Depending on our individual experience, any of these words might elicit a strong response from us – and not necessarily positive. As an American Soldier who’s deployed in response to Islamic terrorism in one form or another, I’ve had close encounters with Muslims who seemed to want my death more than their own life. And I’ve met others in the Middle East whom I truly wish I could have brought back to the States with me.
Lots of conflicting face time can do that to you. Build internal conflict, I mean.
Who are Muslims? What does Islam really teach? Could a born again Christian ever be friends with a Muslim? Should we? Nabeel Qureshi answers all these in detail, with personal and passionate transparency as a devout Muslim, a struggling Muslim, a struggling new Christian, and in retrospect as a rejoicing follower of Jesus in this powerful, autobiographic journey.
Qureshi’s courageous and moving testimony provides both a personal and scholarly way to understand the religious background of most peaceful and some violent Muslims. But more importantly his story helps us see most Muslims in specific ways that build compassion for them as people, how to talk with open, peaceful Muslims about Christ, and why Christians must be more consistent about living our faith in ways that honor our Lord Jesus. Nabeel outlined his life with brief but very personal accounts of his love of his family and his history of struggling to fit in as a military brat of the U.S. Navy, educated in military schools in Europe and public schools in the States, just like my kids. I found that we had much more in common than I had initially thought, and I began feeling closer to him as a fellow searcher for the Truth and acceptance of God. In fact, his pains of inner turmoil and potential broken ties with family often brought me to tears.
Most of the book related conversations with Christian who befriends him in school and invites him to investigate the external and internal evidence of the Bible’s claims. Nabeel is very specific in his description of his former Islamic practice and culture and the process of researching Christianity. Writing as a relatively young man with conservative religious ethics but western wit, he is brutally honest at times and playfully cocky at othersn. He voiced his early determined faith in the Quran and admits his struggling intellectual hypocrisy to hold onto Islam even as the case for the risen Christ grew clearer. And he shares many of the specific evidences and arguments from other compassionate Christian friends on his difficult journey.
I highly recommend his story to you.
If you are a professing Christian, I believe God’s Spirit will use his testimony to grip your heart and mind to view the average Muslim’s struggle (the most literal meaning of the Arabic word, “jihad”) with new eyes. And may we who follow Jesus by His grace for His glory be known more for our informed faithfulness to Him than to often blind politics.
May we also pray for Nabeel. I suspect that he is on the kill list of many radical jihadists – those whose struggle is not simply the individual’s internal battle but the external and violent battle with anyone who will not adopt Islam.
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