Thursday, July 2, 2009

Benefits Blog: Rich, famous and influential Muslims

DURING a vacation in Marrakesh, Morocco, Steven Demetre Georgiou aka ‘Cat’ Stevens was haunted by the sound of the Athan (the Muslim call to prayer) that rang out at random times of the day. Intrigued, he asked someone about the strange call and was told that it was ‘’music for God.”

Years later, Yusuf Islam recalls that trip and remembers thinking, ‘’Music for God? I’d never heard that before – I’d heard of music for money, music for fame, music for personal power, but music for God!”

A series of incidents fueled his quest for faith further – while recovering from a bout of tuberculosis during his heydays as a pop star, he began to question aspects of his life and spirituality. He later recounted, “(t)o go from the show business environment and find you are in hospital, getting injections day in and day out, and people around you are dying, it certainly changes your perspective. I got down to thinking about myself. It seemed almost as if I had my eyes shut.”He experimented with some of the more esoteric elements of spirituality in an effort to find peace of mind, until he was given a copy of the Qur’an as a birthday gift by his (non-Muslim) brother – a souvenir from a trip to Jerusalem.

In an interview later, Yusuf recalled reading the Qur’an and strongly identifying with the story of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him), which is called “the best of stories” in the Qur’an, and talks about “a man bought and sold in the market place” – which is how Yusuf felt in the music business.

When he accepted Islam in 1977, he was content: he said he had found inner peace, answers to the questions that had troubled him, and “the spiritual home I’d been seeking for most of my life.” For more go here.

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