A MUST READ:  Biography of Sayyiduna Hussain (RadiAllahu Anhu)

By Shaykh Abdul Raheem Saheb (hafidhahullah). img_4162
Born: Sha’ban 4AH
Demise: 10 Muharram 61AH
Age: 57
Lineage:
Maternal Grandfather: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
Maternal Grandmother: Khadija al-Kubra (Radiallahu Anha)
Mother: Fatima Zahra – The leader of the Ladies of Jannah (Radiallahu Anha)
Father: Ali al-Murtadha, – the Fourth Rightly Guided Caliph (Karramallahu Waj’hahu).
Birth:
He was born in Sha’ban 4AH.
He was brought to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, who was overjoyed. He chewed a date and placed it in the newborn’s mouth which he began to suck. The first thing to enter his stomach was Rasulullah’s blessed saliva. He then gave Adhan & Iqamat in his ears and named him Hussain RA. On the 7th day, he instructed that the head should be shaved, and that Sadaqah of silver should be given equivalent to the weight of the hair. Thereafter he did the Aqeeqah, (sacrificed two goats for him).
Hussain RA was looked after and breastfed by Ummul Fadhl (Radiallahu Anha), the wife of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s) uncle Abbas. She mentions that once Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam was holding Hussain in his lap and was in a cheerful mood. He suddenly began to cry. She enquired about the reason. He replied “Jibreel just informed me that my Ummah will one day kill this beloved son of mine.” (Bayhaqi)
Few Hadith in virtues of Hasan & Hussain RA:
Hadith: “O Allah! I love Hasan and Husain! You also love them, and love those who love them.” (Tirmidhi)
Hadith: “Hasan & Husain are the leaders of the youth of Jannah.” (Tirmidhi)
Hadith: “Hussain is mine and I am Husain’s. May Allah love the one who loves Hussain. Hussain is a mighty grandson”. (Ibn Majah)
Hasan RA is one year older than Hussain RA and they are both Sahabah. They have also narrated few Ahadith directly from their grandfather Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.
Hussain narrates that his grandfather Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, “It is from the beauty of a person’s Iman that he leaves aside things that don’t concern him”
He also narrates, “If a person is afflicted with a calamity which consequently comes to haunt him later on, however at that time he recites ‘Inna lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon’;  Allah will give him the same reward which He gave him on the first day.” (Ibn Majah)
Both brothers resembled their grandfather Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam although this was more noticeable in Hasan than Husain Radiallahu Anhuma.
In the Eyes of Sahaba RadiAllahu Anhum
Ibn Kathir writes, “Sayyiduna Abu Bakr RadiAllahu Anhu used to show great respect to the family of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. He used to treat Hussain with love, affection, and special attention. Same was the case with Sayyiduna Farooqe A’zam and Sayyiduna Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhuma.” (Al-Bidayah 8/36, Tajalliyate Safdar vol1 p487)
When Farooqe A’zam Radiallahu Anhu fixed allowances, he gave Hassan and Hussain the allowance of the Badr participants i.e. 5000 each.
When clothes for distribution came from Yemen, Farooqe Azam Radiallahu Anhu said that these (clothes) are not good enough for Hasan & Hussain. Thereafter, he ordered special clothes be tailored for them. When they were sent, sayyiduna umar called both brothers in front of the gathering and gifted them.
When the daughter of Kisra by the name of Princess Sheherbanu was brought to Madinah Munawwarah among the captives, Sayyiduna Umar (Radiallahu Anhu) said, “She is only suitable for Hussain.” He gave her to Sayyiduna Hussain who freed her and married her. She gave birth to his son Ali Ibn Al Hussain who was later titled  Imam Zain al-Abideen, due to the beauty of his worship.
During the Khilafat of Shaykhayn (Abu Bakr & Umar Radiallahu Anhuma), Sayyiduna Hussain was still growing up. In 26AH, during the Uthmani caliphate, he took part in the conquest of Tripoli. He was instrumental in that victory as well many others that followed.
In 30 AH, he was with Sayyiduna Saeed Ibn Al-Aas (Radiallahu Anhu) in the conquest of Tabristaan, and thereafter in the conquest of Jurjaan.
In 34 AH, when the rebels surrounded the residence of Sayyiduna Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhu and were thirsty for his blood, this brave prince offered his life, along with a group of youth. They would stand by the door and would guard the house of Uthman Radiallahu Anhu, drawing the rebels back. Despite repeated requests to finish off the rebels and having the ability to do that, Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhu forbade them from shedding a single drop of blood for his protection. In the end, the rebels forced their way in to the neighbours’ property and jumped the walls. They then murdered Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhu. Inna lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon.
After the Shahadah (martyrdom) of the oppressed Caliph, the Muhajireen & Ansaar pledged their allegiance to Sayyiduna Ali Karramallahu Waj’hahu. Sayyiduna Hussain was at his father’s side throughout the five years of his caliphate. He was a very obedient and humble son and took part in the notable battles of Jamal and Siffeen.
After the death of his father, he treated his elder brother Sayyiduna Hassan Radiallahu Anhu, like a father figure. He would always be at his side and consult him in important affairs.
After remaining khaleefa for just 6 months, Sayyiduna Hasan handed the reign of leadership to Sayyiduna Muawiyah Radiallahu Anhu. Sayyiduna Muawiyah radiallahu anhu treated the Ahle Bayt with utmost respect. He had fixed an allowance of 100,000 per annum for Sayyiduna Hasan & Hussain Radiallahu Anhuma. When they would travel to Shaam or Sayyiduna Muawiyah would come Madina Munawwarah, they would treat each other with generosity and hospitality.
When Sayyiduna Hassan died in 50AH, Sayyiduna Hussain became the eldest among the prophetic household. He was the best person on the face of the earth at that time. Once Sayyiduna Abdullah in ‘Amr ibn al-Aas Radiallahu Anhu was sitting in the Haram shareef, near the Ka’ba, when Sayyiduna Hussain radiallahu anhu entered. He looked at the radiant face of Sayyiduna Hussain and remarked, “Among all the people on the face of this earth, this person is the most beloved to the angels of the heavens. Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhu would feel proud in holding on to the stirrup of Sayyiduna Husain’s saddle when he would ride on the horse.”
Martyrdom
When Sayyiduna Muawiyah died in 60AH, his son Yazeed became his successor. Yazeed was only in his thirties. The Muslim community were not happy at his appointment. This was due to Yazeed’s transgression.
Not all cities under the Muslim rule pledged their allegiance to Yazeed. On the contrary, there were many who refused to accept his leadership. As a result, two groups materialised among the Sahaba. Sayyiduna Hussain and Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Zubair Radiallahu Anhumaa were of the opinion that Yazeed should be confronted and removed. Whereas Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma were hesitant about this, not because they doubted Yazeed’s Fisq but because they feared the killing that would follow the confrontation.
Kufa was one of the main cities in Iraq during this time. The people of Kufa invited Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu to remove Yazeed and unite the ummah. They made promises of pledging allegiance to him. During this time, they wrote hundreds of letters to him. Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu was in Makkah Mukarramah at the time.
He sent his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel Ibn Abi Talib (Radiallahu Anhu) to look into the matter. When Muslim ibn Aqeel reached Kufa, people began to pledge allegiance to Sayyiduna Hussain at his hands. He wrote back saying the whole city is echoing with your name and that you should come immediately.
Sayyduna Hussain (Radiallahu Anhu) left along with his immediate family members and many distant relatives and friends. Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma tried to stop him, not because he supported Yazeed, but because he knew the treacherous nature of the people of Kufa. They had betrayed Husain’s father Sayyiduna Ali Karramallahu Waj’hahu.
Sayyiduna Hussain however left. Along the way he received the news that in Kufa, events had taken a turn for the worse. Yazeed had sent an order from Damascus that the  governor be changed and he instructs the newly appointed governor Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad to be strict on his opponents. He caught and murdered Muslim Ibn Aqeel (Radiallahu Anhu). Subsequently people deserted Sayyiduna Hussain (Radiallahu Anhu), in fact turned against him.
An army was dispatched to capture or kill Sayyiduna Hussain (Radiallahu Anhu) and his caravan. They cornered him and he reminded them of their invitation and showed them their letters. But they refused to acknowledge those letters.
He asked them for respite of the night preceding Aashura. This happened to be the night preceding Friday. He instructed his caravan to spend the night in worship and in supplication. He busied himself in worship as well. He instructed his sister Sayyida Zainab Radiallahu Anha not to lament after his martyrdom, because martyrdom would be a source of elevation for him.
When he lay down for a bit, he saw his grandfather and our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in a dream. The noble prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam instructed him to be patient.
The following morning, the army attacked the caravan. Sayyiduna Husasin Radiallahu Anhu’s family and friends defended him but they were outnumbered. The opposing army consisted of four thousand well-armed soldiers, whereas the caravan consisted of no more than a hundred males, some children and ladies of the household. They were being slain one after the other. Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu was brave like his father and he too was fighting until he was left alone.
They had been defending from morning until the afternoon until the time of Jummu’ah beckoned. Due to being travellers they had to pray Zuhr. Sayyiduna Hussain asked for respite so that they may perform Salah, but they refused and he prayed Zohr Salah with indication (ishaarah).
He was extremely thirsty and wanted to drink some water from the river nearby. However, when he approached the water, one wretched person shot an arrow at him and thus prevented him from drinking. He became extremely weak due to the blood which was seeping from his wounds and at this juncture, a curse came out of his lips. He said, “May you also die with thirst.” And it so happened that the assailant died from an illness which made him thirsty and no matter how much water he drank his thirst wouldn’t go.
No single person had the courage to attack him out rightly. They would approach him in batches, shoot arrows from a distance and then flee when Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu would turn towards them. They decided to ambush him collectively. It was then that Shimr Zil Jawshan struck his head and others severed it from his body. Some vile individuals trampled over his slain body with their horses.
Inna lillallahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raajioon.تصميم الاربعين 1
Sayyiduna Hussain (Radiallahu Anhu) gave his precious life in order to establish Haqq (truth). He did not surrender to falsehood even though they did make proposals and promises.
The oppressors did not stop with him, they even attempted to kill the children as well. Imam Zainul Abideen was ill and unable to take part. He was therefore kept in the tent with the ladies. The enemies did barge in the tents and attempted to kill him but his aunt Zainab grabbed hold of him and shouted at them upon which they retreated.
Sayyiduna Husain’s severed head was taken to Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. He touched the lips with a stick in his hand and praised the beauty of the face. One elderly Sahabi could not take it and remarked, “Don’t do that! I have seen the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam kissing that face”
Then the severed head and the family members were sent to Yazeed in Damascus. He showed some remorse upon the killing. Allah knows how genuine he was. He sent the family back to Madinah Munawwarah.
Allah Ta’ala’s decree is astonishing. Exactly 6 years later, Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad was killed on the same day of Aashura in the year 67AH. His severed head was brought before Mukhtar Ibn Abi Ubaid ath-Thaqafi. The people saw a small snake come out of his mouth and then go back through the nose. It did this for a bit and then disappeared inside.
The Ahle Bayt remained extremely calm despite the tragic passing away of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu and many of their relatives. When they returned to Madinah Munawwarah, there were cries of grief from everywhere.
Yazeed and the murderers did not last long. The murderers all spent the rest of their lives in a terrible state, and died very quickly. Yazeed also died within just 3 years. May Allah Ta’ala deal with him in the manner he deserves.
Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhu was in Makkah Mukarramah at the time. He was resting when he saw Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in a dream. His hair appeared dishevelled and he had a bottle of blood in his hands. Upon Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma’s enquiry, he replied “I have just been to the place where Hussain was martyred. I collected this blood to present in the court of Allah on the Day of Judgement.”
Abu Uthman Nahdi migrated from Kufa to Basra, saying, “I can’t stay in a city which murdered the grandson of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.” Another Tabi’ee said, “If I was among the army that murdered Hussain, and I was allowed to enter Jannah… I would still feel ashamed of myself.”
Some narrations say that the sky suddenly turned black on that fateful day in Karbala. Some also narrate that, in baytul maqdis, when a stone would be turned, they would see blood beneath it.
It was a huge tragedy. Imam Shafi’ee (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) has composed poetry in relation to the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Hussain in which he declares the total innocence of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu. He says,
ذبيح بلا جرم كآنَ قميصه.  صبيغ بماء الأرجوان خضيب
تزلزلت الدنيا لاٰل محمد.    وكادت لهم صُم الجبال تذوب
يُصَلَٰي علي المبعوث من اٰل هاشم.    و يغزيٰ بنوه ان ذَا لعجيب
“Slaughtered for no reason. His shirt was so red as though it was dyed with a red colour.
The world shook apart for the family of Muhammad. The massive mountains were close to melting.
How Ajeeb?? People send peace & blessings upon the Prophet from Banu Hashim and then kill his children!”
The Ahle bayt carried on with their lives. The Ummah moved on. The assailants suffered in this world as they will do so in the hereafter. It is pointless to keep wailing and lamenting upon this tragedy. Therefore, commercialising this tragedy is even worse.
Shias fabricate stories; some depict blood pouring on a stone and then say that this is Husain’s blood still flowing until today. Others visit a piece of cloth, which they claim, is from the tent of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu in Karbala. Others make an effigy of Hussain Radiallahu Anhu and then carry it around. All these are innovations and we should never ever take part in such activities nor should we admire them. The Shias of today are not even Shia; they are mushriks. The Shias of the previous eras would never do such khurafaat.
If we are to remember the death of Hussain, then think for a moment “Where are we in our lives in comparison to the sacrifices of Hussain and the family of the Prophet? When and where do we stand up for justice, truth and Haqq? Hussain is performing salaah with isharah (indication) in the battlefield whereas we miss salaah for small reasons. We should take some lessons from Hussain and bring them into our lives.
May Allah guide the Ummah. Ameen
Shaykh Abdul Raheem Saheb (hafidhahullah)
Facebook.com/ShkhAbdulRaheem
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Value these days.

By Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Saleem Dhorat Saheb (hafidhahullah)

Sayyidunā Suwayd ibn Ghafalah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that when Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu was suffering extreme hunger one day, he suggested to (his wife) Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā to approach (her father) Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam for some food. When she went to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, Sayyidah Ummu Ayman radhiyallāhu ‘anhā happened to be there. Hearing Sayyidah Fātimah knocking on the door, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “That is the knock of Fātimah. She has come at a time that we are not accustomed to having her come to us.”

“O Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam!” Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā said, “The food of the angels is to recite Lā Ilāha Illallāh, Subhānallāh and Alhamdulillāh. What is our food?”

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam replied. “I swear by the Being Who has sent me with the truth! For the last thirty days, no fire (to cook) has been lit in the house of the family of Muhammad. However, a few goats have come to us. If you please, I shall have five given to you. Alternatively, if you so please, I shall teach you five words (of supplication) that Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām has taught me.”

Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā immediately said, “Do rather teach me the five words that Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām has taught you.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam then told her to say the following words:

Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā then left. When she came back to Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, he asked, “What happened?” She replied, “While I left you to get something of benefit in this world, I returned with something of benefit in the Ākhirah.” “This is the best of all your days,” remarked Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu. (At-Tabarānī)

Building Stamina

Right from the onset of the month of Rajab, we should begin to prepare for Ramadhān. By building up slowly over Rajab and Sha’bān, we will be in peak spiritual condition when Ramadhān arrives.

To do this we need to make a programme of ‘ibādah and set daily targets. We then need to fix a timetable so that we are able to achieve those targets. Thereafter, targets should be reviewed every week or every fortnight, and gradually increased until Ramadhān arrives. Then throughout Ramadhān this process should continue.

If we do not set targets and do not fix a timetable early on, we will not be able to progress. Consequently, we will not develop the necessary spiritual stamina required to maintain the level of performance in order to reap the maximum benefit from Ramadhān.

Memorable Ramadhan

Make this Ramadhān a memorable one. Make it a Ramadhān you will remember for the rest of your life. Make it such that, inshā’allāh, in Jannah you will say it was this Ramadhān from when my life changed forever and in which Allāh ta’ālā made me His walī (special friend).

To make this Ramadhān a memorable one, abstain from disobeying Allāh Our Creator. Do not even think about disobeying Allāh ta’ālā throughout the blessed month.

In order to safeguard yourself from disobeying Allāh ta’ālā; avoid gatherings and mixing with people as many sins such as backbiting and slandering take place when one mixes with people.

Safeguard your tongue by only saying what is good and rewarding. Always think before you speak.

Safeguard your ears and eyes from those things which are disliked by Allāh ta’ālā.

Virtues of Ramadhan

As soon as the month of Rajab begins we should commence daily readings from the book “Virtues of Ramadhān” by Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh. We should motivate ourselves, allocate time and sit daily with the family and read this book collectively throughout Rajab.

Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh was a saintly person and his words have an amazing effect on the heart which will help us spiritually prepare for the blessed month and also benefit from it.

 

 

The Servant of the Greatest (SWT)

muhammad-ali

A small tribute to a great boxer – Muhammad Ali RH

THE LOUISVILLE LIP

Cassius Clay Sr. gifted his son a new red-and-white Schwinn in 1954, which was promptly stolen. The 12-year-old, 89-pound Cassius Clay vowed “I’m gonna whup whoever stole my bike!” A policeman, Joe Martin, told young Cassius Clay that he better learn how to fight before he challenged anyone. After 6 months of training with Joe Martin, Cassius won his debut match in a three-round decision. Young Cassius Clay dedicated himself to boxing and training with an unmatched fervor. According to Joe Martin, Clay set himself apart by two things: He was “sassy,” and he outworked all the other boys.

“BOXING WAS JUST A MEANS TO INTRODUCE ME TO THE WORLD”

Muhammad Ali participated in the light-heavyweight class Golden Gloves tournament for novices in 1956. It took him three years, but finally in 1959, Ali was named Golden Gloves Champion and earned the Amateur Athletic Union’s national title in the light-heavyweight division.

Shortly after his high school graduation, 18 year-old Cassius Clay began his journey towards greatness at the 1960 Rome Olympics. His expansive personality and larger-than-life spirit earned him the nickname “The Mayor of Olympic Village.”

The future 3-time Heavyweight World Champion nearly missed the trip to Rome due to his fear of airplane travel; he insisted on bringing a parachute on the plane with him.

On September 5, 1960, “The Greatest” proved his dominance in the Light Heavyweight Boxing Division by beating Zigzy Pietrzykowski of Poland, capturing the Olympic Gold Medal. Sports Illustrated praised Clay’s “supreme confidence” and “intricate dance steps.”

“IT’S A LACK OF FAITH THAT MAKES PEOPLE AFRAID OF MEETING CHALLENGES, AND I BELIEVE IN MYSELF”

— Ali, on beating Foreman in Zaire

When Muhammad Ali refused to enter the Vietnam War draft he was stripped of his championship titles, passport, and boxing licenses. He lost an initial court battle and was facing a 5-year prison term. Muhammad Ali was the first national figure to speak out against the war in Vietnam. During his 3 ½ year layoff, Ali earned a living speaking at colleges. In 1970, with the mood of the country changing, Ali staged his comeback; first against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, and then Oscar Bonavena at Madison Square Garden. In his next match, billed as “The Fight of the Century”, Ali faced undefeated Champion, Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971.

Ali fought valiantly, but lost. Months later, however, he won one of the biggest fights of his life – the Supreme Court reversed his conviction and upheld his conscientious objector claim. Ali was free of the specter of prison, and once again able to box anywhere in the world.

“THE MORE WE HELP OTHERS, THE MORE WE HELP OURSELVES”
“MY NAME IS MUHAMMAD ALI”

While training for his title bout against the fearsome heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, Cassius Clay met Malcolm X. Malcolm became young Clay’s mentor and brought him into the Nation of Islam. Despite the 7-1 odds, Clay defeated Sonny Liston in Miami and became Heavyweight Champion of the world in 1964. Shortly after, he announced to the world that he was a member of the NOI and that his name was now Muhammad Ali. Weeks later, Malcolm X left the NOI and their friendship ended. Howard Cosell was one of the few journalists who acknowledged Ali’s name change at the time.

In 1984, Muhammad Ali publicly announced that he had Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition. Following his diagnosis, he created and raised funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.

“HE WHO IS NOT COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE RISKS WILL ACCOMPLISH NOTHING IN LIFE”

7 Lessons in Leadership From the Life of Muhammad Ali

7 Lessons in Leadership From the Life of Muhammad Ali

Whenever a great person passes away, the tremors felt by the world are in proportion to the legacy that that person left behind. In this week’s blog post I reflect on seven lessons in leadership that we can learn from the life of the boxer Muhammad Ali.

  1. Leadership is most valuable during times of crisis

Ali grew up in the ‘Deep South’ of America at a time when black people were still considered inferior human beings to white people. As recently as the 1960s, African Americans were still forced to sit on buses in sections separate to white Americans.

When Ali rose to prominence, the black community in America was suffering from despair, disheartenment and a lack of confidence.

It was in this atmosphere that Ali demonstrated leadership. He realised that wallowing in victimhood restrains a community from growing and moving forward. And so he exhorted his people to do something to change the world around them, rather than sit and cry about it:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

2. Every great leader in history suffered for their beliefs and were reviled before they were revered.

Change is hated by man because people prefer the status quo. No-one likes change, especially those in power.

Once Ali began to encourage his people to believe in themselves, that they did not have to accept the world for what it was, that they could do something to change their lives, he was considered a threat and punished for his beliefs. He was stripped of his title, fined and sentenced to 5 years in prison.

In the eyes of the law, Ali was a convicted criminal. But this did not prevent billions of people around the world venerating him until and after his death.

“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”

3. Just like cowardice is contagious, so is bravery

In the Quran, fleeing the battlefield is considered a major sin because of the infectious nature of cowardice. When one person flees the battlefield, he injects seeds of cowardice and fear into the hearts of those around him and causes them to flee too.

But likewise, when one man stands up and takes a brave, principled stance, he encourages others to be brave too.

“To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend that you are.”

4. Leadership is not just about talking the talk, it is about walking the walk

During my years in prison I saw many people who talked tough out in the world, but crumbled to pieces once inside a prison cell. Some of them even turned into rats. Talk is cheap, but action is costly.

Muhammad Ali did not just openly declare his opposition to going to Vietnam to fight. He declared that he was prepared to go to prison, give up boxing and sacrifice everything that was dear to him, for the sake of holding true to his principles.

And true to his word, he was stripped of his title and could not box for several years.

“I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars… I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

5. The importance of being on the right side of history

Many of the people lining up to venerate Muhammad Ali today were the same people who demonised him when he was disgraced for refusing to go and fight in Vietnam.

As for the few who supported Ali when he was disgraced, they turned out to be on the right side of history. The rest of the American public soon turned against the Vietnam war and the United States brought its troops home.

Nelson Mandela suffered the same fate. The same people who castigated Mandela as a convicted terrorist later lined up to pay tribute to him once the whole world realised that he changed the world for the better.

“The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

6. Publicly accepting your errors of judgement is a sign of strength, not weakness

The strong leader does not run away from his mistakes; he acknowledges them and learns from them. Muhammad Ali first joined the black supremacist sect ‘Nation of Islam’ but once he realised what they were about he publicly disassociated himself from their racist message:

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”

7. People respect you more when you stick by your principles, than when you live your life to please people

Many people did not like some of the things that Muhammad Ali said, or the way that he said them. But he never once cared what people thought of him. He was proud of his beliefs, his lineage and his heritage. He realised early on in his life that if he was to spend his life trying to please people, he would waste his life.

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

Under the witty, fast-talking, charming man was a humble individual who really loved the world and cared about its people. He realised that he was not going to live forever so he spent his days on earth trying to carve a positive legacy that would remain long after he departed.

“Live every day as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right,”he used to say.

And on Friday 3 June 2016 Muhammad Ali was right. May Allah have mercy on him.