From Steven Georgiou to Yusuf Islam and Back to Normal (?) Again!


I am still involved with these Iranian Space-Seminars on Twitter. Most of them are very interesting, listening to the people trying to form the political future of Iran. There are fascinating discussions by courageous Iranian people these days, and I always try to listen to them, though I must confess that I am not the youngest anymore to preserve to the end! One of them was about religion, women and human rights. Honestly, I was too tired to participate, but it lingered in my head and motivated me to write an article on this topic: religion in general and women in uniqueness. Although, there was more to this, which brought me new ideas:

Some days ago, I watched a documentary about Cat Steven’s changing beliefs; it made me more enthusiastic about writing referring to this phenomenon. Of course, I knew many years ago, since those days, that this genius musician had lost his way and mind to himself and gone crazy! And when I heard it, I was so upset about his decision that I didn’t follow it anymore.

I tried to keep him like I got to know him as Cat Stevens, an excellent songwriter. Although the question is, why does it happen at all? Why a musician like him, who had a good successful life in a free society, suddenly must fall into such an abyss!? Is it the fault of far too many opportunities in a free and prosperous world, or is it his early fame? Is too much freedom dangerous? I can’t say. I also, though rarely, met women who converted their Christian beliefs to Islam. I must say I was shocked whenever I heard it or met one.

You might answer that it is not all good in the west. I agree, though. I was born in a country with many limitations: political and religious narrowness and separations between gender. Therefore, when I came to the west, I thought I would meet more open and free-minded people. Of course, my thoughts were almost correct, but almost! I got to know women who married Muslim men, have been converted to Islam and wear hijab! Even in discos, they come without their husbands to enjoy music, which Islam forbids. And every day, as I see the brave women in Iran freeing their hair from this oppression, the women in a free political environment return to Middle Ages! Isn’t it a paradox?

It may make it clear what Dr Jung uttered to explain humans’ way of being:

Yes, I am convinced that it is an utterly wrong way. It is a reactionary decision, as Iranians say, “throw oneself from a hole in a well”! But why must it happen?
We may accept that man is in the grip of confusion, whether bound or free. The case of Cat Stevens shows us: he was famous and happy as he sang this song;

He was, without a doubt, looking for himself and the famous happiness! Might his losing path be because he had no chance in love? The song; “Lady D’Arbanville” tolls his pain and frustration with life.

As Stevens was nearing the end of his recovery, he attended a party that boasted a gathering of musicians in London, including Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and others. Among the party-goers was Patti D’Arbanville, a US teenager pursuing a modelling career and later gaining prominence as an actress. The two began dating. D’Arbanville stayed with him whenever she was in London but often found her career taking her to Paris and New York City. After over a year together, Stevens was ready to invest in a more serious relationship than was his young, ambitious girlfriend. On a foray to New York, she heard his song about her on the airwaves. Her reaction was one of sadness. She said,

I just have to be by myself for a while to do what I want to do. It’s good to be alone sometimes. Look, Steven [Stevens’ given name] wrote that song when I left for New York. I left for a month; it wasn’t the end of the world, was it? But he wrote this whole song about ‘Lady D’Arbanville, why do you sleep so still.’ It’s about me dead. So while I was in New York, for him, it was like I was lying in a coffin… he wrote that because he missed me because he was down… It’s a sad song.

D’Arbanville continues,

I cried when I heard it because that’s when I knew it was over for good.

My brother Al and I loved and adored him and his songs. He was one of our idols in the music world. Even we were excited when he, on his search, found the way to the Buddha and began to get help in the zen philosophy. Still, his sudden backward turn from progressiveness to primitiveness (I believe that Islam is a primitive religious ideal) not only shocked us, but it was also very disappointing. He left the world of music and art and began to find happiness in the sadness.
And it was not enough: in the early 80s, when the book by Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses, was published, Khomeini made his “Fatwa” (Islamic rule) to condemn Rushdie to death. The free world was horrified, but what has Stevens, who meanwhile called himself Yusuf Islam, done? In an interview, or better to say in a TV discussion with Salvatore Adamo, he uttered his opinion to Adamo’s question of what he’d think by this “Fatwa” he said it was a correct verdict! How deep could one fall?!
Long story short, he is back now in his previous life as if nothing had happened. The difference is only he has a long white bird… Ridiculous!

However, the riddle remains about how strange it is the human to understand this explosive point of the meeting between the soul and the body and endure the pressure to find the balance.

We can now hear one of his latest songs when he was still decent in his head! He confesses that this song is about himself and his way in lost. He was right those days, this sad cat!

The title image: Original Portrait Painting by Cor Lap _ Conceptual Art on Canvas _ Me and my cat

12 thoughts on “From Steven Georgiou to Yusuf Islam and Back to Normal (?) Again!

  1. An enthralling post Aladin, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and reflections about Cat Stevens! Hmm, it’s hard to understand why many ‘stars’, like the mythical Icarus himself, rise so high before they spectacularly fall. I can only guess that their metaphorical ‘waxen wings’ melt because they’re being called back into balance.

    I wrote a little poem about something similar today, (we must be on the same wavelength today!) in that, we have to harness our ‘passions’ otherwise we risk turning ourselves into ash. I’ve titled it, “Smoke for the Soul” it’s on my blog. But a life without passion is dead one. Yes, balancing those opposites seems key. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Icarus! An excellent example. However, I would say; he is that poor man who tried to say what one dares not try. I think Cat Stevens had already felt the heat from the sun and couldn’t keep in orbit! With all my love to you, my dearest.
      Oh yes! I have read your heavenly poem… my heart will tell me the rest.🥰💖🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  2. elainemansfield

    Thanks for the education, Aladin. I feel the heartbreak and burnout, even when Cat Steven says “I’m happy.” In 1970 when Cat Stevens was becoming popular, I spent my time meditating, learning Jung, having children (first son was born in 1970), being in love, and taking classes with my root guru. I can’t imagine moving from the world stage to becoming part of a religion that says no to music and the feminine. I’m surprised to read Stevens is still alive. I may be wrong about that since my information comes from a google search. Life hurts (but not always).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this, Aladin. I love his music too. It is so sad that he would choose repression over freedom. But I suppose freedom is relative. As a woman, there was a time when I found Christianity repressive too. That was a good thing for me, because it forced me to grow into my strength. Maybe Cat’s switch to Islam gave him some comfort during his darkest times. I hope so. If so, that’s a good thing thing too! Thank you for your always fascinating posts. Warmly, Jeanie


    Liked by 1 person

    • It might be so, my lovely Jeane. I always wonder why we must need religion to find out our strength. However, I’d say, as an ex-Muslim, changing from Islam to Christianity to find love is more plausible than the other way around! Anyway, I also hope that he has found peace in his soul. You have always been highly appreciated for the whole in my life. Thank you.


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