Priests and Preachers Entering Islam?

ISLAM ALWAYS:"Can you tell us briefly, how did you, your father, wife, children and a Catholic priest all come to Islam?"

Imam Estes: "I would love to. And thanks for giving us the chance to share our story of how we came into Islam."

I was born into a very strong Christian family in the Midwest. My family 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.

My father and I worked together in many business projects and made millions of dollars , 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.

And then there is the concept of the 'Trinity.' If I would ask preachers or ministers to give me some sort of an idea how 'one' could figure out to become 'three'?

Or how is it that God, Who can do anything He Wills to do, both in and outside of the universe as we know it, but He cannot just forgive people's sins unless there is blood sacrifice even if He wants to? So, He has to come down on earth and become a human, and only then is He able to forgive by taking the sins of people by killing Himself on a cross? And keeping in mind that all along He is still God of the whole universe and does as He Wills to do?

I learned Islam teaches; Jesus is the Word of God Incarnate, he is the "Logos" (Greek for 'word') of Almighty Allah, he was the miracle birth, he did do miracles even bringing a dead man back to life, he did teach salvation by believing in God as One Lord and following all the Commandments, he did ascend to God in Heaven and will return in the Last Days to lead the believers to Paradise - but, he was not God, nor son of God. Rather, he was a mightly messenger and prophet of God with miracles to prove the way of salvation by sacrificing things of this life for a better life in the Hereafter.

Then one day in 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.'

My dad began doing business with a man from Egypt (Mohamed) and told me that he wanted me to meet him.Then my father mentioned that this man was a 'Moslem.' I reminded my dad of the various different things that we had heard about these people, how they are - Terrorists; hijackers; kidnappers; bombers and who knows what else? My father insisted that I meet him and reassured me that he was a very nice person. So, after a quick introduction, I asked him:
"Do you believe in God?"
He said:

(Good!) Then I said:
"Do you believe in Adam and Eve?"
He said:

I said: "What about Abraham? You believe in him and how he tried to sacrifice his son for God?" He said:

Then I asked:
"What about Moses?"
"Ten Commandments?"
"Parting the Red Sea?"
Again he said:

Then: "What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John the Baptist?"
He said:

I asked:
"Do you believe in the Bible?"
Again, he said:

So, now it was time for the big question:
"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 know it.
And I was just the one to do it, too.

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.

One day the priest asked the Mohamed if he might accompany him to the mosque to see what it was like there.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.When they arrived I said to him: "Pete? -- Did you become a 'Moslem?' He said that he had entered into Islam that very day. THE PRIEST BECAME A MUSLIM!!

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.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. 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." 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,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 lying and cheating and doing sneaky business deals. It was time that I really work at being an honest and upright man. I knew now what I had to do.

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 upon him).

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).

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).