From Jazz and Diamonds to Calling to Islam Full Time: The Amazing Story of John Fontain
This is the story of John Fontain, a British man who used to be a Jazz singer and a successful Diamond trader until he accepted Islam and dedicated his life to Da’wah:
John Fontain was born in Manchester, UK to a working class Christian family. As a young boy, he would always make an intention in Church that he was praying to God alone. At seven, he was sure that there was something wrong with Christianity when the priest changed the chorus lyrics he had written from ‘Jesus and God’ to ‘Jesus is God’.
At the age of fourteen, with a growing passion for music, he became a professional jazz singer, travelling to places and performing in sports stadiums, hotels etc. With a good income and the drive to become the most famous jazz singer in the country, he naturally did not feel the need to attend university!
When he was eighteen, he struck ‘diamond’ deals with some of the West African immigrants who had come to England, and thus, went to visit Sierra Leone in West Africa. On his way, he was stuck in Senegal, penniless. Seeing his plight, a Muslim hotel manager offered him shelter in his own home. During his stay, he marveled at the courteous mannerisms of his host, and recalls that when he first heard the Azan, it was as if ‘his heart was ripped out of his chest’. He would watch his Muslim hosts offer their prayers; this brief period in Senegal was his first positive impression about Islam.
Back in London, he enrolled in a highly selective and competitive course related to the diamond industry. He then travelled to Sierra Leone multiple times, but even during times of bright business prospects, he felt something was missing. At this stage, he came across a ‘Muslim’ village in South Africa, which was notorious for witchcraft and communication with jinn. There, he actually saw women tying knots on strings in order to bring a person under the influence of jinn!
Fortunately, one of his friends from Syria informed him that witchcraft actually went against Islamic injunctions and he handed him a copy of ‘Fortress of a Muslim’ (An authentic collection of Duas). When he started reading this book, he came across Surah al-Falaq:
Say, I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak
From the evil of that which He created
And from the evil of darkness when it settles
And from the evil of the blowers in knots
And from the evil of an envier when he envies.