Today, on the anniversary of his birthday, the world is remembering the extraordinary life and legacy of Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), God bless his soul. He would’ve been 77 years young today.
We miss you. You captivated audiences and warmed hearts lifelong. You really were the greatest.
Here’s seven qualities that made Muhammad Ali the unparalleled man that he was:
#1 – His magnetic personality
Some souls find others naturally drawn to them and or end up in positions of leadership due to their magnetic personalities. Muhammad Ali was one of those souls. His facial expressions, the rise and fall of his voice, his charming smile, and the power of his actions both inside and outside the boxing ring all had an energy to them that others couldn’t get enough of.
# 2 – His confidence and conviction
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
And then he won. Enough said.
# 3 – He was an expert orator
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”’
“Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
Muhammad Ali spoke these unforgettable quotes along with so many others with such natural ease that they came to be expected from him every time he spoke. His love of rhyme, word play, wit, and humor made him irresistibly likable, even by those who tried to dislike him. He left us with gems of wisdom to enjoy even after his life ended.
# 4 – He was proud to be Muslim
As public figures, famous athletes often are expected to explain their life choices more than the average person. Muhammad Ali embraced this challenge, and viewed it not as burden but as an opportunity. He proudly told anyone and everyone why he believed in God and why he chose to become a Muslim. He explained his position with clarity to whoever he spoke with, regardless of their education, age, or status.
# 5 – He lived his life for others
Muhammad Ali was a humanitarian, living his life for others and not for himself. He had a lifelong mission to help those in need. He spent his time on earth working to abolish racial, economic, and gender inequality. He strongly disliked religious intolerance.
He said, “I always wanted to be more than just a boxer…more than just the three-time heavyweight champion. I wanted to use my fame, and this face that everyone knows so well, to help uplift and inspire people around the world.”
And that’s just what he did. He worked with Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, and countless others. That legacy now continues through the Muhammad Ali Center, and Islamic Relief USA is a proud supporter.
# 6 – His majestic strength
And we’re not just talking about his astonishing 56 wins and 37 knockouts (KOs) in the boxing ring.
Muhammad Ali’s battle with Parkinson’s disease is what the Telegraph called his “longest round.” He demonstrated remarkable poise, grace, patience, and surrender to the disease he viewed as the will of God.
His battle still serves as an example to us all.
# 7 – He was a believer
He believed in God.
He believed in himself.
He believed in a better world.
At times, he was teased or even mocked for his unfailing optimism.
But when America and the world needed something to believe in, he was there for us all. We’re glad he believed; he helped us believe too.