I watched Mohammad Ali's funeral last Friday and admired his deep faith and courage in life. I found a deep respect for him and his family. Most importantly, I saw the example he set and admired how he attracted a lot of others to his personality and character with passion and love. I reflected, thinking this man understood the love preached by Islam that has captured the minds and hearts of over 1.5 billion followers. I reflected, thinking, this is the Islam that has taught love for centuries and still does. From Ali's life and legacy, it is clear that he showed and received love. Ali sent a unifying message of love, and others can follow from his example of living a joyous and spirited life of deep faith, especially today.
Love is an essential emotion that is needed by infants to teenagers to adults and the elderly. It is a desperately needed feeling, especially throughout childhood and youth, but also during all other phases of life. Love is so uniquely universal that all religions, including Islam, have countless recorded mentioning of the emotion throughout the religion's history and by the religion's scholars and leaders. One particular scholar and poet, Rumi, said it best that "when one person is suffering in the chain of humanity, the rest of humanity also deeply feels this suffering." Rumi's words epitomize the sympathy, care and love taught in and by Islam.
The religion of Islam describes hundreds of times in the Quran of an all-loving God. The benevolence cited in the Quran is the example that the foremost exceptional leaders in Islam have shown and are recounted by Muslims. In fact, one famous saying in Islam is "to give unto others that which you love for yourself." Whether this be honesty, friendship, love, kindness, dependability or even physical goods such as a warm house, bed or food, the saying emphasizes deeply that Muslims ought to be the utmost caring and loving to all people.
Muslims can benefit in numerous ways from upholding the value of love foremost in their lives. Being open-minded, not quick to judge, kindhearted, respectful, caring and generous all stem from deep faith, for example, that Muhammad Ali displayed in his life and which can be displayed by others too. I see the opportunity for many people to follow the example set by Ali, but more importantly uphold strongly the mentions of love emphasized by religious teachings and the love upheld by those of deep faith. Love unifies us all and puts away hate.