Last week, the world woke up to hear of the death of the well-known inspiration, role model and ‘astronaut’ of an athlete, Muhammad Ali, who passed away just days before the blessed month of Ramadan.

The news sirens screamed this breaking news and the internet erupted with chants of ‘Muhammad’ and ‘Ali’ as if his ‘Thrilla in manilla’ had just concluded. Alas, the champ who once ‘flew like a butterfly and stung like a bee’ returned to his Lord, and indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we shall surely return.

There are many lessons we can learn from his life, and I would like to discuss just one, especially since much has been written, read and already said. Before Muhammad Ali and after him there have been thousands of boxers, but none of them received the acclaim, nor touched as many lives as he did, because he was more than a boxer. His dreams exceeded a career or a profession. He dreamt big, stood fast by his ideals, and was willing to give up everything for his values and dreams. He was extraordinary because he did not limit himself to his profession, rather he dreamt to accomplish far greater things. Boxing never defined his life, rather life was defined by him. He was a man who exemplified these words:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing”.

What is the lesson we take from Muhammad Ali’s death? That we have forgotten our ability to define our own potential, and the fact that we have the right to dream. Every one of us is extraordinary. Every one of us can change the world we live in, in our own way, because we are Muslims. Our article of faith presents us an unprecedented potential and our very own podium of excellence, because our paradigms are not blurred by this world and its temporary glittery distractions but, rather, vibrantly clear with the understanding and internalization of devotion and servitude to the King of Kings, Lord and Creator of everything to ever exist, Allah Almighty.

A Muslim can be the world’s greatest pilot who flies the world’s best carrier, taking people to places they could only dream of as children, exuding effortless charm and hospitality such that every person desires to meet him, train with him, and learn from him. image within-Muhammad ali

A Muslim can be the surgeon who walks the corridors of the best hospitals in the world, followed eagerly by dozens of wide-eyed interns paying attention to every word that passes his lips. He completes the most intricate of operations and has the rarest of knowledge and skills; he strives and perseveres in saving thousands of lives in the most internationally acknowledged of ways.

A Muslim can be the scientist who has reached the pinnacle of success and is the pillar of every science conference and symposium the world has ever hosted because he has a faculty of thinking and reasoning that inspires others to aspire. He ponders and reflects, fearlessly dreams and stretches the boundaries further than ever done before.

A Muslim can be the school principal fatigued from receiving endless job offers from all the best and most recognised institutes the world has ever known. One who is sought after by the world’s most elite governments, and who, with fierce determination and focus builds several schools aiming at redefining excellence whilst utilising his utmost passions and skills into building the next century or even two.

A Muslim can be the sportsman who holds every record in their field of play and serves as an inspiration to every aspiring athlete; one who is followed by millions spanning all across the globe, not only for his talent but for his unmatched generosity and wisdom. He inspires the youth to dream big, be relentless in their pursuit of their dreams, and to aim high even when all the odds are piled up against them.

Muslims can be a thousand selfless, visionary billionaires running multinational business empires with scores of people that love them. Businessmen and women who have earned every penny’s worth of their fortune in a praiseworthy manner whilst keeping their money in their hands and not their hearts. They work tirelessly day in and day out to support the scholars and propagators, the poor and the needy, the old and the young, developing a world that can truly be called ‘a better place’.

I hope  for ambitious leaders with the passion and drive to spark never-ending change in this world; that there will rise from amongst us heroes and heroines who aspire to reach nothing short of excellence and whose lofty ambitions will be a guiding light in this dark world. Muslims, before Muhammad Ali (raḥimahu Allahu), enjoy a past of giants that walked the face of this earth. In fact Muhammad Ali himself adopted the name of the greatest man to walk the face of this earth, Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), and his mighty cousin ʿAli (MALE radi-allahu-anhu), and attempted life with his ‘larger than life’ attitude accordingly. I hope that we take from our past to rekindle the light we have lost.

Islam is a powerful stimulant and catalyst for mighty progress on earth and I believe all of greatness only becomes possible with the shahada; simple words that ignite us by making excellence the minimum requirement in our lives. These simple words that demand the three I’s of success become part and parcel of our very own DNA: Ikhlaas (sincerity), Ihsaan (excellence) and Istiqaamah (steadfastness).

Muslims were placed on earth to teach, to be inspirational, to invent, to relate and formulate. Muslims were sent as givers and not takers. For Muslims; dreams were never that which you saw in your sleep, but rather that which keeps you awake and stops you from sleeping. For Muslims, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

So dream big, work hard and together let us assume our podiums of excellence, make our dreams a reality and represent the world as the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).

May we BE and REMAIN blessed. Amin.

The article originally appeared on Islam21c.


64364_389083074452729_148154561_nSheikh Sajid Ahmed Umar initially pursued a degree in IT, graduating with a first class result. He went on to successfully open an IT business. Alongside his contemporary studies, Sheikh Sajid completed the memorization of the Qur’an at the age of 18. Subsequently, he turned his attention towards Islamic Studies. He completed a 3-year University Diploma in Arabic language and Islamic Sciences at Imaam Muhammed bin Saud Islamic University, he later attained a Bachelors degree in Sharī’ah and thereafter a Masters degree in Judiciary (Qadha), with a first class honours, from the Higher Institute for Judiciary Studies (Ma’had al-‘āli li’l-Qa’dhā). He trained as a judge and successfully completed a thesis on the topic of Liquidity Management using the famous Repurchase Agreement (REPO) contract, as well as its rulings and permitted alternatives. He is now pursuing his PhD in the Higher Institute of Judiciary at Al-Imam University. Sheikh Sajid has played an integral part in Islamic academic development worldwide he has authored several articles and dissertations in both Arabic and English pertaining to the Islamic Sciences; lectures at Knowledge International University; is Director of Islamic Development for Mercy Mission World; lectures at AlKauthar Institute and is Chief Islamic Editor for a magazine among various other commendable endeavours.



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36 replies on “Dream Big, O Muslims!”

  • June 16, 2016 at 9:01 am

    MashAllah a very touching article. Muhammad Ali is an inspiration for all people.

    June 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    It is very imprssed

  • Salma_5445@yahoo.comm'
    June 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Masha Allah! This is very inspiring. Just a reminder to be the best that Allah created us to be and not let the world define you but as a muslim we should have the best examples of how the world should be defined.

    June 16, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I appreciate the work you have put forth to writing this article but i have a concern, without doubting Muhammad Ali’s faith, some scholars claim that boxing is not permissible. So can anyone conflict that with the article and enlighten my mind

    June 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm


    June 16, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Alhumdulilah extremely well written and very inspiring Mashallah

    Mohammad Salman Imtiaz
    June 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Jazakallahu khayran for such an inspirational article which u have shared with us..keep sharing
    Fi amanillah
    Allah hafiz

    June 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Allahu akbar, I’m actually speechless. Muhammad Ali has always been an inspiration and a role model. May Allah have mercy on his soul. And may we benefit from the brilliant legacy that he has left behind.

    June 16, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Very inspiring article. It will be nice if we can have some tips or steps to implement this changes in our daily life. JZK ALLAH

    June 16, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    may god bless the sajid.

    June 17, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Masya Allah. Such an inspiring writing. Jazakallah brother may Allah give you more inspiration to inspire others.

    June 17, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Absolutely beautiful and incredibly well articulated. Thank you brother for this. Jazzak Allah!

    June 17, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Allah humma barik very inspirational article. Mabruk to Sheikh Umar Sajid. Elaborating further on that article, I believe the role of Muhammad Ali (Rahim Allahu) as a walking daei which many of us were oblivious to until his death (where snippets of his speech speaks volumes of his dakwah to the Western world) in which there is a lesson for us who play a variety of role in this world either as a parent, professional, scholar, civil servant etc. May Muhammad Ali’s legacy of dakwah inspire us to spread the message of Allah regardless in which ever sphere and discipline we belong to. Jazakallah hu khairan Sheikh.

    June 17, 2016 at 4:57 am

    I couldnt move without commenting on it. What an insight and thought provoking article!

    Jazakkallah khairan Shaikh.

    I will translate this in my language and post it for more audience.

    June 17, 2016 at 5:41 am

    No more hungry… tasty food for thought. impossible is nothing. really a good artical. Love you shaik

    Tahira Hakeem
    June 17, 2016 at 5:42 am

    I will post it in my time line to let the world know about this…simply great…tahira

    kanese haruna
    June 17, 2016 at 6:10 am

    may allah give him the best place in jannah,he was a great man

    Chand Basha
    June 17, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Masha Allah!! No doubt, its an Inspirational article about the legend.
    I have a query regarding which sports is permitted in Islam and which is not permitted??
    I heard that Cricket sport is also not permitted as per Islam, Is it so ??

    June 17, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Muslims were placed on earth to teach, to be inspirational, to invent, to relate and formulate. very true and interesting statement . We Muslims must follow our role model and his best companion to return to our higher position inshallah may allah reward jannatul firdows 4 all of as.

    ijaz ahmad
    June 17, 2016 at 7:27 am

    jazak Allah Sheikh,,,,keep it up….

    Usama A.
    June 17, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Outstanding! JazakAllah for the this piece author

    Abdirizak mohamed
    June 17, 2016 at 9:20 am

    very nice article indeed…inspirational

    June 17, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Very interesting and touching,Maa shaa Allah

    Umar Aliyu Makama
    June 17, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Among all his statements that I have so far come across , which impressed me much is:
    “Muhammad SAW is the greatest of all times, and I am the greatest boxer of all times” RIP

    Irfan Ali Khan
    June 17, 2016 at 10:32 am

    MOHAMMED ALI was a daae. What all Muslims should be. Allah helped him in his efforts he conveyed dawat to Islam to maximum he could and Alhamdulillah people benefited with it by accepting Islam. He Did his part now it’s our time to spread the word of Lord to the people around us, don’t live in the beautiful earth for free pay it’s rent by calling people to accept good and InshaAllah, He the GREATEST ALLAH will make our abode in Jannah for free.

    Sultan Khan
    June 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    One of the best article for inspiration Masha Allah.

    Umu Abdulrahman
    June 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Masha Allah tabarakallah. A perfectly written article about the life of a muslim who lived his life with lots of positive impact not because of his fame but because of his religion. May Allah bless Mohamed Ali with paradise and may Allah bless us to do great after him. Thank you for the wonderful reminder Sh Sajid

    June 17, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    MashaaAllah! very inspiring

    Maria. S.
    June 17, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Undoubtedly.. May Allah help us to attain superiority and growth so we may become the mighty Muslims representing the true Islam.

    June 18, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Salam, may Allah forgive his sins and grant him Jannatul Firdaws ! and may HE reward the shaik for his great job ! Ameen

    June 18, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Dear Sheikh Sajid, JazakAllah Khair for the insightful article. I have a doubt in my mind regarding excellence is how much of time effort does one give to completely worldly achievements compared to seeking Islamic knowledge and Islamic learning? If I wish to give myself in having my own startup, I feel I will have to give away to much relaxing pursuits of learning this deen more. Where do we draw the line? What is a healthy balance? Salaam. Adil

    Abrar Ahmed
    June 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Ma shaa Allah, Allahumma Barak, Ameen a very inspirational article

    June 19, 2016 at 1:56 am

    MASHA ALLAH.very much inspirational and impressive article.

    Jamaal Shabazz
    June 25, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I see people want to leave out the fact that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad of The Nation of Islam in North America gave him Islam to be proud of and let the world know that a Muslim (namely, a Black Man in the hells of North America) can do and be anything he wants.

    August 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Very good article really a very helpful article

    Hassan Abdul Rauf
    March 29, 2022 at 6:10 am

    JazakaAllahu khair