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24 of the Most Influential Black Muslims in History

Bilal ibn Ribah pictured, atop the Kaaba

Bilal ibn Rabah (580–640 A.D.)

Bilal was a formerly enslaved Ethiopian who became one of the closest and most-trusted companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Known for his beautiful voice, Bilal became the first muezzin (caller to prayer) in Islam, chosen by Muhammad himself.
Umm Ayman aka Barakah

Umm Ayman (d. 650)

Umm Ayman, also known as Barakah, was an enslaved Ethiopian who was emancipated and became a renowned companion of the Prophet Muhammad. She was one of the few individuals who closely knew the Prophet from his birth until his death. Among the earliest converts to Islam, she participated in the battle of Uhud, caring and tending for the wounded.
Usama b. Zayd

Ubada ibn as-Samit (d. 654)

An early companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Ubada was one of the earliest converts to Islam in Medina and participated in all the major battles of the Prophet, including Badr and Uhud. Later, he became a successful commander of the Rashidun army and served under the Rashidun caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar. He was one of the main field commanders during the Muslim conquest of Egypt.

 

 

Usama bin Zayd

Usama bin Zayd (d. 674)

The son of Zayd ibn al-Hāritha and Umm Ayman, Usama bin Zayd was among the closest companions of the Prophet Muhammad and was the youngest individual ever appointed as a military general during the lifetime of the Prophet, leading a military force when he was only 17 years old.

What people are saying

60 thoughts on “24 of the Most Influential Black Muslims in History

  1. elijah poole, farrakhan, and Brother khalid are not classified as Muslims, for there is no history to date any of them came under Shahadah, as the El Hajj Malik Shabazz(ra)/Malcolm X…

  2. Akil Talib says:

    asa I appreciate this yet there is one you missed AHMADU BAMBA…..great list.

  3. All of them have one thing in common: they engaged in terrorism and invaded, stole, killed and occupied others properties, towns and cities.

  4. Gurlene Waite says:

    Muhammad Ali?

  5. Kameron J. Copeland says:

    Where is Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and Muhammad Ali, particularly on the last page!

  6. Samir Al-Amin says:

    Who classifies anyone as Muslim but Allah. He decreed that to be a Muslim one simply has to bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger. What one does with that is between him/her and Allah.

  7. Your Posit is ridiculous this argument is long since lost its punch however Only Allah can say who is Muslim and who is not and the Quran settles the argument unless you have the authority to rewrite another.

  8. Both of you sound like a fool. There is nothing in the Quran that justify the liar elijah. Even he said he did not bring Islam to the people… The one that matter is Rasullah(SAW)… Truth never lose Power. only lies

  9. Lastly, this very list of Men and Women of Faith would did not live with the focus of elijah, but Muhammad of 1400 years ago, gladly…

  10. Majazz Hanif-Allah says:

    Obviously, you don't know minister Farrakhan or the NOI.

  11. Moose Caballero says:

    Cortez Charles Hwesu is correct, NOI members commit Shirk.

  12. Moose Caballero says:

    Muhammad was actually white.

  13. Moose Caballero says:

    You did not read anything, did you? You are not even Muslim. LOL

  14. People tend forget that Tariq Ibn Zayid was originally of hebriac before his conversion to Islam..

  15. Moose Caballero , they do not understand the concept. You should inform them.. May the "spook" god, will give them enlightenment… those of the elijah's group have a "disease" in their heart that allows them to want to focus on blaming creation and living in empowerment to their Creator…

  16. Majazz Hanif-Allah , I know after elijah died, the group was transferred to wallance in 1975. Wallance told the people his father was wrong in regards to the teachings of Islam. I know Wallance instructed those that wanted to be muslim to declare the "Shahadah"… including farrakhan, if he did, and they started a "new" group declaring fard is god… then he is a kafur/ not a muslim. Have to reverence for GOD and is eligible for hell unless he repent before he die…. everything else about him is irrelevant.

  17. Moose Caballero what if he was? Is that was you need to follow his(saw) life principles?

  18. Moose Caballero says:

    Hwesu Shaka-Cinque Toure. As much as I would love too, I am fair skinned. In NOIs Doctrine, Black Supremacy, and racism is King. They go against everything in the Qu'ran, and the teachings of Rasoolallah. NOI is the butt of the joke for Islam.

  19. Moose Caballero says:

    Hwesu Shaka-Cinque Toure Absolutely not, brother. I was just reminding you, since the post didn't have relevance to the original post. Allahu Alim.

  20. for someone to say that GOD is a man goes against Quran… that is the message to all including the christians. For someone to follow anyone other Muhammad ibn Abdullah of 1400 years(SAW) means you dont understand the function of Islam. Those that ALLAH have called to be in HIS Religion are Commanded to uphold all HE Say is right and forbid all the HE Say is wrong for Humanity.. people like you, elijah, farrakhan, wesley, sultan, etc, etc… WHY??????????????? why take on names, vocabulary, profess to be believers of ALLAH The Most High GOD, yet reject the very principles Islam stand for???? why "try" to kidnap a Way of Life that is too big for your lifespan to corrupt….

  21. Moose Caballero says:

    Majazz Hanif-Allah We do. You don't know Islam.

  22. Majazz Hanif-Allah , I know that in 1975 Wallance was given the group after his father died.. Wallance instructed those that "wanted" to be Muslims to declare Shahadah and denounce the teachings of elijah in order to be Muslims, because his father was wrong.. I know in 1978 farrakhan started a "new" group to bring back the old information of elijah…. I know for farrakhan, wesley,sultan, etc etc to say they care so much for the upliftment of Afrikan people, they are liars in that regard, due to the fact they are misrepresenting Islam as given to Prophet Muhammad of 1400 years ago… are you going to delete this one also?

  23. indeed! i can't believe they missed the most great peacefully opositor of the counter-initiatic french colonialism and spiritual pole of his time. And Mas'ud al Habashi, disciple of Ibn al 'Arabi and great Qutb as well…

  24. Samir Al-Amin says:

    Let us be clear…the argument you make has been debated by the scientists in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere for over 70 years. We still stand on that cardinal principle so it's not something we are running from. By the way… One last point…the Muslim world didn't come here to teach us the religion of our father's in 1930. It was a man born in Ga. The Muslim world did not see us worthy of being taught and the fact that you know islam can be directly tied to the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and what he taught us because it didn't exist before him…so whoever backed him in spreading islam in the west had to be more powerful than anything that exists in the west because he built a Nation on that faith.

  25. Samir Al-Amin GOD call people to HIS Religion, no man can take credit for a person becoming a Believer in their Creator. NO one is response to come america and "Save" anyone. Since you are talking about arguments that foolishness is nonvalid… elijah still did not teach Islam, so what is your point… stealing vocabulary, changing concepts because he believed black people to be too dumb to live by, speaking about the bible in a way that Muslim dont, and not teaching the understanding of Tauhid as did Prophet Muhammad(SAW) was instructed to, does not qualify elijah. The misunderstanding that Muslims was not in america the whole time is a lie… Did you read the people of this list the Brother Ibrahim Abd al-Rahman (1762 – 1829)…. If you want to follow elijah… go ahead, that is your right, but GOD will not accept those that associate partners with HIS Authority… that is what the Quran say… it is called shirk… I dont care what saudi have to say about anything, they have their own issues to correct.

  26. Akil Talib says:

    Samir Al-Amin asa bro Ahmadu Bamba died in 1927 …..Black Reformer of iSLAM WHO Fought the French & Brittish non violently and Defeated them…..study up on Him….there is a reason we got Immigrant Islam from the middle east and not Africa…to answer your question how could our people be saved from those who where fighting at the same time and before Ahmadu Bamba 1854- 1927

  27. Akil Talib says:

    Moose Caballero oh yeah ….

  28. Moose Caballero says:

    Akil Talib oh YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *Crashes through a Wall*. You get the analogy, brother? 🙂

  29. Akil Talib , to add to you point is why I speak in the matter I do. There is history of Muslims coming to this land america, before it was taken by the european. Afrikan went back home. The fact that many Muslims came here in slavery was by design. Neither elijah or wallance, connected the Afrikan in america to Islam in Afrika.. For those traditions that are still based on Quran and Sunnah, we need to be in fellowship with them… I am not a nationalist, I will say that Afrikan People in america have the best opportunity to "become" the best people on the planet if they come under Shahadah and live to establish Deen as the World leaders we are "called" to be….

  30. Samir Al-Amin says:

    Let's see if we can take on Allah's colour as oppose to leaning on thy own understanding. So the Nation of Islam believes Allah appeared in person and others say we are not Muslims because of such.

    Allah says in the Holy Quran: 19:17
    "…and WE sent her our SPIRIT, and it appeared to her IN THE FORM OF A WELL MADE MAN…

  31. Samir Al-Amin , you have to know that is referring to the Angel Gabriel(as) coming to Mary(as) to tell her of Jesus(as) being offered to her to carry… I accept your group take Quran out of context to make a point.. it does not change the fact elijah is not a muslim, he did not teach islam. The Prophet(WAS) mention as the companion of the 1st person on this page is not elijah. If you did your own research, you would have a better understanding, because GOD will show you.. instead you listen to fools that dont know what the hell they are talking about… Learn arabic and see if you concepts are there… they are not in english… for certain…

  32. Samir Al-Amin says:

    May Allah bless you with light of His understanding

  33. Akil Talib says:

    Hwesu Shaka-Cinque Toure i agree 100%

  34. It's always a good thing to see decent attempts to highlights the lives of the great among us and those past in an article like this. Though we know a paragraph CANNOT a sum up our great worthies lives. My question concerning the article is, where is Imam Warith Deen Mohommed? His work is needs to be observed in such an article.

  35. Cortez Charles , exactly Quran does state who is a believer and who reject faith…. I only say what ALLAH have said, so there is no argument. elijah was not a Muslim, neither you are any one else can change that. Save yourself from the hell fire, he taught did not exist, but is in Quran just the same.. Or do you say there is no hell…

  36. Moose Caballero says:

    Samir Al-Amin to say that Elijah Muhammad was the first person to teach Islam was not only inaccurate, but a flat out lie, but shirk. What bothers me is people like you (Yes you), feel compelled to justify the actions of this Shaytan loving individual. The argument has never been argued in Saudi for 70 years, because Universities in KSA didn't develop until the late 60s, when King Saud was open. So, what are you talking about?! Cuba had Muslims for over 300 years. The fact that you are an NOI apologist disgusts me beyond anything. The man was a Pedo, and Adulterer. He was a dunya lover, plain and simple. Pick up a book, and stop focusing on wanting to be a Millionaire.

  37. Moose Caballero , I agree with you. We should make sure if we are speak with a "victim" of this spiritual abuse or a perpetrator continuing spread falsehood. He is only saying what he have been told to justify upholding nationalism and rejecting the "history" of Islam. I make dua for all that seek ALLAH by HIS Standard and not men. ameen

  38. Samir Al-Amin says:

    Who do you know in 1930 that was showing the poor, despised and rejected? Tell me who was in black bottom…Robert Taylor…queens projects teaching Islam…before anyone of you opening your mouth do your research… i said no one and I mean NO ONE CAME but the Hon Elijah Muhammad so miss me with the madness you all are referring to. You talk shirk and have no idea what it is..you have parrot something you heard. That's what I meant by us…those who were in the slums…we recieved a word that straighten us up and allowed men to debate AND WIN against anyone this world produced. All of this from a man with a 3rd grade education. So if a man with a third grade education taught something that was NEVER defeated it's safe to say whoever taught knew best. And if he told us his teachers name was master Fard Muhammad then…I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY ALLAH CAME IN THE PERSON OF MASTER FARD MUHAMMAD.

  39. This list is not exhaustive as it mentions people who commit shirk like the leaders of the Nation of Islam like Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farakhan who r not Muslims. Where is the first Black Muslim to become the Imaam of the Haram Sheikh Adil Kalbani. Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer and Sheikh Khalid Yasin of the USA who is now based in the UK. What about Prof Ali Masrui.

  40. Ali Gill says:

    http://facetofloor.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/refutation-of-farrakhanism-the-so-called-nation-of-islam/ Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad claim(ed) that God was born to a white woman. They do/did not teach Islam.

  41. Hamin Khatib says:

    Peace be on you, You should be ashame of yourself for not including Imam W.Deen Mohammed leader of over 3 million Muslim Native African Americans!

  42. Hamin Khatib says:

    Without Imam W.Deen Mohammed there is not a great community of Muslims in America that follow the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

  43. Hamin Khatib says:

    You give us our history of Great past Muslims! and then you stear us into the direction of Black nationists! Not Al Islam Proper!

  44. Hamin Khatib says:

    This article is of the Whispering Satan! Give us the good of the past proper! and then stear us back into darkness! not to show us the greatest Muslim conversion in America lead by one of our own in the same tradition of those of the past you show us. Imam W.Deen Mohammed!

  45. Hamin Khatib says:

    You should do this story Over! Showing Imam W. Deen Mohammed as the most sucessfull Muslim leader ever in America in the tradition of these great men and women you show us from the past! We have today a great leader in their tradition! Al- Islam Proper! Quit Playing!

  46. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe says:

    How about the Holy Prophet himself who was black? The Prophet Muhammad of Arabia was a pure Arab from the Banū Hāshim clan of the Quraysh tribe. Not only were the original and true Arabs black (aswad, akhḍar, udma), but the Prophet’s particular tribe and clan were famously black. As Robert F. Spencer remarks: “It is said that the Quraysh explained their short stature and dark skin by the fact that they always carefully adhered to endogamy,”[Robert F. Spencer, “The Arabian Matriarchate: An Old Controversy,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 8 (Winter, 1952) 488.] and Henry Lammens took notice of “les Hāśimites, famille où dominait le sang nègre” (“the Hashimites, the family where Black blood dominated”), remarking further that the Banū Hāshim are “généralement qualifies de ﺁﺪﻢ = couleur foncée” (“generally described as ādam = dark colored”).[Études sur le siècle des Omayyades (Beirut: Imprimerie Calholique, 1930) 44.]

    These Western observations are in complete accord with the confessions found in Classical Arabic/Islamic literature. Ibn Manẓūr (d. 1311), author of the most authoritative classical Arabic lexicon, Lisān al-‘arab, notes the opinion that the phrase aswad al-jilda, ‘black-skinned,’ idiomatically meant khāliṣ al-‘arab, “the pure Arabs,” “because the color of most of the Arabs is dark (al-udma).”[Ibn Manẓūr, Lisān al-‘arab (Beirut: Dar al-Sadir – Dar al-Bayrut, 1955-1956) s.v. اخضر IV:245f; See also Edward William Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (London: Williams & Norgate 1863) I: 756 s.v. خضر. ] In other words, blackness of skin among the Arabs indicated purity of Arab ethnicity. Likewise, the famous grammarian from the century prior, Muhammad b. Barrī al-‘Adawī (d. 1193) noted that an Akhḍar or black-skinned Arab was “a pure Arab (‘arabī maḥḍ)” with a pure genealogy, “because Arabs describe their color as black (al-aswad)”[Ibn Manẓūr, Lisān al-‘arab, s.v. اخضر IV:245.] Al-Jaḥiẓ (d. 869), in his Fakhr al-sūdān ‘alā l-bidan, declared: “The Arabs pride themselves in (their) black color, تفخر بسواد اللون العرب (al-‘arab tafkhar bi-sawād al-lawn)”[Al-Jāḥiẓ, Fakhr al-sūdān ‘alā l-bidan, in Risa’il Al-Jahiz, 4 vols. (Cairo, 1964) I:207. See also the English translation by T. Khalidi, “The Boast of the Blacks Over the Whites,” Islamic Quarterly 25 (1981): 3-26 (17). See further Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies (Muhammedanische Studien) 2 vols.] Finally Al-Mubarrad (d. 898), the leading figure in the Basran grammatical tradition, took this a step further when he claimed:

    “The Arabs used to take pride in their brown and black complexion (al-sumra wa al-sawād) and they had a distaste for a white and fair complexion (al-ḥumra wa al-shaqra), and they used to say that such was the complexion of the non-Arabs.”.

  47. Thierno Seydou Dioulde Hane says:

    Although I understand that this list is not a complete one, I would take it to at 50. For many historical figures who have accomplished so much for Islam and who are of African descent have not figured in this list. I can name a few:
    Sheikh Umar Al-Fuutiyyu Tall: He ardently fought for African unity to better offer resistance to the Europeans who were hellbent on imposing Christianity in Africa. It is thanks to Allahu, who through people like him, protected Islam and made sure the influence of Christianity was very limited. He fought the European colonizers managing to push them back until his death.

    Sheikh Ahmadu Bamba Ba: Offer staunch resistance to the colonizers and refused to give up Islamic teachings and principles.

    El hadji Malick Sy: Through strategic planning and ruse, manage to imposed the teaching of Islam despite the strong persecution of the European colonizers.

    Sekou Amadu is another name who manage to form a society that represented the true teachings of the Prophet (SAW).

    I am sure there are many other name to easily come up with a 50-names list. There is also Muhamed Bello, et al.

  48. Thierno Seydou Dioulde Hane says:

    Although I understand that this list is not a complete one, I would take it to at 50. For many historical figures who have accomplished so much for Islam and who are of African descent have not figured in this list. I can name a few:
    Sheikh Umar Al-Fuutiyyu Tall: He ardently fought for African unity to better offer resistance to the Europeans who were hellbent on imposing Christianity in Africa. It is thanks to Allahu, who through people like him, protected Islam and made sure the influence of Christianity was very limited. He fought the European colonizers managing to push them back until his death.

    Sheikh Ahmadu Bamba Ba: Offer staunch resistance to the colonizers and refused to give up Islamic teachings and principles.

    El hadji Malick Sy: Through strategic planning and ruse, manage to imposed the teaching of Islam despite the strong persecution of the European colonizers.

    Sekou Amadu is another name who manage to form a society that represented the true teachings of the Prophet (SAW).

    I am sure there are many other name to easily come up with a 50-names list. There is also Muhamed Bello, et al.

  49. Ocean says:

    this is not fair. you forgot one of the biggest leaders in East Africa. why don't you add it Seyid mohamad Abdulle hassan (mad mullah) and Ahmad Gurey. I think you don't know more about black history.

  50. I jealous all these personalities. I so pray Almighty Allah make me leave behind an islamic heritage to be remembered for after my death as sodaqatu jariyah.

  51. Read this article THOROUGHLY, and HONESTLY. Then, go do more research on your own.

    A wise man never knows all; Only a fool knows everything – African proverb.

    http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/article_7278.shtml

  52. So how does this relate with the L. Ron Hubbard teachings

  53. Hameem Habeeb :

    It doesn't.

    This does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVH997mKl_Q.

    All of you people trailing Minister Louis Farrakhan with your negative NONSENSE, are doing yourself a disservice – with the abundance of videos and articles of Minister Farrakhan speaking IN HIS OWN WORDS.

    If you really want answers, go listen to him for yourself, and stop making up tales in these foolish comments.

  54. What about Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba?

  55. Samir Al-Amin Islam is a gift to the World and Allah swt does not discriminate. Islam has always been and will always be a part of Africaand if you had actually taken time to read the list of the warriors posted you would clearly have seen that. Just to be clear, when Bilal was chossen to be saved it was because he was to be an example for all of mankind. This Sudanese slave with dark skin, is one of the first peoples to accept Islam and help in the spreading of Islam. Bilal was the first person choosen to give the Adhan. Bilal was the most trusted confidant of Prophet Muhammad pbuh and Bilal was the only person that Muhammad pbuh allwed to enter the Kab'bah.

  56. Where is Imam WD Mohammed? I think there must be a typo. lol. The son of THEM is missing from the list or did I just miss it? Wallace Mohammed

  57. Zainadine Zainab let's analyze Islam in the world. There are only two minds that exist in the world. Either the mind of God is present or the mind of satan. One mind produces heaven and one produces hell. Now look at the condition Islam. Would you say it's a gift that Saudi Arabia just cut the heads off Iranian clerics and diplomats. Would you consider it a gift that the Muslim world wars against itself. How about a world of Islam bowing down to governments out of fear. So Prophet Muhammad said 3 generations after me will no longer be of me. What did he mean? The Muslin world is looking for Mahdi and Messiah to return together. Mahdi means a guide. Why does one need to be guide as we say in our prayers unless we have lost our way.

  58. Samir Al-Amin what is your point… First, there is only 1 Mind, that of ALLAH, The Creator of all that exist and all creation including satan use that MIND, including Paradise and Hell. satan is a created being that is going to hell to be punished, he does not control anything and only those that reject GOD. The behavior of fools arabs dont justify the lies of e lie jah poole or qualify him to be anything than a fool for lying against GOD intentions. May he receive the reward for his action for deceiving countless people both black and white.. ameen

  59. A few of these guys might not have been black

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