Esther was born in 1952 to a wealthy and prominent family of Jhang in the Punjab, Pakistan. She claims that at the age of six months she became ill with Typhoid Fever and as a result became paralyzed on her left side. At the age of 14, in the search for a cure for her paralysis, her father brought her to England to see a specialist, who allegedly declared her beyond healing and recommended prayer. From England, Esther proceeded directly on a pilgrimage to Mecca with her father and two maids. Esther later stated that despite not being healed while on Hajj she did not initially lose her Islamic faith.
In her book, Esther claims that beginning after her father's death when she was 16 years old, she began to hear the voice of Jesus, encouraging her to read about him in the Quran. At the age of 19, she had a vision of Jesus and twelve other radiant beings in her bedroom at 3 A.M., just before morning prayers. At that time, her limbs were instantly and completely healed. At the same time as he healed her, Esther claims that Jesus said, "What you have seen now with your eyes you must take to my people," then he taught her The Lord's Prayer and told her one more time before departing, "I want you to be my witness." As a result of her healing, Esther immediately became a local celebrity.
Later, in light of some hostility from Muslims who didn't like her claim that Jesus had healed her, Esther began to wonder why he was considered an unimportant or peripheral character by Muslims. She further began to question why, if Jesus could heal the sick and raise the dead, he was considered less important than Prophet Muhammed, who could not perform these feats. She also puzzled over the fact that the Quran contained almost no information or teachings about Jesus, even while stating that he was a noble and favored prophet. Esther wrote that The Lord's Prayer taught her that Jesus has primacy over any prophet, and is proof of the kingship of Jesus, since it was he who taught her the prayer and who will establish the earthly kingdom of God upon his return from heaven.
Following her conversion she was punished under the Pakistani law against apostasy, including the loss of a large inheritance and being jailed for a month, and also received death threats from two of her brothers.
On her visit to England in 1966 (from pages 16 and 17 of The Torn Veil):
|“||I pondered the contradictions of the ‘’Ingrez’’ – a kind people, living in a gentle, green country, fed by frequent rains, whose Book led to such freedom. Yet our Book was related to theirs. What was the key to this difference between us? It was too deep for a girl of 14 – I dismissed the question from my mind, and gave myself up to anticipation of the Pilgrimage upon which we were embarking. It was many years before further enlightenment came, and when it did I would not be able to dismiss the question so lightly.||”|
On her conversion to Christianity (from page 71 of The Torn Veil):
|“||I now saw that Jesus was not just a poor, secondary prophet, he was an eternal king, and would be coming again to bring in a heavenly kingdom on earth, as in heaven.||”|
Explaining her religious belief after her conversion (from page 155 of The Torn Veil):
|“||The blood of bulls, sheep or goats can never wipe away sin, but we may enter into the holiest place in perfect acceptance, through a new and living way, 'through the veil', that is to say, his flesh. For this man (Jesus) when he had offered one sacrifice for sin for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.||”|
- The Torn Veil: The Best-Selling Story of Gulshan Esther