Biography of Yusuf Estes
(Joseph “Skip” Estes)
Born to A Musical Christian Family
Joseph Edward Estes, nicknamed “Skip” Estes, was born in Ohio to a Christian family in 1944. His mother played the piano, and his father played the piano and the clarinet. Joseph and his family moved to Houston, Texas in 1949. He was baptized in the Disciples of Christ Church in 1956.
Rich Scholarly Ancestry [disputed]
Yusuf Estes once made the claim that he is from a long line of Andelusian teachers, the “Ostaz” Family, dating back to early Muslim Spain. They migrated to England, changing the name to “Estez”, which later become “Estes”, as the claim goes. (source) It seems that this claim was discontinued sometime in or shortly after 2008, casting doubt on its historical accuracy.
Music, Show Business, NASA, and Jesus
Joseph “Skip” Estes completed his music studies in the early 60’s, became a music teacher, and even played accordion for popular musical productions in 1968. He was known for doing grandstand and performing in touring road shows. He even worked for NASA in some capacity in the 60’s. He started owning music stores in the 70’s, and later became a music minister, calling people to Christianity through his love of music, Jesus, and the Bible.
Skippy the Clown
Joseph was known for his humor. Many people are surprised to find out that at one time, he even performed as an actual clown. “Skippy the Clown,” as he was known, would entertain local audiences with his laughable antics. Skippy would also offer children pony rides.
Music Stores, Politics, and Financial Success
Joseph and his father owned businesses and worked together at his father’s organization, Concerned Christian Center. Both worked in politics and served together on the Texas Governor’s Conference for Business Leaders during the early 80’s. During his business career he built up a chain of music stores and even had his own television series called the “Estes Music Jamboree“. Sources claim that Joseph owned expensive homes, cars, boats, and even airplanes.
A Doctorate in Christian Theology [disputed]
There exist unverified claims that Joseph studied Christian Theology formally, and even obtained a PhD in the field. While some organizations promote him today as “Dr. Yusuf Estes”, the claim behind this remains unsubstantiated and highly questionable. Critics note that the academic institution that issued the degree, the subject of the thesis, the related prerequisite degrees and the associated research, and which years of his life he spent in all of that are completely unknown, unmentioned, and undocumented factors. Furthermore, no reference to such a formal education can be found in any of his widely available autobiographies written over the years. Needless to say, anyone being told that Yusuf Estes is a “Doctor of Theology” (or “Divinity”) would do well to request official documentation.
Furthermore, due to widespread claims in Arabic, many people tend to believe that Yusuf Estes was a former priest. While this is clearly untrue, denied explicitly by Yusuf Estes himself, it still remains a widespread title for him used in many of his videos that have been translated into Arabic: ( القسيس السابق ) or ( القس السابق ).
Accepted Islam in 1991
It was 1991 when his father introduced Joseph to a Muslim from Egypt. Joseph immediately tried to convert him to Jesus and be a Christian. But the Muslim apparently presented Islam in a way that was quite acceptable to Joseph, and caused him to question his religion. After asking the Almighty to guide him, Joseph “Skip” Estes openly accepted Islam in July of 1991, and chose the name Yusuf for himself.
Not only did “Joseph” become “Yusuf,” but “Skippy the Clown” emerged as “the Funny Sheik,” as Yusuf began to give lectures about Islam and why he accepted it, well saturated with his trademark clownish humor. After delivering lectures centered around his conversion story to local Muslim and Christian audiences, he began taking his story around the country, finding his niche as an entertaining story-teller to mostly young audiences in the 90’s. He became a crowd favorite as he began to speak on various Islamic topics, and the international invitations starting coming in. At the turn of the century, the former grandstanding road-trip entertainer would become an international Islamic preacher.
Yusuf began to travel around the world giving lectures. He has traveled to Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Trinidad, Tobago, Dutch Antilles, Barbados, India, Japan, and the list goes on.
U.S. Chaplain & U.N. Delegate
Yusuf Estes served the United States government as a chaplain for prison inmates in federal correctional institutions in America. He also served as Muslim delegate to the United Nations World Peace Summit for Religious Leaders in August of 2000.
Lectures, Web-Casts, TV Shows
While traveling all around the world, Yusuf Estes has given hundreds of lectures, authored many articles, and established thousands of websites. He began live web-casting and video conferences in mosques and schools. After appearing on a number of Islamic TV channels, he launched his own American television station.
Formal Islamic Studies [disputed]
In a 2006 autobiography, Yusuf Estes claimed to be a student of Islamic knowledge under the following teachers:
- Dr. Jafar Shaykh Idris (Sudan)
- Dr. Abdullah Hakeem Quick (South Africa)
- Dr. Fateeh Al Ghareeb (Egypt)
- Dr. Sayeed Rizwan Ali (Pakistan)
- Dr. Bilal Phillips (Qatar)
He has made other vague claims that he has studied from those who he refers to as “the best scholars on earth” and that he has discussed very specific rulings with them. Yusuf Estes occasionally makes direct and indirect claims to be an Islamic scholar himself, yet he explicitly dismisses this claim at other times.
Yusuf Estes openly claims to follow the orthodox understanding of Islam based on the Quran and Sunnah. Yet, due to the lack of any significant study of the basics of Islamic teachings, he commonly violates the basic Muslim belief system with some very serious and shocking errors. Since most of the circles he works in are full of common Muslims like him, many dangerous mistakes have gone unchecked for years. He has sadly been spreading the beliefs of some of the Jahmiyyah Sects about the Quran and other repulsive innovations to unsuspecting Muslim audiences all over the world for the last 10 years or so, as shown throughout this website.
Math-hab (School of Fiqh)
Yusuf Estes is not known for any direct ascription to any of the four major schools of jurisprudence in Islam. However, his support for the Ja’fari (Shiite) Math-hab of Iran is something of interest. He has claimed openly that it is one of the five official math-habs in Islam, and a Muslim is free to ascribe to it if he wants. He has further sought to qualify this claim by attributing it to al-Azhar University, which is unfounded and, in fact, explicitly rejected by various Azhari representatives, including Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradhawi. His support for the Ja’fari Math-hab and his claim that it is a legitimate Islamic math-hab are either clear mistakes or indications of an underlying ascription or connection. His silence on the matter causes his critics to lean towards the latter.
Yusuf Estes continuously raises money to fund his activities and propagate his teachings. He commonly asks people on Huda TV programs and elsewhere to donate tens of thousands of dollars to his TV stations (affiliates or directly owned) and websites. Most, if not all of his 3,000 websites have pleas for donations on nearly every page. The donations collected go to fund his ongoing efforts to spread the personal beliefs he holds, like those outlined in this website.
His most recent fundraising efforts are focused on the maintenance of his own TV station in America. People who consider helping to fund these activities should be advised to educate themselves properly about the true beliefs he spreads, and that of the speakers he promotes on it, like the open Sufi-Ash’ari Suhaib Webb, and make their decisions carefully.
Last updated on August 11, 2013
does this man really have 3000 websites? 3000?!
Yusuf Estes on how many websites he has: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaWnII-PIUQ (20:30)
I have been listening to him from a couple of years. He works closely with people like Imam Abu Karim Zaid and Muhammad Salah who are both formally trained in religion. If what you are saying is true, then why none of the above or other scholars have noticed that. He even lectures in Dubai
Thanks for your question, Khalid. Yusuf Estes and his media partners seem to have some kind of pact between themselves by which they are not allowed to speak against one another. This is a common manifestation of the hizbiyyah (biased partisanship) that our scholars actively warn against. I do not know how to reach Muhammad Salah, but I’ve advised Karim Abu Zaid, Assim al-Hakeem, Bilal Philips, Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, and others. These Huda TV co-stars have been requested to take proper Islamic stances on Estes’ severely deviant teachings. Assim al-Hakeem claimed Yusuf Estes already retracted his errors (untrue), and Abu Usamah at-Thahabi compared him to one of the greatest scholars of Tafseer in history, Mujaahid, from the students of Ibn ‘Abbaas (ridiculous ghuluw). Both demonized Estes’ critic with a number of false claims. [See this]
May Allah bless you! Not everyone who goes through a process of formal training in Islam attains understanding in the Religion. And not everyone who attains (theoretical) understanding is blessed by Allah to implement what they know and take the stances their Religion requires when it is difficult. May Allah help us all make our walaa’ and baraa’ (allegiance) for Him alone.
May Allah preserve you! Regarding the statement “if what you are saying is true”, there is no need for an “if”. Allah blessed us with intellects and we can see Yusuf Estes openly saying everything that is claimed here. Please take the time to browse the articles and you will see that we have made no assumptions or baseless or unsubstantiated claims on this website. [Short list of video proofs of numerous statements of misguidance]
Salam Alaikum, Thanks a lot for your reply. I was shocked to see that Estes talks that George Bush did Quranic Jihad and i was also shocked to see a long list of serious errors about religion that Estes has made.It is high time scholars must point out these fallacies of Yusuf Estes as this way a lot of people will go astray.Thanks a lot for your efforts. Now i really dont know which Islamic scholar to trust and which not to trust. Maybe we should cross check the preachings of any scholar with other scholars. But the problem is that in programmes on TVs, people like Yusuf Estes willl subconsciously change our core beliefs to a dangerous creed without us even realising that.
wa ‘alaykum salaam wa rahmatullaah.
“It is high time scholars must point out these fallacies of Yusuf Estes”
Notable elder scholars in Islam (not TV personalities) have spoken very clearly about Yusuf Estes and his misguidance.
Shaykh ‘Ubayd al-Jaabiree warns the Muslims from him, saying Estes is either astray or he has lost his mind [here].
Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Muhyiud-Deen warns against him, saying he is astray, doesn’t know about Islam, the Shaytan speaks on his tongue, etc. [here]
The problem is that so-called “Islamic” TV channels do not connect the Muslims to their scholars, rather they promote their own selected “stars” as scholars, ignorant people who are unable to forbid the spread of evil or clarify the truth. They imply things about the “far-away” scholars of the distant lands, the “government” scholars, “disconnected from the regular people”, etc. All the while, they are the ones trying to drive a wedge between the scholars and the everyday Muslims, and replace the scholars with a band of entertainers, storytellers, and fake “shaykhs”!
“The problem is that in programmes on TVs, people like Yusuf Estes willl subconsciously change our core beliefs to a dangerous creed without us even realising that.”
So true, Khalid! That’s a serious danger. But al-hamdulillaah, Allaah refuses that His Deen be lost or changed. No innovation pops up in any place, in any language, except that Allaah makes a way for His sincere servants to be guided! “Whomever Allaah guides, no one can lead him astray…”
jazaakumullaahu khayraa Ustadh Moesa, may Allaah put a stop to this man
I istened to Yususf Estes on You Tube brazenly defending the attack of US (George Bush) on Afghanistan and likening it to Jihad. How does he know who actually carried out the 9/11 attacks.And he justifies the killing of innocent Afghans. I listened to his “Lifting the Fog” lecture and was shocked to see how cleverly and having the skills of a great orator he suceeds in changing the belief of the listeners about Quran. Please put an end to all this nonsense of Yusuf Estes.
wa ‘alaykas-salaam, Khalid, we’re trying. If we could erase all of the YouTube videos and TV programs on various channels containing such horrible teachings, we would. But let us ask Allah to put an end to it, and work hard to educate the Muslims. May Allah reward you for your comments.
Dear Yusuf Estes, Assalamu Alaikum… There are a few things about which i would require clarification from you.
(1) You have mentioned on numerous occassions on TV that 1250 people converted to Islam in Germany… You yourself count them to be 9 (out of 1300). Please advise if this is not a lie…
(2) There are many articles in your website islamnewsroom which are shown authored by you but i have seen them to be copied from bbcworld and other sources. Please advise if plaigarism is what the above can be termed.
(3) On Huda TV i have heard you in a certain programme calling the attack of George Bush (after 9/11) on Afghanistan as Jihad which has bee sanctioned in the Quran. You also call the Afghans as terrorists and people who create fitnah and say that Quran has asked to wipe such people out. Please advise if the 9/11 attackers were actually Afghans and how you could label the afghan civillians as terrorists… Best Regards and awaiting your feedback. [comment abridged by admin]
We have forwarded your message directly to Yusuf Estes (may Allah guide him).
He will never reply. So many people have brought this to his attention but he has been turning a blind eye. People like Imam Shafee would change their position on some issue in the event of new evidence that they would come across. But see here, a person like estes is so stubborn on his wrong concepts and is not stopping from propagating them.
I understand your frustration, but let’s not say he will never reply. We don’t know that. Also, expecting him to behave as the imams of Islam did might also be unfair to Yusuf and disrespectful to our great imams. Let’s encourage him to be more like the common everyday Muslims who learn their religion and abandon their mistakes.
Yusuf Estes does not claim to be a scholar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5nXJ-8F5G8
If that is so, then why does he go on preaching and playing on , andtrying to convert non muslims ..with out the slightest clues about islam , maybe is it because he was known to be a clown and trying to clown around with great religion..May allah guide or destroy those who are misfits and deceivers for fame and fortune..