Alhamdulillah… Infinite thanks and praises are due to the Almighty Allah, who created death and life to test us; who among us is best in what he does. I send abundant peace and blessings upon Sayyidinā Muhammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path till end of time.
This is an unscheduled article. It comes as a tribute to Muhammad Ali, who has left us to be by the side of his Creator. The best we can do is to pray for him, and to inspire others to pray for him. This is because every Muslim brother or sister, who is known to us, to have died as Muslim, deserves our prayers for Allah’s forgiveness upon him, and that he’s granted paradise. That’s why Janāzah prayers was prescribed.
Regardless of the path we choose in life, each one of us has leaves some imprints, for which he shall be remembered. Depending on that, some people may choose to remember him for good, and thus pray for him. Others will remember him for bad, and may curse him. The world is mourning Muhammad Ali, and I believe it will remember him for long with positive thoughts. Here are my top 9 reasons why I will remember Muhammad Ali, inshā Allah. But who is Muhammad Ali?
Who is Muhammad Ali?
Muhammad Ali Clay, whose birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay, was born on 17 January 1942. He died yesterday, 3 June 2016. His fame came from his boxing career, as well as from his strong personality and clear vision of what he wanted in life.
He’s considered the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport. He is one of the most recognized sports figures of the 21st century, that he was awarded with the BBC’s Sportsman of the Century in 1999.
According to Dr. Yasir Qadhi in a Facebook post, “he converted to what he thought was Islam at a time when Islam was an unknown” religion in America. He then “became Sunni after Malcolm X introduced him to mainstream Islam, and he’s been a proud and public Muslim ever since.”
Muhammad Ali led the type of life a typical black American would live, considering the time and place he was born. But he emerged to be the most influential American Muslim, so far.
What are the 10 reasons why I will remember Muhammad Ali?
#1- His Belief in Allah Was Solid
Yes, Muhammad Ali’s belief in Allah and the Powers of Allah as source of protection and provision was absolutely inspirational. When asked, if he had a bodyguard, he replied:
“No, I have One bodyguard. He has no eyes though He sees. He has no ears though He hears. He remembers everything with the aid of mind and memory. When He wishes to create a thing, He just orders it to be and it comes into existence, but this order does not convey the words which takes the tongue to form like our sound carries ears. He hears the secrets of those on the quite thoughts. He stops those whom, whose that? That’s God Allah. He’s my bodyguard. He’s your bodyguard. He’s the Supreme, The Wise.”
Watch the man saying that in his own voice:
#2: He Learnt He Wasn’t the Number One
Muhammad Ali lived as a professional boxer of all time. He was bestowed with the strength, techniques and opportunities that made him the greatest boxer of all time (his time). He was a human. Human errs sometimes, if not most of the time. Muhammad Ali spent the last 40 years of his life battling with illness. Good Muslims reflect and take lessons from the situations they find themselves in. So did Muhammad Ali.
He’s known to have said, with regards to his illness:
“God gave me this illness to remind me that I’m not number One; He is.”
#3: He Refused to Allow the Name of the Prophet to be Walked on
In 2002, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce had honoured Muhammad Ali with a star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. All celebrities who are awarded with such an award have their stars (with their names written on them) on the pavement at the Kodak Theatre entertainment complex. This means these stars are stepped on and walked on by visitors. However, for Muhammad Ali, his star was placed in front of the Kodak Theatre, not on the pavement. He justified his request for that by saying he “did not want my (his) name to be walked on by people who have no respect for me.”
To me, that was the nice way of saying “I don’t want the name of my Prophet to be walked on. Neither by Muslims, nor by non-Muslims”
#4: He Knew Whom His Real Enemies Were
Muhammad Ali refused to be deployed to go to war. For him, going to war is all about killing and killing innocent people. These innocent people have not wronged him to become enemies of his. They didn’t discriminate against him. They didn’t oppress him. They didn’t enslave him. They didn’t bomb his home. They didn’t prevent him from practising his religion freely. Why then should he go and fight against them?
Watch him explaining himself here:
#5: He Was Mindful of the Consequences of His Actions as a Muslim
It’s reported that Muhammad Ali rejected smoking because, according to his own words:
“I don’t smoke, but I keep a match box in my pocket. When my heart slips towards a sin, I burn a match stick and heat my palm. Then I say to myself, ‘Ali, you can’t bear even this heat, how would you bear the unbearable heat of hell?”
If we assume (and no one is ever perfect) that Muhammad Ali did smoke and/or engaged in activities related to smoking, this statement had come to imply a genuine repentance from him.
#6: He Stood Well as a Good Role Model
Many of us dream about change in our lives and communities. We dream of developing ourselves and our societies. But unfortunately, we lack what it takes to see change coming and taking place. That’s walking the talk. Muhammad Ali has perfectly responded to that type of mindset when he said:
“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
Perhaps, this statement partly illustrates Muhammad Ali’s character and personality. And it remains as a rule of thumb to Muslim youth who want to see development and prosperity, but are not determined to sacrifice what it takes to achieve just that.
#7: He Lived as a Champion
This doesn’t contradict with the fact that he realized he was not the number one. Muslims and non-Muslims agree that Muhammad Ali was a legend. This is regardless of how we perceive boxing as a profession in Islam. Muhammad Ali realized that in order for him to remain on the to of championship, he should suffer in every minute of training, so to cherish the moments of success that followed. He said:
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
#8: He Understood the True Nature of the World
Muhammad Ali once said:
“This life is not real. I conquered the world and it did not bring me satisfaction.”
The above statement came from the mouth of a man, who enjoyed fame with all what the word means. It came from a man, who was given the keys to all doors of material richness. Whether he made use of them or not, that’s a whole different story. But in the end, he realized, that neither fame, nor material possession grants satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from realizing where one is going. And of course…
“the life of this world is nothing but means of deception” (Qur’an, 57:20).
#9: He Realized Where He Was Going
This is the fundamental fact every Muslim should have made up his mind with regards to. But the fact that many of us live the worldview of others, rather than the worldview of Islam, we live in a big deception, and lose the compass, and end up not knowing where we are going. With this regard, Muhammad Ali said:
‘I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
This article did not discuss the life of Muhammad Ali. It only presented some inspirational moments in the life of the man, which if it is to be attributed to any other Muslim, I would still do the same for him. Furthermore, we are allowed, as Muslims, to mourn great non-Muslims who have impact on the lives of Muslims and non-Muslims. What more of a Muslim in the likes of Muhammad Ali?
Many Muslims have the influence and power which Muhammad Ali never possessed. But they choose to make use of it against Islam, rather than propagate Islam. As for him, he used his to speak the truth and propagate Islam in the most difficult times and situations. For that, Allah has probably made the whole world to mourn him, praise him, pray for him, and subject their thoughts with his family.
The late Muhammad Ali was and shall remain as a source of inspirations to many. He made his legacy and gained his fame from his boxing profession. Boxing is not permissible in Islam, as we’re forbidden from hitting the head of the son of Adam. However, the man had encounters outside the boxing ring, that gave him more fame, than boxing has given others. Some of those encounters made him greater than just being a boxing champion. He propagated Islam to his level best. He was a man of peace. He was a humanitarian. He was a negotiator. He was a man of justice. And above all, he died as a Muslim.
May Allah broaden the grave of Muhammad Ali, and lighten it for him. May He bestow His forgiveness upon him. May He make him among the dwellers of the highest place in Jannah. Amin.
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Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂