Ali to be honoured with Muslim funeral service
Published: 2016-06-09 20:55:47.0 BdST Updated: 2016-06-09 21:22:39.0 BdST
The world begins two final days of mourning for Muhammad Ali on Thursday when the boxing great will be honoured with a Muslim funeral a day before receiving a final goodbye with an interfaith service.
Ali, one of the transcendent figures of the 20th Century for his boxing prowess, showmanship and opposition to the Vietnam War in the turbulent 1960s and '70s, died last Friday of septic shock in an Arizona hospital. He was 74.
Some 15,000 people are expected at the janaza, the Arabic word for funeral, set for noon (1600 GMT) at Freedom Hall in Ali's home town of Louisville, Kentucky, the venue where Ali defeated Willi Besmanoff on Nov 29, 1961.
Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, will lead the service.
Ali and his family planned his funeral for 10 years, making sure it would honour his Muslim faith.
In the 1970s, Ali converted to Sunni Islam, the largest denomination among Muslims worldwide. Late in life he embraced Sufism, a mystical school of the faith.
He was admired worldwide, and gave US Muslims a hero they could share with the American mainstream.
"To be properly prepared for burial, prayed over and then buried is a right owed to every single Muslim," Shakir said in a statement issued by the Ali family spokesman. "If no one fulfils those rights, then the entire community has fallen into sin. In the case of someone of Muhammad Ali's stature, to leave any of those rights unfulfilled would be a crime."
On Friday, the final service at the KFC Yum! Center will take place with luminaries such as former US President Bill Clinton, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and comedian Billy Crystal.
Actor Will Smith, who portrayed Ali in a 2001 biographical film, and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers.
On Wednesday, the city of Louisville held a celebration called the "I Am Ali" Festival. The day-long event highlighted Ali's life through stories, music, dance and arts and crafts that had children colouring butterfly and bee masks in an homage to the boxer's famous quote about his fighting style, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
Any unauthorised use or reproduction of bdnews24.com content for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and constitutes copyright infringement liable to legal action.
- US, Japan first ladies: both unconventional yet poles apart
- Pope Francis says 'wait and see' on Trump
- The Trumps: Meet the new US First Family
- Gene Cernan, last astronaut to walk on moon, dies at 82
- Shakira urges Davos elite to nurture future leaders
- Baby kidnapped from Florida hospital found safe 18 years later
- New Zealand father and daughter found in Australia after month at sea
- American voters think Trump should close Twitter account: Poll
- 'Pharma bro' Shkreli suspended from Twitter for harassment
- Trump blasts Schwarzenegger over ' Apprentice' ratings
- Extradition of Bangabandhu killer will be a major breakthrough in Bangladesh-Canada relations: Shahriar
- Brain damage in former football players fuels ‘heading’ fears
- Bangladesh performs 25th bone marrow transplant in the first-ever centre
- New government report finds Bangladesh island chosen to relocate Rohingyas as 'fit for habitation'
- Separate road crashes in Cox's Bazar leave five killed, at least 20 injured
- Ruling Khulna MP's son using boundary wall to 'grab a family land'
- Old Dhaka road crash leaves medical college student killed
- Shaon files police complaint over 'embarrassing, horrifying' Facebook Live video
- PM Hasina stresses product diversification, exploring new markets for apparel exports
- Former MP Kader Khan 'confesses to planning and training’ to execute MP Liton’s murder