[The testimony of a Muslim man who discovered Jesus to be more than a prophet]
My love for the words of Allah motivated me to memorize all of the words of the Quran.
But my cousin told me that I still did not know true Islam. So, I studied more and concluded that my father was an infidel because he smoked and did not wear a beard. Others were infidels because they did not pray and some watched TV. My cousin told me to forsake them. My mother wept when I left, but I was beside myself with joy to leave my home for the sake of Allah.
I began a small study group to teach the members about true Islam. Those who did not agree with us were infidels. The Quran says in 3:28: “Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers.” I had no problem doing that and I had other examples from Islam: Abu Obeida killed his father when he refused to join Islam. Mosaab let his mother die because she would not accept Islam.
A leader of a prominent Islamic group expressed his thanks to me for my courage and love for Allah and the prophet. The group invited me to join them. I joined it because I hated Christians, but stayed because the Quran justified my hatred.
There are many Christians in Egypt. We were jealous of their simplicity, courtesy and remarkable sociability with nominal Muslims. We hated them and yet when we assaulted them, they were disgustingly meek. Allah had legalized killing them, taking their possessions and looting their homes.
Special Task for Allah
In my new group we wanted to expose the false teaching in the Torah and the Bible. I hated Jews and Christians so much that I could not read their books. But our leader chose me to do the research, so that I could educate Muslims and earn a lot of money. He told me to prove from the Torah and the Bible the authenticity of Mohammed’s call and to find contradictions, proving that the Torah and the Bible are not inspired by God, but were altered and corrupted.
I read the entire Bible two times but the third reading was as though I was reading it for the first time. I stumbled when I read in Matthew that Jesus traced his family back to David and was fascinated by chapters four, five and six. I heard a voice saying I should understand what I was reading without being concerned with who was right and who was wrong. I was shivering for no apparent reason.
The Bible spoke about what we did with Christians as if it recorded the present events. I read about persecution, humiliation and murder–our idea of obeying Allah. Strange that the Bible knew what we did and said to Christians! Could it be that they just added that part?
I read the rest of the Gospels and the Epistles and was amazed to find philosophy and rhetoric superior to the Quran. I read Psalms and Proverbs. I learned Psalm 23 and 143 by heart and repeated them in my prayers. I tried to recite the Quran, hoping to erase the memory of the Bible. I could not sleep.
What if I have been Wrong?
One morning I asked myself what I would do if Islam was not the way to heaven. I wept until I fell asleep. When I awoke I felt a strong urge to read the Gospel of John. It had the highest linguistic expression and philosophy. The passages on the sheep and shepherd and the vine and the gardener were elegant and cohesive.
I was proud of Islam and myself and I hated Christians, yet I continued to read the Bible. I was stunned to read about Christ’s warning to not pray like the hypocrites, “for they love … to be seen” (Matthew 6:5). I used to put something hard on my forehead so that people could see how much I bowed and prayed. I bragged about my fasting and worship. I wore clothes that showed that I was religious.
In trying to disprove Christ’s sacrificial death, I became convinced it was true. Some might think I would be happy, but I wished I was dead rather than have wrong beliefs. Reading the Quran put me to sleep but I could not get enough of the Bible. Our leader decided to take away my task but I begged for one more month. I did not want to let go of the Bible and of the permission to read it. I was not sure why, but when I prayed I heard a voice asking why I prayed to Allah who did not exist? I studied the Quran, secretly hoping to find something to prove it was not correct. I would have accepted anything but to become a Christian, yet I wrote a paper called “Is the Quran the Word of God?”.
One day, our leader showed up for an unexpected visit. He was pleased to see so much research. When he read it he turned red and asked me who had tricked me? I replied that the fault lay with him as he had forced me to read the books of the despised Christians. He said that if I did not want to die, then I was not to tell our group about the poison I was writing. I wept when I remembered our close times together but the group cut all ties with me.
When I read a meaningful text in the Bible, my hatred towards Christians only increased. I urged people to not shop at shops owned by Christians. The owner pleaded with me to leave, saying, “What have I done to you? Have mercy; I have to earn money to raise my children.”
As I tormented Christians, I heard a voice inside me. “Do you think these deeds can remove all that you have learned from their books? Do you really want God? It is all in your hands and nobody will force you into anything.”
I went home and read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and felt a strange calm. I asked God if I could have the peace, patience and love of the Christians if I prayed the prayer from the Bible.
“Yes,” came the answer. I decided to pray the Lord’s prayer every day at dawn instead of the Muslim prayers. I did but it did not affect my behavior. I despaired and decided to do away with religion altogether. I asked God for help. I asked him not to leave me alone.
Just then, the door opened and a man came in. A blinding light came from him. He told me to rise, saying, “The Christ wants you.” I called my family, thinking that if they saw the Christ, then would believe, but they saw nothing. So, I decided to live as a Christian quietly, trusting God would change my life.
How do They do It?
I wanted to know more about how Christians worship. I tried to ask some Christians for help, but they would not help me as I had treated them so badly. I went to a Christian bookstore and saw books that I wanted, but could not afford to buy. An older man offered to buy them for me and gave me his address and said if I liked them, I could pay him back.
I devoured these books and many others. I wanted to be like the person depicted in these books. Could God make me better? Could I have friends who believed differently from me? Can I love my mother and my friends, even though they don’t believe as I do? I wondered about these things because the Islamic group had insisted that we deny other loyalties, whether to family, country or anything else.
I went to many churches. It was not easy and the devil tried to shame me, saying I was going to the den of infidelity, polytheism and blasphemy. A quiet and gentle voice said, “Haven’t you read, ‘Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest'”? (Matthew 11:28). I had read it and I had seen it painted on the side of a church when I was a student. The voice said to me, “Give your life to God and He will bring it to pass.”
I said, “God, I give you my life. Please save me from my circumstances. Teach me your ways. I am at a loss. I am perplexed.” I told my mother some of my struggles. She had seen the change in my behavior and so she accepted my words. When my mother died we were on good terms, for which I thank God. My family felt it too. They used to turn off the lights and run when they saw me coming. I asked them to forgive me for all my misbehavior towards them.
My Christian friends urged me to leave Egypt, but I wanted to make up for all the evil I had done. Christ had chosen me and he gave me many experiences to prove the change in me was true. He did not chose me haphazardly but for a certain purpose. I do not want to finish my testimony. It is on-going. As long as the Lord is working in me the testimony continues.
This testimony appeared in Doorway, a publication of Arab World Mission in Canada; used with permission. For educational resources to pray and relevantly communicate the gospel to the Arab world, visit www.awm.org/ For other testimonies of the power of the Gospel, see the book Into the Den of Infidels. “Read the compelling stories of eight Muslims in Egypt – the intellectual capital of Islam – as they persevered until they discovered the truth.” www.vombooks.com/