An Unexpected Journey from Islam to Christianity In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi's inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike. Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man's heart--and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus. "I have seldom seen such genuine intellect combined with passion to match ... truly a 'must-read' book." -Ravi Zacharias
Original publication date
Qureshi writes that the purpose of his book is threefold:
1. To tear down walls by giving non-Muslim readers an insider’s perspective into a Muslim’s heart and mind.
2. To equip you with facts and knowledge, showing the strength of the case for the gospel in contrast with the case for Islam.
3. To portray the immense inner struggle of Muslims grappling with the gospel, including sacrifices and doubts.
I believe he succeeds in his purpose.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus reads very quickly, yet there are profound insights into the Islamic culture and view of Christianity. Qureshi was raised a devout Muslim. As he leads us through his autobiography, he is careful to explain key Islamic concepts and beliefs. The structure of the book is based around Qureshi saying the sajda, a portion of ritual islamic prayers; however, this time he is struggling with what he has learned about Christianity and his mind is racing with questions as he prays. As Qureshi’s story and life unfolds, he repeatedly returns to this moment.
We learn of Qureshi’s early life and the many Islamic traditions and beliefs. I have to admit that I felt that Muslims put most Christians to shame in their devotion to their faith. He is very confident in his faith and what he has been taught.
He becomes friends with a Christian in college, and over time they begin to discuss some of the key doctrinal issues that Muslims denounce. Each chapter becomes a mini-lesson on apologetics and key doctrines. One thing that stands out during this process through the years, is that the Christians witnessing to Qureshi are very patient with him and respectful of his Islamic beliefs. That’s not to say they don’t question his beliefs or push back on some of what he says, but they do it in a loving way. Of course, this is the Holy Spirit at work. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but as the title suggests Qureshi eventually comes to know Christ as savior.
Qureshi’s candor and honesty shine in this book and make this a very personal read. I felt like I know him by the time I finished the book. Most importantly, God’s relentless love for us and the power of His truth are proclaimed through Qureshi’s testimony. I highly recommend this book.
Qureshi’s book presents many of the major apologist arguments against Islamic belief: the text criticism of the Qur’an, the historicity of the crucifixion and resurrection, the violence of Muhammad as the leader of early Islam. But what makes Qureshi’s book different from a typical book or theology or philosophy is that he interweaves these arguments throughout a memoir of his deconversion from Islam and conversion to Christianity. The main instigator of his conversion was his college friendship with Christian apologist David Wood. Wood and Qureshi were not only best friends, but also fellow members of their college debate team. As they grew closer practicing for debate tournaments together, they engaged in their own years-long debates over the rationality of belief in Islam versus Christianity.
These debates culminate in the end of the book in Qureshi’s accepting Christ. But for most of the book, Qureshi is a Muslim – and his best friend is a Christian. For Qureshi, their friendship was precisely what allowed them to debate their deeply-held personal beliefs. Their conversations arose from being in the same classes, going to the same debate tournaments, and being best friends. Throughout it is clear to me that Wood cares about Qureshi as a person, not just as a person to be converted. I really liked how their friendship enabled difficult conversations to take place.
And Qureshi delivers on his promise. Unlike some deconversion narratives, his does not depict his previous religion and its adherents as depraved, violent, or monolithic. Instead he stresses the diversity of Muslims (57), emphasizes that Islam is not as rigid as some think (69), mentions that Islam has a “highly developed notion of morality” (110), and honestly assesses that “if by Islam we mean the beliefs of Muslims, then Islam can be a religion of peace or a religion of terror, depending on how it is taught” (115). Qureshi doesn’t paint all Muslims with the same brush or attack their religion in unfair ways. He is charitable.
Qureshi was not a convicted life-long Christian who read a few books on Islam and decided that it was incorrect, but a Muslim from birth who loved his faith. Throughout the book he makes it clear that it very painful for him to come to the conclusion that the central Islamic tenets he was taught growing up were not rationally defensible. Muslims for him were not some far-away group of people, but his parents, whom he loves so much that he dedicated this book to them. Even though many Muslims would disagree with his conclusions, and I don’t agree with all of them either, to me he speaks more authentically because of his personal journey.
As Nabeel shares his story the reader learns a lot about how his family practiced their faith, what they believed about Christians and the Bible, and about the different arguments David and Nabeel both used to defend their positions. I found this very enlightening and it was intriguing to get a look into a Muslim household and learn about their way of life. Nabeel shares from his heart the emotions and ups and downs of his journey as well, engaging the reader in a moving story.
I highly recommend this book.
Nabbed Qureshi's writing style is education and riveting. I can't really figure out what this book was. Was it biography? Was it apologetics? Was it missiology? Should it be categorized under world religions? At the end of the day, I think it is enough to say that it is simply good. Maybe "good" isn't a strong enough word. I wish I could award it more stars.
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi manages to show the beauty of Islam in a fair and balanced manner while demonstrating the overwhelming draw of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He lays out his own journey in a manner that is respectful of his parents and his upbringing. Still, his own journey to find truth leads him away from the Muslim culture and faith. The heart-rending journey is one that is powerfully emotional. I'll admit it; I cried. Multiple times.
The emotional pull of the narrative, as powerful as it is, takes a back seat to the apologetic argument that is laid out for Nabeel by his friend, David. The astute reader will discover apologetic devices and arguments that should inform conversations with Muslims as well as other world faiths. The supremacy of Jesus Christ is trumpeted throughout this book!
I have been strongly urging anyone who would listen to read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. I do the same with you. Download it today. Enjoy the journey. And admit that you cried at the end!
For those interested in learning about Islam or Christianity I highly recommend this book.
His account is compelling and very readable; I found it hard to put down. He explains his upbringing in a strict Muslim family, his parents being his role model, and his faith his life. He explains his Islamic beliefs and practice and the difference between the Eastern 'shame' culture and the Western right and wrong/black and white. He provides good examples of how conflicts easily arise in the hearts of Muslims when they are asked to challenge the hierarchy/their elders. They are taught to obey/believe without question from a young age even when their intellect is telling them that something is suspect. The author details how they would rather ignore the facts than risk shaming the family. This he explains at length by documenting his own emotional turmoil when he begins to be challenged by Christianity.
Of course, like all people, Muslims in the East and West generally just believe what they are taught. Rarely is there much critical investigation into historical events, and the few that invest the effort usually do the same thing I had done: attempt to defend what is already believed, potentially ignoring or underestimating evidence that points to the contrary. This is only natural, since it is extremely difficult to change beliefs that are dear to the heart.
His friendship with David, a Christian friend, develops due to both of them having a sincere faith albeit in a different God. They stand apart from the US culture which is pretty worldly. The author has reproduced the many discussions they had and the questions that arose in a lot of detail. He read numerous books during this period and it's clear that his search for the truth was sincere. He began his research intent on converting David to Islam or at least proving that Christianity was unreliable. He failed and became more and more aware of this as time went by. He has a strange experience where he asks God (it is not clear which God he is addressing) to reveal the location of his friends in a large gathering and 'God' sends him a sign in the sky directing him to his friends. I'm not sure what to make of this but it doesn't move him much further forward faith wise.
His first visit to a Christian worship service didn't assist him in his search for the truth either and we would do well to hear and reflect on his comments;
I had never seen any of this before, and it all seemed very irreverent to me. Worship was supposed to be a solemn, reflective time of bonding between man and God, yet these people were banging on drums and asking for money. At the mosque, no one was allowed to stand in front of you while you worshiped so that you could focus on worshiping God. That there were girls on stage during a worship service seemed to border on sacrilege. So the worship service disturbed me and left a sour taste in my mouth. I thought, 'If this is what it means to worship God as a Christian. I want nothing to do with it.'
However, David, his friend, was walking the talk and this was undeniable.
Effective evangelism requires relationships. There are very few exceptions
I'm not sure I totally agree with the above statement as there are circumstances where the Holy Spirit has prepared the heart of a person and people are individuals and respond in different ways. But I definitely think that relationships are often key in evangelism amongst Muslims as it's necessary to negate the negative image they have of Christianity based on Western culture. This is best done through building friendships and demonstrating a sincere Christian faith on a daily basis and over a period of time.
The author eventually came to the point where he knew the truth but couldn't embrace it wholeheartedly due to his ingrained beliefs about Islam and his fears about hurting those he loved and possibly being ex-communicated or worse. It was at this point that he began begging God for dreams, having previously begged Allah with no reply;
I would reach a point in my life when I spent many prostrate hours begging Allah for guidance through dreams. And as it turned out. When I got one, I knew it was from Him.
Dreams are the only means I know of by which the average Muslim expects to hear directly from God.
I wasn't sure what to make of this. The author claims that God sent him three dreams and that he knew after the first one that there would be two more. His first dream was somewhat bizarre involving various creatures and people. The meaning wasn't clear so he asked his Muslim mother to look up all the symbols/creatures in her 'dream book.' He then uses her response to interpret his dream. He does the same with the next two dreams although these seem to have a clearer message; 'leave Islam, convert to Christianity.' I'm not convinced that God would have us use a Muslim's dream book to interpret dreams that He has sent.....However, I don't believe these dreams detract from his story as it is clear to me that he would have converted without the dreams. Maybe God was gracious to him knowing how hard it was due to his family situation....
Leaving aside the supernatural encounters that I'm not sure what to make of. This is a great book for a Christian to use for evangelism. It covers many of the common arguments that Muslims have in relation to the Bible and other crucial aspects of the Christian faith. It also reveals a surprising level of ignorance of Muslims about their own faith due to their cultural hierarchy. We can learn from this and ensure we are patient when seeking to evangelise and not unnecessarily offending our Muslim friends.
I recommend this book for Christian readers with a heart for evangelism...