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