Did Malcolm X Know How to Pray (salah) Before 1964?
Malcolm in the Autobiography laments quite pitifully the fact that in Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam (that’s an important point) the prayers were not made in Arabic, and that he was in fact completely ignorant of how to perform the Sunni Muslim prayer (called salah) until he traveled to Mecca on Hajj in April of 1964. I quote him: An old Russian Muslim and his wife were not asleep. They stared frankly at me. Two Egyptian Muslims and a Persian roused and also stared as my guide moved us over into a corner. With gestures, he indicated that he would demonstrate to me the proper prayer postures. Imagine, being a Muslim minister in Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, and not knowing how to pray. I was angry with myself for not having taken the time to learn more of the orthodox prayer rituals before leaving America. In Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, we hadn’t prayed in Arabic – From “Mecca” Chapter, Autobiography of Malcolm X as Told to Alex Haley Historically speaking, some senior fo