Islam vs the Nation of Islam: Difference and Comparison

This is a topic that people tend to get confused about because of the similarities between the two. The differences tend to be the beliefs and the ways they go about their faith and how they tend to follow or not follow the rules and traditions. To understand the difference between the two, the history of their origin and beliefs have to be known.

Key Takeaways

  1. Islam is a major world religion with diverse practices and beliefs, while the Nation of Islam is a political and religious movement primarily in the United States.
  2. The Nation of Islam has a focus on racial and social issues specific to the African American community, whereas traditional Islam is a global faith without an emphasis on race.
  3. Traditional Islam follows the teachings of the Quran and the Hadith, while the Nation of Islam incorporates elements of traditional Islam with its unique doctrine.

Islam vs the Nation of Islam

Islam is a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and follows the Five Pillars of Faith. The Nation of Islam is a religious and social movement founded in the 1930s that teaches that black people are the world’s original people and that white people are a race of “devils”.

Islam vs the Nation of Islam

The meaning of Islam is “the submission to the will of God. Its followers believe that God (Arabic: Allah) revealed his final message to humanity through the prophet Muhammad: the Quran. The teachings of Islam mainly come from the Quran, the prophet’s example, and the hadiths (recordings of his sayings and actions).

Nation of Islam is a religion preached based on the beliefs of an Islamic prophet in the United States, Wallace Fard Muhammad. The Nation of Islam was founded in the year 1930 by Prophet Wallace Fard Muhammad. He was the sole founder of the Nation of Islam. At the time of its inception, the Nation of Islam came to be one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States of America, but today it has less than 100,000 members.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIslamNation of Islam
Founded ByIslam is said to be have been founded as a religion by Prophet Mohammed.The Nation of Islam is said to have been founded by Mohammed Fard.
Founded InIslam was introduced as a religion around the 4th century AD.Nation of Islam was founded in the year 1930.
MeaningIslam is a religious belief. It is a separate religion with its own beliefs and traditions.Nation of Islam is a religious-political association formed by a distinct person.
BeliefIslam believers believe in one God and in the equality of all men.Nation of Islam believes in one God but not in the equality of all races and men.
Religious TextPeople who follow Islam refer to the Quran as their religious text.Nation of Islam followers believes in the preaching of Mohammed Fard.

What is Islam?

Islam is a monotheistic religion, meaning it worships one God (Allah). The beliefs of Muhammad are considered the finest teachings a human can receive, so much so that they are called the ummat-ud-din, which translates to a community that is guided by the right path.’

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The roots of Islam can be traced back to Abraham and his son Ishmael, who was born to Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden. According to Islamic tradition, Hagar and Ishmael settled in the wilderness of Becca and later moved to Egypt. The descendants of Ishmael and Hagar, the Arabs, were later enslaved by the Egyptians and the two sons of Ishmael, who God ordered to sacrifice one of their sons as an act of obedience.

The name Islam comes from the Arabic root word “Salem”, which means peace. That’s the reason why Muslims are referred to as “the peaceful people” (Al Salm Alamin). It is believed that the archangel Gabriel (PBUH) revealed to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the teachings and writings of the Quran in verbatim. The first verse of the Quran (the first 5 lines) is known as the “Mother of the Book”. Today it is one of the largest and fastest-growing religions in the world.

The concept of Islam is rooted in both faith and cultural identity. Muslims follow the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. They believe Islam is a universal and primordial faith that has been revealed to humans in many instances, places, and times. Muslims do not regard the Quran as a creation of Muhammad, instead of regarding it as the record of the verbatim words of God or the literal word of God. For Muslims, the Quran is the primary religious text.

A substantial number of Muslims to date, estimated to be around 20% to 30%, recite the Quran in its original Arabic. The Quran is divided into 30 sections, called Juz’ (plural, juz’in). The juz’ are arranged roughly in order of descending size. The juz’ are divided into aza’im, which are then divided into verses.


What is Nation of Islam?

The Nation of Islam views the original Islamic religion as sacred but rejects many fundamental beliefs other Muslims hold. The Nation of Islam has no formal deities but worships the teachings of Wallace Fard Muhammad.

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A religious movement in the United States developed in the early 20th century called the Nation of Islam (NOI). The movement’s goals were to improve the status of African Americans in the United States and all of humanity. This status included social, cultural, religious as well as mental and spiritual aspects. It was founded in the early 20th century by Wallace Fard Muhammad, who, according to Nation of Islam doctrine, was either Allah incarnate or God’s messenger.

 The Nation of Islam’s worldview teaches that the white race is the devil, that the black race is the world’s original people, and that Fard Muhammad was both the saviour of the black race and the final messenger of Allah. After the death of Mohammed Fard, it was propagated by Elijah. One of the main differences between Islam and the Nation of Islam lies in its political aspect.

Islam is a religion and not a political organization, but the Nation of Islam has been considered as a political organization by many scholars.

Main Differences Between Islam and the Nation of Islam

  1. The primary distinction between Islam and the Nation of Islam is that they date back to two different timelines. Islam as a religion was established way before than Nation of Islam.
  2. Islam as a religion follows the Quran, which they regard as the recitation of God’s instruction to Prophet Mohammed, while Nation of Islam followers refers to the teachings of Mohammed Fard.
  3. Islam believes that all men are equal and peace must be established between them, while Nation of Islam followers believe that Black people are superior to others, and Islam regards the fair-skinned as evils.
  4. Traditional Islam followers do not regard Nation of Islam followers as true Muslims; most of their beliefs are incompatible and vice versa.
  5. Islam believes in one God, who is termed as Allah, whereas the Nation of Islam followers has no deity as such.

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Islam vs the Nation of Islam: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The post seems to explain that the Nation of Islam is an offshoot of Islam. This is a contentious statement as the two are fundamentally distinct.

  2. I think it would have been beneficial to go into more detail regarding the religious texts and practices of both Islam and the Nation of Islam.

  3. This is an uplifting post. It’s great to see such thorough information about the differences between these two important belief systems.

  4. This article offers a comprehensive overview of the historical and cultural differences between Islam and the Nation of Islam. Great work.

  5. The post beautifully explains the differences between Islam and the Nation of Islam. I particularly enjoyed the part where it mentioned the roots of Islam.


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