Saturday, April 21, 2018

Winter in April {seeking Allah, finding Jesus}

via Pixabay
Last Sunday morning an April storm came through the Great Lakes area, icing over the roads and canceling most of the morning services. There's something all the more relaxing about getting up late on a Sunday morning, and instead of dressing up and scurrying around, seeing everyone just laying around with blankets and cozy talk. The whole day turned into blankets and cozy talk--sis and I cuddled up on the couch while we all watched a live stream sermon. Then there were Sunday nap comas. Then there were three episodes of the Great British Baking show. (Normally two is our high water mark, but we had a library due date and less free evening time that week.)

I woke up that Sunday morning over cereal and yogurt, accompanied by Nabeel Qureshi's Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Our church ladies are having a book discussion night with it, so my mom and sis and I are all reading the copy a friend passed on to us. We received the copy last year sometime last summer before the hurricanes in Houston. During the floods, I still remember hearing about Qureshi leaving for the hospital as the floodwaters rose higher. Then, in mid-September, I heard that Qureshi passed away. While I had never heard him speak and knew none of his story at the time, I added his book to my sooner-than-later TBR.

Nabeel's book is fascinating and easy to read since he describes a lot of his spiritual journey in conversations with his family and his friend, David. He was raised as a Western Muslim and a peaceful man, with a deep love for his parents and their Islamic heritage. Qureshi's book details how his faith in Islam grew as a child in a wonderfully loving home, and how he later came to accept Christianity when he examined his faith and found it lacking in truth and consistency. Qureshi doesn't disguise how hard it was; how much he loved his family; and how much he had to give up to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

What makes reading it even more interesting is contrasting it with another book my mom and sister and I are reading: In the Land of Blue Burqas, by Kate McCord. While Qureshi's book explores growing up Muslim in the West, McCord's book explores the lives of Muslim women in Afghanistan. The differences between Eastern Islam and Western Islam, according to Qureshi, are that Eastern countries are focused on authority and shame, while Western citizens are more influenced by the independent rationalistic mindset of right/wrong. McCord's account of Afghanistan offers a bleak picture of that, especially for women. In the West, a land filled with independent settlers, it doesn't surprise me that people don't want anyone to tell them what to think or do. Qureshi's picture of his Eastern mindset meeting Western America offers a lot of clarification on how we approach religions from different viewpoints. 

One theme which carries through both books is that of listening. The author of Blue Burquas came to a culture where people sit and talk. They listen and ask questions. There are no fast conversations, and she impacted people in many ways by taking time to converse with them. Qureshi, in his book, says that many Christians would look at him as someone needing to be saved--but the man who looked at him as a friend was the man who ultimately led him to the Lord.

Qureshi's bravery in pressing on to know and test his faith is more than I've done. His comments about being loved as a person versus being seen as a convert offer food for thought. And his life demonstrates his careful attention to truth, and God's patient love as he gives Qureshi confirmation after confirmation of the truth in several miraculous ways.

1 comment:

  1. I have wanted to read Qureshi's books for a while! I guess I haven't had the heart, honestly, since hearing of his passing. It was very heartbreaking for me to hear, especially as we'd just heard him speak several days at that RZIM conference the exact year before and were so inspired & spiritually encouraged as He shared about Christ and the theology of the Trinity! it was truly challenging.


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