Inspiring Stories


Death
Her cheeks were worn and sunken, and her skin hugged her bones. That didn’t stop her because you could never catch her not reciting Qur’an. She was always vigil in her personal prayer room that our father had set up for her. Bowing, prostrating, raising her hands in prayer, was the way she was from dawn to sunset and back again; boredom was for other people.
As for me, I craved nothing more than fashion magazines and novels. I treated myself to videos until the trips to the rental place became my trademark. It’s a saying that when something becomes habit, people tend to distinguish you by it. I was negligent in my responsibilities and my salah was characterized by laziness.
One night, after a long three hours of watching, I turned the video off. The adhan rose softly in the quiet night. I slipped peacefully into my blanket.
Her voice called me from her prayer room. “Yes? Would you like anything Noorah?” I asked.
With a sharp needle she popped my plans. “Don’t sleep before you pray Fajr!”
Agghh! “There’s still an hour before Fajr. That was only the first adhan,” I said.
With those loving pinches of hers, she called me closer. She was like that even before the fierce sickness shook her spirit and shut her in bed. “Hanan, can you come sit beside me.”
I could never refuse any of her requests; you could touch the purity and sincerity in her.“Yes, Noorah?”
“Please sit here.”
“Alright, I’m sitting. What’s on your mind?”
With the sweetest mono voice she began reciting:
Every soul shall taste death and you will merely be repaid your earnings on the Day of Resurrection.
She stopped thoughtfully. Then she asked, “Do you believe in death?”
“Of course I do,”I replied.
“Do you believe that you shall be responsible for whatever you do, regardless of how small or large?”
“I do, but Allah is Forgiving and Merciful, and I’ve got a long life waiting for me.”
“Stop it Hanan! Are you not afraid of death and its abruptness? Take a look at Hind. She was younger than you but she died in a car accident. Death is age-blind and your age could never be a measure of when you shall die.”

The darkness of the room filled my skin with fear. “I’m scared of the dark and now you made me scared of death. How am I supposed to go to sleep now? Noorah, I thought you promised you’d go with us on vacation during the summer break.”

Her voice broke and her heart quivered. “I might be going on a long trip this year Hanan, but somewhere else. All of our lives are in Allah’s hands and we all belong to Him.”
My eyes welled and the tears slipped down both cheeks. I pondered my sisters grizzly sickness. The doctors had informed my father in private that there was not much hope Noorah was going to outlive the disease. She wasn’t told, so I wondered who hinted to her. Or was it that she could sense the truth?
“What are you thinking about Hanan?”Her voice was sharp. “Do you think I am just saying this because I am sick? I hope not. In fact, I may live longer than people who are not sick. How long are you going to live Hanan? Perhaps twenty years? Maybe forty? Then what?”Through the dark she reached for my hand and squeezed gently. “There’s no difference between us; we’re all going to leave this world to live in Paradise or agonize in Hell. Listen to the words of Allah:
Anyone who is pushed away from the Fire and shown into Jannah will have triumphed.
I left my sister’s room dazed, her words ringing in my ears:“May Allah guide you Hanan – don’t forget your prayer.”
I heard pounding on my door at eight o’clock in the morning. I don’t usually wake up at this time. There was crying and confusion. O Allah, what happened?
Noorah’s condition became critical after Fajr; they took her to the hospital immediately.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.
There wasn’t going to be any trips this summer. It was written that I would spend the summer at home.
It felt like an eternity had gone by when it was one o’clock in the afternoon. Mother phoned the hospital.
“Yes. You can come and see her now.” Dad’s voice had changed, and mother could sense something had gone deathly wrong. We left immediately.
Where was that avenue I used to travel and thought was so short? Why was it so very long now? Where was the cherished crowd and traffic that would give me a chance to gaze left and right? Everyone, just move out of our way!
Mother was shaking her head in her hands crying as she made du’a for her Noorah. We arrived at the hospital’s main entrance. One man was moaning, while another was involved in an accident. A third man’s eyes were iced. You couldn’t tell if he was dead or alive.
Noorah was in intensive care. We skipped stairs to her floor. The nurse approached us. “Let me take you to her.”
As we walked down the aisles the nurse went on expressing how sweet of a girl Noorah was. She somewhat reassured Mother that Noorah’s condition had gotten better than what it was in the morning. “Sorry. No more than one visitor at a time,” the nurse said.
This was the intensive care unit. Past the flurry white robes, through the small window in the door, I caught my sister’s eyes. Mother was standing beside her. After about two minutes, mother came out unable to control her crying. “You may enter and say salaam to her on the condition that you do not speak too long,” they told me. “Two minutes should be enough.”
“How are you Noorah? You were fine last night sister, what happened?”
We held hands; she squeezed harmlessly. “Even now, alhamdulillah, I’m doing fine.”
“Alhamdulillah…but…your hands are so cold.”
I sat on her bedside and rested my fingers on her knee. She jerked it away. “Sorry, did I hurt you?
“No, it is just that I remembered Allah’s words.”
Waltafatul saaqu bil saaq (One leg will be wrapped to the other leg [in the death shroud]).
“Hanan pray for me. I may be meeting the first day of the Hereafter very soon. It’s a long journey and I haven’t prepared enough good deeds in my suitcase.”
A tear escaped my eye and ran down my cheek at her words. I cried and she joined me. The room blurred away and left us two sisters to cry together. Rivulets of tears splashed down on my sister’s palm, which I held with both hands. Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I’ve never cried like that before.
At home and upstairs in my room, I watched the sun pass away with a sorrowful day. Silence mingled in our corridors. One after another, my cousins came in my room. The visitors were many and all the voices from downstairs stirred together. Only one thing was clear at that point – Noorah had died!
I stopped distinguishing who came and who went. I couldn’t remember what they said. O Allah, where was I? What was going on? I couldn’t even cry anymore.
Later that week they told me what had happened. Dad had taken my hand to say goodbye to my sister for the last time. I had kissed Noorah’s head.
I remember only one thing while seeing her spread on that bed – the bed that she was going to die on. I remembered the verse she recited:
One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud).
And I knew too well the truth of the next verse:
The drive on that day will be to your Lord (Allah)!
I tiptoed into her prayer room that night. Staring at the quiet dressers and silenced mirrors, I treasured the person that had shared my mother’s stomach with me. Noorah was my twin sister.
I remembered who I had swapped sorrows with, who comforted my rainy days. I remembered who prayed for my guidance and who spent so many tears for many long nights telling me about death and accountability. May Allah save us all.
Tonight is Noorah’s first night that she shall spend in her tomb. O Allah, have mercy on her and illumine her grave. This was her Qur’an and her prayer mat. And this was the spring, rose-colored dress that she told me she would hide until she got married; the dress she wanted to keep just for her husband.
I remembered my sister and cried over all the days that I had lost. I prayed to Allah to have mercy on me, accept me and forgive me. I prayed to Allah to keep her firm in her grave as she always liked to mention in her supplications.

At that moment, I stopped. I asked myself what if it was I who had died. Where would I be moving on to? Fear pressed me and the tears began all over again.

“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar…” The first adhan rose softly from the masjid. It sounded so beautiful this time. I felt calm and relaxed as I repeated the mu’adhin’s call. I wrapped the shawl around my shoulders and stood to pray Fajr. I prayed as if it was my last prayer, a farewell prayer, just like Noorah had done yesterday. It had been her last Fajr.
Now, and in sha Allah for the rest of my life, if I awake in the morning I do not count on being alive by evening, and in the evening I do not count on being alive by morning. We are all going on Noorah’s journey. What have we prepared for it?

Professor defeated

Do you believe in God, son?”The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor. I do.” The old man shakes his head sadly. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you? ”
“Yes, of course sir, I do have five senses”.

Then, slowly raising his voice, the professor continues:
“Have you ever seen your God?”
“No, sir. I’ve never seen Him.” 

“Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your God?”

“No, sir. I have not.”

“Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God or smelt your God… in fact, do you have any sensory perception of your God whatsoever?”
[No answer]
“Answer me, please.”

“No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

“You’re AFRAID… you haven’t?”

“No, sir.”

“Yet you still believe in him?”

“…yes…”
“That takes FAITH!” The professor smiles sagely at the underling.
“According to the rules of empirical, testable,

demonstrable protocol,
science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
Where is your God now?”
[The student doesn’t answer]
“Sit down, please.”
The Muslim sits…Defeated.
Another Muslim raises his hand. “Professor, may I address the class?”
The professor turns and smiles. “Ah, another Muslim in the vanguard!
Come, come, young man. Speak some proper wisdom to the gathering.”
The Muslim looks around the room. “Some interesting points you are making, sir. Now I’ve got a question for you. Is there such thing as heat?”
“Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.” 

“Is there such a thing as cold?”

“Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

“No, sir, there isn’t.”

The professor’s grin freezes. The room suddenly goes very cold.
The second Muslim continues. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat,

super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458 – You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”
Silence. A pin drops somewhere in the classroom.
“Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?”

“That’s a dumb question, son. What is night if it isn’t darkness? What are you getting at…?”

“So you say there is such a thing as darkness?”

“Yes…”

“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something, it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, Darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you…give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?”
Despite himself, the professor smiles at the young effrontery before
him.
This will indeed be a good semester. “Would you mind telling us what your point is, young man?”
“Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error….”

The professor goes toxic. “Flawed…? How dare you…!””
“Sir, may I explain what I mean?” >

The class is all ears.
“Explain… oh, explain…” The professor makes an admirable effort to regain control. Suddenly he is affability itself. He waves his hand to silence the class, for the student to continue. 

“You are working on the premise of duality,” the Muslim explains. “That for example there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it.”
The young man holds up a newspaper he takes from the desk of a neighbor who
has been reading it. “Here is one of the most disgusting tabloids this country hosts, professor. Is there such a thing as immorality?”
“Of course there is, now look…”
“Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?” The Muslim pauses. 

“Isn’t evil the absence of good?”
The professor’s face has turned an alarming color. He is so angry he is temporarily speechless.
The Muslim continues. “If there is evil in the world, professor, and we all agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work, God is accomplishing? The Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will, of our own free will, choose good over evil.”
The professor bridles. “As a philosophical scientist, I don’t vie this matter as having anything to do with any choice; as a realist, I absolutely do not recognize the concept of God or any other theological factor as
being part of the world equation because God is not observable.”
“I would have thought that the absence of God’s moral code in this world is probably one of the most observable phenomena going,” the Muslim replies. “Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it every week! Tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”
“If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”
“Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”
The professor makes a sucking sound with his teeth and gives his student a silent, stony stare.
“Professor. Since no-one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a
priest?”
“I’ll overlook your impudence in the light of our philosophical discussion. Now, have you quite finished?” the professor hisses.
“So you don’t accept God’s moral code to do what is righteous?”
“I believe in what is – that’s science!” 

“Ahh! SCIENCE!” the student’s face splits into a grin.
“Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena. Science too is a premise which is flawed…”

“SCIENCE IS FLAWED..?” the professor splutters.
The class is in uproar.

The Muslim remains standing until the commotion has subsided. 

“To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, may I give you an example of what I mean?”
The professor wisely keeps silent.
The Muslim looks around the room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?”. The class breaks out in laughter.
The Muslim points towards his elderly, crumbling tutor. 

“Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain…, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain?”.

No one appears to have done so.

The Muslim shakes his head sadly. 

“It appears no-one here has had any sensory perception of the professor’s
brain whatsoever. Well, according to the rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science, I DECLARE that the professor has no brain.”
The class is in chaos.
The Muslim sits… Because that is what a chair is for.

How Yusuf Estes Came Into Islam..

Priests & Preachers Coming to Islam

My name is Yusuf Estes and I am the National Muslim Chaplain for American Muslims, sponsored by a number of organizations here in Washington, DC. 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 of rabbis, ministers, preachers and priests everywhere. Most 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 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 on my own personal experience to see if it would in anyway benefit you in your ministry. This may seem quite strange that I would offer to help you, while we perhaps 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 you. Really, I was. Let me explain.

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.”

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. I made millions of dollars in 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.

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 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.

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.’

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?

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.

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. And then in 1991 he 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. Then my father mentioned that this man was a ‘Moslem.’

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, how they are:

Terrorists; hijackers; kidnappers; bombers and who knows what else? Not only that but:

They don’t believe in God

They kiss the ground five times a day and

They worship a black box in the desert. No!

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. So, I gave in and agreed to the meeting.

But on my terms.

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.’

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.

I’m looking for a huge man with flowing robes and big turban on his head, a beard half way down his shirt and eyebrows that go all the way across his forehead.

This man had no beard. In fact, he didn’t even have any hair on his head at all. He was very close to bald. And 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?

Never mind. I’ll get right to work on this guy. He needs to be ‘saved’ and me and the Lord are going to do it.

So, after a quick introduction, I asked him:

“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?”

“Ten Commandments?”

“Parting the Red Sea?”

Again he said:

“Yes.”

Then:

“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 the said:

“Yes.”

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.

I was winning souls to the Lord day after day and this would be a big achievement for me, to catch one of these ‘Moslems’ and ‘convert’ him to Christianity.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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. 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.

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 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 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. 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.

Around 11:00 A.M. that morning, I stood before two witnesses, one the ex-priest, formerly known as Father Peter Jacobs, 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).

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.

My father’s wife was the last of all to acknowledge that Jesus could not be a son of God and that he must have been a mighty prophet of God, but not God.

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. An ordained minister and builder of Christian schools. And they all come into Islam! Only by His Mercy were we all guided to see the real truth of Islam without any blinders on their eyes any longer.

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.

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!

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 there is still hope for him yet.

More? Yes. 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. 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.

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.

May I suggest to the seeker of truth do the following NINE STEPS to purification of the mind:

1.) Clean their mind, their heart and their soul real good.

2.) Clear away all the prejudices and biases

3.) Read a good translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran in a language       that they can understand best.

4.) Take some time.

5.) Read and reflect.

6.) Think and pray.

7.) And keep on asking the One who created you in the first place, to guide       you to the truth.

8.) Keep this up for a few months. And be regular in it.

9.) Above all, do not let others who are poisoned in their thinking influence       you while your are in this state of “rebirth of the soul.”

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.

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.

And once again I thank you for your email today. If you hadn’t sent it, I probably would still not have completed this task of putting down the story once and for all of how “Priest and Preachers Are Coming to Islam.”

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.

Your friend,

Yusuf Estes

Chaplain Yusuf Estes

Father

A young man was getting ready to graduate college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box.

Curious, but somewhat disappointed the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Quran. Angrily, he raised his voice at his father and said, “With all your money you give me a Quran?” and stormed out of the house, leaving the holy book.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business……

He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care things. When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. 

He began to search his father’s important papers and saw the still new Quran, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Quran and began to turn the pages…… “If you disclose your alms, even then it is well done, but if you keep them secret, and give them to the poor, then that is better still for you; and this wipes off from you some of your evil deeds”….As he read those words, a car key dropped from an envelope taped behind the Quran.

It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation,

and the words…PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? …we are loossing lot of god package without proper identification…..

Moral: We should not ignore worthy things in our life..

The Seed

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his Successor.Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different.

He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The Youths were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed.
I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One Man named Munna was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.

Afterabout three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Munna kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Munna didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by, still nothing in Munna’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Munna didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Munna told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Munna felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Munna arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths.

They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Munna put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said

“Hey nice try.”
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Munna just tried to hide in the back. “What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Munna at the
back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Munna was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!” When Munna got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Munna,” he replied. All the Youths were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Munna, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Munna!” 

Munna couldn’t believe it. Munna couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except Munna, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Munna was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

‘Abdullah reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and the man who continues to speak the truth and endeavours to tell the truth is eventually recorded as truthful with Allah, and beware of telling of a lie for telling of a lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell-Fire, and the person who keeps telling lies and endeavours to tell a lie is recorded as a liar with Allah. (S.Muslim 32:6309)
Blindness

There was once a small boy, who’s mother had only one eye. He loved her as any boy would love his mother, until the day came that he realised his mothers imperfection. Being a teenager, he hated his mother. All his friends would laugh at him, jeering about his disabled mother.

As he grew older, he resented loving his mother. He blamed her for everything that went wrong in his life, and everything that he could not do. He always shouted at her, and never listened when she had something to say.

When he got married, he moved out as soon as he could, deciding to live in the furthest country possible from his mum. He got himself his own job, children, a nice house and car. Then, one day, the visit he had been dreading came with a knock on the door.

He saw his mum standing there. as usual, he got angry, “What are you here? I told you to stay out of my life! Go wawy, you’re scaring my children!” he screamed and shouted at her. And as usual, his mum held her temper, and obediently went, leaving a small letter for him.

He slammed the door shut in frustration, and snatched the letter off the floor, getting ready to tear it. Before he could do anyhting to it however, his wife stopped him. “Read it atleast. If you are going to hate your mother for such petty reason, atleast see what she has to say for it.”

His heart softened at his wife’s words. opening the letter, he gasped at what he read:

O my son!

I have no clue what turned you into such  an ignorant person, I know that it was definitely not me. You have not come near me since you were the age of 8. And I have an inkling that it was because of my missing eye. Well let me tell you why I have a missing eye, as you never let me explain before.

When you were young, aged one and a half, you wondered out into the street, and a car came smashing into you, knocking you down. Your left eye was bleeding a lot, and I was worried for you, so I took you to the doctors. there I found out that you were now permenantly blind in your left eye. They took your eye out, and replaced it with a bandage.

I made my desicion almost immediatley. I was to give you my eye. I could not have you growing up with such as imperfection.

Now I realise that it was the wrong desicion to make.

Please forgive me.

Your mother.

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