You must read Nabeel Qureshi’s autobiography. Nabeel vividly tells the story of his conversion from Islam to Christ in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity which was published in 2014. Nabeel converted in 2005 after wrestling with the claims of Christ through his college years. Today, this brilliant young man serves as an apologist with Ravi Zachariah International Ministries. You may have seen him in debates online such as this one from last week, or perhaps you have seen clips of him answering questions from Muslims like this.
Nabeel grew up in the West, in a strongly Muslim family with Pakistani roots. Because Nabeel must begin the account by describing his Eastern family environment in the midst of a Western context, the book began a bit slowly for me and for others I know who have read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Eastern history, names, words, and customs do not immediately resonate with most of us as Westerners. But, within a few chapters, I was hardly able to put the book down. Nabeel recounts the ministry of David Wood, a Christian classmate at Old Dominion University, who quickly became his best friend. The two were evenly matched intellectually, and the book tells the story of their apologetic sparring matches, Nabeel’s inner conflicts, the pressure of being caught between two cultures, and ultimately, the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. Nabeel’s is a compelling story to say the least.
Here are a few reasons why Gentle Reformation readers should read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus:
- To learn from the love of David Wood. Westerners will learn as much from Nabeel’s friend David than they will from Nabeel. Those who loved Ken Smith’s example in The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert will find a similar friend in David Wood. In this case, we learn the apologetic of love toward a Muslim that is expressed in intellectual rigor and warmth of friendship. For that reason alone, you should read the book.
- To strengthen your apologetics tool-kit in ministering to Muslims. Nabeel reviews in narrative form key discussion points between Christians and Muslims as he recounts his discussions with David Wood and other Christians God brought into his life. You will be more aware of the questions Muslims will ask, or things they will assume, and learn how best to grow in answering objections. Listening in on apologetics discussion is often the best way to learn apologetics and evangelism, and Nabeel gives us a front row seat.
- To enter into the world of an Americanized Muslim. These are the kinds of Muslims with whom most of us are interacting. Many young people will interact with children of Muslim immigrants, and Nabeel helps us to see the world from their perspective. East and West meet within their lives, and it is not easy. The fact that the book begins slowly for Westerners is the more evidence of the fact that we should read the book so that we can understand. In some ways, the book may be more timely than timeless because our culture is changing and global migration patterns will change, but the book is timely in that it meets the need of the hour in which we live.
- To appreciate the inward struggle of Muslim considering Christ. Again, those who appreciated the introspective nature of Rosaria Butterfield in Secret Thoughts will find a similar blessing here. Nabeel’s sharp mind and his hear that has a large emotional capacity are both on display in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and we are the richer for it as we see the work of Jesus in the hidden but active heart of one being converted.
- To wrestle with the question of dreams and visions. Reformed Christians often struggle to articulate what they think or should think about accounts of dreams and visions. They are commonly reported in other parts of the world, especially in the East. Nabeel records his dreams and how God used them. These could provide a good framework for discussion for those who are interested.
- To praise God for his wondrous work of salvation and to be motivated to pray that God would change the hearts of more people today by his word and Spirit and through our witness.