interviews With Ansars, pp. 141, 151, 155-6 & 163-4.

 

3 Ibid., pp.164, 169 & 175.

 

4 From an interview in 1981 with M. K. Hosein of the Islamic Missionary’s Guild. It should also be noted that nine moths after Isa’s visit and recruitment drive, an unmarried convert announced that she had been impregnated by him after a promise of marriage which was never fulfilled. (See also Appendix III : Interviews with Former Ansars, p. 143)

 

5 This title was taken from the Qur’anic verses; 3:52, and 61:14.

 

6 “The Metamorphosis of the Ansaru Allah Community�, Humazah, p. 13.

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