Before I begin, I must mention that I am leaving on a flight from here (Washington, DC) to Atlanta in 30 minutes to speak at a special event there. You had requested information on how a Christian priest (a Catholic priest friend of ours named Peter Jacobs), a preacher (myself) and a reverend (my father came last) came to Islam. This email will serve as our permission to publish any information published on our website or in this email for your newspaper. You may feel assured that we are most happy to cooperate with you in any way possible.
I could perhaps begin by saying, that I have personally witnessed many “converts” coming into Islam in this country (and Mexico as well). But many people consider my own personal experience to be rather unique in that it was not simple one person changing their religion, but rather an entire household of very religious Christians of three different denominations [Catholic, “Born Again” and Protestant) all “converting” to Islam.
The reason I choose to put the word “convert” in brackets is because the understanding as taught by the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is that all children are born in a state of “Islam” (surrender, submission and obedience to Almighty God) and it is their parents who raise them up as Jews, Christians, Fire Worshippers. So, Muslims consider it more like returning or “reverting” to Islam.]
But please do not get the wrong idea, although we entered into Islam within a close proximity in time we each individually came to the conclusion that Islam was our own personal choice and it was not an instant decision as a group coming over to Islam.
While we would all agree that there are always going to be a certain number of people who, for whatever reason, will change from one religion to another, we must also quickly agree that it is highly unusual to find a number of priests, preachers, reverends and holy men (and women) from various faith groups, simultaneously entering the same faith around the world.
My own personal story begins on the Texas/Mexican border in December of 1990. I was born a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant and at that time I was working very actively toward preaching “Born Again” Christianity to anyone and everyone that would listen. I was definitely NOT LOOKING FOR ISLAM. In fact, religious leaders of Christianity and Judaism would have us believe, that Islam is a cult of some kind with the followers worshipping a black box in the desert and kissing the ground five times a day. Additionally, we have been programmed by the media to classify most Muslims as “terrorists,” “highjackers” and “kidnappers.”
So why would anyone even look at Islam???
Good question . . .
All my close friends at that time were either preachers, ministers or very much active and involved in preaching a message of
“Saving Grace by blood sacrifice from the Holy Trinity of Jesus.”
One preacher I knew used to carry a huge (12′ long) cross on his back and walk alongside the highway to attract people to “come to Jesus.”
Another preacher used to take me into Mexico and we would preach in the square or market to individuals about the “salvation of Christ.” We were even arrested in the night by the Mexican Federal Police and investigated (Mexico is predominantly Catholic and does not encourage other religions).
Ah alas, I feared that I would run out of time before completing this story for you. I must go immediately to the airport now….
Please feel free to write to me and to discuss this subject and other stories of priests and preachers coming to Islam…
Best Regards and May Allah Guide us all in all that is best, Ameen.
Yours Very Truly. Islamway.com