“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”
Over the past week I have been reading a great book called “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”. It is is a dramatic and personal account of how Nabeel Quershi converted from Islam to Christianity. Nabeel was raised in a loving Muslim family and recounts many of the obstacles that were overcome before he became a follower of Jesus.
In many respects, Nabeel’s journey was similar to Abdu Murray’s journey that I had read about a year earlier. Abdu grew up Muslim and is from Southeast Michigan. Just like Nabeel, he has become a great apologist for the Christian faith. In their writings, both men help Christians to understand the Islamic faith and the Muslim mindset. They also shatter the disrespectful and inaccurate caricatures that many of us North Americans often have of Muslims.
In reading “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”, one comes to realize that there are also many misconceptions that Muslims have of Christians. Many Muslims from Islamic countries have been taught by their teachers that the Western countries are Christian, that Western culture is promiscuous and it opposes Islam. Nabeel writes: “So the average Muslim immigrant expects people in the West to be promiscuous Christians and enemies of Islam”.
Wrong Perceptions, Real Barriers
Because of these misconceptions and because of cultural differences, Muslims who immigrate to North America often remain isolated from Westerners. They tend to develop meaningful relationships only with other Muslims. This tendency is reinforced by the fears and misconceptions that North Americans have of Muslims.
These natural tendencies that exist within both Muslim immigrants and North Americans results in the building of barriers and prejudicial misconceptions in the hearts of both groups. Nabeel says that “there are simply too many barriers for Muslim immigrants to understand Christians and the West by sheer circumstance.”
Christian love and Christ’s Great Commission (Mathew 28:18-20) compels the faithful follower of Jesus to take the initiative and become a true friend of our Muslim neighbors. We are called to extend Christ-like hospitality. We are called to grow in our understanding of the Islamic faith so that we can give a credible defense of the hope that we have in our hearts through the crucified and risen Jesus.
Risky Mission, Faithful Ministry
Every Christian that I know who is engaged in a fruitful and Christ-honoring mission to the Islamic community seeks to know and treat a Muslim like a person created in God’s image. It is a risky ministry since you are bound to be misunderstood and criticized by people who are Christians, Muslims and even secularists.
Each of these groups will criticize you for different reasons, but there will be criticism and opposition in whatever way it clothes itself. Fear, prejudice and ignorance under gird all of these different kind of obstacles to faithful Christian mission to Muslim immigrants.Being a faithful follower of Jesus is not an easy road to travel. Just ask Nabeel and Abdu regarding the cost of faithful Christian discipleship.
Jesus is walking among the lampstands (Revelation 1:12-20) which are local churches who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Are we shining forth with the blazing light and love of Christ or are we allowing our witness to be dimmed by fear, ignorance and prejudice? Our future viability depends how we respond to the call of the Rejected but Vindicated One. We call Him Jesus, the crucified Savior and the risen Lord.