Book Review: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi. (Five Stars)
“I don’t know who you are anymore, but I know that You are all that matters.”
Unusually well-presented conversion testimonial. No glib made-for-television syrup; Nabeel shares his core-of-his-being struggle to determine who God is and how to relate. Unique in that Qureshi is an American Muslim. He believes in God, but he also believes in analytical thinking. That makes his story more understandable to Americans, though may diminishes its impact to other Muslims. That the Qureshi family, while devout, are members of a splinter Islamic sect may also reduce its broader effect.
“Then what hope is there for us, David?” “Only the grace of God.” “But why would He give me His grace?” “Because He loves you.” “Why would he love me, a sinner?” Because He’s your Father.”
Not light reading. Slow start as Nabeel introduces us to Islamic culture as well as himself and his family. While the tone is intimate and conversational, the text is heavily interspersed with Arabic quotations (well translated and explained), theology, history, differential religions (another of Qureshi’s friends is Buddhist), and inner turmoil. Qureshi didn’t want to convert. Unlike many stories of abused Muslims finding Jesus, Nabeel is a comfortable, happy Muslim. In fact, he enjoys proselytizing Christians.
“Effective evangelism requires relationships.”
Qureshi never doubts that God exists and knows him personally. He has encountered God in a prophetic dream prior to his crisis of faith. Qureshi also has a Christian friend who is well-versed on his faith, the Bible, and the points of contention between Islam and Christianity.
“How can God hold me eternally accountable for not grasping a finite fact, one which I have no access to in the first place?” “You know full well that if you ask Him to reveal the truth to you, He will.”
Nabeel also believes in the current efficacy of dreams and visions, unlike many modern Christians. He prays for a dream or vision expecting to get one. He has a firm enough belief in God that his crisis is know who God was, not whether he is. Many of the philosophic and religious arguments for and against religion in general and these religions in particular were inadequate to him; he knows God is.
“The natural Eastern tendency to hide shameful truths exacerbates the Western tendency to feel guilty.”
An excellent inside comparison of the Muslim honor and shame approach to life as opposed to the Christian innocence and guilt perspective. “It’s okay so long as you don’t get caught.” Knowing the difference is one key to understanding their differing worldview and behavior.
“On a particular day, when a Muslim, a Christian, and a Buddhist were sitting in a smoothie bar ….”
(I lived in Saudi Arabia twice in the 1980s, working closely enough with several members of the Royal Saudi Air Force that we often discussed our respective beliefs. I have also read upwards of a dozen books about Muslim beliefs and conversions as well as dozens on Christian apologetics. My one published book is a study of Romans.)
It’s a fascinating topic, and those who change religions by choice, careful considered choice, makes us look more deeply at what we believe. Thanks for the review.