Sheikh Yusuf Estes Offers Wisdom To MSA Members
By: Alia Orra
General Assembly Meeting 3.6.03
Standing before MSA members cloaked in a white abayee beneath a navy blazer, his slight American drawl belying his strong Arabic pronunciation, Sheik Yusuf Estes truly embodied the mixture of a personal experience of Western culture and the Eastern vision of Islamic faith as he offered his many wisdoms about college youth and their connection to religion. “As Muslims in America, you have a great opportunity,” said Estes. “You do have an opportunity to do something good for Islam…You as students are really the hope of Islam.”
Joking with students about their collegiate habits (“When students are cramming for exams or midterms or finals, they’re in a crash situation and they need to feed their brain: Pizza. Every university has an abundance of it.”) Estes created an easygoing atmosphere as he spoke to students about the reality of Muslim youth in today’s American culture. “We have a message we are supposed to be delivering, and that is La Illaha Illa Allah,” said Estes, who said that among current political relations, Muslims are often left to deny accusations of being “terrorists,” blurring the true purpose of the faith.
The college experience should be utilized as a way to strengthen faith, Estes emphasized, saying that although university atmosphere offers many distractions and obstacles, these offer a basis for exploring the strength of the Muslim faith. “Many of the Muslim schools that I’ve visited in this country, what they teach many times leaves out the key ingredient,” said Estes, that key ingredient being that later in life many theories on the creation of man will be presented to young Muslims, but that they are only theories. “That’s their religion of disbelief.” Theories, Estes relayed, are rooted in the idea that they are ideas which cannot be proven, thus making them invalid next to the physical proof of the Islamic faith, i.e. the Quran. Estes cited the ability to prove there is Allah through deductive reasoning as being “one of the beautiful things about Islam.”
Estes went on to discuss what he considers an important message of Islam: To know Allah and the significance of Allah in the Islamic faith. “You don’t need to know Islam if you don’t know Allah,” he said. “Allah’s not in the creation. Allah is not like His creation either.” Estes emphasized that this fact makes Islam unique among the major faiths—Christianity and Judaism—because their simple flaw is allowing Allah to be in His creation.
Relating to his personal experience being reared a Christian, Estes held that though the intentions of other faiths may be honest, they remain flawed in practice. “Christians are very good people, but they’ve got a problem. They’re worshiping Jesus. For us as Muslims we’re going to say God’s not in His creation and we have to pay for the sins that we do,” Estes said. “Whenever you have a person who is divine [Jesus], who can’t make any mistake, you’re flawed.”
Beneath the easy-going, bantering persona of Estes, a serious tone emerged and emphasized to students the importance of faith as the pillar of knowledge and hope throughout life. “When you go out that door you’re going to be a different person,” Estes said. “When you’re young it seems like you’re going to live forever. It’s better if you try and seek the guidance from Allah..”
“You follow me?”
- Yeah, we follow.
You can visit Shaikh Estes' website at http://www.Islamtomorrow.com