Recently, the Christian community was hit by the news of the death of Nabeel Qureshi. Nabeel was well known in the world of Christians who long to reach Muslims with the gospel. For those not familiar with Nabeel, he was the author of Answering Jihad, which I reviewed in a previous article. He worked for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, an organization for which I hold the utmost respect. Nabeel’s biographical work, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus had been on my reading list for quite some time. Given his recent death, I made a point to put it at the top of that list. I was finally able to learn about his incredible story.
Nabeel begins by talking about his wonderful family life as a child. He was raised in a devout Muslim home, and he speaks candidly about the comfort that Islamic rituals and practices brought to his life. Quite frankly, I found this section rather discouraging. I don’t say that to dissuade anyone from reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It’s quite the opposite. He was truthful about how happy he was to be blissfully ignorant regarding the spiritual quagmire that he was in. He was completely satisfied with the flimsy apologetics taught in the mosque. It always unsettles me tremendously when I read personal testimonies about how thoroughly and pervasively Islam is able to permeate someone’s life and shield them from the gospel. I would imagine that anyone with a love for God and love for his neighbor would feel the same way.
In his freshman year of college, Nabeel met David Wood. David Wood is a Christian who pulls no punches. David did the two things required to reach Nabeel. First, he became a true friend as the two of them hit it off as people. Second, David would ask Nabeel hard questions about Islam, Christianity, philosophy, and methodologies employed to ascertain truth.
Nabeel walks his readers through the difficult internal struggles he had as a Muslim dealing with evidence that contradicted his Islamic beliefs. What resonated most with me was how he selectively chose which Hadith to trust, and which to discard. In my own experience, I have found that many Muslims share this filtering mechanism. If a Hadith suits the purpose of showcasing Muhammad as the perfect man, it is quoted, memorized, and touted as evidence for Islam. If the Hadith casts an unfavorable light on Muhammad, it is deemed dubious and avoided. In this fashion, certain Hadith are overemphasized, while countless others are ignored. Frankly, this is the best way to skew and twist any religion. One of the best ways to advance a heresy is to focus in on a few aspects of a religion, while downplaying and overlooking others. It’s the smorgasbord style of religion, taking the desired morsels from the buffet of holy writings while skipping over the less tasty items.
In order to controvert the influx of difficult questions Nabeel was given, he resorted to diving into Islam more deeply. From a human point of view, this had to be tremendously discouraging to David and the other Christians who were investing in his life. However, God was using this time to help Nabeel see the depths of the hole that he was in.
Nabeel finally went to God in prayer and asked Him to reveal Himself more fully. He experienced a series of dreams which he describes in detail. Some readers might question this, but personal testimony from other Muslims backs up the fact that God often appears to Muslims in dreams. More importantly, this is Biblical. Consider Paul’s vision as well as that of Cornelius. In both cases, each man was told about a Christian who would help guide them to Jesus (Acts 9:12; Acts 10:5). So too Nabeel’s dreams led him to understand that David and others were trying to point him toward the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior.
Of course I have skipped over many of the details of his struggles as well as his final conversion. I leave those to you to discover through this thought provoking and engaging book. As I said, in many ways it is a troubling read, but troubling in a profitable way. Anyone with a heart for reaching Muslims will gain valuable insight into the obstacles and spiritual firewalls that await the noble endeavor of sharing who Jesus is with those trapped in the quicksand of Islam. I thank God for the grace given to Nabeel, and for Nabeel’s wise use of the short time given him here on earth.
As a final addendum, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how intriguing it was to read about David Wood’s early days as a Christian from Nabeel’s perspective. Some people find David’s approach overly provocative and controversial. However, his style matched with his genuine concern for Muslims is often times exactly what is needed to demolish every argument set up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). I also recommend David’s conversion account here on youtube.