An article Sunday incorrectly identified Imam Gay'th Nur Kashif as a current follower of Elijah Muhammad. He is the imam of Masjidush- shura in Southeast Washington, which is affiliated with the leadership of W.D. Mohammed and the general Islamic community. An accompanying article incorrectly attributed the teaching of Yakub the mad black article incorrectly attributed the teaching of Yakub the mad black scientist to the Moorish Science Temple of America. That teaching originated with the Nation of Islam. (Published 10/22/95) An Oct. 22 article incorrectly described the Moorish Science Temple of America as a black separatist organization. The group, which is open to all races, focuses on the ethinic heritage of the descendants of American salves. It teaches that the ancestors of the slaves were ancient Moabites, who the group says eventually migrated to Morocco and established the Moorish empire. (Published 11/22/95)

The number 19? Masonic master builders? The nation's capital as Jerusalem, and the Washington Monument as an Egyptian obelisk?

When Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan stood on the steps of the Capitol on Monday to address hundreds of thousands at the Million Man March, his 2 1/2-hour speech included obscure allusions to all those things and more. Along with a call for African Americans to practice political action and self-reliance, Farrakhan offered an esoteric mix of numerology, Egyptology, secret Masonic mythology, biblical allegory and Muslim mysticism.

Some of those hearing Farrakhan for the first time -- whether they were on the Mall or part of a much larger national television audience -- found parts of his speech bewildering. But religious scholars who have heard him before called it vintage Nation of Islam theology, except for the largely conciliatory tone Farrakhan struck toward whites and Jews.

Although he calls himself a minister, the religious parts of his speech had little to do with mainstream Islam, professors of religion said. In fact, orthodox Muslims would consider some of his remarks blasphemous because he spoke of God appearing through a man and identified 20th-century black leaders as prophets.

Farrakhan's speech was designed to appeal to African Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs, according to several religious scholars. He quoted Negro spirituals and the Old and New Testaments. Using themes associated with the contemporary Afrocentrism movement, he identified Egypt as the origin of civilization and described Jesus as a black man. And he employed the cadences of Baptist preachers and rap musicians.

At the same time, Farrakhan delved into the numerology of a tiny Muslim sect and the secret legends of the Masonic Order. He also described himself in almost messianic terms, declaring himself a prophet sent by God to show America the evil of its ways, as Jeremiah did for Jerusalem.

Neither Farrakhan nor Nation of Islam officials returned calls seeking information about the speech.

"He spent a lot of time talking about the Masons, because a lot of people are Masons. He spent a lot of time talking about the Bible, because many people are Christians," said C. Eric Lincoln, a professor emeritus of religion at Duke University who has written extensively on the Nation of Islam. "He spends very little time talking about Islam, because few {African Americans} are Muslims."

Lincoln summarized Farrakhan's approach this way: "All that matters is that you can see in what I have to say some point of common identity. And so, if I have to talk about the building of the pyramids in order to identify with that group of blacks who identify with Egypt, and so on, then let's do that."

Dwight N. Hopkins, a professor of theology at Santa Clara University, said Farrakhan "did ramble. I won't lie. But there's rambling, and there's rambling."

Farrakhan "knows the culture," Hopkins said. "That's why a religion that's out of the Middle East can be presented to these black people here." The Number 19

Perhaps the most baffling of Farrakhan's remarks were his repeated references to the number 19, which he claimed was the height in feet of the statues in the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials (the Lincoln statue is actually taller), the sum of those two men's place on the roster of U.S. presidents (third and 16th), and a representation of a pregnant womb (the 9) that contains a secret, closely guarded by the 1.

Baffling, except to those who know the mysticism that has evolved out of the 74th chapter of the Koran, the sacred book of Islam as revealed to the seventh-century prophet Mohammed. The chapter contains a description of 19 angels hovering over the fires of Hell -- a sign to the faithful that the Koran is divinely inspired.

The 74th chapter eventually gave rise to a mystical branch of traditional Islam called Sufism, which considers the number 19 the root of all understanding of the Koran. It also redefines Islam's three stages of human development into eight stages of atonement, a concept Farrakhan relied on heavily in his address.

Farrakhan's approach to the number 19 also reflected the beliefs of a much smaller and newer offshoot of Islam, the United Submitters International, a U.S.-based sect not recognized by mainstream Islam.

That group's creed contains 19 points about the meaning of this special numeral, including the number of Arabic letters in the first verse of the Koran (19) and the number of chapters in the Koran (114 -- or 19 multiplied by 6). The Nation of Islam under Farrakhan has embraced numerology in general and the significance of the number 19 in particular, several scholars said. A regular column in the group's newspaper, the Final Call, is titled "Unveiling the Number 19."

Farrakhan also interpreted the height of the Washington Monument, 555 feet, as echoing the last digits of the date 1555, the year that the Nation of Islam says the first slaves were brought to America. And he put the Washington Monument in an Afrocentric context by describing it as an Egyptian obelisk.

"These are code words, that the Washington Monument is African, and that the symbols that the American government is based upon are in fact based on Africa," said Albert G. Miller, a historian at Oberlin College who specializes in African American religion. Masonic Symbolism

The description of the numeral 9 as womb-like comes from the Masonic Order, which in this country has both black and white branches. Farrakhan combined Christian theology and Masonic legend in calling black people "master builders," a reference both to Jesus and to those masons who built the pyramids and Solomon's temple.

Recounting the Masonic legend of Harim Abiff, a noble king struck down by three ruffians, Farrakhan portrayed African Americans as king and said the three ruffians are embodied in retired Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and the late Mississippi segregationist and senator Theodore G. Bilbo.

"He's saying there was a great nation of black people, and they were hit in the head by white powers. Their knowledge was taken away," said Imam Gay'th Nur Kashif, a follower of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Kashif now heads a traditional mosque in Southeast Washington.

Both W. Fard Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's founder, and Elijah Muhammad, its first long-term leader, studied Masonic legends and emphasized their importance to followers, religious scholars said. Biblical References

In his speech, Farrakhan identified George Washington as a Mason. But Oberlin's Miller said Farrakhan also emphasized that the Masonic tradition "is based on Egyptian symbols, which he sees, and many African Americans see, as being African and appropriated by Europeans."

Similarly, Farrakhan joined the growing chorus of black religious leaders who describe Jesus as of African heritage -- "a man with hair like lamb's wool and feet like burnished brass," he said, paraphrasing Revelations.

The Nation of Islam has always laced its theology with a heavy dose of biblical imagery, building on Elijah Muhammad's origins as a Baptist preacher and the strong church roots of many of its African American converts.

In his speech, Farrakhan mentioned Moses, David, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Jesus, Matthew and others. He quoted a spiritual, "There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul," as well as the Lord's Prayer.

Farrakhan quoted or alluded to the Bible at least 30 times, compared with about five references to the Koran. He opened with a traditional Islamic benediction but contradicted the religion's central tenet by linking Allah with W. Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad.

Hopkins compared the speech to those of soapbox preachers, and he said Farrakhan's dissection of words such as "atonement" combined scholarship with the hip-hop rhythms of today's African American youth. Farrakhan said that "when you a-tone, if you take the t' and couple it with the a' and hyphenate it, you get at-one. So when you a-tone, you become at-one. At one with who? The a-tone, or the one God."

"He's rapping there, basically," Hopkins said.

Farrakhan repeatedly characterized himself as God's messenger, sent to lead black Americans out of oppression and to inform both black and white Americans of the error of their ways. Historians said he was implying that he was a prophet and hinting that he was the Messiah.

He compared himself to Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, W.E.B. DuBois, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

"Whenever a nation is involved in sin . . . God always sends someone to make that nation or people know their sins," Farrakhan said. "God is sending his decision. I can't help it if I've got to make the decision."

On the Mall, many march attendees were enthralled. They shouted their approval of Farrakhan's Afrocentric and Egyptian references, murmured fervent "amens" when he quoted the Bible's call for redemption, and nodded -- both amused and impressed -- at even the most obscure numerological references.

"We got fed today, brother," said Ray Patterson, a 37-year-old Navy technician who had abstained from food and water in honor of the march but said he felt energized and nourished nonetheless. "Didn't we get fed." The Origins of the Nation of Islam The Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit in 1930 by a man named W.D. Fard, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali, founder of the black separatist Moorish Science Temple of America.

Like the Moorish Scientists, Fard, who took the name W. Fard Muhammad, and his successor, Elijah Muhammad, taught that a mad black scientist named Yakub created the "white beast," or Caucasians, 6,000 years ago.

The Nation of Islam believes that Allah is permiting the white man to rule for a specific period of time, scheduled to end this century, and that the black man will then resume his rightful leadership role.

There are no official membership numbers for the Nation of Islam. Scholars estimate the number at no more than 20,000.

Orthodox Islam does not endorse racial separatism and does not recognize the Nation of Islam as a legitimate branch of the religion. But the Nation does observe some Muslim tenets, such as abstaining from eating pork, fasting during the month of Ramadan on the Muslim calendar and using the traditional call to prayer.

The Nation also employs the Shahada, or creed, which holds that the only God is Allah, whose messenger was the 7th century prophet Mohammed. But the creed is usually followed by the statement -- blasphemous to traditional Muslims -- that Allah appeared through W. Fard Muhammad and that Elijah Muhammad was his messenger.