When a debate arises about the prominent leaders of color from past and present, the names you will frequently hear discussed are Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Dubois, George Washington Carver, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and current President Barack Obama. Seldom, if ever, is the name of Prophet Noble Drew Ali mentioned. This is perhaps because so little is known or documented about him. In trying to research his biography or attain any information about him, the seeker is limited to brief excerpts or commentary provided by one of his thousands of followers. Noble Drew Ali plays as integral a role with the progression and enlightenment of Black people as a culture as any of the previously mentioned individuals. It’s important to recognize the accomplishments of lesser known ground breakers and innovators, inasmuch as it is to celebrate the achievements of those thought to be world renowned. So who was Noble Drew Ali, who were the Moors and why are they important?
“During the European Dark Ages, between the 7th and 14th century AD, the Moorish Empire in Spain became one of the world’s finest civilizations. General Tarik and his Black Moorish army from Morocco, conquered Spain after a week long battle with King Roderick in 711 AD. (The word tariff and the Rock of Gibraltar were named after him). They found that Europe, with the assistance of the Catholic Church, had returned almost to complete barbarism. The population was 90% illiterate and had lost all of the civilizing principles that were passed on by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
The Moors reintroduced mathematics, medicine, agriculture, and the physical sciences. The clumsy Roman numerals were replaced by Arabic figures including the zero and the decimal point. As Dr. Van Sertima says, “You can’t do higher mathematics with Roman numerals.” The Moors introduced agriculture to Europe including cotton, rice, sugar cane, dates, ginger, lemons, and strawberries. They also taught them how to store grain for up to 100 years and built underground grain silos. They established a world famous silk industry in Spain. The Moorish achievement in hydraulic engineering was outstanding. They constructed an aqueduct, that conveyed water from the mountains to the city through lead pipes from the mountains to the city. They taught them how to mine for minerals on a large scale, including copper, gold, silver, tin, lead, and aluminum. Spain soon became the world center for high quality sword blades and shields. Spain was eventually manufacturing up to 12,000 blades and shields per year. Spanish craft and woolen became world famous. The Moorish craftsman also produced world class glass, pottery, vases, mosaics, and jewelry.
The Moors introduced to Europe paved, lighted streets with raised sidewalks for pedestrians, flanked by uninterrupted rows of buildings. Paved and lighted streets did not appear in London or Paris for hundreds of years. They constructed thousands of public markets and mills in each city. Cordova alone had 5,000 of each. They also introduced to Spain underwear and bathing with soap. Their public baths numbered in the thousands when bathing in the rest of Europe was frowned upon as a diabolical custom to be avoided by all good Christians. Poor hygiene contributed to the plagues in the rest of Europe. Moorish monarchs dwelled in sumptuous palaces while the crowned heads of England, France, and Germany lived in barns, lacking windows, toilets, and chimneys, with only a hole in the roof as the exit for smoke. Human waste material was thrown in the streets since no bathrooms were present.
Education was made mandatory by the Moors, while 90% of Europe was illiterate, including the kings and queens. The Moors introduced public libraries to Europe with 600,000 books housed in Cordova alone. They established 17 outstanding universities in Spain. Since Africa is a matriarchal society, women were also encouraged to devote themselves to serious study, and it was only in Spain that one could find female doctors, lawyers, and scientists.
Moorish schoolteachers knew that the world was round and taught geography from a globe. They produced expert maps with all sea and land routes accurately located with respect to latitude and longitude; while also introducing compasses to Europe. They were such expert shipbuilders that they were able to use their geography expertise to import and export as far away as India and China. It was not by accident that a Moor named Pietro Olonzo Nino was the chief navigator for Christopher Columbus on the flagship Santa Maria. He is said to have argued with Columbus as to who really discovered America. One of the worst mistakes the Moors made was to introduce gunpowder technology from China into Europe, because their enemies adopted this weapon and used it to drive them out of Spain. Europe then took the 700 years of civilization and education re-taught to them by the Moors and used this knowledge to attack Africa.
While the Moors were re-civilizing Europe, great empires were thriving in Western Africa and frequently traded with the Moors. These included the empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay, which prospered between 700 AD and 1600 AD. Africa was not a dark continent awaiting European civilization. In fact, Black African Egyptians and Black African Moors are credited with civilizing Europe.” (Source – Black People & Their Place In the World, written by Dr. Leroy Vaughn)
Fast forward to the New World and the establishment of the United States, and it’s debated and chronicled that the first Black President isn’t Barack Obama, but John Hanson, who was voted to that prestigious position in 1781 under the adoption of the Articles of Confederation which were established on March 1, 1781, headed by the Confederation Congress . According to research, Mr. Hanson, was a Moor. Furthermore, for history’s sake, George Washington is actually the eighth (8th) President of the United States; elected in 1788. Morocco is one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the United States as the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah issued a declaration in 1777 allowing American ships access to Moroccan ports. One of the longest standing agreements still enforced is the Treaty of Peace & Friendship brokered between Morocco and the United States signed in Marrakech in 1787 (ratified in 1836); representatives for the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The U.S had its first consulate in Tangier in 1797 in a building given by the sultan Moulay Sliman. It is the oldest U.S diplomatic property in the world. (Think of the movie Casino – the Tangiers)
Prophet Noble Drew Ali was born Timothy Drew on January 8, 1886 in the State of North Carolina. Ali founded the Moorish Science Temple of America in 1913 in Newark, New Jersey. He would later move the headquarters to Chicago, Illinois, where he would establish his roots and the movement would flourish. According to his biography, the high priest trained Drew in mysticism and gave him a “lost section” of the Quran. This text came to be known as the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America which is also known as the “Circle Seven Koran” because of its cover, which features a red “7” surrounded by either a red or blue circle. Drew crafted Moorish Science from a variety of sources, a “network of alternative spiritualities that focused on the power of the individual to bring about personal transformation through mystical knowledge of the divine within”. In researching this topic, in my opinion one of Ali’s biggest achievements may have been what he was able to accomplish at the Pan-American Conference held in Havana, Cuba in 1928. It is said at that meeting, the land mass of North, Central and South “America” was returned to the Moors as a result of his ability to disprove the fact that “Blacks” weren’t brought to the “Americas” as slaves, but were the possessors of the oldest artifacts and burial sites in those areas; in other words indigenous to the continent(s). Aware of the consequences, and afraid of a potential “awaken”, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal met in Geneva, Switzerland for consecutive years from 1928 to 1932, to set up what would be policy of all the participating countries (Geneva Convention). In 1930, the aforementioned countries declared for bankruptcy; the minutes of the 1930 Convention are unavailable for view by the public because it contains evidence of bankruptcy. In 1932, the countries stopped meeting in Geneva, FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) became President, and under the premise of the “New Deal”, the reorganization plan confronting the bankruptcy the U.S. had declared two (2) years earlier, the United States of America, as well as the Constitution became defunct turning into a for profit corporation: (ALL CAPITAL LETTERS). All the other states followed suit revamping their local constitutions by 1938 and began doing business under the corporation the United States, making way for the Buck Act of 1940. Noble Drew Ali died at the age of forty-three (43) at his home in Chicago on July 20, 1929. The circumstances surrounding his death, his legacy and the Moors as a whole largely remains a mystery. And like most things, art, literature, science, language and culture, when they aren’t discussed, the history is lost and the public is oblivious to the events that have taken place in the past and how it can be beneficial to their growth and understanding. My co-worker has a quote in which he states, “Be phenomenal or be forgotten!” The Moors have etched out just as much history as anything else we’ve been taught to study. It is our obligation to remember their accomplishments just as much as we immortalize the deeds of other historical figures. “The time has come when every nation must worship under its own vine and fig tree, and every tongue must confess his own. Through sin and disobedience every nation has suffered slavery, due to the fact that they honored not the creed and principles of their forefathers. That is why the nationality of the Moors was taken away from them in 1774 and the word negro, black and colored, was given to the Asiatics of America who were of Moorish descent, because they honored not the principles of their mother and father, and strayed after the gods of Europe of whom they knew nothing.” – Moorish Holy Koran chapter 47:15-17 “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)
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