On January 8, 1886 Timothy Drew was born in an unnamed city in North Carolina. It is said that he was born to former slaves before he was adopted by members of the Cherokee tribe. Other stories say that he was born to a Moroccan father and a Cherokee mother; his ethnic background would help shape his future. As a young boy Ali’s mother died leaving him in the care of his aunt who was abusive to him. At the age of 16 Ali would leave his caregivers to travel to world; his travels would change the course of his life. Many stories exist about how he would travel the world the most common is he joined a band of gypsies and traveled the world. Other accounts say that he joined a circus as a stage magician. What we do know is his travels led him to meeting and becoming the student of a high priest of an Egyptian Cult.
The priest saw Ali as the reincarnation of Jesus so he trained him in mysticism and gave him a book; the lost version of the life of Jesus. Ali would use the text to help further his knowledge and his mission. The text was later named the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America. The text is also known as the Circle Seven Koran. Ali would later become anointed by the priest as noble Drew Ali. He would then move forward to enlighten and awaken his people to the truth of their history by founding the Moorish Science Temple. In 1913 in Newark, New Jersey Ali founded the Canaanite Temple but because of his uncommon religious views he was forced out of New Jersey. Ali would move to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Detroit before settling in Chicago in 1925.
In 1926 he was able to build and officially register Temple No. 9 as a Moorish Science Temple. Ali was spreading Islam and Moorish consciousness throughout the black communities of America. By the late 1920’s there were 15,000 Moorish Science members and 17 temples in the United States. Noble Drew Ali was helping to awaken the sleeping minds of black America. The Moorish Science Temple experienced some division when Claude Green Bey declared himself Grand Sheik and left the Moorish Science Temple taking some of the temples members with him.
Shortly after Green Bey left the temple he was stabbed to death at the Unity Mosque in Chicago. Ali and his fellow members were arrested as instigators in the death of Green Bey; despite Ali not being in Chicago the night of the murder. While in the custody of the Chicago Police Ali and his members were beaten severely by the police before they were released on bond. On July 20, 1929 Noble Drew Ali was pronounced dead at his home. The exact cause of his death is unknown but many believe he died as a result of the injuries he received from the police.
Noble Drew Ali was a beacon of light for black America helping them understand their true origins by seeking knowledge of self. Ali’s Moorish Science Temple helped lay the foundation for the founding of the Nation of Islam. Wallace Fard Muhammad was a member of the Moorish Science Temple and the founder of the Nation of Islam. Noble Drew Ali was a contemporary of Marcus Garvey and like Garvey he dedicated himself to uplifting his people through knowledge and the application of knowledge. He believed that people of African descent in America should claim their Moorish origins and gain classification as a true nation. Ali was inspiring and a true pioneer in restoring consciousness into black America and restoring his people as a Moorish Nation. Noble Drew Ali we stand on your shoulders.
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