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My aunt recommended Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity to me, and I’d seen it around the web too. So, I checked it out from my library via kindle (so cool; checking out books without even leaving home) and began to read.
Nabeel, the author, was a devout Muslim his entire life. In fact, he tells about his father whispering a Muslim prayer into his ear right after he was born. His parents were very devout, and they took Nabeel and his sister to the mosque often. They knew large portions of Islamic texts by heart. Being Muslim was truly their way of life.
But when Nabeel was in college, he met a Christian who was equally devoted to his own faith. Both boys were deep thinkers (they were 2 of the 6 students chosen among thousands to receive the university’s highest honors), and they had frequent discussions where they challenged each other regarding their faiths. Nabeel determined to discover whether Islam or Christianity was the true faith, praying, “Light the path that I must walk. I don’t care how many hurdles are in the way, how many pits I must jump over or climb out of, or how many thorns I must step through. Guide me on the right path. If it is Islam, show me how it is true. If it is Christianity, give me eyes to see!” I really admired Nabeel’s commitment to the truth. I wish more of us were that devoted rather than just going through the motions regarding our faith.
One hurdle that Nabeel had to overcome was that Muhammad had said that God is not a father; he had no son. Nabeel also realized that Westerners are far more into critical thinking than those in the East, where people tend to trust their religious leaders (I wondered if this also applied to trusting political leaders).
Another hurdle was that Nabeel and his family considered most Americans to be Christians, even though many of them didn’t live a Christian lifestyle. “If they (Muslims) were to intimately know even one Christian who lived differently, their misconceptions might be corrected, and they might see Christianity in a virtuous light.” This really inspired me to try to live my faith, and to get to know those of other faiths in a friendly way that might lead to discussions of faith.
Nabeel wavers for months and years even after he is fairly sure Christianity is true, because he wants to be totally sure (he mentions that, in Islam, the one unforgivable sin is the belief that someone other than Allah is God: He who believes Jesus is God, “Allah has forbidden Heaven for him, and his abode will be the Hellfire.” Quran 5:72). High stakes indeed!
He also is torn because he knows a decision for Christ will tear apart his family. But finally, through a series of dreams, he decides for sure to go with Christianity (I’ll admit that the dreams thing was a little … strange to me, but an article included about the significance of dreams to those in Muslim culture was interesting and helpful).
His parents are devastated — his dad saying, “Nabeel, this day, I feel as if my backbone has been ripped out from inside me.” His mother asked, “Why have you betrayed me?” Neither attended his wedding a few years later. Nabeel dedicates the book to them, praying that they might accept Christ too. This was so touching to me, and I will pray that “Ammi and Abba” will come to a knowledge of the truth. Throughout the book, they came across as caring and devoted parents.
Here’s a video of Nabeel discussing whether Islam promotes peace:
I really recommend this book. It was interesting to see how Muslims view Christianity. Most of all, it was an incentive to pray for those who don’t know Christ, and to befriend them. With the recent happenings in our world, a book like this is more timely than ever.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? OR — have you ever been friends with a Muslim? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. I did have a Muslim piano student once. She was a sweet, quiet girl — but her family was very devoutly Muslim, traveling out of town often to visit a mosque, the children attending Arabic lessons, fasting for Ramadan, etc. I do often pray that she might encounter Jesus as she gets older.