Today more than ever we need to learn how to look outside of our bubbles and into those of our neighbors.
The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi does just that. While it tells the story of how Qureshi found Jesus, it also teaches the reader about the culture and religion of Muslims living in the United States of America.
Sadly our political and religious leaders have propagate the concept that Muslims are the same without realizing (or caring) that there are multiple branches of Islam. Nabeel Qureshi grew up as a member of the Ahmadiyya sect which is persecuted by the more radical branches of Islam. Accordingly, a lot of the Ahmadiyya migrated to the USA and UK.
As Qureshi grew up he learned how to tell people about Allah and Islam. Unfortunately most of the Christians he met didn’t know very much about their own faith and, as such, were unable to stand up to the questions and/or comments of Qureshi. This fact underlines the need for Jesus followers to train their children not only in the faith, but in how to defend the faith. As in, we need to teach our children logic and critical thinking skills so they can hold their own in any debate or conversation.
Eventually Qureshi met a Christian in college that knew his stuff and actually loved people. This man wasn’t just trying to convert Qureshi to Christianity; he just liked Qureshi because he was a friendly person.
Over the next two to three years the two friends debated the merits of Islam and Christianity. Eventually Qureshi realized that Jesus really was who he said he was, i.e. Jesus is God in flesh. This realization caused Qureshi to renounce Islam and follow Jesus.
This brings me to the best part about the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. As you read the book, Qureshi takes you on a journey into the worldview of Islam.
Take for example the way we read the Bible. Most Christians know that you cannot just take one verse out of the Bible without taking into consideration the rest of the verses around (yes, I know it happens; but most folks know that it’s not the way one is supposed to read the Bible!). The reason for this is that the books of the Bible tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Just think about the four Gospels, the book of Acts, Genesis, etc.
The Koran is different. Rather than telling a story, it is more like the book of Proverbs. In that, the Koran is a collection of short saying that do not connect to each other. As such, different sects within Islam will focus on particular sayings while ignoring others. They also have rules that allow sayings written at a later time to override earlier sayings. This means that it is perfectly okay to have two sayings in the Koran saying the total opposite thing.
Christians, however, believe that the Bible tells the same message no matter when the individual books were written. This means that we cannot dismiss earlier passages just because we like some other ones.
And this is just one example of the multiple of eye opening concepts described by Qureshi.
In summary, I definitely recommend reading Nabeel Qureshi’s book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Not only will it help you understand Islam better, it will also help you understand Christianity.