…Shocking revelation of an Islamic scholar
David Adesina formerly Rasheed Adesina teaches Islam. He was a Muslim for 40 years before he got converted by the power of the Holy Spirit. He shares his story in this interview with Church Times Nigeria
You were a Muslim for 40 years. How was your growing up?
My father died when I was still a toddler. So I did not have the privilege of knowing him. My mother remarried. But I lived with my uncle after many of my father’s siblings had competed to have me with them. I was brought up among traditional people. I saw tradition. I saw Islam in its raw form. We were devout Muslims. Going to mosque for early morning prayers was compulsory. I grew up with my uncle in Ilaro. I had my primary education there and also modern school before coming to Lagos. I came to Lagos against the wish of my uncle. He had wanted me to be a tailor because he too was a tailor. But I sensed that I needed to go to school. I did not like the idea of learning a trade because I saw my mates come from Lagos and I felt impressed by their bogey lifestyle. So one morning I arranged with a sister of mine and ran to Lagos to see my mother. That was how I stayed back in Lagos with my mother.
It was while I was with my mother that I secured a job as a kitchen boy with Apex Mill at Iganmu, Lagos. Later I was transferred to another department of the company. It was in that environment that I saw an advert in the paper about a government teachers college that was going to be established. I applied and happened to be one of the first set of students for that college. I was there for three years and was posted to Methodist Primary School Ikorodu after my teacher training programme where I taught for some time. I later secured admission to study Maths/Economics at the Lagos State College of Education and also the Ogun State College of Education to Study Language/Islam. The admission came the same time. I opted for Maths/Economics at the Lagos State College of Education. But funding my education became a problem. As God would have it my friend who had gone to resume at the Ogun State College of Education came back to share the story of how students were enjoying in the school. Rather than pay school fees they were given monthly allowance. Without a second thought I followed my friend to the school. I went to the school authority asking if they could still accept me since I had been admitted earlier. The head of the students’ affairs said there was no problem. He said I would be admitted on the condition that I would do what I had earlier been admitted for. It was okay by me. That was how I opted for Language/ Islamic Studies despite my love for Maths/Economics. That marked my initial romance with Islam on an intellectual level. After my NCE I did my youth service. In those days NCE graduates were allowed to participate in the Youth Service programme. After my NCE I secured teaching job and later got admission to the University of Lagos to study Islam. I also had a master’s degree in Adult Education. So by training and practice I was a well-bred Muslim.
How then was life as a Muslim?
I was quite active as a Muslim and for me to have studied Islam in school you know what that meant. I was so much into sports. While I was doing my youth service I was posted to Oro Grammar School in Kwara State to be their coach in Hockey. So I had plenty time to do a lot of things. I was heavily involved in Islamic evangelism. Some of the Christian corpers who came to me then had difficulty sharing the gospel with me because I would bombard them with questions. Usually they would not be able to wait. We were taught in Islam that Bible is corrupt; that it’s not God’s word. That it is full of errors and full of contradictions. That was the orientation we had and that is what I believed. So at a point I went to buy a copy of the Bible for the purpose of spotting errors and perceived contradictions. I would point to places where Jesus was sleeping and the fact that he was killed and wondered why a God would be killed. I had a lot of interaction with many Muslims in the north which made me so stubborn and incorrigible. Apart from being educated in Islam I practiced it and shared literatures of Islam to people. By the time I finished my youth service I was employed as a teacher with the Lagos State Government.
How will you then describe Islam for the uninitiated?
Islam is an offshoot of many other religions that have been before it. I read Islamic history widely. We did a lot of courses in Islam that made us believe Islam is the best. But those who taught us showed us a concise story of Mohammed. According to history, when Mohammed was born he had encounters with the Jews and Christians in his days. But the challenge was that the Christians of those days were careless. They were arguing about doctrinal issues and were not well grounded in faith. That was the scenario Mohammed met. It was even a Coptic Christian that prophesied that Mohammed would be a prophet. Then Mohammed was a fine boy and very honest. He claimed to go to mount Kefira where he used to go and meditate.
Islam is a marriage of old traditional religion of the Arabs, Judaism and Christianity repackaged and made to be acceptable by all. Before the advent of Islam the Arabs were worshipping Idols. They had about 365 idols and they had this kaaba they bowed to. And that is what you still have in mecca. I also saw it when I went to Mecca. People would go round the kaaba and kiss the stone. There was a small stone that people kiss but I did not kiss it when I went to Mecca. Then I had become skeptical about many things. But all along I believed it was God that gave Mohammad revelation. He was said to have been visited by an angel and that he was seized by that angel when he was giving the prophecies that now became the quaran. But with my knowledge now one can say it was a rather queer encounter.
The Jews and Christians influenced the Islamic religion because of the relationship Mohammed had with them. But then we believed that Islam was the last message from God. We believed Mohammed was a blessing to the whole world and that he was the seal of the prophets. He was eulogized and praised. So we countered Christians that came to us with any other claim.
But there is this belief that quaran dropped from heaven?
That is not true. It is part of the ploy to get people hooked. The Quaran has been revealed in such a way that anybody who reads the quaran would misunderstand the Bible. Quaran was programmed against the Bible. Once you memorise that Allah begot no one and he is not begotten, you have been positioned to go against the Bible. Quaran has come to negate the Bible. So any Christian who says Christians and Muslims are worshipping the same God is living in ignorance.
So are you saying it did not descend from heaven?
There are 114 chapters in the Quaran. The message recorded in the Quaran came to Mohammed when he was between 20 to 23 years. It was believed that nobody heard from God apart from him in those years in the whole world. But the truth is that Mohammed heard all the fable stories from apocryphal documentation and his relationship with the Jews and Christians. He was simply relaying the stories he heard to his people. Whenever he gets the revelation he tells his followers and they memorise it and later they started writing on patches, leafs and trees. It was later these revelations were brought together to make the quaran. And to complicate the matter a lot of myths were built round the quaran. There is a myth for instance that if quaran falls down from your hand you will have headache. But anybody who has a thorough knowledge of Islam will appreciate that Islamic history exposes Islam’s error. I do not think Mohammed heard from God going by all the circumstances that surrounded his life. For instance one of his wives caught him in adultery and the woman was mad with him. But he reacted with a revelation and turned the heat on the wife. The wife exclaimed, how is it that your God is always quick to satisfy you.
He was receiving from self-made sources. It seems to me that Mohammed does not know the difference between revelation and history. If he knows how come the history and names of Abraham and all the patriarchs in the Bible were being distorted in the quaran. The records of the patriachs have been documented thousands of years before he was born how come his revelations contradict the records of the Jews. Unfortunately an average Muslims does not take time to think about some of these things.
Let’s talk about the distortion of the Jewish history in the Quaran. Could it be that names are being changed because of the language difference? For instance we call Jesus, Jesu in Yoruba land. Perhaps Abraham became Ibrahim because of the understanding of the Arabs?
We can agree that names are changed for the purpose of making the names complaint with the language but the story should not have been tampered with. Read the story of Abraham in the Bible or Jewish history and you find out it’s not the same in the Quaran. It’s a distorted story. Mohammed heard fables and put it together to tell people who were itching to hear from him.
There is this general belief that Ishmael is the progenitor of the Arab race. And since he came from Abraham the Islamic faith must be from God?
Some historians don’t even believe the Arab race is from the lineage of Ishmael. But that is not even the issue. The issue is that it was Isaac that God established his covenant with and not Ishmael. So whether he comes from the descendants of Ishmael is not relevant. I think we should be looking at the bigger picture of ignorance. There are many things Muslims don’t understand about the Christian faith unfortunately these things are being distorted. One of the areas that needed to be explained about the Christian faith is the fact that Jesus was crucified and he rose from the dead. Islam believes Jesus was not crucified. They also claim that the Bible is not consistent. But if you want to know the consistency of the Bible you have to go to the Bible. What happens in Genesis chapter three tells the whole story of the Bible and tells about its consistency. What happens before and after man ate the forbidden fruit is the story of the Bible. It is the story of God in search of restoring his relationship with man after man lost it in the Garden of Eden. We see how God used the Jews as a case study to save the whole world. God later sent a savior in the person of his son to save mankind. God has always been consistent. The real issue is that the Lamb of God came to save the world. Mohammed was born almost 600 years after Jesus had ascended. So the issue is how can somebody born several years after the Bible had been canonized come to re-write the Bible by using the quaran to distort the stories of the Bible.
What do you have to say about sects in Islam and the violence perpetrated by some of these sects in the name of spreading Islam?
There are several groupings in Islam. There are Ahmadiya, sunni, shitte, nasfats and many others. There are many missionary minded groupings in Islam. Islam has something that unite them which is quaran. It’s only Ahhmadiya that differs from others because they believe Mohammed is not the last prophet. That is why the other sects don’t like the Ahamadiyas. But all the sects take whatever teachings they want from the quaran. The secular Muslims don’t believe in the violent part of Islam. They don’t want to kill. The secular Muslims believe the teachings of spiritual jihad making incantations invoking spirits to manipulate the minds of people rather than confronting them physically. But the fundamentalists believe they should establish the caliphate all over the world the way Mohammed did. When Mohammed died his successor conquered more lands and put a caliphate to rule the places and instituted sharia. It is the fundamentalists that are thinking of bringing Islam back the way it was originally.
All the sects in Islam from my own understanding are all the same. It’s just that every sect has its area of emphasis. The Meccan suras are apologetic while the Medina suras are confrontational. The Ahmadiya sect however agrees with about 60 percent of the Bible but differ on 40 percent. But all the sects don’t see Jesus the way we see Jesus.
Once you understand the Bible and the quaran you will appreciate the Bible more. There are concepts behind our beliefs. When you look at the concepts of the two faiths you will know they differ.
But we also hear stories of Christians converting to Islam. How will you react to this?
It is only in the west and east of Nigeria Islam does not use force. What they do in these places is to take the Bible and openly discredit it. They condemn Bible doctrines and rubbish the Christian faith. If a Christian dare come out publicly to condemn Muslims the way they are doing, God help the Christian. There are Islamic scholars that are now all over the place who hold public seminars targeted at rubbishing the Bible. They take advantage of the gentle mien of the Christians. I call what they are doing scholastic jihad. But for how long should we continue tolerating this open desecration of the Bible? Unfortunately many believers are not well equipped with the truth of the Bible. Many churches can’t equip their members with knowledge to know what they believe and defend their faith. We are not saying they should go and fight. But the average Christian should be trained in apologetics and be ready to give an answer on why he believes what we believes.
Islam believes Christians are worshipping human being by calling Jesus God. There should be no apology about that. Jesus is 100 percent man. 100 percent divine. He has double nature. If I worship him, yes I am worshiping God. But to Muslims it is the worst sin. It is called shirk. Islam misinterpreted a lot of things we do. Muslims take the position they take because of lack of education.
We need to expose the concept of sonship to them. That is where they get it wrong. When we say Jesus is the son of God they think we are talking from the point of view of biology. God did not have sexual intercourse with Mary to give birth to Jesus. Incidentally quaran agrees that Jesus was born of a virgin. Unfortunately some Christians have made a mockery of trinity by saying trinity means God, Mary and Jesus. That was the concept Mohammed heard when he was alive. The Muslim does not also understand the concept of the Holy Spirit. They even say Mohammed is the Holy Spirit Jesus was talking about. So they got the whole thing mixed up. The Christian should be taught to debunk all these. If you understand Islam, you will fall more in love with the Christian faith. Whoever inspired Mohammad to put together quaran did not do a good job.
It is unthinkable that anybody will say Jesus was a biological son of God. We are all biological children of our parents. But Jesus did not come that way. If we say for instance Aminu Kano we imply that Aminu comes from Kanu State. So sonship of Jesus is used as a metaphor to represent his divinity. If you say ifaseyi it’s a way of saying the person’s genealogy comes from ifa worshippers.
You talked about scholastic Jihad in the east and west. How strong is it?
It is gaining momentum in many parts of the west. They are moving fast and convincing the naïve Christians who lack understanding of their faith. Some of these scholars don’t want to see some of us because they know we will puncture their claims with concrete evidence from the quaran. They don’t like those of us who have been Muslims especially those of us who studied Islam deeply. One of the scholars making wave is Yusuf Adepoju. He is travelling everywhere discrediting the Christian faith. He has about 17 cassettes quoting the Bible and rubbishing the Bible. We have had cause to debate with many of them. There was one who said he was a pastor before and became a Muslim. But when you probe such people you will find out they were people who never had salvation experience who lacked understanding of the Christian faith. What is happening is that these scholars make it a profession to mess up the Bible. They really don’t have any message of salvation. For instance they say our mode of worship is a mess. They go to scriptures where Bible characters bow down to worship God and say that the idea of clapping and singing is not Biblical. But they forget that those who worship God worship him in spirit and truth. The physical expression is not the main thing about worship. Jesus came to break religion and tradition which they are still holding to.
But why do you think somebody who is a Christian would embrace Islam in the first place?
I think I have tried to explain this. Our youths are vulnerable because many of them don’t know the Bible. Some of them met Muslim scholars and got confused. Even primary six Muslim will tell you what is wrong with the Christian faith because that is what he is being taught in the Quaranic School. I think it’s time for the church to wake up. We should not wait till when they run over the Church. Since I surrendered my life to Jesus, the Lord asked me to go to churches and expose Islam. But many churches are naïve. The protocols and denominational spirit is not making many to want to learn. The truth is that Islam is gaining ground in the west and east. A lot of Catholics are converting to Islam because catholic takes Mary as the mother of God. So when these scholars point this out as an error, they easily get carried away and convert to Islam. We must also understand that these scholars are very intelligent. But they don’t like meeting people like us because they know we will expose their lies.
Now to the big question. How did you become a Christian after 40 years as Muslim and moreso that you studied the Islamic religion at the first degree level before your masters in Adult Education?
Two of us got converted almost at the same time. My friend who was an an Islamic cleric and myself. God has been programming me for a time like this. That is why he orchestrated me to study Islam right from my time in the teacher training colleges and then the university. I was exposed to the history of Islam while in school. That made it easy for me to pinpoint the error in the faith. My conversion started the day I started doing my youth service. I bought a Bible to look for contradictions and errors inorder to attack Christians but I did not know it was the Bible that I bought that I would read after my conversion. My friend was the one who first came to know the Lord. He attended a crusade organized by the late Prophet Timothy Obadare. He was attracted by the fact that Obadare was blind and was preaching the gospel. He was at the crusade ground and had an encounter with the Holy Ghost. He fell under God’s power twice. He went home wondering what could have made him to fall. He began to have dreams thereafter where he would see Jesus asking him to come to him. So he came to me and was narrating his experience. I discouraged him and warned him against relating with Christians. In an attempt to counter the power that made him to be seeing Jesus we sought for spiritual things in the quaran that can make us to counter the power. We would fry egg on paper once you write some Arabic inscriptions on the paper it would not be consumed. There were spiritual manipulations we did that made us to see strange things and ward off evil by our own calculation. Miracles did not move us because we experienced power in magical ways too. So we tried to do all within our ability using the quaran to give our friend comfort and stop the appearance of Jesus to him in the dream.
But in the course of doing that we saw through our divination that his would-be wife was a witch. He then severed relationship with the girl. But the girl now began to attack him spiritually. He would be having strange dreams that affected him so much that he could no longer sleep in the night. In the course of looking for solution he discussed with a colleague whose mother was a prophetess. It was this colleague who encouraged him to come for prayers. I joined him because I wanted to ridicule what he was doing and discourage him from anything Christian. So we went for prayers together at the prophetess’ place. But as soon as I stepped into the house of the prophetess she was able to know my intention. He knew I was there to mock what was being done and said that much. But I was not daunted. She went ahead and began praying for my friend. In the course of praying she addressed the demonic powers troubling my friend. He told my friend to go home that the battle had been won. But as God would have it as my friend got home he began to have encounters with the power of God. He would see clear vision. That was strange to us because he did not do any ritual before these encounters. That experience brought him to Jesus. But I was not a Christian yet but I would go to him for prayers. We were not going to any church then but we were experiencing the power of God. At a point I also started hearing from God. That was strange to us because we did not do anything to experience this power. It just came to us naturally. That was the beginning of my experience with Jesus.
So how then did you declare for him?
I was initially a secret follower of Jesus. I would leave my house in Oshodi and go to Agege for crusades so that people would not see me. But then the Holy Ghost began to speak to me directly. The Lord encouraged me to join a parish of the RCCG in Oshodi then and I was also encouraged to go for baptism. After the baptism I was filled with the power of the Holy Ghost. I remember going home straight from where we had the baptism and locked myself in the room praying. I prayed for so long that the power of God was so heavy on me. It was after that experience that I came out to openly identify with Jesus. I began preaching in commercial buses after that experience. But nobody knew I had become a Christian in the school where I was teaching because I taught for 10 years after my master’s degree.
One day I was preaching in the molue bus and my colleague was in the bus. She went to tell the school that I had run mad because she saw me preaching the gospel. They knew I was an Alhaji in school because I had just come back from mecca that year that I surrendered to Jesus. So the whole school was surprised. The Muslim Students Society were still meeting in my office in the school because I had a fine arts studio then. I was teaching fine arts to help students though I was not employed to teach fine art but because I had done it in school I was teaching it. So my studio was where the MSS met. So when they confronted me I confirmed to them that I had become a Christian. I shared my story with them and related how I had been kept in ignorance for years. I asked for the Quaran and I smashed it on the ground and stepped on it. Students went home to tell their parents what I did. And it was big news everywhere that an Allhaji had become a Christian and that he was rubbishing the Islamic faith. PM News published the story then and the Muslim world came after me. A lot of Muslim clerics came to the school the following day to confront me. The news was that I had told students not to pray in the Islamic way again. That day I could not go to school early because I had a challenge with the vehicle I was to take to school. But by the time I fixed the vehicle and got to school, those who came to attack me had left. It was like the end had come for me when the persecution was surging. But then the Lord assured me that they would not be able to do anything to me that I should hold my peace. And I can say since 1996 when I surrendered to Jesus no harm has come to me. I have been waxing strong. Apart from being a pastor in the RCCG I run a ministry to educate Christians on their faith and encourage them to hold on. Nobody who has read the Bible and understands the Bible would embrace the Quaran if he has a deep knowledge of the quaran.
To be continued