Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with Erik Schrody, aka Everlast

by AbdulKadir Toraman on March 17, 2001 (translated by Allison Bramblett from the German original (link fixed 20 August, 2005) and edited by Dr. Alan Godlas)

Interviewer -Assalamu aleikum Eric, in the name of the Association for New German Muslims (Osmanische Herberge) and all brothers and sisters, we welcome you to Germany. First of all, thank you very much for the invitation to the discussion and the opportunity to be able to experience you today live on stage in Cologne.

Eric -Va aleikum Salaam, I am very happy that you were able to come.

Interviewer -How or through whom did you become acquainted with Islam?

Eric -I come from a Catholic family and had over 10 years contact with a Muslim family named Bashir. What particularly impressed me was the fact that they never tried to convince me about Islam. They never attempted to convert me. The way this family lived together was simply exemplary. I already had faith in a creator, and with time the religion of this family began to interest me, and I began to ask questions, which were also answered. Only after that did I become conscious that Islam is a religion which also accepts and respects Jesus, but not as a God, rather as a Prophet made of flesh and blood. Likewise, I found Islam to be all-encompassing, uniting all religions and Prophets in itself. The words and the exemplary life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are a direct way to God and the connection to the truth. "Islam is like gas into the car."

Interviewer: How can you as a musiciann, who is at home on many big stages in this world and who co-operates with many other world-famous artists actually practice your Islam (the five pillars of Islam)?

Eric -As for my Shahada, I said it in 1996. Ramadan is easy for me. However, I don't know yet how it will be in the summer when the days are very long, I don’t know yet, of course (smile). Zakat? Zakat is easy. Allah gives me so much. I then send it home to the brothers in the mosque, and they can do with it what they consider to be right. In the beginning I performed the ritual prayers once a day, then two prayers, then three and now it has become a dear habit for me to perform the five prayers every day. Beyond that, I also pray, of course, on specific occasions, and missed prayers I make up in the evening. And now I am very anxious to find out when it will be possible for me to go on Hajj and visit the house of Allah. Concerning control of the ego, however, that requires many years to achieve the necessary discipline. I will be a Muslim up to the end of my life, but at the same time, I will never be able to live in the security of that, because there'’s always the possibility that tomorrow sin could entrap me again. To that extent I cannot identify myself with the so-called "Born-again Christians," who claim to have been saved yesterday and are already perfect today. I would like to stress, however, that I do not want to say anything negative about other religions, but rather it is just that Islam possesses this special magic in all things. Life according to the rules of Islam is very simple for me, because it corresponds to the healthy human understanding. It is guidance as to how one acts correctly. There are angels, who record our acts and intentions, whereby only the intentions are evaluated by Allah. In other words, it is important to have many good intentions. Allah is mercy, mercy, mercy, and therefore I wrote the piece "Mercy."

Interviewer -What was the reaction of the people around you when they realized that you had become Muslim?

Eric -My mother, who raised me as a Catholic, is happy over the fact that I follow a religion and cultivate my faith in the one God. In order to get a clear head, I decided to leave my old band and turn my back on a life of alcohol and nicotine. My decision was respected and seen as positive by the band members at that time. We parted on good terms. At no point in time have I had difficulty to admitting that I am Muslim, and there is no opposition that is worth mentioning. Meanwhile, about half of my friends are Muslim.

Interviewer -After the separation from "House of Pain," your old band, you participated in SUPERNATURAL, the new album of Carlo Santana, which won 9 nine sensational Grammies. How did this co-operation come about?

Eric -One day I received out of nowhere I received a call from Carlos, whereby he asked me if I didn'’t have a song for his new album. From then on everything went very fast. I had already written the song, “"Put your lights on" on the balcony of my house in the mountains overlooking the city. I was inspired by the lights of the city that came on one by one at sunset . However, I was not sure at that point if I should also record " LA ILAHA IL ALLAH " in the song, because I did not want to sell Allah's words. But Carlos loved this song and absolutely wanted to have it.

Interviewer -What about the rumor that SUPERNATURAL originated from a dream?

Eric - It is true. Carlos told me that he dreamed about a being of light, an angel, who told him to contact me. Alhamdulillah [thanks be to God], there is nothing more to be added to that.

Interviewer -Would you like to share something with our readers in conclusion?

Eric - There is no need for someone like me to spread Islam. Allah does not need me to defend Him. If you look for God, you will find Islam. Keep your faith and hold tight to the truth.
Interviewer -Dear Eric, thank you for the detailed interview. May thousands of rays of Allah's light flow into your heart every day and illuminate your way.

German original © Osmanische Herberge, 2001; English translation © 2001, Allison Bramblett and Dr. Alan Godlas.


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