How many wives and children did the 1934 Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad have?
Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Poole, October 7, 1897 – February 24, 1975) led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until he died in 1975. By most accounts Elijah Muhammad had 21 children by eight women. He had eight children with his wife, Clara Muhammad, and at least 13 other children with seven other women, mostly young secretaries for the Nation of Islam. These relationships were a source of great strain in his marriage. The perceived infidelity (some in the Nation of Islam considered the women to be additional wives ) came to be a source of disenchantment for Malcolm X and others in the Nation. They were disturbed because Muhammad preached the importance of faithfulness in marriage, and also because he allegedly used NOI funds to support the other women and natural children. After Muhammad’s death, 19 of his children filed lawsuits against the NOI and its accounts seeking status as heirs.