As a rapper, in early Islam, Abd al-Malik was upset when I heard Islam is not in line with his chosen musical art. In his autobiography, titled Sufi Rapper (2009), Abd al-Malik said the French rap culture born in the context of racism and xenophobia (fear of foreigners in excess) are widespread.
He lived in a ghetto (the neighborhood immigrant minorities) in France. “When I was a student, I often see politicians saying ‘We are all French,’ but I never saw a black man was on television. There was no French politician who is black, “he said.
He still remembers how he criticized the lack of opportunities for immigrant children, as well as the climate of poverty and crime in their homes. This was further exacerbated discrimination that occurs in various ways, also abuse by police. Therefore, when it became popular in the 1990s, criticized rap music as an art that glorifies violence and heightened racial tensions.
Before embracing Islam, he was named Regis. Born in Paris on March 14, 1975 under the name Régis Fayette-Mikano. In 1977, a bloody small Regis Kongo parents take them back to their home country and live in Brazzaville (the capital as well as the largest city in the Republic of Congo). Régis spent his childhood there, before he and his family returned to France and settled in the district of the ghetto called Neuhof (southern city of Strasbourg) in 1981.
When Regis enters adolescence, her father had left home. Since then, his mother struggled alone to raise and educate his children Regis. And since then also, Regis began to grow into petty criminals.
In a harsh new environment, without a father, Regis learning to meet the limitations and deficiencies that he found at home. From the petty crimes he did, he continued to grow into criminals who managed to establish dominance with some friends.
He grabbed and stole the car, in order to generate money that can not be obtained from the home. In that condition, Regis serving three life roles at once. He was a child who struggled to maintain his family life, students who excel in school, and a wily street criminals.
Regis chose to channel the frustration of rap music, also spoke and expressed social criticism of all that happened. Inspired by American rap in the 1980s, Abd al-Malik joined a group of relatives and friends and create a New African Poets, abbreviated as NAP.
In the middle kekritisannya, Régis enamored of the Black Power movement and idolize Malcolm X as a black Muslim hero who had dared to oppose injustice. For him and a number of young immigrants in France at that time, Islam offers an identity that is challenging.
Obtaining knowledge about Islam from Muslim preachers who preach in the streets. At the age of 16, Regis decided to convert to Islam and changed his name to Abd al Malik. For several years thereafter, with the Muslims, he toured France for calling young men to go to the mosque, and lengthen the beard grow, and stop drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
Some time involved, Abd al Malik saw that the popular doctrine in the French ghettos are explicitly not something hard. However, he said in Sufi Rapper, is a fanatical teachings encourage young immigrants to lampoon all things secular, modern and westernized. “And that just deepens our sense of alienation,” he said.
That’s where he re-discovered in his inner turmoil. As a teenager, Abd al Malik feel the sincerity and spirit of Islam as great as his desire to rap, an art that must he insult and stay away. “Because rap music is modern, and his westernized.”
Abd al Malik caught in the paradox that until a few years. “That hurt,” he said. It is increasingly becoming a pain because he committed crimes to finance his music and became a drug dealer. “These actions were not very religious.”
Until finally, one day, Abd al Malik went to a local criminal leaders and ask for a loan. After that, holding a garbage bag full of money, Abd al Malik sat down and cried alone in her apartment.
Inner turmoil that prompted him to gain a deeper understanding of faith. In that quest, he received an answer from mysticism, contemplative branch of Islamic Sufism.
He met a spiritual teacher from North Africa who taught that the essence of religion is love and awareness of the spiritual nature of every human being. “So, Islam is a religion of love. Islam is peace with yourself and others,” he said.
He came to the conclusion, that the position of Islam as a religious minority with a minority within Islam itself. “And it’s not the real Islam.”
Paradigm shift that expands the view of Abd al Malik on rap music and its role through the arts. He began writing songs for his solo album, and brought the message that called for racial understanding. One song, “12 September 2001,” is a request to separate politics and religion. An other song, “God Bless France,” describes the evolution of his personal hatred of patriotism.
In his autobiography, Abd al Malik wrote that in his music, he was just trying to translate the language of the heart. He decided to leave the hard rap and began collaborating with various musicians to develop a new sound that blends jazz music, singing, and poetry criticism that is aesthetically pleasing.
When the rapper continues to create another ‘angry music’ and – some of them – were accused of inciting violence, Abd al Malik stick with his choice. Rather than criticize the French system, Abd al Malik pushed the country to live in accordance with the ideals of democracy. Through his music that has won numerous awards, he pointed out that Muslims do not have to stay away from things modern. “Especially if we could do something with it.”