Believe it or not, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world! Many scholars and researchers have been intrigued into learning and studying the ways of Islam and why so many people make the bold decision to convert to it. The beauty of Islam has even attracted the most famous celebrities from other faiths or Atheism who take it upon themselves to learn more and eventually convert to the religion. ? Here are 10 celebrities you probably didn’t know converted to Islam!
Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://bit.ly/3LnFN1F
1. A.R. Rahman
Credit: Vogue India
Known for being gifted in music composition, A.R. Rahman was the mastermind behind some of the iconic early 2000s pop music - Jai Ho by The Pussycat Dolls is just one of the many! But did you know that he wasn’t always known as ‘A.R. Rahman’? In fact, he was born into a Hindu household as Dileep Kumar. Although his mother was from an Islamic family that practised Sufism (a part of Islam that focuses on soul purification through meditation and chanting sessions), A.R. Rahman was raised as a Hindu. It was not until his sister fell severely ill when he was exposed to the teachings of Islam and decided to take the step towards it himself.
- Dave Chapelle
Comedian Dave Chapelle is known for his stand-ups and genius clap backs but did you know that he converted to Islam? He was inspired by his brother who converted to Islam after being inspired by the stories and sharings of a family friend. It was even reported that Dave had made the decision to leave one of his shows because it contradicted his Islamic beliefs! Now Dave continues to inspire others by speaking of his experience with Islam and how his faith has allowed him to use his comedy for a greater purpose.
Dave even goes on talk shows (with David Letterman) to share the beauty of Islam and even recounts one of his favourite stories from the Quran - the origin of Zamzam water - which was said to have miraculously appear in front of Prophet Abraham's (Prophet Ibrahim) wife Hajar while she was desperately looking for water for her child in the dessert. It now remains as a natural source of water that is available to drink near the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia!
- Muhammad Ali
Everyone knows the fighting champion Muhammad Ali! Born a Christian, Muhammad Ali was a professional boxer and was even regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is frequently ranked as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. After converting to Islam, Muhammad Ali was not shy to share his religious views with the world, making him one of the most iconic reverts in history.
If you’re a fan of 2000s pop music, then you’ll be familiar with this name - Akon. But the US-Senegalese singer and rapper’s real name is Aliaune Thiam and he was born a Muslim. While he may not have converted to Islam, he’s a rather impressive man! In a 2019 interview with The National News, Akon mentioned that he wanted to help people with his money. He was quoted saying “Now I may not make a million dollars out of that transaction, but I may get a few good credits to go to paradise. I am cool with that.”
- Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal made his conversion to Islam public in 2010 when he posted on his Youtube channel about his plans to go on the sacred Muslim pilgrimage, Hajj. However, his conversion didn’t come as much of a surprise for the athlete’s fans, as his middle name Rashaun translates to little warrior, in Arabic.
- Mike Tyson
In 1992 and 1995, Mike Tyson, the world's undisputed heavyweight champion, converted to Islam while serving a prison sentence. Very few knew about his conversion until he tweeted a photo of himself in 2010, in front of the holy Kaaba in Mecca, performing Umrah. He now goes by the name Malik Abdul Aziz.
- Snoop Lion
Snoop Dogg or better (now) known as Snoop Lion converted to Islam in 2019. At that time, he was very vocal and proud of being part of the Nation of Islam but after three years of being a Muslim, he had decided to change faiths and is now a Rastafarian (a religion that was developed in Jamaica to live a balanced and natural way of life from dressing to diet).
- 8. Janet Jackson
Known as Michael Jackson’s little sister, Janet Jackson has made a name for herself with her passion and hard work in the music entertainment industry. Many may know that she converted to Islam after marrying her husband Qatari-born, London-based billionaire Muslim Wissam Al Mana. However, reports have suggested that after their divorce, Janet Jackson has shown no signs of continuing as a Muslim.
Bonus: celebrities who are Muslim
- DJ Khalid
DJ Khalid was born and raised a Muslim! Unsurprisingly, the Grammy Award-winning music producer is proud to be Muslim and was quoted saying in an Esquire interview in 2018, “"It's life for me. I was born Muslim, my family raised me Muslim. It's beautiful, it's amazing, it's incredible and it has put so many blessings upon me and my family,"
- Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid is one of the most prominent names in the fashion industry. She was born a Muslim to Palestinian real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and Dutch model Yolanda Hadid. Bella shared in a GQ interview that she regrets not growing and learning about the Muslim culture as a result of her parents divorce that separated her from her Muslim father. She says her acting debut that centres around an American-Muslim character has ignited her desire to reconnect with the Muslim culture.
Interesting isn’t it? Most of us are blessed to be born Muslim and we may never know the challenges of non-Muslims when it comes to finding their faith in Islam. Reading this article, does it make you count your blessings?