Muhammad Ali whose public conversion to Islam in 1964 shocked millions of fans around the world. A decision that cost him dearly and was severely criticized by several personalities.
The legendary American heavyweight boxer, who was known as Cassius Clay before embracing Islam, had advanced at the time various reasons regarding his conversion.
According to the book released in 1967, Black Is Best: The Riddle of Cassius Clay, by former Illinois illustrated writer Jack Olsen, Ali said his first encounter came from a street proselyte in Harlem. He then told Olsen that he decided at a meeting of the Islamic Nation in Miami in 1960 or early 1961, and he also said that his first meeting was in Chicago.
But today, there is another version of Ali’s story that was published by TIME. In a letter never published, Muhammad Ali tells his ex-wife why he converted to Islam. A missive which undoubtedly gives the most detailed reason for its conversion.
In his forthcoming book “Ali: A Life,” which will be released in October, author Jonathan Eig publishes an excerpt from a letter Ali wrote to his second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, who was married to the legendary boxer From 1967 to 1976.
In the letter, which Camacho-Ali claims that his ex-husband wrote it in the late 1960s, Ali describes the comic in the newspaper of the Nation of Islam. A comic book that was the starting point of his conversion as he describes it in his letter below.
Discover the letter below:
One night at a skating rink in Louisville (I was coming home), the ice rink was located on 9th Broadway St., while I was outside the building in a crowd of about 400 people, all black, and Like most boys [I was looking for] a beautiful girl to talk to him. A black brother dressed in a black Mohair costume, [with a] white shirt and a black bow tie, was selling news titled Muhammad Speaks.
At that time, it was the first time I saw a newspaper Muhammad Speaks. The brother approached me and said, “Brother, would you buy a newspaper Muhammad Speaks, so that you can read your fellow, read the truth of your story, your true religion, your real name before That you are not given to the white man in slavery? “He added:” Oh, besides, there is a meeting we have today on the 27th at St Chestnut at 8 o’clock tonight. And at the time it was around 6 o’clock in the evening. I told him I would be there.
I had no intention of going to a meeting. But I bought the newspaper Muhammad Speaks . And [one] thing in the article [made me] keep the newspaper, and it was a cartoon. The cartoon was about the first slaves who had arrived in America, and the comic book showed how the black slaves hid in the plantation to pray in Arabic to the east.
The white slave master would run after the slave with a whip and beat the poor [slave] on his back, saying, “What are you doing by praying in that language, you know what I told you to talk about? And the slave answered, ‘Yes sir, yes, sir, master. I will pray to Jesus, sir, Jesus. And I liked this cartoon. It has influenced me a lot, because it makes sense.
According to TIME, Camacho-Ali asked Muhammad to write the letter after having suspected him in several extramarital relations.
The author of the new book, Jonathan Eig, who claims to have paid Camacho-Ali $ 600 for the letter, says: “The story he tells in the letter, namely the newspaper and the comic book, Is perhaps part of a series of influential events that prompted its conversion.
Muhammad Ali died on June 3, 2016, at the age of 74 years.
“Allah has opened the door to Paradise for him ,” she told TIME. “He no longer suffers. I cherish the good times. There was more good than bad. It was a blessing to be part of this journey, “she said.