Malcom X was an African American Baptist Christian, who converted to Islam. First, he joined Elijah Mohammad’s famous Nation of Islam. However, due to Elijah’s misrepresentations of Islam, he parted with him in 1963 and accepted the pure, real doctrines of religion. This resulted in intense adversary against him by Elijah, which ultimately resulted in Malcom’s (Shabaz Malik’s) murder.
He was fortunate enough to perform his Hajj in 1964 before his assassination. Malcom X recorded his experiences of Hajj, which were published in a book after his death. Below is an excerpt from his book “One Thousand Roads to Makkah”, which was compiled by Michael Wolfe (also a convert) and published in USA in 1997. Malcom X writes:
“One of the Egyptian Muslims, particularly, kept watching me out of the corner of his eye. I smiled at him. He got up and came over to me. “He-llo,” he said. It sounded like Gyttysburg Address. I beamed at him. I asked his name. “Name? Name?” he was trying hard, but didn’t get it. We tried some words on each other. I’d guess his English vocabulary spanned maybe twenty words. Then an amazing thing happened. I said: “Muhammad Ali Clay.” All of the Muslims listening lighted up like a Christmas tree. “You, you?” My friend was pointing at me. I shook my head: “No, no. Muhammad Ali Clay – my friend… friend!” They half-understood me. Some of them didn’t understand, and that’s how it began to get around that I was Cassius Clay, world heavy-weight champion. I was later to learn that apparently every man, woman and child in the Muslim world had heard how Sonny Liston had been beaten in Goliath. David fashioned by Cassius Clay who then had told the world that his name was Muhammad Ali and his religion was Islam, and Allah (swt) has given him his victory.
Now the others began smiling steadily. They came closer; they were frankly looking me up and down. Inspecting me. Very friendly! I was a man like a man from Mars.
The Mutawwif’s aide returned, indicating that I should go with him. He pointed from our tier down at the mosque, and I knew that he had come to take me to make the morning prayers, always before sunrise. I followed him down, and we passed pilgrims by the thousands, babbling languages, everything but English. I was angry with myself for not having taken the time to learn more of orthodox prayer rituals before leaving America. In Elijah Muhammad‘s Nation of Islam, we hadn’t prayed in Arabic. About a dozen or more years before, when I was in prison, a member of the orthodox Muslim movement in Boston, named Abdul Hamid, had visited me and invited me, and had later sent me prayers in Arabic. At that time, I had learned those prayers phonetically. But I hadn’t used them since.
I made up my mind to let the guide do everything first, and I would watch him. Just outside the mosque, there was a long trough with rows of faucets. Ablutions had to precede praying. I knew that. Even watching the Mutawwif’s helper, I didn’t get it right. There’s an exact way that an orthodox Muslim washes, and the exact way is very important.
(We) all ate as one, and slept as one. Everything about the pilgrimage atmosphere accented the oneness of man under one God.
I asked the English-speaking one, if he would, please, do me the favor of telephoning Dr. Omar Azzam at the number I had. He was glad to do it. He got someone on the phone and conversed in Arabic. Dr. Omar Azzam came straight to the airport. With the four officials beaming, he wrung my hand in welcome, a young, tall, powerfully built man. I’d say he was six foot three. He had an extremely polished manner. In America, he would have been called a white man, but – it struck me, hard and instantly – from the way he acted. I had no feeling of him being a white man. “Why didn’t you call before?” he demanded of me. He showed some identification to the four officials, and he used their phone. Speaking in Arabic, he was talking with some airport officials. “Come,” he said.
The Ihram had ended. Some had their hair and beards cut. I decided that I was going to let my beard remain. I wondered what my wife Betty and our little daughters were going to say, when they saw me with a beard. New York seemed a million miles away. I hadn’t seen a newspaper that I could read since I left New York. I had no idea what was happening there. A Negro rifle club that had been in existence for over twelve years in Harlem (city) had been “discovered” by the police; it was being trumpeted that I was “behind” it. Elijah Mohammad’s Nation of Islam had a lawsuit going against me, to force me and my wife to vacate the house, in which we lived on Long Island.
A local newspaper had printed a photograph of Cassius and me together at the United Nations. At that moment in young Cassius’s career, he had captured the imagination and the support of the entire dark (black) world.
My hands now readily plucked up food from a common dish shared with brother Muslims; I was drinking without hesitation from the same glass as others; I was washing from the same little pitcher of water; sleeping with eight or ten others on a mat in the open. (This was impossible in the US then for the blacks, Syed). I tucked it into my mind that when I returned home, I would tell Americans this observation; that where there was no “superiority” complex, no “inferiority” complex – then voluntarily, naturally, people of the same kind felt drawn together by that, which they had in common. I was astonished at the degree, to which the major single image of America seemed to be discrimination. Through my interpreter, I lost no opportunity to advertise the American black man’s real plight. I preached it on the mountain at Arafat, I preached it in the lobby of the Jeddah Palace Hotel. I would point out one after another – to bring it closer to home; “You… you… you, because of your dark skin, in America, you too, would be called ‘Negro’. You could be bombed and shot and cattle-prodded and fire-hosed and beaten because of your complexions.”
“That’s good,” Prince Faisal (later the king, Syed) said, pointing out that there was an abundance of English – translations literature about Islam – so that there was no excuse for ignorance, and no reason for sincere people to allow themselves to be misled.”