"My first year as a Christian was unimaginably difficult and without a doubt the most painful period of my life”
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus presents a gripping and deeply personal account of Nabeel Qureshi’s journey to faith in Jesus. Qureshi’s story of family, friends and faith, intertwined with insights into Islam, helped me to understand the Muslim world in new ways and to see the powerful ways in which God is meeting seekers today.
Qureshi, a medical doctor by training, began his study of the gospel in order to challenge it. In so doing he joined the ranks of Dr. Simon Greenleaf, C. S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and Lee Strobel—all agnostics or atheists who set out to disprove the tenets of Christianity and became Christians in the process.
Growing up in a devout Muslim family, Qureshi read the entire Qur’an in Arabic by age five, memorized more than a dozen chapters by his teens, and boldly proclaimed Islam to his friends of other religions. His devotion to Allah was eclipsed only by his love for his parents. He affectionately calls them “Abba” and “Ammi.” His book is dedicated to his parents, whose hearts he broke by converting to Christianity.
Qureshi’s love for Islam defined and directed his life until a close college friend defended the Christian message with compelling evidence and disrupted everything he knew about religion, faith and meaning.
The depth of Qureshi’s inner struggles is reflected in his prayers in the Prologue as he pleaded, “Allah, please have mercy on me. I don’t mean to doubt you.” It’s from this struggle that he emerged with a genuine faith in Jesus as his Saviour.
Here are seven insights I gained from reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus:
1. The journey to faith in Jesus is intellectual and supernatural. Qureshi intellectually tested the claims of Christianity. Shaken by the potential that Christianity might be true, Qureshi turned to God for direct guidance and was given a vision and dreams that led him to Jesus.
2. Finding Jesus is about Jesus finding you. Any interest we have in finding Jesus is first prompted by His Spirit. God will use circumstances, coincidences, friendships, miracles, dreams and suffering to direct us to Jesus.
3. The depth of your struggle in coming to faith will influence the strength of your faith. Qureshi writes, “I knew that accepting Jesus would be like dying and I would have to give up everything, because for Muslims, following the gospel is more than a call to prayer. It is a call to die” (78). He explains, “I gave my life to Jesus, and to this day my family is broken by the decision I made. It is excruciating every time I see the cost I had to pay.”
4. Becoming a Christian is not all joy, peace, love and the end of the struggle. Qureshi says, “My first year as a Christian was unimaginably difficult and without a doubt the most painful period of my life” (287). When he declared his faith in Jesus to his family, his father told him, “I feel like my backbone has been ripped from inside,” and his mother pleaded, “Why have you betrayed me?” (280, 281).
5. The journey to faith is more circuitous than linear. In leading others to Christ, patience is a virtue. Honest questions should be asked. Inner struggles must be dealt with. For Qureshi it was a journey of almost four years. The length of time it takes does not make a conversion any less supernatural—it just requires tenacity and patience in guiding someone to faith.
6. Leading someone to faith in Jesus is best served by respectful and loving relationships. Throughout his story, Qureshi provides a compassionate and powerful apologetic for Christianity, with an emphasis on building relationships and demonstrating love.
7. Think critically about your faith. Qureshi’s education shaped him to think critically but that shape didn’t fit into his culture. Christians have nothing to fear from critical thinking. The Bible, Jesus, the Resurrection and other critical tenets of the Christian faith can stand up to critical thinking. As a believer, you can’t afford to know what you believe without knowing why you believe it.
Rev. Robert W. Jones is the senior pastor of North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta. He blogs at http://blog.northpointechurch.ca.
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This article appears in the September/Octobere 2015 issue of testimony.
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