ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Music

Cat Stevens 2nd Chance at Life & How It Changed His Life

Updated on May 24, 2013

What Propelled Cat Stevens to Embrace Islam?

Cat Stevens declaration of belief in Islam, his acceptance of the Qur'an as a book from God, followed by a few years, a profoundly life-threatening experience.

In 1975 Cat Stevens spent time with his manager in Malibu, prior to the beginning of another world tour. He went out for a short swim while his host finished up the lunch prep.

image credit Brocken Inaglory

He was captured by a rogue wave current and drug out to sea. Unable to free himself, imminenet death faced him.

As we've heard from many others, who were on the brink of personal death, Cat Stevens turned to God with an intense plea: "If you save me, I'll work for you." Suddenly he was overcome by a realization that the wave was now carrying him back towards the shore.

His conviction was firm. His uncertainty would revolve for some time, only on the how> he would carry out his commitment. It was his nature to be vigilant about keeping promises, and so he was ever attuned to discovery, yet feeling a lack of direction.

After a year of searching his brother David returned from a trip to the holy land bearing a copy of the Qur'an as a gift for Stevens. It was with amazement that he learned that Muslims, in addition to Jews and Christians, considered the Abrahamic faith a gift from God.

Inside the Qur'an he was profoundly moved by reading the name of God first, before any other name, emphasizing the reverence for God's gift of life to human beings, and to himself in particular. When he read the story of Joseph he found himself particularly moved, and weeped.

For another year Cat Stevens continued to read and study the Qur'an, meditating on his discoveries, for he felt a sense of familiarity with all that he learned from this book. He continued his spiritual journey.

The Great Wave Print

Hokusai The Great Wave Giant Poster by Katsushika Hokusai 55 x 39in
Hokusai The Great Wave Giant Poster by Katsushika Hokusai 55 x 39in

Hang this famous print in your home or office. It's classic beauty reminds you of the awesome power in nature.


Anatomy of Water Bubbles in Wave

Water bits, close to the breaking surface of sea water move about under the forces of air and gravity, in disc-like movements, in waves.

Photograph of the water particle orbits under a - progressive and periodic - surface gravity wave in a wave flume.

As we observe in nature, while standing on the beach, water drops travel in groups, moving with successive waves.

When one is caught by unexpected wave forces, it is as futile to fight them as it is to fling about in quicksand.

Photograph shows the paths of water particles. image credit Wiegel Johnson

Science tells us to cut across the wave, even swimming out to sea, if necessary, to get beyond and free of the congested water forces, before swimming back in and around the hefty current.

Cat Stevens was caught in a particularly forceful current. His story reminds me of the tale related by a friend in the Caribbean. He was fishing on what the locals call pocked rocky ground that juts out from the earth, over the ocean.

Suddenly a huge wave reached up a good thirty feet, grabbed him off the ledge, and flung him far out in the ocean. He, too, pled with God, that he would turn his life around if God granted him deliverance from the ocean waters.

In the video below, follow Cat Stevens as he talks about his spiritual journey that began in his youth, and continues to this day.

Importance of Making a Spiritual Journey

Do you think it's important for you to take your own spiritual journey, to fulfill your life's mission?

From Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam

Q & A About Cat Stevens' Journey Into Islam

1. In what 3 terms did Cat Stevens describe his life prior to his conversion?

Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.

2. What did he say the music business is about?

Inflating The Ego.

3. Did Cat Stevens have a sudden burst of emotion that caused his conversion?

No, he studied for years

4. Did he record continuously, after he embraced Islam?

No, he took a decades-long break from recording. Cat Stevens' final performance was 11/22/79.

5. Does the Qur'an forbid music? Is that why he quit recording?

No, but he decided to take the conservative path regarding music, so he ceased writing and recording.

6. What did he do with his musical instruments, and why?

As Yusuf Islam, Cat Stevens viewed his career and his instruments as a crutch in his life, a crutch which he no longer felt he needed. After his last concert he auctioned off his instruments and donated the proceeds to charity. As a celebrity and educator, he was often called on to explain Islam to the general British public.

7. When did he proceed with his music production?

After his first daughter was born in 1981, he recorded A is for Allah, as an educational tool for his child and for other Muslim children. Two years later he founded the only English Muslim school in the UK. He now has four schools.

8. What prompted the eventual media-provoked scandal, and related bad feelings about Yusuf Islam?

In 1989 he signed a petition to the distributors of The Satanic Verses hoping to stop distribution of the book. Eventually, he was called upon to explain the Islamic concept of blasphemy, the basis for the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa on Salman Rushdie. But the press got it wrong, and linked Yusuf Islam's beliefs with the fatwa, and headlines screamed Cat Says Kill Rushie.

9. Why did he begin recording again?

After the confusion spawned by the publishing of The Satanic Verses, and Kohmeini's fatwa, it was more evident than ever that the general public's misconceptions about Islam were a major impediment to understanding muslims in the British community. To the ends of demystifying the people and the religion, Yusuf Islam decided it was time to use his skills again. He made the album The Life of the Last Prophet, as a bridge of understanding of the Prophet Muhammed and of Islam.

10. What did the Bosnian War mean to his life?

Yusuf Islam was active in organizing the provision of supplies to Bosnian doctors, and became a close friend of one. The doctor sent him a song he had written in tribute to the fortitude of the Bosnian people, under years of great duress. On a trip to Bosnia he performed the late Bosnian doctor's piece, giving his first concert in 17 years, and subsequently created a foundation to Benefit the Bosnian people. It is one of four foundations that are funded by his oldCat Stevens record sales.

11. How does he use his talents now?

Yusuf Islam travels the world, lectures and performs, and maintains multiple charities, and runs four British schools. He sees his work as using his talents to benefit the oppressed and the poor, worldwide. He records under the label Mountain of Light

12. What's Next for Yusuf Islam?

Listen to the third video.

Life of the Last Prophet

Life of the Last Prophet
Life of the Last Prophet

This incredible album was produced to teach about Muslims and about Islam.


How Did Cat Stevens Transition into Yusuf? - how his music reflects his journey

The Qur'an

Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) Side-by-Side
Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) Side-by-Side

Some people prefer one English Translation over another, so this volume provides three of the most popular translations. The Arabic (the Qur'an is the arabic text, the rest are translations of the meaning of the Book).


The Very Best of Cat Stevens

The Very Best of Cat Stevens
The Very Best of Cat Stevens

Here you'll find some of his pre-70s hits from his British years, and it includes a never-released song, his newest. "I've Got A Thing About Seeing My Grandson."


Metal Waves Sign

California Surf Big Waves Aluminum Sign in Orange
California Surf Big Waves Aluminum Sign in Orange

On a California beach Cat Stevens life was changed by strong waves.


2012 Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) interview on The Project

Cat Stevens Boxed Set, Original Recording Remastered

Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens

Yusuf Islam is a singer-songwriter with a grand 40-year history of production. This set is a remastering of the original.


Please Leave Your Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      @Snakesmum: Thanks. It's the same great voice and the same thought provoking lyrics.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Enjoyed this lens. Have always like Cat Steven's music, although haven't heard any of the recent recordings.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I am a Mormon (a variant of Christianity), and have extensively studied Buddhism and Hinduism. I have not yet studied Islam very much, but probably know more than most non-Muslims. In particular, I need to get a good copy of the Qur'an. I enjoy studying the holy texts of all faiths.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      He's really had so many changes in his life.