Adherents to the Nation of Islam doctrine as taught by Elijah Muhammad hold the Bible in low regard. In fact, at one point Mr. Muhammad suggests that black people should, "throw the Bible in the waste pail since they cannot understand it." (MBM p. 91) This is because "the Bible is not all holy, nor is it all the word of God." (Ibid p.89) What this means is that in Elijah's theology the Bible is of little value without his interpretation of it as given to him by Wallace D. Fard, whom he claims is the "Lord of the worlds." (Ibid p. 88) This is circular reasoning at its best. Circular reasoning is best defined as "the propensity of one to give himself the authority to interpret scripture in such a way so as to give himself the authority to interpret scripture in such a way so as to give himself the authority to interpret scripture in such a way so as to give himself the authorityad infinitum." This leaves Elijah, rather than God's inspired word as the only reliable source for absolute truth.
Interestingly, an accurate understanding of just what scripture is, and exactly how it came to be, seems to have eluded Mr. Muhammad. According to p. 93 of Message to the Blackman, Elijah asserts that "Originally the Torah (old [sic] Testament) was given in 2000 B.C. to Musa (Moses) who spoke ancient Egyptian Arabic; and the second half (New Testament) was revealed to Isa (Jesus) who spoke both Arabic and Hebrew, 2000 years ago." (Parentheses & content his) It seems that Mr. Muhammad wasn't aware of the fact that, not only wasn't Moses the author of the entire Old Testament, but also that there is no record anywhere in existence of an Arabic Old or New Testament in either the B.C. period, nor in the Classical Greek or Roman periods. Any claims made along these lines then, are unwarranted and clearly are the results of further circular reasoning.
Mr. Muhammad also couldn't have been aware of the fact that many Christian Pastors and teachers today have at least a functional understanding of both Hebrew and Greek, (the languages of the Old & New Testament, respectively), when he wrote;
"You must remember that from the King James authorized version of the Bible, it has been only 346 years and you have only been permitted to read the Bible for the past 90 years. The white man, our slavemaster (sic) and enemy, had the Bible for over 250 years before we were allowed to read the book." (OSA p. 156)
What Mr. Muhammad is implying here is that we who expound Christian doctrine are unwittingly (or wittingly) teaching false doctrine from material tampered with for over 250 years. One would wonder how Black Muslims today would reconcile these kinds of contentions with the fact that an increasing number of Christians today don't even use the King James Version of the Bible; or with the fact that, according to African author Sulayman Nyang in his book, Islam, Christianity, and the African Identity; "the arrival of Christianity on the African continent preceeded the advent of Western European colonialism..." (p. 61) Mr. Nyang, Professor of African Studies at Howard University, goes on to assert that; "The words of the Christian gospels reached the ears of Africans over a thousand years before the first European Christian father ventured into what they called, in church circles, the `Dark Continent'." (ibid)
Finally, believing the Bible to be "the graveyard of my poor people," Elijah asserted that he would "dwell upon it until I am sure that they understand that it is not quite as holy as they first thought it was." (SW2 p. 60) It is "now being called the poison book by God himself." (MBM p. 94) Yet this is only true if one accepts Elijah's contentions (derived from circular reasoning) as to who God is. If, on the other hand, one submits to the God of the Christian scriptures, one will find that he was quite clear in the book of II Timothy 3: 16 where He wrote of Himself, (by the hand of the Apostle Paul), that:
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." (NIV)
Further, he later illustrates and expands upon this sentiment in the book of II Peter 1:19-21 where he wrote, (by the hand of the Apostle Peter), that:
"We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed
as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises
in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any
private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy
men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (NKJV)
It is crystal clear from these passages that contrary to the assertions of Elijah Muhammad, and the myriad of other new revelators since the resurrection, that God Almighty Himself considers His Word to be the final authority on all matters.
While they may have convinced their respective followers that they have fresh, unique revelation, the reality is that the Nation of Islam and every other pseudo-Christian cult on the planet has merely towed the party line, touting the all to familiar refrain; "The Bible has been tampered with and only our ___(fill in the blank)___ can interpret it correctly." This refrain has been mimicked with the advent of every non-Christian cult since the birth of Christianity; from Muslims to Mormons, from Jehovah's Witnesses to Christian Science, from Ba'hai to Black Muslims. It is far from new.
We of the Apologetic Research Center would encourage any who doubt the veracity of the Word of God to study it alone, apart from the subjective truths of the various cults of contemporaneous society, in that we believe that it is there, and there alone, that one will find the teachings of the One True God. (Jer 29:13; Heb 11:6)