Yusuf Islam Pays Musical Pilgrimage to Lebanon, Singing Cat Stevens Favorites

“Now I’m gonna take a little break,” Yusuf Islam announces to his Saturday evening audience. He’s already seated and, as he speaks, a white tablecloth-draped table is whisked on stage before him.

“Well it did take you a long time to arrive,” he jokes to the audience, groups of whom were still filing into BIEL an hour after the show’s start time. “Now I’m gonna get you back!”

After ruminating over the coffee pot before him, stories about leaving and coming home, he confesses he’s been writing a musical, one that takes its name, “Moon Shadow,” from one of the many songs he composed when people knew him by the name “Cat Stevens.”

Islam’s show is divided between those Stevens tunes familiar to mostly everyone in this capacity audience – whether actively listening to his records or absorbing them passively in the decades after Stevens embraced Islam and abandoned music.

The day of the show, Islam told The Daily Star about his gradual reconciliation of his music with his faith.

“Music is an issue which is still under debate,” he said, “because there is no clear indication in sacred text, either in Quran or authentic and unambiguous hadith. It is something that is subject to discussion and research.

“In the beginning, … when I heard some of the hadith or some of the reported hadith, I was a little bit careful and thought, OK I’m gonna withdraw until I know more, until God makes it more clear to me.

“I left. I got busy with work and education and charity and raising a family.

“But music does have a very special place. If you look at prophetic tradition you’ll see that the Prophet (praise be upon him) acknowledged that. In fact there are stronger hadith to show that, when there was a time when there was music or singing in the Prophet’s house and one of the companions came in to object, he told him to stop and for [the musicians] to carry on.

“Yes, there is this hadith about the Prophet (PBUH), when he heard the flute, putting his fingers in his ears.

“But, if you analyze it from another point of view, that’s because he is the Prophet and he is of such a status that – ” he recites from the hadith in question – “music is not suitable for the Prophet. That doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for others. When he didn’t restrict or prohibit then it leaves the allowance to people of lesser status.”  to read the entire article at source