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Jun 16 2016

The perseverance of Muhammad Ali

1465684983941-1828149915By Ramy Osman
June 2016

The below video is an excerpt from a Friday sermon given by Muslim libertarian, Dr Imad ad-Dean Ahmad on 6/9/2016. Dr Imad ad-Dean Ahmad is the founder and president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, the first Muslim libertarian think-tank. www.minaret.org

Muhammad Ali was a fighter his whole life, in and out of the ring. As eloquently mentioned by Dr Imad in the video, Ali’s three great fights outside of the ring were against racism, the draft, and Parkinson’s disease. Most people can’t handle any one of these fights. But Ali handled each fight with greatest determination and class. Ali used to call himself the “greatest boxer of all time”. But I think he’s one of the greatest fighters of all time. And on top of that, he was a Muslim who was proud of his faith and didn’t shy from publicly acknowledging it. So that would in fact make him one of the greatest “Muslim fighters” of all time.

Ali was indeed a man of jihad (which literally means “struggle”). And his life is a real example of what jihad in the modern world is supposed to look like – which is about standing on uncompromising righteous principles that are inspired by religion. So to all those wanna-be jihadis out there who support ISIS and company, you should take note. To most Muslims, Muhammad Ali is the real martyr here (and of course only God knows Ali’s true station). While the blood-crazed killers are just that, killers.

The life of Muhammad Ali is one that exemplifies the characteristic of perseverance. The Qur’an repeatedly highlights the virtue of “sabr” which means ‘patient perseverance’. The Qur’an commands believers to have sabr in the same way they are commanded to have faith. Muhammad Ali exemplified the virtue of sabr (patient perseverance) in his professional, civic, and personal life. And his life gave people a glimpse into the relationship between the Islamic concepts of sabr and jihad.

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