Muhammad Ali’s body arrives for the Jenazah service at Freedom Hall where mourners await

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The family of boxing legend Muhammad Ali joined thousands of mourners for the traditional Muslim prayer service at Kentucky’s Freedom Hall on Thursday to celebrate the sporting legend’s extraordinary life.

More than 14,000 thousand mourners attended the traditional Muslim Jenazah service which last a little over an hour for the three-time world champion boxer who died Friday at age 74.

His widow and fourth wife, Lonnie, daughters, Laila and Hana, and granddaughter Sydney, were photographed inside looking somber at the service, which marks the start of two days of ceremonies honoring the Muslim-convert sports star who died following a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

In addition, Ali’s second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, and his third wife, Veronica Porche-Ali, whom he had an affair with prior to marrying, were in attendance. His first wife, Sonji Roi, passed away in 2005.

Muslims traveled from all over the world to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a Kentucky arena for a final tribute to Ali.

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Somber: Muhammad Ali's second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali (left), stands next to his widow and fourth wife, Lonnie Ali (center), and daughter Laila Ali (right), who is holding her daughter, Sydney, during an Islamic prayer service called a Jenazah on Thursday 

Somber: Muhammad Ali’s second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali (left), stands next to his widow and fourth wife, Lonnie Ali (center), and daughter Laila Ali (right), who is holding her daughter, Sydney, during an Islamic prayer service called a Jenazah on Thursday

Veronica Porche-Ali (left), Muhammad Ali's former wife, attends his Jenazah and is seated next to his daughter, Hana's husband, Kevin Casey (right). Veronica Porche-Ali was married to the boxer from 1977 to 1986

Veronia Porche-Ali (left), Muhammad Ali’s former wife, attends his Jenazah and is seated next to his daughter, Hana’s husband, Kevin Casey (right). Veronica Porche-Ali was married to the boxer from 1977 to 1986

Muhammad Ali's wife, Lonnie (left), and daughter, Laila Ali (center), attend his Jenazah, a traditional Islamic Muslim service, in Freedom Hall on Thursday

Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie (left), and daughter, Laila Ali (center), attend his Jenazah, a traditional Islamic Muslim service, in Freedom Hall on Thursday

Laila Ali is pictured above holding her daughter, Sydney, as Lonnie bows her head while wearing dark sunglasses inside the service

Laila Ali is pictured above holding her daughter, Sydney, as Lonnie bows her head while wearing dark sunglasses inside the service

Imam Zaid Shakir presides over Muhammad Ali's Jenazah inside Freedom Hall on Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky

Imam Zaid Shakir presides over Muhammad Ali’s Jenazah inside Freedom Hall on Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky

Farewell: The coffin of late boxing champion Muhammad Ali is pictured above as it arrives for the Jenazah in Louisville, Kentucky

Farewell: The coffin of late boxing champion Muhammad Ali is pictured above as it arrives for the Jenazah in Louisville, Kentucky

The three-time world champion boxer's body was wheeled into Freedom Hall by officials for Thursday's Jenazah service

The three-time world champion boxer’s body was wheeled into Freedom Hall by officials for Thursday’s Jenazah service

Mourners snapped photos and took videos of the somber moment as the boxer's body was brought into the Freedom Hall

Mourners snapped photos and took videos of the somber moment as the boxer’s body was brought into the Freedom Hall

Muhammad Ali (pictured above in 1966) died on June 3 in a Phoenix-area hospital. The champion fighter is pictured above in November of 1970 as he pounds away at the bag in Miami Beach, Florida

Muhammad Ali (pictured above in 1966) died on June 3 in a Phoenix-area hospital. The champion fighter is pictured above in November of 1970 as he pounds away at the bag in Miami Beach, Florida

He died after being taken to hospital with a respiratory condition complicated by his long-term struggle with Parkinson's disease. Above Ali and  Lonnie, attend the 4th Annual Life Changing Lives Gala honoring the legend in 2011

He died after being taken to hospital with a respiratory condition complicated by his long-term struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Above Ali and Lonnie, attend the 4th Annual Life Changing Lives Gala honoring the legend in 2011

A black hearse carrying the body of famed boxer Muhammad Ali was led by a police escort from a funeral home on Thursday

A black hearse carrying the body of famed boxer Muhammad Ali was led by a police escort from a funeral home on Thursday

Imam Zaid Shakir, a prominent US Muslim scholar, led the Jenazah prayer service. He told the crowd: ‘We welcome all of you here today. We welcome the Muslims, we welcome the members of other faith communities, we welcome the law enforcement community.

‘We welcome our sisters, our elders, our youngsters. All were beloved to Muhammad Ali.’

In an introductory prayer, Shakir said: ‘Oh God, Almighty God, don’t deprive us of his reward, don’t cast us into tribulation after his departure. Forgive us and forgive him.’

Sherman Jackson, a member of the Muslim American community, offered condolences to Muhammad Ali’s family at the prayer service for the boxing great, saying his death has taken something away ‘from the sweetness of life itself.’

Jackson said Ali belonged to everyone but was ‘an unapologetic fighter in the cause of black people in America — and not just the classes among black folks, but even more especially the masses.’

‘Ali was the people’s champion, and champion he did the cause of his people,’ Jackson said.

He added that Ali ‘did more to normalize Islam in this country than perhaps any other Muslim in the history of the United States,’ exceeding the achievements of scholars and clerics because he demonstrated the religion’s generosity and power.

Laila Ali (right), daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, sits with her children and husband, Curtis Conway, during the Janazah

Laila Ali (right), daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, sits with her children and husband, Curtis Conway, during the Janazah

Muhammad Ali's second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali (left), and his fourth wife and widow Lonnie Ali (center), speak during the Islamic prayer service

Muhammad Ali's fourth wife and widow Lonnie Ali (left), stands with Ali's daughter Laila (right) during the Jenazah service on Thursday

Above left, Muhammad Ali’s second wife Khalilah Camacho-Ali and his fourth wife and widow Lonnie Ali speak during the Islamic prayer service. Lonnie Ali is pictured above right looking somber during the service

Former boxing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was also in attendance at the Janazah service for Ali at Freedom Hall

Former boxing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was also in attendance at the Janazah service for Ali at Freedom Hall

He also said that Ali put the question of whether you can be a Muslim and a proud American to rest.

‘Indeed, he KO’d that question,’ Jackson said.

A fellow Muslim who shares the boxing great’s name traveled from Bangladesh. Mohammad Ali arrived with no hotel reservation, just a belief that this pilgrimage was important to honor the global icon in a traditional Islamic service.

The Ali from Bangladesh said he met the boxer in the early 1970s and they struck up a friendship based on their shared name. The Champ visited his home in 1978 and always joked he was his twin brother, he said.

Ali insisted the service be open to all. Mourners began trickling in shortly after the doors opened at 9am.

It appeared as though many members of the boxer’s immediate family attended the Jenazah, including his two surviving ex-wives as Ali was married four times and was a serial adulterer.

His second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, stood next to his fourth wife, Lonnie Ali, during the Muslim service. Ali and Khalilah Camacho-Ali, who was formerly named Belinda Boyd, were married in 1967 when she was just 17 years old.

Ali's daughter, Hana, shared the image above of her father that was taken in March showing him blowing her a kiss 

Ali’s daughter, Hana, shared the image above of her father that was taken in March showing him blowing her a kiss

Thousands of people turned out to participate in the Jenazah prayer service for the late boxer on Thursday

Thousands of people turned out to participate in the Jenazah prayer service for the late boxer on Thursday

It's estimated that more than 14,000 thousand mourners attended the traditional Muslim  service for the  boxer who died Friday at age 74

It’s estimated that more than 14,000 thousand mourners attended the traditional Muslim service for the boxer who died Friday at age 74

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan took part in Ali's Jenazah service on Thursday. He was scheduled to speak at the champion boxer's service on Friday, but was cut due to lack of program space

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan took part in Ali’s Jenazah service on Thursday. He was scheduled to speak at the champion boxer’s service on Friday, but was cut due to lack of program space

She converted to Islam and the couple had four children together, Maryum, Rasheda, Jamilah and Muhammad Ali Jr.

Ali started having an affair with statuesque model Veronica Porche-Ali towards the end of his second marriage.

Veronica Porche-Ali became pregnant with the boxer’s daughter, Hana Ali, and his marriage to his second wife ended in divorce in 1977.

He then married Veronia Porche-Ali that same year and they went on to have their second daughter, Laila Ali.

They eventually divorced in 1986 and Ali married Lonnie Ali that same year. They did not have any biological children together, but adopted a son together.

Attendees at his Muslim service on Thursday were young and old; black, white and Arabic. Some wore traditional Islamic garb, others blue jeans or business suits.

Organizers say the service was meant especially as a chance for Muslims to say goodbye to a man considered a hero of the faith.

Former boxer Sugar Ray Leonard attended the Muslim prayer service for his friend whom he called ‘a man of great character and courage.’

US boxing promoter Don King reacts as he attends Ali's Jenazah in Freedom Hall on Thursday in Kentucky

US boxing promoter Don King reacts as he attends Ali’s Jenazah in Freedom Hall on Thursday in Kentucky

Hundreds of people lined up early on Thursday for the Jenazah service at Freedom Hall to celebrate the life of Ali. Above Muslim women pray before the service in Freedom Hall

Hundreds of people lined up early on Thursday for the Jenazah service at Freedom Hall to celebrate the life of Ali. Above Muslim women pray before the service in Freedom Hall

Former boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard, center, is greeted by former two time heavyweight world champion Hasim Rahman before Muhammad Ali's Jenazah on Thursday

Former boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard, center, is greeted by former two time heavyweight world champion Hasim Rahman before Muhammad Ali’s Jenazah on Thursday

He said Ali’s most important contributions were as a humanitarian and a fighter for civil rights and social justice and that Ali ‘impacted the world.’

Leonard believes Ali’s most memorable moment as a boxer was when he defeated George Foreman to reclaim the world heavyweight boxing title in 1974. Leonard said he ‘was so afraid that George was going to kill him.’

He said Ali ‘meant the world’ to him: ‘He was my idol, my friend, my mentor. He was someone that I looked up to and someone who I tried to emulate during my boxing career.’

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Ali set an example for athletes to ‘use the high platform of championships’ to make a difference beyond sports.

Jackson was interviewed before the Muslim prayer service Thursday in Louisville for Ali. He said Ali’s ‘dignity in the ring and his sense of heroism beyond the ring made him a living legend.’

The civil rights leader said Ali will be remembered not only as a boxing champion but also as a human rights activist.

‘He never stopped winning battles, whether it was in the ring or outside the ring,’ Jackson said.

US Muslims hoped the service for the Kentucky native would help underscore that Islam, under attack in recent months, is fully part of American life.

‘Muhammad planned all of this,’ said Imam Zaid Shakir, a prominent US Muslim scholar who will lead Thursday’s prayers. ‘And he planned for it to be a teaching moment.’

Ali famously joined the Nation of Islam, the black separatist religious movement, as a young boxer, then embraced mainstream Islam years later, becoming a global representative of the faith and an inspiration to Muslims.

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