It’s never easy to say goodbye to an icon.
On Thursday, Muhammad Ali‘s family joined thousands of mourners at Kentucky’s Freedom Hall to celebrate the late boxer’s life in a traditional Muslim Jenazah service. As you surely know, the heavyweight champion died on June 4 after seeking medical attention for respiratory complications due to his Parkinson’s disease.
Around 14,000 people attended the hour long prayer service — including the icon’s widow and several of his ex-wives. Specifically, Ali’s wife Lonnie, daughters Laila and Hana, and granddaughter Sydney all wore somber expressions as they attended the first of many ceremonies to mourn the Olympian.
Not to mention, the athlete’s second and third wives, Khalilah Camacho-Ali and Veronica Porche-Ali, were also in attendance. In case you forgot, Muhammad’s first wife Sonji Roi died back in 2005.
Scholar Imam Zaid Shakir, who led the prayer service, noted:
“We welcome all of you here today. We welcome the Muslims, we welcome the members of other faith communities, we welcome the law enforcement community. We welcome our sisters, our elders, our youngsters. All were beloved to Muhammad Ali.”
What a beautiful sentiment. Sherman Jackson, another prominent scholar, added:
“[Ali was] an unapologetic fighter in the cause of black people in America ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and not just the classes among black folks, but even more especially the masses…Ali was the people’s champion, and champion he did the cause of his people.”
Jackson went on to claim that Ali did more to “normalize Islam” than any other Muslim in American history. Well said!
A funeral service, which will be interfaith, is set for today.
[Image via Jeff Grossman/WENN.]