Born in Madras in 1966 to father R.K. Shekhar and to mother Kareema (born Kashturi), the music composer’s father was himself a film score composer for Malayalam and Tamil films. He used to assist his father in the studio where he played the keyboard. As a child, Rahman did not find any telepathic connection with music since it only filled the purpose of bread and butter after his father’s death the world of music which worked like a magnet in his life, he was inseparable. Rahman learned several musical instruments, he got famous as a child in Doordarshan’s ‘Wonder Balloon’ where he used to play four keyboards at once.
The ‘Dil Se…’ music composer is married to Saira Banu and has three children Khatija, Rahima, and Ameen.
Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name?” But there is a lot indeed. According to sources, Rahman never had a liking for his original name as it did not suit his image of a musician.
Born as A.S. Dileep Kumar, he converted into a Muslim at the age of 23 along with other members of his family in 1989 and changed his name to Allah Rakha Rahman.
The music director did not like the real name he was born with and was at the time, finding direction and purpose in his life. The spiritual path of Sufism lifted the artist’s spirits.
He once met a Sufi saint, ‘Peer Karimullah Shah Qadri’in 1984 for the very first time when his sister was seriously ill. He soon developed a strong bond with the saint. When the Peer was not keeping well, Rahman’s mother used to look after him.
In an interview in Scroll.in, he was asked if the Sufi saint asked him to embrace Islam. To which he answered, “No, he didn’t. Nobody is forced to convert to the path of Sufism. You only follow if it comes from your heart. A year after we met Qadri Saaheb, in 1987, we moved to from Habibullah Road to Kodambakkam, to the house where we still live. When we moved, I was reminded of what Jesus Christ, Peace be upon Him, once said: “I wish that you were cold and hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. What I understood by His words was that it is better to choose one path. The Sufi path spiritually lifted both my mother and me, and we felt it was the best path for us, so we embraced Sufi Islam.”
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