Why Did Yusuf Estes Enter Into Islam?
Why did you convert from Christianity to Islam? What was the main thing that opened your eyes and made you think that Islam is for you?
I’ve got a lot of those questions here. Let me tell you that I don’t see it as “convert,” I see it as “revert.” Why do I use the term “reversion”? Because the belief in Islam is that children are born as Muslims, all children are born as Muslims. How many would disagree with that, right away without even thinking about what I said, just want to disagree with me. Say it. Say “I disagree with you.” Just put your hand up! Go ahead, disagree completely! How many of you remember what I told you Islam means? I told you what Muslim means.
Now, if you’re Jewish and you disagree with me, I’ll say you’re right, you’re absolutely right to disagree with me, but if you’re Christian, you’re wrong. Why? The Old Testament teaches that everybody is born in sin, yes or no? Absolutely! Everybody’s born in sin, yes or no? You got the book there, tell me if I’m wrong. Genesis, real clear, but the New Testament doesn’t say that, the New Testament, and this is where we get the expression, “innocent as a” what? What is the expression? Everybody knows it in English. “Oh my God, that person is as innocent as a... new born babe.” You never heard that? “Innocent as a new born baby”? You never heard that in your life? Now is a baby born innocent or guilty? If you say “guilty,” this is the Old Testament, if you say “innocent,” it’s the New Testament.
Where is it in the New Testament? When the children were gathering around the prophet Jesus (Peace be upon him), and the other people as well, the elders were pushing the kids out of the way! “Get those kids out of here!” And what did Jesus say? Brother, what did Jesus tell them? In the old English, it says “suffer the children,” but it doesn’t mean to hurt them, it means “allow them,” or “let them,” or “permit them,” or “push ‘them on up here to me.” “Suffer the children to come unto me,” is that what he did? You got the new version. Okay, “let the children come to me,” it makes better sense, what he has is closer to the meaning. Let the children come unto me because... that’s exactly!... I’m sorry I did it again. I cut you off, read the last words, yeah, I like that part. Now, this statement, and I’m going to have to go back to what I memorized because this is how I know it, “Suffer the children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven. And unless you’re” what? Yes, “truly I say unto you who does not receive the kingdom like that of the child...” he won’t enter the kingdom, is that right? And then he took the children, laid hands on them and blessed them. Right? Okay.
Think about that, and I want you to think about what this is said, and if you agree with that, if you agree with this statement from the New Testament, the statement of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), is beautiful. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), he says that every child is born on the Fitrah of Al-Islam. But it’s their parents who will raise them up to be some other religion. Jews, Christians, of fire-worshippers. What is Fitrah? Fitrah means the natural inclination to do something, what’s normal that goes along with that. Just the inclination to do what? And he’s saying that these children, all children, regardless! You’re parents are Hindu? Buddhists? Atheists? Doesn’t matter, the children are innocent, and when children die, they go where? Because if you believe children are born innocent, and you believe that the only way that anybody can be saved is by believing in Jesus on the cross, then what would you tell a Hindu woman whose child gets run over by a car? She says “where did my child go,” according to what you know? What will you tell her? Will you tell her, “Oh by the way, and he went to hell”? That wouldn’t be very responsible, would it? And psychologically even, just to tell somebody - you just lost your child - oh yeah and by the way, they went to hell. Doesn’t work! Islam teaches that every single child is born in the innocence of submission, surrender, and obedience to God.
And I think what I have failed to do today - I’m going to give myself an “F” for today’s class - because I have failed to communicate to you one of the very essential words from the very beginning: the word Islam. You are still understanding Islam as a noun, you have not understood it as a verb or an action. It is a condition, described very clearly in English: surrender, submission, obedience, and peace with God.
That’s what it means. No capital “I” slam, because there is no capital letter in Arabic, it’s a verb, it’s an action. And do you do what God wants you to do? Do you believe that children are innocent, or do you believe they’re guilty? And do you believe that it doesn’t matter, you can do whatever you want to do? That you have a magic formula, that you pronounce and that automatically saves you?
Because if that’s what you believe, then you’re not really following the teachings of what we have evidenced from the Bible today, nor from the Old Testament, or from the last Testament, meaning the Quran. So I fail myself, if I haven’t done my job.
So I didn’t “convert,” I reverted. I went back to the original condition. And as far as some, and you guys have been really nice, but I get some that say things like real hatred, like “why did you turn your back on Jesus?,” “You’re going to go to hell,” you know. But, excuse me? Did you spend time studying the religion? Did you really? Or did you just listen to what people said on TV? Because if all you did was listen to what people said on TV, TV Evangelists, a little instant-religion here and there, and you’ve talked to people who have spent their whole lives studying it, I don’t see how you can balance that on your scale. And if you’ve got holy ghosts talking to you, or whispering in your ears, how do you know where they’re coming from? And by the way Muslims - I’ve talked to some Muslims [who’ve] got some whisperings going on too - this is not good. Okay? This is not good stuff. That’s not how it works; don’t be led astray by all these whisperings and this stuff. It’s straight up: There’s God, there’s you, and you need to have the right relationship with Him. Simple as that. And there’s no shortcut, like under construction and you take a detour and all that? It’s not like that. Straight path, straight road, As-Sirata Al-Mustaqim.
I consider that I did not leave Christianity, I consider that I came to the true Christianity, which is what? To do what Christ did! Not be philosophical about it. If you really believe in Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), I’m going to ask you what have you done about it? According to every picture they draw of him, he’s got a beard. Do you grow a beard? Not the ladies of course. Do you grow a beard? No. Why? Because you don’t have that kind of commitment. You don’t have that; you said “I don’t need to. It’s no matter to me.” Same for Muslims! If you grow a beard, why do you grow the beard? Because if you grow it just because you like a hairy face, then you didn’t do it because you’re emulating the picture of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him). I’m serious! And if you cut it off because you think it makes you look better; it’s women who don’t have hair on their face,
Talking to the Muslims, if you really, really love somebody, what will you do? And I want you to be honest with yourself, it’s a rhetorical question, if you love a sports figure, and you see him out here and he’s a great sports figure, or a movie star or somebody, and you say “man, he wears these kind of clothes, I’m going to wear those kind of clothes. He eats this kind of food, I’m going to eat that kind of food. He drinks this stuff, I’m going to drink that stuff. Whatever he does, I want to do it. I want to be like that person.” That’s sincere following. And when you know more of the names of sports players than you know the companions of Muhammad - speaking on the Muslims again - you got to ask yourself a question: what am I really? And when you can quote to me stock figures and the Dow Jones from memory, faster than you can quote the Quran, tell me who you really love and what you’re really about. And stop lying. And by the way, you didn’t ask me, but I was hoping to get the question, I didn’t get it, so I’ll ask myself: What do you say about the business of somebody drawing a picture or a cartoon of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)? What do you say about that? Have you thought about it? How many Muslims, that irritates you so bad, you’d do anything, just want to run out and demonstrate about that, it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in your whole life and you’re ready to go Majnun, crazy on everybody, blow up the embassy or something like that... Huh?
By the way, don’t raise your hand, there might be cameras in here. Because I’m going to ask you, how do you have such concern for the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), when you don’t even follow what he told you to do? I know you’re saying, “Hey sheikh, take it easy man.” I’m going to ask you, where did you pray Fajr this morning? And where will you find yourself for Fajr tomorrow morning? And how many Jumu’ahs have you missed, just this semester? Oh you had a good excuse! Oh man! Oh duh, you had a good excuse! Qadr Allah, Masha’Allah. When was the last time you sat down with somebody and really tried to explain Islam without trying to debate with them about the Bible? When was the last time you really tried to show the example of a Muslim with your good character? When was the last time someone look at you and said “wow I’d like to be like you because you’re so nice and kind and generous and sweet and loving and -!! Because if you’re not an example of the Prophet you claim to follow, I’d like to know what you really are. You’re just joking; you’re kidding yourself. And when Jesus (Peace be upon him), does comes back, I hope Allah guides all of us to recognize him, but more important that he recognizes us. There’s a clear Hadith of the prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), who says that on the Day of Judgment when the people are going - after the judgment, they’re coming into the Paradise, they’re coming right up to the Paradise to get that first drink out of the fountain of Kawthar, the water of life, it’s waiting for them, and it's coming and they never, ever, ever need anything again after that drink. And they’re coming - you remember that story huh? And they’re coming to him, and the Angels all of a sudden block these people. And Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), he says let them come! He’s telling the Angels to let them come! These are my people! I recognize them by signs on them! Let them come! He said “no, because you don’t know what they innovated in the Deen after you were gone.” What is Deen? The way; what they innovated in the way, think about it.
I hope, sincerely hope, that I’m one of those people that Allah will forgive, and He’ll let enter His Paradise, and I hope the same for all of you. This is a sincere prayer man. If you want to say Ameen, up to you. I say Ameen.
Sheikh Yusuf Estes