Muhammad Ali, Muslim Americans, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Remembering the great Muhammad Ali as a black Muslim – Al Jazeera On how Muhammad Ali's death started a debate on anti-blackness within the Muslim community.

It came as a shock to all of us. A man who seemed invincible could not defeat his own mortality. He was known to be suffering from poor health, but it was no less of a blow. And for many Muslim communities around the world, his death was a particularly scathing event.

Muhammad Ali died on June 3 last year, only a few days before the month of Ramadan began, a holy month within the Islamic calendar observed through fasting, prayer and charity. Ali chose to live his life according to Islam, and he left this world as the holiest month of his religion began. His funeral was a global event full of traditional Islamic rites, so much so that his spiritual adviser and imam, Zaid Shakur was reported to have said at the time that “Muhammad planned all this … and he planned for it to be a teaching moment”.

It was heart-warming to see the outpouring of love, condolence and celebration of the man who “floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee”. The then US President Barack Obama, who kept a pair of Ali’s boxing gloves in his private study remarked that the boxing champion “shook up the world and the world is better for it”.

Muhammad Ali, Muslim Americans, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNThe boxing champion with Elijah Muhammad in 1966. | Bettman Archive/Getty Images

Muhammad Ali, Muslim Americans, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Muhammad Ali, Muslim Americans, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Muhammad Ali, Muslim Americans, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Muhammad Ali, Muslim Americans, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fardh (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, chronically ill or menstruating. Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha’ban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina. Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with a natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca, but the more commonly accepted opinion is that Muslims in those areas should follow the timetable of the closest country to them in which night can be distinguished from day. (Wikipedia).