I was born into a Muslim family. Before I encountered Jesus Christ, I believed in and followed Islam. I kept Sharia law the best I could. I would say the Islamic prayers (Namaz), fast, read the Qur’an, and participate in religious services thinking that through these things I would obtain salvation. During that time my life was filled with sin, but instead of dealing with it I would try to ease my conscience by being outwardly modest and keeping Islamic laws (such as dress standards). If I didn’t abide by these laws for even one day I would feel guilty, always being afraid of a God who would become angry with me and punish me.
The first time that I was clearly introduced to the living God of love and salvation was through my brother. He was the first one to share the Gospel with me. After hearing both the Gospel and my brother’s own salvation testimony, I saw how his relationship with God changed his behavior, and soon I became curious about searching for the truth. This time period lasted about two years. During this time, however, I was afraid to find the truth, because I knew it meant questioning my beliefs and confronting my own sin. I had so many unanswered questions about God in my heart that I couldn’t ask because I was afraid of being considered an “infidel” in the eyes of Allah, but somehow, I felt compelled to ask. I needed to know in who and what exactly I was putting my faith in.
The hardest part for me was to come to terms with the fact that I might have to accept having spent 18 years going down the wrong path. I would often battle against my own thoughts, and, when my pride would allow, ask my brother some of my questions. But even after asking I wasn’t quite convinced.
Those were very troublesome days for me. I had so many questions such as,
“What do you mean we’re all sinners?”
“What does it mean to be separated from God and reunited with Him in Christ?”
“What do you mean we are saved through Christ?”
“How is Jesus our Lord and the only way to eternal life?”
“How is it possible for a man to be God?”
“How can the ‘house of God’ (or the Kaaba) that people honor in Mecca not actually exist?”
“You mean everything that we’ve been told all these years…they were all lies?”
It’s such a difficult thing to have gone down a road you thought was right for so long, only to look back in exhaustion, see your torn shoes and realize that it was wrong.
In spite of all my fear, exhaustion, and worry, there was still something inside me that pushed me to find the truth. While paying close attention to the change in my brother after his conversion, and with his encouragement, I decided to start seeking after the One true God.
I decided to start reading different books, particularly books on different religions. I read books on Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism…but no matter how much I read I would only become more lost and frustrated. All those books only talked about the gods that the people created themselves, but none of them spoke of the true, living God.
While I was researching I would still continue my daily Islamic prayers (Namaz). I didn’t want to sacrifice the “grace” that Allah would give to those who prayed…even for one day.
This cycle continued until one day, after much thought, I told my brother,
“I’m so confused and exhausted. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong anymore…”
At that moment my brother made a smart suggestion and told me, “I know you’re tired and want to find the truth, so next time when you’re praying, after you’re done reciting the Islamic prayers in Arabic, pray in your own language and tell God,
“Lord, I’m tired and hopeless, if you are the One true God and the Savior that my brother keeps telling me about, and if you are truly alive, show me.”
I prayed for this for a few days until one day my brother came to our house to see me. We were sitting together in a room and I continued to ask my questions. For a while I was busy asking, until finally I said to him,
“Even if I believe everything you say, I simply can’t accept the fact that the Kaaba in Mecca is not really the house of God.”
My brother started responding, when all of a sudden, God gave me a vision that flashed before my eyes like a movie. In those few seconds He showed me the Kaaba in Mecca as well as all the Muslims who were revolving around it and kneeling in prayer before it. Very clearly God showed me that it was not His house, but rather an idol, and those people kneeling before it were all idol worshippers.
Suddenly, I opened my eyes, and like someone who had just woken up from a deep sleep, or a blind person who had just received his sight, seeing the world for the very first time, I was spiritually awakened and immediately started shouting to my brother,
“I understand now! I understand that Jesus is Lord and that He is the living God and that He is our Savior!”
All I wanted to do was go out into the streets and shout to the whole world that I’ve finally found the truth and that it had set me free!
I thank God that He opened the eyes of my heart and that He woke me up from my spiritual slumber. God, through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, granted me freedom from sin and new life. I have encountered the true and living God and have been reconciled.
Disclaimer: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.