The ‘Mikaeel’ Jackson you didn’t know?
A music legend. An icon. A controversial figure. Media outlets around the world have widely reported on Jackson’s travels in and out of countries, his suffering and recovering from various rumored illnesses, even informing the public about his visits to bookstores and antique shops. But there is one topic the mainstream American media has largely left untouched when talking about the often reclusive King of Pop: his faith.
“May Allah be with you Michael, always. We love you,” said Jackson’s brother Jermaine at a press conference last night at the UCLA Medical Center, just hours after the singer was pronounced dead after suffering a cardiac arrest. He said ‘Allah,’ not God, and possibly for good reason.
According to some reports, Jackson, raised a Jehovah’s Witness, converted to Islam last November or sometime in 2007. Despite several articles around the world reporting this rumor, there has been no official word from the Jackson clan on the subject. The Grio reached out to several close associates of Jackson and the Jackson family, and all said they could neither confirm nor deny Jackson’s possible conversion to Islam.
One source said they “can neither confirm or deny [Jackson’s conversion to Islam], and I’m not sure I would. If it comes from someone it should come from the family.”
Jackson’s rumored conversion would prove Jermaine’s 2007 assertion that Michael would convert to Islam. If true, Jackson would have been the second member of the Jackson 5 to do so, with Jermaine being the first to convert in 1989.
Reportedly wearing a small hat and sitting on the floor, a ceremony for the Jackson was held last November at the Los Angeles home of keyboard player Steve Porcaro, who co-wrote “Human Nature” with Jackson on the famous “Thriller” album. Porcaro says he has “no idea” whether Jackson was a Muslim, and calls reports of the conversion in his home “bogus.” Jackson reportedly changed his name to Mikaeel last November and went through the ‘shahada,’ the traditional Muslim declaration of belief.
Whether or not it’s true, Jackson has some Muslim supporters. A Youtube video of an alleged Michael Jackson song has sparked hundreds of comments from viewers, some who identify themselves as Muslim. There are comments that praise him for his rendition of an Islamic worship song, while others doubt whether Jackson actually sang the song.
“MICHAEL JACKSON is now MICAEEL so he is a Muslim Ya Allah,” proclaims one Youtube commenter.
“Is this really Michael Jackson?” another commenter writes.
The doubts of Jackson’s alleged Islamic faith are often as loud as the reports of his religious conversion, but his record selling album sales worldwide prove he is an entertainment sensation that crosses spiritual lines.
Jackson’s “Thriller” album holds the top spot in the history of record sales worldwide, and the album has begun to sell quickly again after the news of his death.
Jackson will be remembered for his entertainment to millions across the world, but there are many sides to this “man in the mirror” of which we may never know.
Maryama Tagoe contributed to this report.