Leo Jackson
A.A. History
The beginning of Islam in the United States can be traced to the earliest days of the slave trade. While many of the slaves brought to America practiced traditional African religions, many of the slaves from West Africa were predominately Muslim. In fact a significant number of black Africans brought to North America during the slave trade were Muslim. Due to the overwhelming Christian presence during the slave trade, slaves were not allowed to practice their Muslim faith. The Christian slave owners attempted to force their slaves to convert to Christianity. They were not as successful as they deemed. The muslims continued to uphold the five pillars, maintain literacy, and instill the Islamic faith in to America.
Those who follow Islam are known as Muslims, or those who submit to Allah’s will. Muslims believe in monotheism, or the belief in one God. There are two holy books that Muslims go by, the Koran and the Sunna. The Koran is said to be a record of God’s words. The other book, the Sunna, is a record of Muhhamad’s words and deeds compiled together after his death. The Koran and the Sunna cover many things that Muslims must go by. Some examples are: diet, marriage, and even the proper way to clean one\'s teeth.
There are two different groups of Muslims, the Shiites, and the Sunni. The Shiites are those who support the decedents of Muhhamad as their rightful successors. The Sunni believed that the elections of the first three caliphs were valid.
There are five specific rituals that Muslims must follow. These rituals are known as the five pillars of Islam. These rituals are as follows:
1) Profession of faith. "There is no god but Allah, and Muhhamad is his prophet.
2) Prayer. Muslims must pray five times a day. When they pray, they must pray towards Mecca, the holy city.
3) Charity to the poor. Muslims must contribute to public charities.
4) Ritual fast during Ramadan. Muslims cannot eat from the break of day until the setting of the sun.
5) The pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims must make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca at one time in their lives.
These are the five rituals that Muslims went by and they did so successfully.
Islam is a way of life, as well as a religion. Those who follow Islam are very dedicated, for they live their whole life submitting themselves to Allah. As a matter of fact, the word Islam means submission to Allah.
In the United States today, Islam is a highly accepted religion in the African American community. Since the beginning of the American slave trade, Islam has had a presence in America. The most notable Muslim community in the United States is referred to as the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam originated as a social movement that provided African-Americans with a national identity and a sense of belonging and progressed into a movement that was solely focused on religion. The growth of Islam in America stemmed from the oppression that blacks faced in America and their desire to establish their own identity (Diouf 77). the early part of this century continued for American Blacks to be a time of social displacement, economic deprivation, and yearning for some kind of national identity. The Nation of Islam, along with other Islamic groups, provided, and continues to provide, African Americans with a national identity and a self-image.


“Good Country People” by Flannary O’Connor “Literature and the writing Process” Sixth Edition Upper Saddle, New Jersey