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In memory of Muhammad Ali (1): An advice to his daughter

Who has not known this man? Muhammad Ali, the legend on the boxing ring? While many know him as a world-class boxer, one of his daughter, Hana Ali, remember him as ‘Daddy’ with inspiring deeds and thoughts.

One of the many wisdom experienced by Hana Ali through her ‘Daddy’ was about hijab and the virtue of women wearing it. An excerpt from the book: More than a Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Presented Through His Daughter’s Eyes by Hana Ali, as I found on Barnes & Noble website, shows his deep understanding about hijab.

When I was a young girl, no more than nine or ten years old, I remember the first time I saw my father after he and my mother separated. Beforehand I was so excited that I could hardly wait to get where he and Lonnie, his current wife, were staying at the Disneyland Hotel, in Anaheim, California.

If memory serves me correctly, I was wearing a little white tank top and a short black skirt. I had been raised Orthodox Muslim, so I had never before worn such revealing clothing while in my father’s presence. When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then, he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

This is just one of the many lessons that my father instilled and continues to instill in me and mysisters, then and now.

Hana Ali

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