Muhammad Ali, by his unflinching determination to be respected as a Muslim and as a self-determining Black man--regardless of the cost--brought dignity and honor not only to himself, but also to all Muslims and to the Black community.
And we loved him with a great love.
If Malcolm was our manhood, Muhammad was our heart. Muhammad's smile was ours as was his humor, and his beauty. He was proud of his Blackness and its beauty. It was a pride he defiantly showed to the world and a pride he awakened in many. By example, Muhammad taught us not to fear speaking up and out--how to elegantly float like a butterfly, yet sting like a bee. And although we never reached his heights, he made that possibility real for us; giving us the courage to try...again and again...and to never give up trying.
Inside the ring and out--and for all of his life--Muhammad Ali showed the world what real courage looks like.
We pray that Allah will forgive the mistakes of our beloved brother and multiply the reward of the innumerable good deeds he did--both publicly and privately--on behalf of those who had otherwise been overlooked.
Having been honored, loved and recognized throughout the world in this life, we pray that our brother, Muhammad Ali, be honored, loved and recognized to an even greater extent in the next life.
And, may the comfort and love of family, friends and of the Muslim and Black communities surround Muhammad Ali's wife, Lonny, and his entire family in their time of grief.
Ameen thumma ameen.