Noble Drew Ali

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Noble Drew Ali (January 8, 1886 died 1929) was the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America. Timothy Drew was born in North Carolina, USA. The accounts of Timothy Drew's childhood are varied, from him being the son of two former slaves who was adopted by a tribe of Cherokee Native Americans, to him being the son of a Moroccan Muslim father and a Cherokee mother. He is recorded, perhaps apocryphally, as saying, “When I was born, it turned black dark in the daytime. The people put their hoes down and came out of the fields.” Allegedly, at the age of 16, he joined a circus and became a stage magician, befriending a band of Roma, with whom he traveled the world. Supposedly during these travels, he met the high priest of an Egyptian cult of magic. In one version of Drew's biography, the cult leader saw him as a reincarnation of the founder of the cult, while in others he considered him a reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

They trained him in mysticism, and bestowed upon him a lost version of the Life of Jesus. This text came to be known as the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America (which, in this case, is never spelled Qur'an), and is referred to as the uniting of the Holy Koran of Mecca. Sometimes the title is shorthanded as the Circle Seven Koran, because of the design on its cover, namely a red numeral seven surrounded by a blue circle broken into four segments. Drew changed his name to Noble Drew Ali, the Prophet and returned to the United States where he founded the organization in 1913 in Newark, New Jersey. In 1929 Drew was arrested and allegedly beaten by police, and released on bond pending an indictment. He died shortly afterwards. It was speculated that his death was due to injuries received at the hands of the police, although the exact circumstances of his death are unknown.

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