One of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali was an Olympic boxer and a well-known social activist. Among many achievements, included the winning of the World heavyweight championship thrice between 1964 and 1978. After retiring from boxing in 1981, Ali devoted his life to religious and charitable work. Fighting against the Parkinson’s disease for 32 years, he took his last breath in peace.
He had changed his legal name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. He gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. He also opposed the American involvement in the Vietnam War.
In 1974, he visited a Palestinian refugee camp in Southern Lebanon, where Ali declared “support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland”. In 1989, he participated in an Indian charity event with the Muslim Educational Society in Kozhikode, Kerala, along with Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar. In 1990, Ali traveled to Iraq and met with Saddam Hussein for the successful release of American hostages. These were just a few of his social works.
On November 19, 2005, the $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center opened in
downtown Louisville. The center displays his boxing memories. It also focuses on core themes of peace, social responsibility, respect, and personal growth.
As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Nation of Islam (NOI) and advocated their black separatist ideology. He later left the NOI and converted to mainstream Islam. He had gone on the pilgrimage to Mecca in 1972, where he was inspired by meeting people of different colors from all over the world giving him a different outlook and greater spiritual awareness. In 1977, he said that, after he retired, he would dedicate the rest of his life to getting “ready to meet God” by helping people, charitable causes, uniting people and helping to make peace.
After the 09/11 attacks in 2001, he stated that “Islam is a religion of peace” and “does not promote terrorism or killing people”, and that he is “angry that the world sees a certain group of Islam followers who caused this destruction, but they are not real Muslims”.
He left the message of peace, unity and freedom. He was an inspiration to the world. He got arrested, faced political problems, health issues and against all odds he made it. He proved his point. He was a reformer.
He made his life an example to thousands of people. He was a hero for many youths and many elders. In many of my articles, you may find me referring to the great people. Okay, now you got an example. People like him are remembered for what they did for themselves and others.
When one person rises, he makes way for many others. He lights hope in many hearts. And when he dies people feel for him, pray for him and yes, people love him.