May 14, 2021

Muhammad Ali memorial begins with Muslim prayer service

Pin It

_89932891_hi033370804 _89931534_gettyimages-538961856 _89931538_gettyimages-180870663 _89932888_hi033371019From BBC

Worshippers and fans of Muhammad Ali are attending a Muslim prayer service to honour the legendary boxer in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

The two-day funeral was planned by Ali in the years before his death, according to a family spokesman.

Ali wanted the Muslim prayer service, known as a Jenazah, to be “a teaching moment”, according to Imam Zaid Shakir, who is leading the service.

Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest”, died on Friday aged 74.

More than 14,000 people have tickets to the event at the site of Ali’s last fight in Louisville in 1961.

American Muslims attending the service and watching on TV say they hope that the public prayers will help Americans to become more familiar with Islam and its practices.

In 1964, Ali famously converted to Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his “slave name”.

He first joined the Nation of Islam, a controversial black separatist movement, before later converting to mainstream Islam.

He travelled the world as a boxer and speaker, and inspired Muslims around the world.

Abdul Rafay Basheer, 25, travelled from Chicago for the service and said he saw Ali as an ambassador for Muslims. He said the prayer service would help to demystify his religion.

That was a theme taken up by Dawud Walid from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“In a political climate in which Islamophobia is front and centre, his funeral will counterpunch the ridiculous notion that being a good Muslim and a good American are at odds,” he said.

Ali “was willing to sacrifice the fame, the lights, the money, the glamour, all of that, for his beliefs and his principles,” Imam Shakir said in his address to the packed auditorium after reciting prayers over Ali’s coffin.

The funeral will continue on Friday with an interfaith memorial service and procession through Louisville passing key locations such as Ali’s childhood home, and a museum dedicated to him.

Tickets to attend the Friday service ran out only one hour after they became available.

World leaders and celebrities will attend, including former US President Bill Clinton and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Barack Obama will not be able to attend due to his eldest daughter’s graduation on the same day.

Speaking after Jenazah prayers, Dr Sherman Jackson, an Islamic scholar, used a boxing term to describe how “Ali put the question of whether a person can be a Muslim and an American to rest. Indeed, he KO’ed that question.”


Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ali often prayed in mosques during his travels throughout the world

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The casket with the body of Muhammad Ali was prayed over by thousands

Muhammad Ali personally planned his own funeral in the years before his death Reuters

Thousands of worshippers and spectators attended the prayer service in Louisville Getty Images

For more on this story go to:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About ieyenews

Speak Your Mind