The singer (formerly Cat Stevens) reflects on what drew him to Islam — and how it allows his creative side to flow.

When my brother came back to the UK following a visit to Jerusalem in 1976, a festival of Islam was taking place in London, and suddenly there were books and exhibitions about Islamic culture in bookshops and museums. He saw the Qur’an in a bookshop window and thought to himself, “That’s the Bible of the Muslims.” He decided to buy it and give it to me as a gift.

The more I read the Qur’an, the more it struck me, deep down. This wasn’t sudden. I’d been looking at several religions — Buddhism, Taoism — while also reconsidering my Christian upbringing. I was interested in different ways of looking at this universe. I didn’t

have peace. If you listened to my songs, you would know I was always searching. Ever since I remember, I was searching for the meaning to life.

I found that Islam was not quite that “foreign” religion which I had come to expect. It was talking about belief in One God, the Master of the universe. It talked about the unity and the indivisibility of the universe.

That message is also contained in the Bible, but the greater clarity, for me, of this message in the Qur’an left a deeper impression. It talked about humanity as one family, and it mentioned many prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, all equally teaching the same message of unity to mankind. —