Hello world!

Ahlan wa Salaam, Welcome to my WordPress.com blog called “Bilali Muhammad: the father of American Islamic Literature. Bilali wrote one of the earliest American Islamic texts and preserving such items is a focus of this blog. 

Published in: on November 11, 2006 at 4:07 am  Comments (9)  

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  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. Muhammed al-Ahari (born January 6, 1965 as Ray Allen Rudder) an American essayist, scholar and writer on the topics of American Islam, Black Nationalist groups, heterodox Islamic groups and pre-modern occultism. Muhammed al-Ahari was born in York near Rock Hill, South Carolina. His forefathers were settlers from Northern Europe (Scots-Irish & Dutch) and from the indigenous peoples of North America (Cherokee & Lumbee). In his youth he displayed spiritual inquisitiveness and became interested in Islam. He was raised as a Southern Baptist, but later accepted Islam. He formally converted to the faith in 1982 at a Columbia, South Carolina mosque frequented by African-Americans and Arab Wahhabis. It was at that time that he was given the names “Muhammed”, “Abdullah”, “Muhsin Abdul Ali”, as well as “al-Ahari”, after a town in Iranian Azerbaijan.

    For the next three years Muhammed al-Ahari traveled the country in search of the many folkways of American Islamic expression. He had on numerous occasions attended the Nation of Islam under Minister Louis Farrakhan in Chicago, meetings of Father Hurley’s Universal Spiritual Assembly [1] , been associated with several branches of the Moorish Science Temple (including the El-Rukn’s), Harlem’s Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Masjid Ezaldeen in West Valley in New York, copied the Bilali Muhammad manuscript by hand and published a translation through Magribine Press (see Bilali Document), as well as the Nubian Islamic Hebrews under the teachings of Dwight York. Muhammed al-Ahari has uncovered materials on Islam and Islamic Black Nationalism in America that few have ever before him touched.

    Al-Ahari received his other appellation the well-known Moorish American title “El” when he proclaimed his nationality as Moorish American at Moorish Science Temple #1 Brother Prophet John Givens El branch at 3810 S. Wabash at the hands of Sheik Willie Bey and Sheik Yusuf Ali El on October 15, 1985. He also became a shaykh of the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis (a branch of the Chishti Sufis), National Secretary of the Moorish League, and rear-admiral in a little-known literary group — the Moorish Salvation Navy, and Governor of Moorish Science Temple #3 of the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis. He later developed ties with Peter Lamborn Wilson who named him an ordained minister in the Antinomian Moorish Orthodox Church of America (without him ever becoming a member of the MOC!), and with the Harlem-based Nation of Gods and Earths (aka the Five Percenter Nation).

    Muhammad al-Ahari is a widely published writer. His works have appeared in several Muslim American magazines and journals including the Message, Minaret, al-Basheer, Muslim Prison Brotherhood Newsletter, al-Talib, The Light, Moorish Science Monitor, and Amexem Times and Seasons. Al-Ahari’s more scholarly writings can be found in Islam Outside the Arab World, by David Westerlund; Ingvar Svanberg Publisher: New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1999. ISBN 0-312-22691-8 OCLC: 41355839 where he has a chapter on Islam in Latin America; a Symposium paper on the life and teaching of Imam Kamil Avdich in the book Zivot Camil Avdic; 100 Seeds of Beirut — The Neglected Poetic Utternaces of Warren Tartaglia (Walid al-Taha), and a paper in the Symposium papers from the Alevi-Bektashi Conference in Isparta, Turkey. Last September he attended the First Alevi-Bektashi Conference in Isparta,Turkey where he presented a paper on links between Freemasonry and the Bektashi community. The proceedings have been published as a scholarly volume and are available in pdf form at the following link.[2]

    Al-Ahari has published numerous pamphlets on Islam and Muslim history through his Chicago-based Magribine Press and has had his works translated into Arabic, Bosnian, Albanian, and Turkish.

    Muhammad al-Ahari has studied Sufism under the guidance of the Nimatullahi, Naqshbandi, Owaisi, Qadiri, Tidjani and Bektashi orders. He has also done extensive spiritual outreach among the Bosnian community causing many to return to their Islamic heritage. As part of the outreach he has actively fought against drug abuse, homosexuality, and out-of-wedlock marriages that have begun to affect younger members of the community. He has studied extensively the life and works of the founder of the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago, Imam Kamil Yusuf Avdich. Al-Ahari has collected thirty-seven of Avdich’s English language articles under the title A Heritage of East and West at Lulu.com. al-Ahari is currently working on a multi-volume series on the history of the Bosnian-American community.

    Muhammed al-Ahari took a Masters in English literature from Northeastern Illinois University in 1997, is working on a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, and has studied Islam at Chicago’s near-defunct American Islamic College. His planned dissertation topic is on the curriculum methods of Imam Kamil Avdich and compares the methods with his contemporaries such as Baba Rexheb, Sufi Sam (Samuel L. Lewis), and other other communities in the United States. It will cover Avdich’s sources, influences, and teachers. Then he will compare the methodology and content with the Bektashi Dervish College as well as the Sunni Madrasah systems in Bosnia and Albania.

    Muhammed al-Ahari has been working as a teacher in the Chicago public school system since 1995. In 1994, he married a woman from the Bosnian region of Bihac and currently lives in the city of Chicago.

  3. If you need any help with your blog, let me know.

    We know each other, part of extended family.

  4. Who was Bilali Muhammad? — My article from Wikipedia

    The Bilali Muhammad Document or Ben Ali Diary or Journal is a 19th century handwritten Arabic text of 13 pages on West African Islamic Law by Bilali Mohammet of Sapelo Island, Georgia. It is currently housed in the library at the University of Georgia. The first partial translation was done in 1939 in the Journal of Negro History by Dr. Joseph Greenberg. In recent years it has been analyzed by Dr. Ronald Judy, Dr. Joseph Progler, Dr. Allan Austin ISBN 0-415-91270-9, and Muhammed al-Ahari. The last writer’s text Bilali Muhammad: a Muslim Jurisprudist in Antebellum Georgia is available from the Chicagoland area’s SoundVision bookstore.

    The text proves on close analysis to be a brief statement of Islamic beliefs and the rules for ablution, morning prayer, and the calls to prayer. It could, justifiably, be called the “Mother Text” of American Islamic Literature. A comprehensive commentary with citations from traditional Islamic texts and American Islamic texts with related subject areas is under preparation by Muhammed al-Ahari, national secretary of the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis and long-time researcher on American Islamic History and Literature. The concept of a Matn (source text) with several extended commentaries is a traditional genre in Islamic literature. The commentaries may be linguistic, spiritual, and even have the function of relating the text to similar works.

    Only Arab racism (which portrays this text as the scribblings of an old man copying from memory lessons of childhood) keeps this text from its rightful place as an urtext of American Islamic Literature. We need to name a Muslim American library, school, or research center after this father of American Literature. Past writers have conflated Bilali Muhammad (aka Ben Ali, BuAllah, Bilali Smith, and Mahomet Bilali) with individuals with similar names. He is not the same person as Yusuf Benenhaly [1], the Wahab brothers of Ocracoke Island, and Old York whose son traveled with Lewis and Clark — see York (Lewis and Clark) for more information. Much of this confusion comes from the pen of Reverand Dwight York aka Imam Isa about this father of American Islamic Literature. Further, Bilali’s influence upon both American Islamic Literature and to the Gullah dialect of English needs to be further explored.


    Bilali Muhammad: Muslim Juriprudist in Antebellum Georgia Translated by Muhammad Abdullah al-Ahari [2]

    Greenberg, Joseph H. “The Decipherment of the ‘Ben-Ali Diary,'” Journal of Negro. History, vol. 25, no.3 (July 1940): 372-375.

    Ronald AT Judy, (Dis)forming the American Canon: African–Arabic Slave Narratives and the Vernacular (Disforming the American Canon ISBN 0-8166-2056-3

    Joseph Progler, “Ben Ali and His Diary: Encountering an African Muslim in Antebellum America,” Journal of Arab and Muslim Perspectives (in press for Fall 2004). [3]

    Joseph Progler, “Reading Early American Islamica: An Interpretive Translation of the Ben Ali Diary,” Tawhid:Journal of Islamic Thought and Culture (vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 5-43, Autumn 2000) [4]

  5. Books on Islam in America
    Magribine Press. Your printer and distributor of texts on Islam, Sufism, Moorish Science, the Occult, and Metaphysics since 1988. Send any comments or requests to MoorishAm@aol.com

    A Heritage of East and West
    Selected articles by the noted Bosnian-American Islamic leader, Ćamil Avdić (1914-1979). He was a graduate of three colleges on three continents: the College of Islamic Studies/Sarajevo, al-Azhar/Cairo and Rosary College/Chicago. He started to write on Islam even as a student in his native Bosnia. Later he served on editorial boards of Arabic-language journals in Egypt and on Lahore/Pakistan’s periodical Islamic Literature. This book is a compilation of all of his known English-language articles collected from various periodicals. They offer a unique perspective on issues of assimilation and acculturation in the Muslim community in the West, as well as important aspects of post-Ottoman Bosnian history.
    From: $15.95

    Five Classic Muslim Slave Narratives
    The presentation of Africa, Islam and slavery in the American slave Narratives of Muslim slaves in the Americas is a topic that is often overlooked in discussing the genre of slave narratives and the birth of African American Literature. In fact the first biography was that of a former Maryland slave, Job Ben Solomon, published in 1730 in Britain. By reexamining these often overlooked narratives we can get insight into African Islam, the turmoil of integration into a foreign culture, life in Africa, and life as a slave in the Americas. The primary sources include: the narrative of Job ben Solomon, the two autobiographical pieces of Muhammad Said of Bornu, the Arabic autobiography of ‘Umar ibn Said, the Jamaican narrative of Abu Bakr Said, a discussion of coverage on Bilali Muhammad’s excerpts from the Risalah of Abi Zaid, Theodore Dwight’s articles on the teaching methods of the Serachule teacher slave Lamen Kebe, and a letter describing Salih Bilali.
    From: $14.95

    Islam in America and Other Writings
    Webb was one of the first converts to Islam in America. He opened one of the first Islamic reading rooms, published numerous pamphlets on Islam, edited the first American Islamic journal and newspaper, and served as Turkish emissary to the United States. His writing presents a philosophic, thoughtful Islam that can appeal to both the scholar and the common man and shows that Islam is the answer to the social ills of this nation.
    From: $15.95

    Islam: The True Faith, The Religion of Humanity
    Shaykh Daoud taught Islam from the Great Depression until the seventies as a religion that was the true light of the Civil Rights Movement. This father of American Islam paved the road for the Dar-ul-Islam, Jamil al-Amin, the Fuqara, Imam Isa and the Nuwabians, and Brooklyn’s Masjid Farooq through his Islamic Mission to America. This work Islam, the True Faith, the Religion of Humanity is the first collected work from his pen.
    From: $15.95

    Taking Islam to the Street
    Taking Islam to the Streets: the Dawah of the Islamic Party of North America and the Caribbean Muzaffurdeen Hamid brought a revolutionary Islam grounded in the teachings of Maududi, Khomeini, Malik Bennabi, Qaddaffi, and Sayyed Qutb to the disenfranchised poor in the streets of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Cleveland, and a dozen other cities. This is a collection of the pamphlets used to train the Dawah workers along with a brief history of the Islamic Party.
    From: $4.34

    The 1893 World Parliament of Religion: Islam Papers
    This is a collection of speeches at the 1893 World Parliament of Relions held in Chicago. It includes papers from Muslims (especially Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb) and from Christian missionaries and scholars.
    From: $9.95

    The 100 Seeds of Beirut
    “In searching for the origin or seed of this vision return to 1965 when Walid al Taha – brilliant junky 350-pound jazz saxophonist poet – inducted us into the Moorish Orthodox Church, gave us a copy of al Ghazzali’s Confessions, & told us about the Assassins. ‘Passions are equal to Destinies’ as Fourier’s calculus teaches – & these krazy-bricks laid the foundation of a temple of desire – of an imaginal Egypt 2-dimensional as a cigarette-packet design from 1913 but also n-dimensional – emerald gate to Jabulsa & Jabulqu the no-where Cities. Pyramids, palms, sphinxes, roses, crescent-&-star, minaret — the orientalismo of a child’s reverie. Why shouldn’t ‘Truth’ take the form of our obsessions?” – Peter L. Wilson (Hakim Bey)
    From: $10.95

  6. AsSalam aliekum,
    I would like most of the replies to focus on the concept of the develoment of an American Islamic Culture and Literture. This can include the influence of Indigeous Islamic groups, Sufis, and Immigrants.
    Muhammed al-Ahari

  7. AsSalam alikeum,
    A catalouging of every American Islamic publications, whether book or periodical, is also a goal.

  8. Assalamu Alaikum,

    you need to organize this a little better.

    I’ll email you.

  9. I do not drop a comment, however after reading
    a few of the responses on Hello world! | Bilali Muhammad
    — Father of American Islamic Literature. I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it seem like a few of the remarks appear like they are written by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional places, I’d like to keep up
    with you. Could you list of every one of all
    your public pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page
    or twitter feed?

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