When I was in fifth grade, I was to write a report about an inspiring living person of our day. One of the few known inspirational Muslims of the time that I anxiously wanted to write about was Muhammad Ali.
Let’s back track for a moment, I never followed his work inside the ring. I was inspired by his actions outside of the ring. The man that refused to be drafted and didn’t flinch when threatened with jail and loss of finances. The man that did not shy from speaking about Islam and against Islamophobia in all it’s forms. The man that didn’t allow a disease define him, consume him or stop him from being the activist that he was.
He was the man that floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
That particular quote of his resonated with me throughout my entire youth. It wasn’t just a quote on how he fought in the ring but a quote on how he went about with the struggles of life. I was reminded of that quote through my tough times as a child, bullied for being small and poor. I was reminded of that quote through my middle school years when I decided to dun the hijab. I’m was reminded of that quote during high school when anything that could go wrong did.
By the time I was 18, my personality became stronger. My outlook on life became brighter. It wasn’t going to be easy but I had the right to be full of goals, dreams and was confidently mapping out my strategy. I was going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Just like Muhammad Ali.
May he rest in God’s eternal peace and light… Ameen.