The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior. Cassius X. Call him what you may, Muhammad Ali is arguably the most recognised human being on planet earth, which is not bad considering the current world population is over 7.3 billion.
Much has been said about the great man, and much has indeed been said by the man himself. Whilst previously I have posted a quote from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf about Muhammad Ali, below are some of my favourite quotes from the mouth of the Louisville Lip himself. Enjoy!
PS For true fans, you may also be interested in an article called 10 Things You May Not Know About Muhammad Ali.
- Everything I do now, I do to please Allah. I conquered the world, and it didn’t bring me happiness. The only true satisfaction comes from honouring and worshipping God. Time passes quick; this life is short. I see my daughter Maryum. Yesterday she was a baby. Now she’s grown and ready to get married. My hair is grey…God doesn’t allow you to go back and live your life over again. But the older you get, the wiser you get; and in the time I got left, I’m living right. Every day is a judgement for me. Every night when I go to bed, I ask myself, ‘If God were to judge me just on what I did today, would I go to heaven or hell?’ Being a true Muslim is the most important thing in the world to me. It means more to me than being black or being American. I can’t save other people’s souls; only God can do that. But I can try to save mine.
- I am a Muslim. I am an American. Islam is a religion of peace. Islam does not promote terrorism or the killing of people. I cannot sit by and let the world think that Islam is a killing religion. It hurts me to see what radical people are doing in the name of Islam. These radicals are doing things that God is against. Muslims do not believe in violence. If the culprits are Muslim, they have twisted the teachings of Islam…God is not behind assassins. – Sep 2002, The Louisville Courier Journal
- I don’t smoke but I keep a match box in my pocket. When my heart slips towards sin, I burn a match stick and heat my palm with it. Then I say to myself: “Ali, you can’t bear this heat, then how would you bear the unbearable heat of hell?”
- I have found that most people get pleasure out of knowing that they have something that other people don’t. When we follow the rule of God and religion, it teaches that we should want for our brother what we want for ourselves. I’m not happy driving a Rolls-Royce and living up on a hill when I know that my brothers and sisters are hungry in a soup line. I’m the world champion, but I don’t feel I’m any different from a fan. I’ll still walk in the ghettos, answer questions, and kiss babies. I’ll never forget my people.
- I repeat, ‘My prayers, my sacrifices, my life, and my death are all for Allah.’ So this is what I sincerely believe. I’ve held my faith over the years…I’ve turned down 8 million dollars in movie contracts, recordings, promotions and advertisements because of my faith. – as quoted on a WKCRFM Radio Broadcast
- I was a very devout Catholic until my freshman year. But then I began to question my religion. I started to study Islam…The main thing was the fact that in Islam there is only one God and there are no other Gods. And once I’d started thinking about it, I realised that God is too powerful to have had a son and been here in human form. Jesus was a great prophet, but there’s only one God. He is worthy of our worship, and no other God is worthy of that. – Lonnie Ali, wife of Muhammad Ali
- I’m a Muslim. I’ve been a Muslim for 20 years…You know me. I’m a boxer. I’ve been called the greatest. People recognize me for being a boxer and a man of truth. I wouldn’t be here representing Islam if it were terrorist…I think all people should know the truth, come to recognize the truth. Islam is peace. – speaking on September 21, 2001 at a fundraiser for victims of the WTC and Pentagon attacks.
- If you got one ounce of pride, you can’t enter the hereafter. So I got to be careful, because it’s easy for me to be proud being who I am.
- It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wears you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
- It’s hard not to be tempted by women, unless you got somethin’ like I got, somethin’ holy. Haven’t messed around with women in almost five years…The last time, a brother in Saudi Arabia caught me with a woman. Asked, ‘Would you do that in front of your mother?’ I told him, ‘No.’ He pointed at me and said, ‘You’re doin’ it in front of Allah.’ Maaann, that’s heavy. Powerful. He scared me. That’s when I really began to get serious about livin’ for God. – as quoted in the book The Tao Of Muhammad Ali by Davis Miller
- Most people don’t pray until they’re in trouble. When people need help they pray a lot. But after they get what they want, they slow down. If a man takes five showers a day, his body will be clean. Praying five times a day helps me clean my mind.
- My father taught me not to idolise the material aspects of this world, but rather to appreciate the more essential qualities that life has to offer. He taught me that physical beauty and wealth were not among these aspects. He taught me to put my heart and soul into what was important and never to praise or rely on anything that could fade, be lost, or taken away…He showed me that wise words spoken hold little weight in comparison to those portrayed through action. He lived in dedication to his beliefs, and through the roughest of times, they never faded, wavered, or perished. – Hana Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali
- My health is in the hands of Allah, who has ways of testing us. Whatever happens, happens. I ain’t the greatest, it’s Allah. I gave myself a job. I work for God. – as quoted in Time magazine
- Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
- Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
- Sometimes I think too many people put me on a pedestal before and made me into an idol. And that’s against Islam; there are no idols in Islam. So maybe this problem that I have [Parkinson’s Syndrome] is God’s way of reminding me and everybody else about what’s important. I accept it as God’s will. And I know that God never gives anyone a burden that’s too heavy for them to carry.
- The day I met Islam, I found a power within myself that no man could destroy or take away. When I first walked into the mosque, I didn’t find Islam…it found me.
- To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way you will be truly rich.
THE RECIPE FOR LIFE
Take a few cups of love,
One teaspoon of patience,
One tablespoon of generosity,
One pint of laughter,
One quart of intelligence,
One sprinkle of concern,
And then mix willingness, and add lots of faith.
Mix it all up.
Spread it over the span of a lifetime,
And serve it to each and every deserving person you meet.