السبت، 14 يوليو 2012
Secret Bible ‘Jesus predicts coming of Prophet Muhammad’ unearthed in Turkey « ISLAM—World's Greatest Religion!
Complete story of Sheik Yusuf Estes, his wife and minister father and a Catholic priest all entering Islam
My ethnic background is English-Native American, Irish and German. I was what they called a "WASP" (white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant). My family moved to Texas in 1949 while I was still in grade school, so my accent changed from "Yankee" to "Texan" real quick. We learned how to say "Ya'll" instead of "youse guys" and "Howz ever thaang?" instead of "Waz up?" We also learned how to eat "Corn bread 'n bains" instead of "Johnny cakes and beans."
I was born in Ohio, raised and educated in Texas and was a successful marketing entrepreneur and preacher of Christianity. I grew up in a religious home. My parents and their relatives were all 'good Christians.' Basically that means that you never drink alcohol, except on very special occasions and never gamble expect Bingo at the church. Religion was a real part of my life. I believed very much in God and the Bible as His Word. While other children were playing 'school' and 'cops and robbers' I would sometimes play the 'Preacher.' I can still remember my first sermon, standing on the ground in Doug Hideman's backyard: "We must learn the Way of God! And then stay on that Way." (That's all I said. I couldn't think of anything else)
My whole family on both my mother's and father's sides were very active members of the same denomination of Protestant Christianity. We all loved to go to church on Sunday mornings for Sunday school and sermon (well maybe we didn't all love the long sermons). Then of course, special activities and holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Halloween and parties were always a part of our lives in my early years. Our church was originally called only "Christian Church." It wasn't until I turned 10 or 12 years old that the church 'split' into two different groups that we started calling ourselves "Disciples of Christ."
My father was an ordained minister and also very active in church work, as a Sunday school minister and fund raiser for Christian schools. He was the 'expert' in the Bible and its translations. It was through my father that I came to know about the various versions, translations and editions of the Bible as well as the introduction of pagan worship to Christianity about the time of the Emperor Constantine (325 C.E.). He, like many preachers would answer the question: "Did God actually write the Bible?" by saying: "The Bible is the Inspired Word of Man FROM GOD." Basically, it means that humans (inspired humans, but humans just the same) wrote the Bible. That quickly explains the errors, mistakes, deletions and additions which have crept in and fell out over the years. He would add: "But it is still the Word of God, as inspired to man."
God was always on my mind. I was 'baptized' into the 'Spirit' at age 12 and surprised even the minister (an ex-Jew who accepted Jesus) by my seriousness and intent on being a 'full real follower of Christ." I would think about Him and what He wanted us to do and why He created us in the first place, very often. Many times I would be caught 'day dreaming' about God when I was supposed to be paying attention to other things, like watching the pots boil over on the stove or not listen to the teachers at school. Sometimes I would rest my head on my arms on the top of my desk and try to imagine: "What will happen when we die?" and "What will Heaven be like?" or "Can we ever see God's angels or the devil?"
My mind was frequently preoccupied with these types of thoughts as a child. But then as with most youth, I became distracted from my pursuit and began to be influenced by my peers. Other children would make fun of me if I talked about these questions and thoughts, so it seemed like a good idea to keep it to myself. No problem. I like to be alone with my thoughts of God anyway.
After growing up and owning many business, I realized that I did not want to be a 'preacher.' I was too afraid that I might be a hypocrite or call people to something that I myself didn't truly understand. After all, I had 'accepted the Lord' and considered myself a true Christian, but at the same time I could not resolve the idea of God being One and at the same time He is 'Three.' And if He is the 'Father', how could He also be the 'Son?' And then what about the 'Holy Ghost?' (later they changed that to 'Spirit'). But my big question was always the same: "How does three equal one?"
Over the years I had tried to 'find' God in many different ways. I checked out Buddhism, Hinduism, metaphysics, Taoism, different forms of Christianity and Judaism. The one most attractive to me was a combination of Gnosticism (Christian mysticism) and Cabalism (Jewish mysticism) and metaphysics. This actually is a form of pantheism (God being throughout His creation) and is similar to some of the 'Sufi' mystics of today. But this concept in its entirety repulsed me because I did not want to imagine myself as being a 'part of God.'
God is Pure! God is Perfect! God is All Knowing and All Aware of all things! So, how can I come along and say things like I was hearing from the other preachers: "In a way, we are all gods." Read the Bible:
"You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." (quoted from the Old Testament; Psalms [82:6]) & "I said, you are gods." (New Testament John 10:34)
The rationalization which comes about in the books attributed to the Apostle Saul (changed his name to Paul), are full of statements which basically cancel the Torah or Law of the Old Testament. He makes it a matter of how you 'understand' something that makes it 'permissible' or 'forbidden.' As an example in the English Revised Standard Version which I have carried with me since
1953, it says in Paul's letter to the Romans:
"I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean."
And again, in the same letter:
"So do not let what is good to you be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God does not mean food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
By these types of statements, Paul pretty much destroys the entire Old Testament Commandments. Yet at the same time, in the same English version of the Bible in the first book of the New Testament, we are told that Jesus preached a message which was exactly the opposite of St. Paul:
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth shall pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
So according the St. Paul's own testimony in his letter to the new Roman Christians, he is relaxing not just the least of these commandments, but basically all of these commandments. And he justifies everything with his rationalization that if you don't think it's bad, then it's not!
I just felt that something was wrong in this message and decided to try to uphold the Commandments according to the Old Testament as much as I could.
That would mean: No Pork; circumcision; no sex outside of marriage; no adultery; worship on Saturday (not Sunday) and most important of all: No worship of anything which is in the creation. This is in direct line with the verse which says:
"You shall have no other gods before (besides) me. You shall not make yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments."
It seemed reasonable to me, that there should only be One God. He should be All in Charge and without any partners. Reason also would demand that only He should be given any worship because He Alone deserves it. And as God, He should be the One to set the rules and give the orders. Then it would be clear who really loved Him and who was following His Commandments.
I had tried not to deal with these issues for many years. But now I was getting close to fifty years old and needed to do something for the Lord. After all, had done everything for me. So, it was time for me to get serious about my religion and make some head way for the Lord. I decided to join in with some of my friends who were evangelists and preachers who preached in various parts of the country and even in Mexico. We traveled together and praised the Lord together and shared in 'the spirit' and went where the 'spirit lead us.' One of them use to carry a huge cross on his shoulders and drag it down the highway and give out little 'mini-Bibles' to those who cared to stop and visit. It was enjoyable to go to those who had given up hope or had no money or jobs and give them food, money, assistance and at the same time call them to the message of Christianity. I took my Bible everywhere and was very fast to whip it out and begin to 'preach the message.'
I was 'born again.' I needed to 'be in the light of Christ.' I needed to share the 'message.' There was only one problem:
"What is the message?"
Oh sure, I know what some of the 'born again's are saying as they read this:
"The message of salvation of Jesus Christ!" - "He died for your sins!" - "He paid the price of redemption." - "He is the Risen Son of God!" - "Jesus is LORD!"
Right. - I got that.
I preached that message myself and thought I understood it as well as anyone else did. The problem is that one time I heard another preacher say: "Don't leave your brain in the parking lot with your car."
Then it hit me to start thinking about the very serious problems and real facts about my religion. Then came:
THE QUESTIONS NOBODY WANTS TO ANSWER -
What about the Bible? Who actually wrote it?
What was the original language of the Bible? (Hebrew? Aramaic? Koine Greek?)
NOTE: - The Bible was never in English during the time of any prophet (not even Muhammad) - because English did not exist until after 1066 AD!
Does the Bible exist in the original form anywhere on earth? (No)
Why does the Catholic Bible has seven (7) more books than the Protestant Bible?
Why do these two Bibles have different versions of the same books?
Why are there so many mistakes and errors are from the very first verse right up to the very last verse?
Why do 'Born Again Christians' teach concepts that are not from the Bible?
There is no word "Trinity" in the Bible in any version of any language
The oldest forms of Christianity do not support the 'born again' beliefs
Jesus of the English Bible complains about the 'crucifixion'
("Eli! Eli! Lama sabachthani? - My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?") [Mk 15:34]
How can Jesus be the "Only Begotten Son" of John 3:16? When in Psalms 2:7 David is God's "Begotten Son?"
Would a 'Just' God, a 'Fair' God, a 'Loving' God -- punish Jesus for the sins of the people that he called to follow him?
What happens to people who died before Jesus came?
What happens to those who never hear this message?
What about innocent children who die although their parents are not Christian?
Didn't God create Adam from dirt? -- So, why does he need Mary to make Jesus?
And what about God?
How can God create Himself?
How can God be a man?
How can a man be a God?
How can God have a son?
The Bible says "Seth (is) the son of Adam" and that"Adam is the son of God." [Lk 3:36]
Can't God just forgive us and not have to kill Jesus?
And what about Jesus?
Jesus did not even carry the cross -- Simon Cyre'ne, a passerby did! [Mk 15:21]
Jesus of the Bible was NOT on the cross for longer than six (6) hours -- NOT three days -- (from the 3rd to the 9th hour) [Mk 15:25 & 15:33]
Jesus of the Bible did not spend three days and nights in the tomb -- Friday night - until Sunday before dawn -- is not 3 days and nights!
Jesus DID NOT claim to be God - or even equal to God!
My friend with the huge cross became tired of trying to answer all of my questions and in desperation one day, he told me to read the story of Abraham in Genesis in the Old Testament. Especially the part of sacrificing his son for the sake of God. He seemed to feel that this was going to explain the whole concept of sacrifice and obedience to God.
I read it.
But instead of convincing me that this was the meaning of punishing the good so the bad do not have to suffer, I saw a totally different message here.
Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son on the alter for the sake of Almighty God, if that was what God wanted from him. But God did not really want to take the life of an innocent boy for sins that Abraham committed. That was not even the story here. And as far as replacing his son with the ram for sacrifice, this also does not match the story of Jesus on the cross.
Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son to test the loyalty of Abraham. He did not withhold his son from God, so God's angels ordered him to offer a ram in place of his son. God was pleased with his total submission and as a result, God Blessed him and his offspring.
Now think about the New Testament story of 'salvation.'
Jesus asked God NOT to put him through this ordeal.
"Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done." [Luke 22:42]
Notice in the next verse, an angel from heaven also appears to Jesus to "strengthen him."
Abraham's angel comes to offer a ram as a sacrifice instead of the son.
The next verse [22:44] Jesus is in AGONY as he prays "more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground."
Then I looked to the account of the story in the Book of Mark [14:32-39].
Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane and his soul is "very sorrowful, even to death." And "... going a little farther, he fell on the ground prayer that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him." Meaning that somehow when the time came for the event to take place he could escape it. This is NOT the submissive attitude of Abraham.
Next I noticed in verse 36, Jesus says: "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt." And then he goes to his disciples and wakes them up and then returns to pray "... saying the same words."
This whole concept was so totally different than the one from Genesis talking about Abraham and his son.
I asked questions and delved into 'those kind of stories' the more I would like to facilitate the truth. Many strange things began to happen. Very strange.
Things began to happen in my life. Things that would change many concepts and beliefs that I had been burdened with for many years. Solutions and answers started coming in very strange and wonder ways.
First, my father started doing business with a man from Egypt. After introducing me to him, my father noticed right away that I was trying to convert the man to Christianity and asked me not to do so in a rude manner. I heard the man say he was ready to come to my religion if my religion was better than his religion. But there was a condition, he said he wanted proof. I told him religion is not about proof. It is about faith. He then said something that really made me think. He told me in his religion there was both faith and proof. Strange, I thought. How could there be any proof about God or religion?
Next, I was to meet a Catholic priest who would enlighten us all on the true history of the church and what was really going on in the cathedrals and the Vatican. His name was Father Peter Jacobs. His experiences throughout Central and South America, Mexico and the United States would prove to be very enlightening. But most of all was his deep understanding of the Bible and the scrolls. He brought to the table many interesting and amazing facts about Christianity and the organized religion of Catholicism.
Both the priest and the Muslim from Egypt came to live with us in our home in the country near Dallas, Texas. Then things really started getting strange.
PART - II
Part 2 of Story! Why Islam? Yusuf Estes
Many people ask me how a preacher or priest in Christianity can ever go to Islam, especially considering all the negative things that we hear about Islam and Muslims everyday. Some people are simply curious, while others take a profound exception to my "conversion" to Islam. Some have asked how I could have turned my back on Jesus, or if I truly understood the Holy Ghost and some even questioned whether or not I considered myself as "born again" or had ever really been saved at all. These are good questions to which I will offer answers to at the end of this writing. I would like to thank everyone for their interest and offer my humble story, God Willing.
One very nice Christian gentleman asked me in email why and how I left Christianity for Islam. This is more or less a copy of the letter I sent to him.
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 the Clown."
Once, 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']
Dear 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 analogies.
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 what else?
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 people.
Lies Against Muslims & Islam - They Told Us, Muslims:
They don't even believe in God
They worship a black box in the desert.
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!" on it.
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!)
I said: "What about Abraham? You believe in him and how he tried to sacrifice his son for God?"
"Yes." - (Even better!)
Then I asked:
"What about Moses?"
"Parting the Red Sea?"
Again he said:
"Yes." - (Better still!)
"What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John the Baptist?"
"Yes." - (Great!)
"Do you believe in the Bible?"
Again, he said:
"Yes." - (OK!)
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:
"Yes." - (Fantastic!)
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.
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.'
After "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 a 'Moslem?'
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 upon him).
"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 now.
Amazing Story - Family and Friends Entering Islam - From One Man
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 Islam
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.
So, 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 Life.
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 best. (http://islamtomorrow.com/downloads/)
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.
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