Gujranwala; CNI Report. On 14th September 2005, the Pakistani News Papers gave the news that the only Christian Cricketer who is plying in Pakistan Cricket Team has â€œembracedâ€ Islam. Yousaf Yahona denied this news
On 17th September 2005, Yousaf Yahona made an open declaration that he had already accepted and "embraced" Islam "three" years ago and is a practicing Muslim. He unfolded the fact the he has performed "Umara" few month ago. He invited his immediate family and the Christian community of Pakistan to "embrace" Islam. For the Christian of Pakistan or of Pakistani origin all over the world this news came as a "Bomb Shell". He was respected by all Christians and when ever he came out in the field he was cheered. Many Christians prayed for his success in the game. On 17th September 2005, this respect turned into anger, anguish and disappointment for the Christian community of Pakistan and of Pakistani origin.
Yousaf Yahona was taken as pride for Pakistani Christians all over the world. Yet he betrayed the Christian community in the most degrading manner. His father Mr. Yahona Masih has told the press that he (Yousaf) has committed a great sin. Reportedly his family is also greatly disturbed by this "sin" of Yousaf Yahona. The question is, why did he went away from the "Truth of Christianity"? What are the causes of his conversion? Who all are involved in persuading him to accept Islam? Where did the church fail? And why did he cheat Christians for good long three years. Very recently, all have seen him making sign of "Cross" when he made Fifty or Hundred runs. Was it an act of hypocrisy? May be it was! He was cheating both Christians and Muslims at the same time. At home he claims to have been Muslim and in field he openly demonstrated that he was a Christian. He therefore cheated both Christians and Muslims. This is fact that ever since the rebirth of Islam, Christians at all levels and departments receive "invitations" from their Muslim colleagues to become Muslims. I have also been invited towards Islam during my service in army and thereafter in my civil life. Honestly speaking, I studied Islam to find out if it has a better hope to offer me. Had I found a better hope that I have in my Christian faith, I would have accepted Islam. But I failed to find any thing a bit better in Islam than Christianity from every angle. I found that my Christian faith is far above and glorious that any other religion that exists today. Unfortunately Yousaf Yahona made a wrong choice. He said farewell to eternal life and fell into the darkness. I have been watching Yousaf Yahona for some time. His facial expressions and body language was telling that he is under some pressure. His former team mate, Saeed Anwar was reportedly visiting him and putting pressure on him to accept Islam and to the best of my belief this pressure was also from the Board of Cricket Control, his team mates especially the Captain "Inzmam Ul Haq". He was the senior most player after Inzmam and was Vice Captain of the team. Yousaf Yahona was replaced by a junior player Younas Khan during Indian tour. This was a clear message that after Inzmam Ul Haq, who is almost at the end of his carrier, a Christian will not be leading the team. As Yousaf Yahona comes from a very poor family and has seen and experienced the horrors of poverty, he could not go back to his past according to his thinking. He was not willing to give up fantasy, fame, glamour and the wealth that he earned from the game of Cricket, and he sacrificed his Faith. Shortly the English Cricket Team is visiting Pakistan to play three Test Matches and Fine One Day International matches, therefore the pressure from all sides was mounting. Become a Muslim or stay out of the team. Yousaf Yahona anticipated the worst, (End of his carrier) and end of the luxurious life that he became use to, he gave in. He gave up Christ for worldly gains. He chose the wrong path that leads to eternal death.
At that very moment when "Geo Television" broke the news, I was attending wedding of one of my Unit Officer's daughter in Rawalpindi. I was told by a Muslim friend who wanted to know my point of view on Yousaf Yahona's conversion. I told him plainly, "Thanks God, a hypocrite who was cheating us have been identified and Christianity got rid of a cheater. I told my friend for thirty four years that from this very day, Yousaf Yahona will be cheating you". (My friend who is also my Unit officer is a retired Lieutenant Colonel. He has been trying to convert me to Islam for last thirty four years)
In conversion of Yousaf Yahona, the Roman Catholic Church can also be held responsible. The church failed to give him proper Christian education. The "Idolatry" and "Mary Worship" gives an impression that Christians worship "Idols". It is also said that "Holy Mary" mother of our Lord is one of the persons of Holy Trinity. The Roman Catholic Church openly prays, "Oh Holy Mary, mother of God" that creates doubt in the minds of many Christians. Yet they fail to under stand that "Holy Mary" is not mother of God, she was mother of our Lord. The "Maryam Abad Mella" and praying to "statues" of Jesus Christ, Mary and the Saints is an out right idolatry. "Maryam Abad Mella that is held in the first week of September every year is an open demonstration of "idolatry" by the Roman Catholic Church, that has branded Christianity as "Idol worshiper faith".
I have received lot of telephone calls since Yousaf Yahona's conversion to Islam, I have received email messages and now letters from Pakistani Christians, who are in state of shock due to an unwise act of an ignorant man who cares more for worldly gains and has caused agony among Pakistani Christians. They want to know why Yousaf Yahona became Muhammad Yousaf? My answer is, "if some one wants to jump down into the hell, nothing can be done. However, on insistence of some Christians, I have written a letter to the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, to form an "Inquiry Commission" of Christian Leadership to meet "Muhammad Yousaf" and the Board of Cricket Control, the Captain and players of Pakistan Cricket team and the players like Saeed Anwar, who played the pivotal roll in Yousaf Yahona's Tragedy. I have requested a meeting of Christian Leadership with Yousaf Yahona to know the real reason of his conversion to Islam before the upcoming tour of the English Cricket team. This request or demand in Urdu is displayed on our web site www.siloampak.org . I am not very optimistic that my request on behalf of Pakistani Christians will be given any importance, yet I must do what I am called to do by my Lord Jesus Christ to bring back the "Lost Sheep" of His flock. Yousaf Yahona needs lot of prayers of Pakistani Christians.