July 28, 2021
To Help you Pray this month for your Local Mosque Community.
My spiritual journey has come with over 30 years in the making. I was born a Muslim. Like any Muslim I was proud to be one and thought we were God’s true believers.
I was inquisitive as a child and asked a friend about the story of Abraham, and how Ishmael was going to be sacrificed. How Abraham, a faithful pious prophet, would do the will of God and sacrifice his son, but instead, God had him sacrifice a sheep. That friend told me the biblical story of Isaac and a ram that was sacrificed instead.
My friend also spoke about heaven, hell and the lake of fire, and about Jesus, and what it meant to be saved as a Christian. I must have been roughly 8 years old at the time. My father asked him not to speak to me about Christianity anymore because we were Muslims, and that put a long end to that discussion of biblical speaking with my Christian friend. The term “saved” resonated with me for the rest of my life, though as a Muslim, the word was so foreign to me.
Ten years later I took the spiritual pilgrimage of the Hajj and visited the two holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina. Later in life I stopped practicing as a Muslim and gave up the title of being called a Muslim, unless I was in front of relatives, who I did not want to bear the weight of denying Allah with. The emptiness of Islam and all the ritual prayers that were done in Arabic, a language most Muslims don’t understand along with me, just did not make sense anymore. Along with that, there were many other things that started not making sense to me.
In my late 20s, I started exploring the idea that Jesus may be the key. Something that was very difficult for me to do, since Muslims see Jesus as a peer to Abraham or to Noah, and not as being God’s son, or God incarnate, or the one above all and the King of Kings. I had a hard time seeing Jesus as the Son of God, someone who would die on a cross and then ultimately, be recognized as the resurrected King. Accepting the trinity was also very difficult for me.
Years later, after extreme difficulties in life going through a failed marriage and a miracle son who I only knew that was in my ex-wife’s womb nearly five months after our separation, I came to some choices: do I spend my life sinning and going to bars and parties, playing the dating game, and looking for temporary happiness, or do I seek my Lord in order for me to be a better man now that I have son? I chose to seek my Lord and the truth.
This put me in almost a frenzy to learn, so I put my bets on Islam and Christianity, the two religions that made the most logical sense to me, as I was not interested in pagan religions. This led to me researching the deep history of Islam and reading the four first books of the New Testament, “the good news,” the gospels. I was alarmed and shocked at the history of Islam and how it was created. I was also amazed with the Gospels, with Jesus, with what he taught and how he was the prophesized Messiah. Something that was not known to me was that Jesus was prophesized even in Genesis 49:10 (NIV):
“The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs[b] shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”
I had spent a lot of time speaking to brothers from all different paths to Christ. They all helped me in some integral way to form a correct understanding of Jesus and his message. A friend gave me the book “Seeking Allah Finding Jesus,” which I read in a matter of days. It mirrored my life and it was so amazing to share the same experiences with someone else of my ethnicity. The author also helped me understand the trinity.
There were also some verses in the Gospels that were intriguing to me, like what Jesus meant when he asked a question in Luke 20:41-47:
“Then Jesus said to them, "Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: "'The LORD said to my LORD: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. David calls him 'LORD.' How then can he be his son?" While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely."
This was definitely an answer to my confusion about the trinity.
Then there's also John 8:55-59 (NIV):
“Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
The depth of these verses was so profound to me since it says that Jesus is before Abraham, but that he is also claiming to be God, quoting from Exodus 3:13-14:
“Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I am has sent me to you."
There were other things in Islam that were also full of burden and pressure. We had to meet a quota of good deeds, repent and ask for forgiveness and that sin would be forgiven according to how much good we did for any sin that was not forgiven. As humans it is impossible not to sin, we can sin less and grow in our faith but not a day goes by that we don’t sin. So, in the Muslim community it was normal to be shamed for our sins, and if we weren’t doing all the extras, the things that were not a part of the faith but done only to get air miles to heaven - like extra ritual prayers and reading the Quran in Arabic and instead of our common language - then we would be further shamed. The burdens of Islam were heavy, and you never knew what was enough to make Allah happy.
Also, Allah was so far removed from humanity that we could never even be in his presence or his love. Allah is said to love all his creation, but he never comes to us or has a personal relationship with us. He is too great to be thought of as calling him Father. We are too lost and unworthy to get close to him, and we must be in constant ritualistic prayers of him in order to be heard. We are to constantly ask for forgiveness though we do not know if we will ever be forgiven, and are to pray for those who are dead, that they can accumulate enough airmiles by judgment day that our prayers will even help them pass and go into the threshold of heaven. Later I learnt that Christians not only think Jesus is God, but the Spirit of God lives in us.
Now came the tough part, I understood Jesus and what he had done in my life, and I was ready to accept him, but this meant to lose and distance myself from my family. So, it took me courage and reading the Bible more and more and praying. On April 19 of 2019 I finally acknowledged what Jesus had done for us all. I accepted that he is the Son of God, the prophesized Messiah, and that he is the lamb that was the sacrifice and the ransom for our sins. He was nailed on the cross at Calvary, buried and resurrected for you and me. He was innocent without sin, and he completed the work that needed to be done to save a sinner like me.
I have lost all my family uncles, aunts and first cousins because of my belief in Christ, but I have gained so many brothers and sisters in Christ. I have whole new lenses in life and what it means to be a believer. What it is to know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, to know that we have a sinful nature through Adam, but we are new creations through Christ. To know the Father is to know Jesus, to know the will of the Father is to know the Son, to know the Son is to know the word. I am so thankful for our Lord’s grace and to have Jesus revealed to us and to be living in his light and not the shadow, to be justified so that I do not have face the wrath of the Father, to see the glory of the Lord that cannot be unseen. I have changed and I am still changing in sanctification towards my Lord’s will.
I would like to finish with a verse that lifts me up to glorify my King, my Creator, my Salvation.
1 Corinthians 2:2
“For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”.
- Pray that Muslims will have a desire to seek the TRUTH and that as they pursue God by deeds, they will encounter the free gift of God available in Jesus.
- Pray that God open the spiritual eyes of Muslims in Canada, and that their hearts will be drawn to Jesus by the Father.
- Pray that Muslims will be surrounded by Christians who will lovingly befriend them and walk alongside them, helping them come one step closer to Jesus.
- Pray that Christians will be bold, loving, hospitable and sensitive to the Muslims in their midst.
- Pray that Christians will be patient and gracious in journeying with Muslims as they discover more about Jesus.