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Date Posted: 03:58:39 07/07/07 Sat
Author: No name
Subject: “Why Do Priests & Preachers Enter Islam?” part 2 of 2
“Why Do Priests & Preachers Enter Islam?” part 2 of 2
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Now as I promised here are the answers to the questions many have asked me connected with my choice of Islam:
1. "How could you have turned your back on the perfect plan of salvation of Jesus Christ on the cross for you sins?"
Answer: Your question implies you have not considered the similarities and teachings of the Bible and the Quran.
"ISLAM" means - "Surrender, submit and obey your Lord in sincerity and peace." Whoever is trying to do this, is a "MUSLIM." If someone believes in Almighty God as One God and One Lord and wants to commit their life to serving Him and obeying His Commandments, then that person will be in the right way and they will be "saved" according to God's Mercy. No one can take the sins of another and the guilty must stand accused for what they have done. It will be up to Almighty God to Forgive or Punish according to His Judgment on that Day.
According to the remains of the translations of the Bible [see: "Bible, A Closer Look"] Jesus, peace be upon him, did not preach a message of salvation by worshipping him. This was something added later by Saul (who later became Paul). We find clear statements indicating salvation would come only through acknowledging Almighty God as One God and worshipping Him with all the heart, mind and strength. Jesus, peace be upon him, taught his followers to worship "My God and your God, My Lord and your Lord."
Again, according to the remains of the English translation of the Bible, we see the one on the cross crying out a very blasphemous statement, "Eli! Eli! Lama sabachthani?" (Which being translated means, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?") This statement on the cross clearly indicates the one on the cross is not pleased with the situation nor does he consider it right or just. Therefore, one would have to conclude this was not something Jesus approved of nor did he accept, or else someone else was on the cross in his place. Either way you look at it, the one on the cross did not accept this as a plan of salvation.
The Quran is absolutely in agreement with these teachings and Muslims do worship the same God and Lord of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam, peace be upon them all. The Quran states in many places, no one will be taken to task for the sins of another, nor can anyone carry the burden of another. We will all be on our own on that Day. And I ask Allah to have Mercy and Forgiveness for all those who believe in Him, ameen.
I consider that I have not left the teachings of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. On the contrary, I feel much closer to Jesus, peace be upon him, and I look forward to His return on earth more than ever before. Now I am worshipping the same God he worships and I serve the same Lord he serves, in the very same way he does. Jesus prayed to Almighty God and taught his followers to do the same. I am simply doing what he commanded to the best of my ability and ask Almighty God to accept it.
2. "Do you consider you were really "saved" and that you had in fact, been "born again?"
Answer: The Baptists have a statement, "Once saved, always saved." I asked one of them about this and he agreed it was true. Then I mentioned at one time I had become a Baptist (in my teen years) but now I was a Muslim. I had also been "saved" and baptized at the age of 12. I had accepted the very statement of Jesus being the way, the light and the truth and no man coming on to the Father except by him. I understood these statements to mean I must follow Jesus and his teachings. Therefore, I read the Bible for myself and did not let others tell me what to think about what I was reading.
The Bible states that Jesus prayed for salvation for himself in the garden of Gethsemane in this way, "Let this cup pass from me, even so, Thy Will be done." This prayer was repeated by Jesus, peace be upon him, a number of times and it is mentioned in more than one Gospel. Yet, according to Biblical accounts, the cup did not pass from him and his prayers were NOT ANSWERED. Islam teaches us his prayers were answered and he did not have to endure the cruel treatment and death on the cross, but rather he was taken up while still alive and is with Almighty God even now and ready to return in the Last Days to bring victory to the believers.
Additionally, we find Jesus, peace be upon him, teaching his disciples to pray like this, "Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and Glory, forever and ever, ameen." Every Muslim I have met accepts every single word of this pray with the exception of calling "Allah" our "Father." Muslims consider it better to call on Almighty God by His Names, which we do consider to be "Hallowed."
3. "How did your family respond to your conversion?"
Answer: This is always difficult for families to adjust to and it usually takes time. My family was no exception. Although my wife, children entered into Islam and eventually my father came to declare Islam to be the way of salvation for himself, still my own mother and many others in my family resented our going to Islam at first. Eventually, things became more normalized and we do stay in touch, although they are all still very much involved in Christianity.
Allah promises to test those who declare their faith in Him with many types of difficulties and family is one of those mentioned as a test in the Quran. I do pray for them and ask Allah to guide them to the very best in this life and the very best in the Next Life. But it is up to Allah if He wants them to be in Submission to Him (Islam means, submission to Allah) or not.
4. "How about your congregation? What did they say?"
Answer: I never had my own church. I was a music minister in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana branch) in Texas and did my preaching to businessmen and informal gatherings. Those who knew me for the most part did not object and some even came to Islam, but there were a few who felt very upset and accused me of "Turing my back on Jesus, peace be upon him." No matter what I tried to say or do, these particular individuals would not listen nor did they want to learn anything about Islam.
5. "Did you experience a lot of difficulties in changing religions?"
Answer: Certainly anyone who wants to consider Islam in these times, just as in times gone by, will have to recognize there will be certain difficulties and tests along the way. The followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, were highly criticized and persecuted even until death (read what Paul said he used to do to them in the Bible; Book of Acts of the Apostles). Those who followed Muhammad, peace be upon him, suffered at the hands of their very own tribes, yet they were determined to continue to worship Almighty God Alone, without partners and submit to His Will.
The biggest problem with non-Muslims, is their lack of understanding and lack of knowledge as to what Islam is really all about and who the Muslims are supposed to be. I pray for them all and ask Allah to forgive the Muslims for not showing a better picture to everyone.
6. "Who was responsible for converting you?"
Answer: As Muslims we believe that it is only Allah who guides the people and whoever He guides will not be misguided and whomever He lets go astray none will be able to guide them. As such, it means we don't believe anyone really can "convert" someone else.
Also, we accept that all children are born in the natural state of submission to Almighty God and as such that means they are Muslims. Should a child die he or she would go to Heaven as they are not responsible for what they do not understand.
7. "Don't you ever think about coming back to being a Christian?"
Answer: "Christian" indicates a follower of Christ. When Jesus, peace be upon him, returns to earth in the Last Days, all the Muslims will be obliged to follow him. But we would not call ourselves "Christians" anymore than he would. He never called himself or his companions "Christians." The Bible tells us they were never even called "Christians" until Paul was preaching his message in Antioch.
8. "Doesn't it bother you to have left the way of peace, justice and love for a religion of hatred, violence and oppression toward women and others?"
Answer: All the prophets, peace be upon them all, called the people to worship Almighty God as One God and One Lord. As such, those who did not want to submit to Almighty God would combat them and treat them with hostilities, even unto death, as Paul had done while still being a Pharisee. The prophets, peace be upon them all, did encourage their followers to live in peace and deal with people in justice and certainly love is the highest form of emotion a human can have for another human being.
Yet at the same time, believers have to defend themselves, their families and the religion itself, lest those who are not believers should remove belief from the very face of the earth. Islam, like Christianity preaches a message of peace and tolerance - to a point. But when this is no longer possible without totally compromising and loosing one's way of life and belief system, then there is no alternative except to engage in open combat against those who are combating against the believers.
Jesus called upon his followers to sell their coats and buy swords. He explained that he did not come with peace, but rather a sword. He and his companions were engaged in mortal combat with their enemies, the Pharisees when one of the priests slaves had his ear cut by the sword. Jesus then told them to put down their swords. This is mentioned in the Bible.
The word "sword" appears over 200 times in the Bible - but even though the Arabic language has more than a dozen words for sword, there is not a single occurrence of any of these words anywhere in the Quran.
Combat is ordered in the Quran, only under very specific and limited conditions and it is nothing more than what we would today call "The War on Terrorism." Fighting against all acts of organized aggression, oppression, persecution and terrorism is an obligation on all believers. But it certainly has limits and women, children, elderly and any innocents are not to killed or injured during such occasions. Treatment of prisoners is not to be humiliating or torture of any kind. Even the dead of the enemy are to be buried with dignity and respect.
Now since writing my story and publishing here on the internet many other websites have picked up this story and it had become a famous example of how "Priest and Preachers Are Coming to Islam."
Again, I thank you for visiting. And I thank our Christian friend for his email. If he hadn't sent it, I probably would still not have completed this task of putting down the story once and for all of how my family, friends and myself all came to Islam.
Please feel free to share this story with others. You should print it out and make copies for everyone. Give them our links, add our story to your website or blog page, and send out emails to everyone you know. Maybe it could make a difference for others like us, God Willing.
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.
Chaplain Yusuf Estes
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