The charismatic leader who achieved a high profile in America during the Civil Rights movement.
In the Sixties, black rage in America spoke with many voices. After seven years imprisonment as a Harlem hoodlum, this autodidact emerged to preach black power and black separation - by calling himself X as he erased his own slave name.
Malcolm X joined the Nation of Islam, a heterodox party founded in 1930 by Wali Fard Muhammad, a peddler of Detroit, and after the mysterious disappearance of Fard in 1934, led by Elijah Muhammad. The party claimed that God had been incarnated in Wali Fard, that white people are inherently evil, and that there was no life after death - all views that are heretical from an Islamic perspective.
His conversion to Islam was the redemptive powers of religion and the progressive role it can play in rallying those whose material circumstances offer little in the way of hope. For Malcolm religion was not 'the opium of the people', but 'the sign of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.'
Malcolm X's endorsement of political violence, which would attract so much attention, was little more than a statement of common sense, particularly during a period when black Americans were being murdered throughout the south.
His demand for a separate black nation was borne from self-preservation. Such view had traction not because black Americans did not want to live alongside whites, but because whites would forbid them from doing so in equality and were prepared to murder those who tried.
During a pilgrimage to Makkah Malcolm X had discovered that Islam is colour-blind. He wrote: 'Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by the people of all colours and races….America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.'
When Malcolm X discovered, in 1963, the moral laxity of Elijah Muhammad that led him to become disillusioned with the Nation of Islam. He seceded from the Nation of Islam and took his followers into mainstream Islam, as a result, one loyal to Elijah Muhammad assassinated him, on 21 February 1965, for the apostasy.
Malcolm X's Autobiography backs away from racism. He became a symbol of pride and integrity to which many African-Americans remain fiercely loyal. His passion was for justice, equality and genuine freedom.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, son of a Baptist minister, christened Malcolm Little, he became a pimp, hustler, drug dealer and thief known as Detroit Red. After prison Detroit Red was born again as ascetic, racially militant and institutionally devoted Malcolm X, who died spiritually renewed, ideologically sophisticated and renamed Al-Hajj Malik El-Shahbazz.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin