The King Of Pop; The Prince Of Pain
Like many other people who grew up in the 80’s, I loved listening to Michael Jackson. I was about 7 years old when his Thriller album came out and the “Michael” hysteria that gripped New York City (where I grew up) was amazing. Everyone was wearing Michael Jackson jackets, and shades, and getting Gherri curls. We tried to look like him. We tried to dance like him. We tried to be him.
But as you know, being Michael Jackson must have been a difficult thing. Despite all the money and fame he acquired, he seemed to live a miserable life, especially towards the end. You know what I’m talking about.
- The numerous plastic surgeries
- The accusations of child molestation.
- The rumors of bankruptcy.
I was surprised and pleased when I found out his brother Jermaine Jackson had become Muslim. I also remember reading somewhere that Michael was praying five times a day, though at the time he hadn’t converted to Islam.
Then a few years back he moved to the Middle East and it seemed like he was gravitating more towards Islam.
To make things stranger, he was photographed one day wearing an abaya (overgarment) and niqaab (face veil). Go here to learn more about Islamic clothing for women. when he died in 2009, the “Michael Jackson is Muslim” rumors were flying everywhere. I
t seemed like everyone suddenly wanted to claim the King of Pop as one of their own. However, from what I saw at his funeral, it didn’t seem as if he was Muslim. But Allah knows best about that. I always prefer to look at the bright side of things.
I think there’s a lot we can learn from Michael Jackson’s troubled life that we can apply to our own. Inshallah, if we can look past the bad and see the good, maybe we can find the peace in our lives that Michael Jackson never could.
Know That Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Michael had gobs of money. He had so much money, he didn’t even know what to do with it. He spent his money on all sorts of frivolous, wierd things that most people would never consider buying. It is estimated he earned a total of $500 million throughout his life. Certainly, that amount has gone up since his death.
- He owned two llamas.
- He bought the Oscar statue awarded for the movie “Gone With the Wind” for $1.5 million.
- He paid $17 million dollars for the land that became his Neverland Ranch.
Yet, for all his riches and all his strange purchases, did Michael Jackson ever seem truly happy? To me, the only time he was happy was when he was on stage dancing and singing. Otherwise, he led a pretty miserable life. You and I should take this as a reminder. We spend our lives trying to get more money and more possessions yet we ignore those things that will bring us true happiness.
Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life, and We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did. Surah An-Nahl, verse 97.
Be Content with What Allah Has Given You
Everyone knows about Michael Jackson’s numerous surgeries. There are videos online that show how much his face has changed since he was a little boy. Below is a video morph showing his face changes over the years. If you got a thing about music, you can mute the audio. What could make a person go to such lengths? Why did he feel the face and features that Allah gave him were so ugly that he needed to carve it up into something else? I don’t want to malign a dead man. But this is an example of extreme dissatisfaction with what Allah has given you. For Michael, it led him to disfigure his face. For us, it may lead to other dangerous activities:
- Sacrificing prayer and worship to attain the riches of this world.
- Ignoring or belittling the gifts that Allah has given you.
- Hurting others in order to take something they have that you want.
Read the following quote from the Quran. This is what Shaytan (Satan) is telling Allah about the Children of Adam (mankind).
Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You]. Surah Al-Araf, Verse 17.
Shaytan will do everything he can to make us ungrateful and unhappy with the gifts Allah has given us. Therefore, you must be careful. When you see yourself looking down upon something that you have, don’t look at something better that someone else has. Instead, look at those who have less than you. Be thankful to Allah that you are not in their position and praise Him for giving you the good that you have. And it’s perfectly okay to make dua to Allah if you want something better. Just be patient and grateful until His decree comes to fruition.
Life is Full of Trials.
Is there any wonder Michael Jackson seemed miserable most of the time? Look at the difficulties that poor man suffered:
- He started performing at the age of 4 and never had a real childhood.
- His father was abusive.
- He had very few real friends.
- He had low self-esteem.
- Scandalous rumors were always circulating about him.
- He was accused of child molestation on two occasions.
- He was arrested and tried (though later acquitted) for one of those accusations.
- He was a laughing stock for much of his life.
- He almost filed for bankruptcy near the end of his life.
- He was addicted to drugs which eventually may have led to his death.
Maybe your life doesn’t have that much drama, but I’m sure it isn’t perfect. Certainly you have dreams that have gone unfulfilled. Perhaps you have had your heart broken. Or maybe you’re dealing with a situation that makes life unbearable.
That’s the nature of this world. It is full of pain and struggle. From the time we come out of our mother’s womb, to the day we die, we are faced with one trial after another. The difference between a strong believer and a weak believer is how you deal with them.
If you are a strong believer, you know that Allah is going to try you and test your faith. You know that if you respond well to these trials, you’ll be rewarded in the next life. And you know that know matter how bad things are, they won’t last forever.
For verily, with hardship there is ease. Verily, with hardship there is ease. Surah Ash-Sharh, verses 6-7.
A weak believer complains and places blame. They blame themselves. They blame their friends and family. They may even blame Allah. If you are a strong believer, you know how to deal with these trials. You will be patient with them, and you will seek Allah’s help through prayer.
O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. Surah Baqarah, verse 153.
So be a strong believer. Be strong, Believer.
Death Can Come Suddenly.
I’m certain, when Michael Jackson woke up on the morning of June 25, 2009, that he did not expect to be dead before sundown. Think about that next time you’re about to violate Allah’s commands. The same thing can happen to you. Everyday we move one step closer to our death. None of us know when we’ll die. We don’t even know where we’re gonna die. But rest assured, death will come.
Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. Surah Luqman, verse 34.
Most of us are too busy preparing for life to prepare for Allah. We prepare for life by working and studying and caring for our families. But all of these things will eventually go away. You will eventually leave your job.
Either you’ll get fired or laid off or you’ll quite or you’ll retire. You will eventually leave school. Either you’ll drop out, or you’ll get expelled, or you’ll graduate. Your family will eventually move on. Either they’ll die, or move out and start their own families.
But Allah is forever. He is with you in life and in death. He is with you in secret and in the open. So prepare for your meeting with Him. That goes for the man in the mirror also.