He’s an actor, husband, and soon-to-be father who is deeply spiritual. Mahershala Ali shares a snippet of his life as a Muslim American with The Hollywood Reporter.

“I was around 23 or 24 years old when I couldn’t ignore it anymore,” Mahershala says of his attraction to the religion. “I was going back in time and trying to find out why I believed what I believed, and it always ended with my mother, and with what I was told — not my own epiphany or studies.”


It was during this time of uncertainty that Mahershala met his future wife, Amatus Sami-Karim. “She was coming to terms with whether she even wanted to be Muslim, because her father is an imam. And I was looking for my anchor or the thing to bring structure to my spiritual walk. She was almost coming out of it, and I was going into it.”

Mahershala fully committed to the Muslim religion at the turn of the century but it took his mom, who is an ordained Christian minister, a few years to come to terms with her son’s newfound faith. “It probably took 10 or 12 years until she really embraced it,” Ali reveals.

“My mother is as spiritual as she is religious,” the Moonlight star explains. “She likes to have a good time, but she has an extraordinarily serious quality about her. She lives with the awareness that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, that everything is about the next life. She basically told me she accepted that was my path, and she’s been really supportive of that choice. We are in an extraordinarily positive place today.”

Mahershala Ali and his wife will soon venture down the road of parenthood, which is something that excites the Oscar-nominated actor to no end. “I’m even excited about being tired,” he reveals.

Mahershala and Amatus are expecting their little one to arrive in coming weeks. The couple plans to keep their little one’s name simple.

Read Mahershala Ali’s full interview with The Hollywood Reporter here!



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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