formerly pop singer Cat Stevens
I have to say is all what you know already, to confirm what you already know,
of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam - May Allaah's Peace and Blessings
upon him) as given by God - the Religion of Truth. As human beings we are given
and a duty that has placed us at the top of creation. Man is created to
God's deputy on earth, and it is important to realize the obligation to rid
illusions and to make our lives a preparation for the next life. Anybody who
chance is not likely to be given another, to be brought back again and again,
it says in Qur'an Majeed that when man is brought to account, he will say,
send us back and give us another chance." The Lord will say, "If I
you will do the same."
EARLY RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING
was brought up in the modern world of all the luxury and the high life of show
I was born in a Christian home, but we know that every child is born in his
nature - it is only his parents that turn him to this or that religion. I was
religion (Christianity) and thought this way. I was taught that God exists, but
no direct contact with God, so we had to make contact with Him through Jesus -
was in fact the door to God. This was more or less accepted by me, but I did not
looked at some of the statues of Jesus; they were just stones with no life. And
said that God is three, I was puzzled even more but could not argue. I more or
believed it, because I had to have respect for the faith of my parents.
I became alienated from this religious upbringing. I started making music. I
to be a big star. All those things I saw in the films and on the media took hold
me, and perhaps I thought this was my God, the goal of making money. I had an
who had a beautiful car. "Well," I said, "he has it made. He has
a lot of money."
people around me influenced me to think that this was it; this world was their
decided then that this was the life for me; to make a lot of money, have a
my examples were the pop stars. I started making songs, but deep down I had a
for humanity, a feeling that if I became rich I would help the needy. (It says
Qur'an, we make a promise, but when we make something, we want to hold onto it
what happened was that I became very famous. I was still a teenager, my name and
were splashed in all the media. They made me larger than life, so I wanted to
than life and the only way to do that was to be intoxicated (with liquor and
a year of financial success and 'high' living, I became very ill, contracted TB
to be hospitalized. It was then that I started to think: What was to happen to
I just a body, and my goal in life was merely to satisfy this body? I realized
this calamity was a blessing given to me by Allah, a chance to open my eyes -
am I here? Why am I in bed?" - and I started looking for some of the
time there was great interest in the Eastern mysticism. I began reading, and the
thing I began to become aware of was death, and that the soul moves on; it does
stop. I felt I was taking the road to bliss and high accomplishment. I started
and even became a vegetarian. I now believed in 'peace and flower power,'
this was the general trend. But what I did believe in particular was that I was
a body. This awareness came to me at the hospital.
day when I was walking and I was caught in the rain, I began running to the
and then I realized, 'Wait a minute, my body is getting wet, my body is telling
I am getting wet.' This made me think of a saying that the body is like a
it has to be trained where it has to go. Otherwise, the donkey will lead you
wants to go.
I realized I had a will, a God-given gift: follow the will of God. I was
new terminology I was learning in the Eastern religion. By now I was fed up with
I started making music again and this time I started reflecting my own
I remember the lyric of one of my songs. It goes like this: "I wish I knew,
I knew what makes the Heaven, what makes the Hell. Do I get to know You in my
or some dusty cell while others reach the big hotel?" and I knew I was on
also wrote another song, "The Way to Find God Out." I became even more
world of music. I really had a difficult time because I was getting rich and
at the same time, I was sincerely searching for the Truth. Then I came to a
I decided that Buddhism is all right and noble, but I was not ready to leave the
I was too attached to the world and was not prepared to become a monk and to
myself from society.
I tried Zen and Ching, numerology, tarot cards and astrology. I tried to look
Bible and could not find anything. At this time I did not know anything about
then, what I regarded as a miracle occurred. My brother had visited the mosque
and was greatly impressed that while on the one hand it throbbed with life
the churches and synagogues which were empty), on the other hand, an
of peace and tranquillity prevailed.
When he came to London he brought back a translation of the Qur'an, which he
He did not become a Muslim, but he felt something in this religion, and thought
find something in it also.
And when I received the book, a guidance that would explain everything to me -
what was the purpose of life; what was the reality and what would be the
where I came from - I realized that this was the true religion; religion not in
the West understands it, not the type for only your old age. In the West,
wishes to embrace a religion and make it his only way of life is deemed a
I was not a fanatic, I was at first confused between the body and the soul.
I realized that the body and soul are not apart and you don't have to go to the
to be religious. We must follow the will of God. Then we can rise higher than
angels. The first thing I wanted to do now was to be a Muslim.
realized that everything belongs to God, that slumber does not overtake Him. He
everything. At this point I began to lose the pride in me, because hereto I had
the reason I was here was because of my own greatness. But I realized that I
not create myself, and the whole purpose of my being here was to submit to the
that has been perfected by the religion we know as Al-Islam. At this point I
discovering my faith. I felt I was a Muslim. On reading the Qur'an, I now
all the Prophets sent by God brought the same message. Why then were the Jews
Christians different? I know now how the Jews did not accept Jesus as the
that they had changed His Word. Even the Christians misunderstand God's Word
called Jesus the son of God. Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty
Qur'an; it asks you to reflect and reason, and not to worship the sun or moon
One Who has created everything. The Qur'an asks man to reflect upon the sun and
and God's creation in general. Do you realize how different the sun is from the
They are at varying distances from the earth, yet appear the same size to us;
times one seems to overlap the other.
when many of the astronauts go to space, they see the insignificant size of the
and vastness of space. They become very religious, because they have seen the
I read the Qur'an further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was
Muslim yet, but I felt that the only answer for me was the Qur'an, and God had
to me, and I kept it a secret. But the Qur'an also speaks on different levels. I
understand it on another level, where the Qur'an says, "Those who believe
disbelievers for friends and the believers are brothers." Thus at this
to meet my Muslim brothers.
I decided to journey to Jerusalem (as my brother had done). At Jerusalem, I went
the mosque and sat down. A man asked me what I wanted. I told him I was a
He asked what was my name. I told him, "Stevens." He was confused. I
the prayer, though not so successfully. Back in London, I met a sister called
I told her I wanted to embrace Islam and she directed me to the New Regent
This was in 1977, about one and a half years after I received the Qur'an. Now
realized that I must get rid of my pride, get rid of Iblis, and face one
direction. So on
Friday, after Jumma' I went to the Imam and declared my faith (the Kalima) at
You have before you someone who had achieved fame and fortune. But
was something that eluded me, no matter how hard I tried, until I was shown
Qur'an. Now I realize I can get in direct contact with God, unlike Christianity
religion. As one Hindu lady told me, "You don't understand the Hindus. We
one God; we use these objects (idols) to merely concentrate." What she was
that in order to reach God, one has to create associates, that are idols for the
But Islam removes all these barriers. The only thing that moves the believers
the disbelievers is the salat (prayer). This is the process of purification.
Finally I wish to say that everything I do is for the pleasure of Allah and
pray that you
some inspirations from my experiences. Furthermore, I would like to stress that
not come into contact with any Muslim before I embraced Islam. I read the Qur'an
and realized that no person is perfect. Islam is perfect, and if we imitate the
of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) we will be successful.
Allah give us guidance to follow the path of the ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu
wa sallam). Ameen!
Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)