In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…
As students of knowledge and scholars continue to identify and warn the Muslims against the serious errors of controversial American preacher Yusuf Estes in basic beliefs, there remain a number of his supporters who cannot look past what they understand to be unmatched contributions to the propagation of Islam to non-Muslims. Some go so far as to refer to his accomplishments as “miracles”. In fact, this was exactly the sentiment expressed when a community was recently warned about the upcoming visit of Yusuf Estes: “How can you say anything against the man when more than 1,000 people accepted Islam after one of his lectures?! That is nothing short of miraculous!”
In reality, it is nothing short of a bold lie, as part of an extremely deceitful marketing campaign!
The very event being sold as a miraculous proof of how effective Yusuf Estes is in calling to Islam is actually a nasty concoction of deception and trickery.
The Dusseldorf 1250 Con Explained
The term “Dusseldorf 1250” will be used as a reference to what is widely promoted as an alleged event in Germany on July 27, 2008, when 1,250 people accepted Islam after one of Yusuf Estes’ lectures. Videos depict a few individuals accepting Islam, one-by-one, after which the entire German audience stands up and testifies to the Oneness of Allah and the messengership of Muhammad (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace), being led through the wording of the testimony by Yusuf Estes. The following is a small sample of the many videos available on YouTube alone:
- 1000+ People Converted to Islam in Germany With Yusuf Estes
- 1250 people converted to Islam together by Sheikh Yusuf Estes
- 1,250 People – Everyone in the Lecture Hall – Accepts Islam at the Hands of Yusuf Estes (Arabic subtitles)
- 1000 Blessed Souls Convert to Islam from Christianity & Atheism in Germany
- Incredible! 1250 persons converted to Islam at one time in Germany with Sheikh Yusuf Estes
- 1000+ Saying Shahadah in Germany with Sheikh Yusuf Estes
People view these videos and witness an entire tented lecture hall of Germans repeating the shahadah after Yusuf Estes. And it seems very convincing. But is it real?
Deception in Dusseldorf Dismantled and Debunked
The reality is that a few people did openly accept Islam at that event. Six people (allegedly), not 1,000 or 1,250. The others were already Muslims. Yusuf Estes convinced them that they were required by their Religion to announce their adherence to Islam publicly, and this was the meaning of the shahadah being a pillar of Islam, even if they were raised as practicing Muslims! At the same event, Yusuf Estes actually announces, just before the “mass shahadah”:
Did you know that every person who wants to be Muslim needs to make shahadah? Even if you were born in a Muslim house, with a Muslim name, it still applies to you like it applies to anybody else, just like salat [prayer], fasting, zakat, and Hajj. So, each and every one of you – even though you said: Well I say the shahadah in my salat [prayer] all the time – but if you never made a public shahadah, why not do it right now?
This gentleman right here wants to do that exactly. He wants to declare his Islam in front of the people. Now we don’t have enough room on the stage for everybody, so you can just stand up where you are, and we’ll all do the shahadah. But if somebody’s not Muslim and you don’t want to be Muslim, sit down, stay down…
Source: This video on YouTube [alternatively this one] at six minutes into the video.
This is the first level of falsehood and deception. To be absolutely clear, Islam does not require any “public shahadah” ceremony from any Muslim, whether new or born Muslim, not individually, and not as part of a group.
As Islam is a Religion of brotherhood and community, it is nice to hear of new Muslims accepting Islam. However, it is not a requirement, nor is it even recommended, let alone a pillar of Islam [!], to have a new Muslim pronounce his shahadah in front of a large public gathering. It should be noted that this is commonly done by da’wah organizations as a fundraiser or to attract the media as a marketing tool. Little attention is given to the individual and his situation, who may be genuinely embarrassed to stand in front of a crowd, or at least not prepared – on his first deed in Islam – to announce his decision to the masses. A new Muslim typically faces a lot of pressure when changing his religion. Do we really want to add more pressure and difficulty on him by requiring him to be involved in some contrived public ceremony? Care and concern for the welfare of a new Muslim is sacrificed to focus more on da’wah organizations and their marketing mechanisms.
Additionally, to require born Muslims who have been raised practicing Islam to take shahadah at some public event at least once in their lives, claiming this is the actual meaning of the shahadah being a pillar of Islam, is absolutely baseless. It is merely just another one of Yusuf Estes’ inventions which Islam is free of! The Messenger of Allah (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) said, what means: “Whoever invents something in this affair of ours (Islam) which is not from it shall have it rejected.” [Agreed upon]
Multiple Layers of Deception
After duping the Muslim crowd into joining the “mass shahadah”, the second level of deceit involves counting the number of people at 1,250 and claiming that they all “took their shahadah”, without explaining the reality of what happened. When a Muslim hears that a German person “took his shahadah”, the meaning is clear in English: He has just embraced Islam. Without any other explanation, who would understand something else? Reactions found in the comment sections of all the videos linked above demonstrate this clearly. Shall we blame all of the viewers who were deceived for not seeing what really happened, or shall we blame the deceivers? [small sample from thousands of YouTube responses]
The third layer of this deceptive scandal includes moving from the report of 1,250 Germans “taking their shahadah” into 1,250 Germans “accepting Islam”, as found in many of the video titles quoted above.
The fourth layer of deception involves taking the contrived event and its misrepresented summary to an international stage and into other languages, especially Arabic, the language of the biggest funders of the Yusuf Estes mission.
But is Yusuf Estes Really Involved in the Deception?
On Almajd TV, an Arabic free-to-air satellite TV station, Yusuf Estes was asked about the “big story” that happened in Germany. He himself explains:
[Estes] In 2009, that was in August of 2009. I was a guest there for some of the organizations. And on our last event, we had about 1,300 people who attended, and they were very, very impressed with what is real Islam. And approximately 1,250 – remaining only 50 left – but 12,550, uh, uh, twelve hundred, sorry, 1,250, they stood up and they made their shahadah all together all at the same time.
[Interviewer] You told me you was very tired, every few minutes and another group comes, yes…?
[Estes] What happened, yea, when we finished the program, Pierre Vogel, he was saying salam to the people, and I said: ‘Well, wait a minute! Ask them if anybody would like to accept Islam?’ And he said, in German, he, you have to make tarjamah [translation] into German. And then he said: ‘Who would like to accept Islam?’ One man came up, a wrestler, he accepted Islam, then another man, one-by-one, each time he [Vogel] would say salam [i.e. goodbye] I said, “No, no, ask who’s next? Who’s next?” And then finally some women started coming up. I said, “OK, wait. Let’s just ask how many in the crowd would like to stand up, and you don’t have to come out on the stage. Where you are, make shahadah.” And all stood up , and we said, “Sit down if you don’t want to be a Muslim. Don’t stand up just for this. Sit down if you don’t want to be a Muslim. Only stand up if you want to be a Muslim.” So, 50 people sat down, remaining: 1,250.
Source: Interview with Yusuf Estes on Almajd TV [available alternatively here or here] Remember that this was on a live satellite TV channel broadcast all over the Middle East. Almajd TV is a free channel reaching millions, and it is part of a network of channels with hundreds of thousands of paid subscribers as well.
Both the host and the translator of the interview were astonished at the large number of whom they understood to be new Muslim converts in Germany. So the interview goes on, and they ask Yusuf Estes what attracted them to Islam, and he mentions the topics he talked about, without clarifying that the 1,250 were actually already Muslims who were just told to stand up and take part in a public shahadah ceremony he invented.
Additionally, Yusuf Estes himself has been directly involved in many acts of blatant deception in promoting this event on his various websites:
On his IslamNewsRoom website, Yusuf Estes himself features the video and writes:
1,250 Germans Enter Islam
Source: This screenshot taken December 1, 2013.
Other pages on his other websites also feature similar acts of blatant deception perpetrated by Yusuf Estes directly. (Examples: [A] [B] [C])
As an important reminder to all those who would try to defend these acts of blatant deception, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) clarified the stance of a Muslim on deception and trickery, saying (what means): “Whoever deceives us is not from us.” [Sahih Muslim]
Behind Dusseldorf: Stages of Planning and Development
Before the scandal in Dusseldorf, Yusuf Estes had been developing the concept of mass shahadahs and testing it at the end of some of his lectures. Yusuf Estes seemed to believe that he could keep his “average” of new shahadahs up by asking the already Muslim audiences to repeat the shahadah and counting them as new Muslims. In a 2007 lecture, Yusuf Estes asked the audience to repeat the shahadah, after which he laughed and said:
Now, you all became Muslim tonight, right here! (Audience laughs) That brought my average WAY UP!!
Source: How to Call to Islam [available alternatively here and here], at just after two hours into the recording.
At times, he would indicate that participation in a tearful public shahadah gives Muslims a fresh start or a “new lease”. [See this]
At another event in Curacao, an Island in the Caribbean, he tested the “mass shahadah”, and the finale was made into a separate YouTube clip, entitled, “135 People Convert to Islam After Yusuf Estes Lecture.” In another upload of the same clip, the following clear lie is found in the description:
After the lecture 135 people accept Islam.
But the fake report of 135 people “converting to Islam” in the Caribbean was not big enough as news. An inflated version of an account of “people standing up to take shahadah” made its way up to nearly 300 (in this video). However, a bigger attention-getter was needed, one with much bigger numbers and some white European faces to melt hearts at fundraisers all over the world. With this, the stage for Dusseldorf was set.
A Simple Question for Honest People Victimized By the Dusseldorf 1250 Con
For those of us who have refused to listen to any criticism of Yusuf Estes because we honestly thought he worked miracles in da’wah, with literally hundreds or even thousands of non-Muslims accepting Islam after his lectures… the question of the hour is in front of us:
Isn’t it about time to pay attention to what the scholars have been saying about Yusuf Estes?!
Please take the time to read this clarification [PDF] about the serious errors of Yusuf Estes in basic Muslim beliefs.
UPDATE: The Dusseldorf 1250 Con – Now A Staple Routine in German Da’wah
Since the tents closed and Yusuf Estes left town in 2008, Pierre Vogel and the team of Yusuf Estes’ visiting associates and local disciples continue to run the Dusseldorf 1250 Con on the people of Germany and, by way of Youtube and the Internet, the rest of the world. Learning from the marketing techniques of their misguided mentor, they have developed the con and taken it to new levels, as can be seen clearly in the following popular YouTube clips:
- More than 1500 People in Germany saying the Shahada (Featuring Pierre Vogel and Bilal Philips)
- 3000 German Christians Converts to Islam in One Day in Germany (Featuring Pierre Vogel and Bilal Philips)
- Allahs Geschenk! ca.3000-5000 Menschen sprechen die Shahada in Frankfurt (Up to 5,000 say their shahada)
- 3000-5000 Personen bei Kundgebung Frankfurt mit Pierre Vogel & Dr. Bilal Philips 20.04.11
The legacy of dishonesty and trickery left behind in Germany is evident. We ask Allah to guide him, his German associates, and all of us to sincerity and honesty in all of our dealings.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson
The information in this article is available as a PDF for free distribution:
Furthermore, this scam has been explained in Arabic in the following PDF for the benefit of our Arabic speaking brothers and sisters:
This is very serious if indeed the majority of the Dusseldorf audience was Muslims, but how do we know that? Maybe they were really mostly non-Muslims so the reports are actually true. How can we be sure?
Thanks for your question, Amir. Quite simply, nobody involved in that fiasco would even suggest that other than a tiny minority were non-Muslims. Amazingly, Yusuf Estes actually takes a head count at the beginning of the lecture [!], counting the non-Muslims as nine in number. [click here] That’s nine (9) out of 1,300, according to Yusuf Estes’ own count! Sure, there could have been a few more, but I think you get the idea when watching him count that the non-Muslims were very, very few in number. Subhaan Allah, your question has opened up an even bigger proof against this swindler.
We’ve updated the PDF to include this detail. Jazaak Allaahu khayran!
Assalamualaikum. I really need to apologize. Since I first saw this website about a year ago I thought it was some political attempt to malign Yusuf Estes. I asked him privately about it and he said there was some princes in Saudi Arabia who had it in for him and Huda TV. I believed him and dismissed these allegations after that and I even posted some very negative comments here which I dont think were ever approved. Well I dont see them anyway.
Anyways, I need to apologize and honestly thank you for this work. This man is not honest, and anybody who sees the evidence above has nothing to say except: I guess you were right. Did his enemies and haters make him lie and deceive the Muslims on such a huge scale?! May Allah guide him. wassalam.
wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. May Allaah bless you, dear brother. We all make mistakes, but one thing is important: If you warned against the content of this website – content which guides people away from some very serious harms in their Religion – then please do your best to rectify that. Reach out to anybody you may have turned away from the website and ask them to seek clarity from it. Explain that your previous warning was in error and be clear, and the content here is extremely important to read. Through this you would correct any wrongs you have done and earn great rewards from Allaah for calling to the correct understanding of Islaam in issues that the people need so badly. Thank you for commenting, and may Allaah give you success.
“Then, your Lord is, regarding those who committed wrongs in ignorance and thereafter repented and RECTIFIED (anything they corrupted), verily Allaah is, after that, All-Forgiving, Ever Merciful.” [Meaning of Quran, 16:119]
Akhi Younus may Allah reward you! You reminded me about my own duty to make things right, after some of the things I said about this website before. This article and the one on plagarism puts everything in place for me. Going back and reading the content here now is a whole different experience, I feel like a magic spell has been removed. We been “bamboozled” like Malcolm X said.
This man has lied to MILLIONS of people. May Allah guide him! How on God’s green earth is he still viewed as trustworthy. These are some strange times we live in.
MAY ALLAH guide us , our kids and future generations from the misguided and of their deceptions ,
I once used to watch and listen to his lectures on youtube , but later on as I did , realise he is too good to be true .. and now after seeing and reading the facts that was brought to my attention , totally agree that he is one that was sent to deceive us ..
[The following dialogue was recently added to Yusuf Estes’ “1,000 Enter Islam” (recently renamed: “1000 Say Shahadah”!!) article on the IslamNewsRoom page]
Khalid Khan 2014-01-02 15:56
Is this not a le and deception. Is it not true that out of the 1250 people around 95% were already muslims and they just said their shahadah as if in a public ceremony. Could you confirm how many of those 1250 people were ACTUALLY not muslims and REVERTED to Islam.
[IslamNewsroom] Editor: We questioned the same thing when we first saw the title. The audience was asked, ‘”Whoever wants to become a Muslim, STAND UP and make the shahadah” – And they did ~ Almost all of the ENTIRE ROOM stood up for the shahadah! 1000_shahadahs_ big Yusuf Estes told Pierre Vogel, “Tell them to SIT DOWN, if they are not sure or if they are not ready to become full, practicing Muslims” About 50 people sat back down, including the close relatives of Pierre Vogel. It broke their hearts to see their loved ones sit down and not make the shahadah. But after all, there is no benefit in getting someone to say it, if they don’t really mean it. ‘ “quote from the article”
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH ..ASALAM WA’LIAKOM,
Brother Khalid… MR Estes is not a scholar and does qualify him to make things up as he goes along and , as he declaRed himself as a non follower of any of SUNNI the mazhabs , and actually encourages muslims to lean towards shi’ism and to read their IDEALOGIES ,IS a blatant heresy so to speak ,and one preaches or teaches islam one does ridicules , moCks or jokes as one goes along to convice or enrtrtain… ISLAM is a serious way of life so therefore it is not a joke to joke about..and one preaches or teaches iislam a preacher or a anyone for that matter must take teaching and preaching islam seriously and must make jokes or entertain so as not to lead other to do same and to ridicule our islam , is such a great religion and therefore must not be joked about or compromised..HE is simply not learned or serious enough to be a preacher , if he wants to entertain he should go to those that wants to be entertained.IF ANYONE DOES NOT SEE MR ESTES FAULTS AND KEEPS TRYING SHIELD HIM FROM CRTICISMS ,THEN ONE CAN BE MISLEAD AND CAN EASILY BECOMES A FOLLOWER OF DAJJAL .. .ALLAH U W ‘ AKBAR.. [comment slightly abridged by admin]