This week friends, family, and fans of Muhammad Ali will gather to honor of the life of one of the world’s most legendary fighters. It was announced on Monday morning that there would be an Islamic funeral prayer program held in Ali’s honor on Thursday, June 9, at the Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.
The location marks Ali’s last fight in Louisville in 1961 where he defeated Willi Besmanoff.
“To be properly prepared for burial, prayed over and then buried is a right owed to every single Muslim,” Imam Zaid Shakir, the man who will preside over the ceremony, said in a statement. “In the case of someone of Muhammad Ali’s stature, to leave any of those rights unfulfilled would be a crime.”
Following the prayer program, Ali will be buried in his hometown of Louisville on Friday, June 10 in a very special ceremony. His casket arrived on Sunday ahead of the service, which will feature many respected dignitaries and stars.
A Protestant minister, representative from the Catholic Church, a rabbi, representative from Buddhism, and a Mormon senator will all speak at the well-known Muslim’s funeral. There will also be a poetry reading and several eulogies from close friends and family, including actor Billy Crystal and former president Bill Clinton.
On Monday morning, Ali’s daughter Laila opened up on the Today show about the loss of her father.
“Well, we’re sad. I personally have been sad for a long time. My father’s been struggling with Parkinson’s disease for many years,” she said. “It wasn’t easy to watch him suffer, so knowing that he’s not suffering any more is what gives me comfort.”
Adding, “I think that the whole world is sad,” Laila spoke of her father’s life after death, saying, “I know he’s in a better place now. He’s talking again and moving again and doing all the things he couldn’t do in his body.”