It’s hard to get by just upon a smile

I was watching a movie, and there was this song playing in the background, it was a song I’ve known for years, but it seems it faded by time. I decided to refresh my memory a little and search for the song. I found it and it had the same effect it had on me several years ago ❤

The song is by the British musician Cat Steven’s Wild World. (I’m sure you ALL know this song, Please watch it till the end)

Cat Steven was his stage name. He was a singer and a song-writer, and I said “was” because he has converted to Islam, and had his Islamic name, Yusuf Islam. Shocking right?!

I know this song for many years, and I had no idea that the singer is actually Muslim now!!!

What I admire most about this man is that he converted to Islam at the height of his fame.

If you listen to the above song and many of his other songs, you will find that Steven has been seeking inner peace through his songs. He finally found the answers when he gradually explored Islam.

Although he was living the dream life of a pop star, 70s icon, but he still felt that there was something missing. In a comment, he said:

“One of the most dominant news of man is material. The motto of this concept is ‘Eat, drink and be merry.’ The problem was that I had eaten, I had drunk—I wasn’t merry.”

His religion conversion story is quite interesting,

While vacationing in Marrakech, Morocco, Stevens was intrigued by the sound of the Adhan, which is the Islamic ritual call to prayer, which was explained to him as “music for God”!!!

His conversion to Islam though is not so clear, but it is most probably due to his near-death experience. Steven had gone swimming at the house of his American record boss, at Malibu Beach, California (location of Two and a Half Men 😛 ),  and he almost drowned! when, miraculously, the tide swiftly turned, and a sudden wave carried him to the shore. This happened after he called for God, according to some recourses he said “Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.” (I don’t know about that!)

He was saved however, and he started his spiritual quest for truth, he looked in all religions, read about them, but did not find the answers he was looking for.

His brother went to Jerusalem and brought him a gift, which was life-changing for him, he brought him a copy of the Quraan. (I think the reason his brother brought him a religious book in particular, not a T-shirt or a mug for example, is because he is aware of Steven’s interest in philosophical and religious studies.) This gift for Steven has provided the key to the answers he had been looking for his entire life. Consequently, Stevens started praying and cutting down some of the things which are prohibited in Islam, such as drinking and partying! He retreated from the music business and finally embraced Islam in 1977, changing his name to Yusuf Islam.

This was Stevens’ decision, but how about the people around him, his family and fans?!

While his family supported him and respected his religious choice, his fans were baffled! (I don’t blame them, I am a Muslim, and I am baffled!)

According to Yusuf, “The moment I became a Muslim, I found peace.”

He donated large amount of money to charitable causes, such as the African Famine. Today, he still continues to donate to charity. He has for almost three decades concerned himself with education and fundraising for the plight of those much less fortunate. His U.K. and United Nations registered charity, provides humanitarian relief as well as social and educational programs to countless orphans and needy families in the Balkans, Iraq, Indonesia and other Islamic regions.

Stevens said that all the fame and earlier music making had alienated him from any spiritual contact. He was clouded by his desires to be a “big star”. He became very famous, his dreams came true, his name and photos were all over the media. Regardless, he did not find happiness.

He said:

I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith far removed from the headlines of violence, destruction and terrorism.

He found Islam. God bless him.

Respect Yusuf 😉

For more information, check out his website:


4 thoughts on “It’s hard to get by just upon a smile

  1. Tahani says:

    Nice post, indeed 🙂 I’ve read about his story long time ago though I knew him as Muslime before knowing him as a singer! ^^

    Thanks Jehan I love this sort of blogs 🙂

  2. dr_laela says:

    اختيار موفق يا جيهان، لكن لي وقفة مع قصته، وقفة تستحق التأمل، لاحظي إن شقيقه هو من أحضر له المصحف ودله على الدين الصحيح، وهذاالشقيق حرم من الهداية، فسبحان الله، له حكمة لا نعلمها

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