I am a former Wahabbi Muslim who was born into a Muslim family and was raised as a Muslim in Saudi Arabia. All of my life in Saudi I grew up as a very devout Muslim follower who adhered and applied the teachings of Islam into every aspect of my life. These teaching included the belief that Islam is the final religion on earth; that it is the only acceptable religion to God; that it is the way to Heaven; that those who do not accept Islam as their faith are doomed to go to hell and their work and worship will not save them unless they accept Allah as their god and Muhammad as his messenger; that salvation for the Muslims is by work and it is never guaranteed except for those who are willing to die in the name of Allah; that Muslims are superior to all others; that all non-Muslims are considered infidels, this includes Christians; that Christ is only a human and a prophet sent by Allah; that He is not God or the Son of God; that He was never crucified, never died on the Cross, and never resurrected from the dead; and that He was ascended to Heaven to be saved from His persecutors and will come back again at the end times to restore Islam as the true religion of Allah, to destroy the cross, to kill the anti-Christ, and to convert Christians to Islam. But the most compelling thing I grew up learning was to HATE all of those who do not worship Allah; who do not follow Muhammad; and disbelieve in Islam; including Christians and Jews. Simply put, I was an enemy of Christ.
By age 12, I had memorized half of the Qur’an (which is the Muslims’ holy book). My goal was to memorize all of it, as it is taught that memorizing the Quran can help cover some of your sins and help your good deeds on the Day of Judgment, and can upgrade your status in heaven.
In early 1980’s, I was ready to die in the name of God with multitude of young people who were leaving to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union along side Osama Bin Laden (who actually was a hero to them at that time). If it was not for my mother’s plea to stay behind I would have gone, for I believed that the rewards which awaits those Muslims who die in the name of Allah are much better and far greater than what other Muslims who elect not to fight in the cause of Allah might receive if, and only if, they make it to heaven, not to mention that it is guaranteed for those who die in the name of God to make it to Paradise with all of their sins forgiven, and to receive rewards that are far better than the rewards others might receive.
But as I grew up, in my late teen years, I began to decipher and understand the language of the Quran much better and within in it I saw messages of hate towards the nonbelievers, that I did not feel comfortable with and did not like at all, nor that I was able to even justify or understand. I could not believe that God can hate His own creation simply because they do not accept Him. I thought God’s compassion and love should be bigger than that and above all that. But sharing such thoughts or doubts about my faith with others would have caused me lots of trouble and would have jeopardized my safety (since the penalty for doubting & blaspheme Allah and leaving Islam are Death).
After graduating from College in Saudi I wanted to pursue my graduate education in a western country, but this posed a dilemma for me. The dilemma is that Islam teaches its followers not to befriend Christians and Jews, and the Muslim world truly believes that all western countries are simply Christians and Jews. In fact, it is truly believed by Muslims that westerners are basically born Christians and they inherit Christianity as a religion from their parents, just as Muslims inherit Islam by birth.
Sometimes in the late 80’s I arrived to the a western country and was filled with fear and discomfort because of the fact that I will be dealing with Christians and might be loosing good deeds as a result of my dealing with them (as noted in Sura 5:51 & 5:57 in the Quran), yet I knew that in order to receive the best education, it is imperative that I go to a western country and pursue my higher education at one of their universities.
After living in a dormitory for about a month, I began to feel the need to become more familiar with the culture and way of life in the country where I had moved to. In addition, even though I thought I knew how to speak English very well; it turned out that the conversational English spoken in this western country was far more difficult to comprehend than I ever imagined due to the use of different idioms, although I never would have thought or dreamed that English would be a problem for me. But this was God’s plan for me to draw me to Him through the following series of circumstances.
During that time I heard of a program that is designed to help international students by teaming them up with western families in order to help the international students learn more about the culture and way of life, and to overcome any language barriers.
Little that I knew that this organization actually was a Christian Ministry, for if I knew that, I would have NEVER signed up with them. So I signed up for it; a decision that would rock the very foundation of who I was and change the course of my life forever.
Almost two weeks after signing up for this program, a young couple from the program contacted me and indicated that they were the family assigned to work with me and assist me with my basic needs. And for the next seven months, this family LOVED me in a way that far exceeded my expectations, a LOVE I have never ever experienced before, not even from my own fellow Muslims. There was a sense of peace about them that made them very distinguished from those who were around them, to the point that I truly thought that they were not Christians, for if every one around me was a Christian then why was this family so much different?
Later on that year, this family invited me over to their house for thanksgiving dinner. It was only then that I realized that they too were a Christian family, because they asked if they can pray, and I heard their prayer. I have to admit that my heart sank that moment. I never realized that Christians are actually filled with such love and not hate as my belief made it seem to me. Not to mention, that this family NEVER shared the gospel with me; but rather, they showed Christ to me through their actions and through their life style (it was a silent witness). On that day, I walked out of their house with great doubts about my faith and my teachings. I vowed to research Christianity to learn more about this Jesus that can make such a profound difference in someone’s life, the one that can give them such visible peace and joy, something I have never ever seen or even experienced before, the one that was the source of the light that was shining out of them.
Some years later (almost 6 years), and after graduation from college, I joined a local firm, and in there I met yet another Christian gentleman who truly was a model for what a Christian man, living a Christian life, is like! I was very impressed by his faith, his walk, his joy, his peace, and the light that was shining out of him. He was without doubt, different than any one around him. And when he invited me over for Christmas dinner at his house, I noticed that his wife and his kids were just like him.
They were very much similar to the family I previously met in college where the first seed was planted in my heart. It was then that I could not hold back my curiosity, and went on to ask him about why was he that much different than others around him? He then proceeded to share parts of his testimony with me and indicated to me that he was a born-again Christian (something I did not quite understand at that time). He told me that because he accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior he became who he was without any efforts on his part, that it was the Spirit of the Lord in Him that brought out the fruits which I am witnessing on him. Even though, just like the other family, he never shared the Gospel with me directly, it was very evident that Jesus was his source of peace and love.
Once again; I fell in love with Christ who has such power to change these people, even more power than my own prophet whom I revered as the seal of the prophets and God’s favorite one. Yet despite how devout I was, I never felt such peace compared to these people. I truly felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself. They were like a mirror that exposed the ugliness of my inner being.
From that moment forward, the Lord has allowed me to go through numerous trials and circumstances in my life, through which I became very interested in knowing more and more about Him, the true God, for it was becoming more and more apparent to me that my own God was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.
And in early 2000’s, I elected to go to a Christian Church (against everything my Islamic faith had taught me, and against all odds, since Muslims will never go to a Christian Church as it is a huge sin to do such a thing and can cause me to loose my salvation). Over a time of 6 months and through the study of the Gospel of John at the Church every Sunday, I learned who Christ truly was. And slowly and gradually, His deity began to unfold right before my eyes, and the message of salvation became so clear to me, and I felt how helpless I was and how desperately I needed to be saved.
Finally, and without a shadow of a doubt, I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. From being an enemy of Christ and Christianity as a whole, I became a born-again Christian who will do anything to serve the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Immediately, within a few months of accepting Christ, I came to know what it is like to have a personal relationship with my beloved Lord; and to fully depend on Him and to experience Him in my life. And during this time, He revealed His awesome Glory to me in amazing ways so that I can never deny or doubt His Glory and His work in my life. Since then, my life has changed completely, and I am no longer the one who used to be. I am no longer this arrogant, self-righteous, prideful man. My heart was replaced with a softer one, and I became truly a new creation noticeable by everyone around me. Just as the Bible said of those who come to the Lord and accept Him as their true God:
"And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God." – Ezekiel 11:19, 20
It is amazing how every thing which was said in that verse over 2500 years ago happened to me and happens to everyone who follows the Lord. Just as I noticed that all believers in the Lord have ONE heart and ONE spirit that makes them distinguishable, and they all share my experience that GOD changed their hearts from being rigid like stone to soft and gentle. That alone was a great testimony to me that what I am experiencing is not excitement as some might call it, it is TRUE and REAL conversion.
Furthermore, please remember what I mentioned during my testimony that the message of the Gospel was never shared with me throughout my search for Christ, nor that I even heard it in full until after I accepted Him. That’s how much I loved Christ. The turning point in my life happened because of simple acts of LOVE by two separate families who truly were a shining light, just as they were commanded by our Lord in
Matt. 5:14-16 – "You are the light of the world … so let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds, and glorify your father in heaven."
Through these simple acts of love I came to know my beloved Jesus Christ, and through their love, our Father in heaven was glorified, and will continue to be glorified. Oftentimes we overlook the simplicity of the message of the Gospel, that Love was the greatest commandment given to us by Christ. We forget that the message is CHRIST and not CHRISTIANITY, that we are the message and the medium responsible for presenting Him to others around us, and how this witness and representation can make a huge difference in the lives of those who are watching us, just like it happened with me when I was watching them too.
Since I became a believer in Christ I am no longer blind but I can see the truth. I became more aware of the lies that I lived all of my life as a Muslim; the lies Islam teaches; the lies that my beloved Muslim people are still living in and believing in, just as I was. These lies include the claims that Muhammad is a prophet mentioned in the Bible, which I confirmed from the Bible that he is never ever mentioned anywhere. Lies that the Quran has scientific miracles, which I also confirmed that it was mere deception. None of the so called miracles come even close to being scientific, period. Lies that the Bible is corrupt, when in fact I confirmed that the Quran never accused the Bible as a BOOK of corruption. In fact, the Quran appealed to the Bible and the People of the Book to confirm that the Quran was from God. How can the Quran ask the Muslims to check the Bible and believe the Bible if it was corrupt? And since the Bible is NOT corrupt, then what the Bible taught was CORRECT. And the Bible taught the Jesus is God who came to earth to redeem me from the bondage of sin and of Satan, to die on the cross for my sins (in my place), and to give me eternal life and the guarantee of forgiveness of ALL my sins. Jesus said:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." – John 3:16
Friends, if you have not made a decision yet in your life to know Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior, as the true living God. I pray that you will do so today. Once you do so, you will embark on a journey that will change the course of your life, but the only way to receive it, is by making your reservations with Christ at this moment, for life is very short and we have no control over what might happen to us in the next second.
You are welcome to contact me with questions or comments.
May the Lord of Peace bless you and yours.