Today on Ummah.com, a poster called “ahaneefah” posted two “Classic Yusuf Islam Nasheeds without Music.” A nasheed is a song praising Allah or Islam in some way. Nasheeds are usually sung a cappella or with percussion accompaniment only, and according to most Islamic authorities they’re the only kind of music allowed under Islamic law.
Anyway, the post was interesting for several reasons. One was the first response, in which poster “Rainyday” says: “I was a fan of Cat Stevens before I converted to Islam. Don’t listen now as obvs music is haram.”
“Obvs music is haram”? Really? And yet whenever I publish the Islamic texts that establish that music is haram (forbidden), Muslims write to me and say I’m an ignorant, greasy Islamophobe and that Islam doesn’t forbid music. So apparently this poor “Rainyday” character is a Misunderstander of Islam, led away into “misconceptions” of Islam that he somehow picked up from “Islamophobes.”
Another noteworthy element of this post comes at minute 2:02 of the first nasheed (video above), where Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, sings:
What are you saying?
What are you saying?
I’m praying to Allah
To give us victory
Over the kuffar.
“I’m praying to Allah to give us victory over the kuffar” (unbelievers)? When have you ever heard a Jew or a Christian praying for victory over the unbelievers? The supremacism and hatred is open and unapologetic, and especially piquant coming the former Mr. Peace Train himself, who has for years cultivated an image as a benign, peaceful, cuddly, peace-and-love-hippie Muslim.
He wasn’t always so image-conscious, however. Although he denies it now, in 1989 he enthusiastically endorsed the Ayatollah Khomeini’s death fatwa against Salman Rushdie for insulting Islam: “Cat Stevens Gives Support To Call for Death of Rushdie,” by Craig R. Whitney in the New York Times, May 23, 1989:
TONDON [sic], May 22 — The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ”I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing.”
The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel ”The Satanic Verses.” He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ”I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.”
”I’d try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is,” said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments….
Here is the video:
And much more recently, he is praying for victory over the kuffar, while being embraced by the rock glitterati and lauded everywhere. Baby, baby, it’s a wild world indeed.