Michael Jackson (Conversion to Islam)
Many news sites carried the story that Michael Jackson had converted to Islam in 2008. Muslims then used this for propaganda purposes, spreading it through the blogosphere and user-contributed media sites like Youtube. The source given for this information was usually the New York Post article, however the original source is a notorious tabloid in the UK called "The Sun".
Original Article from The Sun
The skint superstar, 50, donned Islamic garb to pledge allegiance to the Koran in a ceremony at a pal's mansion in Los Angeles, The Sun can reveal.
Jacko sat on the floor wearing a tiny hat after an Imam was summoned to officiate - days before the singer is due to appear at London's High Court where he is being sued by an Arab sheik.
A source told last night how Jacko, brought up as a Jehovah's Witness, decided to convert as he used a studio at the home of his chum to record a new album.
The star - whose hits include The Way You Make Me Feel - was spotted looking "a bit down" by a producer and a songwriter who had both embraced Islam. Shahada
The source said: "They began talking to him about their beliefs, and how they thought they had become better people after they converted. Michael soon began warming to the idea.
"An Imam was summoned from the mosque and Michael went through the shahada, which is the Muslim declaration of belief." Mikaeel is the name of one of Allah's angels.
"Jacko rejected an alternative name, Mustafa - meaning "the chosen one".
Brit singer Yousef Islam, 60 - who was called Cat Stevens until he famously converted - turned up to help Jacko celebrate.
It was his pals David Wharnsby - a Canadian songwriter - and producer Phillip Bubal who counselled Jacko.
The pair's new names are Dawud Wharnsby Ali and Idris Phillips.
Jacko now prays to Mecca after the ceremony at the Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro, 51, who composed music on the singer's Thriller album.
Jacko, who rarely ventures out without a mask, is due to give evidence on Monday in a £4.7million lawsuit brought by Prince Abdulla Al-Khalif of Bahrain.
The sheik claims he bankrolled the singer's lavish lifestyle in exchange for an exclusive recording contract. The billionaire sent songs for him to record but claims he was blanked.He told the court yesterday: "Many times he confirmed to me he would pay me back."
Neil Syson, The Sun, November 21, 2008, http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/article1954666.ece.
The Sun regularly runs false stories about celebrities and other issues, and relies on sensationalist headlines in order to sell papers. In the 1980's it earned itself the reputation of basing its stories on "few facts". In 1987, the Sun falsely accused Elton John of having a sexual relationship with rent boys and of removing voice boxes from his guard dogs because they kept him awake. Elton John won £1 million in libel damages, then the largest payout in British history. Later the Sun apologized to Elton John on its main page for inventing the lies. Perhaps this well-known reputation of the paper that first ran the story is what prompts those who perpetuate the "Michael Jackson has converted to Islam!" rumour, to cite the New York Post as their source, and not the actual source, The Sun.
Analysis of Key Points
However, to play along, let's take a look at the key points raised in this article from The Sun:
1. Michael allegedly changed his name to Mikaeel.
Was this a legal name change? If not, why not? He could have still used his 'old' name for official business. Did he sign this name anywhere? Do we have any evidence that anyone ever called him Mikaeel? Anywhere other than this article of course.
2. Swearing allegiance to the Qur'an.
Where did the author get this from? Swearing allegiance to the Qur'an is not a pillar of Islam, nor is it required in order to convert. In fact, to those who know even a little bit about Islam, it sounds downright strange.
3. The Imam.
Who was the imam? What mosque? Surely this imam would be yapping all over the place at the high profile convert he just saved from Allah's hell-fire?
4. The Source.
The 'source' of this article is never named, yet the author of the article has no qualms about naming three others who were allegedly there. Why not name the source?
Statement from David Wharnsby
David Wharnsby, Wharnsby.com, June 26, 2006, http://web.archive.org/web/20090629061043/http://wharnsby.com/blog1/2009/06/26/the-passing-of-michael-jackson.
Statement from Yusuf Islam
Yusuf Islam, Chinese Whiskers (FAQS), http://www.yusufislam.com/faq/did-yusuf-help-jackson-become/.
Jackson's Lawyer Rejects Claim
In November 2008, Jackson's New York lawyer, Londell McMillan rejected a British press report that Jackson has become a Muslim. "That's rubbish. It's completely untrue," McMillan told reporters.
In summary, two of the [alleged] guests at this conversion ceremony have stated on their own websites that the 'Michael Jackson conversion story' is false. Jackson's lawyer also denied the conversion.
To add further credence to the claims that Michael Jackson has converted to Islam, believers have flooded Youtube and other media hosting sites with Nasheed's alleged to have been recorded by Jackson. Here are some examples:
Give Thanks to Allah
While the above Nasheed does sound like Michael Jackson, it is not. It is actually an artist by the name of Zain Bhikha who announced on his MySpace blog that "Michael Jackson never sang this song":
So, to clarify, Micheal Jackson never sang this song. I wrote and recorded "Give Thanks to Allah" as a simple childrens song many years ago and it has been released on various independant albums since.
Zain Bhikha, Official MySpace blog, July 2, 2009, http://web.archive.org/web/20121106143559/http://www.myspace.com/zainbhikha/blog/498118718.
Here is a live version on Youtube that is correctly credited:
Here are a few more Nasheed's sung by Zain Bhikha. More can be found on Youtube:
Waiting for the Call
Again, the above sounds like Michael Jackson, but yet again, it is not. This Nasheed is performed by Irfan Makki.
Here is a live performance of the song given by Makki:
Islam in my Veins
Some Muslims are now spreading Makki's song under the new title "Islam in my veins"
Presented as additional 'proof' that Michael converted to Islam, is the snippet at the end of this video, where Michael says "inshallah" (Allah willing):
However, this is simply a case of selective editing. The Muslim who made this video has cut off the first part of Michael's statement. This was recorded as a promo for his Tunisian fans on the eve of his HIStory world tour. You can view the uncut message here (note the Arabic logo in the top right).
In the video, the announcer says he will be performing at "our Olympic stadium" and Michael says he will be there on the 7th. The concert in Tunisia was held at El Menzah Stadium  on the 7th of October, 1996.  Since Arabic is Tunisia's official language and since Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians living in Tunisia also use the phrase "Inshallah", it was simply a polite gesture for Michael to do so, and not proof that he had converted to Islam. Furthermore, Michael was alleged to have converted to Islam in 2008, yet this video is from 1996 - 12 years earlier.
Comments from Family
A: I testify this fact, at least there is nothing in my knowledge that Michael Jackson ever said anything derogatory against Muslims. His songs, too, give message of love for others. We have learnt from our parents to love others. Only those who have their own ax to grind hurl allegations on him. When there can be a nasty uproar against me when I became Muslim, why can it not be so against Michael Jackson. But, so far, media has not subjected him to scathing criticism, although he is threatened for his getting somewhat closer to Islam. But who knows what would it look like when Michael Jackson embraces Islam.
"I brought him a lot of books, and he reads everything and he reads a lot."I think he's probably given it serious thought because he's spent a lot of time in Bahrain. I was the reason why he had gone there because I wanted him to get out of America and just go somewhere peaceful and quiet, where people pray five times a day. It's a beautiful thing."
There are no statements from Jermaine saying that Michael has converted to Islam - but only saying that he hopes he does, or he might soon, etc. In 2003 asked during an appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live” whether his brother planned to convert, Jermaine Jackson said he did not. Given that Jermaine has talked to the press about this already, if Michael had in fact converted to Islam, it is reasonable to assume that he would give another interview to announce his brother's conversion to Islam. If he had converted specifically to the Nation of Islam, we would also expect such an announcement from NOI as well. Where are these announcements?
Press Conference Announcement
On the day of his death, Jermaine held a press conference to announce to the world that Michael had died. Muslims also present this video as proof that Michael converted to Islam, because near the end of the video, Jermaine says: "May Allah be with you Michael, always."
To many Muslims, this is irrefutable proof that Michael converted to Islam. However, all it really shows is that Jermaine is a Muslim. If a Christian comes to you and says "May Jesus bless you", does that make you a Christian? No, of course not. Many people turn to their faith (if they have it) in times of crises, particularly death. This was simply Jermaine expressing his own (Islamic) religious beliefs and does not say anything about the personal beliefs of Michael.
Confirms Michael did not Convert
In an interview with Dubai-based pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya in January 2010, Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson confirmed that Jackson had not converted to Islam:
Again, during an interview with the BBC World Service that aired in June 2010:
On July the 24th, 2009, an article was published about Marlon Jackson's visit to Lagos, Nigeria. During a Q&A session in Lagos, Marlon was asked whether or not his brother Michael had converted to Islam. Here is his response as per the article:
Nation of Islam
Michael Jackson's association with the Nation of Islam is another favourite 'proof' that Muslims like to put forward to show that Jackson did in fact convert to Islam. It is important to note that the Nation of Islam is a sub-cult of Islam, and normally derided by Muslims as "not true Islam"; but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to evidence. So the story goes like this: Michael allegedly converts to Islam, and allegedly the NOI flavour. Yet we are expected to believe that The Final Call- the Nation of Islam's own newspaper did not print this fantastic information? Surely any religion that gained such a high profile convert would want to let the world know? After all, Jackson had a huge fan base, thus a lot of influence.
There have been claims that Michael's life was being 'controlled by Nation of Islam members', but these claims come from unnamed or anonymous sources. Those who were willing to reveal themselves stated that this was not true, and that they were only used for security purposes. This fits with the later stories reporting that Jackson fired his NOI 'bodyguards.'
It is highly likely that Michael Jackson came to employ the services of NOI members due to his brother's association with the cult. Jermaine Jackson converted to Islam in 1989 and adheres to NOI beliefs and practices. There is no evidence that the Nation of Islam was associated with Michael for any other purpose than for security - and they were later fired from that post according to the reports.
After he was acquitted of all charges in 2005, Michael Jackson moved to Bahrain.  Many Muslims have pointed to this as further evidence that Jackson had 'reverted' to Islam and thus wanted to immerse himself in Islamic culture and get away from the 'evil West' - the place that had caused him so much trouble in his personal life. But was his choice of location really motivated by his alleged conversion to Islam, or by the people around him?
Media reports state that Michael was staying in a royal palace in Bahrain, as a guest of the King's son Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is a personal friend of Jermaine Jackson, Michael's brother. Jermaine converted to Islam (NOI) in 1989 after a trip to Bahrain. However, Abdullah had been in contact with Michael before he moved to Bahrain - sending financial support to help Michael pay his bills in the midst of his most recent molestation trial. Shaykh Abdullah later sued Jackson claiming the money he gave him was a cash advance on a recording contract and that Jackson had breached his contract Given that Abdullah was financially assisting Jackson before they had even met, and that Jackson was supposed to repay the debt by releasing a charity album with Abdullah, it does not seem likely that Michael travelled to Bahrain for any "Islamic" reasons - but that it was his brother Jermaine (and his ties to Bahrain) that influenced the move to Bahrain, and the friendship with the Shaykh.
Many sites reported that Michael was going to build a mosque in Bahrain, however the original story always cites the same source, which was an article printed in the Khaleej Times citing an unnamed 'spokesperson.' The fact checking of the article is also questionable because the author did not even bother to confirm the spelling of Michael's brothers' name - spelling it "Germain" instead of "Jermaine."
It is often pointed out that during his stay in Bahrain, Michael took to wearing an Abaya, which is Islamic dress for Muslim females. Apparently to the believers this 'proves' that he had converted to Islam. However this does not explain why Jackson would dress in female clothing. Why wouldn't he be wearing Islamic men's clothing? Explaining it away as "Michael Jackson is just weird" is not a convincing argument, considering effeminate men who assume the manners of women [i.e. female dress] are cursed by Muhammad and his followers are told to turn them out of their houses. If anything, this is additional proof to the negative.
There is a much more plausible explanation for the choice of clothing - Michael explained in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993 that he suffers from the chronic skin condition Vitiligo, which is why his skin is so 'white' - as he had no skin pigmentation left due to the disease. Those with Vitiligo are more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer, and thus it is prudent for those who suffer from the condition to cover up while they are in sunlight. There is ample evidence that Michael Jackson suffered from vitiligo and this was confirmed by his autopsy report. So it was not just some 'skin bleaching' fetish, as claimed by detractors.
All the pictures available from Michael's time in Bahrain where he is pictured wearing the Abaya are taken either outside, or in place where he would have been outside shortly before or after (for example a shopping centre). There are other pictures depicting Michael inside a house or another sort of building where he is not wearing the Abaya, because he is not in the sunlight. It is also interesting to note that in the pictures where he is wearing the Abaya, he is also wearing gloves - which are not required for Muslims. However this would be a 'must' for someone who wanted to protect the skin on their hands from being damaged.
Given that the temperature in Bahrain can reach as high as 41° C , Jackson wearing the Abaya to protect himself from the Bahrain sun is far more likely than the claim that he's a [cross-dressing] 'revert' to Islam, who [if it were not for his fame] would never be accepted among Muslims.
So far, we have refuted all the evidence presented in favor of a conversion. Additional evidence can be considered to make a circumstantial case that he did not convert.
Andrae and Sandra Crouch
Three weeks prior to his death, Michael met with long-time friends and gospel singers Andrae and Sandra Crouch. They, along with their choir, have previously sung backing vocals on Michael Jackson's "Bad", "Dangerous" and "HIStory" albums. According to an official statement made by Sandra in regards to their final meeting with Michael, all three sang and prayed together:
Sandra Crouch, Facebook
A spokesperson for gospel legend Andrae Crouch, elaborates:
Spokesperson for Andrae Crouch, June 30, 2009
The likelihood that someone who had recently 'reverted' to Islam, would be praying with non-Muslims and asking them for advice on spirituality is slim to none as Islam teaches that Christians are in error regarding their beliefs - that they commit shirk which is the only unforgiveable sin to Allah. Furthermore, if Michael had indeed converted to Islam, then it would have surely been brought up during the meeting. In fact, if this conversion story were true, then we should expect at least one family member, friend, associate or employee to have confirmed this. So far, there has been no such confirmation.
Funeral and Burial
After Michael Jackson's death, many blogs reported that his family met with an Imam in order to discuss Islamic funeral arrangements. However all of these reports link back to one blog. The author of the blog has added this update:
Imam Johari Abdul Malik (blog), June 27, 2009, http://imamjohari.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/imam-visits-michael-jacksons-family-to-discuss-funeral-arrangements/.
The author claimed they heard it briefly mentioned on CNN, but this has not been confirmed with CNN, nor has anyone apart from the blogger been able to confirm this was actually discussed on CNN, however briefly. Some sites questioned what CNN really reported and suggested that it could possibly have been a general discussion about the death of Michael Jackson, as well as Islamic funerary customs, due to the rumours surrounding his alleged conversion. Even if it was stated on CNN that an imam was meeting with the family, this is not conclusive proof.
For someone to be buried in the "Islamic way" they must be wrapped in a white sheet for burial, and buried as soon as possible after death. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, yet was buried in a $25,000 casket more than two months later on September 3rd at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. The public Michael Jackson memorial service and tribute was Christian not Muslim.
After reading this article and others like it, many Muslims (and non-Muslims) are now convinced that the evidence presented as proof that Michael Jackson converted to Islam are not accurate. However there are some who just don't want to let this go. Given that all their previous evidence has been debunked on many websites, they have come up with some interesting theories, proofs and conspiracies to keep hope alive. These are too ridiculous to be worthy of a rebuttal. Here are some examples:
- Michael Jackson was murdered because he was going to announce that he had secretly converted to Islam.
- Facebook - Michael Jackson got murdered because he became a Muslim?
- Al-Amin - MICHAEL JACKSON’S (MURDER) CONSPIRACY- now a martyr for Islam
- Youtube - Michael Jackson was assassinated Because became muslim
- SelectSmart - Was Michael Jackson Murdered?
- The Revival - Was Michael Jackson Murdered?
- Michael's brain was examined during his autopsy and the tests showed that he had memories of becoming a Muslim.
[......]I MEANT HIS BRAIN WAS CHECKED
Michael Jackson Discussions, Facebook
It began with wishful thinking from his Nation of Islam following Muslim brother Jermaine, and continued with a 'conversion' article from a highly suspect tabloid, which has been denounced by two of the people who were allegedly present at the event in addition to Michael's personal lawyer who rejected the report. Michael's trip to Bahrain, his association with Sheik Abdullah & the Nation of Islam can all be explained by Jermaine's influence. His wearing of the Abaya in Bahrain is better explained by his skin condition. The Nasheed's of course are not actually by Michael Jackson with Zain Bhikha denying that Michael sang the song "Give thanks to Allah", and finally, the "inshallah" video is a 12 year-old promo for a Tunisian concert addressed to an Arabic-speaking nation.
All of the 'proofs' that have been offered in support of a conversion to Islam and which have been scrutinised here, must be discarded when researching the claim further. Once this has been done, we are left with nothing. There is absolutely no evidence that Michael Jackson converted to Islam - be it Nation of Islam or otherwise.
- Michael Jackson converts to Islam - Religion News Blog, November 21, 2008
- Michael Jackson: Islam - Mahalo.com
- Report: Michael Jackson converts to Islam - United Press International, November 21, 2008
- Graham Tibbetts - Michael Jackson 'converts to Islam and changes name to Mikaeel' - The Telegraph, November 21, 2008
- Neil Syson - Michael Jackson converts to Islam changes name to Mikaeel - The New York Post, November 20, 2008
- The Sun/ Controversies - Wikipedia
- The Sun/ Allegations of Homophobia - Wikipedia
- Ellen Tumposky - Michael Jackson and Prince of Bahrain settled lawsuit 'amicably,' say lawyers - NY Daily News, November 24 2008
- Stade El Menzah
- HIStory world Tour - First leg
- Nation of Islam denies direct tie to Jackson - msnbc.com
- The 'Nation of Islam' is Not Islam: A collection of articles by Muslims - muhajabah.com
- Roland S. Martin - Michael Jackson and the Nation of Islam - Black America Today, December 31, 2003
- Nation of Islam denies direct tie to Jackson - MSNBC, December 30, 2003
- Dispute in Michael Jackson Camp Over Role of the Nation of Islam - The New York Times, December 30, 2003
- Jacko Fires the Nation of Islam - Fox News
- Randall Watters - Jackson to Fire Islam Bodyguards - FreeMinds, May 1, 2009
- Jackson to Fire Islam Bodyguards - New York Post
- Rick Alan Ross - Just call him “Michael X”? - Cult News, December 19, 2003
- Michael Jackson vacationing in Bahrain - MSNBC, June 30, 2005
- Interview with Jermaine Jackson
- Stephen Adams - Bahraini sheikh gave Michael Jackson more than $1 million before they had met - The Telegraph, November 20, 2008
- Michael Jackson sued by Bahraini prince Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa - AFP, November 18, 2008
- Raphael G. Satter - Bahrain Sheik Sues Michael Jackson For $7 Million - The Huffington Post, November 17, 2008
- Michael Jackson settles court case with Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa - AFP, November 24, 2008
- Jackson to build a mosque in Bahrain - MilitantIslamMonitor, November 27, 2005
- Robert Spencer - Michael Jackson to build a Mosque in Bahrain - DhimmiWatch, November 24, 2005
- Bahrain: Michael Jackson To Build Mosque After Incident In Ladies' Lavatory - Western Resistance
- Jackson to build a mosque in Bahrain - Khaleej Times, November 24, 2005
- ”The Prophet cursed effeminate men; those men who are in the similitude (assume the manners of women) and those women who assume the manners of men, and he said, "Turn them out of your houses." The Prophet turned out such-and-such man, and 'Umar turned out such-and-such woman.” - Sahih Bukhari 7:72:774
- Vitiligo Photos (and Lupus) Michael Jackson
- Vitiligo Photos (and Lupus) Michael Jackson (2)
- Vitiligo Photos: Michael Jackson and/or Lupus (3)
- Vitiligo Photos: Michael Jackson and/or Lupus (4)
- Sudha Krishna - Vitiligo: Michael Jackson Autopsy Confirms Skin Disorder - NowPublic, February 9, 2010
- Bahrain/ Climate - Wikipedia
- wfol.tv - "Did CNN report an Imam will do Muslim burial of MJ?"
- Michael Jackson Funeral - michaeljacksonfuneral.org