Michael Jackson: From Jehovah's Witness to Islam
The buzz was loud in November, 2008, when reports came out that one of the world's most famous celebrities was no longer to be known as Michael Jackson, but as Mikaeel, following the King of Pop's conversion to Islam. The former Jehovah's Witness reportedly took the shahada, or oath of Islamic faith, in Los Angeles at the home of a musician friend, after being encouraged to embrace Islam by Canadian-Muslim Dawud Wharnsby and producer Phillip Bubal. His brother, Jermaine Friday, who had converted to Islam in 1989, is also reported to have helped his brother to the fold. Wharnsby and Bulbul told UK's The Sun that they had been speaking to Jackson about their Muslim beliefs and felt they had become better people after converting. Perhaps that was the impetus for Jackson, who had gone from the highest of musical highs to the lowest of the lows when he faced scrutiny over his marriages, plastic surgeries, and charges of child molestation. Conversion to Islam served some of his fellow musicians well, like Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) who recently returned to music with favorable reviews. Tragically, Jackson's conversion came too late to help him find renewal. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. At a press conference announcing his brother's death, Jermaine said, “May Allah be with you, Michael, always.”
--Dilshad D. Ali
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