Yusuf Islam on Music and Religion

Yusuf Islam is Cat Stevens after his conversion to Islam a while back and he hasn’t been in the scene since then. The media didn’t treat his conversion to Islam with any respect, he says, and he talks about the role of music and musicians in Islam. A lot of his points can be applied to Christians in the Coptic Orthodox Church or any other Christian church.

This section spoke to me the most:

AJ: What happens when you give that gift and it is not received in the way you want it to be? Particularly after your conversion, and after you starting making more Islamic-themed songs, was there a backlash?

YI: You go through various phases. Living up to your ideas is not an easy job and when other people have ideas of you that you have to live up to as well, it’s even harder. That’s why we have a clear direction from our Lord as to how to live. As long as you keep your focus on God and his prophet I dont think you can be diverted. It’s all down to that intimate and direct relationship and that’s what you maintain in your prayers. So yes, it was difficult. But I always had my prayers.

Being an artist in a religious community is a lonely experience, especially when your expression and style is not one welcome to your community. Artists don’t see boxes, but rather lines and fountains and waters shooting up in every direction. Communities work hard to preserve themselves. They fear artistic or free thinking that threatens communities. So, they need to operate in boxes and with labels in order to keep things going.

Read the full interview here.

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