All things Muslim - incredible stories & positive vibes

More Reasons to Love Mahershala Ali (Even if you Haven’t Seen Moonlight)

Let’s face the fact: The whole world is crushing on Mahershala Ali right now, and we’re not going to be the crew to hop off this bandwagon. Not only is he the first Muslim to win an Oscar for best supporting actor, he landed the gong for his part in the year’s best picture, Moonlight, one of the most intriguing, beautiful films you’ll ever see.

And even if you haven’t caught Moonlight yet, are there even more reasons to love Ali beyond his cinematic success? Is all we’ve read over the past few weeks just the tip of the awesomeness iceberg? By diving into the deeper recesses of the internet, we attempted to answer that question.

In a word, the answer is ‘yes’. But here’s why:

He Converted to Islam After Hearing a Prayer

Ali was born in Oakland, California to Christian parents. His folks named him Maher-shalal-hash-baz in honour of a prophetic name from the book of Isaiah. He didn’t convert to Islam until he was a graduate student. Speaking on the podcast Death, Sex & Money, Ali described visiting a mosque with his now-wife and her mother – a moment that would change his life: “I just had this really strong response where this prayer is resonating in my body, and I’m, like, crying…I woke up a week later, and I get up and I go, ‘I gotta go to the mosque.’ Long story short, I converted that day.”

He’s a Rapper

Before the fame, Ali rapped. And he was pretty good. Have a listen to the actor formerly known as Prince Ali:

He was a Basketball Star at University

Well, maybe ‘star’ is a bit generous, but Ali still received a scholarship to play basketball at St Mary’s (SMC), a collegiate hoops powerhouse in California. However, his time on the court would cause him to reevaluate his ambition.

Speaking in a 2011 interview, Ali said: ‘I went to SMC on a basketball scholarship. But when I graduated, I no longer thought of myself as an athlete…I came to SMC wanting the fullest experience as a student athlete, and left wanting to experience life as an artist and well-rounded person.”

He’d go on to land a spot at New York University’s prestigious acting programme. You’ve got to love the guy for taking a chance on such a risky career change.

He’s a Cat Person

Ali has two cats. He once told GQ, ‘Well, I’m allergic to dogs and not to cats. It’s also a Muslim thing. We can’t have dogs in the house.’

One of his cats is named after the rapper Nas, which is one of the better things we learned today.

#tbt my dude Nas.

A post shared by Mahershala Ali (@mahershalaali) on

We’re Going to See a lot More of Him


A post shared by Mahershala Ali (@mahershalaali) on

Ali recently appeared in a photoshoot for Calvin Klein. So even if you haven’t seen Moonlight, you’re probably going to see a lot more of Ali.

Related Content

Girl Unbound: The Incredible Story of Maria Toorpakai

After our recent look at the life of Olympic fencer Halet Çambel, we’re on a bit of a run …

Muslim Girl Shuts Down Hijab Haters With Text From Her Dad

Trolls: they have terrible opinions on everything, they’re hated by anyone who isn’t totally awful, and their ‘arguments’ …

Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park Attack: Though Times are Fearful, Never be Afraid …

Featured image credit: PA. There is no other way to put it: We are currently going through extremely upsetting and …

Recent Posts

Kobe Subramaniam’s Photos of Eid al-Adha in Ghana are Incredible
Fenty Beauty
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Makeup Line is Taking Over Instagram
Thousands Attend Book Festival at Mosul Library That was Destroyed by ISIS
Thousands Attend Book Festival at Mosul Library That was Destroyed …
Fashion Week
Revisiting Our Favourite Looks From London Fashion Week
Halal Food
Halal Food Instagram Heroes #8 Makan Inda Beranti
Halal Girl
24 Hours Exploring the Manchester Food Scene With Halal Girl About …