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John Coltrane and Bilal Philips: Two Converts’ Paths

A Love Supreme: "May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain—it is all with God—in all ways forever.”

by
Robert Spencer

Bio

March 15, 2013 - 7:00 am
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He did so because he believed music to be incompatible with his commitment to Islam. Philips wrote this in his book Contemporary Issues: “A heart filled with music will not have room for God’s words.”

Philips said that Islam allowed for “folk songs with acceptable content sung by males or females under the age of puberty accompanied by a hand drum.” However, “wind and stringed instruments have been banned because of their captivating power. Their notes and chords evoke strong emotional attachments. For many, music becomes a source of solace and hope instead of God. When they are down, music brings them up temporarily, like a drug. The Koran, the words of God filled with guidance, should play that role.”

John Coltrane, who knew a great deal about the captivating power of wind instruments, had a very different vision of the relationship between God and music. Of his 1957 resolution to turn his life around, he wrote: “At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music. I feel this has been granted through His grace. ALL PRAISE TO GOD.”

Coltrane’s 1964 album-length suite A Love Supreme was part of his pursuance of this vision. He explained: “This album is a humble offering to Him. An attempt to say ‘THANK YOU GOD’ through our work, even as we do in our hearts and with our tongues. May He help and strengthen all men in every good endeavor…May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain—it is all with God—in all ways forever.”

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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Those basement clubs in NYC must have been something. Would love to go back in time to listen to the music -- scotch on the rocks in one hand with a lucky strike burning in my ash tray. Ah, pre Bloomberg NYC. Laughing at eternity
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A God who gives us life, just to have us bow at his 'awesomeness.' Sounds maturbatory to me, not creative.

A God who gives us life and offers us a path to his discovery. inspiring us by his creation so that we can, of our will offer new creation, not in competition with, but in celebration of his gifts...IS GOD.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with a argument." It appears Mr. Phillips is doing nothing but going along with the crowd simply because he's in rebellion. Islam is not a religion that has anything at all to do with the Jehovah God we serve. Yahweh, the Lord Jesus Christ, The One True God, in Three Persons. Phillips has been deceived and is on the wrong path, unfortunately. The True God we serve would NEVER condone the murder of ANYONE, and it's all based on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think Mr. Phillips needs to understand that God is the ONLY giver of life and death. Allah is nothing but an imaginary idol, and if he ever was a person, his bones are in the ground along with every one of the world's idols. But Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, and now alive and living in His people. the Scriptures plainly say in Psalm 150 to PRAISE THE LORD, with stringed instruments, trumpet sound, harp and lyre, as well as resounding cymbals. Coltrane answered God's call on his life, but his flesh was weak and the enemy took him from us at a very early age. But he is in heaven with Jesus now!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bilal Philips conversion and abandonment of music illustrates why I believe Islam to be stuck in the 7th century.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Powerful piece.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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