It was In 1964, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. changed his name to Muhammad Ali to reflect the growing influence of his Muslim faith on his life.
Causing quite a controversy, Ali was one of the most high-profile Americans at the time to convert from Christianity to Islam.
“Cassius Clay is a slave name,” he once said. “I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name — it means ‘beloved of God’ — and I insist people use it when people speak to me and of me.”
Nation of Islam
Ali traveled across the country as an up-and-coming boxer, where he came into contact with preachers from the Nation of Islam (NOI), an Islamic religious movement in the United States that has called for a separation between the black and white races.
Ali with Malcolm X
Ali’s involvement with the group created a rift between him and many of his white and more moderate black fans who viewed the NOI as a hateful religion. Most journalists refused to address Ali by his new, chosen name, and former opponent Floyd Patterson said of Ali that the “image of a black Muslim as the world heavyweight champion disgraces the sport and the nation.”
“A rooster crows only when it sees the light,” he once told reporters regarding his faith. “Put him in the dark, and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light, and I’m crowing.”
“The Nation of Islam taught that white people were devils. I don’t believe that now; in fact, I never really believed that,” Ali wrote in a 2004 biography. “But when I was young, I had seen and heard so many horrible stories about the white man that this made me stop and listen.”
Ali converted again and came to embrace Sufi Islam after reading a collection of books by the sect’s founder, Hazrat Inayat Khan.
“They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody,” he said in the short statement.
Whose exempt from fasting?
Those who are not required to fast during Ramadan are non-Muslims, young children, the sick or those with mental illnesses, travellers, the elderly and women who are menstruating, pregnant, breast-feeding or have recently had a baby,