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The Champ: knockouts, protests, sufism and the man

[ by Charles Cameron — Muhammad Ali ]

The knockout:

Obviously, the champ was a knockout — and this photo is almost certainly the loveliest photo of a sporting event I have ever seen — victory and defeat in perfect symmetry:

Ali mandala of victory
Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images via The Guardian


The protestor



The sufi:

How did your dad come to embrace Sufi Islam, and what attracts him to it?

My father has a collection of books by a man named Hazrat Inayat Khan. They’re Sufi teachings. He read them front to cover. They’re old and yellow and the pages are torn. They’re amazing. He always says they’re the best books in the world.

My father is very spiritual — more spiritual now than he is religious. It was important for him to be very religious and take the stands he did in earlier years. It was a different time. He still tries to convert people to Islam, but it’s not the same. His health and his spirituality have changed, and it’s not so much about being religious, but about going out and making people happy, doing charity, and supporting people and causes.


The man:

How Ali wld like to be remembered


May he cross the bridge and attain the lake.

3 Responses to “The Champ: knockouts, protests, sufism and the man”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    Ali reads one of his poems:

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    I just read a very interesting piece by an Orthodox Christian priest on Muhammad Ali & his “apostasy” from Christianity to Islam, titled Mohammad Ali, Islam, and Christian Preachers
    It’s on Pravmir, a Russian Orthodox site. Here’s a key passage, to give you the general sense of the piece:

    The amazing part was that Ali managed to avoid the sectarian, supremacist bent of the Nation of Islam and instead became something else, a humanitarian in the best sense of the word.
    I would even argue that some of the preachers from that era that stood for all that was wrong with the laws and attitudes of that time are more apostate than Muhammad Ali ever was. Sadly, today we see a resurgence of that type of thinking.

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    For a detailed examination of the claim that Ali was a sufi, see Was Muhammad Ali a Sufi?
    The short answer: probably not an initiated murid (student, devotee) in a specific tariqa or sufi order, but “his heart was in Sufism”.

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