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Friday, Oct 31 , 2014 ( Muharram, 1436)

Updated:10:00 PM GMT

Yusuf Islam to Release New Album

By OnIslam & News Agencies ,
Yusuf
The first single from Islam's new album will be released in Britain at the start of November.
The first single from Islam's new album will be released in Britain at the start of November.
LONDON — Yusuf Islam, formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens, is set to release his first commercial album nearly three decades after he reverted to Islam and withdrew from the pop world, dismissing criticism that returning to the music industry is a betrayal of his Muslim faith.

"It's me, so it's going to sound like that of course ... This is the real thing," Islam was quoted Sunday, October1, as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"When my son brought the guitar back into the house, you know, that was the turning point. It opened a flood of, of new ideas and music which I think a lot of people would connect with."

The first single from the new album An Other Cup will be released in Britain at the start of November, while the album will be launched later in the month to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of his first Cat Stevens album, "Matthew and Son."

Islam initiated his comeback with a live performance in London on September 26 to an audience that includes former US president Bill Clinton, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as well as the famous acting couple, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Islam has never stopped making records over the last three decades, releasing three albums of Islam-related songs, The Life of the Last Prophet (1995), Prayers of the Last Prophet (1999) and a record for children, A Is for Allah (2000), most of them have been for humanitarian causes.

The former pop star reverted to Islam in 1977 and has since become a leading voice in Britain's Muslim minority estimated at 1.8 million people.

His UN-registered charity, Small Kindness, provides humanitarian relief, through direct aid as well as social and educational programs, to orphans and families in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and other regions of the world.

He is also head of the Islamia Schools trust and has met Prince Charles in his new role.

In 2003, Islam was awarded the "World Social Award" for his humanitarian relief work.

More recently, in November 2004, he was honored with the "Man for Peace" award by a committee of Nobel peace laureates.

No Contradiction

Islam has asserted that there is no contradiction between religion and music.

"At no time was there ever an ultimatum for me to have to choose between music or Islam," writes Islam in an essay called "Music: A Question of Faith or Da'wah."

"Whilst I agree that some songs and musical influences are haram (prohibited), this judgment does not apply to every singer or every single note and crotchet played."

He went on to say that many who listen to those old songs recognize that they "represent the poetic inspiration of a seeker, someone thirsting for peace, and trying to understand the unexplained mysteries of life."

In fact, he noted that in Iran the authorities "have recently decided that the songs I sang as Cat Stevens provide a good example for youth, to show that there are positive aspects to some music and art."

Islam notes in his essay that since the genocide against Bosnia in 1992, he learnt how important motivational songs are in keeping people’s spirits high during times of great calamity.

"One of the things that changed me greatly was listening to the cassettes coming out of the Balkans at that time; these were rich and highly motivating songs (nasheeds), inspiring the Bosnians with the religious spirit of faith and sacrifice."

The father of five underlined that the real issue of music must be the message in the words of the song.

"As long as it conforms to moral norms and doesn’t divert a person from his or her duties in worshipping Allah Most High, then it has its place in the culture of Islam."

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