UPDATE: The legend himself has passed away less than half an hour ago  - truly to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. We pray for his forgiveness and ask Allah to bless him with Paradise.

I'm greatly distressed to hear that Muhammad Ali is in critical condition and might be close to the end.

There is no denying that Muhammad Ali is the most famous and influential American Muslim, ever. It is doubtful that anyone will replace that status for the foreseeable future. If the only good that he brought was to bring a positive image of Islam, and to spread the name of our beloved Prophet (SAW) in every household and on every tongue in the world, it is a life that is indeed enviable. But in addition to that, he has had a stellar career as the single greatest athlete, of all times. As well, he was an icon of positive political activism, and of preaching truth to power. His court case about refusing the draft for Vietnam was fought all the way to the Supreme Court, which he eventually won.

He converted to what he though was Islam at a time when Islam was an unknown religion; then he became Sunni after Malcolm X introduced him to mainstream Islam, and he's been a proud and public Muslim ever since.

If that wasn't enough, he is one of the most eloquent and poetic star athletes that the world has ever seen. His quotes, like his medals and awards, are legendary (my personal favorite is: "The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.")

We must all go eventually, and Muhammad Ali has lived a good life.  Yet still, the heart is saddened and the eyes are sad to see a living legend go before our eyes. Whenever it is his time to go, I pray that Allah eases his suffering, grants him a dignified death, accepts the good that he has done, and overlooks his mistakes.

Br. Muhammad Ali! I know you will not read these words. Yet still, I write them because I am at once proud and humbled to consider you my brother, and to know that we are a part of one Ummah. I consider it a personal loss that I never got to meet you. But I sincerely pray that eventually we shall be together in Jannah, and I look forward to the day that you will dazzle me with your fiery eloquence and make me laugh with your humble humor.

May Allah bless you in your remaining time on this earth, and grant you the best in the next life! Ameen...


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