Imagine being raised by your parents as a Muslim. Everything you know about God is seen through that lens, and living in harmony with your family depends on that worldview. Then imagine finding Christ. During this week's broadcast, you'll hear the amazing story of Nabeel Qureshi's conversion to Christianity. And you'll be reminded why the truth of Scripture is so compelling.
Once a zealous Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi's life took an irreversible turn when a Christian friend challenged him to investigate the claims of Christ, and to critically evaluate the faith of his upbringing. Now an itinerant preacher with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Qureshi has just released a book describing his conversion, what it can teach us about how all Muslims view Christ, and what it means for someone to convert from Islam. It's called "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity," and it tells this young convert's emlematic story.
Qureshi's parents raised him in the United States, but the spiritual trappings of his youth were anything but familiar to most Americans.
"By the age of five," he says, "I had read the entire Qu'ran in Arabic and memorized the last seven chapters."
Not surprisingly, Qureshi's fellow Muslims treated the predominantly Christian West as territory hostile to their faith, and strove to equip him with the tools to refute Christianity. He says his parents and mentors taught him how to challenge the authenticity of the Bible, to argue that the Christian belief in the Trinity amounts to polytheism, and pointed to what they saw as the immodesty and debauchery in America as proof that Christianity was false.
"[For Muslims] in the West, the Bible is a huge issue. But even bigger than that is the issue of Jesus. In the Qur'an, we see that Jesus denies claiming to be God."
Then came the challenge from a Christian friend in college. It was simple, yet daunting: investigate the claims of Christianity to see whether they hold up under more than cursory criticism.
"I first looked into the reliability of the Bible," says Qureshi, "found out it was reliable, then looked into the issue of whether or not Jesus died on the cross. The Qur'an says no, the Bible says yes. And I found out the history points singularly toward Jesus' death on the cross. Once again, the Resurrection is something Christianity has a solid foundation for, and then Jesus' deity—looking into the evidence from the New Testament, extra-biblical evidence as well, it was strong that Jesus claimed to be God."
Then Qureshi's friend issued an even tougher challenge: to apply the same critical analysis to Islam that he had to Christianity.
"We began to study Islam. And as soon as I leveled the same criticisms at Islam, the whole foundation crumbled."
Neverthekess, for Qureshi conversion wasn't as simple as evaluating evidence for both faiths and accepting the stronger. For a Muslim, he explains, conversion is an incredibly difficult undertaking, one which frequently takes years.
"Islam isn't just something you believe," he says. "It's your identity. To even consider the case for Christianity, you have to move mountains in your mind."
And one particularly harrowing mountain is a Muslim convert's relationship with his or her family. For many, it means being disowned or shunned by those they've loved since birth, or at least leaving parents feeling rejected.
That's why Qureshi couldn't settle for evidence alone. He needed confirmation from God. And for the average Muslim, who doesn't believe that God speaks directly to anyone, dreams and visions frequently serve as spiritual turning points. Such was the case with Qureshi.
"In [my] dream," he explains, "I'm standing at the threshold of a narrow door. This door is just wide enough to fit me. How narrow it is is the most powerful symbol of this dream...And beyond this doorway is a room set with a feast...And they're not eating yet, even though the food is on the table. They're all looking to the front of the room, as if waiting for the Speaker or the Owner or someone to start the event.
"Now I know in this dream that this room is Heaven, and that I want to get into Heaven. But I can't get into this room because at the other end of this doorway is my friend, David. He's sitting at the other end blocking it...I can't get past him. And so I say to David, 'I thought we were going to eat together.' And he says, 'You never responded.' And at that moment in the dream I knew that I needed to respond to the invitation that David had given me in order to come into this wedding feast...
"When I woke up from this dream, I called David and I asked him, 'What do you think this dream means?' He said, 'Nabell, this dream is so clear it doesn't require an interpretation. Just go to Luke chapter 13 verse 22. And so I went to Luke 13...and the title heading just said, 'The Narrow Door.' And my heart just stopped because I hadn't read this before... Jesus is traveling through the towns and villages preaching the good news, and the Disciples ask Him, 'Are many going to be saved?' And He says, 'Make every effort to enter through that narrow door. Because many will try and few will be able. And you will see people sitting inside at the Wedding Feast of Heaven. Make every effort to come before the owner comes and closes the door.'"
For Qureshi, this was the confirmation he had asked God to provide. And after preparing himself for the reactions of Muslim friends and families, he surrendered his life to Christ.
Today, Qureshi offers his unique experience and insight to Muslims, but evangelizes to people of all faiths, sharing the news of a God who loves us and offers mercy through the work of the God-Man, His Son, Jesus Christ. He works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and regularly speaks on college campuses and in churches worldwide.