Cat Stevens

How I came to Islam – by Yusuf Islam

From Musician to Muslim by Allah’s Will

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 same.”

My Early Religious Upbringing

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.

Pop Star

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).

In Hospital

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 tranquility prevailed.

The Qur’an

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.

Even when 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.

Conversion

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 Jummah’ I went to the Imam and declared my faith (the Kalimah) 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.

Finally 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 alayhi wa sallam) we will be successful. May Allah give us guidance to follow the path of the ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Ameen!

– Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens)

Taken from

http://www.islamtomorrow.com/converts/yusuf_islam.asp

24 Comments

  1. Elana says:

    i loved cat stevens wild world that song has helped me thru some bad times man much love to you cat!

  2. Sandra says:

    I love love all the Cat Stevens’ songs! Is it haram to still listen to them? I have music in my blood…can’t help it. I like and enjoy listening to good music such as Cat Stevens’! May Allah bless you Yusef Islam.

  3. Abdallah Bandyn Rozi says:

    Mashallah, brother Yussuf Islam, it is very nice story and may Allah reward you and I hope that it could benefit other non believers.Islam is the right religion and the guidance for all humans and jinns but We as muslims are not showing the true image of Islam, if We follow the Holy Quran and the Sunnahs of Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) then more people will be interested to embrace Islam.The guidance is only in the Hands of Allah and Allah will guide whom He loves.I am blessed to be born as Muslim.The beauty of Islam is that you praise Allah no matter what situation you face it.I hope that more non believers will take time to read the Holy Quran with open heart and may Allah will guide them into the right path.Ameen

  4. alangad says:

    Essentially Islam and Christianity are one and the same. Both have no proof of existence of God. Both have one holy Book, supposedly revealed by God. If you find the statues of Jesus as empty, the concept of Allah is also equally, if not more empty. BOth speak of after life. One speaks of heaven and the other speaks of jannat. Nobody has seen neither heaven of the bible nor the jannat of the Quran. Not a single person has come back after death to explain as to whether they were ushered by jesus or by allah. BOth speaks of eternal punishment if you are a non believer in their respective God or eternal damnation. One has Sunday as a holy day the other has Friday. Both the religions are on a eternal one up man ship. Both actively wants to dominate the world and have the maximum number of converts. Both have killed millions of persons in their period of existence. One by holy wars and the other by inquisitions. Both have a founder and a time in which it was founded. BOth have followers who are passionate about their own religion. Both the religions have versus which are childish and against science.

  5. MashaAllaah. May Allaah bless your life and your family and protect all of you always. Ameen.

  6. Nasim Shahzad says:

    Beautiful inspiring and informative, God bless your team aamin.

  7. Jenna Jhen says:

    mashaallah. allah is great.

  8. Peter Myers says:

    No religion is perfect, God is perfect! If you do not befriend the disbelievers, the who will. How else will the mind of the disbeliever change, other than by a believer? Just as you are not interested in reading any other religions holy scriptures, either are the people of the other religions. So do not count on the Qur'an alone to change the disbelievers to believers. That is why an open mind is key, other wise , how would you have found Allah in the first place. By being open to him.

  9. Camille Reta says:

    Cat Stevens is a Muslim? Interesting. I respect Islam very much; it seems so pure and devotional to God. Muslims pray five times a day, dress a certain way, eat a certain way all for God. That is pure devotion and it is wonderful.

  10. It's very nice to be a Muslim. No pretenses.

  11. That was the most respectful observation I've EVER seen from someone outside of the Islamic faith. Thank you for this. Much appreciated.

  12. @Camille, thank you for your kind comments. You may want to read the Quran and be informed, first hand.

  13. Islam will grow despite of strong opposition to Muslims in the west. Islam is not any new religion, Islam means to submit your will to one and true Lord, who is the Lord of the Thrones. Who sent Adam,Abraham,Ishmael,Isaac,Joanna,Lot,Joseph,Moses,Jesus and Muhammad( Peace and blessings of God be on them all),The Quran Honours Mary as the women chosen above women of all the nations and their is a chapter dedicated to her in Quran called chapter 19, Mary and Jesus(Peace be on him) was the mightiest messengers of God, he was born miraculously without any male intervention, he healed all the blind and sick by God's Permission. And no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ as the messenger of God, and Jesus is coming back to this world, and this is our emaan our faith.Jesus says in the Bible that" on that day many will come to me and say, "Lord Lord have we not done mighty works in thy name, in thy name cast out devils. Jesus says" You evil people depart from me, I never knew you".

    Islam the faith that was the FIRST to give woman rights, the veil is not to cover for husbands but as a source of empowerment for woman so that they can be treated as an individual rather than a sex item for the male, ask Helen Flanagan about the respect she receives!!! Islam will grow despite of strong opposition to Muslims in the west. Islam is not any new religion, Islam means to submit your will to one and true Lord, who is the Lord of the Thrones. Who sent Adam,Abraham,Ishmael,Isaac,Joanna,Lot,Joseph,Moses,Jesus and Muhammad( Peace and blessings of God be on them all),The Quran Honours Mary as the women chosen above women of all the nations and their is a chapter dedicated to her in Quran called chapter 19, Mary and Jesus(Peace be on him) was the mightiest messengers of God, he was born miraculously without any male intervention, he healed all the blind and sick by God's Permission. And no Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus Christ as the messenger of God, and Jesus is coming back to this world, and this is our emaan our faith. Jesus says in the Bible that" on that day many will come to me and say, "Lord have we not done mighty works in thy name, in thy name cast out devils. Jesus says" You evil people depart from me, I never knew you"

    A Western Girl understood how Muslim men are dedicated for their families, At least they come home everyday not drunk and do not abuse their wives and children. More and More white women realize the importance of family lives as their childhood will be full of miseries and they don't know whose their fathers are and they also realize how women are burdened to up bring the children on their handwork, where men only see than as objects of sexual satisfaction. ISLAM is the complete way of life and more and more women will accept Islam as their way of Life and Insha Allah the whole world will turn to Islam and only Islam has the answers for the problems faced by modern women. I urge all the Muslims in the west to call people towards Islam and be generous with the poor and unfortunate. Never sleep until your neighbour is well fed, take care of old, and the concept of old age homes shall vanish from the society and all the old parents shall be taken care of their children. Spread the Word. Islam does respect women, I converted to Islam 10 years ago and have never found any aspect to be bad. It is nothing like how Islam is portrayed in the media. I think if they love each other and she is converting because she wants to then that is great. Surely it is better that getting drunk and falling out of nightclubs with different men every weekend. Actually in Islam Covering goes both ways not only for women. By covering, women force men to address their minds not their bodies as we do in the west. As for multiple marriages, did you know that Islam is the only religion to limit the number of wives a man may take down to 4 Whereas in Christianity and Judaism there is no limits to how many wives a man may take, it is only common law that outlawed polygamy, not religion.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    London School of Islamics Trust
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  14. Jenus Jenus says:

    I respect Cat Steven very much! now what he is doing is the best for peace in here and hereafter life.

  15. Jenus Jenus says:

    We must read and understand Quran and the prophets's life before making any comment. He is the best person and successful who is guided by the creator through his message, the message which is not changed from the point of revelation, and logically and scientifically the Quran is the one.

  16. Noah A. Lefevre says:

    I'm a Muslim and proud of it. I just want to thank the people who are supporting this website. I as a physician know what it takes to do it. The people who really are hypocrites and evil minded waste your time, and drag you down and eventually nothing comes out of the useless argument. For those kind of people Quran has a chapter, and last verse is, "For you is your religion, and for me is mine"!

  17. disbelivers are divided into two kinds,, good/bad. the one mention in that certain ayah of Al-Quran is not to befriend the bad disbelivers. the one that in any way wants to oppres and do harm.. while the good kind of disbelivers is okay to be friends! and do dakwah and hope they too get the massage of Allah The One And Only God! The All Mighty! The Sustainer! The All Knowing! and much more~Subahanallah~

  18. Zakariyya Ali says:

    Assalaamu Alaikum Muslim Brothers and Sisters, Seek Almighty ALLAHS Guidance and Strength when faced with Grief and Sorrow, As The Holy Quran states In Surah Al-Baqara: O'ALLah,You are my Guardian and Protector,Help Me Stand against Those Against My Iman.

  19. Anam Shabih says:

    Great thought MashAllah! I agree with you :)

  20. Jesus is the son of God, having made man in our own image, are you suggesting that God has two sons, Muhammad, and if so, which one did he use to make man in the image of? Muhammad is a natural man, Abraham, Isaac, where in the original Greek or original record do we find Muhammad, why did not the ancient historian give us some record of him, as they do, Paul, James, John and Jesus.. tolerance is one thing to develop religion which as Cat Steven suggest that makes one feel good is to misread the Bible. Feeling good and doing good as Jesus did is not in conflict. Man is born sinful and will continue to do so until the self will is denied and the teachings of Jesus.. to care for the other is embraced. The slitting of throats of one's enemy is simple not something that is reconcilable, for a person who claims to accept Jesus as part of the conversation
    I do hope that you will revisit Christianity one day and find that Jesus is simply asking you to do you best for others first and you will find personal peace beyond measure..

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.