But many things about the music industry contravened the Islamic way of life — fornication, intoxicants, idolatry, competition, greed, selfishness. How could I really accumulate wisdom and get closer to the angels if I stuck around that kind of a world? I simply decided by myself to give up the music business. At the time, I said, “I have suspended my activities in music for fear that they may divert me from the true path, but I will not be dogmatic in saying that I will never make music again. You can’t say that without adding, ‘Insha Allah’ [‘If Allah Wills’].”

Now I understand that the past is part of myself; without it, I would not be where I am today. I have realised that music is part of our lives. I understand that Islam does not prohibit music, but it does not encourage it either. It took me 20 years to reach that conclusion. The problem with Muslim music is that it is dominated by a conservative musical element originating in Saudi Arabia. It is not the genuine music you’d find in Malaysia, Indonesia, or Turkey. Under proper circumstances, people are allowed to play or listen to music.

[In my past], it was very difficult to stay on the straight path amid all the destabilising drama of rock star existence.

Today I’m trying to redress that balance and find a way to allow my creative side to flow within the generous rivers of Islam’s cultural landscape. The great thing is, I’m still floating. — Beliefnet.com (Concluded)