"Everything I do now, I do to please Allah," he once said. "I conquered the world, and it didn't bring me happiness. The only true satisfaction comes from honoring and worshipping God. ... 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."
Some of his fans will not look at his faith when showering the iconic boxer with praise and enumerating his accomplishments as they remember his life. It seems that they have learned to love Ali despite his religious choice. It is also likely that they may have decided to ignore Ali's faith.
But it would be foolish to ignore Muhammad Ali as a Muslim as it would be akin to ignoring Muhammad Ali as a man as both are intertwined. Ali's name represented his faith and highlighted his commitment to Islam.
"Now that I'm a Muslim and have the beautiful name of Muhammad Ali, I can go all over the world," he said after becoming a Muslim. "Right now at my home, 8500 Jeffery, in the basement, I have 3,800 letters that I can't answer from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria and every letter opens with 'as-salamu alaykum' (peace be upon you), how are you, we are very glad you are a Muslim, when can you come to our country?"
Muhammad Ali passed away at age 74 and was buried on Friday at Louisville, his ancestral place.