|Yusuf Estes (formerly Skip
“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.”
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. I would
like to thank everyone for their interest and offer my humble story, God
A Christian Priest
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?
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?
Meeting the First Muslim
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
|Father of Yusuf Estes
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 to mention that: they don’t believe in God; they
kiss the ground five times a day and they worship a black box in the
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?
Surprised At What Muslims Believe
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?”
Again he said: “Yes.”
Then: “What about the other prophets, David, Solomon and John the
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 Christ of God?”
Again he 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 has 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.
Group Discussions on Faith
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.
The Catholic Priest Converts to Islam
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
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?
I Follow Him and Submit Myself to God
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 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).
My Wife and My Father Follow and Convert to Islam
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
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.
Phenomenon of Priests Converting Islam
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
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.
Advice Regarding Seeking the Truth
May I suggest to the seeker of truth do the following NINE STEPS to
purification of the mind:
- Clean their mind, their heart and their soul real good.
- Clear away all the prejudices and biases
- Read a good translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran in a
language that they can understand best.
- Take some time.
- Read and reflect.
- Think and pray.
- And keep on asking the One who created you in the first place,
to guide you to the truth.
- Keep this up for a few months. And be regular in it.
- 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
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,