“My songs are a kind of narrative to my life and if you look at them listen to them you’ll hear all the explanations of where I was and where I was going”
“I discovered something beyond the facade of what we are taught to believe about others particularly the muslim world and I had my misconceptions so I had to break through that”
“You know its a mysterious thing about how music is so powerful. I believe its something to do with the longing that human beings have for unification with something higher and more harmonious than their existence and their mundane lives. Wanting to grasp that somehow becomes possible through the vehicle of music”
“You’ll find that a lot of songs were seeking answers. Now I didn’t have the answers. I was looking for answers. As a poet I’d be expressing myself. As a songwriter I would be expressing myself through my music, through my words but I wasn’t really providing any answers I was looking. So there was a gap, music in a way fills a certain need, Fulfils a certain need mainly when people are living in the kind of pressure of this modern life they need some relief.”
“I started reflecting on my thoughts and those questions which were knocking at my conscious. I started writing those kind of lyrics in my songs”
“Your God and our God is one God. I mean what could be clearer? But then if you ask what the headlines say they would not imagine that that is what muslims believe.”
“The media has played a rather non-positive role in creating my image and I think that its time that people listen to my words and what comes from my heart rather than what other people say about me”
“You can argue with a philosopher, but you can’t argue with a good song. And I think I’ve got a few good songs.”
“I suppose that the media and their portrayal of Islam and the almost tribal separations and divisions of the Muslims are the greatest issues confronting Muslims in the United Kingdom.”
“The fact that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cared for every human being and tried his best to ensure their security in the hereafter must be the most telling of his compassionate and merciful characteristics.”
“I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith far removed from the headlines of violence, destruction and terrorism.”
“I always stood for the elimination of conflict and wars, and any of those causes that ignite them.”
“The verses of the Qur’an talked about other Prophets as brothers preaching the same unifying script of mankind, showing every man and woman the way to Paradise. I saw the names of Jesus, of Moses, of Abraham, of Jacob, of Noah and of course, crucially, the name of this last messenger, the last Messenger of God, Muhammad.”
“I was searching for God all my life, and as I moved from one spiritual teaching to another, I came to see them as circles, so I decided to look at what it was at the center of each of these circles; I saw Christianity as a circle, and at the center of it was Christ. I saw Judaism as a circle, and at the center of it was the Jewish identity. I saw Buddhism as a circle, and at the center of it was the Self and overcoming it. When I came to Islam, I saw it as a circle, but at its center I found only God, and God was Whom I was looking for all my life”.
“People who rush to judge others simply because of a difference in fiqh (understanding) are more in danger than anyone to fall into error and should remember the dangers to themselves”
“There are three types of people: Those building Bridges; those bent on destroying them; and those waiting to cross”
“Criticisms came from some small sections of the Muslim Community who quite incredibly assumed that because I was making music I had left Islam – God forbid!”
(From ‘Why I Still Carry a Guitar’)
“There is a God
You can know Him if you try
You can approach Him if you try…”
“I don’t think that God sent us prophets and books to fight about these books and these prophets. But they were telling us, actually, how to live together. If we ignore those teachings…whichever faith you belong to, you profess, I think we’ll be finding ourselves in an even deeper mess.”
“It appeared to me that the propaganda invented about the religion of Islam was one of the biggest theological cover-ups in history – or else we all simply had our eyes and ears closed.”
“Whenever a person feels sorry for the poor victims of (Palestinian) occupation such as orphans, the disabled, widows and medical cases, if you try to help give charity to them – be warned, you may be considered a terrorist.”
For the soul of nobody knows, how a flower grows – how does a flower grow?
I once went through a stage where I turned my back on everything that I’d done before, but of course that was a radical and over zealous reaction to the spiritual happiness that I’d felt in Islam.
The Qur’an that our young pupils learn at Islamia is full of stories and lessons from the history of humanity as a whole. The Gospels and the Torah are referred to; Jesus and Abraham are mentioned.
“Music is universally present in this world, even in the jungles, oceans and deserts; birds sing, seas crash and the wind howls. Nature has its own magnificent song in praise of the Creator.”
Violence is almost an everyday occurrence in some Muslim lands: it should not be exacerbated by revenge attacks on more innocent families and communities.
“The words of my songs speak for themselves.”
“If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there’s a million ways to be, you know that there are.”
“I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry.”
“Picking up the guitar made me feel just like I did when I first began to learn chords back in the sixties, like being an amateur again with nothing to lose; a flood of new music poured out…”
“9/11… The manic attempt to cause maximum suffering and death in the name of Islam now became the greatest opportunity to blacken the name of Muslims you could ever dream of…”
“Art itself is an aesthetic crossroad, where cultures and civilization freely mix peacefully without borders or passports. It is the way in which we can trade with each other the fruits of our beliefs and ideas, in symbols and through prose, the mysterious sentiments and beauty of our faith and eternal hopes.”
“Perhaps I was particularly blessed to have discovered Islam in 1977, before the Iranian Revolution, when Muslims where less visible and Islam’s spiritual message less smothered by political events and violent headlines. But given the opportunity to study the Revelation and not the Revolution, the result – God willing – would have been the same.”