Muhammed Abdullah al-Ahari (born January 6, 1965 as Ray Allen Rudder) an American essayist, scholar and writer on the topics of American Islam, Black Nationalist groups, heterodox Islamic groups and modern occultism. Muhammed al-Ahari was born in York near Rock Hill, South Carolina. His forefathers were settlers from Northern Europe (Scots-Irish & Dutch) and from the Cherokee and Lumbee (two of the nations among the indigenous peoples of North America). In his youth he displayed spiritual inquisitiveness and became interested in Islam. He was raised as a Southern Baptist, but later accepted Islam. He formally converted to the faith in 1982 at a Columbia, South Carolina mosque frequented by African-Americans and Arab Wahhabis and legally changed his name to Muhammed Abdullah al-Ahari. The last name being after a Sufi Shaykh from the Iranian town Ahar in Iranian Azerbaijan.
For the next three years Muhammed al-Ahari traveled the country in search of the many folkways of American Islamic expression. He had on numerous occasions attended the Nation of Islam under Minister Louis Farrakhan in Chicago, meetings of Father Hurley's Universal Spiritual Assembly  , been associated with several branches of the Moorish Science Temple (including the El-Rukn's), Harlem's Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Masjid Ezaldeen in West Valley in New York, copied the Bilali Muhammad manuscript by hand and published a translation through Magribine Press (see Bilali Document), and has also attended meetings of the Nubian Islamic Hebrews under the teachings of Dwight York. Muhammed al-Ahari has uncovered materials on Islam and Islamic Black Nationalism in America that few have ever before him touched.
Al-Ahari received his other appellation the well-known Moorish American title "El" when he proclaimed his nationality as Moorish American at Moorish Science Temple #1 Brother Prophet John Givens El branch at 3810 S. Wabash at the hands of Sheik Willie Bey and Sheik Yusuf Ali El on October 15, 1985. He also became a shaykh of the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis (a branch of the Chishti Sufis), National Secretary of the Moorish League, and rear-admiral of the Sevice Agency of the Noble Order—the Moorish Salvation Navy (a parody of the Salvation Army), and Governor of Moorish Science Temple #3 of the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis. He later developed ties with Peter Lamborn Wilson who named him an ordained minister in the Antinomian Moorish Orthodox Church of America (without him ever becoming a member of the MOC!), and with the Harlem-based Nation of Gods and Earths (aka the Five Percenter Nation).
Muhammad al-Ahari is a widely published writer. He has published more than fifty articles in Muslim American magazines and journals including the Message, Islamic Horizons, Indian Times, Minaret, al-Basheer, New Era, Svijest, Muslim Prison Brotherhood Newsletter, al-Talib, The Light, Moorish Science Monitor, and Amexem Times and Seasons. Al-Ahari's more scholarly writings can be found in Islam Outside the Arab World, by David Westerlund; Ingvar Svanberg Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999. ISBN 0-312-22691-8 OCLC: 41355839 where he has a chapter on Islam in Latin America; a Symposium paper on the life and teaching of Imam Kamil Avdich in the book Zivot Camil Avdic; 100 Seeds of Beirut—The Neglected Poetic Utternaces of Warren Tartaglia (Walid al-Taha), and a paper in the Symposium papers from the Alevi-Bektashi Conference in Isparta, Turkey. During September 2005 he attended the First Alevi-BektashiIsparta,Turkey where he presented a paper on links between Freemasonry and the Bektashi community. The proceedings have been published as a scholarly volume and are available in pdf form at the following link. Conference in
Al-Ahari has published numerous pamphlets on Islam and Muslim history through his Chicago-based Magribine Press and has had his works translated into Arabic, Bosnian, Albanian, and Turkish. His original work includes a study of Bosnian American and other Ottoman Diaspora newspapers, a study of Freemasonry and Islam, and a forthcoming history of Islam in America.
Muhammad al-Ahari has studied Sufism under the guidance of Nimatullahi, Naqshbandi, Owaisi, Qadiri, Tidjani and Bektashi masters. He has done extensive spiritual outreach among the Bosnian community causing many to return to their Islamic heritage. As part of the outreach he has actively fought against drug abuse, gang involvement, unqualified community religious leadership, and out-of-wedlock sexual activity that have begun to affect younger members of the community. Muhammed wrote ten of the articles in the Hundred Years of Bosnians in America coffee-table book and is a member of both the Islamic Cultural Center in Northbrook, Illinois and the Bosnian American Cultural Association.
He has studied extensively the life and works of the founder of the Islamic Cultural Center of Greater Chicago, Imam Kamil Yusuf Avdich. Al-Ahari has collected thirty-seven of Avdich's English language articles under the title A Heritage of East and West at Lulu.com. al-Ahari is currently working on a multi-volume series on the history of the Bosnian-American community.
Muhammed al-Ahari took a Masters in English literature from Northeastern Illinois University in 1996, and has studied Islam at Chicago's near-defunct American Islamic College for over three years where he took coursework in Sirah, Hadith, Islamic History, Arabic, and Fiqh. He is currently in the last year of a Doctorate in Education leadership at the University of Phoenix. His planned dissertation topic is on the curriculum methods of Imam Kamil Avdich. These are compared with the methods with his contemporaries such as Baba Rexheb, Sufi Sam (Samuel L. Lewis), and other other communities in the United States. It will cover Avdich's sources, influences, and teachers.
Muhammed al-Ahari has been working as a teacher in the Chicago public school system since 1995. In 1994, he married a woman from the Bosnian region of Bihac and currently lives in the city of Chicago.