Home / Current Affairs / Muhammad Ali, supporter of Palestine denouncer of Zionism, dies
Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), boxing world heavy weight champion in London 1966. Ali always prays to Allah before the first round of a title fight in London. HOT1966015W2715/7A © Thomas Hoepker / MAGNUM

Muhammad Ali, supporter of Palestine denouncer of Zionism, dies

Innā lillāhi wa innā ilayhi rāji’ūn

To Allāh we certainly belong, and certainly to Him is our return.

It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing away of the beloved former heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali (rahimahullāh) at the age of 74.

Anyone who ever heard of him knew he was far more than just a boxer, but a cultural icon for Muslims in the last century. Through his career not only in boxing but his anti-war and civil rights activism, he became more than just a black Muslim celebrity: what Professor Sherman Jackson called recently in an interview, a cultural authority. His achievements, rahimahullāh, not only helped make the ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islam’ normalised in the western psyche (long before the recent manufactured surge in Islamophobia), but he gave millions of Muslims all over the world pride to see a Muslim celebrity who was not afraid to speak out for Islām and Muslims, rather who felt completely comfortable—dare we say proud—in his Muslim skin.

Being a person who championed humanity, justice and civil rights, Muhammad Ali naturally supported the cause of the Palestinians and in doing so, for the world of Zionists, Muhammad Ali’s words indeed stung like a bee.

It is well known that Muhammad Ali has many Jewish friends, supporters and associates but that did not deter him from speaking out against Zionism which shows that like most, he did not consider Judaism and Zionism to be one and the same and that whilst he had no issues with Jews, the same could not be said for zionists.

On 8 March 1974, Muhammad Ali, who said he was retiring from the ring to spread the faith of Islam, lost no time throwing right hooks at Zionism. He told a press conference in Beirut, at the start of a tour of the Middle East, that:

“the United States is the stronghold of Zionism and imperialism.”

On a visit later to two Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon, the former heavy-weight boxing champion was quoted by a guerrilla news agency as saying:

“In my name and the name of all Muslims in America, I declare support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland and oust the Zionist invaders.” [1]

On 19 February 1980, Mohammed Ali charged Zionists with “control” of America and the world.

Ali had been in India and in Africa as President Carter’s special emissary to obtain support for the Carter Administration’s boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow this summer as part of the United States response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In the bi-weekly, “India Today,” Ali spoke of Zionists when asked about the “militant revival” of Islam in Iran, and the holding of “your countrymen hostage.” Ali, said: “those people in Iran are fanatics,” and that “the other Moslems in the world have condemned their action”. He then reported to have gone and said:

“religion ain’t bad; it’s people who are bad. You know the entire power structure is Zionist. They control America; they control the world. They are really against the Islam religion. So whenever a Muslim does something wrong, they blames the religion.” An Associated Press dispatch, reporting Ali’s remarks about Zionism, quoted him as saying that he did not remember talking about Zionists.” [2]

On 28 June 1985, Ali arrived in Israel “to arrange for the freeing of the Muslim brothers imprisoned by Israel.” He said he would be discussing the release of “all 700 brothers” with the “very highest level in the country”. But Israeli officials declined to enter the ring saying “Israel does not intend to negotiate through boxing champion Muhammad Ali but will welcome him warmly as a private guest”.[3]

Whilst the world will mourn Ali, what is clear is that those who are the inheritors of his political stances today as regards Zionists, are absurdly referred to as Anti-Semites – would they go as far as call Ali that also?

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] http://archive.jta.org/1974/03/08/archive/ali-belts-zionism

[2] http://archive.jta.org/1980/02/20/archive/mohammed-ali-charges-zionist-control

[3] http://archive.jta.org/1985/06/28/archive/muhammad-ali-steps-into-ring

[4] http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.723042?v=EC2D27039BA1AA7712538248D9022D28

About Z A Rahman

Z.A Rahman is a community activist and a member of a large Mosque in the UK. He has a keen interest in politics and history, particularly Islamic history. He also enjoys traveling and has visited numerous countries in the Middle East and North Africa.


  1. All religion is man made and fake, you people are so easily brainwashed its too funny!
    Do you people enjoy murdering cows and chickens in your halal death camps? And god told you these animals want to die for you right? You are animal murderers.

  2. Muhammad Ali Center awards the COO of Israeli humanitarian organization Israid http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4840574,00.html

  3. Most Jews are not Semites so the anti Semitic argument is a fraud. And since when is Judaism a race anyway? The early Christians would have been actual Semites. Most Jews in the West and many who are living in Israel are not Semites. They are more than likely Khazars and very likely genetically related to Turks or Mongols. Christian and Muslim Palestinians are true Semites.

  4. We should be very careful when it comes to making takfir. And yes Sufism is bid’ah/can be shirk but how do you know this man’s aqueeda. Of course, the internet…..
    Sister would benefit from reading

  5. We should be careful when randomly making takfir, the man is dead and answering to his Rabb. Think the sister would benefit from reading this

  6. There are sufis who fall into shirk and parts of certain groups prescribed acts of worship can be classified as bid’ah and newly invented matters – agreed. But to equate the term Sufism immediately with shirk is a big error. I am not sufi myself but know enough to understand that the original understanding of sufism was about increasing the softness in one’s spirit and connection with Allah. So back to my point, some forms of sufism and acts done by sufis can lead to shirk – but it is not the case that Sufism in it’s scholarly understood form is equated with shirk.

  7. Assalaamu alaykum brother… I usually enjoy your writings, but this one troubled me… maybe you aren’t aware, but Muhammad Ali embraced sufism, which as you know is NOT in accordance with the Sunnah in ANY way… In fact, adhering to this sect takes one out if Islam… remember, we are forbidden to make du’a for the mushrik after he dies, so be careful of putting “rahimahullah” after this person’s name… See the following and I’m sure you can find more about his embrace of sufism…

    ‘”Ali announced that he is a Sufi around 2005, saying that of all of the sects of Islam, he feels the closest connection to Sufism,” says Miller, whose book “Approaching Ali” was released in late 2015.’

    ‘How did your dad come to embrace Sufi Islam, and what attracts him to it?

    My father has a collection of books by a man named Hazrat Inayat Khan. They’re Sufi teachings. He read them front to cover. They’re old and yellow and the pages are torn. They’re amazing. He always says they’re the best books in the world.’

    • Sufism isn’t shirk by the way. I’d hold off making that big jump. Unless you have explicit evidence of him being accepting or happy with shirk I’d be very careful about passing such comments so easily.

      • Sufism isn’t shirk? Unless you’re a Sufi,I suggest you look further into the matter…

        The Sufis worship others than Allaah, such as Prophets and “awliya’” [“saints”], living or dead. They say, “Yaa Jeelaani”, “Yaa Rifaa’i” [calling on their awliya’], or “O Messenger of Allaah, help and save” or “O Messenger of Allaah, our dependence is on you”, etc.
        “And invoke not, besides Allaah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers).” [Yoonus 10:106]

    • In 2005 Muhammad Ali had severe Parkinson’s!
      Someone in such a severe state if deteriorating health and mental illness can’t make that judgement call. Speak to a scholar instead of giving your own no body theory!
      I can imagine your fairly young so you won’t remember how much Muhammad Ali meant to Muslims who had no rights or voice or any public figures. You have to go to a time before internet to understand why we loved Muhammad Ali so much and still do.
      Away with the haters of fellow Muslims!

      • So do you know more about him than his own daughter? Are you saying she’s fabricated something about him?

        FYI, I don’t hate Muslims… I hate what Allah hates and one of those things is calling on false gods beside Him… Sufism is rife with this and it is not something new I’m stating… If ANY person embraces this, it is shirk, period…

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