Little Step


The spotlights were switched on. 

There he was, sitting on a high stool with a guitar at the centre of the stage. Before him, thousands of fans were calling his name out loud, yelling and screaming in utter admiration. He was adored. He was idolized. He was glorified. It was a life everyone around him could only dream of having. Yet he was living it for real. With a single move of his finger across his guitar, the fans went crazy. They wept. They sang along. They breathed and lived for his music.

The fame and fortune that he owned - they were unprecedented. 

But what his admiring fans were oblivious to was that, it was exactly both fame and fortune that suffocated him. What an extremely ironic life he was leading - surrounded by flocks of fans and admirers, yet he had never been lonelier at any phase in his life. There was no one he could talk to. No one would listen. No one would understand. Yes,  no one would understand that behind his vivacious facade and infectious, blithe music, he was a man with lugubrious soul, chaotic and in constant search for spiritual fulfillment.

Then a devine revelation was upon him. In 1976, he encountered a life changing event when he was drifted into the depth of Malibu coast, and while he was trying to keep his head above the raging tide, he thought of God and bargained "Oh God, if You save me, I will work for You". In that instant, he was washed ashore. Soon after, the world was in shock.

Cat Stevens walked away from music industry at the height of his career.

Sitting at home all day with nothing in my hands, I surfed Youtube on pure random and I stumbled upon a few of his music videos when he was young, carefree and vibrant. I had heard about him hitherto. About his brilliant music. About his miraculous spiritual odyssey. But today, I spent almost 37 minutes watching his exclusive interview about his transition from a celebrated pop star into a devout philanthropist.

Staring at the screen, and listening through earphones attached to either side of ears, I was mesmerized and immediately found great shame in me.

Every day, I work hard to emerge triumphant in everything I do by imagining what the future might hold for me should everything work accordingly. Big house. Big car. Big paycheck. Happier me. And while I do try my best to keep all the five obligatory prayers intact, deep down I know I that haven't really done them perfectly. That while performing my prayers, I still get distracted by worldly matters: things that happened before, obligations and work to be done after. But here is this man, leaving fame and fortune to glorify God. He talks about modesty and happiness it brings. 

"People thought I was mad when I stopped being Cat Stevens the rock star - but I have never been happier", he said, now worldwidely known as Yusuf Islam.

Watching his inspiring video today makes me ponder "Where do I go from here?". Without doubt, I want to be successful in my life. It's even one of the most profound teachings in Islam, to never abandon worldly matters in pursuit of happiness for the hereafter. But I realize that my fight has been lopsided, that I have put my priority heavier on the things that are temporary in nature. Things that will not last when this world comes to its end and when the day of judgement is eventually upon me. 

I am terrified. I am terrified of being drifted away and drowned in faux happiness. 

A change for betterment is never easy but insyaAllah I'll try. It's a winding road ahead. Many of Yusuf Islam fans turned their back on him when he took a different path in life, but he has never regretted his decision. It has never even crossed his mind. As a man of different faith that he was before, he admits that the revelation that he was bestowed upon was hard. But as a line in his famous song "Father and Son" goes, "It's harder to ignore it".

I am inspired, and may Allah open my heart to take a little step to be a devout servant of His. 

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