Muhammad Ali’s Sufistic Journey

Deborah Caldwell of Beliefnet interviewed one of Muhamamd Ali’s daughters about her father and a new book co-authored by both of them. The tagline for the article is misleading and reads: “He’s given up religion in favor of spirituality and he’s embraced Sufism, says Hana Ali of her father.”

From the ignorance of the tagline, one would suppose that practicing the pillars of Islam is devoid of spirituality, which nothing could be further from the truth, and that Sufism can be separated from the religion of Islam as if it was its own religion.

Hana Yasmeen Ali like some of her other siblings describes herself as not practicing but spiritual however were she to favor any religion she says she would favor Islam.

She mentions that her father used to pray 5 times a day but when his Parkinson’s disease intensified he no longer got up to pray fajr in its proper time although he regretted not making his prayers.It was a little unclear to me from the article (and perhaps someone else can clarify) whether he still makes his salaah at at all while sitting in a chair or whether he just makes general dua.

His daughter also mentions in the interview that her father has now embraced the teachings of Inayat Khan and begun a sufistic journey.

Beliefnet: Muhammad Ali’s New Spiritual Quest

Shout out to Darvish

From the Storehouse: Hakeem Olajuwon’s Masjid

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Author: Ify Okoye

Muslim woman, RN, & rebel with a cause.

8 thoughts on “Muhammad Ali’s Sufistic Journey”

  1. Thanks for the shout 🙂 I have a feeling the article was edited, and some explanation was left out. But I will check out the book and see exactly what she meant.

    Ya Haqq!

  2. No problem about the shout out and here’s another one: Eid Mubarak!

    Thanks for highlighting the article because I had missed it and it’s pretty interesting especially since some people say Muhammad Ali is (or was, at least at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996) the most famous Muslim in the world.

  3. Alot could be said as well as to the effect Parkinson’s may have on the accountability of a person (i.e. taklif). It would need to be looked into.

  4. There is no compulsion in religion and Allah does not burden a soul past its capacity.

    It would be interesting to know what the scholars say about these new diseases in regards to ibadah and such. But the deen is complete, the hadith does say that if you can’t pray standing, then sit and so on. And most of the conditions to do the acts of worship is to be sane…so that rules out people with Alzheimers (I’ve worked with them and subhanAllah I personally wouldn’t classify the ones between the 3rd and last stage of the disease as sane) …we need a mental health practicioner and scholar collaboration! wa Allahu ‘alam.

  5. Hood & Amatullah: That’s a very interesting line of inquiry, I work with people across the spectrum of intellectual and developmental disabilities and I always wonder where the line is as some definitely are not at the level of accountability.

  6. As far as I am aware, Parkinsons doesn’t affect mental state so sufferers have an active and sane mind. I do agree with Amatullah that we need a mental health practitioner and scholar to collaborate but as well just a *general* health practitioner. There is much that scholars do not know when it comes to medical afflictions (of course I do not expect them to know.)

  7. Tasmiya: I had a great day, I was a little worried because I had been sick the day before but it turned out great. I hope they make Eid outside in the park under the beautiful sky a regular habit when it is warm. I remember my first Eid was the day after a snow storm dumped about 2 feet of snow in our area but the indoor prayer place was still packed. Eid Mubarak!

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