What Convinced Sinéad O’Connor To Make Her Life’s Most Controversial Decision

Sinéad O’Connor, a name synonymous with both music and controversy, took a surprising turn in 2018 when she publicly declared her conversion to Islam after her Catholic upbringing in Ireland. This important personal decision left the world curious about the motivations behind it.

Following the singer’s death on July 26, 2023, NPR interviewed Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, who is the Chief Imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland and also served as a spiritual guide to O’Connor. He recalled his early conversations with the rocker, explaining:

“Sister Shuhada Sinead contacted the Islamic Center, and we met for approximately two to three hours. It was very clear to me that this was a lady who had already done her research, and her questions about Islam were not the basic, usual questions people have. They were actually theological questions. They were questions related to specific verses of the Quran.”

When asked what aspects of Islam appealed to her and drew her toward this faith, Al-Qadri replied:

“I think one of the things that she loved about Islam was the fact that you can communicate with God directly. So there is no concept of someone in between you and God. It was just you directly communicating with God. She loved also the fact that as a Muslim, we believe in the Torah. We believe in the Bible. We believe in Prophet Jesus. We believe in Moses. And for her, she said that for me, it makes sense.”

Al-Qadri also revealed in the rest of his interview that the late musician found inner peace with Islam. After embracing the faith, Sinéad returned to singing, but she had questions about whether singing was allowed in Islam. She asked Al-Qadri for guidance, and he explained that her singing talent was a gift from God, allowing her to convey powerful messages that might otherwise go unheard.

Speaking to Ireland’s The Late Late Show in 2019, O’Connor detailed her decision to convert to Islam with the following words:

“I started studying scriptures from different religions, trying to find the ‘truth’ about God. I never thought I would join a religion, but I left Islam until last because I had so much prejudice about Islam. But then, when I started reading, and I read just chapter two alone of the Quran, and I realized, ‘Oh my God, I am home.’ I had been a Muslim all my life and didn’t realize it.”

Following her conversion, the ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ singer took on the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat, but she continued to perform and release music using her original birth name.