The story of Cat Stevens' conversion to Islam : YUSUF ISLAM

Cat Stevens, was a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian & education philanthropist. He was one of the most famous pop star of 1970's.

Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam
Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens).jpg
Cat Stevens in Böblingen, Germany in 1976
Background information
Birth name Steven Demetre Georgiou
Also known as Steve Adams, Yusuf
Born 21 July 1948 (age 65)
Marylebone, London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Folk rock, psychedelic rock, soft rock, pop rock, synthpop, electro, nasheed, spoken word, Hamd
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, organ, piano, mellotron, double bass, percussion, synthesiser
Years active 1966–1980 (as Cat Stevens)
1995–present (as Yusuf Islam)
Labels Deram, Island, A&M, Jamal, Ya
Associated acts Alun Davies
Notable instruments
Baldwin piano
Epiphone Casino
Fender Rhodes
Fender Telecaster
Gibson Everly Brothers Flattop
Gibson ES-335
Gibson J-200
Stevens performing in Waikiki Shell, Oahu, Hawaii, 1974


He was a big star. In his thoughts music and media popularity was his god, the goal of making money. His only purpose in life was to make a lot of money, had a 'great life.'

Then he started making songs, & become a pop star. Very soon he earned his name as pop star, he earned great fame in a very short period but with all these fame he always had a feeling for humanity, a feeling that if he would be rich he could 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.)
Stevens in 1974. The stage decor reflects his song, "Boy with a Moon & Star on His Head" from Catch Bull at Four

  He has been brought up in the modern world of all the luxury and the high life of show business, 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. He was given this religion (Christianity) and thought this way. He 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.

 He narrate : I accept all their teachings but i can't fully swallow them & when 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.


After a year of financial success and 'high' living, he became very ill, contracted TB and had to be hospitalized. It was then that he 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 him at the hospital.


One day when he was walking & caught in the rain, He began running to the shelter and then he realized, 'Wait a minute, my body is getting wet, my body is telling me I am getting wet.' This made him to 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 that realized him of  a will, a God-given gift: follow the will of God. He then started learning in the Eastern religion & became fed up with Christianity. He started making music again and this time he started reflecting his own thoughts.He said: 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. He then wrote many religious songs like "The way to find God out" .
Yusuf appearing at the Islam Expo in London, (2008)

While on holiday in Morocco, Stevens was intrigued by the sound of the Adhan(Azaan), the Islamic ritual call to prayer, which was explained to him as "music for God". Stevens said, "I thought, 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!"

In 1976 Stevens nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu, California, USA and said he shouted: "Oh God! If you save me I will work for you." He related that right afterward a wave appeared and carried him back to shore. This brush with death intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth. He had looked into "Buddhism, Zen, I Ching, numerology, tarot cards and astrology". Stevens' brother David Gordon visit the Mosque (Masjid) 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, then he brought him a copy of the Qur'an as a birthday gift from a trip to Jerusalem. Stevens took to it right away, and began his transition to Islam.
He said:
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.

 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 Kalmah) 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!

 He permanently turned to Islam, done a lot of work for peace & humanity and turned his name permanently to YUSUF ISLAM.

Yusuf married Fauzia Mubarak Ali on 7 September 1979, at Regent's Park Mosque in London. They have five children and three grandchildren and currently live in London, spending part of each year in Dubai.

Yusuf at the 2009 MOJO Awards in London.


Immediately following the 11 September 2001, attacks on the United States, he said:

I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right-thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action. The Qur'an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims of this sorrowful moment.