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Elijah Muhammad not a Hajji

Reader comment on item: Louis Farrakhan Is Not a Muslim
in response to reader comment: Elijah's 1959 haj

Submitted by Louis A. DeCaro Jr. (United States), Apr 16, 2006 at 19:10

Paul Alkebulan's claim that Elijah Muhammad was accepted by "the haj committee" is most certainly incorrect. Elijah did not make the pilgrimage during the hajj season. He was a guest, an exception, a gamble that proved disappointing to them. Elijah made the "little pilgrimage" which actually does not qualify him to be considered a hajji. Malcolm did make the hajj. He also returned to the Muslim world in the summer of 1964 to become a certified exponent of the religion.

As far as Elijah's alleged hajj, Malcolm made this differentiation in a letter to Alex Haley, a page of which was published in the original hardcover edition of Malcolm's Autobiography. The Muslim world had high hopes for the old man, but he refused to conform to traditional Islam just like he had refused to conform to orthodox Christianity. In fact Malcolm later said that Elijah's 1959-60 trip to the Muslim world (made in December-January) was a kind of a turning point for him. After that, he began to act quite other than holy. No amount of rationalization or wishful thinking will ever bring the old man into Islam. Let's remember what Malcolm--who was certified as an exponent of Islam in the West--also said about his former leader. He said that Elijah was a "religious faker" and that his leadership were "bird-brained." This is all a matter of record, but some people just can't let go.

L. DeCaro Jr., author of On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X

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Daniel Pipes replies:

I thank Mr DeCaro for this comment. But so far as I know, anyone permitted into Mecca, whether for `umra or hajj, is considered a Muslim by the Saudi authorities.

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