Growing up in the Middle East, I was a strong adherent of Islam. I tried my best to do exactly what the Qur’an and the Muslim Sharia laws teach. However, despite my best efforts, I felt guilty. I thought that I must be the worst person on the face of the Earth because I couldn’t keep the laws.

I believed strongly that Islam and the Qur’an were true, but I struggled with my knowledge of my own sinfulness. Because of this, I thought I was surely going to Hell, and so I feared death greatly. And I always felt empty inside.

Who is Jesus really?

When I was 27 years old, I was introduced to the Bible for the first time. I started just reading it for its stories since I had been taught that the Bible had been corrupted. I was also taught that Jesus was just a prophet who was inferior to Muhammad. I was certain that Muslims embraced Jesus more truly than Christians did.

I considered myself a modern, open-minded, university educated people so I saw no harm in reading the Bible. I never once thought for a second that I’d ever leave Islam and become a Christian!

I never once thought for a second that I’d ever leave Islam and become a Christian!

I had a negative opinion of Christians. I saw Christians as being immoral, a view I got from Hollywood movies and seeing how some of the nominal Christians in my own country lived.

However, during a time of terrible personal struggle in my life, I had been reading the Qur’an and praying eagerly for help. I was in real trouble. A co-worker told me that if you pray in Jesus’ name, that Jesus will help you. I didn’t believe that, but figured it was worth a try in my desperate state.

Cautiously Reading the Bible

After that I started to read the Bible seriously for the first time, and was surprised at how Jesus did not speak like a prophet. He spoke with total authority. Muslims say that the Bible has been corrupted, but everywhere in the Bible Jesus speaks with authority! I thought that Jesus either must be much more than just a prophet, or else he was a complete liar.

Jesus also seemed to accept people regardless of what state their lives were in. People like me! If Jesus was who he said he was, I wanted to believe in him. But I was still skeptical—I needed something more to convince me.

Jesus, is that you?

I was shocked when, the next day, Jesus appeared to me, face to face! I saw him as clearly as you can see your computer screen right now. I saw him for only a few seconds, but he was Arab in appearance with long hair and a white robe. What I saw seemed so powerful to me, it was like experiencing lightning and thunder together! I was filled with joy and miraculously all of the personal struggles I was dealing with quickly disappeared!

And yet even after all that I still could not accept that Jesus was the Son of God! Doing that is very difficult for a person raised as a Muslim. And when I immigrated to Canada, I was again displeased with how many Christians live. I lived my life as an atheist, and religion fell out of my life.

My Need for God Returned

But then I again fell into deep personal difficulties. I decided to try to recapture the faith of my youth: Islam, not Christianity. I decided to study the life of Muhammad, and surprisingly concluded that even atheists live better lives than Muhammad! Every time Muhammad did something wrong, somehow it was justified or conveniently a word was received from God to say it’s okay. As difficult as it was, I decided that I could no longer follow Islam.

I still needed God, and remembered the vision I had many years earlier of Jesus. I started to research Christianity in the same way I researched Islam. Through my research I became convinced that Jesus did die on the cross as payment for our sins and was raised to life again!

I made my final decision one day when I was watching a Christian TV show. The speaker’s words seemed to be speaking directly to me. That day I accepted Christ and was reborn into a new life. I still had trouble understanding some things fully, but realized that trying to fully understand an unlimited God would never be completely successful.

After I made my decision, I became a better husband and father, and began to pray for and love other people in a way I’d never done before. I no longer feared death like I did before and I no longer felt empty inside. I now worship God out of pure joy, not out of obligation!

If you want to make a commitment to Jesus, read this summary of the gift he offers you. If you’re curious to know more about him, read Who is Jesus, Really?

Author’s name withheld for security reasons.

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