A topic of many discussions these days is matters relating to the Muslim religion. Whether it is ISIS in the middle east or the mosque down the street, there is a lot of fear, frustration, misinformation and anger. As followers of Christ, we have been called to love, value and respect everyone. As Jesus reminded us, it's easy to love your friends, but not as easy to love those who we disagree with or someone we would call our enemy (Matthew 5:43-48). It is my strong conviction that as followers of Christ, there is no room in our conversations for prejudice against those who believe differently than us.
It is with this heart that I came across this book, "Seeking Allah. Finding Jesus." by Nabeel Qureshi. Here is the book's synopsis.
I found this book helped me understand what it is like to grow up in a devout Muslim home. It reminded me how much of what we believe about the world has been passed on by our parents and families and how often, as Christians, we take things for-granted as opposed to digging for the truth ourselves. I learned that for many Muslims, critical thinking and questioning one's faith is not encouraged. Honouring your elders and accepting the teachings from them is highly valued. Hence, Muslims have very tight knit families. To abandon the Muslim faith is more than just a personal decision. For many, it means giving up one's family.
Several lessons I learned from this book:
1. Christians can be shallow at times. Hard to hear, but sometimes true. Nabeel found that many Christians he talked to didn't really know much about their faith. What is the Trinity? Is the Bible reliable? Was Jesus God or just a prophet? I was challenged to go deeper in my understanding of my faith. If a Muslim friend asked me those questions, what would I say?
2. To share Jesus with a Muslim, genuine friendship is critical. This relates to my first lesson I learned from this book. Am I willing to be a good, long-time friend to someone who I fundamentally disagree with? Nabeel would not have found Jesus without a lasting, honest friendship with a Christian. I had to ask myself if I'm open to a friendship like that.
3. Muslims are people like you and me. I know this sounds silly. "Of course they are" you may say. I just think it's easy to start labeling people who you haven't taken any time to understand. This book gave a glimpse into a young man's life who went through many of the struggles any young man goes through. Relationships, purpose, disappointment, family, religion. I wept as I heard the pain in Nebeel's voice as he recounted the day he told his parents he had become a Christian. He knew he was hurting them very deeply and I'm not sure if I've ever really sympathized with how hard it would be. Muslims turning to Christ are courageous indeed.
In closing. I encourage our first response when we hear issues of the day involving the Muslim faith is to first pray, then seek to understand and most of all love unconditionally those God puts in our path. There is no room in my theology for the popular attitude that "we're all one and on different paths to the same God". No. Jesus did not leave that venue open to us. But I am reminded to not use that belief to help foster fear and prejudice.
I encourage you to take a look at this book. Perhaps as we are obedient to God, others may find Jesus in us.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity.
By Nabeel Qureshi
*Available in print and audiobook.