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March 12, 2024 39 mins

Davis gets to see Muhammad for who he really is when his mother's not around. Then we speak to Imam Zaid Shakir, a spiritual advisor to Muhammad Ali.

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Speaker 1 (00:07):
It's Monday, the day after Resurrection Day, April third, nineteen
eighty eight. I'm changed. I know I'm changed, But how
have I changed? I have to write about this experience
with Mohammad that much I know he's not less than
who he had been before, and he carries himself with

(00:29):
such dignity and stateliness, and he's not bowing to his Parkinson's.
I have to write this. The little thin stories in
the various newspapers and magazines are always about how he's crippled,
he's compromised. It's sad, it's awful. That's just not true.

(00:51):
This man I've been hanging with, maybe he's more, not less.
In each moment his life feels genuinely mythological. I subscribe
to Esquire magazine first thing Monday morning. I reach over
and pull this month's issue from the nightstand. I go

(01:13):
immediately to the masthead and I scan down the list
of editors until I come across a name that just
hits me. I like it. Guy's name is David Hershey.
I think about chocolate bars, and I decide, Hey, man,
that's the guy I'm going to pitch this story too.
I pick up the phone and call New York.

Speaker 2 (01:49):
It's the goodness that God put in people that connected
Ali to them, and vice versa. The goodness that Allah,
Almighty God put in Ali ru people to him.

Speaker 1 (02:02):
That's a mom, said Shakir, close spiritual guide and confidante
to Muhammad.

Speaker 2 (02:07):
Well that's a great, great blessing to see the good
in people. It doesn't diminish the bad that might be there.
But some people are blessed not to see it, and
if they see the bad, not to dwell on it.

Speaker 1 (02:22):
And Mom. Shakir was a chief executive member of the
team Ali assembled to carefully fulfill his final wishes. Cold
calling throughout the nineteen eighties. Man, that's a lost art.
I thought I was tormented by a pager on my him.

(02:44):
Look at the world today, how do we find our
dal our way, the right natural path? And the age
of digital distraction? Guess what? We do it the same
way we did back in the day. Episode four, Paradise

(03:06):
regained Dave it Hershey, well how did I get this man?
His assistant must be at lunch. This just doesn't happen.
It's the golden age of magazines nineteen eighty eight. They're

(03:30):
bigger than they've ever been. This is the most prestigious
men's magazine in America. You can't get hold of these guys,
but I've got him. How in the world did this happen?
It's more Ali magic, another way that he saved my life.

(03:57):
I say. I went to college and creative writing. Many
years ago. I wrote a story for Sports Illustrated about
sparring with Muhammad Ali. I live in Louisville now, and
I just coincidentally ran into Alien and got it invited
to dinner at his mom's house, and we're becoming friends.

(04:18):
And I see some things in him that nobody's ever written,
some very remarkable things. David and I talked for I
don't know, fifteen minutes, maybe twenty. David says, let's do this.
I can pay you twenty five hundred bucks. I need
the story in two months. I'll send you a contract.
He buys the idea over the phone. I know now

(04:40):
these years later that that just doesn't happen. I get
off of the phone. I'm happy, and I go tell
then she's excited. She says, when will we get the money?
I have to admit I don't know. She shakes her head.
She's worried and she says, but when it doesn't work out,
go get a job. Inspired. I go down to the

(05:06):
basement and I start pouring through box after box of
old newspapers and magazines Muhammed Ali's stories. I call missus
Clay's house in Rockman answers to the phone, and I
ask if it's okay if I come over for a while.
I take all those boxes and give them to him,

(05:26):
saying I want these to be with somebody who'll take
care of them. He says, Man, I've never seen a
collection this big. Look. I'm going to go see Mohammed
up at his home in Michigan. You want to come
with me? So cool? I've been invited to Muhammed Ali's
own house, his inner synctum, the place he goes to

(05:49):
get some quiet and dig deep inside his faith. Rock
Mont and I drive five hundred miles or so. As
soon as we park the car and close the door,
a woman opens the back door climbs down the steps,
wearing a dashiki light skin. She looks a lot like
Mohammad's mother. She introduces herself as lanai Ahwe, Mohammad's wife,

(06:11):
and tells us that Mohammad's upstairs saying his prayers, but
that he'll want to see me. We step into the
living room and take seats on the sofa. Here I
am in this quiet place in Michigan, this former horse farm,
white picket fences, green pastures, isolated for people. In his
tiny village, Mohammad could choose to live anywhere in the world.

(06:33):
He had houses in La Chicago. A Saudi prince gave
him a palace that he never stepped foot inside, and
gave away Barry in Springs, Michigan. This is the place
he goes to regroup. This is the place he goes
for solitude. I knew that Mohammad was serious about his prayers.

(06:59):
He would say them five times a day. Now I'm
seeing this happen. This will be one of many many
times when I'm visiting Ali that I'm waiting on him
to say his prayers. Ali comes downstairs barefoot and greets us.

(07:21):
My man, Ali says, why have you followed me for
all these years? I tell him, it's because you're the
single largest person I've ever known, the largest person I
can imagine. He nods, I've traveled the whole world, he says,
learn something from people everywhere. There ain't no differences between us.

(07:42):
There's truth in all religions, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism.
The only religion that really matters is the one real religion, love.
And this moment I get confirmation. This is what I'm

(08:03):
supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to be a writer.
Two days, with Mohammed and Rothman hanging into the farm,
I've still got to go home and deal with my
wife and to lack of money. Coming In the afternoon,
I get back to Louisville. My dad calls, says, son,
I've sent you a check. This is the last of
your mother's insurance money from when she died. It's a

(08:24):
little over eleven hundred dollars. Pay your mortgage, do the
right thing with it, and go get a job. So
that's what I try to do. I'm thoroughly excited by
this assignment from Esquire, but twenty five hundred bucks ain't
going to go. But so far, looking in the classified ads,
I see a pharmaceutical company offering a sales rep position.

(08:47):
I apply and I'm offered the job. Then I tell
the district manager that I've just sold a story to Esquire.
About my budding friendship with Muhammad Ali. He says, you
can't do that. You're not allowed to write, and if
you publish anything, you have to give us the money
you kind of be getting. I don't have to be

(09:08):
who you want me to be, ah, he said, And
I'd heard him. I'd felt that was true of me too,
And it's certainly true. Now I found my path at
thirty seven years old. It's time to prove who I am.
I pulled my watch from my arm and without looking
at it, fling it out across the water, deep into

(09:29):
the Ohio. I yanked the beeper from my hip, and
before it has the chance to ever call me again,
I throw it as far as I can, and it
sinks into the mud of the old Old River, right
beside Cassius Clay's nineteen sixty Olympic gold medal. There's no
way I'd take that job, even though they're offering me

(09:52):
a company car, more money than i'd ever made, more
than double what I was making in the video stores,
and all kinds of perks. No way, I know. Now
I'm a writer.

Speaker 3 (10:16):
Davis, that gold medal story is a good story, but
come on, you know he didn't throw his gold medal
in the Ohio River, don't you.

Speaker 1 (10:24):
Of course, I know, correct, And he told me so
himself that I mean, I believed it when I threw
the beeper and my watch in the river. Right after
I sold them my Dinner with Ali's story and they
were going to run it. I call up Muhammed. I
told him I'd sold the story and he said, you
ain't no writer. I said, man, I've wanted to be

(10:44):
a writer forever. I went to school, studied creative writing.
I think I write as well as anybody, maybe better
than most. You were my hero. You were the person
who inspired me to write. And I just did exactly
what you did. Took my watch off my arm and
my beeper out of my that I had for the
video stores, and I went and I pitched them straight
into the Ohio And he said, never did that. And

(11:06):
I said, what what do you mean, never did that?
He said, never did that, Never threw my medal in
no Ohio. He said, just lost it. That's all. I
know what it takes to tell a story, and that's it.
That's how I found out that Muhammad did not throw
his gold medal into the Ohio River. I always knew
I could write, and Muhammad Cascid he gave me the

(11:30):
power to do that. Craig, you still have that transcript
from your documentary that you did with Ali way back
in nineteen ninety three. What did Ali himself have to
say when you asked him about his condition?

Speaker 3 (11:48):
He said, a wise man once said people that God
loves they're not perfect. He wants to send you to
paradise after you've suffered in this world. So when you die,
you've paid all your dues and you go right to heaven.
And I hope that's my case. He said. I'm not
an evil person, but I'm not no saint. I never
forget the way he said that I'm working with God.

(12:10):
So if I've done something wrong, then I'll suffer now,
and I hope it's my punishment for the indecent things
I've done in this life. So when I die, my
slate's clean and I go right to eternity. He knew
he made mistakes in his life. He was cruel to
some people. He could be misogynistic with women, and he

(12:31):
cheated on some of his wives. He felt remorse for that.
I'm sure that's what he was talking about when he
said that to me. He was truly repentant. He was
thinking of the afterlife. Maybe this is my punishment, and
if I make a good penance on this, I get
to be with Allah God in eternity.

Speaker 1 (12:50):
MOhm It felt bad about the ways he treated Joe Frasier,
and he made a point of trying to work past that.
But Joe, in turn had greater difficulty in getting past
the guerrilla stuff and that bucket full of other malicious,
terrible taunts.

Speaker 3 (13:06):
Joe couldn't let it go. I was tasked by the
editors at ESPN to go to Mohammad and ask him
about that. So I called and Lonnie answered. I asked her,
is this true? She said, why don't you talk to Muhammad.
He'll tell you. She put him on the phone and
I told him what I was working on. I said, Mohammed,
did you apologize to Joe? Are you good with Joe? Now?

(13:28):
I love Joe Fraser. I wouldn't be who I am
without Joe Fraser. I love Joe Fraser. So you said
you were sorry? He goes yes, and he repeated, I
love Joe Fraser. When Joe died, Mohammad tearfully went to
Joe's funeral.

Speaker 1 (13:42):
The way he stood up and clapped in tribute to Joe.
By that time, Mohammad was not standing the easily either.
Was he doing that as penance?

Speaker 3 (13:52):
That time in La, when that guy's ready to jump
off a building, Ali sees that tries to keep him
from doing it.

Speaker 4 (14:00):
From a ledge nine floors above Wilship Boulevard, the hooded
man shouted, I'm no good, I'm going to jump. Police,
a psychologist and a minister had all but given up.

Speaker 3 (14:10):
He got up there, stuck his head out the window.

Speaker 2 (14:12):
Don't do it, don't do it.

Speaker 4 (14:13):
The former heavyweight champion went to a window and reportedly yelled,
I'm your brother. I want to help you.

Speaker 2 (14:20):
Saved the guy's life.

Speaker 1 (14:22):
Muhammad took that guy home with him, found him counseling,
got him back on his feet. I saw him personally
in hospitals with kids, very sick kids who had communicable diseases.
He'd just go up to those kids and picked them
up and hugged them to his chest and treat them
as if they were his own children.

Speaker 3 (14:42):
Well, you could make the argument that there's something very
spiritual about that, and indeed there is. You know, I
could relate to what Davis went through when he was
searching for what to do next and not taking that
pharmaceutical job to do something that didn't inspire him. I
got laid off after thirty years of working at ESPN

(15:02):
on June twelfth, twenty thirteen, which the date otherwise wouldn't
be meaningful, but it was my thirtieth anniversary in the company.
The day that I thought i'd be celebrating, I lost
my job. I had a nine year old son and
a seven year old daughter, and suddenly I wasn't working anymore.
And I did not see it coming at all. I'm

(15:22):
not ashamed to say that there was panic as to
what to do next, and it debilitated me at first.
What now? Where do I fit? It was a test
of my faith in many ways. This brought me to
my knees and for years prayed, please Lord, just bring
me to where I'm supposed to be. I don't know

(15:43):
where that is, but I do know. Muhammad was a
man of faith and often relied upon it, and I
am too, and that's something he and I talked about, religion, faith,
what you believe in all that. It took a lot
of determination to figure out what's next?

Speaker 1 (15:59):
You know. I had those kind of conversations with Mohammed io.
I asked him why did he connect so deeply to people?
What was it in him that people connected with? And
he said, is the God in people that connects them
to me. Shortly before Muhammad passed, I mentioned that to

(16:19):
Lani and she said, it's also in reverse. He was
looking for the God and people he understood, whether it
was partly because of his fame, whether it was partly
because of his beauty, whether it was partly for other reasons.
The God and people they would always remember and carry
with them those moments that he had with people, with everybody.

Speaker 3 (16:48):
I'm in Miami. We spent a couple of days together
or just hanging in the hotel room and invariably out
comes his suitcase and I'll come the Bible in his
tattered list of Bible contradictions. And my cameraman, Bruce Taylor
is sitting there listening, and he's like, jeez, Mohammed, Mama,
this is really impressive. You should share this with a priest.

(17:08):
He looks at Bruce and disgusted us. Priest man, I know.

Speaker 5 (17:12):
The pope, Priest, I know the Pope.

Speaker 3 (17:28):
We are now joined by Imam Zaid Shakir, an American
Muslim scholar and co founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California,
where he is a professor emeritus and a bored observer.
Imam Shakira converted to Islam in nineteen seventy seven. He
is one of the signatories of a Common Word Between

(17:49):
Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to
Christian leaders that calls for peace and mutual understanding.

Speaker 1 (17:56):
You.

Speaker 3 (17:56):
Mom was with Muhammad Ali at the time of his
death and was the principal celebrant at Ali's funeral in
memorial service. Along with doctor Timothy Gianati, Imam Shakir helped
the Ali family ensure that the services reflected the tradition
of Mohammad's Muslim faith. I'm Liakam.

Speaker 2 (18:15):
Why are nakam as Slam?

Speaker 3 (18:18):
What were the circumstances that first brought you to Muhammad Ali?

Speaker 2 (18:23):
You just mentioned doctor tim Jiannati at the time he
was at the University of Virginia and the team that
was coordinating how the last stage of Muhammad Adi's life
would unfold and his wishes to have a service that
would reach out and bring people together from various walks

(18:44):
of life, various faiths, and to ensure that everything was
to proceed according to the mandates and instructions dictated by Islam.
Doctor Giannati reached out to me and that's really how
I got involved with the the family and with the goat.
This was about five or six years before he passed away,

(19:06):
but it was a long term plan to ensure that
there wouldn't be a last minute scramble and chaos. It
was the global stature, the universal appeal of Muhammad Adi.
Things could get very confusing and very chaotic, so the
long term plan was to ensure that that was minimized

(19:30):
as much as possible. He was intricately involved. His wishes
were his wishes. His wishes dictated what would happen. He
made the law, and then the executive team made sure
that everything he wished to happen happened.

Speaker 3 (19:48):
What was striking to me having attended the memorial service
was the great diversity of not only faiths, but races
and gender represented at that servis was that part of
his plan as well?

Speaker 2 (20:03):
That was absolutely part of his plan. Because Muhammad Ali
he went through the spectrum of activism, advocacy, for Islam,
for humanity at large. When Muhammad Ali started out in
the early into the mid sixties and the latter's nineteen sixties,
we know the kind of turmoil that was gripping the country.

(20:25):
It was a time of extreme racially inspired tension. We
had race riots, we had cities of flame, and we
had a people who are really escaping the last vestiges
of slavery. And so the time demanded a voice like
Muhammad Ali's.

Speaker 1 (20:42):
You won't stand up for me from our religious police,
and you want me to go somewhere and fight, but
you won't.

Speaker 2 (20:48):
Stand up for me.

Speaker 6 (20:48):
You're at home.

Speaker 2 (20:50):
It demanded the kind of courage that Ali was able
to muster. It demanded a voice and a leader who
was willing to risk everything for his people. But as
his life progressed and as the times changed, the problems
afflicting us became more universal. They won't confined to anyone
race or ethnicity. The universal challenges created a situation where

(21:16):
Ali would have universal appeal, and I think that universal
appeal was reflected in the memorial service. As you noted,
it was his wish that I want a rabbi, I
want a preacher, I want females. So he was able
to really bring together that array of personalities, that array

(21:39):
of human hearts, and it was a very powerful gathering.

Speaker 3 (21:44):
The majority of the speakers that day, yourself included, were
quite charismatic.

Speaker 2 (21:49):
Don't give a teenager a telephone, and don't give a
preacher a.

Speaker 3 (21:53):
Microphone, especially the rabbi and the minister. The Native American
speakers as well, because they so often get forgotten in
this country.

Speaker 1 (22:07):
Nah done.

Speaker 3 (22:15):
There's all kinds of tribalism at home that's divided us,
Wars raging in the Middle East. If we were blessed
to still have Mohammed, now, I wonder what he'd be
doing to bring peace.

Speaker 2 (22:29):
He'd be in Ghazil with medicine and food and he
would find a way or God would open away. His
heart wasn't such that he was content to sign a
letter or attend the protest rally. Now he would fill
up a plane with goods and he would fly to Egypt,

(22:51):
loading on the trucks, and he would talk to people
on both sides and God would open their heart. Were
of a famine somewhere, charter a plane, loaded up and
fly there. No news coverage, no cameras, no microphones and
just go. He was a man of action. He was
a man of the people. He loved people, and I

(23:14):
think his love for people wouldn't allow him to just
sit back and watch them suffer in silence. And an
example of that is when he went to Jamaica, he
insisted to go straight from the airport to the local mosque.
And the only mosque he knew of was deep in
the hood, a very modest, poor Muslim community, and they

(23:40):
didn't want to take Ali. Are you sure you want
to go there. Let's go to the hotel first. The no,
we have to go to the mosque. But Ali is
getting dark. It's not a very nice neighborhood. Got to
go to the mosque. So he went there and he prayed.
And when he prayed, they said, okay, you prayed, we
called greeting the mosque. You prayed two ycles of the

(24:00):
prayer to greet the mosque, and he greeted the moscle. Ali,
you greeted the mosc Let's go. Now, I'm not going Ali.
You know, his dark knus not a good neighborhood and
I'm not going. Why because Islam isn't recognized as a
religion here. So I'm not leaving until there's a promise
made that Islam will be recognized as an official religion

(24:21):
in Jamaica like the other religions. So he secured that promise,
and then we left the mosque and went to the hotel.

Speaker 3 (24:30):
Beyond advising and ensuring that Islamic laws and traditions would
be carried out on Muhammad's behalf, did you prepare him
at all for the end of life?

Speaker 2 (24:41):
He was well prepared. He didn't need any advice. He
could have advised others in terms of how to be
prepared to exit this world and to enter into another
realm of existence. So we don't believe our existence stops
when we leave this world, just as it didn't begin

(25:01):
when we entered this world. You know, we were in
the womb. Before we were in the womb, we were
in the chromozonal material of our ancestors and their genetic material,
which is physical stuff that's being passed down generation after generation.
So we believe our existence didn't start when we came

(25:22):
into this world, and it doesn't stop when we exit
this world. We're just going on to another stage of life,
and Ali was well prepared for that stage. The priority
was to make sure that his memorial service would be

(25:42):
meaningful and convey a strong message that was reflective of
who he was and what he represented.

Speaker 7 (25:50):
And join with them in mourning the loss and celebrating
the life of Muhammad Ali, a great fighter for justice
and peace. Peace be upon him, Peace be upon the
up in Mohammed all of humanity, and peace on all
of us.

Speaker 3 (26:05):
Amen.

Speaker 2 (26:08):
Muhammad Ali was a beautiful man, so he practiced his
faith in a beautiful fashion, especially after he was slowed
down by Parkinson, but not exclusively. He was religious, if
you will, even before Parkinson's I think he just had
some stuff to get out of his system, as they said, yes,
But in any case, he practiced in a very deep

(26:31):
personal way. He would read from the and the translation
every day diligently. He would faithfully complete his prayers. Those
were inward directed actions, but he had also outward directed actions.
He would sign two or three hundred pamphlets every day.
What does this lamb who is Mohammed? Peace be upon them,

(26:51):
et cetera. And he would sign them. And he said
that if if he gave someone an autograph, even if
they didn't read it, even if they didn't agree with
the message. They would keep it forever because Muhammad Ali's
autograph is on it, and perhaps someone after them would

(27:15):
come along who would read it. And so he would
sign those and then when he went out into the public,
he would distuff them in his briefcase and just give
them to people. It wasn't easy for him to write,
but he would do that, and that's the testimony to
the depth of his faith and his desire to extend

(27:39):
the peace that he enjoyed to others. Ali was anointed
the people's champ by the people. He wasn't perfect, but
he was able to move systematically and steadily to hire
and hire degrees of perfection.

Speaker 3 (28:02):
In one of your writings, you described Mohammad as a
humble mountain. If you're a boxing fan, I think humility
is not a word you easily associate with Mohammed.

Speaker 2 (28:13):
He talked more trash than a radio. It was part
of his purpose. It was by design. It was due
to his understanding of marketing and public relations in a
way that very few athletes, with the possible exception of

(28:36):
Gorgeous George, who influenced Ali tremendously in that regard. But
when the lights went out and when the cameras were
turned off. Even in those early times, you saw a
humble individual who was known to play with children and
wrestle with children on the floor do his magic. And

(29:02):
so I think the greatest example of that humble mountain
was after the Foreman fight. This is probably the crowning
moment of his career. The unbeatable George Foreman goes down
and in the interview after Ali let it go, he

(29:24):
let it fly, with the expecatives, everything like you didn't
know this, and you should know that I'm the greatest.

Speaker 4 (29:30):
Everybody stopped talking.

Speaker 3 (29:32):
Now, attention all of my critics. I told you all
that I was the greatest of all times. I'm still
the greatest of all times.

Speaker 1 (29:41):
Never again say that I'm going to be defeated.

Speaker 3 (29:43):
Never again make me.

Speaker 4 (29:45):
Und the dog until I'm about fifty years old. Then
you might get me.

Speaker 2 (29:48):
But once they took the camera away, took the microphone away,
quietly rode out to the camp he was staying at
and she was delged by a group of children and
just down quietly. He's exhausted. He's battered ropodope with George Foreman.
That's like someone with a baseball bat beating on your body.

(30:12):
So he's exhausted, he's battered, These bruised kidneys are out
of whack, urinating blood. But he takes time to sit
down and entertain these children with his magic tricks. He
was definitely cocky, confident, bragadaceous boxer, but even during those
times that humility would shine through. And then in the

(30:36):
latter phase of his life, it was just pure humility,
humbling himself and accepting the test and the challenge that
God presented to him with grace. If he were inherently arrogant,
he wouldn't have accepted that with grace. An arrogant heart

(30:56):
doesn't have that ability. There's a saying from the prophet Muhammed,
Peace be upon them. No one humbles themselves for the
sake of God, except that God elevates him. And I
think during that latter phase Muhammad Adi was elevated to
a stature he didn't enjoy during the times he was

(31:18):
in full health and the Louisville lipp was in full form.
He was elevated to heights that only God can bring
a person to. The Arabic word for sankhthood is we Lijah,
we die, we lae we like us we we lid yeah.

Speaker 1 (31:38):
Yeah we lad yeah we.

Speaker 2 (31:41):
Yeah we la yah. So that welaja. It combines three qualities.
The first is love from Habba, so love for God
and love from God. Second is nearness closeness to God.
And the third is divine aid on lusra being assisted

(32:03):
directly from God. And so those three qualities of love, nearness,
and divine aid or assistance, those are the qualities of
the saint. And so I firmly believed that Muhammad Ali
had all of those. He had the love. He was
a man who loved God and God loved him. He

(32:25):
was a man who was close to God. He was
constantly thinking about God. And he was a man who
was being assisted by God because the things that happened
in his life they couldn't have happened without divine aid.
It's the goodness that God put in people that connected

(32:45):
Ali to them, and vice versa, the goodness that Allah
Almighty God put in Ali that drew people to him.
And to the extent that he was good. I think
it's only not for us he'd be looking for that
good and other well, that's a great, great blessing to
see the good in people. It doesn't diminish the bad

(33:07):
that might be there, But some people are blessed not
to see it, and if they see the bad, not
to dwell on it. There's a story that circulates amongst
the Muslims. Jesus was walking with a group of his
disciples one day and they saw a sheep carcass thrown
to the side of the road. So one of them said,

(33:29):
the smell is stinches really putrid. They decay and once said,
and look at the maggots. It's really disgusted. And then
Jesus said, well, look how white his teeth are. I've
conditioned my eyes to only see the good. Ali was
one of those people that God blessed to have the

(33:51):
bad eclipsed by the moon of the good.

Speaker 3 (33:59):
You were by Mohammed's side in the last moments of
his life. Explain to us how that all went.

Speaker 2 (34:08):
I just prayed my heart out and just prayed for
Muhammad Ali to pass successfully to the next life and
to meet Almighty God, to meet a law in a
good state. And it was very powerful those a few hours.

(34:29):
I prayed from Kuran and the prophetic Kdith and some
of the litanies of the Muslim saints. I just pray
that I was able to be a source of comfort
for both Ali and for his family.

Speaker 3 (34:47):
How do you feel he faced the inevitability of his
own death.

Speaker 2 (34:51):
I think he faced it like he faced the fearsome
Sunny Listening. He faced it like he faced it the
unbeatable George Foreman. He faced it with courage. He faced
it with reliance on God, trusting that God had good
ordained for him, that he was ordained to be Sunny Listening,

(35:15):
he was ordained to be George Foreman, and he was
ordained by God to move on from this world. So
he faced it with courage, with dignity, with no complaints,
and gracefully exited. Here was that total peace. Here was
that total peace. And the light on his face indicated

(35:38):
that as Muslims, we believe that the light that it's
in the heart, it comes through the face. And so
that light that was in his heart, and that light
that was refined over the years of dealing with a
very debilitating disease, that light grew stronger and stronger as

(36:00):
heart therefore radiated ever stronger on his face. So at
the time of his passing, that light was overwhelming. And
it's the light that you see with your heart, with
the inner vision of the heart, not with the external
vision of the eyes. One of the reasons Ali was

(36:21):
so powerful in the latter part of his life. We
believe that speech is really in the heart. There's a
poem couple that says speech resides in the heart, and
the tongue really serves as an interpreter for what's in
the heart. And so when the tongue is not able
to interpret, then the heart becomes stronger because now it

(36:43):
has to speak directly. And so when his words could
no longer be heard, his heart had to grow stronger
so that the energy that was behind the words could
be perceived by other hearts. Because the speech of the
tongue settles in the ear, where the speech of the
heart settles in the hearts of others. Ali was in

(37:05):
that state where his heart had to do the talking,
and in that state it was powerful, and those words
reach hearts that maybe his speech where he still the
Louisville lived, his speech would not be able to reach.

Speaker 3 (37:23):
He didn't have to say anything, but you understood, and
that's a universal language that can speak to anyone.

Speaker 2 (37:31):
How many hearts were affected by Muhammaddi countless. I'm meeting
people from various parts of the world, Bangladesh, Columbia. Ali
just touched so many people, and that isn't something that
happens every day. The fact that he was so powerful

(37:52):
and his ability to win hearts is an indication of
divine grace like God.

Speaker 1 (37:59):
Was with him.

Speaker 2 (38:01):
You know, he's still touching hearts. No, he's still touching
hearts now and the hearts that he's touched are touching hearts.
This exponential and just keeps going and growing and growing.
We really we need that today. Peace.

Speaker 1 (38:28):
On the next episode of The Down of Muhammad Ali,
my hero teaches me how to fly. Also, we spend
some time with doctor Holli shil, the director of the
Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, whose career path, like mine,
was shaped and enlarged by Muhammad Ali.

Speaker 6 (38:51):
He always used to folks at Parkinson's as my people.
Anytime he was talking with us about what he wanted
us to do. Make sure you take care of my
peace peoples. I don't want any man left behind.

Speaker 1 (39:03):
The Dao of Muhammad Ali is produced by Imagine Audio
for iHeart Podcast and hosted by me Davis Miller, my
co host is Craig Mortally, Karl Welker, Mark Beouch, Nathan Kloke,
Derek Jennings and Little Old Me. Davis Miller are executive producers,

(39:24):
produced by Craig Mortali, sound design and mixing by Juan Borda,
music by Djsparr and introducing a very good pal of
mine Isaac Miller, and also Luminescence track Nuage. Visit Luminescent
music dot com to check out more from the band.
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