In Alex Haley's transcribed work, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), readers are treated to several valuable lessons in sociology. Without summarizing the book in great detail, the story of Malcolm X reveals the significance of social and economic stratification in affecting people's religious beliefs and people's perspectives on social problems and life chances. This story shows a Malcolm X who grows out of a socialized value system emphasizing violence and hatred, into a de-socialized system emphasizing a new ideological orientation on race relations, to a re-socialized system nearing the viewpoints of Martin Luther King--a civil rights leader once despised by Malcolm. This research will examine this process of social development through the eyes of Malcolm X.
The Nation of Islam began in the early 1930s in the United States with the emergence of W.D. Fard, later known as Master Wallace Fard Muhammad, and his successor, Elijah Poole, later known as Elijah Muhammad. Mr. Fard was born in Mecca in 1877 and may have been an Orthodox Muslim. After immigrating to Detroit, he preached to African-Americans who had traveled north in search of jobs and better living conditions. The Nation of Islam increased its membership as black nationalism grew in the United States.
Some of the confusion over the two religions comes from the life of Malcolm X. Born Malcolm Little, he became a spokesman for Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. An eloquent cultural hero, especially to many black youth, Malcolm advocated racial
pride and militant separatism. He eventually became disenchanted
with the Nation of Islam and traveled to Mecca for a pilgrimage (a Hajj--one of the five "pillars" of Orthodox Islam). While there, he re-examined his views on race and came to believe that all men are brothers under one God, Allah.
The best approach for understanding the differences between the two religions may be to read Alex Haley's transcrib...