Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My Soul-Sister Kadamba (Part 1)

Sometimes Islam can touch the lives of the most famous people and in the most unusual ways. Islam may enter people’s lives via a poem, a book, a personal tragedy or even a love. Islam can turn the lives of some of the most desired, famous and wealthiest people and turn them into avowed slaves of God. Yet sadly, sometimes traces of the past cannot be completely erased. This is God’s will.

I was reading the Sydney tabloid, the Daily Telegraph, in a McDonalds store in northern Sydney on June 20 1998 when I came across an article about one such person.

At first I presumed it was just another article about tragedy for the famous and beautiful. I could have easily skipped the article. “Fame at 14, death at 24”, blared the headline. On the surface, a story worth ignoring.

For some reason, I continued and reading. By the time I reached the last sentence, I was ready to break down. This young lady may have been my sister-in-faith. My own sisters and anyone else brought up in a western community could have easily ended up like her.

Few details were given in the article. I won’t go through all these, as I know the intention of the article was probably to provide cheap gossip for other McNews consumers munching on McFood. For the purpose of this article, I have fleshed out some of the facts with educated guesses.

Kadamba started her adult life as a supermodel. She had numerous famous lovers, including Jon Bon Jovi and Mick Jagger. She was thrust into the cut-throat selfish world of modelling, a form of glorified prostitution with all the amphetamines and sexual exploitation of the world’s oldest profession. Kadamba became the body and face behind many a brand name, and was adopted by a major brand of hair care products for their commercials.

In 1995, something happened. Kadamba met yet another famous man. But unlike the other men who came and went, Naseem left a permanent mark on Kadamba’s life.

Naseem (also known as “Prince Naseem”) was not the most observant of Muslim men. But only God knows what is hidden in the hearts.

After some time, Naseem’s influence was beginning to show. Kadamba decided to adopt Naseem’s faith of the mild Yemeni variety of Islam. What was it about this playboy boxer’s lifestyle that led Kadamba to adopt his faith and turn the world she knew upside down?

Unlike her other boyfriends, Naseem wasn’t just there to use her up and spit her out. Naseem was Muslim. Clean-shaven, desirable, glamorous but none-the-less Muslim.

We are told that every Muslim has a light. For some, the light is bright like the son, for some it shines like the moon, and for spiritual weaklings like myself it is but the flame of a candle. Naseem’s light was bright enough to change Kadamba’s life forever.

Did Naseem do anything special? Did he cast a spell or use some kind of magic? Naseem’s magic was in his conduct. As Kadamba told one journalist: “Naseem has made me realise that I can trust and respect a man again. For the first time in a long time, I feel safe, happy and loved”. Kadamba adopted Islam to feel “closer spiritually” to her new man.

(to be continued …)

© Irfan Yusuf, 2005

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