My father, Muhammad Ali, knew Islam is about peace

Updated 11:13 AM EDT, Tue June 14, 2016

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Hana Ali: Two days after a funeral celebrating life of my father, Muhammad Ali, the Orlando shooting subverts a religion of peace

"My father raised us to respect all religions," she says; he'd urge us not to judge entire religion for deeds of a few

Editor’s Note: Hana Ali is the third-youngest of Muhammad Ali’s nine children and the co-author, with her father, of “The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey,” his autobiography.

(CNN) —  

My family and I were deeply troubled to hear of the tragic disregard for human life that took place in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday morning, just two days after my father’s funeral.

His funeral had been a celebration of his life where world leaders and religious figures of different faiths came together in the spirit of peace, love and religious tolerance to honor the life of the world’s most famous Muslim, Muhammad Ali, a man who loved his religion and dedicated himself to spreading its truths and many wisdoms.

Hana Ali and Muhammad Ali
PHOTO: Courtesy of Hana Ali
Hana Ali and Muhammad Ali

Our father would be profoundly saddened and disappointed by the cowardice and heartless displays of inhumanity shown by the so-called Muslim gunman who took the lives of so many innocent people in the name of a religion which has as its very meaning: peace.

As much as my father loved his faith, he raised us to respect all religions and all people and to judge no one. He taught us that no man has the knowledge and understanding God has, and he often quoted one of his favorite Islamic sayings when teaching us this spiritual lesson. “If all the oceans were ink and all of the trees were pens, it still would not be enough to write the knowledge of God.”

My father condemned no one, forgave everyone and always kept love in his heart.

“Hana,” he’d say, “There is only one true religion, and that is the religion of the heart. God never named it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Man gave the titles, and that’s what separates and divides us. My dream is to one day see a world that comes together to fight for one cause – the human cause…”

Our wonderful father is admired, celebrated and respected for many reasons, and perhaps more than anything else, for his ability to keep love in his heart despite all the upheavals of life. Through the ups and downs, the prejudice and injustice, through trials and tribulations, he let his heart lead him.

He didn’t allow himself to hate those of a certain race based on the acts of a few. He didn’t judge an entire religion based on the deeds of a single group of extremists.

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If my father were here today, he would stand before you humbled with a whisper and a prayer. He is no longer of this world, and no one can speak for him. But we can embrace his example and let the healing begin within. For it is especially during these times that we need to let our heart guide us.