From Sheik Yusuf Estes,
Office of the National Muslim Chaplain,
The following is a reproduction of an actual dialog through email with a “born-again” Christian and the National Muslim chaplain, Yusuf Estes, who was a former Christian businessman and minister before entering into Islam in July of 1991. The simple beauty of understanding where people are coming from in their thinking and having proper knowledge of Islam and the methodology of explaining Islam (menhaj ad dawah), is demonstrated here to show how close some of the statements against Islam are to actually in fact verifying the proof that Islam is the only correct religion with Allah. These questions are from a man that Allah has been testing with belief in Christianity & Islam. The answers are provided from Today Islam’s Sheik Yusuf Estes.
As we will see, many times the very objections and complaints that others have about Islam, can actually be used to support the correct teachings of Islam. The problem comes from the fact that all too often we do not know enough about what the people are meaning and not enough about our own religion. Notice the art of agreeing at the correct points and then bringing about a clear understanding in the other points without alienating the other person.
Thank you for writing to us with your ideas, comments and questions:
In a message dated 3/14/2002 9:22:40 PM Eastern Standard Time, a Christian writes:
- Humans do wrong things, evil things regardless of what religion they belong to.
Yes. There is no doubt whatsoever, that what you are saying is the belief of the Muslims. This is correct and we agree on that. Islam does teach that all people do commit sins. However, some realize the severity of it and then they do repent to the One True God of the Universe, the Lord Almighty, who has no partners. And He then extends to them His Grace and forgives them from His Mercy.
- So it is not wise to first of all judge and secondly to judge a religion based on people.
Yes, again. Muslims are not the final judge. It is only Allah who is the Judge. And Islam is based on the teachings of the Quran and the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. What some people chose to do, and then call it “Islam” does not affect the truth of what Islam really is. So the answer here to you is; “No. It is not correct to judge a system of belief by some people who claim to be in that religion.”
After all, Hitler, Al Capone (1930s gangster) and Timothy McVeigh (the man who confessed to bombing the Federal building in Oklahoma City) all claimed to be Christians the same as you. But I feel certain that you would not want anyone judging you and your beliefs based on those characters, right?
- I think you must be from a Catholic system and that’s why Islam convinced you more but Jesus is the truth, the way and the life.
No. Sorry, but actually, you are wrong on this point. My family for generations have all been in nondenominational Christianity, simply called “Christian Church” until the 1950s when there was a split and one branch became known as the “Disciples of Christ.”
You might be interested to know that all of the Protestant churches today have their origins in the Catholic Church. However, the Catholic Church actually was in business prior to the birth of Jesus, peace be upon him. It was the old Roman Church originating out of the concepts of Alexander the Great. It was totally pagan in its origins. And the first time it came in contact with the early Church Fathers, at the Nicaea Council, (325 AD) it swallowed up their books, and teachers and totally revamped the whole religion. That was the time when the day for celebrating Jesus birthday was CHANGED to December the 25. Also, the addition of the rites of the Feast of Ishtar (now called Easter) were established. The day of worship was CHANGED from Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday to accommodate the Emperor’s worship of his religion. He was a cult worshipper in “Sol Invictus” (Invincible Sun). He was a sun worshipper and believed that he was the son of the sun, literally.
Another interesting note is that fact that the books that were offer at the Nicaea Council by the original Christians totaled in number exceeding 200. Yet they only selected a few. The Catholics held onto a total of 73 books from the Old and New Testament. Later (early 1500s) the Protestant Reformation reduced the number to only 66. Keeping 39 books of the Old Jewish Testament and 27 books for what they called the New Testament. The Coptic claim they have the more accurate version being the one based on Saint Mark’s Testament.
It is also interesting to note that Catholic was not the only church out there at that time. The Copts (Egypt), and the Greek Orthodox and the Eastern Orthodox were already in place. Christianity had already reached the British Isles before the Nicaea Council so they already had the foundation for the Anglican Church. Christianity had made some influence into the superstitions of the Germanic parts of Europe and the affects of their nature worship began to affect the beliefs of the Christians in those areas. This is evidenced by the results arising out of the Catholic movement in that area in later dates.
As for me personally, I did visit a number of churches in the Protestant denominations. However, I have never attended a single mass or any Catholic form of worship. I have been to a Catholic wedding but I felt that it was too much for me in many ways.
4. Philosophies, ideas, magic, evil , etc., can not bring dead back to life, only GOD can.
Yes. That is also the belief of a Muslim. Humans also do not bring the dead back to life except by the permission of Allah, as in the case of Jesus, peace be upon him, when Allah let him bring Lazarus back from the dead.
5. God brought me back to life, believe it or not.
We as Muslims believe that when a person dies they do not recycle or come back to this life. However, we also know that Allah sent Jesus to perform miracles to show people that he was a prophet of Allah. One of the miracles was to bring back a man to life. But the man still ended up dying later anyway. Allah has told us in the Quran that “every soul shall taste death.” This includes even Jesus, as I am sure that you are well aware.
We are not dead yet, but when we are, it will only be Allah who will bring us back and about that we may be sure.
6. Catholics have a system from which a lot of things are not even mentioned in the bible so if that’s what you compared Islam with then I can understand.
(note: the word “Bible” should be capitalized out of respect).
Yes. You are correct again. And that is why the Protestants (from the word “protest”) broke off from the Catholic church in 1520 under Martin Luther. Many different forms of Christianity grew out of this break up and each of them claimed they were correct.
Question here is: “How do you know which one is correct?”