10 facts you need to know about Muhammad Ali’s weekend of funeral services

Muhammad and Hana Ali (Twitter)
Muhammad and daughter Hana Ali (Twitter)

On Thursday, June 9, 2016 more than 14,000 thousand mourners attended the traditional Muslim Jenazah service, generally termed as the Salat al-Janazah, for three-time world champion boxer Muhammad Ali who transitioned this life on Friday, June 3, 2016 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ideally, Muslim funerals take place before the next sunset or within 24 hours, but Ali had a different plan where multiple faiths could partake in his services.

During Jenazah there are four recitations of ‘Allahu Akbar’ or ‘God is Great,’ with silent prayers in between of a reading from the first chapter of the Quran, a blessing for Abraham, a general prayer for the well-being and forgiveness of the deceased for the next life, and a prayer for everyone at the funeral.

In attendance at his funeral among the celebrities are three of Ali’s four wives. Veronica Porché (1977-86), mother of Hana and Laila Ail; his second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali (1967-77), born Belinda Boyd and mother of Maryum Ali, twins Jamillah Ali and Rasheda Ali and Muhammad Ali, Jr.; and his fourth wife and widow Lonnie Ali (1986-2016) and adoptive son Asaad Amin. His first wife, Sonji Roi Clay (1964-66) predeceased Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay); she reportedly died of natural causes on October 11, 2005. (Note: Ali had a total of nine children, eight daughters and one son. Miya, Khaliah and Kiiursti Mensah-Ali’s mothers were never married to the champ.)

Muhammad Ali March 2016
Muhammad Ali March 2016

Ali planned his remembrances with wife Lonnie, born Yolanda Williams, and Timothy Gianotti, an Islamic scholar at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Speakers of Islamic, Judaism, Christian, Buddhism and Mormon faith will be at his funeral on Friday, June 10, 2016. Former President Bill Clinton, a longtime friend of the late boxing legend, is preparing to deliver the eulogy at the 15,000-capacity KFC Yum! Center on Friday for Muhammad Ali’s public funeral services.

Actor Billy Crystal and sportscaster Bryant Gumbel will deliver eulogies for Ali at the service on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Actor Will Smith, who portrayed Ali in his biopic, and former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis are among the eight pallbearers.

His final resting place is Cave Hill Cemetery, a 296-acre Victorian era National Cemetery and arboretum located in Louisville, where Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harlan Sanders is buried.

Among his global fans, Ali also leaves behind seven grandchildren to cherish his memory.

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