ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mikal’s religious development evolved within the experience of the African American Islamic community in Indianapolis at the mosque that later became known as the Nur-Allah (Light of God) Islamic Center. In 1980 he legally changed his name to Michael Ibn (son of) Oliver Saahir. It was during this time that many people began calling him “Mikal,” the Arabic form of Michael.
Shortly after completing the Islamic pilgrimage, called Hajj, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1991, Mikal was chosen to be the Resident Imam of the Nur-Allah Islamic Center. Again in 2003 Mikal, along with his wife Carolyn completed the rites of Hajj.
Currently Mikal is very active in many interfaith efforts, namely with the Catholic-based Focolare Movement. He also is active with Protestant Christians, Jews, Buddhists and believers of other faiths. Twice he has met and greeted His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso.
Mikal’s interest in writing The Honorable Elijah Muhammad: The Man Behind the Men came as a result of seeing a regular diet being fed to the public of mostly negative images, portrayals and reports on Mr. Elijah Muhammad. This writing effort, which began as Mikal’s final project for graduation from Martin University in Indianapolis, is not an attempt to rewrite the history on Mr. Muhammad. Instead it is an effort at fulfilling an obligation to share some aspects of this great man that to date have gone unreported.
Mikal is a follower of Muhammed Ibn Abdullah, the Messenger of God who lived in the 7th century; the leader of all Muslims — better known as the “Seal of the Prophets.” Today Mikal appreciates the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as one of the world’s greatest reformers; a man whom God chose to use as a masterful worker and helper in healing the damaged African American soul and mind.
Mikal’s other achievements and activities include serving his city as an Indianapolis firefighter since January 1979. Since 1992 he has written a column called Al-Islam in America in The Indianapolis Recorder. He is a regular contributor to Muslim Journal, a national Islamic publication.