Similarities between the JWs and the NOI

All praise is due to Allah, and may prayers and peace be upon His Final Prophet and Messenger to all the worlds, Muhammad ibn Abdullah. To proceed:

The History of Mankind/‘Yacub’s History’

A pillar of Elijah Muhammad’s teachings revolved around a doctrine he dubbed ‘Yacub’s History.’ This racist doctrine was rigidly adhered to by his followers and in later years was adapted and reinterpreted by the now defunct Ansar cult.[1] In brief, the doctrine stated that the first humans,[2] a race of black people, whom he called ‘the Original Man,’ created white people. Amongst this black race were ‘twenty-four wise scientists.’ Elijah taught that about 6,600 years ago, one of them, an exiled, mad ‘big headed scientist’ named Yacub, artificially created a savage white race of ‘blond, pale-skinned, cold-blue-eyed-devils’[3] on the isle of Patmos.

Elijah claimed that they (the whites) would rule the world for 6,000 years and then be destroyed at the ‘end of their time’ by the blacks. He said the whites were devils by nature and that blacks were Gods, that ‘Judgement Day’ means that at the ‘end of time’ the Gods (i.e., blacks) would destroy the entire white race (devils) and then establish a Paradise (nation) on this earth ruled forever by the blacks (i.e., Gods).[4]

He further taught that Mecca was a symbol of heaven itself and that since whites were devils by nature, they could not accept Islam, and therefore, no whites could be Muslims.[5] This was later rescinded by W.D. upon his father’s death, in an effort to get his community more accepted as a legitimate group of Muslims.[6]


The ironic reality of ‘Yacub’s History’, is that it owes its origins to the book, The Divine Plan of the Ages written in 1886 by Watchtower Society (Jehovah Witnesses) founder Charles T. Russell (1852-1916). Russell’s book is the first volume in his Studies of the Scriptures series, where he supposedly deals with the entire ‘history’ of mankind from 6,000 years in the past to 1,000 years in the future. According to Russell (who happens to be Caucasian), during the 6,000 year period, “God left man in the care of angels who ran afoul of the divine scheme of things by mixing with human beings genetically to produce the gigantic ‘nephilim.’”[7]


Elijah Muhammad adapted not only Russell’s ideas, but also those of Russell’s successor, Joseph F. Rutherford, who led the Jehovah Witnesses from 1916 to 1942. Elijah Muhammad formed the basis of Black Muslim theology from the ideas these two men. During the 1930’s, both Elijah and his teacher, Wallace Ford encouraged their own followers to purchase radios to listen to Jehovah Witness broadcasts.[8] Rutherford in fact is one of the few whites Elijah refers to favorably.[9] More than anything however, Elijah’s adaptation of Watchtower Society doctrines is displayed in the following examples:


1914-The End of Time

Jehovah Witnesses hold that the end of the ‘Gentile times’ must come in 1914, when the righteous rule was to begin.[10] Elijah Muhammad taught that the world’s time ended in 1914, but the ‘so-called Negroes’ must hear Islam before the Judgment can occur, thus according to Elijah, Allah delayed the Final Judgment.[11]


The Battle of Armageddon

The Watchtower Society teach that the Battle of Armageddon would end Satan’s rule.[12] Elijah taught his followers to anticipate the Battle of Armageddon which he said would be the end of ‘white rule.’[13]



The Jehovah Witnesses hold that 144,000 chosen followers will survive the Battle of Armageddon to rule in heaven with Christ.[14] Elijah Muhammad claimed that 144,000 black people would survive the Battle of Armageddon since ‘Allah’ permitted him to convert only that number to ‘Islam.’[15]

Old World

Jehovah Witnesses maintain that Satan rules the ‘Old World’ (i.e., our current existence) until the Battle of Armageddon.[16] According to Elijah Muhammad, White ‘devils’ with the support of Sunni Muslims, rule the Old World until the Battle of Armageddon.[17]


New World on Earth

Jehovah Witnesses hold that the earth will not be destroyed but will abide forever. They claim that there will be an ‘earthly class’ or ‘great crowd’ which would be saved from the Battle of Armageddon so that they could create Jehovah’s New World on earth.[18] Elijah Muhammad taught that the world will not be destroyed, but will exist for many thousands of years, and that 144,000 blacks would constitute Allah’s New World on earth.[19]


Denial of the Hereafter

The Watchtower Society teaches that Paradise is on earth, as there is no eternal life after death nor is there Hellfire. Rather, the dead are asleep until the Judgment.[20] Elijah Muhammad taught that ‘when you are dead you are DEAD,’ that both Paradise and Hellfire are conditions in this life, and that no physically dead person will be resurrected in the Hereafter.[21]


Ezekiel’s Wheel/The Mothership

A unique aspect of Elijah’s doctrines includes a planetary-size UFO called the ‘Mother Plane.’[22] Designed to unleash havoc while rescuing followers from global destruction, the ‘Mother Plane’ concept is not borrowed from Watchtower Society doctrines, yet appears to be significantly rooted in Marcus Garvey’s 1920’s ‘Black Star Steamship Line.’ Garvey promised his ship would transport American blacks to Africa. Thus by blending Garvey’s messianic vision with the Christian interpretations of ‘Ezekiel’s Wheel’ and ‘the Rapture,’ Elijah managed to create a doctrine which today endures through Louis Farrakhan.[23]


The link below is a PDF chart summarizing the doctrinal similarities between Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam and the Watchtower Society (Jehovah Witnesses). The chart I’ve developed is likewise referenced and footnoted to facilitate further research. AN OUTLINE OF THE DOCTRINAL SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE NOI AND THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY


[1] Dr. Bilal Philips decisively exposed them in his 1988 book, The Ansar Cult in America.

[2] According to Elijah, the term human meant ‘man of hue’ i.e. ‘color’ or ‘colored man’–black people; whereas the word ‘mankind’ refers to ‘kind of man’–i.e, white people, who were ‘grafted’ artificially from blacks. Thus the verse, “O mankind, verily, We have created you from a male and a female.” [Al-Hujuraat, 49:15] was interpreted by Elijah to refer to the black man’s (Yacub’s) creation of the white man (mankind).

[3] The Qadiani (Ahmadiyya) cult were the first ones to promote the idea of the inhabitants of Hell being ‘blue-eyed’ western nations. The Qadiani translation and commentary of surah TaHa 20:102: “The Day when the Trumpet will be blown, and on that Day, We shall gather the sinful together, blue-eyed” was used by Elijah as ‘proof’ that all the inhabitants of the Fire will be white people. He then used this interpretation to support his doctrine that Allah was a black man, that all black people were Gods and that all white people were devils. See Message to the Blackman, p. 14; Tafseer Soorah Hujuraat, pp. 20-21. The actual tafseer of the verse explains however, that the eye-color change is a result of the anguish, fear and disgrace which the sinful shall endure on the Day of Resurrection. See Tafseer Ibn Katheer.

[4] See The Autobiography of Malcolm X, pp. 164-168; Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X) Some Questions Answered, p. 3-4; Message to the Blackman in America, pp. 110-122.

[5] After Elijah’s former minister, Malcolm X, left his organization to become a true Muslim and simultaneously exposed Elijah’s false doctrines, Elijah began to verbally admit that indeed there were white Muslims, but clinging to his false teachings, Elijah said that they ‘will not enter the Hereafter that is Promised to the Lost-Found Black People’; meaning that they would go to a separate Paradise. See Our Saviour has Arrived, pp. 89-91.

[6] See Black Muslims Still Unbelievers, pp. 19-20.

[7] See OWJW, p. 37.

[8] See The Voodoo Cult Among Negro Migrants in Detroit, p. 900; The Black Muslims in America, p. 13.

[9] See Message to the Blackman, p. 323; The Fall of America, p. 165.

[10] See OWJW,pp. 63-65, 166-170.

[11] See Message to the Blackman, pp. 18, 83, 289, 294; Black Nationalism, p. 155.

[12] See OWJW, p. 18.

[13] See Message to the Blackman, pp. 32, 210-211; Black Nationalism, p. 239; The Black Muslims in America, p. 87.

[14] See OWJW, pp. 14-16, 144-146.

[15] See Message to the Blackman, p. 46; The Fall of America, p. 143; Black Nationalism, pp. 155, 371.

[16] OWJW, p. 191.

[17] See Message to the Blackman, pp. 49-50.

[18] See OWJW, pp. 22-24.

[19] See Message to the Blackman, pp. 46, 82-83, 247; Black Nationalism, p. 157.

[20] See OWJW, pp. 21, 26.

[21] See Message to the Blackman, pp. 76, 168, 303-304; The Fall of America, pp. 17, 98, 107, 135, 188; Our Saviour Has Arrived, pp. 2, 36, 111, 155; The Black Muslims in America, p. 80; The Autobiography of Malcolm X, p. 209.

[22] sometimes called ‘the Mothership,’

[23] See The Washington Post, Sept. 18, 1995, p. D3). On nationally televised Meet the Press, Tim Russert questioned Farrakhan about Yacub’s History and the UFO concept, to which Farrakhan replied, ‘I subscribe to every word the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us.’ (April 13, 1997); See also, Jan, 11, 2014.



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