My name is Yusuf Estes now, but in years past my friends
used to call me Skip. I have preached Christianity and worked in
the entertainment and music industry since I was a boy in the 1950's.
My father and I have established music stores, TV and radio programs
and outdoor entertainment for fun (and profit). I was a music minister
and even used a pony ride and entertained the children as "Skippy
I have served as Delegate to the United Nations Peace Conference
for Religious Leaders. Now I am a retired former Muslim Chaplain
for United States Bureau of Prisons, Washington, DC. and I join
alongside many American Muslims, working with Muslim student and
youth organizations as well as schools for Muslim children. As such,
I travel around the entire world lecturing and sharing the message
of the Christ of the Quran in Islam. We hold dialogs and discussion
groups with all faiths and enjoy the opportunity to work alongside
rabbis, ministers, preachers and priests everywhere. Some of our
work is in the institutional area, military, universities and prisons.
Primarily our goal is to educate and communicate the correct message
of Islam and who the Muslims really are. Although Islam has grown
now to nearly tie Christianity as the largest of religions on earth,
we see many of those who claim Islam as Muslims, that do not correctly
understand nor properly represent the message of "Peace,
Surrender and Obedience to God" [Arabic = 'Islam']
me, I am afraid that I got a bit ahead of myself. I was trying to
give a bit of background of our work perhaps to see if it would
in anyway benefit those who may being going through what I experienced
while trying to resolve some of the issues of Christianity.
How It Happened
This may seem quite strange, while we perhaps may share a few different
perspectives and concepts of God, Jesus, prophethood, sin and salvation.
But you see, at one time I was in the same boat as many folks are
today. Really, I was. Let me explain.
Born A Strong Christian
I was born into a very strong Christian family in the Midwest. Our
family and their ancestors not only built the churches and schools
across this land, but actually were the same ones who came here
in the first place. While I was still in elementary we relocated
in Houston, Texas in 1949 (I'm old). We attended church regularly
and I was baptized at the age of 12 in Pasadena, Texas. As a teenager,
I wanted to visit other churches to learn more of their teachings
and beliefs. The Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Charismatic
movements, Nazarene, Church of Christ, Church of God, Church of
God in Christ, Full Gospel, Agape, Catholic, Presbyterian and many
more. I developed quite a thirst for the "Gospel" or as we say;
"Good News." My research into religion did not stop with Christianity.
Not at all. Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Metaphysics, native American
beliefs were all a part of my studies. Just about the only one that
I did not look into seriously was "Islam". Why? Good question.
Anyway, I became very interested in different types of music, especially
Gospel and Classical. Because my whole family was religious and
musical it followed that I too would begin my studies in both areas.
All this set me for the logical position of Music Minister in many
of the churches that I became affiliated with over the years. I
started teaching keyboard instruments in 1960 and by 1963 owned
my own studios in Laurel, Maryland, called "Estes Music Studios."
Business Projects In Texas, Oklahoma and Florida
Over the next 30 years my father and I worked together in many business
projects. We had entertainment programs, shows and attractions.
We opened piano and organ stores all the way from Texas and Oklahoma
to Florida. We had earned millions of dollars during those years,
but could not find the peace of mind that can only come through
knowing the truth and finding the real plan of salvation. I'm sure
you have asked yourself the question; "Why did God create
me?" or "What is it that God wants me
to do?" or "Exactly who is God, anyway?"
"Why do we believe in 'original sin?" and "Why
would the sons of Adam be forced to accept his 'sins' and then as
a result be punished forever." But if you asked anyone
these questions, they would probably tell you that you have to believe
without asking, or that it is a 'mystery'
and you shouldn't ask - "Just have faith, brother."
Strangely enough, the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible. And it
has been a concern for religious scholars as early as 200 years
after Jesus was raised up by Almighty God. I would ask preachers
or ministers to give me some sort of an idea how 'one' could figure
out to become 'three' or how God Himself, Who can do anything He
Wills to do, cannot just forgive people's sins, but rather and had
to become a man, come down on earth, be a human, and then take on
the sins of all people; keeping in mind that all along He is still
God of the whole universe and does as He Wills to do, both in and
outside of the universe as we know it. They never seemed to
be able to come up with anything other than opinions or strange
Father - Ordained Non-Denominational Minister
My father was very active in supporting church work, especially
church school programs. He became and ordained minister in the 1970s.
He and his wife (my stepmother) knew many of the TV evangelists
and preachers and even visited Oral Roberts and helped in the building
of the "Prayer Tower" in Tulsa, OK. They also were strong supporters
of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker, Jerry Fallwell, John
Haggi and the biggest enemy to Islam in America, Pat Robertson.
Distributing "Praise" Tapes for Jesus
During the early 1980's my Dad and his wife worked together and
were most active in recording "Praise" tapes and distributing them
for free to people in retirement homes, hospitals and homes for
the elderly. We were really "winning souls to the Lord
- for Jesus" day after day.
Met A Man From Egypt
It was early in 1991 when my father began doing business with a
man from Egypt and told me that he wanted me to meet him. This idea
appealed to me when I thought about the idea of having an international
flavor. You know, the pyramids, sphinx, Nile River and all that.
He Was A "Mozlem"
Hijackers; Kidnappers; Bombers, Terrorists - and who knows
Then my father mentioned that this man was a 'Moslem.' First,
I hated the idea of meeting an "infidel, hijacker, kidnapper, bomber,
terrorist, non-believer." Any normal person would be repulsed at
the idea. I couldn't believe my ears. A 'Moslem?' No way!
I reminded my
dad of the various different things that we had heard about these
Lies Against Muslims & Islam - They Told Us, Muslims:
- They don't even believe in God
- They worship a black box in the
- And They kiss the ground
five times a day.
No Way! I Did Not Want to Meet Him!
I did not want to meet this 'Moslem' man. No way! My father insisted
that I meet him and reassured me that he was a very nice person.
This was too much for me. Especially since the evangelists that
we used to travel around with all hated Muslims and Islam very much.
They even said things that were not true to make people afraid of
Islam. So, why would I want anything to do with these people?
Idea - "Change Him To Christian"
Then an idea came to me, "We can change this man to Christian."
So, I gave in and agreed to the meeting. But on my terms.
Met Him With A Bible, Cross and Cap with "Jesus Is Lord!"
I agreed to meet him on a Sunday after church so we would be all
prayed up and in good standing with the Lord. I would be carrying
my Bible under my arm as usual. I would have my big shiny cross
dangling and I would have on my cap which says: "Jesus is Lord"
right across the front. My wife and two young daughters came along
and we were ready for our first encounter with the 'Moslems.'
Where Is He?
When I came into the shop and asked my father where the 'Moslem'
was, he pointed and said: "He's right over there."
I was confused. That couldn't be the Moslem. No way.
Turban & Beard?
I'm looking for a huge man with flowing robes, a big turban on his
head, a beard half way down his shirt and eyebrows that go all the
way across his forehead with a sword or a bomb under his coat.
No Turban - No Beard - [No Hair at All!]
This man had no beard. In fact, he didn't even have any hair on
his head at all. He was nearly bald. Best of all, he was very pleasant
with a warm welcome and handshake. This didn't make sense. I thought
they are terrorists and bombers. What is this all about?
He Needs Jesus
Never mind. I'll get right to work on this guy. He needs to be 'saved'
in the 'Name of Jesus' and me and the Lord are going to do it.
Introduction & Interrogation
After a quick introduction, I asked him:
"Do you believe in God?"
"Yes." - (Good!)
Then I said:
"Do you believe in Adam and Eve?"
"Yes." - (Very Good!)
said: "What about Abraham? You believe
in him and how he tried to sacrifice his son for God?"
"What about Moses?"
"Parting the Red Sea?"
Again he said:
"Yes." - (Better
"What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John the Baptist?"
"Do you believe in the Bible?"
Again, he said:
"Yes." - (OK!)
So, now it was time for the
"Do you believe in Jesus? That he was the
Messiah (Christ) of God?"
Again the said:
Well now - "This
was going to be easier than I had thought."
He was just about ready to be baptized only he didn't
And I was just the one to do it, too.
Shocking Knowledge - Muslims Believe in the Bible?
One day in the Spring of 1991, I came to know that the Muslims believed
in the Bible. I was shocked. How could this be? But that's not all,
they believe in Jesus as:
* A true messenger of God;
* Prophet of God;
* Miracle birth without human intervention;
* He was the 'Christ' or Messiah as predicted in the Bible;
* He is with God now and most important;
* He will be coming back in the Last Days to lead the believers
against the 'Antichrist.'
"winning souls to the Lord for Jesus"
day after day, this would be a big achievement for me, to catch
one of these 'Moslems' and 'convert' him to Christianity.
Cup of Tea - Discuss Beliefs
I asked him if he liked tea and he said he did. So off we went to
a little shop in the mall to sit and talk about my favorite subject:
Beliefs. While we sat in that little coffee
shop for hours talking (I did most of the talking) I came to know
that he was very nice, quiet and even a bit shy. He listened attentively
to every word that I had to say and did not interrupt even one time.
I liked this man's way and thought that he had definite potential
to become a good Christian. - Little did I know the course of events
about to unravel in front of my eyes.
Agreed to Do Business
First of all, I agreed with my father that we should do business
with this man and even encouraged the idea of him traveling along
with me on my business trips across the northern part of Texas.
Day after day we would ride together and discuss various issues
pertaining to different beliefs that people have. And along the
way, I could of course interject some of my favorite radio programs
of worship and praise to help bring the message to this poor individual.
We talked about the concept of God; the meaning of life; the purpose
of creation; the prophets and their mission and how God reveals
His Will to mankind. We also shared a lot of personal experiences
and ideas as well.
Moved to Our Home
One day I came to know that my friend Mohamed was going to move
out of the home he have been sharing with a friend of his and was
going to be living in the mosque for a time. I went to my dad and
asked him if we could invite Mohamed to come out to our big home
in the country and stay there with us. After all, he could share
some of the work and some expenses and he would be right there when
we were ready to go to out traveling around. My father agreed and
Mohamed moved in.
Continued Ministry & Preaching
Of course I still would find time to visit my fellow preachers and
evangelists around the state of Texas. One of them lived on the
Texas -- Mexico border and another lived near lived Oklahoma border.
One preacher liked to a huge wooden cross that was bigger than a
car. He would carry it over his shoulder and drag the bottom on
the ground and go down the road or freeway hauling these two beams
formed in the shape of a cross. People would stop their cars and
come over to him and ask him what was going on and he would give
them pamphlets and booklets on Christianity.
Preacher Has Heart Attack
One day my friend with the cross had a heart attack and had to go
to the Veterans Hospital where he stayed for quite a long while.
I used to visit him in the hospital several times a week and I would
take Mohamed with me with the hopes that we could all share together
in the subject of beliefs and religions. My friend was not very
impressed and it was obvious that he did not want to know anything
about Islam. Then one day a man who was sharing the room with my
friend came rolling into the room in his wheelchair. I went to him
and asked him his name and he said that it didn't matter and when
I asked him where he was from he said he was from the planet Jupiter.
I thought about what he said and then began to wonder if I was in
the cardiac ward or the mental ward.
Man in Wheelchair - Needed the Lord
I knew the man was lonely and depressed and needed someone in his
life. So, I began to 'witness' to him about the Lord. I read to
him out of the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. I shared the
story of the prophet Jonah who had been sent by the Lord to call
his people to the correct way. Jonah had left his people and escaped
by boat to leave his city and head out to sea. A storm came up and
the ship almost capsized and the people on board threw Jonah over
the side of the ship. A whale came up to the surface and grabbed
Jonah, swallowed him and then went down to the bottom of the sea,
where he stayed for 3 days and 3 nights. Yet because of God's Mercy,
He caused the whale to rise to the surface and then spit Jonah out
to return back home safely to his city of Nineveh. And the idea
was that we can't really run away from our problems because we always
know what we have done. And what is more, God also always knows
what we have done.
After sharing this story with the man in the wheel chair, he looked
up and me and apologized. He told me he was sorry for his rude behavior
and that he had experienced some real serious problems recently.
Then he said that he wanted to confess something to me. And I said
that I was not a Catholic priest and I don't handle confessions.
He replied back to me that he knew that. In fact, he said: "I
am a Catholic priest."
I was shocked. Here I had been trying to preach Christianity to
a priest. What in the world was happening here?
Priest in Latin America
The priest began to share his story of being a missionary for the
church for over 12 years to south and Central America and Mexico
and even in New York's 'Hell's Kitchen.' When he was released from
the hospital he needed a place to go to recover and rather than
let him go to stay with a Catholic family, I told my dad that we
should invite him to come out and live with us in the country along
with our families and Mohamed. It was agreed by all that he would
so, he moved out right away.
Priests Must Study ISLAM? - YES!
During the trip out to our home, I talked with the priest about
some of the concepts of beliefs in Islam and to my surprise he agreed
and then shared even more about this with me. I was shocked when
he told me that Catholic priests actually study Islam and some even
carry doctors degrees in this subject. This was all very enlightening
to me. But there was still a lot more to come.
Different Versions of the Bible
After settling in, we all began to gather around the kitchen table
after dinner every night to discuss religion. My father would bring
his King James Version of the Bible, I
would bring out my Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
my wife had another version of the Bible (maybe something like Jimmy
Swaggart's 'Good News For Modern Man."
The priest of course, had the Catholic Bible
which has 7 more books in it that the Protestant Bible.
So we spent more time talking about which Bible was the right one
or the most correct one, than we did trying to convince Mohamed
about becoming a Christian.
Quran Has Only ONE Version - In Arabic - And Still Exists
At one point I recall asking him about the Quran and how many versions
of it there were in the last 1,400 years. He told me that there
was only ONE QURAN. And that it had never been changed. Yet he let
me know that the Quran had been memorized by hundreds of thousands
of people, in it's entirety and were scattered about the earth in
many different countries. Over the centuries since the Quran was
revealed millions have memorized it completely and have taught it
to others who have memorized it completely, from cover to cover,
letter perfect without mistakes. Today, over 9 million Muslims have
memorized the entire Quran from cover to cover.
How Could This Be?
This did not seem possible to me. After all, the original languages
of the Bible have all been dead languages for centuries and the
documents themselves have been lost in their originals for hundreds
and thousands of years. So, how could it be that something like
this could be so easy to preserve and to recite from cover to cover.
Priest Goes to the Mosque
Anyway, one day the priest asked the Mohamed if he might accompany
him to the mosque to see what it was like there. They came back
talking about their experience there and we could not wait to ask
the priest what it was like and what all types of ceremonies they
performed. He said they didn't really 'do' anything. They just came
and prayed and left. I said: "They left? Without any speeches or
singing?" He said that was right.
Priest Enters Islam!
A few more days went by and the Catholic priest asked Mohamed if
he might join him again for a trip to the mosque which they did.
But this time it was different. They did not come back for a very
long time. It became dark and we worried that something might have
happened to them. Finally they arrived and when they came in the
door I immediately recognized Mohamed, but who was this alongside
of him? Someone wearing a white robe and a white cap. Hold on a
minute! It was the priest. I said to him: "Pete? -- Did you become
He said that he had entered into Islam that very day. THE PRIEST
BECAME A MUSLIM!! What next? (You'll see).
My Wife Announces Her Islam!
So, I went upstairs to think things over a bit and began to talk
to my wife about the whole subject. She then told me that she too
was going to enter into Islam, because she knew it was the truth.
I was really shocked now. I went downstairs and woke up Mohamed
and asked him to come outside with me for a discussion. We walked
and talked that whole night through.
Truth Had Come!
By the time he was ready to pray Fajr (the morning prayer of the
Muslims) I knew that the truth had come at last and now it was up
to me to do my part. I went out back behind my father's house and
found an old piece of plywood lying under an overhang and right
there I put my head down on the ground facing the direction that
the Muslims pray five times a day.
Guide Me! O God! Guide Me!
Now then in that position, with my body stretched out on the plywood
and my head on the ground, I asked: "O God. If you are there, guide
me, guide me."
Sign Inside of Me
And then after a while I raised up my head and I noticed something.
No, I didn't see birds or angels coming out of the sky nor did I
hear voices or music, nor did I see bright lights and flashes. What
I did notice was a change inside of me. I was aware now more than
ever before that it was time for me to stop any lying and doing
anything sneaky. It was time that I really work at being an honest
and upright man. I knew now what I had to do.
Wash Away the "OLD"
So I went upstairs and took a shower with the distinct idea that
I was 'washing' away the sinful old person that I had become over
the years. And I was now coming into a new, fresh life. A life based
on truth and proof.
- And Become New!
Around 11:00 A.M. that morning, I stood before two witnesses, one
the ex-priest, formerly known as Father Peter Jacob's, and the other
Mohamed Abel Rehman and announced my 'shahadah' (open testimony
to the Oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be
"I bear witness, there is no deity to worship, except
Almighty Allah, alone and He has no partners and I bear witness
that Mohammad is His messenger and servant."
My Wife Was Next
A few minutes later, my wife follow along and gave the same testimony.
But hers was in front of 3 witnesses (me being the third).
Then My Father
My father was a bit more reserved on the subject and waited a few
more months before he made his shahadah (public testimony). But
he did finally commit to Islam and began offering prayers right
along with me and the other Muslims in the local masjid (mosque).
The children were taken out of the Christian school and placed in
Muslim schools. And now ten years later, they are memorizing much
of the Quran and the teachings of Islam.
Father's Wife (Stepmother) Next
My father's wife finally acknowledged, before she died, that Jesus
could not be a son of God and that he must have been a mighty prophet
of God, but not God. She passed away within a few months of this
statement at age 86. May Allah accept her statement of faith, ameen.
Houseful of New Muslims - What's Next?
Now stop and think. A whole entire household of people from varying
backgrounds and ethnic groups coming together in truth to learn
how to know and worship the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.
Think. A Catholic priest; a minister of music and preacher of the
Gospel; an ordained minister and builder of Christian schools; and
the children, even a great-grandmother - they all come into Islam!
His Mercy and Guidance
Only by His Mercy were we all guided to see the real truth of Islam,
by removing the coverings over our ears and the blinders on our
eyes, no longer having seals over our hearts - He was Guiding us
Amazing Story - Family and Friends Entering Islam - From
If I were to stop right here, I'm sure that you would have
to admit that at least, this is an amazing story, right? After all,
three religious leaders of three separate denominations all going
into one very opposite belief at the same time and then soon after
the rest of the household.
More? - Yes! Baptist Seminary Student Reads Quran - Accepts
But that is not all. There is more! The same year, while I was in
Grand Prairie, Texas (near Dallas) I met a Baptist seminary student
from Tennessee named Joe, who also came to Islam after reading the
Holy Quran while in BAPTIST SEMINARY COLLEGE!
More? Yes. Catholic Priest Loves Islam - But Needs His Job!
There are others as well. I recall the case of the Catholic priest
in a college town who talked about the good things in Islam so much
that I was forced to ask him why he didn't enter Islam. He replied:
"What? And loose my job?" - His name is
Father John and we still pray for Allah to Guide Him.
Another Catholic Priest Makes Shahadah
The very next year I met a former Catholic priest who had been a
missionary for 8 years in Africa. He learned about Islam while he
was there and entered into Islam. He then changed his name to Omar
and moved to Dallas Texas.
Any more? Again - Yes! Orthodox Arch Bishop leaves
church for Islam
Two years later, while in San Antonio, Texas I was introduced to
a former Arch Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Russia who learned
about Islam and gave up his position to enter Islam.
Daughter of Hindu Pundit (Religious Leader) - Accepts Islam
- Helping thousands to Islam
I met a woman in New York who wanted to make our CDs about "What
Is Islam?" After giving her permission several years ago, I have
learned she has produced and distributed over 600 thousand of these
to the non-Muslims in America. May Allah reward her and keep her
strong in her efforts, ameen.
Hundreds - Thousands - Still Coming
And since my own entrance into Islam and becoming a chaplain to
the Muslims throughout the country and around the world, I have
encountered many more individuals who were leaders, teachers and
scholars in other religions who learned about Islam and entered
into it. They came from Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah's
Witnesses, Greek and Russian Orthodox, Coptic Christians from Egypt,
non-denominational churches and even scientists who had been atheists.
Why? Good question.
The combination always seems to be the same; people are sincerely
seeking the truth and are willing to put their different prejudices
and biases out of their minds and begin to ask God for His Guidance
in their lives.
now you have the introduction to the story of my coming into Islam
and becoming Muslim. There is more on the Internet about this story
and there are more pictures there as well. Please take the time
to visit it and then please take the time to email me and let us
come together to share in all truths based on proofs for understanding
our origins and our purpose and goals in this life and the Next
9 Steps to Purify the Heart
May I suggest to the seeker of truth do the following NINE STEPS
to purification of the heart?
- Clean - your mind, your heart
& soul - remove all prejudices & biases.
- Thank God - for what you have
- every moment of every day.
- Read - a good translation of
the meaning of the Holy Quran in a language that they can understand
- Reflect on the meanings & consider the bounties
of your Lord.
- Seek - Forgiveness From God & Learn
to Forgive others.
- Ask - in your heart for Guidance from Above.
- Open - your heart and mind.
- Continue - to do this up for a few months. And
be regular in it.
- Avoid - the poison of evil while your heart
is opening for the "rebirth of your soul."
Remember: Clean; Thank; Read; Reflect - then:
"Seek, and ye shall find. Ask, and it shall be given thee. Knock,
and it shall be opened."
Then: Continue & Avoid
The rest is between you and the Almighty Lord of
the Universe. If you truly love Him, then He already Knows it
and He will deal with each of us according to our hearts.
Now as I promised here are the answers to the questions many have
asked me connected with my choice of Islam:
1. "How could you have turned your back on the perfect plan of
salvation of Jesus Christ on the cross for you sins?"
Answer: Your question implies you have not considered the similarities
and teachings of the Bible and the Quran.
"ISLAM" means - "Surrender, submit and obey your Lord in sincerity
and peace." Whoever is trying to do this, is a "MUSLIM." If
someone believes in Almighty God as One God and One Lord and
wants to commit their life to serving Him and obeying His Commandments,
then that person will be in the right way and they will be "saved"
according to God's Mercy. No one can take the sins of another
and the guilty must stand accused for what they have done. It
will be up to Almighty God to Forgive or Punish according to
His Judgment on that Day.
According to the remains of the translations of the Bible [see:
A Closer Look"] Jesus, peace be upon him, did not preach
a message of salvation by worshipping him. This was something
added later by Saul (who later became Paul). We find clear statements
indicating salvation would come only through acknowledging Almighty
God as One God and worshipping Him with all the heart, mind
and strength. Jesus, peace be upon him, taught his followers
to worship "My God and your God, My Lord and your Lord."
Again, according to the remains of the English translation of
the Bible, we see the one on the cross crying out a very blasphemous
statement, "Eli! Eli! Lama sabachthani?" (Which
being translated means, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken
me?") This statement on the cross clearly indicates
the one on the cross is not pleased with the situation nor does
he consider it right or just. Therefore, one would have to conclude
this was not something Jesus approved of nor did he accept,
or else someone else was on the cross in his place. Either way
you look at it, the one on the cross did not accept this as
a plan of salvation.
The Quran is absolutely in agreement with these teachings and
Muslims do worship the same God and Lord of Jesus, Moses, Abraham
and Adam, peace be upon them all. The Quran states in many places,
no one will be taken to task for the sins of another, nor can
anyone carry the burden of another. We will all be on our own
on that Day. And I ask Allah to have Mercy and Forgiveness for
all those who believe in Him, ameen.
I consider that I have not left the teachings of Jesus Christ,
peace be upon him. On the contrary, I feel much closer to Jesus,
peace be upon him, and I look forward to His return on earth
more than ever before. Now I am worshipping the same God he
worships and I serve the same Lord he serves, in the very same
way he does. Jesus prayed to Almighty God and taught his followers
to do the same. I am simply doing what he commanded to the best
of my ability and ask Almighty God to accept it.
2. "Do you consider you were really "saved" and that you had in
fact, been "born again?"
Answer: The Baptists have a statement, "Once saved, always saved."
I asked one of them about this and he agreed it was true. Then
I mentioned at one time I had become a Baptist (in my teen years)
but now I was a Muslim. I had also been "saved" and baptized
at the age of 12. I had accepted the very statement of Jesus
being the way, the light and the truth and no man coming on
to the Father except by him. I understood these statements to
mean I must follow Jesus and his teachings. Therefore, I read
the Bible for myself and did not let others tell me what to
think about what I was reading.
The Bible states that Jesus prayed for salvation for himself
in the garden of Gethsemane in this way, "Let this
cup pass from me, even so, Thy Will be done."
This prayer was repeated by Jesus, peace be upon him, a number
of times and it is mentioned in more than one Gospel. Yet, according
to Biblical accounts, the cup did not pass from him and his
prayers were NOT ANSWERED. Islam teaches us his prayers were
answered and he did not have to endure the cruel treatment and
death on the cross, but rather he was taken up while still alive
and is with Almighty God even now and ready to return in the
Last Days to bring victory to the believers.
Additionally, we find Jesus, peace be upon him, teaching his
disciples to pray like this, "Our Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on
earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass
against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
all evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and Glory,
forever and ever, ameen." Every Muslim I have
met accepts every single word of this pray with the exception
of calling "Allah" our "Father." Muslims consider it better
to call on Almighty God by His Names, which we do consider to
3. "How did your family respond to your conversion?"
Answer: This is always difficult for families to adjust to and
it usually takes time. My family was no exception. Although
my wife, children entered into Islam and eventually my father
came to declare Islam to be the way of salvation for himself,
still my own mother and many others in my family resented our
going to Islam at first. Eventually, things became more normalized
and we do stay in touch, although they are all still very much
involved in Christianity.
Allah promises to test those who declare their faith in Him with
many types of difficulties and family is one of those mentioned
as a test in the Quran. I do pray for them and ask Allah to
guide them to the very best in this life and the very best in
the Next Life. But it is up to Allah if He wants them to be
in Submission to Him (Islam means, submission to Allah) or not.
4. "How about your congregation? What did they say?"
Answer: I never had my own church. I was a music minister in
the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana branch) in Texas and did
my preaching to businessmen and informal gatherings. Those who
knew me for the most part did not object and some even came
to Islam, but there were a few who felt very upset and accused
me of "Turing my back on Jesus, peace be upon him." No matter
what I tried to say or do, these particular individuals would
not listen nor did they want to learn anything about Islam.
"Did you experience a lot of difficulties in changing religions?"
Answer: Certainly anyone who wants to consider Islam in these
times, just as in times gone by, will have to recognize there
will be certain difficulties and tests along the way. The followers
of Jesus, peace be upon him, were highly criticized and persecuted
even until death (read what Paul said he used to do to them
in the Bible; Book of Acts of the Apostles). Those who followed
Muhammad, peace be upon him, suffered at the hands of their
very own tribes, yet they were determined to continue to worship
Almighty God Alone, without partners and submit to His Will.
The biggest problem with non-Muslims, is their lack of understanding
and lack of knowledge as to what Islam is really all about and
who the Muslims are supposed to be. I pray for them all and
ask Allah to forgive the Muslims for not showing a better picture
"Who was responsible for converting you?"
Answer: As Muslims we believe that it is only Allah who guides
the people and whoever He guides will not be misguided and whomever
He lets go astray none will be able to guide them. As such,
it means we don't believe anyone really can "convert" someone
Also, we accept that all children are born in the natural state
of submission to Almighty God and as such that means they are
Muslims. Should a child die he or she would go to Heaven as
they are not responsible for what they do not understand.
"Don't you ever think about coming back to being a Christian?"
Answer: "Christian" indicates a follower of Christ. When Jesus,
peace be upon him, returns to earth in the Last Days, all the
Muslims will be obliged to follow him. But we would not call
ourselves "Christians" anymore than he would. He never called
himself or his companions "Christians." The Bible tells us they
were never even called "Christians" until Paul was preaching
his message in Antioch.
"Doesn't it bother you to have left the way of peace, justice
and love for a religion of hatred, violence and oppression toward
women and others?"
Answer: All the prophets, peace be upon them all, called the
people to worship Almighty God as One God and One Lord. As such,
those who did not want to submit to Almighty God would combat
them and treat them with hostilities, even unto death, as Paul
had done while still being a Pharisee. The prophets, peace be
upon them all, did encourage their followers to live in peace
and deal with people in justice and certainly love is the highest
form of emotion a human can have for another human being.
Yet at the same time, believers have to defend themselves, their
families and the religion itself, lest those who are not believers
should remove belief from the very face of the earth. Islam,
like Christianity preaches a message of peace and tolerance
- to a point. But when this is no longer possible without totally
compromising and loosing one's way of life and belief system,
then there is no alternative except to engage in open combat
against those who are combating against the believers.
Jesus called upon his followers to sell their coats and buy swords.
He explained that he did not come with peace, but rather a sword.
He and his companions were engaged in mortal combat with their
enemies, the Pharisees when one of the priests slaves had his
ear cut by the sword. Jesus then told them to put down their
swords. This is mentioned in the Bible.
The word "sword" appears over 200 times in the Bible - but even
though the Arabic language has more than a dozen words for sword,
there is not a single occurrence of any of these words anywhere
in the Quran.
Combat is ordered in the Quran, only under very specific and
limited conditions and it is nothing more than what we would
today call "The War on Terrorism." Fighting against all acts
of organized aggression, oppression, persecution and terrorism
is an obligation on all believers. But it certainly has limits
and women, children, elderly and any innocents are not to killed
or injured during such occasions. Treatment of prisoners is
not to be humiliating or torture of any kind. Even the dead
of the enemy are to be buried with dignity and respect.
Now since writing my story and publishing here on the internet
many other websites have picked up this story and it had become
a famous example of how "Priest and
Preachers Are Coming to Islam."
Again, I thank you for visiting. And I thank our Christian
friend for his email. If he hadn't sent it, I probably would still
not have completed this task of putting down the story once and
for all of how my family, friends and myself all came to Islam.
Please feel free to share this story with others. You should print
it out and make copies for everyone. Give them our links, add our
story to your website or blog page, and send out emails to everyone
you know. Maybe it could make a difference for others like us, God
May Allah guide you on your journey to all truth. Ameen. And May
He open your heart and your mind to the reality of this world and
the purpose of this life, ameen.
Peace to you and Guidance from Allah the One Almighty God, Creator
and Sustainer of all that exists.
Chaplain Yusuf Estes
More Proof? Read: "Success, Happiness
& Peace" [click]