Yusuf Islam, the world-famous British singer-songwriter and philanthropist, was in Istanbul yesterday for a series of visits.
Islam met students at the city's NUN schools where he spoke about education. He also attended the World Halal Summit and touched upon the Muslims' "lost role" in the world.
Endearing himself to millions of Muslims after converting to Islam in 1977, Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, met the students and teachers at NUN for a Q&A session on his life, music and his activities as the founder of Islamia School in London.
Speaking about education, Islam said there should not be a "mechanical" approach to education and students should be first taught about how to cope with life. He added that students should be active at every stage of education. Islam said the key to success in education was to make students feel happy attending school.
On his conversion to Islam, the singer said his life took a different course after he converted and he chose to be a good person rather than a celebrity. He also spoke about his writing career and said he did not write to "expose secrets or give a recipe for happiness" but sought to share his experiences in the journey of life.
On his comeback in the 2000s after quitting his music career, Islam said he felt inspired again when he decided to resume his singing and songwriting career. He said music was universal and can give a lot of messages to listeners. He said he noticed it was "good for his soul" to meet people of different cultures who attended his concerts.
On his future projects, the singer said he wanted to shoot an animated film for children and was planning new books and albums.
Speaking at the World Halal Summit 2018, Islam said, "It is hard to find a Muslim country producing its own airplanes, cars or televisions."
"The Muslim Ummah had lost its role as a global teacher of this brilliant message [the Quran]," he added.
He said Muslim countries were dominated by thoughts that were alien to the philosophy of Islam. "So many schools today are teaching brilliant things, technologies, but where is God, where is Allah?" he said.
He added that Muslims should come out of the nostalgia for their past glories and invest in themselves.