Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Yusaf Islam aka Cat Stevens

Remember good old Cat Stevens? Morning Has Broken...Cat Stevens. Oh Very Young...Cat Stevens. Peace Train...Cat Stevens. Moonshadow...Cat Stevens? I could go on and on about Cat, if only I could remember more of the 70's and what I actually did!

I do remember the sinking feeling that I felt when I heard the news that Cat Stevens had converted to Islam. Of course then I didn't know anything about Islam, at all. It seemed foreign to me, somewhat exotic but it definately it was NOT Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. A few years passed. 35 give or take a few.

Yusaf Islam reenters my consiousness through a course that I'm taking at Hebrew University. The course is "Spreading Islamic Norms through Muhammad's Life Story". It's a great class taught by Dr. Ruth Roded who is a scholar from the Islamic Studies Department. On the first day she asked the seven of us in the class...who knows who Yusaf Islam is? I did, I did! I'm the oldest one in the class, my classmates weren't even walking the face of this earth back in the Cat Stevens days. Dr. Roded, feeling affirmed and I'm sure validated with my answer (she's my age) went on to play a You Tube clip of a popular song within Islam. This one was recorded by Yusaf himself.

Tala Al Badru Alayna have a listen to it, it's just over five minutes long. Some of the lyrics are below. The White Moon is Muhammad.

The White Moon has risen over us!
From the valleys of Wada
Oh we must be grateful, for the invitation of the preacher to [the way of] God
Oh You who have been sent to us,
You came with orders that [we have] obeyed [in advance]
You came and honoured this town
Welcome, oh greatest of preachers

Here are some other translated verses that Yusaf doesn't sing in English:
The clear light has come out
The light of the best of Messengers
The light of Security** and Peace
The light of Truth and Awareness of God has been truthful
[Muhammad PBUH is] a mercy to the worlds
So on Land there is a radiance and on the Sea there is a radiance..
A messenger which has come with the Truth
He speaks the guidance of the sky (God)
His talk is [so] proper,
It challenges the experts
It contains healing for the body
It contains medecine for the soul
He has come to us; the guide, and bringer of tidings,
The one who sets free the suffering captive
The guide of the wanderer if..He slows down [and listens]
His religion is truth, towering
His religion is a great posession
It is luxury in [this] world
And in the [next] life it is enjoyment.
Below are pictures of a man pausing from his work to offer midday prayers.

Allah Akbar

God is Great


Ed and Ginger said...

reverend wagner,
we were sorry enuf that we didn't go on the ffld.mission recently, due to our inability to act , but when we heard the wonderful time they all had and that all enjoyed seeing you, we really felt bad(or is it badly ?)
hope all is well..
ed and ginger.

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