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Guide to the Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018.006

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Elena Locascio

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 13, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Revised by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated access restrictions.  , April 2019

Container List

Oral History Interview with Abdul Rasheed Abdullah, March 10, 2018

Biographical / Historical

Abdul Rasheed Abdullah was born in 1952 in Brooklyn. He joined the Nation of Islam and married his wife in the 1970s, and was involved in Muslim communities in both Queens and Brooklyn. In 1984, his son received a scholarship to study in Sudan through the Al-Madrasa Al-Islamiya school in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The family relocated and Abdullah spent his time in Sudan studying Sufism. After returning to New York, he taught as a licensed Sufi shaikh in a zawiyah in Brooklyn. He also attended Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah and Masjid At-Taqwa, both in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and was the head of the Islamic studies department at Masjid Khalifah's Clara Muhammad School.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Abdul Rasheed Abdullah discusses his childhood in Brooklyn and Queens, his exposure to the Five Percent Nation as an adolescent, and his embrace of the Nation of Islam while serving an eighteen-month prison sentence. He speaks about his participation in the Nation of Islam-affiliated Muhammad Mosque No. 7B in the Corona neighborhood of Queens and Muhammad Mosque No. 7C in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn; his reaction to Elijah Muhammad's death in 1975; and his subsequent exploration of Masjid At-Taqwa in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Yasin Masjid in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. He expands on studying Sufism in Sudan and teaching as a licensed Sufi shaikh after his return to New York. He also talks at length about his wife's religious convictions and support; his father's embrace of Islam; and his friendship with Imam Siraj Wahhaj (interviewed for this collection on February 19, 2018). Interview conducted by Zaheer Ali.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Abdullah, Abdul Rasheed
  • Wahhaj, Siraj

Subject Organizations

  • American Muslim Mission
  • Five Percent Nation
  • Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Masjid At-Taqwa (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Muhammad Mosque No. 7B (Queens, New York, N.Y.)
  • Muhammad Mosque No. 7C (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • World Community of al-Islam in the West
  • Yasin Masjid (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American Muslims -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Black Muslims -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Black power -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Civil rights movements -- United States -- 20th century
  • Islamic religious education
  • Mosques -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Muslim converts from Christianity -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Muslim educators
  • Muslim families -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Prisoners -- Religious life -- United States
  • Religious education of children -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Spirituality -- Muslims
  • Sufism

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Corona (New York, N.Y.)
  • East New York (New York, N.Y.)
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.)
  • Sudan