Song Analysis – “The Beloved” -Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens

“The Beloved” – Yusuf Islam – An Other Cup


His wisdom flowed from heaven’s book

Just like threaded pearls,

Just like threaded pearls


[This song is about Prophet Muhammad, salla allahu alaihi wa sallam (peace be upon him). The first line suggests that the song is about a prophet since “heaven’s book” must refer to a book of scripture, in this case the Quran. Also in the background of the song one can hear the Arabic phrase, salla allahu alaihi wa sallam, an Arabic formula Muslims only use for Prophet Muhammad.


Prophet Muhammad’s wisdom originated from the Quran. Hadrat Aisha referred to him as “the living Quran.” His words were like threaded pearls because they had great value and they were arranged in a systematic order. Part of the beauty of Islam is in its intricate order. There is a process for getting married, a process for recording transactions, a process for writing a will, and so on.]


He left his self to flee to God

And God sent him back to Earth


[Here Yusuf Islam may be alluding to the Miraj, the Prophet’s ascension into Heaven. Or he may be speaking generally of the life of the Prophet. He was a very giving, generous man. He kept very little for his self. He did not indulge in self-glorification. He constantly purified himself to make his soul beautiful in the sight of Allah.  But Allah wanted him to be human, to live among humans, and to love humanity.]


He was born to be the beloved

A will of the Divine

He was born to be the beloved,

He was born to guide


[The refrain speaks of how the Prophet was destined to be God’s Messenger from the beginning of his life. A thorough study of the biography of the Prophet, the sirat, shows that every event of his life contributed to making him the pious and kind man that he was. He was a shepherd as a young man and it is said that all prophets were shepherds. Being a shepherd teaches one how to guide others and provides plenty of time for contemplation.]


He prayed all his nights alone

And stars and angels sighed

And in the day he led the way

With blazing words so bright


[Prophet Muhammad (S) devoted his days and nights to the service of Allah. He spent many nights in prayer, even though he knew he was guaranteed salvation. The song speaks of angels and even inanimate stars being moved by his beautiful prayers. But he was no monk and he forbade the monastic life for his followers. He preached that believers must engage in the human world. He taught people to seek knowledge. He urged people to care for orphans. He stressed the importance of obeying one’s parents even if one’s parents belong to a different religion. Interestingly, this sets him apart from leaders of many religions and cults who have told their followers to divorce themselves from their families.]


He was born to be the beloved

A will of the Divine

He was born to be the beloved,

He was born to be kind


He taught the people to worship

Bowing to one God,

Bowing to one God


[The essence of Islam is to bow before one God and no one else. Islamic worship has a unique serenity and a quiet dignity. Masjids are relatively open spaces, free from pews, altars, idols, and stained-glass windows. They are places of sujud, of prostration, where people bring their heads- the seat of thought and intellect – low down to the ground, showing that even the best in us has an infinitesimally small value in comparison to Wisdom and the Power and the Glory of Allah.]


His mercy stretched from East to West

To every man, woman and child


[The Prophet had many names as shown in the following verse of poetry:

hadha habibi hadha adibi hadha tabibi hadha dawa’i

this is my beloved, this is my teacher, this is my physician, this is my cure (This translation may be inaccurate. If you can correct it, please leave a comment.)


The Prophet was also called “mercy to mankind.” Out of His Mercy, Allah sent Prophet Muhammad to guide people toward truth and salvation.]


He was born to be the beloved-

A will of the Divine

He was born to be the beloved,

Nature Sublime


[The adjective “sublime” is not uncommon in English, yet I doubt that many English speakers could define it. The word means “elevated” or “lofty.” The Prophet had an elevated nature. He was not concerned with money or possessions. What concerned him most was the perfection of the soul.]


He opened up the doors of love

For every heart parched with thirst

He was a mercy to the worlds

And unto the universe


[This is perhaps the most beautiful stanza of this song.  It talks about the Prophet’s love for the people of the world. Perhaps some of you are wondering if this is the same Muhammad that you have heard about. The Prophet was a commander of armies. He killed people and ordered others to kill. But one could make an analogy to George Washington. He also killed people but no one seems to have a problem with that since they believe in what he was fighting for. Prophet Muhammad had a profound love for humanity. He was fighting for religious freedom and for the betterment of mankind.]


He was born to be the beloved

A will of the Divine

He was born to be the beloved,

He was born to guide.


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  1. #1 by online stock trading advice on January 11, 2010 - 3:24 am

    Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

    I’m Out! 🙂

  1. » Life’s Irreducible Structure: Live mechanisms and information in DNA are boundary conditions with a sequence of boundari… june 21 Blog

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