Priests and Preachers Entering Islam?
How Yusuf Estes & His Family Came to Islam
- Complete Story [click]
Interviewer: "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."
"To begin, let me mention a bit of my background. I was born in the Midwest to strong Christian parents. We moved to Texas in 1949 and by the time I was 12, I had joined the church and been baptized. Later as a teen, I began playing the accordion, piano and organ. I visited other churches and attended many sermons and played a lot of music.
As I grew older 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.
Then one day in 1991, my dad began doing business with a man from Egypt (Mohamed Abdel Rahman) and told me that he wanted me to meet him. But I was shocked when my father mentioned that this man was a 'Moslem.'
I said, "Dad, these guys are terrorists, hijackers, kidnappers and who knows what else?
Dad assured me he was a very nice person and I had nothing to worry about. I agreed to meeting, but only on my terms. I had to be coming directly from church, on Sunday, with my Bible, cross and cap that said, "Jesus is Lord!"
As soon as we were introduced, I asked Mohamed - "Do you believe in God?"
He said,"Yes." (Good!)
Then I said, "Do you believe in Adam and Eve?"
He said, "Yes."
I said, "What about Abraham? You believe in him and how he tried to sacrifice his son for God?"
He said, "Yes."
Then I asked, "What about Moses?"
"Parting the Red Sea?"
Again he said, "Yes."
I asked, "What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John the Baptist?"
He said, "Yes."
I asked. "Do you believe in the Bible?"
Again, he said. "Yes."
So, now it was time for the big question:
"Do you believe in Jesus? That he was the Messiah (Christ) of God?"
Again he says, "Yes. I do."
Well, now! This was going to be easier than I had thought. He was about to be baptized only he didn't know it, yet. (And I was just the one to do it, too)
Then he said he would become a Christian, if my religion was better than his. But I would have to bring proof. I told him, "Religion is not about proof. It is about faith."
He said, "In Islam, we have both."
I said, "You mean you can prove God really exists?"
He said, "Yes. There is proof in Islam that God exists and that Islam is the way to worship Him."
I was amazed. He seemed so confident and sure of what he was saying. This was not what I was used to. Even preachers have said about many things, "Just have faith." Or they say, "Don't ask. It is a mystery."
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. Right?"
"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?" All of these were questions I grew up with and didn't really belief in some of the answers.
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.
I came to know that the Muslims believed in the Bible. Again, I was shocked. How could this be?
I learned Islam teaches: "Allah" is the Name of God in Arabic and it is the same 'God' as the God of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus, peace be upon them all. [more about Allah]
Islam believes in Jesus as the "Christ" or "Messiah" and he is the Word of God Incarnate, he is the "Logos" (Greek for 'word')
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.'
- But he was not God, nor son of God. Rather, he was a mightily 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.
I found all of this to be very interesting.
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 began to discuss this with my wife and suddenly she told me she wanted a divorce. I was confused and asked her, "Why?"
She said, "A Muslim can't be married to a Christian."
I replied, "I didn't say I want to be a Muslim - and besides, it is a Muslim lady who does not marry a Christian man."
She said, "That is what I am talking about! I want to be a Muslim, too!"
Shocked and confused, 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. He told me, "This is really about you and God. You need to go down deep into your heart and ask Him."
I went out back behind my father's house and right there I put my head down on the ground facing the direction do when they pray.
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 a change inside of me. I was aware now more than ever before that it was time that I really work at being an honest and upright man, doing what God wants and not so much what I want.
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 followed along and gave the same testimony. But for her there were 3 witnesses (me being the third).
My father was 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).
Our whole house had become Muslim along with a Catholic priest. How?
Only from the Guidance of Allah.
For the entire story with all the details [click here]