A Sky Full of Stars: Chris Martin & Sufism

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Turn your magic on,
Umi she'd say
Everything you want's a dream away
Under this pressure under this weight
We are diamonds taking shape. — 'Adventure of a Lifetime', Coldplay

I like intense and philosophical conversations, which is why I find myself drawn to two types of people: those who have the ability to move me with their intelligence, sincerity and honesty (to complement my intensity) and those with a wonderful sense of humour (to relieve me from my intensity). I am fortunate enough to say my friends consist of people with such traits. Anisah is one of them. I don't remember what we were talking about specifically but at one point she turned to me as she was driving and said, "You should listen to Chris Martin's interviews. Did you know he reads Rumi and fasts once a week?". (In Islam, it's a sunnah or Prophetic tradition to fast every Monday. By the way, noticed that he referenced Mos Def's song 'Umi Says'/'Mother Says' in 'Adventure of a Lifetime'?)

I don't think we should celebrate a non-Muslim's, white person's or Westerner's appreciation of Islam any more than we should of anyone else's but out of curiosity I watched a few interviews featuring Chris Martin and read a number of recent articles about him to find out what his deal was. I realised not only is he very creative but he is spiritual too. It's evident how Islamic or Sufi elements have influenced his song writing for Coldplay's latest albums, 'A Head Full of Dreams' and 'Ghost Stories'. In an LA Times  article, he admits to seeking 'teachers', including a Sufi teacher, to help him deal with his troubles and says 'he found solace in Rumi's words about accepting everything as a blessing'. He claims Rumi's poem, 'The Guest House', completely changed his life. In another interview he references 'The Conference of the Birds', a 12th century Persian and Sufi poem written by Fariuddin Attar.