There is no God but us – this without fail we know when from our face we lift the veil. - İmadeddin Nesimi (1369 – 1417)
I would like to begin this article by extending a note of gratitude to Paul Guthrie for the information and research that he has brought to the masses. While I do not agree with his conclusion concerning W. D. Fard, who is popularly known as Master Fard Muhammad, other aspects of the information that he has provided is quite useful for those of us on the path of knowledge.
There is no God but us – this without fail we know when from our face we lift the veil. – İmadeddin Nesimi (1369 – 1417)
Paul Guthrie’s recent findings have been a hot topic of conversation for those studious in the Supreme Wisdom and the teachings’ of Elijah Muhammad. According to Guthrie’s Get On Board The Wheel Documentary Series, much of the knowledge that was given to Elijah Muhammad by W. D. Fard derived from Buddhism. Gutherie expands upon this theory through a careful analysis of the Supreme Wisdom book and 120 lessons in relation to India’s geography and other features of the lessons that point to W. D. Fard’s origin as being in India. Personally, I think that the dialogue Gutherie has initiated is good, as many westerners, specifically those of African American descent aren’t aware of Buddhism’s influence upon the world. In my book The Moabitess Stone, which is heralded as the sequel to Message to the Black Man in America, I discuss how even the term “god” originated from Buddhism, of which an online excerpt of this section of the book can be found under the article The Origin of God.
My awareness of Paul Guthrie’s work came from listening to one of my favorite shows titled Yanadameen Godcast with Lord Jamar & Rah Digga One episode, in particular, featured Guthrie, who stated that W. D. Fard was not teaching traditional Islam, nor its principles. Guthrie further states that if one were to define Islam as I-Self Lord and Master then Master W. D. Fard’s teaching could be considered as Islam. However, my difference with Guthrie comes in his assumption that Islam, as defined by the philosophy of I-Self Lord and Master, begins with W, D. Fard. It is more probable that Master Fard Muhammad was teaching a form of Islam, not Buddhism, that wasn’t known to the western world, and this form of Islam begins with a five percenter from the 13th century named Fazl Allah.
Hurufis: The Five Percenters of the 13th CenturyInitially, my interest in the teachings of the Five Percent Nation began from what I found in an encyclopedia. It was an article about an Islamic sect known as the Hurufis. The group was founded by a man named Fazl Allah (1339-1394) and their teaching relied on a comparative analysis between numbers and letters. Fazl Allah also taught that the time of prophets and sages was over and that man was a manifestation of Allah on earth. Noticed what is mentioned about the Hurufis’ teachings and how closely they resemble those of the Five Percent Nation as described in The Wiley Blackwell History of Islam, edited by Armando Salvatore, where it states:
“the Hurufi movement was founded by Fazl Allah (1340-1394), a sayyid (Muhammad’s direct descendant, also “master,” “chieftain”) from Astarabad, Iran. The Hurufi doctrine according to which the absolute truth (haqiqa) is found in the essential substance of the alphabet’s letters…..The most remarkable syncretic feature of the Hurufis was their innovative blending of mysticism, Isma’ili symbolism for its emphasis on the number seven,”
In an online article published by the Encyclopedia Britannica about a prominent Hurufi member and famous poet named Seyid İmadeddin Nesimi, we get a clear picture about Fazl Allah and the teachings of the Hurufis. In describing Nesimi’s involvement with the Hurufis, we read:
“He became acquainted with the founder of an extremist religious sect, the Ḥurūfīs, the Iranian mystic Faḍl Allāh of Astarābād, who was flayed to death for his heretical beliefs in 1401/02. Ḥurūfism was based on a kabbalistic philosophy associated with the numerological significance attributed to the letters of the alphabet and their combinations (hence the name, from Arabic, ḥurūf, “letters”). Nesimi seems to have studied with various mystical teachers before he met Faḍl Allāh, but after their meeting he became a zealous adherent of the sect, acting as missionary.”
Different than Paul Guthrie’s assertion that Master W.D. Fard use of the term Islam was a substitute for Buddhist philosophy, the cited references fully illustrate that there did exist Islamic sects centuries prior to Master Fard Muhammad arrival in the United States that also practiced Islam as an I-Self-Lord-and-Master philosophy. The Hurufis were persecuted heavily by traditional adherents of Islam. Many of them were killed, including Fazl Allah and Nesimi.
To illustrate how deep the connection and understanding between the Five Percent Nation and the Hurufis, all one needs to investigate is the death of the poet Nesimi himself. This sad but inspiring account is captured in a book covering Nesimi’s work that was published by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation as part of the project “Azerbaijani Classics”.The book, Imadeddin Nesimi, not only covers Nesimi’s poetic works but also provides a concise biography of his life. On pages 5 through 8, we read:
“Hurufism regarded scriptural letters as the basis behind the entire corpus of holy scripture, and that even God himself was manifested in the face of man. In Nasimi’s poems we often find explicit statements of these views, as, for instance, that Supreme God is himself humanity’s son.
Nasimi says to his reader: O you in whole face pristine substance is seen, your image is merciful and gracious God. Nasimi used the personal pronoun “I” in the generic sense to mean “all men”: Since my ending is eternal and my beginning primordial, primordially and eternally I am the Supreme Being….
According to contemporary chronicles, Nasimi spent the last days of his life in the city of Aleppo. We know as a matter of fact that one of his pupils was found reciting Nasimi’s Persian ghazals in the street there: To see my face you need an eye that can perceive True God. How can the eye that is short-sighted see the face of God? When religious fanatics heard this ‘heresy’, they arrested the young man and ordered him to name the poem’s author. The youth said it was his own poem – and he was promptly sentenced to death. Nasimi heard what had happened, and went to the place of execution, demanding the innocent youth’s release – he named himself as the author of the offending poem. The clerical officials resolved to flay Nasimi alive. He faced his terrible death with impressive dignity. During the torture, one of the clerics asked Nasimi: “You say you are God. Then why do you grow pale as your blood drains away?” to which Nasimi replied: “I am the sun of love on eternity’s horizon. The sun always pales at sundown.”
Paul Guthrie Only Needs To Readjust His ViewIs Paul Guthrie wrong? My disagreement with Guthrie concerns his assertion that Master Fard Muhammad’s teaching derived from Buddhism. However, much of what Guthrie has discovered is a coherent truth. What is interesting about this discussion is that some adherents of the Hururfi doctrine went underground and reemerged in the guise of certain Sufi schools. Fazl Allah’s teachings also survived through similar sects that existed in India, the same location that Guthrie claims that Master Fard Muhammad originated. In a book about Fazl Allah and his teachings entitled Fazlallah Astarababi and the Hurufis by Shahzad Bashi, we read on page 114-115 of his influence upon Indian Islam:
“Fazlallah’s ideas had some influence on Indian Islam through at least two different channels. The Nuqtavi movement traveled from Iran to India as people seeking better fortunes or refuge from persecution moved between these two Persian-speaking Islamic societies in the early modern period. The intellectual circle surrounding the Mughal emperor Akbar (d. 1605) was influenced by Nuqtavi ideas regarding material reality and the supremacy of Persian culture. The Nuqtavis may also have had some effect on Akbar’s promulgation of his short-lived Divine Religion (Din-i Ilahi) that was supposed to overcome the differences between existing religions of India.
A quite different strand of Fazlallah’s ideology than the Nuqtavi movement is traceable in the literature of the Shattari Sufi order that arrived with a migrating Sufi named Shaykh ‘Abdallah Shattar (d. 1485) from Central Asia and became established in India in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.”
In conclusion, it seems more reasonable that W.D Fard inherited his form of Islam from the teachings of Fazl Allah and the Hurufis through their influence upon Indian Islam than Buddhism. In fact, the Wikipedia article about Fazl Allah states that “the basic belief of the Ḥurūfiyyah was that the God was incarnated in the body of Fażlullāh and that he would appear as Mahdī when the Last Day was near in order to save Muslims, Christians, and Jews.” Sound familiar?
In conclusion, I would like to thank Paul Guthrie for his courageous efforts. Also, would like to extend a big salute to Lord Jamar Allah and the staff on the Godcast. Peace to the Nation of Gods and Earths!