Governance & Lineage

All authority and power of the Moorish Science Temple of America is vested in the Prophet Noble Drew Ali and those whom he appoints to act as in the Supreme Body… All officers and members of the Moorish Science Temple of America and such rules and regulations of the constitution shall be in writing and not at variance with any law of the city, town or nation which the prophet shall declare a law.” —“Prophet Announces his Authority & Power” Moorish Guide Newspaper Article, Jan 15th 1928.

Our Corporate Governance – Theocratic

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination.                                                                                            — Qur’an of Mohammed, (Sura 4:59)

The Moorish Science Temple of America is an Illinois religious corporation that derives its power and authority from the Great Qur’an of Mohammed. Prophet Noble Drew Ali’s press release above, clearly derives from the foundation for all Islamic governance, Quran Sura 4:59. Islamic governance and leadership flows directly from the Prophet to those whom he appoints. Below you will see the Prophet Noble Drew Ali’s only appointed successor for the MSTA, and the operation of law which continues to preserve that line of succession today. In Islamic terms, this chain of succession is called a Silsila.


ADDITIONAL LAWS, ACT 1. — Grand Sheiks, and Governors and heads of all Temples, all Businesses: Each said Temple must be approved by the Prophet Noble Drew Ali… Any former officer that violates these laws is subject to be removed from his office under a heavy restriction, etc., by the Prophet or the Grand Sheik.

Prophet Noble Drew Ali dictated the MSTA founding corporate document above, known as “Our Authority“. He also dictated our Divine Constitution & By-Laws, Additional Laws, General Laws, Marriage Laws, Supreme Laws, Moorish Holy Koran, and Koran Questionnaire. He called these his “Holy & Divine Laws”.

Do not be deceived. Prophet Drew Ali was very clear that there is only one MSTA vested with his authority and power. According to the founding document, all official positions in the organization are filled by hierarchical appointment, and not by voting.

Act 1 of our Divine Constitution & By-Laws was put in motion by the Prophet making his first appointments to the offices of Grand Sheik & Chairman, as well as appointing members to the Grand Body. From that point forward, our corporate governance must adhere to the Holy & Divine Laws, rules, and regulations prescribed by our founder, Prophet Noble Drew Ali.

There is no favorite in any of the temples, for the Law is laid down and everyone who claims a part of the work must be governed accordingly. ALL are one. There is but one Temple in this Nation and there is but one Prophet of the Temples.                                                — A WARNING FROM THE PROPHET

His “Holy & Divine Laws” also include all written directives and letters he wrote and made published. That is because they clarify the scope and true intent of his vision for the MSTA. Therefore, any rules and regulations subsequently made by presiding officials, must be harmonious with said Holy Laws.



Our Leadership – By Successive Appointment

According to Act 1 of our Divine Constitution: The Grand Sheik and the Chairman of the Moorish Science Temple of America” (MSTA) heads our executive branch of governance. He or She is the chief presiding executive of the organization. He is in power to make law and enforce law. Since the establishment of the first Supreme Grand Council of the MSTA, the Grand Sheik & Chairman also presides over said Council under the title Supreme Grand Sheik. We customarily refer to the “Grand Sheik and Chairman of the MSTA” as “Supreme Grand Sheik” simply to distinguish him from the Grand Sheiks of our Subordinate Temples.

The “Prophet”, as mentioned in Act 1, refers to our founder, Noble Drew Ali. Since no body lives forever, his words works and deeds are the binding principles that “…help make and enforce law”. To ensure those principles remain binding, the Prophet instituted a seven (7) seat Supreme Grand Council well before his passing.

The Supreme Grand Council is like our supreme court, in that they are charged with being the sole judge and interpreters of his Holy & Divine Laws. Unlike the supreme court of the USA, the Council also has an administrative function. First, they must review newly proposed laws for harmony with the Holy & Divine Laws of our Prophet. Secondly, the Prophet vested them with sole charge over all affairs, temples, businesses, and properties of the organization. Therefore, the Supreme Grand Council constitutes the judicial branch of our corporate governance, and are the “Officers of the Home Office”. The Council is presided over by the Grand Sheik & Chairman of the MSTA, under the title Supreme Grand Sheik. The Supreme Grand Sheik is the only official authorized to make appointments to said Council.

The “Grand Body” is our legislative branch of governance. It is composed of the Grand Sheiks from of each our Subordinate Temples, as well as the Governors that oversee all temples within their respective state.

Act 1 of our Divine Constitution charges them to help “…make and enforce law“. They do this by representing the interests of their own temple and membership at convention assembled. Since the MSTA has a “Rotarian complexion“, each subordinate temple has the same structure as our Grand-Major Temple, and the heads of each Temple also bear the title “Grand Sheik” and “Assistant Grand Sheik”.

The Assistant Grand Sheik is to assist the Grand Sheik in all affairs…“. This individual is appointed by the Grand Sheik and Chairman of the MSTA. As a result, the Assistant Grand Sheik of the MSTA is second in charge, and is a part of our Executive branch. This also means our organizational succession plan is inherent to Act 1 of our Divine Constitution & By-Laws. Therefore, his (or her) appointment confirmation is carefully considered before receiving approval from the “Grand Body” and “Supreme Council” of the MSTA. Once the appointment of the Assistant Grand Sheik of the MSTA is confirmed, he (or she) will automatically succeed the current Grand Sheik & Chairman in the event of retirement, disability, or untimely death.


Our Lineage

As a result of our succession plan, there is an unbroken chain of appointments (lineage, or Silsila) which began with Prophet Noble Drew Ali appointing Bro. Lomax Bey as the first Grand Sheik and Chairman of the MSTA. Subsequently, Bro. Edward Mealy El was the first person appointed to the station of “Assistant Grand Sheik of the MSTA. Shortly thereafter, the prophet removed Lomax Bey, and Bro. Edward Mealy El succeeded him to become the second Grand Sheik and Chairman of the MSTA.

However, during our first Convention (Oct. 1928), Prophet Noble Drew Ali established the Supreme Grand Council. Bro. Edward Mealy El was the first Grand Sheik & Chairman to be appointed as the Supreme Grand Sheik of the Supreme Grand Council. From that point forward, every successive Grand Sheik & Chairman of the MSTA has held the power to appoint a Supreme Grand Council and preside over it by the title of Supreme Grand Sheik.

Therefore, our constitutional power to make and enforce law is actually traced through our lineage of succession to the station of Grand Sheik & Chairman of the MSTA  which survives today through our current [Supreme] Grand Sheik & Chairman — by virtue of the following lineage:

  1. Bro. E. Mealy El    (installed Aug 1st 1927; deceased)
  2. Bro. W. Morris El    (deceased)
  3. Bro. J. Walton El    (deceased)
  4. Bro. W. Harlan Bey    (deceased)
  5. Bro. O. Lewis El    (deceased)
  6. Bro. D. Bailey El    (retired Oct. 1992)
  7. Bro. P. Davis El    (deceased)
  8. Bro. E. Braswell Bey   (removed from office Apr. 2005)
  9. Bro. D. Bailey El    (retired Sept. 2019)
  10. Bro. K. Dandridge El    (presiding, as of Sept. 2019)
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