8 CELEBRITIES WHO CONVERTED TO ISLAM
A.R. RAHMAN (ALLAH-RAKHA RAHMAN): Known for his remarkable music compositions, the legendary Indian music producer/singer/songwriter was born, in a Hindu household, as Dileep Kumar. While his mother, inspired by Sufism, belonged to an Islamic family before her marriage, Rahman grew up as a Hindu. It was only after he met Qadiri Islam, when his younger sister fell severely ill, that he was drawn to the beautiful ideals and values of Islam. Inspired, he soon converted his faith.
MUHAMMAD YOUSUF: One of the most prolific and well known player of Pakistani cricket team formerly popular as Yusuf Youhana also embraced Islam and became Muhammad Yousuf. The batsman who is known as the backbone of Pakistan’s middle order converted to Islam in 2005 and since then he is a practicing Muslim.
MUHAMMAD ALI: Do you know Cassius Clay… He is none other than the famous boxing champion and Olympic medalist, Muhammad Ali. He was baptized as a Christian and named Cassius Clay on birth. However, in 1962, at the age of 20, the boxer met Malcolm X, who introduced him to the Nation of Islam, an ongoing religious movement to help improve the condition of African Americans. Inspired, Ali soon converted to Islam, under the mentorship of Malcolm X. In 2005, he began following the Sufism practice of the religion.
SHARMILA TAGORE (BEGUM AYESHA SULTANA): Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore, the award-winning actress converted to Islam when she fell in love with the late Indian Muslim cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and converted to Islam before marrying him. She was born a Hindu, but converted her name to Ayesha Begum after her marriage. The couple was blessed with three children actor Saif Ali Khan, jewellery designer Saba Ali Khan and actress Soha Ali Khan.
DHARMENDRA: Dharmendra (born as Dharam Singh Deol) is one of the most charismatic actors that Indian cinema has ever had. The dashing actor had reportedly converted to Islam in 1979. The actor was married to Prakash Kaur when he fell in love with actress Hema Malini. He didn’t want to divorce his wife but could not marry again as per the Hindu Marriage Act. So he converted to Islam and married Hema. Since then he has maintained two separate families. It is said that since there were many protests during his second marriage, the actor had no other option than to change his religion to legitimise his union with Hema Malini.
AYESHA TAKIA AZMI: In 2009, Ayesha Takia got married to her boyfriend Farhan Azmi who is a restaurateur. They got married in a typical Islmaic Nikaah ceremony on March 1. Many media reports claim that Ayesha who was born to a Hindu father and Anglo-Indian mother converted to Islam to get married to Farhan. Ayesha has never clearly come out to throw any light on her conversion, whether she did so or not.
AMRITA SINGH: Bollywood actress Amrita Singh was born in a Sikh-Muslim family. She made her Bollywood debut in 1983 with Betaab and delivered several hits like Sunny, Mard and Saaheb. Amrita, who followed the Sikh religion since birth, converted to Islam just before her marriage to actor Saif Ali Khan, who was Muslim by birth. After thirteen years of marriage, they divorced in 2004. However, Saif’s current wife, actress Kareena Kapoor Khan, has not converted to Islam.
MAMTA KULKARNI: The famous Bollywood actress of nineties Mamta Kulkrani embraced Islam when she was found guilty in a smuggling case with her husband in Dubai airport. The actress turned Muslim when she was facing her conviction in Dubai.