Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sufi Rapper: The Spiritual Journey of Abd al Malik

Religion in Review: March 2009 - 3/23/2009 10:40:00 AM - Publishers Weekly
Sufi Rapper: The Spiritual Journey of Abd al Malik
Abd al Malik. Inner Traditions, $16.95 paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-59477-278-8
Successful French rap star al Malik pens this lyrically written and uplifting little memoir. Although his Congolese parents provided an idyllic early childhood for him in Africa, their moving to France subjected him to the merciless environment of the French banlieues (ghettoes). With honesty, al Malik describes his double life: he was a gifted student reading Camus and Sartre, and he made a small fortune picking pockets every weekend, and later dealing drugs. The contrasts of his life eventually led him to Islam and to the nascent African-American rap movement, both helping him to make sense of the debauched lifestyles he saw. As his fame as a rapper increased, he became more and more confused that music was not permissible in Islam. His agonizing dilemma finally led him to a Sufi spiritual leader who helped him realize that his love of music and art were not wrong but part of divine planning. His story is one of a unique individual, a rapper who quotes American novelist Jonathan Franzen, a Muslim man in awe of his wife’s courage as she gives birth to their son. (Apr.)

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