Professor Muhammad Ezzeldeen and the Routes of Black Sunnism in the U.S.

by Akil Fahd

In this Facebook Live video stream, Akil Fahd, an independent researcher formerly based in Detroit, Mich., discusses the life of Professor Muhammad Ezzeldeen, founder of prominent Black Sunni organization in the 1940s, the Addeynu Allahe Universal Arabic Association (AAUAA). Professor Ezzeldeen is perhaps the most underappreciated Black Muslim leader of the twentieth century. His life intersects with the founding of the Moorish Science Temple of America, the rise of the Nation of Islam and the organization of a Black Sunni leadership across the Northeast and Midwest. He is likewise responsible for founding two Black Muslim settlements: Jabul Arabiyya in New York and Ezzeldeen Village in New Jersey.

Ezzeldeen began his career as James Lomax Bey, governor of the Moorish Science Temple’s Detroit branch. However, his interactions with other Muslim organizations in the city’s Black Bottom neighborhood — most notably Dusé Mohamed Ali’s Universal Islamic Association — led him on an international pursuit of knowledge to Turkey and Egypt. He returned to the United States in 1936 after six years of study abroad and founded the AAUAA.

Professor Ezzeldeen’s life provides several important lessons for students of Black American Muslim history. It reiterates the fact that Black Sunni communities in the United States are just as old, and have been just as active, as their counterparts in the Nation of Islam, Moorish Science Temple, and Five Percent Nation. Moreover, his emphasis on do-for-self economics, nationalist politics and Black Hamitic identity demonstrates that Black Sunnis partook of a worldview that is supposed to have been particular to “heterodox” movements. Rather, Mr. Fahd’s research further confirms trends that recent publications like Sally Howell’s Old Islam in Detroit suggest: that Black Muslims of all denominations lived together and often worked toward common goals despite their theological differences.


Brother Akil Fahd pic.jpg

Akil Fahd is a researcher on the history of Islam in America. He participated in the Building Islam In Detroit project, an interdisciplinary research project that explores the development of mosques and other Muslim institutions in Detroit during the twentieth century. Mr. Fahd has written and lectured on the intersection of Islam and Pan-Africanism in the West, highlighting the narratives of influential Black Muslim thinkers and organizers whose histories are often overlooked. Mr. Fahd currently lives in Atlanta, Ga., where he continues to promote Muslim community building and historical preservation.

Share Post
Latest comments
  • As Salamu Alaikum, I am a member of the Moorish Science Temple of America. If you want the Moorish Science side of the history of Lomax Bey your welcome to contact me.. Look forward to hearing from you!
    Peace.. Your research is flawed Brother!!

  • Asalamwalaikm,

    I am a resident in philadelphia, i really appreciate your work,
    what is hammatic that u spoke of.

  • very important article.

  • Asa. My parents come out of the Buffalo community. I was raised there as well. My abu is buried in Jabul Arabia, and I grew up spending lots of time there Masha’allah.

    Curious about the “type” of Islam that was being practiced in Buffalo before the Adeenu was established. Pls elaborate.

  • As Salaamu Alaykum Br Akil You May remember talking to me several years ago about Professor Muhammad Ezaldeen founder of the Addeynu Allahe Univerisal Arabic Association . I’m a former member of that organization and had the pleasure of knowing Kareemah Ezaldeen his widow personally ! The impact of Prof Ezaldeen is still alive to this day although most people do not know of him or of his sacrifices to establish Deen ul Islam in America back in the days when racism and segregation was the standard in America! I applaud your efforts to keep his memory alive ! Al Hamdu-lilah !!

  • I joined Addeynu located on High St BFLO NY in 1972 as I can recall .Eman Hassan gave me my name ,studied under Professor Ezzeldeen. I am still Muslim as well as my adult children.

    • As salaamu alaikum. My name is Sahibah Amr. I was also a member of the AAUAA in Buffalo. I used to attend the meetings on High St. along with my cousins Musa and Rabia.

  • Very informative. May Allah reward you for your efforts and good intentions. Ramadan Kareem.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.