Islam Unknotted Many Complications for me
By: Jermain Jackson
Jermain Jackson. Brother of Michael Jackson, embraced Islam after a visit to Bahrain as part of his Middle East tour in 1989. He has taken the name Muhammad Abdul Aziz and lives on the outskirts of Los Angeles. This is the place where he and his sisters compose their musical notes. It is constantly under surveillance by more than 15 security vans round the clock.
It was back in 1989 when I, along with my sister, conducted a tour to some of the countries of Middle East. During our stay in Bahrain, we were accorded warm welcome. There I happened to meet some children and had a light chitchat with them. I put a certain questions to them and they flung at me their innocent queries. During the course of this interaction they inquired about my religion. I told them, “I am a Christian.” I asked them, as to what was their religion? A wave or serenity took over them. They replied in one voice – Islam. Their enthusiastic answer really shook me from within. Then they started telling me about Islam. They were giving me information, much in piece with their age. The pitch of their voice would reveal that they were highly proud of Islam. This is how I paced towards Islam.
A very short interaction with a group of children ultimately led me to have long discourses about Islam with Muslim scholars. A great ripple had taken place in my thought. I made failing attempt to console myself that nothing had happened but I could not conceal this fact any longer from myself that at heart I had converted to Islam. This I disclosed first to my family friend, Qunber Ali.
Having embraced Islam, I found answers to such queries as those relating to the birth of Christ. For the first time I was convinced about the religion itself. When I got back to the United States after embracing Islam, American media orchestrated heinous propaganda against Islam and the Muslims. The gossips were let loose on me which really disturbed my peace of mind. The Hollywood was hell-bent upon maligning the Muslims. They were being projected as terrorist. There are many things where there is consensus between Christianity and Islam, and the Qur’an presents Christ as a Prophet. Then, I wondered, why Christian America levels baseless allegations against Muslims?
This made me gloomy. I made up my mind that I would do my best to dispel the wrong image of Muslims, portrayed by the American media. I had not the slightest idea that American media would not digest the news of my accepting Islam and raise such a great hue and cry. It was virtually acting against all its tall and much publicized claims about the freedom of expression and the freedom of conscience. So the hypocrisy of American society came to surface and lay uncovered before me. Islam unknotted many complications for me. As a matter of fact, I came to surface and lay uncovered before me. Islam unknotted many complications for me. As a matter of fact, I came to think of myself as a complete human being, in the literal sense of the word. After becoming Muslim, I felt a tremendous change in me. I discarded all thing prohibited in Islam. This made things difficult for my family too. In short, the Jackson family tumbled altogether. Threatening letters poured in, which further intensified the worries of my family.
Well, they would tell me: “You have tortured the animosity of American society and culture by entering into the fold of Islam; you have deprived yourself of the right to live with others,” They threatened to make life unbearable for me in America.
But I confess that my family is broadminded. We have held all religions in esteem. Our parents have trained and groomed us in that way. This is the result of that training that I am being tolerated by them so far.
On my way back to America, I brought a number of books. Michael Jackson asked me himself for some of these books to study. Before this, his opinion was influenced by the propaganda of American media against Islam and the Muslims. He was not inimical towards Islam, but he was not favorably disposed towards Muslims either. But after reading these books, he would keep mum and not say anything against Muslims.
When I returned to America, my mother had already heard the news of my conversion to Islam. She is a religious and civilized woman. She put forth only one question, “You have taken this decision al of a sudden, or is it the outcome of some deep and long thinking behind it?” “I have decided after a lot of thinking about it,” I replied.
Like other members of my family, my sudden conversion to Islam was a great surprise for my sister pop star Janet Jackson. In the beginning, she was worried. She has stashed into her head only one thing that Muslims are polygamous; with as many as four wives. When I explained this permission granted by Islam with reference to the state of the present American society, she was satisfied. Promiscuity and infidelity is very common in the Western society. Islam safeguards the social fabric from this destruction.
As per Islamic teachings, if a man is emotionally attracted towards a woman, he should honourably give this relation a legal shape otherwise he must be contented with only one wife. On the other hand, Islam has laid down so many conditions for second marriages that I do not think that an ordinary Muslim can afford to meet these conditions financially. There are hardly one percent Muslims in the Islamic world who have more than one wife.
For the larger interest of humanity, Islamic society presents the safest place on this planet. For instance, take the example of women. American women are clad in their out-fit in such a manner that gives temptation to the male for harassment. But this is unthinkable in an Islamic society. Besides, the prevalent sins and vices have disfigured the moral fabric of Western society. I believe if there is any place left where the humanity is still visible, it cannot be anywhere else than in an Islamic society. Time would come when the world would be obliged to accept this reality.
I have met Muhammad Ali a number of times after embracing Islam. Ali is our family friend. He has provided useful guidance about Islam. Many persons have impressed me. But the fact is that first I turn to the Holy Qur’an, therefore I do not run a risk of getting strayed that one can be duly proud of. By the grace of God, I have seven sons and two daughters who, like me, are fully Islamic oriented. My wife is still studying Islam.
(The International Association for New Muslims. Muslim World League)