Michael Jackson’s funeral – which religion will prevail?
Was Michael Jackson a Muslim?
And we are about to find out.
In his will, Michael Jackson expressed a wish for his body to be cremated and sprinkled over the surface of the moon. But cremation is forbidden in Islam, and the parlous state of the singer’s finances now rather precludes the possibility of lunar sprinkling. Star trekking across the universe is the domain of those for whom it is difficult to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The arrangements for what will undoubtedly be the biggest funeral spectacular since the death of Diana Princess of Wales are actually a political decision of not inconsiderable global importance. While millions of Muslims try to claim Michael Jackson for the greater glory of Allah, the witnesses of Jehovah are having none of it. And music is haraam in any case. The demons which plagued Michael Jackson during his life are as nothing to those which are doing battle over his soul, and this present turmoil in the heavenlies is mirrored on earth in the conflict over the singer’s estate and the custody battle over his children.
The speculation over the religion of the former King of Pop (to whom does that title now pass?) is natural, and competing sides are attempting to claim him as their own. For Michael Jackson, of course, the question is now of absolutely no consequence: he is either with God in heaven, in purgatory, in hell, or his atman has surrendered to the karmic samsara and he lives on as a cockroach.
Or, of course, he has simply ceased to be.
It is a matter of historical record that Michael Jackson was born to parents who were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, and he was raised strictly in accordance with the tenets of that faith: always canvassing and never Christmas. But this was too puritanical for his showbiz spirit, and he quite obviously outgrew its confines, both theological and sociological.
It is rumoured that he converted to Islam last year and changed his name to Mikaeel – the name of one of Allah’s angels.
This being the case, he should have been buried intact within two sunsets as Muslims believe that demons ravage and torture the body if this is not adhered to. But the necessary post mortem examination took precedence, and toxicology tests had to be conclusive in order to dispel (or confirm) rumours of foul play. After all, we are talking about the King of Pop, and something as mundane as vicodin can no more claim his life than a simple car crash could end that of the Princess of Wales. Even now, the Jackson family has ordered a second autopsy, thereby fanning the flames of conspiracy.
Since Michael Jackson had a sudden heart attack, he did not have time to say ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’, and so has not gone straight to paradise. Unluckily for him, according to the Hadith of Abu Hurairah, ‘a believer's soul will remain in suspense until all his debts are paid off’.
Since these are estimated to be $500,000,000, that is an awfully long time in limbo.
Perhaps the Jackson ummah (for at least Jermaine is a professing Muslim) will auction the TV rights to the funeral, or sell them to anyone and everyone in order to maximise the
There is something of a tension between the sparse simplicity of a Jehovah’s Witness funeral and that of a prominent Muslim. While both eschew weeping and wailing (and alcoholic toasts), they are both fond of gnashing teeth: their funerals are a time to focus on God, his greatness and the proclamation of salvation.
If Michael Jackson died a Muslim, expect to hear of the proclamation of the Salat al-Janazah and news that he will be buried with his head pointing towards Mecca. These are imperatives for all Muslims and the only guard against Shaytaan.
Cranmer has only one thought on Michael Jackson’s spirituality: he was consistent. He simply exchanged one religion which offers absolutely no assurance of salvation for another. Both Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims have to earn their places in paradise: salvation is by works; the spirit is redeemed by the obedience of the flesh and the burden of submission to law.
Cranmer thanks God that he justified by faith through grace, and that God provided the ransom for us - the most precious body and blood of his own most dear and best beloved Son Jesus Christ. Justification is free to us, but not to God. Faith, of course, does not stand in isolation: It ‘doth not exclude repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God’. After all, faith which does not produce good works ‘is not a right, pure and lively faith, but a dead, devilish counterfeit, and feigned faith'. The justified are bound to serve God in doing good deeds, but these works are imperfect and not able to deserve our justification, which comes freely by the mercy of God. Authentic faith is ‘a pure trust and confidence in God’s merciful promises’.
And this is the only source of peace, not as the world gives.