About Daniel Shayesteh
Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.
Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.
The last decades have become amazing gateways for young Muslims to leave Islam and follow the path of Jesus Christ. It was supposed that the revolutionary and radical Islamic countries such as Iran would draw the attention of many young Muslims and make them radical, but the result was not according to their desires. Iran is the number one country among all Islamic countries for losing millions of its adherents to Christianity. Young Muslims from Saudi Arabia, the motherland of Islam, are also coming to Christ.
Why? There are multiple reasons for this conversion. One significant reason is the technological advancement which opened the door for Muslims to have easy access to information globally. They can hear and read about the life philosophies of Jesus Christ and follow Him.
The Islamic Republic of Iran alone has spent millions of dollars to limit the effects of foreign radios, satellite televisions and other media outlets on Iranians, yet the advancement of technology has failed Iran’s restrictive plans continually. I have been receiving emails from many Islamic countries, including Iran, that Muslims have been watching my journey from Islam to Christ and my teachings on YouTube and via satellite television. People from all ranks of life, professors, clergies, educated and uneducated ones have been coming to Jesus through our satellite television teachings.
The second reason is the courage of ex-Muslim Christians who are now the followers of Christ. The voices of many of these followers of Christ who live in western countries are extraordinarily loud in speaking the truth of Christ to Muslims in their motherlands through every possible means. They have been apologists in using reasons to show why Islamic values are unconstructive in every aspect of life and why Muslims need to follow Jesus Christ.
The third reason is the exposure of Islamic values that were hidden for 1400 years from the sights of rank and file Muslims and of non-Muslims. The only source for Muslims to learn about Islam was Muslim clergies and scholars for centuries. Now they can look at Islam from a non-Islamic perspective, compare its values thoroughly with others and evaluate Islam personally.
Islam’s goal has never been to teach Muslims openness so that they could have logical reasons behind their belief in Islam. Now the information and communication channels have exposed everything in Islam. Many Muslims have now realized that the teachings of the Quran come into conflict with the best values of life.
The fourth reason is the zero tolerance to freedom of speech, religion and equal rights in the Islamic law. Islam is called the last and perfect religion. Many young Muslims have instead discovered that Islam is only perfect in chaining them to ignorance, making them blindly obedient and keeping them from improving. That’s why those young Muslims who yearn to be free, creative and productive leave Islam behind and find their motives in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Master in freeing people from ignorance.
The fifth reason is the failure of Islamic moral doctrine. Muslims are taught by the Quran that they are the best among all nations but the Jews and Christians are the worst. Many young Muslims now see that in reality the so-called worst people are the best. More than 90% of those medicines that are used in Islamic countries are the inventions of Jews. Muslim scholars teach their young to terrorize moderate Muslims and non-Muslims, but Jews teach their young to be creative in order to serve their people and the nations of the world.
Islamic countries do not have any portion in the contemporary inventions and technological advancements. All technological products used in Islamic countries are from the West and other developed non-Islamic countries. Muslim countries do not have anything to sell but oil or agricultural products if they do not have oil reserves. They do not have any chance of invention. Because invention necessitates individual autonomy which causes people to think big, have productive ideas and thereby become creative; whereas the word autonomy is very foreign in the Islamic dictionary and culture. Many young Muslims are now aware that they need to follow the life principles of Jesus Christ if they want to become autonomous and pursue the tenets of an advanced life.
We are so grateful that we, as ex-Muslims, have each had a role in helping Muslims to see the heart and light of Christ and come out of the darkness that is imposed on them. The knowledge of the truth is the only way to set them free.
Is killing Muslims who are not committed to Islam firmly Islamic? Is crucifying and beheading non-Muslims and taking their wives and daughters as slaves Islamic? Can ISIS be called Islamic since it has been killing people and aiming to erase the borders among Islamic countries and make them a united Muslim nation under the black flag of Islam? Is it un-Islamic when ISIS claims the caliphate, the Islamic global government, and calls all non-Islamic nations to join Islam?
What is the ultimate authority in Islam to distinguish how genuine ISIS is in its Islamic claim and proclamations? Is it really the Saudi Arabian leaders or the leaders of any Islamic country that can categorize ISIS as un-Islamic or should it be the Quran? Is it the leaders in America and the West that have the authority to label ISIS as un-Islamic and as a group that has hijacked Islam? Or is it the Quran, the Muslims’ holy book, which is given the absolute authority to define what a true Muslim is and what he is expected to do?
For years, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and some other Arabic country leaders called the members of ISIS the true fighters of Islam and poured out their millions at their feet so that the Islamic jihad could continue. As long as the overriding focus of ISIS was to fight the Shia government of Syria, Iranian and Hezbollah militias in both Syria and Iraq, it was Islamic. It was only in 2014 that ISIS was called non-Islamic by some of these countries. ISIS linked its mission to the Islamic apocalyptic caliphate and called all Muslim nations to give up their full governing rights to ISIS in order to fulfill the eschatological mission of Islam. It was then that Saudi Arabia felt desperate for help from the West and called ISIS non-Islamic. Consequently, some mosques in the West followed Saudi Arabia, the great money master, and raised their banners in opposition to ISIS. The White House and the leaders of other western countries also ranked ISIS as non-Islamic and blamed it for hijacking the so-called peaceful Islam.
It is so sad that the western leaders align their foreign policy with the fluctuating foreign policies of Islamic countries that are shaped by the capricious political philosophy of Islam. As an ex-Muslim and a scholar in Islam, I have found nowhere in Islam that Muslims should be honest in their approaches to non-Muslims even if they are in desperate need. If the Quran teaches Muslims (Q. 9:23) not even to befriend their own Muslim parents who follow a moderate path, how could Muslims befriend non-Muslims who do not share anything of Islam with them?
Saudi Arabia and others who are afraid of ISIS are not following pure Islam as much as ISIS is. They are perfectly aware that ISIS is following Muhammad’s 7th century AD political philosophy which is reflected in the Quran, especially in Suras 8 and 9. Muhammad never put critics of Islam in prison, as Saudi does. He killed all who did not apologize. No matter how intolerant Saudi Arabia is, it is still affected by some western values through international relationships and through expatriates who work in that country. The prophet of Islam would not tolerate such non-Islamic influence.
Another grave weakness of Saudi Arabia is that its kingdom never matches the leadership style of Muhammad. Muhammad never allowed himself to be a wealthy man as the kings, princes and leaders in Islamic countries are. He was a kind of revolutionary and guerilla leader who always participated in war personally as the chief commander and fought alongside his fellow jihadists. His overriding focus in Islam was to invade and loot others, destroy every non-Islamic value and share everything with his followers, including enslaved women and girls. He never retreated from warring with others. Islamic country leaders never represent the leadership of Muhammad, but ISIS does. That is why ISIS sees itself a better solution for Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries.
One may ask, if Saudi Arabia is not following pure Islam, why then has it been pouring millions of dollars into the pockets of terrorists throughout the past decades? The answer can be multidimensional. There are powerful Muslim clergies in Saudi Arabia with significant number of followers that even the Saudi kingdom cannot stop from supporting terrorists. A great portion of terrorist monies flow out from these clergies. Secondly, as long as terrorists are not serious threats to Saudi Arabia, Saudi leaders would not mind if they destroy other cultures. Thirdly, Saudi leaders believe that Allah is happy with their system otherwise he would not bless them. As a result, they are happy to export their own kind of Islam, Wahhabism, which means to ruin other cultures and still please Allah. Fourthly, they also need to please many of their people, including those who serve their interests in non-Islamic countries, and to export Islam. Islam cannot be exported unless it is involved with some kinds of terrorism, either physical, cultural, social or political. Saudi must get involved in some kind of terrorism in order to gain support from its people.
What Saudi and other fundamental Islamic countries are doing is only enough to pave the way for the promised eschatological caliph of whom Muhammad spoke. But the Saudi king is not that caliph. He must humble himself to that caliph. The leader of ISIIS saw the qualities of that caliph in himself, announced himself a caliph and expected the Saudi king to know Islam well and accordingly bow down to him. But the Saudi king is firmly attached to his throne, unlike his prophet, and never showed allegiance to the caliph.
The leader of ISIS, Al Baghdadi, is deep in Islamic study. He knows that the money from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Emirates and Turkey helps in the advancement of the true Islam but not those countries’ political philosophy which is affected by western politics. ISIS is honest in its call to Muslim nations to follow its model. ISIS is well aware that no Islamic country leader fits the eschatological government of Islam. ISIS knows the Quran well and how the Quran defines a true Muslim.
The Quran in Sura (chapter) 49:14 defines a Muslim as someone who surrenders to Islam without any choice for understanding. In his biography, Muhammad said that he himself was forced and violated by an angel to accept the Quran. He said this so that his followers would know that force in Islam is inherent and they had no choice to question the Quran. Muslims who want to take a softer approach are called infidels. (Sura 4:150-151) But the life in Saudi Arabia does not match the qualities of theses verses strictly.
The Quran also in Sura 9:123 defines a pious Muslim (Al-Muttaqûn) as someone who is harsh in his attitude and ready to kill non-Muslims, even relatives and neighbors. In Sura 4:95 it says that Allah has granted a grade higher to those who personally go to war and kill than to those who sit at home.
The responsibility of every pious Muslim is to punish, shame and terrorize those who reject Islam and Allah. (Suras 8:12, 9:2, 14 and 58:20) These verses teach that killing non-Muslims or infidel Muslims is a remedy to pious Muslims’ souls. That’s why they need to control every part of people’s lives and make sure that everything is solely in accordance with Islam. Even prayer that is expected to be a personal thing is not personal in Islam. If you do not pray, you and your family can be locked in your house and be burned by a pious Muslim. The prophet of Islam said: “I was about to order for collecting firewood and then order someone to pronounce the Adhan (prayer call) for the prayer and then order someone to lead the people in prayer and then I would go from behind and burn the houses of men who did not present themselves for the (compulsory congregational) prayer.” (Bukhari V9, B89, H330).
What ISIS has been doing is the true reflection of the Quran’s instructions and of Muhammad’s life. ISIS sees its model in Muhammad, not in the king of Saudi or in any other Muslim leader. All evidences in Islam prove that ISIS is following the pure Islam. The western leaders will never be able to help Muslims, especially the young, if they continue blaming ISIS and other terrorist groups with non-Islamic actions and indirectly question the authority of their very sacred book, the Quran. The facts cannot be hidden long; sooner or later they will be obvious.
Islamic country leaders also need to stop hiding Islamic facts. Islam has not left any choice for living in peace with non-Muslims or even with moderate Muslims. They therefore need either to join ISIS, get involved in unceasing wars like their prophet Muhammad, pour out the blood of innocent people and please their Allah or to leave Islam and find a better alternative so that their nations can live in peace at home and with others.