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Muslims hope Ali's Janazah brings better understanding of Islam

Published: Jun. 9, 2016 at 10:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2016 at 12:08 AM EDT
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(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Thousands came out for Muhammad Ali's Janazah prayer at the Kentucky Exposition Center on Thursday.

It is an obligation for Muslims to attend this service, if they can, so they can pray for the person who has passed away.

The traditional Janazah prayer is in Arabic and it's a fairly short and simple process. Ali wanted people of all faiths to understand why he loved Islam and that's why his Janazah was open to everyone.

Azam Hamid flew all the way from Manchester, England for Muhammad Ali's Janazah.

"I think it's amazing; everyone getting together is amazing," he said.

Hamid is a Muslim, as were many people who came out Thursday. He was moved by those around him.

"Seeing all the Christians, the Jews and the other religions here, it shows great respect," Hamid said.

Kovan Sinjo and Ardal Nasir are from Nashville, Tenn.; they got to the Exposition Center at 3 a.m. and were the first in line for Thursday's service.

"I just felt like we had to be a part of that service," Sinjo said.

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"It's actually an obligation on other Muslims to bury another Muslim in the Islamic Way," Nasir said.

"He was a giant. He was king," said Muhammad Abdullah of Dayton, Ohio. "He laid down the foundation that we should all try to follow."

Abdullah wanted to to share the experience with his 2-year-old nephew Junaid.

"Having him with me, giving him the chance to experience (this), is something he can hold onto forever," Abdullah said.

Every Muslim at the Janazah had a story of how their faith has shaped them.

"My parents became Muslim when they were in college," said Muhammad Saifullah of Lexington.

They each look at Ali as a hero for standing up for what he believed in, Saifullah said.

"Muhammad Ali was like a walking Islam pamphlet," Saifullah said.

"Muhammad Ali was an Islamic symbol in the United States," added Haneefa Hasan of Atlanta, Georgia.

For Muslims, they hope Ali's death opens doors to a better understanding of their faith.

Ali's Janazah brought out Muslim dignitaries and leaders from around the world. History was also made in Louisville on Thursday. Never before, until Muhammad Ali, has an American Muslim's Janazah been broadcast on TV or online.

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.