My lectures, based on Islamic teachings, were on various subjects. Some of the titles were, 'The Intoxication of Life,' 'The Purpose of Life,' 'The Real Cause of Man's Distress,' 'The Journey to the Goal in Life,' and, one of my favorites, 'The Heart of Man.' They contained important insights that spoke to something deep inside me.
I didn't want to submit to the army and then, on the day of judgment, have God say to me, 'Why did you do that?' This life is a trial, and you realize that what you do is going to be written down for Judgment Day.
Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don't belong anymore to anyone, that I'm not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one.
The Nation of Islam's main focus was teaching black pride and self-awareness. Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when white people didn't want us? Why not clean up our own neighborhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them and into white people's neighborhoods?
The name Muhammad is the most common name in the world. In all the countries around the world - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon - there are more Muhammads than anything else. When I joined the Nation of Islam and became a Muslim, they gave me the most famous name because I was the champ.
Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists.
Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don't let yourself believe it will happen to you.
Maybe I was great in the ring, but outside of boxing, I'm just a brother like other people. I want to live a good life, serve God, help everybody I can. And one more thing. I'm still gonna find out who stole my bike when I was 12 years old in Louisville and I'm gonna whup him. That was a good bike.
The whites have always had the say in America. White people made Jesus white, angels white, the Last Supper white. If I threaten you, I'm blackmailing you. A black cat is bad luck. If you're put out of a club, you're blackballed. Angel's-food cake is white; devil's-food cake is black. Good guys in cowboy movies wear white hats. The bad guys always wore black hats.
What's really hurting me, the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. ... Islam is not a killer religion. ... Islam means peace, I couldn't just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem.
If the culprits are Muslim, they have twisted the teachings of Islam. Whoever performed, or is behind, the terrorist attacks in the United States of America does not represent Islam. God is not behind assassins.
Outrun the people who quit when they feel discomfort, outrun the people who stop because of despair, outrun the people who are delayed because of prejudice, outrun the people who surrender to failure, and outrun the opponent who loses sight of the goal. Because if you want to win, the will can never retire, the race can never stop, and faith can never weaken.
If we continue to think and live as if we belong only to different cultures and different religions, with separate missions and goals, we will always be in self-defeating competition with each other. Once we realize we are all members of humanity, we will want to compete in the spirit of love.
I'll tell you how I'd like to be remembered: As a black man who won the heavyweight title - Who has humorous and who never looked down on those who looked up to him - A man who stood for freedom, justice and equality - And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.
They say actually every time I enter the ring, in a way, I`m going to the war. They say to me daily, you are a prized fighter, what`s the difference? And I like to say to those critics of the press and the others that there is one hell of a lot of difference in fighting in a ring and going to war in Vietnam.
I hated the sight on TV of big, clumsy, lumbering heavyweights plodding, stalking each other like two Frankenstein monsters, clinging, slugging toe to toe. I knew I could do it better ... circle, dance, shuffle, hit and move ... make an art out of it.
It's the lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?
I don't smoke but I keep a match box in my pocket, when my heart slips towards sin, I burn the matchstick and heat my palm with it, then say to myself, "Ali you can't even bear this heat, how would you bear the unbearable heat of hellfire?"
Friendship is not something you can learn in college or some learning institution, no one knows how to become friends you just become but if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship you haven't learned anything
Most people don't pray until they're in trouble. When people need help they pray a lot. But after they get what they want, they slow down. If a man takes five showers a day, his body will be clean. Praying five times a day helps me clean my mind.
People don't realise what they had till it's gone. Like President Kennedy - nobody like him. Like The Beatles, there will never be anything like them. Like my man, Elvis Presley - I was the Elvis of boxing.
I do need publicity but not for what I do for good. I need publicity for my book. I need publicity for my fights. I need publicity for my movie but not for helping people. Then it is no longer sincere.
I got it made the rest of my life, financially and in every other way. There's nobody in the world like me. I'm getting out just in time. If I was twenty seven, I could still kick ass. I don't have to beat Holmes. Why? I raised him, he worked three years as a sparring partner for me.
I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick.
I would say things like 'I am the greatest! I'm pretty! If you talk jive, you'll drop in five! I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee! I'm pretty!' When white people heard me talking like this, some said, 'That black man talks too much. He's bragging.'
I have been so great in boxing they had to create an image like Rocky, a white image on the screen, to counteract my image in the ring. America has to have its white images, no matter where it gets them. Jesus, Wonder Woman, Tarzan and Rocky.