Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring 

Our world is just a little bit darker today. Our world is just a little bit dimmer. Our world has lost a true Hero. Our world has lost Muhammed Ali.

He was so much more than just an accomplished boxer. He was so much more than a talented athlete. He was our conscience, the conscience of a nation that needed his voice more than it knew. 

We still need that voice today. Speaking at a rally in Louisville about his decision to resist the draft, Ali said (courtesy of Dave Zirin of the Nation):

I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. 

His stand did cost him dearly. But he didn’t care. He chose his integrity over his title, and his bravery was an inspiration for generations to come. I know that I could not be as brave as he was. He puts me to shame, and makes me admire him even more. 

What’s more – and what must be remembered again and again – was that Muhammad Ali was an American Muslim. Not only does that further demonstrate the fact that America has always been great, but it should serve as an inspiration for American Muslims in our day and age. 

Today, so many people – including candidates for President of the United States –  want to otherize us and our community. They want to demonize us for the sins of our criminals.  They want to marginalize us and make us feel like outsiders in our own land. 

But just like Muhammad Ali, we must never internalize these sentiments. He was confident in his faith and his Americanness to stand for what he believed in. So must it be with us. 

“The Greatest of All Time” has finally gone back to the truly Greatest, the Lord of our world and all other worlds. I am confident that he is boxing right now in Heaven, “floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee” as never before. Rest in strength and might, Sweet Prince, and may the grace and mercy of our Lord envelope you for eternity. 

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